Terraforming Worlds in The Doldrums Setting

[With apologies for posting later than I wished; I’m on vacation this week, the weather is cooperating (mostly). I’ve been getting yard projects done – finally!]

In the Dumarest Saga by E. C. Tubb, which my Doldrums setting is based upon, many, many worlds in the setting have been Terraformed (planet-formed) during distant eras of humanity’s expansion through the stars.

To simulate this in my Doldrums campaign I was going to create a list of tables and die rolls, along with requirements, modifiers, etc, to simulate a variety of factors, reflecting the potential a world was actually Terraformed.

Upon reflection, it would have been a fair bit of work just to set up, and cumbersome to use, with little actual advantage gained. So I scrapped that idea. Figuring there has to be an easier way, I came up with a much simpler option.


If a world as rolled isn’t ‘optimal’ for human habitation, I use the following criteria to determine if Terraforming has occured. First, the world must be within these ranges:

Size from 3 to 9; Atmosphere from 2 to 9; and Hydrographics under A (10).

Assuming the world falls within these ranges, I allow for One (1) change of its Atmosphere rating, and One (1) change of its Hydrographics rating. We are assuming very high technology was available at some point, as well as time to make these changes, so there should have been ample opportunities for them to have been made.


If Atmosphere is any rating other than 6 (Standard), it changes as follows:

  • 2 (Very Thin) becomes 5 (Thin)
  • 3 (Very Thin, Tainted) becomes 4 (Thin, Tainted)
  • 4 (Thin, Tainted) becomes 5 (Thin)
  • 5 (Thin) becomes 6 (Standard)
  • 6 (Standard) remains unchanged
  • 7 (Standard, Tainted) becomes 6 (Standard)
  • 8 (Dense) becomes 6 (Standard)
  • 9 (Dense, Tainted) becomes 8 (Dense)


For high tech cultures, it is a fairly simple (if time consuming) process to increase a planet’s Hydrographics rating: simply drop a number of ice planetoids on the surface. Removing vast quantities of water, however, is probably not done.

Thus, if Hydro is 0, add 1d3 to it.

If Hydro is from 1 to 3, add 1d2 to it.

Any other Hydrographics rating remains unchanged.


I toyed with the idea of assigning a Compatibility Rating to each world. This would represent the compatibility of local life forms to Terran ones – i.e., how Edible they are. But I decided this was relatively unworkable. This is a GAME, after all, not a simulation.

So instead I decided on a ‘Dominance’ stat. [This may have another name, assigned later.] This represents how much Terran (or Terran-based) life forms have adapted to, or come to dominate, the planet’s ecology. This allows a high degree of familiarity for players, as Terran-style lifeforms are ‘everywhere’ – though they may very well have changed over the millenia.

Basically, I roll 2D, with the following DMs:

  • +1 if Hydrographics 6+
  • +2 if Atmosphere 5, 6, or 8

Results compared to this chart:

  • Less than 8: under 10%
  • 8 to 11: (2d * 5)%
  • 12 or more: (2d + 80)%

This system should suffice for what I want for this setting. While it will make for a number of ‘similar’ worlds, this setting is less about exploring new worlds, and more about human interactions, as well as trying to figure out just what the heck is going on.

Oh, and surviving, of course!


Well, that’s it for this installment regarding the Doldrums setting. As always, I look forward to any discussions, ideas, and the like!

Keep on Travelling!

#traveller #travellerrpg #scifi #scifirpg #classictraveller #ct #traveller20 #t20 #traveller4 #t4 #marcmillerstraveller #gurpstraveller #mtu #dumarestsaga #homebrew #homebrewcampaign #campaignbuilding #mongoosetraveller

Mapping The Doldrums

Now that I’ve decided on starship drive basics for my The Doldrums setting, a campaign based on E.C. Tubb’s Dumarest saga, I can get the map basics down.

I had initially toyed with the concept of a 3D map. An hour of running some basic numbers and plotting, and I quickly gave up on that idea.

TOO MUCH WORK, even if you have a good desktop computer (I don’t even have a bad one right now, sadly), and it would look discombobulated and messy as heck if I were to plot it on paper (I am no artist.)

So standard issue Traveller maps it is. Sometimes the old/basic ways are best.

I will set star system density to ‘sparse’ in most regions (star system presense per hex of 1-2 on 1d6), as I don’t want too many systems present (for that frontier/backwater feel).

When placing systems on the map, I will try to maintain that ‘frontier’ feel. If there are too many systems, or too many clusters of systems, I will remove or relocate systems, until the region ‘looks right’.

Other than determining if any stellar anomalies are present in the region, I think I’m set for mapping basics; if I’ve missed something glaringly obvious, let me know!

Now, to start rolling systems. 😊

As always, let me know what you think, if I’ve missed anything, or any cool ideas I could add in.

Keep on Travelling!

#travellerrpg #classictraveller #CT #T20 #traveller20 #megatraveller #mongoosetraveller #cepheusengine #traveller5 #T5 #rpg #scifirpg #sciencefictionrpg #doldrumscampaign #doldrumscampaignsetting

Drives in the Doldrums Setting

So I’ve decided to create a Traveller RPG setting based heavily on E.C. Tubb’s iconic Dumarest saga, which I named The Doldrums. The first major decision to make is how FTL travel will work.


I want the setting to reflect the long travel times hinted at in the Dumarest books. However, no actual travel times are listed within them (“travel at the speed of plot”). I could just go with the standard times used in the Traveller rules – 7 days, approximately, per jump) – but I wanted to do things differently. I want distant, isolated systems to be just that – distant and isolated. So rather than place systems farther out/apart, I decided to change the time in Jump space.

What I decided on is a base time in Jump of around 1 day’s travel per light year (LY), making the drives act more similar to a hyperdrive (though still being a Jump drive). As travel time between two neighboring systems (1 parsec/hex/3.26 light years apart) would be around 3.5 days (not nearly long enough for my liking), I added 3 days to the base travel time (6.5 days for Jump-1; 22.5 days for Jump-6).

To keep with the concept of variable time in jump, I’m going with a Flex roll (1D6 minus 1D6) multiplied by 0.25 days, added to the base time. I’m using this to simulate navigational requirements, such as avoiding minor stars or gravitational anomalies, and so forth. This puts a normal jump-1 (3.26 LY, or 6.5 days) at anywhere from 5.25 to 7.75 days. A Jump-6 would be 22.5 days, plus Flex time (21.25 to 23.75 days). This is more than sufficient to create that ‘separated’ feel, so necessary for backwater or frontier regions.

Jumps of longer than 6 parsecs ARE possible, but become increasingly difficult. Few astrogators (or ship owners) would dare attempt such a dangerous transit, and most wouldn’t have enough fuel or provisions for it, either. Such a risky jump would require guts, high skill, and planning. Or desperate player characters!

Unlike most Traveller games/settings, there is only one level of jump drive. I haven’t decided on the exact size requirements just yet, but they will NOT require a separate fuel source, and will be much larger than the standard drives listed in the T5 rules.


Power plants will also be different. They will be twice the sizes listed, and require the listed operations fuel per week, rather than per month.


For maneuver drives, I don’t really feel like dealing with ‘realistic’ drives; it’s too much work for this old geek, so I’m leaving maneuver drives (STL) unchanged. It’s a science fiction setting, right?


These modifications should give the right ‘feel’ I want in the Doldrums setting, reflecting the longer travel times and isolated feel of many systems within the Dumarest novels.

If you haven’t read these books, they are highly recommended! They are considered to be a major literary influence on Traveller.

As always, I am interested in what you think of my ‘chattering’, and am open to constructive criticism, questions, and ideas. Feel free to leave a comment.

Thank you for your time, and Keep On Travelling!

#traveller #travellerrpg #traveller5 #traveller5rpg #classictraveller #CT #sciencefiction #sciencefictionrpg #rpg #scifirpg #traveller20 #T20 #dumarestsaga #ectubb

Now entering – The Doldrums!

No, I’m not sad nor depressed! Doldrums is the name for a new Traveller rpg campaign setting I am creating. While the name is lackluster, at best, and the setting isn’t even that original (far from it; true originality is difficult to attain these days, alas), it will at least be full of adventuring opportunities!

This setting is *heavily* based on the classic Dumarest saga, written by E.C. Tubb over several decades. There are NO non-human intelligences. Worlds are mostly independent, and must be self-sufficient for most basic resources, as trade can be spotty. Most space vessels are tramp ships (free traders), usually under 500-tons displacement (Td). Ships over 1000-Td are rare, indeed, and ships over 2000-Td are almost unheard of. New ships are rare, with most ships being hundreds of years old, and in various states of repair (or disrepair…) and maintenance.

Humans have expanded out for millenia. Indeed, as in Tubb’s classic series, the home world is lost or forgotten; few people even believe humans derived from merely one little planet. And frankly, most people don’t really care. Besides, who would name a planet “Dirt”?

Technology, in Traveller terms, hovers around TL (tech level) 8. Most backwater worlds (where players will spend most of their time) vary in TL from 4 (post American Civil War/pre WW1) to 7 (Korean/Vietnam War era).
Most starships are around TL 9, with the possibility of a rare TL 10 item or two. Rumors of higher TL gear are probably just that – rumors. Really. You listen to rumors? 😁

Tech development is extremely slow, if it advances at all. It certainly isn’t increasing on the fringes. It almost seems as if it has come to a stop, as has human expansion and curiosity. Thus the odd setting name…

Terraforming was widely utilized in many human expansion eras, so much so that almost every world inhabited by humans has equivalent, Terran-based lifeforms. These may have completely overrun the local ecology, may exist in harmony with local forms, or may fill small niches locally.


This setting will NOT be using the classic Traveller jump drive. In sticking with a Dumarest-style setting, FTL drive is more similar to a hyperdrive. These drives will require no significant fuel, but will be much larger; they are also subject to greater gravitational interference. Rate of FTL travel is about a light year (LY) per day. Some ship engineers may know a few tricks to shave some time off these totals. These little secrets could save time, but may also involve significant danger if not performed properly…

Ships will almost always travel along known routes, where the chances of navigational errors and gravitic anomalies are lowest. Travel to new/unknown systems is *dangerous*; few sane ship captains will risk their vessels on such journeys. Player characters, however, are known to be risk takers…

Systems not listed on the normal space charts could contain ‘anything”. Most will be empty systems, containing little more than rocks. But there’s always a slight chance of a lost colony or outpost, hidden pirate base, and other such fun. Smart players will do significant investigation before making such forays.

I could rattle on and on, of course, but that’s boring. Suffice it to say I have given myself another largish project to fill the upcoming winter nights with plenty of creation and die rolling. 😁

I am always interested in ideas from others! If you have any idea which might fit in with this setting, or improve it, leave a comment!

Keep on Travelling!

#travellerrpg #rpg #scifi #CT #T20 #sciencefictionrpgs #classictraveller #megatraveller #mongoosetraveller #rpgsettings #sciencefictionrpgsetting #dumarestsaga #ectubb #travellerblog #hiverlord

Fame in T5

Traveller5 (T5) adds a new statistic called Fame. Players gain Fame mainly through the career process (character generation). Fame is typically gained for medals (military), rank in the various services (military, scholar, etc), and other actions. Rogues, for example, gain Fame (Infamy, perhaps, or “Street Cred”, if you will) for completing Schemes – and gain more fame for failing at a Scheme (Notoriety).
The greatest Fame increases are gained by Nobles (as leaders, or potential leaders, in the Third Imperium setting, people Pay Attention to them), and Entertainers. Indeed, an Entertainer’s entire career is based around his or her Fame and perceived Talent. (Actual talent in the profession matters little; look to the Kardasian family as a modern day example…)

So how is Fame used in the game? And are there any discrepancies in the rules, or sections which need clarification? Let’s take a look at some instances.


From the T5.10 PDF file, p. 91: “Fame stacks. A character’s Fame is the sum of all Fame points received to 20; beyond 20, only the highest fame applies.”

The wording here is, in my opinion, a little vague. Are the Fame values received in the order listed on the Fame charts, and once Fame=20 only the highest applies? Can a player add all the smaller levels of Fame he receives, then apply the highest to put him over 20 (potentially)? Or are they received in Career order – meaning you apply Fame received in each career served, and only apply the highest after this point, once Fame=20? My guess and suggestion is this last option is the correct interpretation for most careers, as it makes the most sense. Entertainers determine Fame throughout their career, determining their base Fame. Any additional Fame gained is added to this total, with only the highest bonus being applied once Fame reaches 20 or greater.


From the T5.10 PDF file, p. 36: “Fame is notoriety, or reputation. Fame is the degree of recognition or respect which society (or subdivisions of society) holds for an individual. Fame is not a guarantee of recognition; it is the likelihood that a search of documents or databanks will return information about the individual, or that a discussion will include reference to the person.

Outside of this statement, there are no rules written detailing how Fame is used within the three PDFs. The statement itself, however, gives clues to how a referee may utilize it.


A PC or NPC’s Fame level indicates the area where he or she is most likely to be recognized; for instance, Retired Navy Captain Eneri Jansen is from Regina system, an important frontier Capital. Eneri has Fame=17; he is “well-known” in two systems. Most likely these systems are Regina and Jenghe (a neighboring world which is owned by Regina). Both are worlds with advanced technology; each has an accessible public databank. A search of these databanks would require a Task similar to this:

To search for public information on Eneri Jansen (Difficult, 3D), Edu + Computer. If search time matters, use a base of 10 minutes (10-60 minutes total).

Note that this search would only turn up publically-available data; other information may require access to non-public databanks (and possibly requiring addition rolls of much greater difficulty to access, then search). Also note that the Task difficulty level is set to “Difficult” (3D) by default; there are A LOT of people on an individual world (sometimes in the billions), and many names will be repeated quite a bit. Computer skill becomes important in any data query, representing knowledge and experience with asking the correct questions…

Such a search can be adapted to each situation, as local conditions – and player actions and background – dictate. For example, if Eneri was involved in a famous battle against pirates, the referee could reduce the difficulty down to 2D – or even 1D, if ‘everyone’ knows about the incident. Conversely, the difficulty could be increased by +1D or +2D if the incident was hushed up as an embarrassment. If this were the case, Spectacular Failure on the search roll may bring authorities (or worse) to investigate the enquery, attempted security breach, etc.
Searches conducted outside the player or NPC’s ‘Fame area’ would be increased in difficulty, say +1D in the rest of the Subsector, +2D in neighboring Subsectors, or +3D in further regions. Such searches and tasks are subject to referee interpretation in all cases, as the situation (or player actions) dictate.


Or, “Don’t you know who I am?”

Invariably, PCs will attempt to use their Fame in some manner. Many times these efforts will involve bluffing their way past guards, gaining an audience with the local Magistrate, and so on. Invoking their perceived Fame, they hope to accomplish a goal they consider necessary to their success (or even survival). Each such case will vary with the current situation, with differing degrees of difficulty. As always, it remains the duty (onus?) of the referee to determine just how influential the PC’s Fame is. As an example, a famous Musician may have a fairly easy time convincing the bouncer to let her into the exclusive party (depending on her story), whereas a retired Marine General may easily gain access to an off-limits military facility. Each situation will vary greatly, as will the potential influence of the individual(s) involved.


It is difficult to determine how to go about awarding Fame increases during game play. Many factors will go into such a decision or award, the most influential factors being the actions of the players involved, as well as their visibility to the public. Many referees will not want to deal with this aspect in their campaign or setting, and that is perfectly acceptable. Use what you need, ignore the rest! Most campaigns which use (and, perhaps, award) Fame will be long-term, long running ones.


The Fame statistic as detailed in the Traveller rules is an interesting addition to an already excellent set of rules. Though more details need to be worked out/added in, the beginning pieces are in place. I hope someone out there finds my babblings on the topic of use, or at least interesting.

As always, I am interested in hearing comments on this, as well as other ideas on the subject.

Keep on Travelling!

#traveller #traveller5 #T5 #travellerrpg #classictraveller #sciencefiction #sciencefictionrpg #sciencefictiongaming #scifi #rpg

T5 Career Option – The Rogue

#traveller #travellerrpg #traveller5 #T5 #classictraveller #otu #rpg #rpgblog#travellerblog #roguecareer #rogues

The Traveller 5 [T5] character generation system is versatile. It has more than enough variation between careers – and even within most careers – to allow for wide variety of characters and skills. The ability to select some skill results, rather than a random result on the die roll (Shipboard skill has seven options, for example) allows a player to better customize the PC to his liking. This makes it much easier for a player group to gain all the skills necessary to crew a ship properly. I’ve played in groups where none of us could roll an engineer to save our lives. This small example shows why having some customization available can be important to a group of adventurers… er, Travellers.

In earlier versions of Traveller my favorite career has always been the Scouts. While they are still great in T5 (eight skills per term if you choose the Explorer branch, though you don’t receive the automatic Pilot skill anymore), my new favorite career is the Rogue.


The Rogue career is a ‘catchall’ career for everything from misfits, to con artists, to call center scammers, to pirates, and much more. The ‘exact’ career description would depend on the player’s ideas and the skills rolled, of course. The PC may not even be a criminal. He may just be a person who takes what opportunities come his way, and if they are less than legal, so be it. Han Solo of Star Wars fame would certainly be a Rogue with these rules.

The Rogue career is an excellent choice if you are fortunate with your stat rolls. The rest of your stats can be junk, as long as you have that one good stat. Once you choose your initial Controlling Characteristc (CC) you use it for your entire Rogue career, for all rolls (Beginning the career, Risk, Reward, and Continuing). Indeed, play a Vargr character instead of a Human. Vargr use a stat called Vigor rather than Endurance, and roll 3D (3 dice), not 2D, for it. With a 3D average roll of 10-11, you have a solid chance of having a great Vigor score.

And many Imperials in the setting believe Vargr are all Rogues anyway, and not to be trusted much…


Each Term in the Rogue career you roll to determine a Scheme – and its base Value. The reward is typically money – sometimes in absurd amounts, if you roll well – but can also be Ship Shares.


All careers involve Risk. No matter how high your Controlling Characteristic (CC) for this career is, you will always fail any roll on a max roll (“12” on 2D). If your CC is 12 or greater this gives you a great chance to rake in some cash (see DARING, below). The main issues with failing a Risk roll are, 1- you are injured; 2- you may spend your next Term in Jail; and 3- Your Reward roll result is halved. Them’s the breaks, right? You knew the risks when you chose this career. 😉


In all careers with Risk (all but Citizen, Craftsman, Entertainer, and Noble) you have the option to be Safe or Daring. Basically, you specify a number from 1 to 9. If being Daring this number reduces your chance of success, and increases your chances of Reward, Commission, and Promotion (if available to that career). And if being Safe it acts as the reverse of this.

Here’s the “cheat”, if you will, which should greatly increase the payoff from your Schemes. If your CC is 12 or greater, chose Daring to the level which will make your Risk roll 11 or less to succeed. For example, if your CC is 12, choose Daring for -1, giving you an 11 or less on 2D to succeed. You’ll gain a +1 to your Reward roll (see below). If a “12” always fails, why not gain a bonus on your Rewards?


As I stated above, Rogues can rake in a LOT of cash. Or Ship Shares. If your Rogue has a high CC, the amounts can be very high, indeed. I was playing with the system recently, and generated a Vargr Rogue with enough Ship Shares to own a Free Trader outright – AND he had over 19,000,000 Credits in his pocket. It took him 6 terms to do so, but he’s set for the rest of his adventuring life. Well, until his ship’s engines get shot up, anyway.

In the Rogue career you determine its base value at the term’s beginning. If successful you add 1 to your CC (Controlling Characteristic), plus the reverse of your Daring DM (if any); say you reduced your Risk roll chance of success by 5, you add 5 to your Reward roll. Then you subtract a 2D6 roll (your actual Reward roll). This final number is multiplied by the Scheme’s Base Value you rolled earlier.

With good rolls and a little luck, your PC could rake in some serious cash, and/or more than enough Ship Shares to own a ship outright.


Only the Scout and Civilian careers gain more skills on average than Rogues. Well, Civilians in their first term or two anyway, assuming the PC succeeds at finding a job. (They quickly level off after 2 terms. Scouts gain 8 skills per term of they choose the Explorer branch, only 4 in Communications.)

Rogues gain two skills, plus four additional skills if their Risk roll succeeds (only one more if they fail), for a total of six (three on failure). The military careers (Army, Navy, etc) usually gain 4 to 5 skills per term, though the possibility of schooling can increase this. Over a lengthy career, Rogues can accumulate a good array of skills.

The skills available are varied, though they are “light” on the combat skills. I personally think Gambling skill should be available a little more (it only occurs once on the Rogue charts, out of seven available tables), but that’s probably just personal preference on my part.

And “most importantly” for any adventuring group, Rogues can gain significant ship skills. This can be important for some groups, especially small ones, as the Rogue can (hopefully) pull his own weight (mass?) aboard ship, rather than being a mere passenger. This may make it easier for some other players to trust the Rogue, as well…


The Rogue career seems to be a most excellent career choice. You have the potential to gain a good number of skills, some ship shares, and potentially a lot of cash. While many referees may consider the potential cash levels… excessive, it is very, very easy for referees to separate this cash from a player’s accounts. After all, there are ship repairs, expensive high tech gear, bribes, and so forth, which can quickly drain the Rogue’s cash reserves.

I hope you find my little foray into the Rogue career useful in some way. Please feel free to leave me a comment, suggestion, or idea.

Keep On Travelling!

Traveller5: First Impressions

#traveller #travellerrpg #traveller5 #T5 #classictraveller #rpg #sciencefictionrpg #tabletopgaming #scifi #scifirpg

The new Traveller5 revised rules were made available for backers at the end of last week (via PDF download). While I have yet to finished reading them (I don’t believe that is feasible in one weekend, if one likes/needs sleep, or has a family/work/social life), I have read through the character creation, skill, and task sections, more than enough to begin rolling characters (always a favorite pasttime). I’ll post a detailed example of such in my next post. But here I’ll post some impressions I’ve gained so far.


The original, Classic Traveller (CT), did not have enough skills, whether skill choices, or gained/earned skills, in the game. Being the first ever successful sci fi rpg, it had its share of problems. But it was, and is, the grand daddy of sci fi rpgs, in the same manner that ALL RPG’s trace their roots to DnD, and Gary Gygax.
When newer systems came out, they expanded/changed/improved the skill systems – in general. Some systems appeared (to me) happhazzard in their application of skills and (notably) sub-skills. But overall these systems were an improvement. There was no real or realistic method of in-game skill improvement or experience, however. Many players developed various house rules to cover perceived shortcomings or deficiencies, with varying degrees of success.

In T5 skills have been revised in an interesting, believable, and most importantly usable system. Most skills are straightforward, and have a maximum attainable skill level of fifteen (15). Science skills and Knowledges (sub skills of certain skills) have a maximum level of six (6). After this level, further increases to such knowledges must be in specializations. For example, once Planetology reaches six, the scientist must specialize in a sub category with further skill levels, such as Gas Giants, Hell Worlds, or Terrestrial Planets. It’s a skill system which makes sense. It also works very well with the Task System (see below).

As to experience and skill increases, T5 rules assume the player has ‘interests’, hobbies, and goals. At a certain point in the game, the player and referee discuss the last game year, and reach an agreement on what skill increases for them. I.E., it is assumed a PC gains one skill level per game year, which I consider more than reasonable.


I really like this task system. Combine the controlling statistic with your skill, and other possible modifiers, then roll difficulty dice UNDER (or Equal To) this Target Number. With it a PC’s stats MATTER. Sure, you will have the occasional “force of nature” character, who’s high overall stats do much to make up for his lack of overall skill – at lower difficulty tasks, anyway. At higher difficulties high skill matters most, as you add 1D to your roll if your skill level (not your stat) doesn’t equal or exceed the task’s Difficulty level. Having to add an additional die to your roll can be problematic (at best) with higher difficulty rolls.

In most cases players will be rolling 2D, 3D, or maybe 4D for most tasks. A character with average stats (6-9), and decent skill levels (2-4), should have a reasonable chance to succeed at most tasks.


EDITED: My original comments about Flux have been deleted, after comments and corrections by another gamer on a separate forum.


I like the new character generation system. Your PC’s Statistics are, in general, the target numbers for your survival rolls (called Risk Roll now), as well as others. Each career has a slightly different path of rolls to be made, or different Stats to use. And the Rewards for succeeding vary. Whereas the military careers (Army, Marines, Navy) give Medals, the Scouts give Discoveries, Agents gain Commendations, Merchants gain Ship Shares, and the like.

And the career choices aren’t excessive. There are also two career choices (Functionary and Craftsman) which have minimum requirements to select. (Craftsmen must have high skills; Functionaries must have served in another career before applying.)

For my thinking, the secret, best career choice is the Rogue, especially if your PC has one really high stat. With the Rogue career, you have access to every skill you need to run a starship. But most importantly you have the chance to earn A LOT of credits. And I do mean a lot! A coworker and I rolled a Rogue who left the career with nearly 20 Million Credits – AND enough Ship Shares to gain a free trader. By himself. Admittedly, he was 46 years old, but still.


Well, that’s about it for this post. I’ll be back in a few days, after more reading and digesting of these updated rules.

These rules may not be for everyone, as many people don’t like detail heavy systems. But for me, they are great, as I love detailed games. More crunch is good, I say!

What are your impressions so far? Feel free to discuss!

Making the OTU “Mine” – part one

#OTU #traveller #travellerrpg #MTU #T5 #traveller5 #traveller5rpg #classictraveller #T20 #traveller20 #traveller20rpg #sciencefictionrpg #scifirpg

It’s a struggle many Traveller referees face – how to make Traveller’s Official Traveller Universe (OTU) “theirs”, while retaining the core elements which define the original. I’ve struggled myself with this in recent months. Certain elements drive me nuts – the Aslan race, specifically. While I would love to wipe space with the Aslan’s existence, the amount of work required is far beyond my level of patience (adding and detailing new, replacement, races, rewriting history with neighbors, etc).
In addition, “messing” with the classic Spinward Marches setting just seems… wrong. Vilani tradition on my part, perhaps?
And creating a new, original setting is just beyond me at this point in my existence. Perhaps I’ve become traditional in my advancing age, as well, reaching for the familiarity of the OTU… Or perhaps I am merely lazy.

So instead, I’ve decided on a partial rewrite of Gateway Domain, the main campaign region of the Traveller20 [T20] edition of Traveller. If you haven’t seen Gateway To Destiny, and you have a chance to acquire it, I highly suggest you do so. It is an excellent, well-thought-out, well-written sourcebook, even with the frequent typos. There are many excellent ideas in there.

However, while it is a great resource and setting, some things just are… wrong? Inconsistent? Perhaps, or they just bother me. Also, I have a few things I wish to import from other settings (Traveller:2300’s Dralasites, anyone?), and they have to go somewhere…


One of the goals of this project is to redraw some political boundaries, which goes hand-in-hand with a rewrite of a minor human race, the Sydites. In the OTU setting, the Sydymic Empire was crushed by the Imperium in a long war. This occurred right after the Civil War, which occured simultaneously with several other rebellions.

My thinking on this: the 3I should be too damned exhausted after a decades-long Civil War, combined with at least one major rebellion. So instead of being crushed, the Sydites managed to fight to a standstill, although they still lost 2/3 of their systems. Peace was eventually declared, the Empress bowing to the demands of an exhausted populace and Moot. The Sydymyc Empire, later renamed the Sydite Republic, is now a powerful economic state, having become a major trading partner with the Third Imperium. Indeed, some within the Imperium are suggesting the Sydites join the Imperium. Whether that occurs any time soon remains to be seen.


This group of K’Kree (all K’Kree are nasty buggers if you ask me) is a political “offshoot” of the K’Kree state. Zealots clamoring for a return to the Old Ways (extermination of all meat eaters), their warmongering ways did not sit well with the Overlord of Overlords (the overall K’Kree ruler). Being too large a group to easily exterminate (a common K’Kree response to intractable issues), they were instead banished.

The Lords of Thunder have been making a lot of noise lately, and are rumored to be poised to attack at least one human state, located on the Trailing edge of Gateway Sector. If true, this bodes ill for the region.

I have not yet decided if (when?) the Lords have attacked, though with the slow interstellar communications speeds, it would be some time before anyone in the Imperium were to learn of this. Adventurers in the region, however, could be caught in some interesting predicaments!


In the original Gateway setting, the Hive Confederation set up a trading outpost just outside of the Imperial border, for “purposes unknown”. Knowing Hivers, some nefarious manipulations were probably being conducted. This was undoubtedly put in place to make it easier for referees to introduce this sly race into their campaigns. However, I have removed this from my setting. For now, at least… Mwahaha.

That’s it – for now! I will return with another installment at a later point in time – complete with a few pics of the redrawn borders.

Thank you for reading!

I Sometimes Miss the GURPS System

#gurps #fantasy #gurpsfantasy #runemage #roleplay

Specifically, I miss playing my old Runemage.

We were a party of adventurers in Gurps’ Yrth magic world setting, defending a Viking-esque plains town (Herdis) from a horde of orcs. 500 civilians, 150 who could fight, and 5 players. My PC was a Viking runemage, originally from the true Earth, where magic didn’t work. On Yrth it worked quite well for him…

The orc horde was across a small river, attempting to get across. A pair of towers with a drawbridge was their only easy, close access. At one point, after several forays, they were about to succeed in pulling down the drawbridge, allowing the horde to assault the walls. If this happened we were in serious trouble. There were thousands of them!

So my runemage, he pulled out three runes, concentrated for a bit, then released a spell.

Earthquake, centered on the drawbridge towers. I built it up as strong as possible before releasing it.

It took down both towers, and the drawbridge. AND killed around 800 Orcs, we estimated.

It was a good day, and a good campaign.

Life, the Universe… And Apathy

Well, I keep meaning to make a post here, and in the last couple months, that evil, evil thing called Life keeps interfering. Work. More work. A broken car. A brand new car. Sickness. (Summer colds are THE worst, especially when combined with seasonal allergies.) House issues. (I hate plumbing!)
So I finally, Finally begin work on a re-write of the T20 Gateway to Adventure setting this afternoon; some things there really bother me, and I’ve other details I want to add. Things start well.
Then I receive a text. A favorite Aunt, who’s been battling stage four cancer, has been airlifted to a hospital.

I shall return when life lets me do so.