In a biologically uninteresting case of convergent evolution, xenobiologists have discovered that most Garden worlds of sufficient age develop similar apex predators: large flying carnivores with scales. Depending on local conditions and available minerals, these animals will often preferentially consume and metabolize metals such as iron, copper, aluminum, or titanium into their bones, scales, horns, and teeth.
Speed 50m (flying)
Skills Athletics (strength) 3, Survival 3, Stealth 1
Attacks Claw/Claw/Bite 7D
Traits Large (+6)
Behavior Hunter, Pouncer
Posted in Creature, Traveller, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
In a distant age, at the edge of the galaxy, on a planet named Voek ( UWP: D525A76-6), industrial facilities in the wasteland churn out power generators, spaceship parts, and other machinery for the Grand Imperial Duchy of Abiodun.
Overview – Gamma Complex* is a city-sized science-fiction role-playing setting where a monopolistic corporation, criminal syndicate, royal family, communist dictatorship, or other totalitarian group controls every aspect of life for the residents of the technocratic, massive, hyper-efficient habitable Complex.
The corridor walls of the huge indoor Complex are covered in official murals and motivational posters, and the gray plasticrete passages stretching throughout connect the pay-by-the-minute sleeping-tube warrens to the various work areas and corporate-run stores.
Outside the habitable complex, in the thin air, an immense Scrapyard sprawls for many kilometers. Beyond that, rocky badlands with sparse bits of alien scrub stretch out to the horizon in every direction.
Many workers are in debt to the corporation, and if unable to refinance or get loans, can not afford places to sleep, and eventually, due to their negative credit ratings are only allowed in the access corridors and outside where the atmosphere is thin and their only hope of clearing their debts is bringing in valuable materials from the Scrapyards.
Others, desperate, cunning, or otherwise, take advantage of the Ducal Corporation’s Crime Reporter’s Service, which offers large Gamma Credit (GC) bounties (usually between %5-%20 of the total fine) for any information leading to the fining of any who steal or otherwise violate corporate policy.
The local industry involves significant material recapturing programs, which on planet Voek are concentrated around Gamma Complex, an immense enclosed city-sized building towering over an endless scrapyard. The major industry at Gamma Complex is managing the waste materials from industry in a way that captures valuable materials and keeps costs down.
The whole planet is under the jurisdiction of the Duke of Abiodun. Those without noble titles or connections have little recourse to the law. Workers are classified by the Ducal Corporation into different groups based on their credit scores. The richest Contractors are the Purples, followed by the Greens, Blues, Yellows, Oranges, Browns, and finally, those with debt, the Reds. Workers are required to wear clothes of colors matching their Credit Band – usually some type of work jumpsuit.
Contractors – Most workers at Gamma Complex are “Contractors” or “Sophant Resources” who have made legally recognized arrangements (weather voluntarily, or under duress, or as a result of their parents’ debts) to sell their labor for a period of time. As part of their local job assignments, they are given a certain number of Gamma Credits (GC or GC’s) per local work rotation. Those workers who come from offworld are often delivered to Gamma Complex with significant debts already owed, such as for transport and feeding while being brought to Voek. Many have been sold off as “work-release-prisoners” or “undesirables” under system law from some world or another. Others were born here, inheritors of their parents’ debts. Everyone is required to wear color-coded clothes and mandatory position-tracking name-plates that all visually indicate their job duties, and therefore pay grade and relative status.
Contractor Grades are as follows, and represent cash or credit equal to:
PURPLE – 25 or more Megacredits
GREEN – at least 5 Megacredits
BLUE – at least 1 Megacredit
YELLOW – 500,000 – 100,000 credits
ORANGE – 100,000 – 10,000 credits
BROWN – 10,000 – 0 credits
RED – 0 or fewer credits
Law – Within Gamma Complex and in the Scrapyard the central authorities have total control and tracking of the Contractors’ movements. Contractors can use their nametag-badges to access their work areas and any recreational or sleeping areas that they can pay for. Those without Corporate authorization to be at Gamma Complex will be arrested, subdued if need be, imprisoned, fined, assessed for work skills, and then offered a Corporate Contract to refinance their fees and then pay off the debt over the course of many years. Depending on the contract, interest rates on loaned credits can be quite high, and Contractors often find themselves in debt from which they can never realistically escape.
Crime – All crimes are punished with monetary fines in the form of GCs. From indecency, public intoxication, and vagrancy, to theft, to assault, and other violent crimes, all result in lost Gamma Credits, or if destitute, with debt. Particularity heinous crimes are met with fines in the millions of credits. Those with sufficiently high debts (such as murderers) are concentrated in high-security areas from which they can only access the Junkyard (usually referred to as “The Kennels”). Anyone with a negative credit score (aka debt) is classified as a “Red”, and is required to wear a red jumpsuit to identify themselves. Wearing the wrong color clothing is punished by a heavy fine.
Contractors can also earn small GC rewards for reporting crimes that result in assignment of fees. Usually they earn %5-%20 of any fees levied, varying somewhat depending on the individual contracts and crimes. As a result, the Contractors of Gamma Complex are quick to report any theft, vagrancy, malingering, anti-company-plotting or other “morale code of conduct violations”** to the Corporate authorities. This of course results in false accusations for profit or out of spite, which if caught itself results in a major fine.
Economy – The Ducal Corporation that owns and operates Gamma Complex provides dispensaries where registered Contractors can spend GCs for food, clothing, and other necessities. Sleeping arrangements are paid for by the minute in a vast complex of Corporation owned and operated accommodations. Steep interest rates are charged for any debits workers incur. Debt refinance and consolidation are available, but only from the Corporation. Some seek loans from illegal underground criminal groups. Either way, debtors usually end up in worse debt.
The entire complex is overseen and run from a central command center, where cameras scan every corridor, tracking badges and color-coded clothes are required at all times, and any one without proper clothes, noble connections, or lots of GCs to spend is going to be reported to central security for intruder interrogation or, if resisting arrest, neutralization.
Due to the ever-lowering wages, and the ever-escalating food and sleep-minute charges, the only way to survive in Gamma Complex is to continuously out-compete all of the other workers. Those whos’ Ducal GC debits remain in the negative cannot buy accommodations must go out into the sprawling Scrapyard where all of the planet’s industrial waste is dumped. There, robots and workers dig out the most valuable bits and bring them back to exchange for GCs.
The Scrapyards – The Scrapyards stretch for miles in every direction around Gamma Complex, interrupted only by the spaceyard landing pads and the ribbon of raised plasticrete roadway, a ribbon of white soaring high above the Scrapyards on high arches, carrying roaring supersonic trains and whizzing cars over the horizon towards the planet’s main starport at Sigma Complex.
In the scrapyard huge machines slowly push around mountains of junk, which sky-screeching cargo shuttles and smelly, creaking dump trucks deposit in ever-growing piles. Mobile smelting bots pick bits of metal and drop them into their furnaces. The resulting ocean of trash constantly swells, heaves, and falls in super-slow motion waves as the machines and Contractors methodically sort through, and fight over the scrap.
Characters who are not protected from hazardous materials or connected to the Corporation’s extensive and ever-changing material-cataloging database, and who travel in the Scrapyard risk the following encounters (roll 2d6 as often as appropriate, such as when entering a new area, or pausing and engaging in loud conversation):
2 – An Enormous Mutant beast lurking in the sludge attacks, or perhaps the PCs risk falling into a dangerous but hidden toxic sludge pit or similar hazard?
3 – A huge mobile refinery-robot-smelter threatens to scoop up and melt the PCs, or some other huge machinery like a crane, trash shuttle or dump truck is about to carelessly or maliciously drop a huge amount of trash on them and crush them…
4 – Radioligical or bioligical hazard that looks like good salvage – a warhead, data cache corrupted with a computer virus, special ammunition, etc.
5 – Attacked by a larger force of salvagers in red jumpsuits, who will take whatever they can.
6 – 8 Panopticon in the Junkyard
If spotted by a patrol in flying car, or a snoopy or Gamma-Credit-hungry shuttle, ship, worker, robot, or satellite, the PCs might be stopped and questioned by Corporate security. They will fly up in an Corporate Security vehicle and demand that the PCs present official Corporate ID or be immediately subdued and arrested. If arrested for unauthorized presence, non-Contractors will be fined a hefty fee, and then be offered a contract to work for the Ducal Corporation to pay off their fees. Those who sign are evaluated for fitness for work assignment, and then given work duties according to their abilities, with varying pay based on worker availability and seniority. Most unauthorized persons end up like the majority of residents at Gamma Complex: in an ever-deepening debt that can probably never be paid off. Those who refuse to sign up for a Contract will be assigned to the extremely onerous Default Contract and put to work in the Scrapyard.
9 – Scrap dealer or collection station – the PCs find a place where someone is buying scrap, whether for GCs, or barter, or whatever else, or perhaps an automated station or giant land crawler that is accepting choice scrap for secure transport back to the smelters and factories.
10 – Useful scrap of some type – Space-radio? Jet packs? Food? A friendly but damaged robot? Skeleton key for their space-handcuffs?
11 – Puppet Masters Ship – Standing among the heaps of junk and trash, an off-kilter beat-up 1950’s Earth-style refrigerator lies with it’s door-side tilted up at the sky like a swollen belly. Behind the door of the beat up refrigerator is a multi-dimensional-reality-jumping-ship operated by insectoid creatures known as Puppet Masters (see Class of 199x). They bring their ship here sometimes to collect materials and kidnap people to use as mind-controlled slaves. Entering requires significant work to bypass the super hi-tech / magically warded door, or the use of one of the mind-control collars that all of the Puppet Master slaves wear.
12 – Overlooked Salvage – for some reason this very valuable piece of salvage, be it a trophy, piece of technology, spaceship or vehicle of questionable quality, or a massive gemstone or idol) has been misplaced in the Scrapyard.
Outside of Gamma Complex
In the huge wasteland around Gamma Complex the people are mostly escapees from the Junkyard or the non-employees: a group of humanoids, mostly Voekian natives, who have adapted to the local toxic environment to various degrees. Some have advantageous mutations, but most just die, be it slowly or quickly.
Terrible creatures great and small, and wondrous ones as well, thinly pepper the harsh scrub of the highlands for many miles.
*with much love to Paranoia the RPG, and hilarious memories of nonsense in Alpha Complex, back in 1998x-199x!
** including belonging to or associating with any organized group, political party, fellowship, union, cult, or religion
Posted in Campaign Setting, Location, Lore / Worldbuilding, Region, rules agnostic, Science-Fiction, Traveller and tagged Class of 198X, ClassOf198X, Paranoia, Skein Reach by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
The inhabitants of Marzox 2, a metal-rich jungle world on the Empire’s border with the Skein Reach, are a bipedal reptilian race with great size and strength, but a metabolic reliance on warm temperatures. Their planet was purged of life by an Imperial Bombardment Fleet when the planetary resistance refused to submit to the Imperial Crusade sent to pacify the planet.
Their Strength and Agility attributes are both +1 during character creation, and their Social attributes are -2 due to their status as refugees from a rebellious and heretical planet.
They stand an average of 2 meters tall, though they measure closer to 4 meters in length from snout to tail, and weigh an average of 80 kilograms. They are hermaphroditic when need be, but in their society on Marzox 2 they mainly reproduced sexually within complex cyclic social cultures which took macro-environmental factors into consideration.
Marzoxians are most comfortable in a humid environment of 30 degrees Celsius, but are comfortable (if slightly spastic) up to 45 degrees.
When in environments colder than 20 degrees Celsius without special clothing such as a vacc suit Marzoxians suffer a -1 DM to all rolls.
Below 10 degrees Celsius Marzoxians must make Endurance checks to take any actions, with an additional -2 DM to the Endurance check per 10 degrees colder.
Posted in Race, Traveller and tagged Skein Reach by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Robert Pearce‘s new Traveller suppliment Starship Geomorphs is a huge new resource for science-fiction gamers, filled with beautiful illustrations, hundreds of starship deckplan geomorphs, and most importantly, really good suggestions for using these modular maps in your home game. Designed to be used to quickly generate starship and spaceport maps, these geomorphs also provide inspiration when designing deck plans for new ships.
Representing three years of painstaking work, this beautiful 185 page book is a great resource for any science-fiction role-player, and he’s made it available as a free download! I recommend it highly to any sci-fi gamemaster, or anyone who wants to design starship interiors.
Included in the free guide are instructions for printing these maps out to use in your home game for both 15mm and 25mm scale miniatures.
This wonderful resource also includes maps for areas one doesn’t usually see in deckplans, like recreation areas, many different common areas, shopping areas, arboretums, viewing galleries, and even agricultural spaces. I will definitely be using these to build out starports and megaships in my Traveller game.
Posted in Editorial, Review, Science-Fiction, Traveller by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Captain Liv is a rough-around-the-edges, lusty human woman with the hard-nosed independent attitude common to the free traders of the Skein Reach. She flies the Sable Tiger, a custom GM 210 that can cover three parsecs in a jump.
Canny, she knows when to hold ’em and when to fold, when to run, and when to fight. First Mate “Seargent Mac” is a humorless retired Imperial Space Marine, who lost a leg in a crusade against the lizard people of Marzox 6b and now mostly gets around with the help of a grav belt. Jack is friendly and sociable, knows the basics of all of the Sable Tiger’s systems, and fills in wherever needed. They are often on the lookout for good crew, whether it is stewards to attend to their passengers, gunners to operate the turrets, engineers, sensor operators, or even some new lover picked up in starport, whisked off to the stars.
Cpn. Liv was born Lavinia Thunxzon on Johnston’s World, and got her start flying with her father on his free trader the Tortise, running the planet’s agricultural goods to Aroura Station. After seven years the Tortise was shot down and plundered in the Archeron system. Her father was killed, she was badly injured, and the remains of the Tortise were scrapped by the pirate flotilla.
Pressed into service, Liv proved herself a capable crewmember who was good with a blade if need be. The next eleven years were spent in incredible adventures in space, living outside the law, warring with other gangs and pirates, gaining friends and killing enemies, until she gained the trust and friendship of Grgrz, the massive, ruthless reptilian pirate admiral leading the underground resistance to the Empire’s Crusade on Marzox. She was given Captaincy of the Sable Tiger to run supplies past the Imperial blockades, and was there at Marzox 6b when the Imperial Bombardment Fleet arrived and the Crusade was ushered to a bloody victory on a scorched planet. The resistance in tatters, Cpn. Liv fled in the Sable Tiger rimward, back to the Skein Reach.
Since then the Sable Tiger has been on the run in the Skein Reach, laying low, running the old agricultural cargo run from Jhonston’s World to Aroura Station, and doing jobs in other remote destinations in the Reach.
Merchant (Free Trader) rank 1
Rogue (Pirate) rank 1
Human Female, age 34
DEX 11 (+1)
EDU 5 (-1)
SOC 3 (-1)
Gun Combat (Energy) 1
Gunner (Turret) 1
Melee (Blade) 2
Pilot (Spacecraft) 2
Tactics (Military) 1
Vacc Suit 2
Saber (3D damage)
Laser Carbine (4D damage)
Hostile Environment Vacc Suit (+12 Protection)
Sable Tiger (customized GM-210)
Built on a powerful Galactic Monopoly modular chassis, this sleek ship is packed to the gills with speed. Wrapped in a custom superdense armored hull, the Sable Tiger has the maneuverability and toughness to blast past blockades, returning fire along the way.
Hull 200 ton (Standard, Partially Streamlined – 80 Hull Points)
Armor 4 (Bonded Superdense – 6.4 tons)
Jump 2 parsecs (10 tons)
Thrust 6G (12 tons)
Power 210 (TL 12 – 14 tons – Basic Systems 40, M Drive 120, Jump Drive 40, Sensors 2, Weapons 12)
Fuel 70.6 tons (uses 20 tons per parsec jumped)
Fuel Processor (1 ton – processes 20 tons / day)
Bridge (3 tons)
Sensors – Military Grade (2 tons – power 4) – Radar, Lidar, Jammers
Armaments – 2 x double turrets (2 tons) with:
– beam laser (power 4), sandcaster
– pulse laser (power 4), pulse laser (power 4)
Staterooms 6 (24 tons)
Common Area (5 tons)
Cargo Capacity – 50 tons
Cpn Liv and the Sable Tiger in your Game
Cpn. Liv and the Sable Tiger could be friends, enemies, contacts, allies, or anything else to the players in your Traveller game. Perhaps the Sable Tiger needs crew for some desperate and audacious job? Or they’ve been hired to follow the players and collect a bounty? Or they swoop in to help in response to the player’s distress call? Or they’re rivals, after the same thing as the players?
About Cpn. Liv
I whipped up these characters when the Travellers in my Monday game got rescued from Archeron 4, where they had become stranded. On the spot I came up with Cpn. Liv of the Sabre Tiger, Sgt. Mac, and Jack, her crew. The above stats were generated with the new version of Traveller (Mongoose v2).
Original stats from my campaign notes:
Captain Liv – Lavinia Thunson, captain of the Sabre Tiger (fast trader), St 8, Dx 9, En 6, In 8, Ed 6, So 3.
Sabre Tiger crew – Mac (ex imperial trooper), Jack (the friendly one), Zack (mechanic), Hailey (Mechanic), and Cookie (steward)
Posted in Character, Science-Fiction, Starship, Traveller by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Having crossed the length and breadth of the Skein Reach
nurtured a nascent Droid Uprising
faced off against, and robbed
the Imperium, and the Ragranok Krew
made enemies innumerable
and killed many
and in the process saved many from death and from fates worse than death
the motley crew of the starship CALAMITY
navigate ever coreward
following the impulses of a strange cyber-brain
and a pieced-together map from a lost star empire
past dead star after dead star
attended by tiny chunks of rock
(each gathering sufficient hydrogen from the bright strands of bright, colorful nebulae to allow refueling)
nestled in the glare of a deadly pulsar
a blank globe
of deepest darkness.
Posted in Lore / Worldbuilding, Science-Fiction, Traveller, Uncategorized and tagged ale break, Skein Reach, worldbuilding by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Gritty space opera with fast starfighters, towering mechs, blazing plasma-swords, bizarre psionic powers, strange aliens, and a new campaign seed complete with a fully-detailed subsector known as The Skein Reach.
Posted in announcement, Science-Fiction, Traveller by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Lord Alfrex Jukt is an Imperial noble, exiled from the sector capital at Abilon by the Duke. His cruel, violent disposition has led him to take up piracy and to claim rulership over the barren world Siolax.
Alfrex was born to Lady Emdade, the Duke’s great-niece, and though he had no inheritance to speak of he was educated in the finest schools on Abilon. His sharp mind earned him a place in the Imperial bureaucracy, where he began work as a clerk. His able leadership and contacts made during travel to the interior of Imperial space saw him rise through the ranks until he was supervising Imperial logistics for Subsector 6 of the Skein Reach.
Unfulfilled by the life of an administrator, at age 30 Alfrex left government service and began traveling the spaceways, determined to find his fortune. He took on a crew of lowlifes, modified his star yacht for raiding, and looted the trade lanes that he had previously managed.
Injured several times in the course of leading boarding parties, Jukt eventually lost his yacht in battle and spent a few years wandering space before returning to the Duke’s capital and convalescing at the university there. Starting to feel the effects of age, Alfrex sought out anti-aging drugs, and managed to procure a few years worth by stealing them from the Duke’s personal supply.
Now, at the helm of a newly stolen fast trader, Jukt hunts the spacelanes neat Siolax. Ruthless and intelligent, a favorite tactic is to set mines in orbit around Archeron’s gas giant. When ships approach for refueling, the mines damage them and the Dark Star swoops in to attack.
Lord Alfrex Jukt – 44 year old human male, captain of the Dark Star
Noble (Administrator – Supervisor) 3 terms, Rogue (Pirate – sergeant) 4 terms, Drifter (rank 1) 1 term
Attributes: St 6 Dx 7 En 7 In 10 Ed 11 So 8
Skills: Admin 1, Advocate 0, Astrogation 1, Athletics 0, Carouse 0, Diplomat 0, Electronics 0, Engineer 2, Flyer 0, Gun Combat (energy) 1, Gunner (turret) 3, Investigate 0, Leadership 1, Melee (blade) 3, Persuade 0, Pilot (medium) 2, Recon 1, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vaac Suit 0
Equipment: combat armor (with combat medikit, grav belt, psy shield, armor 17), lightsword (4d6 AP 8), laser rifle, laser pistol
Dark Star – armored Type A3 Fast Trader
Tons: 200 – Streamlined
Jump: B – 2 parsecs
Manoeuvre: D – thrust 4
Power Plant: D
triple turret: beam laser x 3
triple turret: particle beam, missile launcher, sandcaster
Cargo: 48 tons
Posted in Character, Traveller by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Last night on Space Opera – Droid Uprising, the Travellers accepted a commission from the Confederation of Planets to join the CoP Irregulars and help protect travel and trade near Aurora Station. With their a simple supply run under their belts the crew of the Calamity took a far riskier job: reconnaissance of the Imperial fleet assembling for exercises at Hawkings.
On their way to Hawkings the Travellers picked up a derelict on their sensors. A closer scan showed it to be a 100 ton Free Trader with its engines completely destroyed and eighty tons of basic machinery in the cargo hold. After refueling at the nearby gas giant, the crew sent over Dan Zig and a drone to check things out.
Soon, the trap was sprung! The notorious pirate Lord Alfrex Jukt’s ship the Blackstar, which had been waiting nearby, powered up weapons and demanded that the Calamity shut down all systems and surrender their valuables. Never ones to run from a fight, the Travellers brought their weapons to bear and engaged the foe. Glittering lances of deadly light and refractive countermeasures filled the darkness of space with an awesome and beautiful display of power.
Nearly matched, the Blackstar and the Calamity did severe damage to each other’s hulls before Lord Jukt decided to cut his losses and jump away. Left as salvage for the victorious Travellers were the hulk of the Free Trader and a Quarterhorse mech that was ejected when the Calamity put a hole in the Blackstar’s cargo bay.
The crew spent five days repairing their hull with parts from the wreck before making the jump to Hawkings to tally the Imperial fleets. There, arrayed in orbit above the Imperial starbase known as The Watchtower, were the 427th Imperial Expeditionary Fleet: a Colonial Cruiser, two Imperial Corvettes, two Patrol Corvettes, two Close Escorts, and a half-dozen Scouts.
The crew of the Calamity laid low and refueled at the gas giant before setting a course to pass near The Watchtower and get better readings. As they crossed the star system more ships jumped in behind them at the gas giant – a portion of the local Duke’s fleet.
When the Calamity got closer to The Watchtower the larger fleet sent a Scout to intercept the Travellers, ordering them to stop for inspection. When these orders were ignored the fleet sent a Close Escort to intercept, burning hard at 6G. Severely outgunned, the crew decided that their scans of the Imperial fleets were sufficient and jumped away before the Escort got them in weapons range.
What awaits the Travellers on their journey back to the Confederation of Planets base on New Iraneous? Tune in next week to find out on Space Opera – Droid Uprising!
Posted in Traveller by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.
Designed by a rogue xeno-bio-chemist in the coreward part of the Skein Reach, this drug stimulates a mantid’s endocrine and reproductive systems, creating euphoric sensations in the user.
Mantid use it by smearing the paste on their thorax, where they draw the chemical pheromones into their respiratory system.
Side effects include friendliness, often verging on the inappropriate, and stimulation of the egg-depositing organs, causing fluid and sometimes eggs to be released involuntarily.
Posted in Science-Fiction, Traveller, Uncategorized by Adam A. Thompson with no comments yet.