State of the Base

What has happened at The Base in 2018? A lot of things, but not as much as I had hoped!


Orange and NotThe Zhodani Base now has reached over 850 fans at facebook.

Season 2 (8 new episodes) of the Adventures of the Starship Notorious.

The Mnemosyne Sourcebook by Dylan Lee was added.

SSL (https) added.

Chat (connecting to the original #traveller IRC) added.


All the things I didn’t have time to write or finish.

There was no Amber Zone Contest this year.

There was no reviews.

I had to change web host.

Site Stats

The Zhodani Base has about 6200 proper visitors each month. That is a little better than last year. (Even though my web host had major problems in the last months.)

The 5 most popular posts on the blog was:

  1. Cepheus Engine (1)
  2. New big blank subsector maps (3)
  3. Traveller Inspiration: Free e-books (4)
  4. What makes a subsector popular? (new)
  5. Spherical Space Ships (2)

The 5 most popular pages on the blog was:

  1. Random Subsector Generator (2)
  2. Free pdf-files (1)
  3. Generators (4)
  4. Maps and Data (3)
  5. Amber Zone (5)

The 5 most popular search words/phrases for finding the blog was:

  1. traveller rpg (1)
  2. traveller rpg blog (new)
  3. amazon (new)
  4. traveller rpg pdf (2)
  5. traveller rpg tools (new)

We can see that the pdfs and generators are still very popular. Both in searches and in the popular pages list.

To-do List

  • Run an Amber Zone contest this year.
  • Write reviews of Science Fiction books and Traveller Products.
  • Repost some stuff from the defunct Traveller Freeport website.
  • Post season 3 of the The adventures of Starship Notorious.

Pulp-O-Mizer State of the Base

Zhodani Base Awards 2018

Welcome to the Zhodani Base Awards 2018! 2018 has been another amazing year for Traveller products. Lots of new stuff from the small publishers (and Mongoose).

The first category is “Best Cover“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Cover” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Spacecraft Design Guide from Moon Toad Publishing.

There were lots of Traveller products with nice covers this year. Lots of love for all nice covers. A cool starship image and an otherwise well designed cover was what won this year. (Ian Stead did three of the nominated cover images and one of them won.)

Next category is “Best Fanzine or Online Magazine“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Fanzine/Online Magazine” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Freelance Traveller

Freelance Traveller has once again proved that they are the best fanzine by publishing bimestrial issues with lots of good contents for free.

Freelance Traveller has won this category every year since 2011!

Next category is “Best Adventure“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Adventure” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Grand Safari from Gypsy Knights Games.

There were lots of fine Traveller Adventures for different settings published. But Grand Safari was outstanding. I love that there are six linked adventures in this book.

Next category is “Best Ship or Deckplan“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Ship or Deckplan” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Hercules-class Heavy Freighter from Gypsy Knights Games.

There were lots of fine ships for Traveller published this year. I really liked the winning design that looks a bit like the Voyager II / Connestoga from TTA.

Next category is “Best ATU Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best ATU Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Cepheus Light from Stellagama Publishing.

This category always make me happy since you can always find so many cool ideas.

Next category is “Best OTU Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best OTU Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Element Class Cruisers from Mongoose.

Mongoose continues to produce good quality products for the OTU.

A final bonus category this year is “Best Free or Pay What You Want Traveller Product“. The nominees are:

The winner of the “Best Free or Pay What You Want Traveller Product” category of the Zhodani Base Awards 2018 is: Starship Geomorphs from Robert Pearce.

Starship Geomorphs wins because it is an amazing fan produced product that is also a work of love for the game.

The Kitten

Patron: Industrialist
Required Skills: none
Required Equipment: None

Players’ Information:
The crew of the ship has bought some cargo (frozen bug-fish) at Regina (Spinward Marches 1910). They thought that they would make a huge profit at Extolay (Spinward Marches 1711) at the bug-fish festival. But their information was wrong. Their cargo is unsellable. While trying to locate a buyer at Extolay the crew is contacted through their ship’s computer connection by an anonymous caller. The caller wants to know if the crew could help her with something that is legal but may cause some confusion. This is a task that is best performed by outsiders using a cunning plan but could be performed in other ways. Violence should be avoided. In return, she would buy their cargo for what they paid at Regina.

This is better than nothing and it means that it will free up the cargo hold. The crew will get one day to consider the offer. The caller say that she will call them again in exactly 24 standard hours.

Beaked Monkey Continue reading The Kitten

GURPS Aliens for Traveller

GURPS AliensIn 1990, Steve Jackson Games published GURPS Aliens, a compendium of Aliens for any sci-fi campaign. What about Traveller? Stat wise, the aliens can of course be used in GURPS Traveller as is, and conversion keys exist for other Traveller rule sets, so that’s not a problem. How to fit the Aliens into the setting of Traveller, however? Here are a couple of suggestions that should work for any published Traveller setting from Classic Traveller on, including the Rebellion, The New Era, The founding of the Third Imperium, or The Rule of Man.

The Markann for Traveller

Everyone knows the stories of giant spider apes that prey on travellers in the dark are just tall tales told by spacers who have been away from civilization a little too long. Everyone is wrong.

The Markann are secretive, high-tech, and insane. In Traveller they are constructs of one of Grandfather’s children, left over from the final war of the Ancients. Very long-lived, they reproduce by cloning. Still their numbers have steadily declined over the many millennia since the destruction of their creator. The Markann inherited the technology of their creator and assumed its role as master and mad scientist. However, they don’t understand the technology. They can operate it and use it to build preprogrammed designs, including themselves, but they cannot reproduce it or extend it.

The Markann dwell largely in hidden bases in asteroids and on moons, though there are a handful of hidden fortress labs on habitable planets. Many facilities house only a single Markann and its slaves. Only one facility retains the ability to build ships. This binds the Markann into a loose culture of dependence and distrust and keeps them from spreading too far. Slaves taken from surrounding settlements and lost spacecraft are trained to keep the facilities and provide stock for the Markann’s horrifying experiments. The Markann mimic their lost creator in trying to reform life, but with a fundamentally flawed theory they resemble the mad scientists of gothic literature and are doomed to perpetual failure. Their offences accomplish nothing.

The Markann have one model of Ancient spacecraft still available. This ship is a spherical spacecraft mounted in a detachable star drive section. The main spherical craft is used for planetary landings while the star drive remains in orbit or hidden elsewhere in a system. The star drive is a ring that fits around the sphere with three long, curved prongs extending both directions. The volume enclosed by the prongs is an ovoid. The prongs spread apart to release the spherical core craft. The ship can also capture small craft between the prongs and transport them bodily in jump space. Almost always only a single Markann is among the crew of a ship.

Markann Adventure Seeds

Monsters from the Dark
At some point in their adventures, when the characters’ ship is crippled in free space, a Markann ship approaches, boards, and takes the crew and passengers back to a hidden base where they become slaves or experimental subjects as suits their aptitudes. The characters must escape. Taking other captives along is optional. Surviving pursuit is mandatory.

Chasing Nightmares
Characters visiting an isolated world are told tales of monsters that snatch people in the night. While they are there, a raid takes place. The Markann grab a macguffin, a person or object, important enough to motivate the characters to pursue. The spherical landing craft has very high acceleration. (It has maneuver drives powerful enough to move the combined ship.) The initial chase is unsuccessful and the characters must quarter nearby systems for a hidden base to retrieve the macguffin.

The Memer and Saret in Traveller

In the Traveller universe, the Memer and Saret are a space faring minor race that does not build jump drives. At the time of contact the Memer and Saret had been space faring in their own system for many thousands of years and were living on every rock bigger than a cobblestone, their existence as a planet bound species only myth. Purchasing jump drive capable ships from humans, large numbers of Memer and Saret (though an unnoticeable fraction of their population) travelled to the stars, not just trading, but also establishing new settlements. Memer and Saret physiology allows them to out compete any other species in settling and exploiting a single star system. In the thousands of years of human contact over empires and interregnums, the Memer and Saret have come to absolutely dominate a significant cluster of star systems. Small human populations exist in Memer and Saret systems.

Trade with the Memer and Saret is very lucrative, but selling them jump capable vessels is a serious, sometimes capital, offence in many systems on the periphery of the space they dominate. The Memer and Saret buy whatever jump capable ships they can. Ships in the worst state of repair are still valuable to them as long as the jump drives work. Thousands of these junker ships ply the star lanes ranging far from Memer and Saret space. Many of these ships are purchased at the extreme limits of Memer and Saret trading routes where the appeal of a quick profit outweighs the fear of an infestation. As traders they are welcome, but viewed with great suspicion. Most human systems do not allow Memer and Saret to settle in any manner.

Memer and Saret Adventure Seeds

A Memer and Saret junker ship has broken down several jumps away from their space. The jump drive is irreparable and the local authorities don’t want the crew hanging around and maybe establishing a permanent presence. The characters’ ship has been hired, or the characters have been hired to crew a ship, to transport the Memer and Saret back to their space while their ship is dropped in the local sun.
The involuntary passengers won’t be any trouble. The whole lot can ride in the cargo bay and they don’t need any life support. They almost certainly won’t interfere with any other cargo or ship systems that pass through the bay. They’ve been asked not to.
Any system en route that doesn’t have a Memer and Saret ship in dock to take the passengers will require the transport to spend as little time in system as possible and have as little contact as possible. Any Memer and Saret ship not heading back to their space will refuse to take the passengers, even if local authorities allowed it, even if the characters can figure out how to ask.
Did anyone think to ask where the Memer and Saret crew came from in the first place?

A ship dealer has made a good profit selling a write-off ship to the Memer and Saret. The characters have been hired to deliver the ship to the customer, at a rate that doesn’t cut too deeply into the broker’s profits. The ship is mostly flight worthy—the jump drive works. The route passes through several systems that prohibit the sale of jump drives to the Memer and Saret.

Traveller in a Bottle
The characters have broken their ship in Memer and Saret space. They need to book passage back to a human system on a Memer and Saret ship. This will require them to live in their suits for the trip or rig something else up. The Memer and Saret will accept title to the characters’ ship as payment. The jump drive is probably beyond their ability to repair. The characters will certainly be required to certify on their return to human space that the drive was destroyed beyond repair.
(Alternative: one character travels back to human space to get parts while the rest keep the ship out of alien manipulating appendages.)

All your base are belong to us