We want to play! Here is our contribution.
Affligem must be a Zhodani Beer. Just look at that trefoil.
There are six major races in the Official Traveller Universe. All are very well described in a number of books in different Traveller rules versions. This is a good source of information to help you with the races for your own Alternate Traveller Universe.
The problem with the major races in the OTU is that they all are placed in the OTU and a few of them may be difficult to re-use your own ATU. Described below are my opinions (in alphabetic order) why the races may be good or problematic for re-use in an ATU.
There are lots of reasons for creating your own ATU. One reason may be that you are bored with the OTU, another that you don’t like all the conflicting canon and another reason may be that you just want to create your own universe.
Aslan are a race of catlike aliens. Even though that might seem like a sci-fi cliché, the Aslans are well described and would probably work well in an ATU with only some minor changes.
The Aslans have been described at about the same time as the Chanur novels was written. It is difficult to guess what cross contamination that has occurred. My guess is that it was in both ways.
Update: While chatting with Cj Cherryh and Marc Miller about the Hani from the Chanur novels and the Aslan from Traveller, Cj Cherryh said that she has “never heard of (the) Aslan” (from the Traveller RPG).
Spoiler warning! Mark the hidden text below to make it visible.
The Droyne is one of the most important races in the OTU. They (as the Ancients) transplanted humaniti to many worlds in charted space. If you don’t want this in your ATU, then the Droyne cannot be the ancients.
The Droyne is well described and would work well in an ATU as an old mysterious race. You may want to ignore (or change) the secret part that is hidden above.
The Hivers are the starfish aliens that actually are starfish. They are also good at manipulating other races to do what they want. They are also very good at mathematics and use a base-6 system. Their computers and robotics are very advanced. The Hivers don’t like ground combat and use other races to help them with that.
The Hivers could work well as a strange race in an ATU setting.
There are the Solomani, the Vilani and the Zhodani and lots of minor human races. In the OTU all human races (except the Solomani) has been taken from Earth a long time ago and they have then evolved independently. This may seem like a stupid idea to re-use in an ATU unless you are a trekkie or likes von Däniken.
Humans from Terra (Solomani) can be borrowed from the OTU. But these are not the good guys, so you may want to change them.
Other human races will be more difficult to re-use in an ATU.
These are horsemen or centaurs. In the early versions of Traveller, they were actually called Centaurs. I think they can be a good foe in an ATU with their vegetarianist agenda.
Big strange races like this (with strange motivations) usually work best as NPCs.
In the OTU these dog people are uplifted Terran dogs. Although Vargrs are one of the best described races in Traveller, they belong in the OTU and cannot really fit into an ATU as they are described.
If they are uplifted in another way than in the OTU or if they are not actually dogs (just like the Aslan are not cats) then they could work.
Works well: Aslan, Hiver, Solomani, K’kree
Problematic: Droyne, Vilani, Zhodani, Vargr
Patron: Noble, Art Collector.
Recommended Skills: Trader, Liaison, Admin, Combat Skills, Psionics.
Required Equipment: none
Players: 2-6 Zhodani.
On Zdovesil (Anika 1212 A65588A-9) the characters are contacted by Eiliviatstlas, a high-ranking subsector Noble and Official. She has 1 ton of Government Dispatches to be delivered to Retlkasrnz (Mowbrey 1712 D8AA87A-7) which is administered from Anika subsector. She will pay the characters 10 kCr to personally see the cargo in the hands of the Consulate Governor. If the characters do not have access to a Jump-2 ship she will second a Scout and an Intendant pilot from the Consulate Navy. She will not state the nature of the documents, but will say they are routine but time sensitive communications.
Once at Retlkasrnz with a completed mission, Eiliviatstlas wonders if she could then request a small favour… and such favours from Zhodani nobility are not to be declined lightly. She displays a unique abstract stone sculpture to the characters. She obtained it from a trader who claimed it was sculpted by a primitive, non-human minor race living in on New Keento (Mowbrey 1813 C879758-9). Eiliviatstlas is a noted and shrewd art collector when not working hard as an administrator. She is convinced that the esthetic qualities of these pieces would fetch excellent value within the Consulate art markets. She requests the characters make a quick jump over to New Keento and investigate this and secure samples or possibly a trade agreement.
While she cannot use the public purse to finance this small mission, she will draw up a contract that will give the characters each a small piece of the action when and if the sculptures are obtained and marketed. She supplies the characters with 1500 Cr to buy trade goods to barter with the TL-1 sophonts.
The voyage to Retlkasrnz itself is routine. There is no difficulty in delivering the documentation. At New Keento the group is greeted by the young Zhodani Ambassador who will insist on accompanying the group, supplying a watercraft for the voyage. The New Keentonians are obsequious to the Zhodani, but insist on several permits be bought for travel to the reservation and allowing the players an effective Law Level of 5. Permits # 1D6, 500 Cr each. Admin skill allows a negative DM to a minimum of 1.
1. The sophonts live in a far off archipelago. They indeed produce the sculptures, using their teeth and claws as carving tools. They are quite pleased to create more in exchange for foodstuffs, tools and fabrics. The players must work to earn the trust of the sophonts and construct a logistical chain. Upon delivery and the establishment of a trade agreement each character will receive 1000 Cr (+20%-120% fluctuation) each year as a share in the market. Throw 10+ each year for the market to dry up and payments cease.
2. As 1, however there is also a group of traders from the Avalar Consulate on world, investigating the same sculptures. While erstwhile clients of the Zhodani, the Avalari are competitive and are motivated to corner the market. They are not hostile, but will engage in questionable practices and are not above monkey-wrenching and other sharp practices. Remember, some Avalari are psionic.
3. As 1, however a very large amphibian predator has migrated into a prized quarry. Usually the sophonts would conduct the appropriate rituals and wait for it to leave. If the off-worlders wish more sculptures, they request the Zhodani deal with the monstrosity more directly. The Zhodani Ambassador will insist on being part of any action against the creature.
4. The sophonts are not popular on New Keento, being neither native or human. They are restricted to this archipelago as a reservation and treated harshly if found elsewhere. Furthermore they are often harassed by sea-born piracy raids. Such as raid will take place while the characters are meeting with them. Raiders will approach on Motor Boats (Book 3) and are equipped spottily with blades, cudgels and a few firearms. While there will be many (3D at least) they are not expecting a fight from their placid victims.
5.The sculptures are actually a psionic focus. Upon investigation by a talented clairvoyant, it will be found the sculpture reduces psionic range cost when conducting clairvoyance or clairaudience (-1 psionic cost). Does Eiliviatstlas know this? Are the sophonts psionic?
6. As 5, there is a team of Imperial Scouts in silent orbit (their ship matches the PC’s in tonnage) taking interest in the players actions on New Keento. They have a Covert Talent as a crew member. They may become convinced the Zhodani has uncovered a new ‘psionic super-weapon’ and will stage a raid to obtain or destroy the sculptures.
Patron: Scavenger, Agent
Required Skills: none
Required Equipment: J-2 Starship
The group while on Wutubole (Pieplow/0819) are contacted by a salvage company to deliver a hold of supplies to Belt Maginum (Anika/1218) for Cr 200,000. The J-2 route takes them through the Zhodani Consulate. They are advised to skim gas giants and use water in the absence of gas to avoid contact with the Zhodani officials as much as possible.
1. The captain and/or any ex-Scouts in the group are advised this is a cover. They need drop a load of probes in each system. These probes will check each system for a lost Scout Cruiser that misjumped and vanished some months previously. They are stored in the cargo and another ship will collect the telemetry some months in the future.
2. As above but in Clamp (Anika/1317) system the players arrive on the very edge of the system and sensors show dead a ship nearby. A large blocky ship of Hiver origin. The cargo bay is open and an exploration team will find 3 low berths smashed into a corner by open hatch as well as some yellow painted metal parts similar to open frame cargo haulers used on space stations and belter ops. The Hiver crew are dead throughout the ship. There are two dead humans aboard in vacc suits one has standard helmet, the other a Zhodani clamshell on deck near them. The non-Zhodani corpse has a dead chronometer indicating date is 1199 Imperial. Dated articles in their staterooms are about a year old.
3. As above but one low berth is on battery power. If opened safely a young lady named Mei Ling is recovered. She was a steward on a large passenger/freighter liner en route from the far Imperium to the Consulate via Fessor. She states the ship was jacked by a large group of men who gassed the passengers and packed them into the low berths they had in cargo bay of liner. After being forced to assist she was put in a berth too. The men were mixed race humans.
4. As above, when the ship lands to water they are contacted by Miriya a deep cover agent of the IISS and Hiver expert from the Rim. She is the only survivor of the liners’ passengers who were lost in the crash of the cargo sled. She was rescued by a Traveller who witnessed the landing in the hills. She is an expert Gunner and will request working passage. She keeps her IISS ID secret.
5. As above. On arrival in Belt Maginum they deliver the cargo and are paid by the contracted factor there. He advises that Miriya and Mei Lings’ ship left some days ago and picked up cargo and no passengers as was booked full, rare coming from the Consulate. There is an archeologist and a Universal Exports agent needing passage to Fessor at double rates.
6. As above, on arrival at Fessor the missing starship is in port. Mei Ling and Miriya would find no familiar crew and a look at passenger/crew list would tell both are still aboard. The crew and most passengers tend to be tall and swarthy.
The Hiver ship were just used by the Zhodani to move the passengers into storage. But a misjump (temporal) accident destroyed the Hiver ship, the instant aging is why two human corpses appear aged. The crew were taken to a camp for holding. The hijackers were plain pirates. The liner is being used to infiltrate agents into the Imperium.