Traveller of course has an infinity of possible characters, and a large number even mentioned in Canon. Here however are some of them.
Don't forget him!
This of course is satire. Some of you may actually have a nice gamemaster.
Father of the Ancients, and Genius Who Left His Mark On the Traveller Universe Untold Ages Ago. Did sinister experiments on various life forms and transplanted them throughout the stars. Fond of leaving Ancient Artifact
s about for intrepid adventurers to find if they are lucky...or if they are not. Cleon Zhunastu
Founder of the Third Imperium Empress Arbellatra
Victor of the Imperial Civil War, founder of the last dynasty to rule the Third Imperium. Archduke Norris
Ruler of the Spinward Marches in the name of Emperor Strephon. His first name is not "Chuck"
. Emperor Strephon
The Last Emperor of the Third Imperium Admiral Manuel Albadawi
The most famous Terran from the Intersteller Wars era; he broke the back of the Vilani Imperium. Marc Oberlindes
The head of Oberlindes Lines and one of the main players in The Traveller Adventure
, a somewhat obscure but interesting NPC
. He helped bring the Oberlindes family from an obscure band of free traders to a company that could compete with the biggest lines in the Imperium. In the process he was given a noble title by the Imperium
The three Imperiums The Third Imperium
Default setting of most versions. The Third Imperium is a vast decentralized state. By it's unwritten constitution worlds have internal autonomy but defer to the Imperium in Intersteller matters.As the Imperium is so vast, it will vary in it's atmosphere from place to place and from time to time. There is still room for creativity. Terran Confederation / Second Imperium.
The Terrans were a Promethean society that valued initiative and individualism. Long before Emperor Strephon's Reign the Terrans and the First Imperium waged war for two hundred years. At first Terra and its outposts fought for survival and freedom. Later Terra's war for freedom became a war for conquest. Though the canon gives vague details about earlier times, in a way this time the beginning of the Traveller History
. Prominently featured in GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars
. The First(Vilani) Imperium
Before humans from Earth came to the stars, the Vilani were waiting. The Vilani are a traditional and venerable society who like everything just so. They formed a vast empire across the stars. When they met the unruly and ambitious Terrans the Culture Clash
and the mutual arrogance of both Terrans and Vilani caused a generations long
war between them that would change the face of the Galaxy.
Races The Aslan
Aliens who resemble lions in form. They are a warlike people who live in a tribal structure and have a highly developed philosophy about the need for Honor.
- Anatomy Arsenal: Aslan don't need swords. They have claws. When a human duels in Aslan fashion he uses an artificial claw called an ayloi.
- A Real Man Is a Killer : Male Aslan are only allowed to be interested in war and ranching
- Cat Folk
- The Clan: Aslan government is not monolithic, it is tribal.
- Aslan clans though, are often as big as human nations while maintaining a tribal ethos.
- Code of Honour: The Fteir code. With the proviso that it varies greatly from clan to clan.
- Cool Sword: And cool everything else. One of their favorite art forms is making carefully crafted and decorated weapons and tools.
- Duel to the Death: Aslan Duel with Claws. Though usually to first blood rather then to the death.
- Fantastic Caste System: Roughly the males are expected to do work that involves protecting the clan's territory and gaining more where the females do work that actually produces things. Some specializations are only loosely connected. Thus male Aslan are warriors, politicians, sages and judges, as well as estate managers and ranchers. Female Aslan are merchants, artisans, engineers, and the like. Some ambiguities come about. For instance it is fine for a male Aslan to have enough knowledge of computers to handle sensors reasonably well. But a proper Techno Wizard will be female.
- Family Honor
- Feuding Families
- Fighting for a Homeland: Aslan are infamous for conquering land they intend to colonize. While this does happen, it is equally common for them to make a deal with natives who have land to spare. A typical one will be to offer military assistance in exchange for land, and they will regard that as being like a vassalship treaty back home. In this way Aslan have become famous as soldiers for the Darrians, and there are Aslan in the service of other human dominated states including the Imperium.
- Glory Seeker: What do you expect of a Proud Warrior Race ?
- Honor Before Reason
- I Owe You My Life: An "honor-debt" must be paid-even if it takes several generations.
- Land Poor: Male Aslan have a biological obsession with land.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen : Justified. Being fully carniverous rather then omniverous like humans, they are biologigally optimized for killing and evolved strenuous cultural rituals to keep that under watch.
- Panthera Awesome
- Proud Warrior Race
- The Migration: Second son male Aslan who won't inherit have to go find their own land.
- Sacred Hospitality
- Stay in the Kitchen: Subverted; because A Real Man Is a Killer, almost all jobs that do not involve killing must be done by females.
Smallish winged humanoids that combine reptillian and insectoid aspects. The Droyne are the oldest major race, but seem to lack the drive that others have.
- Crippling Overspecialization: The individual Droyne castes cannot survive for long without the presence of others, except the Sports, who are the deliberate exception to this rule.
- Glory Days: They were once the Ancients
- Good Old Ways: They are tens of thousands of years old and don't like changing their ways.
- Hidden Elf Village: Downplayed. They live in scattered out of the way places and have the power to psionically suggest indifference to them in other races. They aren't exactly hidden, just no one bothers to look.
- Hive Caste System: A biologically-based caste system, with each Droyne undergoing major physical changes when they are assigned their caste at adulthood. Droyne who do not or cannot caste are called Chirpers, and are only semi-intelligent.
- Psychic Powers: Though it's not widely advertized in the Imperium, the Droyne are a psionically gifted race. Their primary power seems to be the ability to make others forget about their existence or consider them of little consequence.
- Mysterious Past: Not just being related to The Ancients. They have tens of thousands of years of history and no one knows much about them, even their Home World, and they are not telling anyone. Everything about them is mysterious.
- Space Elves: Uncommonly fond of mysticism at least.
- Winged Humanoid: They can even fly on planets with lower gravity and higher atmospheric pressure.
Starfish-shaped generally peaceful sentients who get their kicks from manipulating other races.
- Conveniently an Orphan: Hiver reproduction is such that no Hiver knows who its parents are - they are effectively all adopted.
- Had To Be Sharp: Their larvae are not held to be intelligent. Rather they swim around in breeding pools which the adults make sure are stocked with predators. Those who survive are adopted by they various hiver nests.
- Hive Mind: Averted, despite the name. Although the Hivers were described as this in the very earliest Traveller material, it was Ret Conned fairly quickly into a misunderstanding based on the look of their cities.
- Manipulative Bastard: What every Hiver hopes to be. "Manipulator" is actually a title they aspire to, like "Doctor".
- One-Gender Race: The Hivers have only one gender.
- The Speechless: Hivers don't have vocal cords. They can use voice synthesizers to speak but use hand gestures among each other.
- Starfish Aliens: They even look like starfish.
- Technical Pacifist: Most Hivers are incapable of directly attacking anyone. They have little problem with getting others to fight for them, though.
Centaur-like creatures on an everlasting crusade to rid the universe of carnivores The Vargr
Uplifted wolves who live in a chaotic society. HumanitiSpace Spelling
for the most important race of all
in the Traveller Universe. By chance it is the one to which most PCs belong to. As far as research indicates, most writers do too.
The Three Main Human megatribes are the Vilani, the Solimoni, and the Zhodani. By Emperor Strephon's time the first two have merged. These groupings are divided into umpteen states, clans, factions, and sects and there are minor human races as well
Characteristics of the individual human races:
See Terran Confederation / Second Imperium
See First Imperium
- Fantastic Caste System: Vilani are dominated by three organizations, one for food production, one for government, and one for industry and trade. The jurisdictions over various suboccupations and things like that are arranged in an complex manner which may be incomprehensible to a non-vilani.
- Good Old Ways
- Sacred Hospitality
- Supreme Chef: Vilani lived on a planet with a lot of poisonous influences making skillful cooking a matter of survival. Thus chefs(called Shugalli) became glorified until they filled much of the work doctors and clerics would among the Solomani.
- Transplanted Humans
- Vast Bureaucracy
- Youngest Child Wins: By Vilani tradition the third child in the family gains the estate. This is to make sure that no position is frozen within one dynasty for to long.
- Psychic Powers : Zhos are unique among humaniti in giving free rein to this.
- Fantastic Caste System: Those Zhos that do not develop Psionic capacity are a lower caste.
- Transplanted Humans
Cultural Groupings not yet mentioned, listed for plot importance or just interest. Some are subsets of the above. Sword Worlds
Mostly Solomani race descended from soldiers of Scandinavian and German descent who fled from Terra during an ancient civil war. Known for their admiration for Vikings
. Known also for their curmudgeonly behavior but also for their sheer resilience. Divided into the Sword Worlds Confederation, a small rival Federation
to the Imperium, and the Border Worlds Authority, a recently established Puppet State
of the Imperium. Both in turn are minimal states with most power being local.
- The Alliance: Sword Worlds Confederation to Zhodani
- Also internally; their central government is minimal.
- Apron Matron: The Sword World female ideal is somewhere between this and Silk Hiding Steel
- Barbarian Tribe: Subverted. Although they sometimes act in a rather barbaric manner they are an advanced if rather eccentric civilization.
- Determinator: Their chief virtue. They are stubborn, quarrelsome, and widely accused of Testosterone Poisoning. But they can also survive anything life throws at them.
- Determined Homesteader: And every determined variant thereof. The ideal Sword Worlder.
- Elves Versus Dwarves: To the Darrians; Darrians are like elves making Swordies like Dwarves. Also swordies do have some traditional dwarvish characteristics.
- Fantastic Racism: To Darrians
- The Federation: The SWC is a small federation, compared to the Imperium, but yeah.
- Foe Yay: With the Darrians
- Fire of Comfort: They consider hearthfires sacred.
- Had To Be Sharp: Swordies have lived for centuries dealing not only with nature(and some of their planets would qualify as a Deathworld ), but with the Darrians, the Imperium, and not least each other.
- Hidden Depths: Despite their backward seeming appearance, they are an industrial powerhouse. They also have made splendid if obscure artwork(notably the Hall of Planets on Tizon), and even possess a number of geeks among them, though their stereotype runs more toward Bruiser with a Soft Center .
- Honor Before Reason
- Klingon Scientists Get No Respect: Played with. The Sword Worlds are of course an advanced civilization capable of starfarring and they do have an intellectual class, which as it happens does get some respect. The chief love of Sword Worlders, though, is for soldiers and farmers and their technology lags behind that of their neighbors.
- Made a Slave: Played with. There is no mention in canon of a chattel caste or of institutionalized kidnapping or the normal things associated with this, in Sword World culture. However some Sword World governments have judicial thralldom as a punishment for certain offenses.
- The Migration: Their founders arrived in an epic Migration
- Mr Fix It: While they are hardly as technologically advanced as the Imperium, let alone the Darrians, they make large quanitys of cheap, durable equipment that is intended to be easily modified by a clever Determined Homesteader.
- Named Weapons: most of the planets are named after swords from tale and legend.
- Only Sane Woman: Played with. One of the jobs of Sword Worlder women is to be the official Only Sane Person when Honor gets to far beyond Reason.
- The Patriarch: The Sword World male ideal
- Planet of Hats: Subverted. They follow an ideological ideal that admires vikings. However they are in fact very little like vikings; for one thing Sword Worlders don't travel much and idealize farmers rather then voyagers. For another Sword Worlders live in an advanced society which is capable of supporting an interstellar civilization. Aside from all that, the Sword Worlds have numerous variations based on the environment of their various planets and regions therof, as well as their famously fractious politics. Let's just say they think they are a Planet of Hats but they really aren't.
- Proud Warrior Race : Sword Worlds in general.
- Proud Merchant Race: The planet Tizon more specifically. They are more urbane and sophisticated then most Sword Worlders and trade widely through the Spinward Marches. However when they are put upon, the Tizonian Navy will most certainly show that they are are still Sword Worlders.
- Puppet State: The Border Worlds Authority. The Imperium conquered several of the Sword Worlds during the Fifth Frontier War and didn't know what to do with them so it formed the Border Worlds Authority as a rival government to the Sword Worlds. That didn't work out particularly well and the best that can be said about the idea is that the Imperium does not at the momment have to spend lives maintaining an occupation force in hostile territory.
- Rated M for Manly: The whole Sword Worlds thinks it is this.
- The Remnant : The founders of the Sword Worlds
- Shout-Out: To Piper's Space Viking. In verse they make Shout-Out s to Vikings and to J. R. R. Tolkien.
- Space Police: The Confederation Patrol, a sort of space coast guard which chases pirates as well as criminals who wish to flee from planet to planet.
- Terraforming : One noted movement on the planet Orcrist(which is something of a Deathworld and difficult for agriculture), is a series of experiments called the Orcrist Soil Manufacturing Project. This is a populist movement rather then one funded by a Vast Bureaucracy and the more geeky Swordies on the planet of Orcrist will do experiments in there own gardens and enter it on the planets internet to be processed and discussed.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Beer. Swordies make some of the best beer in known space. It is the only true manly drink according to Swordies.
- Space Cossacks: To some degree yes, although it has been an awfully long time since they arrived here. However they maintain independance in the face of the Imperium. Also the sample campaign 100 Parsecs is one of the best examples of this trope.
- Space Vikings: Played with. They are really not much like Vikings, though they like to think they are.
- Stay in the Kitchen: On the whole yes, but traditional provisions are made for women who want to get out and the kitchen is theoretically considered a very dignified position, because tending hearthfires is a sacred task.
- The Stoic
- Silk Hiding Steel: The theoretical ideal of a Sword World female. Female influence is often considerable behind the scenes. Two examples the volume Sword Worlds notes are high class diplomat's wives talking "secretly" to each other in the kitchen to informally help their husbands, and Sword World women getting their Love Interest out of a rash and dangerous promise by providing the face saver of reminding them of their point of view which argument he can in turn plead to other sword world males.
- We Are Struggling Together
An enlightened people that revere arts and sciences. Made of a mixture of Transplanted Humans
and Solomani. Bwaps
Newt-like aliens scattered throughout known space. Known for their skill and persistence at recordkeeping. Ithklur
Lizardlike aliens that serve the rather courage-deprived Hivers as warriors when needed. Friendly but absolutely love
a good fight. The Virus
Living computer virus launched during The Rebellion which ends up destroying the Third Imperium. Doesn't appear in the Gurps
- Always Chaotic Evil: Most Virus will start killing everything around them as soon as they have possessed a new computer system, without regard to their own continued existence. Some of the more "evolved" strains will show a little more caution, but generally still want to kill.
- And Man Grew Proud: Virus is what caused the final downfall of the Third Imperium in the New Era timeline.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin: It's a computer virus.
- Hollywood Hacking: Virus can get into nearly any computer system just through radio waves. Somehow.
- The Virus: Yeah, pretty much.
- Weapon of Mass Destruction: Virus was a re-engineered silicon-based life form designed to destroy an enemy and then self-destruct. The designers weren't finished with the self-destruct part when it was released.
Notable Institutions Imperial Intersteller Scout Service
The Third Imperium's agency for exploration, intelligence, and frontier diplomacy. Its missions include long exploratory voyages, local planetary surveys, and purely scientific endeavors as well as espionage, border patrol and dealing with the natives. Also handles the carrying of strategic messages. Sometimes even acts as Space Police
, notably when an interdict
is placed on a planet. Being scouts is one of the favorite settings in Traveller. Imperial Marines
The Marines of the Third Imperium Sol Sec
Solimani Security. The Secret Police
of the Solimani Confederation
- State Sec
- We Are Everywhere: Subverted. In the time-lag of the Traveller universe they cannot possibly be everywhere. They are only thought to be so
The intersteller police of the Sword Worlds Confederation.