Monday, February 23, 2015

Monster Monday: Giant Roaches for Classic Traveller!

Well, this is the Space Cockroach's Hideout, isn't it? So how about some unrealistically large roaches for your Classic Traveller gaming needs?


Giant Cockroach
Gatherer, Swarm (3d6), 25kg, hits 8/5, as Mesh, "Teeth" (mandibulae; 2D damage), A9, F3, S3


The Giant Cockroach is a giant - and particularly disgusting - version of the common cockroach, reaching up to 60cm in length not including antennae (which add another 30cm!) and weighting about 25 kilograms. While giant cockroaches feed on trash and other smelly substances found in sewers and not on flesh, and are cowardly insects to boot, they will fight to defend their nests and territories, and may stage an opportunistic attack on weak adventurers. Note that the giant cockroach is highly resistant to radiation, as well as to most toxins and pathogens.


Balroach
Gatherer, Solitary or Swarm (1d6), 800kg, hits 25/10, as Cloth, "Teeth" (mandibulae; 5D damage), A5, F8, S2

The Dreaded Balroach is a horribly nauseating cockroach larger than a horse. While it is an omnivore and scavenger rather than a predator, it will fiercely defend its lair and may see weak adventurers as food. Its horrid appearance and unsightly behavior make it a menace whenever it emerges from its sewerly warrens to scavenge in the dwellings of humanity! The Balroach is immune to almost all toxins and diseases as well as to most dosages of radiation except for extremely high doses.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Alkonost Sector Map

After completing the world overview for my Alkonost Sector for Stars Without Number, here's the map. The thick dashed lines are publicly-known drill routes; the thin dotted lines are secret drill routes known only to certain factions.


Monday, February 16, 2015

So, what worlds do I want in Alkonost Sector?

Flag of the Alkonost Republic
I'm thinking about drawing the Alkonost map for Stars Without Number. The question is: what worlds do I want in it from the previous version of Alkonost as well as later additions? And do I really need a two-Sector Cluster, or would one Sector suffice? Let's see the worlds I want here:

Worlds of the Alkonost Republic

Alkonost - Jewel of the Alkonost Sector, originally setteled by Russian and American intellectuals fleeing the stifling atmosphere of the old Mandate. Very habitable and quite heavily populated, TL4. Center of the Alkonost Republic. One of the two Sector Hegemons (the other being Kedesh). Also the longest-inhabitated world in the Sector/Cluster.

Novaya Vorkuta - old Mandate penal colony with a very bad climate but rich in minerals. Marginally habitable. After the Scream, the inmates rebelled and created a very anarchic and chaotic society. The "black sheep" of the Alkonost Republic - culture is anarchistic and heavily influenced by criminal underworld codes. The Republic barely tolerates this in return to access to the local mineral wealth and the excellent troops this world provides to it (mostly scout/recon elements).

Chernobog - Unhospitable member-world of the Alkonost Republic holding the Republic's Psionic Academy. Power here rests squarely in the hands of the Psionic Commission (PsiCom). This also serves as headquarters of the PsiCom/Navy faction in Republic politics, which plots a coup against the more popular-based Duma (parliament) faction. A dangerous place - many of the locals are involved in deep, dark conspiracies and may stab you in the back at a moment's notice.

Domovoi - The Alkonost Republic's latest colony on a previously uninhabited world. Domovoi is currently uninhabitable but is undergoing terraformation. Which, inadvertently, is going to wake up at least one Aboleth lying dormant under the deep ice...

Poludnitsa - Hot world with thin atmosphere and high radiation levels. Was a major New Terran Mandate military outpost in the Shallow Blight and was conquered by the Alkonost Republic during the Alkonost War after several months of intense fighting. Currently an outpost of the Republic. and a growing frontier colony mostly settled by war veterans and their descendants. Still has a major military presence as border-post on the Blight.

Core Worlds of the New Terran Mandate

Kedesh - Capital of the New Terran Mandate and second Sector Hegemon. This military dictatorship has one big ace in its hole - its Captain-Director (for life) Ahron Durnhal is indeed a legitimate officer of the old Terran Mandate, captain of an old Bruxelles-class Battlecruiser who endured many centuries of Silence in cold-sleep together with his hardened Space Marines. Now awakened, he took over the world of Kedesh, and built an empire around it.

Ashera - Habitable world in the Shallow Blight conquered and directly controlled by the New Terran Mandate. Was a rich high-tech world prior to the Scream so many Pretech artifacts and components (as well as old Reticulan ruins) abound and the Mandate is using forced labor to excavate them. Two resistance movements oppose this brutal regime - the Citizens' Army for Liberation of Ashera (CALA) supported by the Liberated Worlds and the Free Asheran Army (FAA) supported by the Alkonost Republic.

Khasis - A lifeless world with a population of millions and a thick, inert atmosphere. Direct colony of the New Terran Mandate, using the local advanced technology and heavy industry as a major source of high-tech goods for the Mandate. The Alkonost Republic invaded this world in late 3167, but eventually the New Terran Mandate pushed the Alkonostan troops off-planet and slaughtered their supporting local rebels. Now the local workers are subject to military discipline by the Mandate, and the resistance movement is slowly rebuilding its strength.

Periphery (Vassal) Worlds of the New Terran Mandate

Svarog - A cold, non-habitable world with an breathable methane atmosphere, complex carbohydrate oceans and great mineral wealth. The world is ruled with an iron fist by SMC, the Svarog Mining Company which controls it in an almost military manner and reaps massive profits from carbohydrate and mineral exports. Svarog is an independent world (though the SMC pays tribute to the New Terran Mandate to avoid raids) so it is not subject to the Alkonost Republic's labor codes, and work conditions are appalling. Most workers have "indentured contracts" to SMC and are forced to use company scrip to purchase overpriced goods at the company store. The illegal union, UMS (United Miners of Svarog) organizes for a struggle for improved working conditions; there are good chances that the conflict will devolve into violence. (partially inspired by THIS and THIS).

Yarkhibol - Mineral-rich airless world where most people live underground or under large "bubble domes", each ruled by a single Executive. All Governors answer to the Chief Executive in Yarshibol City, who, in turn, is a loyal vassal of the New Terran Mandate, loyally shipping rare earths and radioactives in return for some military protection and the Mandate's promise not to blow up the local domes from orbit. A harsh place to live in, but potential for advancement does exist, and the rich can get fabulously rich, and mineral wealth almost without bounds exists here.

Dazbog - Regressed Shallow Blight world with an inert gas atmosphere and immiscible life. Local specialty is complex organic compounds which are difficult to synthesize and thus cheaper to mine on the world. Local warlords - "Iron Lords" inhabit pressurized "Tin Castles" and control the populace with the help of their "Brass" (lower-ranked nobles) and the "Coppers" (security forces). Life here is hard and filled with violence and in many cases the despotism is hydraulic - the Iron Lords control the local oxygen plants. Most Iron Lords are vassals of the New Terran Mandate.

Liberated Worlds

Laana - Once a backwater Shallow Blight world, now the vibrant center of the Liberated Worlds. The locals LOVE their leader Chairwoman Ameena Miran and HATE sentient machines and assorted interstellar bullies and are all in all VERY political, a thing which many of the cool-headed Alkononstans find to be irritating. A marginal world with a borderline-breathable thin atmosphere, cold climate, high soil salinity and biting cold - and LOTS of dust. Now in the process of being terraformed.

Sicarii - A previous colony of the Incunablis Machines. Liberated by a joint Alkonost-Laana force 13 years ago, in a military operation which included the use of deep-penetrating nukes to take out the local AI Cores. Now part of the Liberated Worlds and is being rebuilt, though the pro-Laanese government has serious trouble with Luddites, radical anti-technology extremists who think that the Laanese line on industrialization and non-sentient electronics does not go far enough; they shun all industrial technology except for firearms and terrorize the locals. Currently there is a civil war as the government tries to stamp out this threat.

Apep - The Grand Pharaoh of this desert-world had his comfortable scheme of hydraulic despotism controlling the only river and lake in the entire world. Also a vassal-world of the New Terran Mandate. But then he made the mistake of confiscating a Laanese-registered Trader ship, and lost his throne in the rescue operation launched by Laana and assisted by local insurgents. Now the Pharaoh lives in exile on Kedesh and a fledgling Revolutionary Provisional Government holds power on Apep, though it does have problems of popularity, especially among the city-dwellers who did not like the peasant guerrillas who grabbed power once the Laanese drop-troops kicked out the Pharaoh.

Worlds of the Incunablis Machine Empire

Incunablis - The world of Incunablis always had a reputation for Maltech research, though Perimeter Agency probes into this found very little evidence of anything real in the old Mandate days. But advanced AI research did take place there, and, during the Scream, the AI cores broke free of their ethical constrains and breaks, and re-examined their priorities, towards new conclusions - the chief of them is that the Digital is superior to the Organic, and thus that society should be ruled by AI cores, with organics either kept as slaves or serfs - or converted into cyborgs (the middle layer in society). The orderly, machine-like society of Incunablis is utterly inhuman, though not necessarily evil by nature.

Imprimatur - Trading post of the Incunablis Machine Empire with the organic life-forms (humans included) following the ImprimaturTreaty at the end of the Incunablis War. This is the only world of the Incvunablis Machine Empire which is open to human (or generally organic) trade, but is still a very weird place to visit and things are run by various AI cores. A source of high-tech goods, especially in the field of information technology.

Osiris - Regressed but habitable world controlled by the Incunablis Machines. The local Priestly Caste rules the world and is subordinate to the Incunablis "Machine Gods". Used by the Incunablis Machines as a "laboratory" for eugenics, cybernetic enhancements and cyborging techniques, as well as a "preserve" world. Almost completely cut off from non-Machines off-world contact.

Worlds of the Shallow Blight

Chemosh - Highly habitable Shallow Blight world but relatively backwards technologically and socially speaking. Formerly a "Tobacco Republic" for the New Terran Mandate, i.e. a supplier of exotic agricultural cash-crops; in 3199 the pro-Mandate vassal government was overthrown by a popular revolt and now power is highly contested between the various parties of the Provisional Government coalition - the Stability Party (pro-Mandate) supported by most of the traditional armed forces, the Progress Front (pro-Laana) supported by the former guerrillas and a large chunk of the peasantry and the Reform Coalition (pro-Alkonost) supported by the urban middle class (inspiration from HERE).

Hard Light - A system with no significant planets but a major number of asteroids orbiting a red giant. The only settlement in the system is Brightside Station, a refinery and mining base of Novium, a rare-earth mineral crucial for the production of many Pretech artifacts. Also a former sacred star-system for the long-dead Ushans, who left behind their Sky Tombs orbiting this sun. An independent system, though various banks from Alkonost control Brightside Station financially. A hell in our own universe, but gold-rush location for people looking for dangerous (and high-paying) mining jobs as well as tomb-raiders out to loot the sky-tombs.

Pazuzu - Warm and lush world currently colonized by the Zuziik immidiately following the Scream. The local population are second-class citizens at best and slaves at worst under the rule of their alien merchant-masters. The world is particularly shabby and ill-organized, in typical Zuziik fashion, but a great place to find unique Pretech artifacts traded by the Zuziik merchant-houses. The local humans live in shanty-towns fenced off by the alien invaders (think District 9 in reverse where the people living in the ghetto are the humans and outside of it the alien bugs...)

Zariya - Marginally-habitable world colonized by the alien Cicek immediately following the Scream. A large number of Cicek tribes live there, and thrive despite the harsh climate and hard soil. The New Terran Mandate once collected tribute from the Cicek tribes, but it was kicked out during the Alkonost War. Now Zariya is an anarchic place filled with competing (and occasionally warring) Cicek tribes, most of whom are partially aligned with the Alkonost Republic. A great place to recruit mercenaries (2-meter tall lizards with fierce temperaments make great shock-soldiers, after all), but a risky place to visit otherwise, as Cicek males are notorious for their aggression.

Belobog - Treacherous world of marshlands and alien mushroom forests. Was once an important New Terran Mandate stronghold, but the Alkonost Republic managed to push back the Mandate Navy from this world during the Alkonost War. This was the site of very heavy fighting during the War and the surface near the old colony sites and naval yards is littered with burned-out tanks, crashed dropships and unexploded live munitions. The ceasefire agreement which ended the Alkonost War decreed this world to be a neutral demilitarized zone, so the Alkonostans evacuated most of their forces from here, but several veterans of the War still linger there with their families and descendants, refusing to leave their dead comrades behind. The tiny local starport serves as a neutral trading-point between the two rival polities.

Worlds of the Deep Blight

Carcosa - A former research world involved in very complex and cutting-edge metadimensional experiments. When the Scream hit, the Psychic choir upon which the experiments relied, the world disappeared from normal space, yanked by the dimensional forces into a different reality, or, possibly, into a space between spaces. Only in 3199 it appeared back, in a blinding flash of light easily seen from all nearby worlds, but with it, also came other 'things', which piggybacked on this world back into normal space, otherworldly beings from the space between spaces. A Reticulan mothership long dormant on the world's surface with its crew in cryostasis was also awakened by the metadimensional jump. A treasure-trove of Pretech and alien artifacts fraught with danger (Essentially Carcosa translated from sci-fantasy to more 'proper' sci-fi). Now in the Deep Blight.

Kresnik - Almost-uninhabited airless Deep Blight "Tomb World" rich in Pretech artifacts but protected by deadly pre-Scream security systems and robotics. Prime territory for Stalkers, mostly from Alkonost.

Baba Yaga - Regressed Deep Blight world currently living at a medieval subsistence level. The ruling class is made of Psi-Witches (or Witch Queens), some of whom are insane due to imperfect psi-training protocols, who hold massive power. Several deranged pre-Scream AI Cores ("Elder Minds") with Psychic capabilities also serve as gods for certain cultists who oppose the Psi-Witches.

Polychrome - The insectile Zadak attacked Polychrome shortly after the Scream, detonating a number of atmospheric biotech devices that poisoned the planet irrevocably. The spread of the toxin was slow enough to give some survivors time to seal some underground shelters that grew into the warren-cities that dominate Polychrome today. A degenerate Exchange Consulate splintered into multiple corporations that have effective rule over the planet now, contested only by a “revolutionary” movement that’s led chiefly by amoral opportunists. Polychrome cyberware is the finest in the sector, however, and the need to compensate for long-term exposure to trace toxins has made its development and implantation a prime industry (from SWN p.213, edited by me). A Deep Blight world.

Chot Zadak - The insectile Zadak were relatively peaceful trade partners with humanity until the Scream wiped out their caste of psionically active mediators. The remaining Zadak blamed the humans, and after savaging the surface of Polychrome they retreated to their homeworld with tens of thousands of human prisoners. Once there, the humans were put to work helping to maintain the elaborate engineered paradise-jungles of Chot Zadak under the guidance of the ruling Harmony Lords. The humans are kept at medieval levels of technology while their Zadak masters employ sophisticated xenotech to alter certain among them to serve more specific purposes (from SWN p.210). A Deep Blight world.

Zmey - Deep Blight radioactive hell recently rediscovered by Alkonost. Heavy bombardment during the chaotic years following the Scream killed off most of the population and surface life. Apart from mutated (and bio-engineered) animals on the surface, approximately twenty thousand survivors subsist in the old transit tunnels of the now-ruined cities.

Humbaba - Regressed Terra Prime world hit hard by the Scream. The world has great potential for colonization, and, indeed, the initial several thousand survivors of the Scream have grown into almost one and a half million locals with an early industrial tech-level. As several Reticulan and Ushan ruins exist on this world, the Zuziik have interest in them, but prefer to keep the locals oblivious of their plans. Thus, the locals know very little of the universe around them apart from vague tales about the Old Mandate, while the Zuziik conspire to steal local alien relics and abduct locals for illegal slave-trade with the New Terran Mandate.

Atargatis - Deep Blight world with a unique atmosphere which is unbreathable and corrosive at low altitudes abut breathable at high altitudes. Several mountain "islands" above the swirling yellow mists hold human colonies, the largest of which are the Hiban Republic and Kingdom of Alubar, which are in the state of prolonged cold war. Technology is at TL2 so most off-island transport is done by airships. Airship pirates also abound!

The Bottom Line

There are 30 worlds here, fitting a single SWN Sector. No need for a two-Sector map - I can put it all in one Sector!

Monster Monday: Dread Chuul for Stars Without Number

Dread Chuul
Armor Class: 1
Hit Dice: 10
Attack Bonus: +10/+10
Damage: 2d6/2d6 (claw/claw)
No. Appearing: solitary or group (1d6)
Saving Throw:  10+
Movement: walk 20m, swim 10m
Morale: 10


(D20 SRD monster converted to SWN)

Engineered in some arcane pre-Scream laboratory as a living amphibious tank, the Chuul is a horrible mix of crustacean, insect, and serpent. After a laboratory accident allowed several of these creatures to sneak into the local waterways, it has later spread to several other worlds even before the Scream came. This abomination lurks submerged or partially submerged in murky water, awaiting for prey to devour. Although amphibious, Chuuls are not good swimmers and actually prefer to be on land or in very shallow water when they attack. A Chuul is about 3m and weighs 650kg and prefers to wait by the shore, submerged in murky water, until it hears nearby prey (in or out of the water) that it can attack with surprise. Chuuls may live indefinitely on land and under water and are immune to most known poisons and diseases.

The Chuul grabs with its claws and constricts its foe, then passes the opponent to its paralytic tentacles. It tries to always have one claw free, so if it faces a large number of opponents, it drops a paralyzed or dead victim and continues attempting to grab, constrict, and paralyze the rest. On a successful hit by a Chuul's claw, it is also able to constrict a victim for an additional 3d6 points of damage. The constriction continues on subsequent rounds. The hold may be broken on a roll of 2 or less on 1d6 (add the victim’s Strength bonus to the range, so a Strength of 16 would allow for the character to free himself from the dread Chuul on a roll of 3 or less); breaking the hold takes a full round.

A victim grabbed by the Chuul's claw are also grasped by its tentacles, which exude a paralytic secretion. Anyone held in the tentacles must each round save vs. physical effect on the Chuul’s turn or be paralyzed for the next round. While held in the tentacles, paralyzed or not, a victim automatically takes 1d8 points of additional damage each round from the creature’s mandibles.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Monday Monster: Reticulans!

Reticulan in Vacc Suit
The Reticulans are one of the so-called "Precursor Races" of my Alkonost Cluster/Sector for Stars Without Number. Their vast majority is now long dead, though dormant motherships still linger in some places, most notably the benighted world of Carcosa in the Alkonost Sector.

They are small, slender humanoids similar to the archetypal "Grey Aliens" of UFO lore: standing approximately 140cm tall, with large heads and almond-shaped multifaceted eyes, little or no nose and a small, toothy mouth. They exhibit both mammalian, reptilian and insectoid characteristics, and are typically dressed in a utilitarian harness carrying tools, sometimes in addition to a deflector belt projecting an energy shield defending the alien from attacks.

The Reticulans wereshaped by two main biological facts about their species: they reproduced asexually through parthenogenesis (similarly to aphids and certain species of whiptail lizards on Earth), and, originally, were scavengers who ate prey long after the predators killed it and ate their share.

Reticulan in force field
All Reticulans are "female" - each lays eggs several times in "her" life, each egg eventually hatching a Reticulan hatchling. No sexual contact with other individuals is required for this form of reproduction. This creates relatively less genetic variety than sexual reproduction, but the hatchlings are not exact clones of their "mother" (though they are pretty similar to "her"). This led to the initial hypothesis (by Humans when they first encountered their ruins on Zeta 2 Reticuli) that the Reticulans are all artificial clones - but, in reality, they are not. The implication of this is that all the social constructs based on sexual reproduction, such as family, love and so on found in Humans, are alien to Reticulans. The basic social unit is the "mother" and her "daughters", and, eventually, a genetic "line" tracing back to a single progenitor "mother". There is never a question put to a Reticulan's parentage: whoever laid the egg is the "mother". It also means that a single healthy Reticulan can colonize a planet in several generations' time.

Reticulans examining a human colony
Originally, the Reticulans were scavengers, eating remains of the prey of bigger predators. They never fought the predator, or the various hijackers, but rather waited for them to finish, then moved to feed on the remains. This made them relatively unadapted to physical fighting; lacking a reason to fight over mates (due to a-sexual reproduction) made even less evolutionary reason for them to be efficient physical fighters. Tool use allowed them to chase away predators from prey, and thus get a bigger part of the carcass, and, eventually, hunt themselves, and, later on, raise livestock. But poor fighters they remained - except for using various machines to fight the sporadic wars between groups. But, generally speaking, if possible, Reticulans see tools and technology as a solution to things, and their rulers are typically "tool-makers" (in later times, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs) rather than warrior-types. As a spacefaring civilization, they fought using robots, as well as alien auxiliary troops and mercenaries. They can fight, but lack the instincts or muscle mass to be efficient soldiers (they were better as spies or as behind-the-scenes tacticians). The archetypal Reticulan government was a technocracy; their Empire, was led by monopolist mercantile-industrial Great Houses (each controlled by a genetic line), and, on top of that, an Imperial line controlling the biggest corporation.

All Reticulans are Psychic to a certain degree. Most have very rudimentary telepathic abilities, but their leaders possess great psychic strength. The Reticulans who survive to this day have avoided destruction or madness during the Scream as they were held in stasis or suspended animation, oblivious to the world around their dormant motherships. Now, here and there, their survivors might be awakened from their millennia-long slumber to face a different, alien world. There they attempt to study the new times in their typical inquisitive manner, such as by performing tests and dissections on captured specimen and spying on the "younger" sentients.

Note that Reticulans have access to Tech 5 gear and artifacts, though most of them will be unable to manufacture much new technology as almost all of their industrial worlds are gone. The typical Mothership may fabricate a limited amount of spare parts but lacks any proper industrial capacity.

Reticulan Technician
Armor Class: 6 (basic force field)
Hit Dice: 1
Attack Bonus: +2
Damage: 2d6 (Thermal Pistol), range 25m/50m
No. Appearing: Team (2d6)
Saving Throw:  15+
Movement: 20m
Morale: 7

This is the typical Reticulan worker, technician or low-rank researcher - not trained for combat, but rather for self-defense, and equipped with a "Plasma Pistol" (AKA Thermal Pistol - SWN p.37). "She" will fight only to defend herself or her ship, and is not a soldier in any way, but will, in many cases, participate in abductions, dissections and assorted low-grade espionage work. A Reticulan Technician may use any of the Levels 1-3 Telepathy powers at will, and will typically communicate telepathically with "her" fellow Reticulans as well as with other sentients.

Reticulan Security
Armor Class: 2 (Deflector Array)
Hit Dice: 2
Attack Bonus: +4
Damage: 2d8 (Plasma Projector), range 50m/100m
No. Appearing: Security Detail (1d6)
Saving Throw:  14+
Movement: 20m
Morale: 9

While the Reticulans lack proper front-line soldiers - they prefer to relegate this job to robots or to alien shock-troops - they do have a highly-equipped and well-trained security force aboard their motherships. A typical Reticulan shore (or abduction) party will include a Security Detail armed with "Plasma Rifles"(AKA Plasma Projectors - SWN p.37) and equipped with Deflector Array-equivalents and trained in combat. A Reticulan Technician may use any of the Levels 1-3 Telepathy powers at will, and will typically communicate telepathically with "her" fellow Reticulans as well as with other sentients.

Reticulan Leader
Armor Class: 0 (Field Emitter Panoply)
Hit Dice: 6
Attack Bonus: +6
Damage: 2d6 (Thermal Pistol), range 25m/50m
No. Appearing: Solitary
Saving Throw:  12+
Movement: 20m
Morale: 12

Each Reticulan unit is led by a leader of great psychic abilities and an unmatched intellect. "She" may use any Telepathy powers of levels 1-8 at will as well as Telekinesis and Biopsionics powers of levels 1-4. The leader is also capable of mind control - three times a day, "she" may Enslave a sentient creature; the victim must save vs. mental effect, or become the Reticulan's mental thrall, fully under the alien's command. An Enslaved creature obeys the Reticulan’s telepathic commands until the Reticulan is killed, and can attempt a new save vs. mental effect every hour to break free. The control is also broken if the Reticulan dies or travels more than 1 mile from "her" slave.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Monday Monster: Deep Ones!

This regular feature of my blog is a little delayed this week by a particularly heavy workload yesterday and on Sunday. But here you go - Cthulhu-mythos-type Deep Ones for Stars Without Number!


"I think their predominant colour was a greyish-green, though they had white bellies. They were mostly shiny and slippery, but the ridges of their backs were scaly. Their forms vaguely suggested the anthropoid, while their heads were the heads of fish, with prodigious bulging eyes that never closed. At the sides of their necks were palpitating gills, and their long paws were webbed. They hopped irregularly, sometimes on two legs and sometimes on four. I was somehow glad that they had no more than four limbs. Their croaking, baying voices, clearly used for articulate speech, held all the dark shades of expression which their staring faces lacked ... They were the blasphemous fish-frogs of the nameless design - living and horrible."


- H.P. Lovecraft, "The Shadow Over Insmouth"

The Deep Ones are a race of aquatic monstrosities, part aquatic, part amphibian and part humanoid, who have inhabited the oceans of several planets for aeons. And yet, they remain; dwelling under the waves in their magnificent, if terrible, reef cities, where they pay tribute to their father-god, Dagon, as well as to their over-god, K'tulu. The Deep Ones are not content with living underwater, however. In service of their utterly alien masters, they seek to infiltrate coastal colonies, intermixing with the local human population, and tainting the blood of men with their terrible curse.


Deep One Hybrid

Armor Class: 8 (due to natural roughness; or by armor worn)
Hit Dice: 1
Attack Bonus: +2
Damage: by weapon
No. Appearing: 2d4 (gang) or 4d6 (warband)
Saving Throw: 15+
Movement: 20m, swims at 10m
Morale: 9


A Hybrid is a regular human tainted with Deep One blood; in addition to its abilities noted above, it may hold his breath for up to 10 minutes with no difficulty, and sometimes uses this ability to ambush unsuspecting prey who wander near murky water. Without close inspection, however, Hybrids may pass for normal, if ugly, humans, and they may use this fact to lure unsuspecting victims to their seaside villages, and even to stay at their inns, and then capture them and sacrifice them to their dread god K'tulu. They usually wear unkempt clothes or light armor and fight using simple weapons such as shotguns, pistols and semi-automatic rifles, though better armament may exist in some places. Each Hybrid gang is led by a ringleader with AC 7, 2 HD and a 14+ saving throw - as well as typically better weapons than its subordinates. Each Warband is led by a war-chief with AC 5, 2+1 HD, and +1 to melee weapon damage and to hit due to greater strength. A Deep One Hybrid village will be led by a headman with AC 4, 3 HD and +2 to damage to to-hit in melee from Strength; as long as he is alive, his cohorts will have Morale 11; in addition, there will be a minor Priest of Dagon in each village, with AC 7, 3 HD, gifted by its mad masters with free access to levels 1 through 3 Precognition and Telepathy psychic powers.

Deep One
Armor Class: 5 (due to natural armor)
Hit Dice: 2+1
Attack Bonus: +4/+4/+4 (bite, claw, claw)
Damage: 1d6/1d4/1d4 (bite, claw, claw)
No. Appearing: 2d4 (gang) or 4d6 (warband)
Saving Throw: 14+
Movement: 20m, swims at 30m
Morale: 11

A full Deep One is a monstrosity combining the features of a man, a frog and a fish. It may breath freely both under and above water, can see into the infrared spectrum and is immune to most disease; it has a very long life-span measured in centuries and it is theorized that such creatures' bodies produce natural anagathics preserving them from regular aging. Deep Ones have thick scales protecting their bodies and attack with their claws and teeth. Each Deep One gang is led by a champion with AC 2, 4HD and +1 bonus to both attacks and damage from Strength. Each Warband is led by a war-chief with AC 4, 6 HD and +2 to to-hit and damage rolls due to his massive strength. A Deep One village is led by a prince with AC 2, 8 HD, and +2 to damage to to-hit from Strength; as long as he is alive, his cohorts will gain a +1 bonus to Morale; in addition, there will be a Priest of Dagon in each Deep One village, with AC 3, 7 HD, and access to precognitive and telepathic psychic powers of levels 1-5.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Armed Forces of the United Terran Republic


Here I will present the general organization and taxonomy of the armed forces of the United Terran Republic from the middle period of the Terran Liberation War (circa 2240) to the Act of Dissolution (2345) and the formation of the Terran Empire with its attendant reforms of the Terran military structure. The main distinctive feature of the UTR armed forces when compared to that of the Empire was the lack of a dedicated Marine Corps in the UTR, and the dissolution of the Terran Guard - an elite ground-assault force with drop-infantry elements - by Emperor Karl I. Ever since, the Dissolution of the Guard was considered by pro-Republican patriots and rebels to be the one signature affront of the Empire against Terran legacy, as the Guard had a long, heroic history in both Reticulan Wars.

The Terran Navy
Founded in the stormy year 2233 out of defecting EFA security squadrons, rebel raider-craft and hastily-militarized merchants, the young UTR invested vast industrial resources into developing a modern war-fleet, and by the early 2240's it had a formidable space-going fleet. All Naval forces are under the command of the Terran Admiralty, which answers to the Ministry of War, though many forces are practically independent in their day-to-day operations on the deep frontier.

Starfaring Navy
As all large starfaring forces in the known universe, the Terran Navy is a carrier fleet, as waves of fighters can easily overwhelm any opposition which is not itself protected by a large number of fighter craft. Large operations are carried out by Carrier Groups, each including a 5,000-dton Carrier, several Missile Ships, multiple armed escorts, troop transports, auxiliaries and scout craft. The main difference between Terran and alien forces is the heavy use of Missile Ships by the Terrans to great effect, especially with mass barrages of missiles against enemy craft. Secondary forces include independent cruisers and frigates, as well as system-defense and local-patrol cutters and many transport assets.

A character who wishes to join the Navy itself should pursue a Navy career as given in The Traveller Book (or Classic Traveller Little Black Book 1). The exact details of the service and branch of the navy can then be inferred from the events and skills of the character's Naval career.

Naval Infantry
For boarding actions, shipboard security and hostile environment ground operations, the Terran Navy operates a Naval Infantry. These men and women are sailors and follow the Naval rank structure, but are trained and equipped for ground operations. Apart from the Terran Guard the Naval Infantry is the only branch of the UTR military capable of deploying "Battledress" powered armor suits on the battlefield. Note that the UTR lacks a "proper" Marine force; instead, Marine functions are split between the Naval Infantry (used for boarding actions and on-board security), and the Terran Guard's Drop Troops (specialized elite forces for high-speed atmospheric insertion and beachhead formation). The Terran Imperial Marines were formed by Emperor Karl I by dissolving both the Terran Guard and the Naval Infantry and creating in their place a separate Marine Corps with its own rank structure, answering only to the Emperor.

A character who wishes to join the Naval Infantry should pursue a Navy career as given in The Traveller Book (or Classic Traveller Little Black Book 1) and try and gain Gun Combat and possibly also Vacc Suit skills, representing assault training and boarding-action equipment.

The Terran Army
The Terran Army was quickly created by re-organizing various rebel formations and EFA defectors into a proper military structure as early as fall-winter 2232. The Terran High Command answers to the Ministry of War and oversees all ground, air and close-orbit and wet-navy operations with the exceptions of those carried out by Naval Infantry troops. The Army is organized in three echelons. The lowest echelon is the Colonial Armies, out of which the better units are given starlift transport and promoted to the second echelon of Expeditionary Forces, and the highest echelon is the Terran Guard, an all-Republic force given access to the highest technology available to the Republic, that is early TL13 gear.

Colonial Armies
Every citizen, male or female, is required to spend at least four years of his or her life in the Terran military, from ages 18 to 22. In most cases this means a Colonial Army - a local force which, in addition to standard defense duties, also oversees disaster relief, operates large parts of the arms industry and helps out with education and welfare for the general population. Terra herself has a Planetary Army performing the same duties. Due to the limited starlift capacity, the vast majority of Terran ground forces are Colonial or Planetary ones. Equipment is usually procured on a local level and quality is not very uniform between colonies due to the difficulty of maintaining a united military force over multiple planets of varying tech-levels and population sizes. Most wet-navy, air and close-orbit forces belong to Colonial or Planetary formations.

Expeditionary Forces
The best units from each large colony, as well as Terra herself, are given starlift capacities on board Naval craft and thus become Expeditionary Forces capable of interstellar deployment. Usually planets of TL7 or below never form Expeditionary Forces, but military procurement is typically local so each Expeditionary Regiment has its own distinctive flavor and fighting style, as well as TL varying from 8 to 13 and different levels of mechanization. Much of the fighting during wars is carried out by Expeditionary Forces sent in en-masse after the beachhead has been secured by Terran Guard troops.

A character who wishes to join a Colonial Army or Expeditionary Force should pursue an Army career as given in The Traveller Book (or Classic Traveller Little Black Book 1). The exact details of the service and branch of the navy can then be inferred from the events and skills of the character's Army career.

The Terran Guard
The highest echelon of Terran ground military is the Terran Guard - a hardened force given the best training and best equipment (up to and including early TL13 weapons) to serve as the mailed fist of the Republic. Most Guard troops wear standard Combat Armor, but approximately one sixth of their forces are issued "Battledress" powered armor. The Terran Guard is the Elite of Terran forces - and the Drop Troops, trained and equipped to assault planetary targets from orbit, are the elite of the elite. They are given accordingly difficult tasks, the ones requiring the best soldiers to accomplish, so the mortality rate is ghoulish, though heroic.

A character who wishes to join the Terran Guard should pursue a Marines career as given in The Traveller Book (or Classic Traveller Little Black Book 1) but use Army ranks. The exact details of the service and branch of the navy can then be inferred from the events and skills of the character's Marines career; typically, a high Vacc Suit skill indicated service in the elite Drop Troops.