Saturday, July 16, 2011

Hero Traveller Sophonts

My house A/C kicked out Wednesday this week and is still down, so I've pushed the starting date of the Hero Traveller game back two weeks.  I'm taken the time provided to put more detail into my notes and catch up on the things I was planning on doing this past week but failed to do due to the emotional roller coaster that took over.

Here are brief descriptions of most of the sophonts (sapient species) I plan on using.  There are two minor races not done yet, but I'll post those later, when I have them complete (and names for them).  You will notice one of the races is more detailed than the others (the Newts).  This is because I'm lifting them mostly wholesale from the Journal of the Traveller's Aid Society (issue 11) where they first appeared.  The rest are my rough notes, adapting material from D&D.  You may recognize what I've lifted.

The Acojah are a human-like species with very dark-skinned (black to a hazy purple hue) due to the strong UV output of their home sun.  They have long, pointed ears for heat dispersion as their world was very warm.  Their hair is usually white or silver and their white eyes appear pupiless.  Acojah tend to be slightly taller and slimmer than humans.

Their culture is misandric, with males limited to labor intensive roles while the females take leadership and scholarly roles.  To maintain this social structure, the government is a police state with several layers of competitive secret police serving the state.  Their government is often aristocratic in nature.

Humans.  What more do you need?

Lante are humanoids that stand almost as tall as humans but are more muscular as their homeworld has a gravity of 1.1 g.  Lante are generally gray-skinned creature with tiny, observant eyes that range in color from orange to red.  Members of the Lante warrior caste are more bestial in appearance, with green-gray skin and greasy black hair.  Lante savants are much shorter and slightly deformed, its scrawny body dwarfed by its wide, ungainly head.

The average Lante stands 5-6 ft tall and averages 160 pounds in weight.  Warrior caste Lante average 6 feet tall and 210 pounds in weight, mostly muscle.  Lante savants stand barely three feet tall.

Lante are a militaristic caste-based society that is very aggressive.  They are willing to use bioengineering to enhance/reinforce caste stereotypes and often experiment on others or themselves.  Despite this, the entire society has an anti-psi attitude, although this is weakest among the savant caste.  Their homeworld is Muulkaan in the Ghec Tor sector.

Drones - the Drone caste performs family and administrative functions in Lante society.
Leaders - The Leader cast manages Lante society in general.
Sports - Sports are the troubleshooters and utility fielders in Lante society and are generally exempt from the caste system. They do whatever is necessary to get the job done.
Technicians - The scientists and research and development caste.
Warriors - genetically manipulated to become larger and more suited to combat.  They are genetically coded to always follow the orders of a Leader caste Lante.
Workers - the Worker cast performs all of the manual labor and mundane things necessary to keep everything working.

Savants - are an offshoot of the Technician caste and the result of a genetic manipulation experiment, the Savant caste provide technology breakthroughs, but are dangerous idiot savants.  They tend to breed true.

Throwbacks - occasionally the genes of a Lante will produce an atavistic throwback to a more primitive state.  These throwbacks appear as another caste until some genetic trigger releases the atavism.  Throwbacks are violent, methodical, and very dangerous.

Also known as Bwaps or Wabs, (from their name for themselves, Bawapakerwaa-a-awapawab), the newts originated on Marhaban, in the Lentuli subsector.

Newts appear to be upright, bipedal lizards and average 1.4 meters in height and weigh between 30 and 50 kilograms.  Their hemoglobin is copper-based, and a deep blue in color. Because of this, their skin shows as a faint greenish-blue in areas where pigmentation is absent. Body markings vary tremendously from clan ("tree") to clan, each one having a distinctive pattern. The pattern is determined by genetic factors and the color determined by careful manipulation of the mother's diet during the formation of the egg.  Greens, browns, yellows and blues are most common, usually in patterns of darker colors over a lighter basic color.

Because their skin must be kept constantly moist, Newts are uncomfortable in humidity of less then 98%. With special clothing, they can exist indefinitely in humidities as low as 25%, provided they have adequate water. This clothing normally consists of a loosely fitting kaftan-like garment and a hood covering the head. The cloth of these garments is permeated with a network of fine tubes, through which water flows and keeps the cloth moist.  In occupations where they must handle papers, or other items which would suffer from moisture. Newts wear thin water-proof gloves. In humidities of less than 25%, they must use sealed environment suits. All clothing is colored with a stylized representation of their body coloring, since recognition of body pattern is an important part of their greeting ritual.

Newts are oviparous, each female incubating a single, non-amniotic egg in a special pouch on her lower abdomen.  After hatching, the young remain in this pouch for several weeks, occasionally coming out to be fed, until they are strong enough to survive outside. The young reach maturity after 14 years.

The Newt world view (which is not really a religion, but nevertheless dominates every part of their life), holds that each individual has a place in his wapawab or tree — a term stemming from their species' habitat, but including phratry, bloodlines, country, and place of duty.  Everything the Newts do
reflects this complex, wheels-within-wheels, patterns-within-patterns outlook.  Each individual takes great pride in being one small, functional and unique cog in a vast, ever-living, everchanging universe of interlinked patterns and cogs.

The few worlds which are completely controlled by the Newts are classed as a religious dictatorship. Law levels are usually very restrictive, representing the Newts obsession with proper behavior.

These pale blue humanoids have bulging white eyes, wild hair, four-fingered hands, and stand an average of 3 ft tall and weigh an average of 70 pounds.  They area subterranean race with a strong racial allergy to sunlight.

The Twigo are primitives who never achieved spaceflight.  They were used by others (notably the Lante) as slave labor, experimental subjects, or scouts in dark areas such as mines and ships or stations without power.  The Twigo picked up many bad habits from the Lante.  Their societies tend to be chaotic and violent.

The Waldi are an older race whose original society collapsed prior to the current era and enclaves of them have been found on widely dispersed number of worlds.  As a result of this dispersal, the Waldi now consist of two sophont species: the High Folk and the Low Folk.  Due to a cultural taboo against strangers seeing their flesh and wear clothing that is almost completely concealing.  Usually only the brow and the solid black eyes are visible.  It is believed the Waldi Low Folk are a degenerated form of the High Folk that breeds true.

Waldi High Folk are tall, frail humanoids with incredibly pale skin.  They constantly wear multiple layers of dark cloth and black body armor, which is always clean and spotless.  Waldi Low Folk stand just under 4 feet tall and weigh 80 pounds. Their flesh is pale and moist, and their eyes are milky white. Waldi Low Folk exude a foul stench of sweat and spoiled food, owing primarily to the fact that they never take off their clothing—instead piling on new layers when the outermost one grows too ragged.

Waldi culture is varied, but they have a tendency to be stand-off-ish with other sophonts.  The Waldi High Folk have a baroquely intricate aristocratic society of prestige based on the past deeds of the individual and the family.  The Waldi Low Folk are more scavengers with a violent bent and their societies are ruled by the strongest (or craftiest) among them.  Oddly, Waldi Low Folk instinctively defer to Waldi High Folk, even on first meeting.


  1. Would a Twigo Racial Statblock look like this:
    CHAR Max
    -5 STR (smaller/weaker)
    +3 DEX (nimble)
    -5 PRE (smaller/not intimidating)
    +2 PD (used to taking a beating)

    3 pts +2 Concealment (4 act) Self Only(-1/2)
    10 pts +2 DCV (hard to Hit)
    4 pts +2 Stealth (hard to perceive)

    5 pts Nightvision (subterranean)
    -6 pts -3" Running (short legs)

    -5 pts Physical: Small (1/2 size) Inf/slight
    -10 pts Physical: Light Sensitive Eyes (-2 PER rolls in bright light) Freq/slight
    -20 pts Vuln: 2x Effect: Sight Flashes based upon bright light (common)

    Figured you were working along the lines of goblins and the like, so used that as my base for assumptions. Lower STR and PRE seemed warranted based upon the small size and the fact they are routinely oppressed. Was toying with a lower INT to reflect their low-tech, but that would affect PER rolls and I don't see them being any less observant than anyone else - unless in bright light, hence the disadvantages for light attacks.

    Would they take any extra STUN from visible light laser attacks? Perhaps a 2d6 Flash SUSCEPT to visible laser attacks?

    Well, just tossing out my thoughts for discussion

  2. I'm thinking a psych lim like "Primitive" or "Low Tech", indicating they don't really get high tech and see it as magic. I need to go though my master list of psych/physical/social disads to get the exact one I want.

    Twigo can handle tech up to around TL 5 or 6 (I think, may be 4-5 - I need to look at the books again) and individuals would be able to overcome that (by spending expierience to overcome the racial limitation).

    They should also have a susceptibility to strong sunlight, but I need to define "strong sunlight" better. Their homeworld is a system with a darker star, like a K or even an M-class star. Direct light from a G-class or brighter would start causing damage to them and so they stay deep subterranean on worlds like that.

    This is just me thinking out loud. I like what you've put together so far. The only thing I'm not certain of is the PRE - may need some PRE Defense as they are now shrinking violets.

  3. HT has a Low Tech Disad that is -3pts/TL below 12 (I think it's a Social Disad). They suggest not taking it below TL 9 (approx where WE are today - with some notable exceptions.) I'm sure you could alter their "suggestion."

    From memory (so take that FWIW) TL 8 would be 90's-00's, TL 7 would be around the 60's-80's, TL 6 would be 1900-1950's. TL 4-5 is around Industrial Revolution (1800-1900 or so). When Traveller came out - our TL was 7

    The Light Sensitivity of the Twigo seems more severe than I originally thought - that sounds like a Suscept. Perhaps a 1/2d6 / min (or other acceptable time frame) without suitable protection per Stellar Class above M?

    O = 3d6 / min
    B = 2 1/2d6 / min
    A = 2d6 / min
    F = 1 1/2 d6 / min
    G = 1d6 / min
    K = 1/2d6 / min
    M = 0d6 / min

    Does bring up the problem of distance. What if a Twigo is outside around a Type O star, but at an orbit that corresponds to Pluto? A Type K in Mercury's orbit? Probably too much effort to work out - just needs a GM caveat for planets in the system, a "Twigo Index" that lets people know "if you have a Twigo, you'd better bundle up to avoid xd6 damage".

    I agree about the PRE being really low - perhaps starting at 8 (low Human norm) to offset that, or Presence Defense as you suggest with a limitation to indicate that they've seen and suffered through it all. I don't see them as being very intimidating, persuasive or seductive hence the lower base PRE - I could be terribly wrong here though. It's your vision.

    They do seem to be acquiring a significant amount of "PC Undesirable" Disads - that may make it difficult to play as a PC race (if they are even open as a PC race.)