Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

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Yatima
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Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Yatima » Sun Sep 09, 2018 7:50 am

Are the aliens in CT Double Adventure 01 Shadows Ancient Droyne? The description of the aliens who built the pyramids the Travellers explore in Shadows would indicate that they are not. In the Referee’s notes in Shadows, we read that:
The pyramid structure on Yorbund was constructed perhaps 50,000 years ago by a minor alien race originating far to coreward. … The aliens themselves are vaguely reptilian, derived from quadrupedal carnivore stock; now upright, they utilize their thick tails for balance, incidentally freeing a three-fingered hand with twin opposable thumbs for grasping.
This does not sound like the Droyne, nor does the description of the aliens’ lifestyle as it evolved in a corrosive atmosphere. However, other aspects of the adventure and some other traveller materials point clearly to the aliens of Shadows being Ancient Droyne.

1. Shadows is part of a series of Ancients adventures
In CT Adventure 2, Twilight’s Peak, you’ll find this paragraph:
… this adventure is itself an extension of two previously published Traveller adventures - Research Station Gamma (Adventure 2), and Shadows (part of Double Adventure 1).
Together with these later adventures, Shadows is part of a series that puts the Travellers on the path of discovering that the Droyne are the Ancients, ending with an encounter with some actual Ancient Droyne beneath the Octagon shelter in Twilight’s Peak.

2. The aliens in Shadows have Droyne coyns
In location 14 players may find a single gold Coyn, and in location 20 they may find the skeleton of one of the reptilian aliens with a pouch containing the rest of the set with 37 more such coyns. The coyn in location 14 is described as having a symbol of a flame on its face. This seems to be a set of 38 Droyne Coyns.

So who are these aliens? Their description indicates that they are not Droyne, yet their place in the series of adventures and the presence of an ancient set of Coyns would indicate otherwise. I wonder if the aliens in Shadows represent an early conception of the Ancients, which had changed by the time of Adventure 2, which contains Chirpers.

Thoughts?

J
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Reynard
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Reynard » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:18 am

Not all droyne 300,000 years ago were Grandfather's children so there could be evidence of common droyne who are the ancestors of modern droyne. They were often the workforce of Grandfather and the kids so should be common in Ancient sites. Could lead to confusion.

Grandfather introduced the Coyne system when droyne populations were failing much later in history. Possibly that 38 coyne set was a precursor to the later 36 coyness. Could be considered a priceless artifact to droynes.
Yatima
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Yatima » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:35 am

Reynard wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:18 am
Not all droyne 300,000 years ago were Grandfather's children so there could be evidence of common droyne who are the ancestors of modern droyne. They were often the workforce of Grandfather and the kids so should be common in Ancient sites. Could lead to confusion.
If so, why is the physical description of the Shadows aliens, their evolution in a corrosive atmosphere and their origins in the core so at odds with what we subsequently learned about the Droyne and the Ancients. These don't seem to be even ancestors or descendants of the Droyne, anatomically, culturally or otherwise.

Yet they have a coyn set, which Grandfather gave the Droyne to assist in assigning castes after the final war ...
Reynard wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:18 am
Grandfather introduced the Coyne system when droyne populations were failing much later in history. Possibly that 38 coyne set was a precursor to the later 36 coyness. Could be considered a priceless artifact to droynes.
This wiki page states that grandfather introduced the coyns about 75,000 years ago and that the sets varied in size between 30 and 38 coyns (referencing this set in Shadows, I suppose). So this is definitely an antecedent of the 'modern' 36-coyn set.
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Sigtrygg
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:44 am

The Shadows alien builders are not the Droyne.

They are/were a race that have died out or gone away long before the Vilani began exploring the stars. The presence of the coyns is a mystery:
the shadows aliens built this base to study the Ancients
the coyns were left by accident by earlier explorers of the pyramid
one of Grandfather's agents or perhaps the great Droyne himself left them here to throw scent off the Droyne being the Ancients
Yatima
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Yatima » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:08 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:44 am
The Shadows alien builders are not the Droyne.
Agreed. I think that's the only reasonable conclusion based on the text of Shadows.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:44 am
They are/were a race that have died out or gone away long before the Vilani began exploring the stars. The presence of the coyns is a mystery:
the shadows aliens built this base to study the Ancients
the coyns were left by accident by earlier explorers of the pyramid
one of Grandfather's agents or perhaps the great Droyne himself left them here to throw scent off the Droyne being the Ancients
Interesting speculations, but I'm left wondering what the intention of the author was. Why did he see these aliens, these pyramids and the anomalous inclusion of the Coyn set as a step on the path to understanding the Ancients? It doesn't make sense as an adventure in the series, although I've loved it as a scenario since I first read it in the Traveller book.

J
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Sigtrygg
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:23 pm

There are mysterious aliens in RSG too - humanoid psionic aliens that have been kidnapped, imprisoned and experimented upon. I don't think they have ever been identified either.
Yatima
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Yatima » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:08 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:23 pm
There are mysterious aliens in RSG too - humanoid psionic aliens that have been kidnapped, imprisoned and experimented upon. I don't think they have ever been identified either.
I think Traveller is like many movie series, there are so many loose threads and bits that don;t make sense when you look at it years later.

J
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steve98052
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby steve98052 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:59 pm

The first Traveller adventure, The Kinunir, was published in 1979. Buy look how many Traveller adventurers were published in 1980:
  • Adventure 2-Research Station Gamma
  • Adventure 3-Twilight's Peak
  • Adventure 4-Leviathan
  • Double Adventure 1-Shadows/Annic Nova
  • Double Adventure 2-Mission on Mithril/Across the Bright Face
GDW was on a roll in 1980. They probably had no idea anyone would look at any of those adventures 40 years later, let alone examine them with an analytical eye in the light of 40 years of continued publishing.

I doubt they thought it through in that much detail, and even if they had, they probably didn't have the editorial resources to make sure that everything would be self-consistent through all the subsequent materials.

I thought I had read that the Shadows aliens were 500k years in the past, rather than 50k years. Maybe I misread, but if that's right then it was a ruin by the time of the Ancients.

But if it's 50k, a good interpretation would be that it's an outpost of aliens from nearer the Core -- maybe beings who had encountered Ancients during whatever Ancients expedition inspired the Zhodani Core Expeditions. In other words, it was a remnant of that people's Rim Expedition.
Yatima
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Yatima » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:15 pm

steve98052 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:59 pm
... GDW was on a roll in 1980. They probably had no idea anyone would look at any of those adventures 40 years later, let alone examine them with an analytical eye in the light of 40 years of continued publishing.

I doubt they thought it through in that much detail, and even if they had, they probably didn't have the editorial resources to make sure that everything would be self-consistent through all the subsequent materials.
Oh yeah, I totally agree - this stuff was knocked out the door at the time. I've been re-reading these the last few months and it's interesting to analyse them in light of today's publications and the OSR thing that's going on. Shadows and most of these other examples were keyed location crawls - dungeons in space - and the rationale was sometimes only explained in a brief referee's note at the very back.

I wanted to run Shadows and a few others for a group new to traveller, which is why i'm puzzling through how to draw a line between these pyramids and anything that happens later.
steve98052 wrote:
Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:59 pm
I thought I had read that the Shadows aliens were 500k years in the past, rather than 50k years. Maybe I misread, but if that's right then it was a ruin by the time of the Ancients.

But if it's 50k, a good interpretation would be that it's an outpost of aliens from nearer the Core -- maybe beings who had encountered Ancients during whatever Ancients expedition inspired the Zhodani Core Expeditions. In other words, it was a remnant of that people's Rim Expedition.
It's definitely 50k years ago, here's the Referee's notes from the last page:
The pyramid structure on Yorbund war constructed perhaps 50,000 years ago by a minor allen race originating far to coreward. Voluntary exiles from their own civilization, they selected this world as the site of their noble experiment in esthetic simplistics. The group seeded this region of Yorbund with food animals and settled into a simple life of contemplation in natural surroundings. The only reminder of their origins is the pyramid structure, created as a central esthetic rallying point (the aliens congregated here at regular intervals for group interaction).
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Rikki Tikki Traveller
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Re: Who are the aliens in DA01 ‘Shadows’?

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:55 pm

While certainly not in the mind of the writers, given what was published later about the Zho Coreward Expeditions, and this race coming from the core, perhaps this would work.

The Shadow-aliens were a race encountered by the Ancients as they explored Coreward. 50K years ago, all that is left of that contact are legends and half-memories, BUT, one of those things is the Coyns. The aliens keep them as religious symbols of their lost gods (The Ancients).

OR,

If you are going to run the adventure now, change the coins discovered to something that HINTS at the Droyne Coyns, but aren't actually them, just racial memories of their contact with the Ancients. If the Vilani can still remember the Ancients, so could this race. Change the number of coins, make them slightly different in shape and change some of the images. Something that invokes the idea of the Ancient/Droyne Coyns, but are NOT Coyns. :)
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