Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

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ottarrus
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Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Sun Sep 19, 2021 3:30 pm

I'd like to see an Animals book.
There I said it.
I've enjoyed reading the updates on the old classic beasties from previous editions in 'Mongoose JTAS' [Beaked Monkeys, Luugiir, Sea Bears, etc], and the additions that have come from other materials [Alo'hei, the Armored Herbivores (which I have name 'tankadillos') from the Deepnight campaign]. And animals encounters are one of the best ways to explain to Travellers that 'you're not on Regina anymore, Toto'.
And yes, I've looked at the Upcoming Releases thread, and nothing of this sort is anywhere on the horizon list.
Ideally, it would include animals describes but not illustrated across several editions [the noql and vlezjaq on Zhdant, for example], a lot of new animals [including extremophiles, which was a really entertaining MJTAS article -- more please], and an index of where to find previously published updated animals. No need to waste page count on Bloodvarks when they're already in MJTAS 5...

So, anybody else interested in this idea, or am I typing in vain again?
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby Garran » Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:59 pm

A book that's solely about animals probably wouldn't work out, both for lack of truly-original content (the well is only so deep) and because it's a little too topic-specific.

Broadening it out into a book that covers various aspects of xeno-ecology, not just "plants and animals" but related atmospheric and geological phenomena, on the other hand...

That also gives it grounds to include hooks - or better still, a mini-adventure or two - where the strange (not necessarily threatening-to-PCs) ecology and its interactions are the focus of the story.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Sun Sep 19, 2021 9:30 pm

Garran wrote:
Sun Sep 19, 2021 7:59 pm
A book that's solely about animals probably wouldn't work out, both for lack of truly-original content (the well is only so deep) and because it's a little too topic-specific.

Broadening it out into a book that covers various aspects of xeno-ecology, not just "plants and animals" but related atmospheric and geological phenomena, on the other hand...

That also gives it grounds to include hooks - or better still, a mini-adventure or two - where the strange (not necessarily threatening-to-PCs) ecology and its interactions are the focus of the story.
I think that one of the things that makes the 2300AD milieu such a hit is that each individual world is absolutely unique. There is no way you're gonna mistake Montana for Aurora or Hermes. Now, it's MUCH easier to make a system unique when the whole playing 'sandbox' is a hundred systems, give or take, and only about half of them have any kind of human habitation. There is a big wide difference between the French Arm and Charted Space.
But adding animals and plants [good point about plants] to a world give a given world character. The Traveller Adventure's Pysadi /Aramis would be so different without howood and anolas, for just one example.
In my 'Calidan sector' game, I intend to import 2300's Aurore hook, line, and bladehoods. :D 8)
But worlds with that level of detail are rare, a book with 'ecologies' would be very helpful to most referees I think
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby paltrysum » Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:18 am

Core Adventure 1: Invasive Species. Watch for it. 😀
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:12 am

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 5:18 am
Core Adventure 1: Invasive Species. Watch for it. 😀
As I understand it, 'Invasive' is supposed to be 'Chamax Plague Redux' sort of thing. Or else it's 'Deepnight Entity' cells that land on a world in Charted Space.
Either way, this isn't quite what I'm getting at.
I'm not worried so much about the 'plague rat' trope as much as having more material to make worlds unique and interesting beyond extrality fence and startown. Something to get the Travellers to experience Charted Space beyond just 'you land the ship and go meet the guy who give you the job'.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby Reisender » Mon Sep 20, 2021 9:59 am

I don't think that a "Beastiary", that so many roleplaying games with a closed settings have, is the right thing for Traveller. The universe covered by Traveller is too vast for this kind of information. That being said I don't mind more examples though.
The Animals chapter in the Traveller Core Rulebook is a very good start and the right approach in my humble opinion.. But I would like to see a more detailed system to create eco-systems for planets, especially those for other "lifeforms" not based on carbon. We have our Earth as a very good example for carbon-based life already.
And what about plant life, which also ties into animals as well?
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby swampslug » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:02 am

I will definitely support the call for an ecology themed book.

I really enjoy throwing animal encounters at my players and more example animals or an expanded set of animal creation rules would be really appreciated. However, as others have mentioned I think a book on the wider subject of ecosystems would be better. Such a book should also include discussion of plant life and provide examples of interesting plants that might be a challenge for players (carnivorous plants, those that emit hazardous spores, etc.) and a discussion on how a planet's characteristics (size, atmosphere, hydrographics and temperature) would affect the types of flora and fauna that would evolve on a world. Another topic to include might be the effects of colonisation/urbanisation on ecosystems.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:10 am

You know, you guys are a tough crowd.
I really thought I'd hit somebody's funny bone with 'tankadillos'.... :D :) :roll:
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby Condottiere » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:11 am

Monster Manual will sell; I rather doubt Animal Album would.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby nats » Mon Sep 20, 2021 4:40 pm

The Animal Encounters book for CT was always one of my favourite books. I never got bored of looking through there for environmental effects, although the animal lists were very dry. I also loved the Marooned and Marooned Alone adventure book.

Some of my favourite films deal with humans vs extreme environments. I remember first watching Tarzan Triumphs as a kid where the chasing Nazis are gradually killed off by the jungle (quicksand, crocodiles and piranhas I seem to remember, maybe also a giant spider and ants?), then it was Forbidden Planet, and more recently films like the Martian and Apocalypto also feature this focus partly for some of their stories.

I think if a 'Wilderness Encounters' book was made that included not just animals but also semi-intelligent alien species, environmental effects, weather effects, and alien plants, along with rules for creating, tracking, hunting, etc that could be a very successful book, it would certainly be one of my favourites.It could include lairs and different planet environments like jungles and swamps, rules for fishing and wilderness survival. Maybe also wilderness equipment and clothing for surviving extreme alien altitudes or depths, and dangerous locations like methane lakes and super volcanoes.

I think it could be a great idea especially with some creative art and a bit of imagination. Yes - it could be superb!!! I haven't seen that much that I would buy for Traveller recently, but this one would definitely be a must buy for me.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 20, 2021 4:56 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:11 am
Monster Manual will sell; I rather doubt Animal Album would.
I'm getting a consensus that maybe an 'Alien Environments', with animals, plants, weather, etc., might sell.
The thing about Monster Manuals is that they generally appeal to the XP hunting murder hobo type of player, where a Traveller player might enjoy a book where the beastie fits in with an actual ecology.
I think the guide post we should look towards is the 2300AD 'Aurore Sourcebook' from GDW. In it, all the plants, animals, weather, geological conditions and everything else are part of a complete world, with biomes ranging from polar to desert.
Obviously any new book is going to have be a bit more generic and multipurpose, but I could see something like what I'm describing being a worthwhile addition to Traveller referee's shelf.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby Condottiere » Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:49 pm

Monster Manual is something that a player would also want.

Entity Encounters is something that would be more Dungeon Master centric.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby cunningrat » Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:17 pm

ottarrus wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:10 am
You know, you guys are a tough crowd.
I really thought I'd hit somebody's funny bone with 'tankadillos'.... :D :) :roll:
It was pretty funny. :) I had a similar thought -- they rather reminded me of Shadowrun's Leviathans, who are a 14-meter-long armadillo variant. Tankadillos indeed.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby paltrysum » Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:47 pm

nats wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 4:40 pm
I think if a 'Wilderness Encounters' book was made that included not just animals but also semi-intelligent alien species, environmental effects, weather effects, and alien plants, along with rules for creating, tracking, hunting, etc that could be a very successful book, it would certainly be one of my favourites.
Mongoose sort of did that a few years ago with the Referee's Briefing: Garden Worlds https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/20 ... den-Worlds booklet.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:30 pm

Oh there absolutely has been some work on this kind of thing. This is why I think book would be useful and would probably sell.
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby paltrysum » Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:36 pm

ottarrus wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:12 am
As I understand it, 'Invasive' is supposed to be 'Chamax Plague Redux' sort of thing. Or else it's 'Deepnight Entity' cells that land on a world in Charted Space.
Either way, this isn't quite what I'm getting at.
I'm not worried so much about the 'plague rat' trope as much as having more material to make worlds unique and interesting beyond extrality fence and startown. Something to get the Travellers to experience Charted Space beyond just 'you land the ship and go meet the guy who give you the job'.
Actually, it is neither. Invasive Species is an adventure set in the Core featuring a safari ship and its crew visiting not one, but two worlds in which animal encounters are the central aspect of the adventure. No Chamax or Entity in this one.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Tue Sep 21, 2021 1:43 am

paltrysum wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 11:36 pm
ottarrus wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 6:12 am
As I understand it, 'Invasive' is supposed to be 'Chamax Plague Redux' sort of thing. Or else it's 'Deepnight Entity' cells that land on a world in Charted Space.
Either way, this isn't quite what I'm getting at.
I'm not worried so much about the 'plague rat' trope as much as having more material to make worlds unique and interesting beyond extrality fence and startown. Something to get the Travellers to experience Charted Space beyond just 'you land the ship and go meet the guy who give you the job'.
Actually, it is neither. Invasive Species is an adventure set in the Core featuring a safari ship and its crew visiting not one, but two worlds in which animal encounters are the central aspect of the adventure. No Chamax or Entity in this one.
Oh, ok. My mistake.
If 'Invasive' isn't a Chamax or Entity adventure, perhaps it'll be worth a look-see.

It sounds like a 'Safari Ship' re-do to some extent, obviously without the Shriekers complicating matters. For those unfamiliar with 'Safari Ship', a rich patron wants the party hunt and document an animal on a world in District 268. Naturally, the animal is large, dangerous, and grumpy. The patron requires both a dead sample preserved for autopsy and a mated pair for breeding in order for the group to get paid. Oh, and while you're there, please also document the animal's hunting, breeding, and parenting behaviors. Along the way, the players discover a minor race AND that certain high value 'gems' are actually the minor race's eggs. Insert interstellar consequences here....
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby paltrysum » Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:36 am

CT Safari Ship was a great adventure. Nicely revisited by Loren in a GURPS adventure as well. High and Dry momentarily takes the players to the world of the Shriekers as well, without even planting a seed. Kind of a missed opportunity.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
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Re: Animals, the Overlooked Traveller Trope

Postby ottarrus » Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:46 am

paltrysum wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 3:36 am
CT Safari Ship was a great adventure. Nicely revisited by Loren in a GURPS adventure as well. High and Dry momentarily takes the players to the world of the Shriekers as well, without even planting a seed. Kind of a missed opportunity.
It's actually one of my favorite CT adventures. It has nothing to do with psionics, the meta-plot about the Ancients, or megacorporate skullduggery, which always seemed to be the go-to plot points in CT. And maybe it's the old reruns of 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' and 'Land of the Giants', but Type K Safari ship has always been an interesting design to me.

You also make a good point about the GT world booklets. For my discussion here [animals, environments, etc.], they're not really applicable because they focus on the 'civilized' aspects of the worlds in question and planetary factors effect those civilizations, rather than presenting an ecology by itself. HOWEVER, they're interesting works and well worth the costs. My personal favorites are Kamsii [or as one of my players once called it, 'DisneyWorld world'] and Darkmoon [think of a prison at the bottom of the Marianas Trench under a half a mile of ice].
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