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Traveller 5 Discussion of the Fifth edition of Traveller, released Spring 2013.

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Default How to create a T5 Sandbox setting

(NOTE: Material shamelessly adapted from

The goal is to make a resource kit for your campaign. The process fleshes out a Sandbox setting just enough to start adventuring in. Once the kit is assembled, then running Traveller is pretty much responding to what your players do.

This will take a couple of nights per subsector.


1. Space. Roll up two subsectors side by side. Roll each UWP and check it for sanity: if a mainworld's data looks ridiculous, reroll.

2. Important Worlds. Note the worlds with the highest Importance (say, maybe four worlds). Link them together with trade routes - you might use Acceptance to determine if there is a trade route or not. Jot down which neighboring worlds they trade with -- for example, an Industrial world would trade with Agricultural worlds.

3. Alien Worlds. Decide on whether or not you want any worlds to have native intelligent life. For each of these, note down a few lines describing the creatures. If their world has a high enough technology level, you should roll up a sophont profile: their characteristics (p.550) and their body structure (p.555) would do in a pinch.

4. Pocket Empires. Important worlds may suggest the presence of an empire. Assign a capital world to each pocket empire, and carve out some number of worlds (2d6) for it. Or, if each subsector is part of a bigger empire, simply designate a subsector capital. Note if any empires are at war with each other.

5. Technology. Make notes about worlds with the highest tech levels. In particular, note any high tech worlds which lay outside of pocket empires -- and explain them.

Note the highest TL as the "Setting TL". However, if there is one world that is several TLs above ALL other worlds, consider that it may be an outlier, not representing the actual TL of the setting -- and explain it.

6. Random Worlds. Pick out another half dozen or so worlds that look interesting, and make notes about them.

7. Plotlines. Come up with three plotlines that tie one or more worlds together.

8. Patron Encounters. Make up four patron encounters for each planet you have notes on. Start each with one sentence, and design the encounters so that they are unrelated to the major plots.

Then, come up with eight or so general-purpose patron encounters that can be introduced in any number of worlds. For example, set one at a run-down but otherwise non-specific starport.

9. Rumors. Make up to 24 rumors, labelled A through Z. Some feed the players into your plotlines. Others are generic red herrings or diversions. Slot them into a 6 x 6 matrix. Have the red herrings and diversions take up multiple slots.

10. NPCs. Generate eight NPCs, give them a short bio, and assign them to the various plotlines, patrons, and rumors above. Decide where recurring NPCs will be (the captain of a patrol corvette, an SDB squadron, customs officials, brokers...).
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