Traveller 1977: Animal Encounters - Events

As someone who has mostly played in human-centric” space opera campaigns, I’ve never paid a ton of attention to Traveller’s Animal Encounter system. This is a bit of slap on my own wrist because I’m often the one to point out that close reading of your RPG books is more beneficial to you than buying more material. System mastery can reap long term rewards and allow you to spend less time homebrewing and hunting around for solutions.

The animal” system in Book 03 is somewhat misnamed because it is overloaded to handle a couple of concepts:

A decent chunk of the animal rules in Book 03 are really talking about generating fantastic science fiction aliens and beasts. Somewhat hidden in this system is also how to throw world events” at the PCs. Page 25 has a BLANK ENCOUNTER COLUMN table:

Die Terrain
2 S (Scavenger)
3 O (Omnivore)
4 S (Scavenger)
5 O (Omnivore)
6 H (Herbivore)
7 H (Herbivore)
8 H (Herbivore)
9 C (Carnivore)
10 E (Event)
11 C (Carnivore)
12 C (Carnivore)

A result of 10 is an E - Event but what are these?

Events: Events are not necessarily animals, comprising instead both geographic or geologic dangers, and special types of animals not ordinarily encountered. The following examples are provided, but more should be generated by the referee to cover the wide range of possibilities in the universe.” — Book 03, Page 31

There are several example events with a lovely set of hidden” procedures. Rough terrain, earthquakes, meteor showers, and storms. One of the few supplements I happen to have a hardcopy of is Supplement 2: Animal Encounters. For a variety of common world types it provided a set of pre-generated Animal Encounter tables (columns?.) All of them stick to the same formula for events though - throw 2d6 and on a 10 exactly you’ve got a world event.

There are a variety of weather based events in the Animal Encounters supplement:

Electrical Storm - Heavy winds and lightning force the party to halt for 12 hours. Unless a refuge (throw 7+ for a cave, cabin, etc) is found, then a lightning hit on electrical equipment (throw 9+) will incapacitate it.” — S02: Animal Encounters, Page 9

There are a number of other environmental challenges: tornados, radiation, soft ground, rough ground, stampedes, laser carbine-strength light-reflecting crystals, lengthy storms, forest fires, etc. It is a nice collection of referee ideas if you aren’t sure what exactly to do with E-Event and makes a good source of reference for figuring how to handle weather on your worlds.

September 16, 2022 · Traveller · GM tools · Observation Deck


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