Barren Worlds

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I have published another article in the Wonders of a Solar System series – Barren Worlds. This is designed for Traveller under the Mongoose TAS label on DriveThruRPG, though is mostly background content with only a small number of references to rules.

Similar to the others, it contains a D66 chart of descriptions of unusual worlds. In this instance, it covers Barren worlds. These are small Mars-like worlds with a trace atmosphere, dry deserts and possible evidence of liquid water and maybe even life long ago in the past.

Some example entries:

  • This world’s dust storms generate large amounts of static electricity. This causes fantastic lightning displays and makes the dust particles stick to everything. After a storm, a routine Mechanics check is needed to ensure vehicles and equipment can be used safely. There are 2D6 days between storms in any given area.
  • A large basin of dust fills a crater in the southern hemisphere. This ‘Dust Sea’ is several hundred metres deep. It is compacted enough that it is possible to traverse with care. However, winds can turn the ‘sea’ into a swirling maelstrom which obscures all vision. This also loosens the dust such that it will quickly swallow people and vehicles.
  • There are large natural caverns beneath the surface of this world where both a breathable atmosphere and liquid water can be found. Simple life exists here, but it has never evolved to anything more complicated than basic microbes. There are huge caverns of stalactites and stalagmites.

Such worlds can also be targets for xeno-archaeologists.

  • Canals criss-cross the world, signs of a civilisation that once tried to get water from the shrinking lakes and rivers. The civilisation that built them are long since gone, but their grand canal projects still remain to be seen.
  • Along the walls of some of the deeper canyons are ancient caves, dug out by the stone age people who lived here. Long since dead, they left behind evidence in their homes and cave paintings.
  • This world was strip mined for minerals. Once the wealth was removed from the world, the mining corporation left. However, it was often cheaper to leave equipment behind rather than remove it. Scavengers may be able to find vehicles and equipment which only needs minimal effort to get it working again.

When you need a quick world description, or a possible seed for an adventure, then roll D66 and consult one of the two charts within.

Other publications in the series are:

Samuel Penn