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Saturday, June 6, 2015

Adventure Awaits - Tonkin Empire

This was an adventure I put together for my Traveller group.  Traveller is a role-playing game set in a far-future universe where humans have populated a part of the galaxy (Solomani, Zhodani and Imperium):

but as you can see here, not much of the actual galaxy:

On the planet Kardin in the Darrian Subsector (see left), I created an adventure based around an ancient, long-gone civilization called the Tonkin Empire.  They built pyramids and were kind of a mashup of Aztecs, Egyptians & Droyne.

I want to pause here to note that all of the maps shown are from the Traveller Map project:  and that all references to Traveller are trademarks of and copyright by Far Future Enterprises.

This page sets up the adventure generally.  It doesn't seem to dive too deeply into the history of the Tonkins or their empire.  The text reads:

The Pyramid - This huge structure was built thousands of years ago by a primitive culture.  Their empire spanned for hundreds of kilometers, and this pyramid is surrounded by walls of trees that have taken the place of the stone wall (10' high) that once surrounded it, and is now crumbled.

The pyramid stands 109.5 meters high, and on the north face, is a long flight of stairs that leads to a flat level top.  On the face fo this is a smaller 3 meter platform which also has a flight of stairs.  The top of this section appears to be an altar.  The stairs have a light gray dust on them about a mm thick now, but as the base, it is about 2 cms thick.  (this is volcanic ash, and anyone with geologic skill will be able to point this out.)  The ash comes from the volcano to the north.  It must have erupted millenia ago and covered the civilization in ash which has since settled, and dispersed.  (The volcano appears extince now, but on a roll of 13+ (DMs +2 if recent earthquake), it may begin doing something.  (see table.)  Roll once per week.  The whole west and north faces are covered with ivy.  On the west face about 6.5 meters above the ground is a stone door set in the center of that face.  It can be detected on an 8+ if carefully looked for.  The stairs can be detected on a 4+ if looked for.  Using either thing will require 3D rounds of clearing.  DMs -1 per strength point over 11 used.

I'm not sure what the point of the pyramid was.  There are many pages relating to this adventure, but why the heck they'd want to search for this is not clear.  Below is the drawing I did of the pyramid:

as well as the surrounding area (I think these are all related, since they were found together):

They start out country-scale, then move in somewhat and finally end at a scale of 1 square = 1 meter (next to the starport).
Tying these all together isn't easy.  The coastlines don't match up for one thing.  The middle map doesn't have much to say about things.  In the top margin is a notation that the direction to the right of the picture (as shown) is north, that the city is off to the northeast and that 1 square = 1 km.  In the bottom margin, it says:


3 [squares] = 4 km per hour on all terrain

1 km / hr

This detailed map makes the least sense of all.  It takes one of the 10 km squares above and shows a portion of it as a 200 sq m section.  I think each building is shown with the number of residents in each.  Kardin's Planetary sequence number is:  E553123-6

Which translates to a small planet, about 5000 miles in diameter and a tiny population (the 1), which means a permanent population between 10 and 99 people.  The planet has a thin atmosphere and is 30% water.  The text states:

Residents of this planet make most of their living from farming a small distance out of the town (about 1 kilometer away).  About 5 make a living fishing.  They also raise a type of cow called a Retola.  It is about 4 feet high at the shoulder and weights 1 ton.

Next is an alien race I developed for the planet that was a non-standard one.  It's brief, but contains its own method of generation as well as a special set of character types for them to be.

Correns:  These are large lizard-like humanoid beings, generally known by their great strength.  They stand over 6 1/2 feet high when mature - 10 years old.  They only live to 50 years old however due to a metabolism that is half as fast as a human [edit:  I think I meant twice].  They are regarded as a minor race, and have only colonized a small cluster of planets just rimward to the Imperium.

The Correns do not use conventional die rolling procedures, because of their different musculature, and body metabolism.

STRENGTH:    1D+8  (Racial max of 20)
ENDURANCE:    2D+3  (Max of 22)
DEXTERITY:    1D+4  (Max of 12)
INTELLIGENCE:    1D+5  (Max of 13)
EDUCATION:    1D+2  (No maximum)
SOCIAL STATUS:    2D  (* 1D+2 to Imperial Citizens) (No maximum except to Imperials)

* may never exceed or equal racial social status because of the low esteem the Imperials have for this race.

At age 10 a Corren becomes mature and ready to set out on his own.  The following tables detail this.  Since Correns have a highly regimented society, there are only a few different types of Correns.  They include Nobles, Workers, and Soldiers.

              Noble**      Soldier      Worker
Survival:       4+            6+          5+
DM +1 if:     Intel 9+     Stren 6+    Endur 6+
Recognition:   10+            9+         11+
DM +2 if:   Soc Stat 12+   Intel 8+    Stren 8+
Continue:       4+            5+          3+

**  Open only to characters with an 11+ social status.

Recognition enables a character to pick one skill from any option open to him in his class.

These last few sheets are the animal encounter sheets that I developed for the planet when the adventurers decided to go exploring across the world.

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