Saturday, February 2, 2013

Stars Without Number: Solo-Play Rules

by Dave Cooper

 Art by David Reddington

This is a solo system I developed several years ago to play Traveller. Originally written for Classic Traveller, I’ve updated it for Stars Without Number.

Fairly straightforward to use; generate a set of characters and start at point one. Follow action, then throw 1D and go to the appropriate section. Each run through the chart is approximately six days of time. However, the results are designed to make you think, the tables will not provide all of the answers for you.

Some comments on individual areas: -

10cr x (Total Level of group)2 . This accounts for day-to-day living expenses

You can expend Skill Points to initiate training, although you will have to cycle through the chart for the required length of time to complete it.
Note: New psionic disciplines can only be aquired via (8) Options.

(3) Buy one item or group of related items. Means exactly that, you can buy one length of rope or 20 rounds of ammunition etc. It’s designed to stop the ‘we’ll replace everything we used on the last adventure and buy everything we need for the next one’ syndrome. Now you have to choose between replacing the monoblade or the survival pack you dropped in the swamp on Pavonis II. You can’t buy again here unless you are directed back.

(8) Options: A very versatile section. You can choose any Action, or seek a job, seek a new PC/NPC, court someone; whatever you like.

This can be expanded as needed: -
e.g. : Take a job. (Make up a table.) Now I’m working helping to build the new terminal building at Proxyon spaceport. After rent, living, local tax etc, I end up with 100Cr per month. Throw 2D each month
2          Fired/lose job (why? Maybe a short adventure?)
3-4       Promoted/Pay rise: Pay goes up 5%
5-10     Work goes on. Roll again next month. Mark passage of time. Or you can pack the job in and return to main flowchart where you left it.
11-12   As (5-10) but option to take redundancy. Get bonus of 25Cr for each month worked. Return to main flowchart where you left it.

Years later I can look at the terminal building and think, “I helped build that”.

Keep notes and try and maintain continuity. For example, on Cubro, I got into a fight with three thugs and one was injured. Sometime later, back on Cubro, I’m jumped by three thugs; one is missing an eye. I might be in trouble here.

I write things up in as much detail as possible; this is your story you’re writing here, and it’s good to read back over past history and events. I developed this system some years ago, when I had a fair bit of time on my hands but no players. The Free Trader ‘No Strings Attached’ spent several years wandering around the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants of my Traveller Outreach campaign. Final tally was six crewmembers still on board, four dead, one insane, one missing and one retired (but somewhat eccentric).

Off-Time Flowchart: Chart 1

1. Start. Assemble Characters
            Go to (2) Upkeep

2. Sell Cargo, pay Ship costs, pay Crew wages. All characters pay Upkeep
            1-2       (3) Buy Equipment
            3-4       (5) Healing
            5-6       (4) Sell Equipment

3. Buy Equipment. Each PC may buy 1 item or group of related items of equipment
            1-2       (4) Sell Equipment
            3-4       (5) Healing
                5      (7) Event
                6      (3) Buy Equipment

4. Sell Equipment. PC’s may sell any surplus equipment and/or curios they have collected. Equipment may be sold at 50% of base cost. Rare items, curios etc. throw 9+ to find a buyer then negotiate.
            1-3       (3) Buy Equipment
                4      (5) Healing
            5-6       (6) Event

5. Healing. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medpacks, drugs etc.
               1       (7)   Event
            2-3       (10) Seek Patron
            4-6       (8)   Options

6. Event. Roll on Event Table. Events may affect the whole group, or just an individual. Some have long-reaching effects, see Table for details.
            1-3       (8) Options
            4-6       (9) Healing

7. Event. Roll on Event Table. Events may affect the whole group, or just an individual. Some have long-reaching effects, see Table for details.
            1-2       (8)   Options
            3-4       (10) Seek Patron
                5      (12) Expenses
                6      (3)   Buy Equipment

8. Options. May take any Action, initiate new project, take a job etc.
               1       Generate Adventure seed
   2       (11) Hear Rumour
            3-4       (13) Buy/Sell Equipment
                5      (10) Seek Patron
                6      (14) Encounter

9. Healing. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medpacks, drugs etc.
            1-3       (13) Buy/Sell equipment
            4-5       (11) Hear Rumour
                6      (8)   Options

10. Seek Patron? (Choose or Roll 1D: 1-4 = Yes  5-6 = No)
            If Yes, generate Patron and go to Chart #3
            If No, or when Chart #3 finished, go to (11) Hear Rumour

11. Hear Rumour. Roll on Rumour Table with appropriate mods.
            1-2       (8)   Options
                3      (14) Encounter
            4-5       (9)   Healing
                6      (13) Buy/Sell Equipment

12. Misc. expenses. An unforeseen expense that must be paid. Roll 1D:
1-3       Cr100
4-5       Cr1 x Level2
    6      Cr5 x Level2
                Level is total Level of characters in group. This can be expensive!
1-3       (14) Encounter
            4-6       (16) End

13. Buy/Sell Equipment. Group may buy/sell as much equipment as is desired.
               1       (14) Encounter
            2-6       (16) End

14. Encounter. Group may encounter NPC’s, Law Enforcers or even creatures.
1-2       No Encounter
    3      Law Enforcers.
4-5       Roll on Encounter table and check reaction / outcome.
    6      Animal. Roll on Animal Encounter Table for area

            1-4       (15) Healing
            5-6       (16) End

15. Healing. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medpacks, drugs etc.
            Go to (16) End

16. End. Either repeat cycle from (2) if more time on planet is necessary, else roll for Cargo availability, passengers etc.

Chart #3          Patron
1. Roll Patron / Friend
2. Generate Stats (if required), plus tags etc. See Patron / Friend Creation
3. Generate mission (or select one,) decide if PC’s will accept it (or roll 1D 1-3 = Yes  4-6 = No)
4. Return to Chart #1 (10)
Events    Throw d66

11 Meet generic NPC
12 Meet new PC (a way to introduce new characters)
13 Legal encounter, throw Luck to avoid
14 Gambling. Roll Gambling DF 8, win/lose 1d6 x 100cr
15 Misc. expenses. Pay 50cr x 1d4
16 Receive a message from….

21 Patron encounter
22 Random encounter
23 Hear Rumour
24 Get involved in a brawl (fight it out with 1d6 thugs)
25 Shot at by accident  (Fail Luck to be hit for 1d6 damage)
26 Meet a Friend

31 Opportunity to buy exotic item
32 Close relative dies (who?)
33 Inherit Cr100 x 3d6
34 Weapon jams irreparably, is useless (pick at random, could mean sword breaks etc.)
35 Legal encounter, throw Luck to avoid
36 Opportunity to buy property (may be worth rent etc.)

41 Hear some news about….
42 Opportunity to make TAS application (open entry)
43 Receive information about…
44 Encounter an Enemy
45 Robbed/burgled. Lose 50% of possessions (divide into 2 piles, roll randomly for which one was lost.)
46 Mistaken identity (roll reaction)

51 Meet alien or group of aliens (appropriate to current setting)
52 Civil disorder on planet (why?)
53 Planetary event (volcanic eruption, earthquake, giant asteroid strike etc.)
54 Hear rumour
55 Patron encounter
56 A piece of equipment breaks down and needs to be fixed.

61 Papers/documents not in order. (xref Exit Visa)
62 Complication with cargo (sb)
63 Special charter (transport to…, act as bodyguard to…., etc.)
64 Asked to carry message to...
65 Gain a Contact or Favour owed by NPC (who, why and what)
66 Offered Illegal weapon/Black market goods/drugs/Maltech etc.

Complication with cargo; There is a potential problem with any cargo that will be picked up in the End Phase. Once cargos are generated, throw 2d6 each, 9+ to have a potential problem. Then roll for where the problem is, this end or at the destination. If this end, then roll 1D to see what it is. If the destination, then do not roll until you get there!

1. Needs special import/export licence (see (8) Options.
2. Damaged. Real value reduced by 10-30%
3. Offensive stench will permeate LS system and make passengers unhappy. Needs full overhaul to remove
4. Hazardous cargo, throw 2d6:12+/day in transit to leak/explode and damage cargo area
5. Customs believe it is contraband and cargo is impounded
6. Shipping manifest was wrong and half/double (roll) agreed amount has arrived


  1. Could I get a copy of the CT version of these rules? I still have not found someone to play it will and this sounds great!

  2. I will ask the author right away...

  3. Duncan
    Send me your email address and I'll send it to you. My address is

  4. My Blog is up and running (The Jester Speaks). I'm going to post the events in "The Currents of Space" there, (and "The Stars Like Dust" when the kids get around to playing it again.) Everyone is welcome to join and comment

  5. E-mailed you, I'd love a copy also

  6. Yes, splatbooks add creep generally I suppose. I prefer the Classic to Mongoose though, even if the latter are prettier.

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