Tag Archives: Aslan

The Man-Kzin Wars

The Kzinti is a tiger-like alien race of warriors from the planet Kzin. They may look a bit like Aslan from Traveller, but they are not Aslan. The Kzinti males are intelligent but the females are not.

The Kzinti is a race created by the author Larry Niven. In this book he has written the first of three short stories. The other stories are written by Paul Anderson and Dean Ing.

The first story is about the first meeting between the Humans and  the Kzin. It doesn’t end well for one of the races…

The second story is about a Kzinti base at an old metal-poor star racing through the galaxy. The interesting thing about this story is that these old stars really exist. However, the story felt like it was set in a sandbox, to not upset the canon of Larry Niven’s work.

The third story is even worse. This is a sandbox. The human hero is stuck in some kind of zoo that was built by some kind of ancients.

Man Kzin Wars

But even though two of the stories are set in sandboxes, I enjoyed reading this book by three great authors.

The Chanur Saga

The Chanur Saga is not one book. It is three books in an omnibus edition. These books are written by C.J. Cherryh who also has written two more novels in this “universe” that is called the Compact.

For Traveller fans, the most interesting aspect of the books are the race called the Hani. There are lots of characteristics of the Hani that are a lot like the Aslan of Traveller.

  • First (the most obvious), the Hani are cat-folk.
  • Then, just like in Traveller, it is the females that are useful.
  • Just like in Traveller, there are clans that are run by males.

I asked C.J. Cherryh and Marc Miller about the influences between her books and Traveller.

C.J. Cherryh said that she never has heard of the Aslan. (So it’s just like H. Beam Piper and the Sword Worlds then, just a bit more recent).

Aslan or Hani ???

Anyway, these books are great. There are a few more races that are described. There is a map over the Compact. There are lots of ideas that can be used in Traveller. Making a subsector map over the Compact and using this as an ATU would also be possible.

The main characters are female Hani. They are the crew of the ship The Pride of Chanur. They find a Human male that has escaped from a race called the Kif (that are a bit like the Vargr). The Kif wants the human back. That is just the beginning. I shouldn’t post any more spoilers here.

Aslan Bombshell

AslanWhile chatting with C. J. Cherryh and Marc Miller about the Hani from the Chanur novels and the Aslan from Traveller, Marc Miller said that he “envisioned that the Terran scout who first contacted them saw the resemblance to Narnia’s Aslan and used the name.”

When I commented about the idea from GURPS Traveller that the Aslan was discovered by Turkish explorers, Marc said “No one asked me. 🙁 “

The Major Races in an ATU setting

There are six major races in the Official Traveller Universe. All are very well described in a number of books in different Traveller rules versions. This is a good source of information to help you with the races for your own Alternate Traveller Universe.

The problem with the major races in the OTU is that they all are placed in the OTU and a few of them may be difficult to re-use your own ATU. Described below are my opinions (in alphabetic order) why the races may be good or problematic for re-use in an ATU.

There are lots of reasons for creating your own ATU. One reason may be that you are bored with the OTU, another that you don’t like all the conflicting canon and another reason may be that you just want to create your own universe.

Alsn CoynAslan:

Aslan are a race of catlike aliens. Even though that might seem like a sci-fi cliché, the Aslans are well described and would probably work well in an ATU with only some minor changes.

The Aslans have been described at about the same time as the Chanur novels was written. It is difficult to guess what cross contamination that has occurred. My guess is that it was in both ways.

Update: While chatting with Cj Cherryh and Marc Miller about the Hani from the Chanur novels and the Aslan from Traveller, Cj Cherryh said that she has “never heard of (the) Aslan” (from the Traveller RPG).

The DroyneDroyne:

Spoiler warning! Mark the hidden text below to make it visible.

The Droyne is one of the most important races in the OTU. They (as the Ancients) transplanted humaniti to many worlds in charted space. If you don’t want this in your ATU, then the Droyne cannot be the ancients.

The Droyne is well described and would work well in an ATU as an old mysterious race. You may want to ignore (or change) the secret part that is hidden above.

Hiver CoynHiver:

The Hivers are the starfish aliens that actually are starfish. They are also good at manipulating other races to do what they want. They are also very good at mathematics and use a base-6 system. Their computers and robotics are very advanced. The Hivers don’t like ground combat and use other races to help them with that.

The Hivers could work well as a strange race in an ATU setting.

HumanitiHumaniti:

There are the Solomani, the Vilani and the Zhodani and lots of minor human races. In the OTU all human races (except the Solomani) has been taken from Earth a long time ago and they have then evolved independently. This may seem like a stupid idea to re-use in an ATU unless you are a trekkie or likes von Däniken.

Humans from Terra (Solomani) can be borrowed from the OTU. But these are not the good guys, so you may want to change them.

Other human races will be more difficult to re-use in an ATU.

K'Kree CoynK’Kree:

These are horsemen or centaurs. In the early versions of Traveller, they were actually called Centaurs. I think they can be a good foe in an ATU with their vegetarianist agenda.

Big strange races like this (with strange motivations) usually work best as NPCs.

VargrVargr:

In the OTU these dog people are uplifted Terran dogs. Although Vargrs are one of the best described races in Traveller, they belong in the OTU and cannot really fit into an ATU as they are described.

If they are uplifted in another way than in the OTU or if they are not actually dogs (just like the Aslan are not cats) then they could work.

Summary:

Works well: Aslan, Hiver, Solomani, K’kree

Problematic: Droyne, Vilani, Zhodani, Vargr

 

The Aslan Mercenary Fleet

Patron: Aslan Clan
Required Skills: Trokh (the Aslan language)
Required Equipment: Starship (not entirely necessary)

Players’ Information:
It is 1110. In the Spinward Marches, the 5th Frontier War is in its closing days, but this epic conflict has spawned an offshoot, the Mnemosyne Civil War, which is being fought between the pro-Zhodani Prince-Regent Hautal Goinsprach and his challenger, Henrik Gruneweld. Gruneweld has promised a constitutional monarchy to replace the overly authoritarian rule of the Goinsprachs, and this has won many to his cause. In response, the Prince-Regent has put out an open call for mercenaries, promising land and riches to all who would defend the crown.

Since war cargos are highly lucrative, the PCs find themselves transporting ordnance from the Avalar Consulate to the Mnemosyne Pricipality in order to defeat the rebel forces (the Avalars, though technically neutral, would like to see the rebels crushed). On the way, the PCs come across an Aslan mercenary fleet run by the independent clan Arahyel, and they learn that the clan leader, Admiral Arahyel, hopes to join this fray for pay.

The Aslan in general, and Arahyel in particular, have an excellent reputation, priding themselves both on their ferocity in battle as well as their civility toward non-combatants. It is standard policy for the clan to hold off on planetary bombardments in order to offer their opponents the option of a bloodless surrender, or , if they prefer, to relocate or otherwise restrict the impending battle in such as way as to minimize or even remove the possibility of civilian casualties. Hence, it is important for the clan to enlist a cadre of solders who are able to facilitate communication, and so they are always on the prowl for solders who can speak both Trokh as well as Galanglic.

If the PCs also have their own starship, this will make them doubly useful, as Arahyel needs a group to escort his head wife, Wyaiiy, deep into Mnemosyne territory in search of Prince-Regent Goinsprach. They will act as the fleet’s eyes and ears, jumping a day or two ahead of the clan fleet in order recon each system’s defenses and loyalties before Arahyel’s arrival. If the system should contain friendly forces, they are to help Wyaiiy negotiate the terms of participation, but if it should contain hostile forces, then they are to put her as close to the enemy commander as possible so that when the clan fleet arrives in system, she can immediately begin to negotiate the terms of engagement. It’s a dangerous job to be sure, but Arahyel promises that if they serve with the same courage and honor that he expects and receives from his own soldiers, then they will all be handsomely rewarded.

The Fleet
The Fleet – image from wikimedia
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

Referee’s Information:
Arahyel means everything that he says, but unfortunately he’s on the losing side of this fight. Goinsprach will be overthrown, and Henrik Gruneweld will become King. The reason is simply that the Mnemosyne people have had enough of the excesses and corruption of their government. Mercenaries like Arahyel are only getting in the way, making the conflict longer and bloodier than it needs to be. For each new system that the PC’s jump into, roll a d6.

1. Modest rebel task force: Their commander is cognizant of their size and will flee if outmatched. Analysis of jump signatures may give the clan fleet some idea of where they went.

2. Modest royal task force: Their captain will welcome any allies, mercenary or otherwise, with open arms, happy to receive support from wherever it might come.

3. Respectable rebel fleet: Their commander has a fierce disdain of mercenaries and will fight, however, he/she respects the Aslan methodology of warfare and will entertain discussions on reducing collateral damage prior to the battle. Also, he/she has a good idea as to the whereabouts of Henrik Gruneweld and will warn Wyaiiy and the PCs that though Arahyel might win this battle, the clan fleet will ultimately be destroyed.

4. Respectable royal fleet: Their commodore knows that the war is not going well. Defections, even among the military staff, are now epidemic, so much so that he/she cannot even trust his/her own officers. Because of this, and also due to reasons pertaining to self-preservation, he/she will opt to use the Aslan as a frontline force, hoping that it will bear the brunt of battle. Arahyel will have no problem with this, although Wyaiiy will be hesitant to agree. She would prefer to meet Goinsprach to get some firm understanding of what exactly is being offered in return for clan lives. Fortunately, the commodore has a pretty good idea where the main royal fleet is operating.

5. Main rebel fleet: Henrik Gruneweld is in direct command. Of course, he’ll fight Arahyel if he has to, but he’d rather not waste military resources reducing the Aslan fleet to space flotsam. Instead, he’d rather fight his rival directly. As for reducing collateral damage, he’s all for it, partly because it’s politically smart, but also because he’s expecting to win this realm, and he wants it to be more than a cinder when he’s crowned king.

6. Main royal fleet: Prince-Regent Hautal Goinsprach and his admiral are not getting along. The admiral realizes that the tide of war is against them. He’s advised the prince to seek a truce, but the prince is living in the sort of fantasy world that all such dictators must construct in their own minds as their end draws near. Although the arrival of the Aslan as pro-royal mercenaries comes too late to change the eventual outcome, the prince seizes on it with crazed desperation. He wants Arahyel to attack Gruneweld’s main fleet directly, and so as to maximize their odds, he wants Wyaiiy to employ trickery. “Meet with Gruneweld to talk terms. Then kill him by whatever means possible. Without their leader, his forces will be in disarray, and at that moment we shall pounce upon our prey and rip them to shreds.” In return, he will promise anything.

Treading the Boards

Patron: Entertainer
Required Skills: none
Required Equipment: none, but see below
No of Players: 2-6

Players’ Information:
The crew is approached by a representative for a small acting company,
the Starlight Repertory Assembly, with an offer to hire them as
escorts for the troupe on a tour of several performance venues in the
subsector. The actors will need several bodyguards, roadies and
general techies. The troupe will pay each participating PC Cr 3000 per
venue, payable at the end of the tour. If the group has a starship,
then the company will negotiate a charter instead. In that case, they
will need staterooms for six main actors and three understudies, and
space for 12 tons of cargo, which includes all their gear, props,
wardrobes, and a portable stage.

Twylaiwasyo Eorl
Twylaiwasyo Eorl – image from wikimedia
Public Domain – copyright expired

Referee’s Information:
Select up to six worlds in the subsector for the group to visit. They
should all be within the starship’s highest Jump number, and can all
be backwaters. On each world, the company will perform Twylaiwasyo
Eorl, an Anglic version of an epic Aslan drama.

1. The show is a smashing success, and the actors will be able to pay
the adventurers as promised. In addition, they will engage the PCs’
services for another tour.

2. The play is only a moderate success, plagued by wildly varied
audience attendance and publicity results. The company might be able
to pay the PCs as promised regardless. The heroes will receive
2D – 2 x 10% of their promised pay.

3. The play is a dismal failure, panned by critics, and shunned by
audiences. Throw Reaction for any audiences after the first, with a DM
of -3 (word spreads fast, even across the subsector), and implement
the result. The heroes will only receive 1D – 3 x 10% of their promised
pay.

4. At a performance on one world, a family of Aslan takes offense at
how “their” story is presented and the lead male challenges the actors
to a duel of honor. The heroes may choose a champion to fight on the
actors’ behalf, but the duel will occur. Any others who “dishonor” the
event by getting involved, will find the other Aslan (2D, 60% female)
getting involved as well.

5. A bitter rival of one of the production’s stars sets about to
destroy it by sabotaging equipment, planting paid hecklers in the
audience, and inducing reviewers to slam the show. While his
subordinates are easily stopped and his deeds exposed, he covers his
tracks well and it is very hard to prove his involvement.

6. As 5, except the efforts include harming the actors and PCs and
destroying equipment.