Population

Now we’re getting to the really interesting bits: Populating all those worlds. In the standard Traveller system, Population size is simply rolled with 2d6-2. The “hard science” rules add the following modifiers:

  • If Size is 0–2 (low gravity world) then the DM is –1.
  • If Size is A (high gravity world) then the DM is –1.
  • If Atmosphere is not 5, 6 or 8 then the DM is –1.
  • If Atmosphere is 5, 6 or 8 then the DM is +1.

With either variation, the end result is that almost all systems will be populated (2d6-4 means 83.33% of at least population 1). The digit translates like so:

Digit

Population

Range

Description

0

None

0

Uninhabited

1

Few

1+

A tiny farmstead or a single family

2

Hundreds

100+

A village

3

Thousands

1,000+

4

Tens of thousands

10,000+

Small town

5

Hundreds of thousands

100,000+

Average city

6

Millions

1,000,000+

7

Tens of millions

10,000,000+

Large city

8

Hundreds of millions

100,000,000+

9

Billions

1,000,000,000+

Present day Earth

10 (A)

Tens of billions

10,000,000,000+

11 (B)

Hundreds of billions

100,000,000,000+

Incredibly crowded world

12 (C)

Trillions

1,000,000,000,000+

World-city

The Slightly Modified Version

In essence, there’s nothing wrong with this roll – it fits the Traveller assumptions of a Earl Dumarest-style universe of countless inhabited but more or less isolated systems.

The assumptions aren’t quite what I’d like; I’d prefer highly-populated Garden worlds surrounded by tons of smaller border colonies.

With that in mind, I’d probably go with 2d6-4, and add (in addition to the “hard science” DMs):

  • +1 if the world has water (hydropgraphics 1+)
  • +1 if it is Temperate
  • -1 if it is frozen or boiling
  • -2 if it is searing
  • -2 if size is 11 or higher

This way the maximum positive DM is +3 (2d6-1), resulting in “hundreds of billions” of people, and habitable worlds. A garden world will always be inhabited though; the GM should probably omit population rolls for worlds he knows were never explored or add a “fudge factor”, a negative DM for “undeveloped subsectors”.

A searing super-earth with an unpleasant atmosphere is 2d6-9, so it will have at most “thousands” of people.

An Asteroid base with temperate “climate” will be at the default 2d6-4, the same as in the standard Traveller rules (the additional -2 is negated by the +2 for temperate climate).

Again, these numbers would have to be playtested, but I think they should work.

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