All Exploration Sites must still possess their wealth after all this time, or they wouldn't be useful for purposes of gaming. Therefore, something must be standing guard over that valuable, or at least preventing people from exploiting it. It's hard to catalogue all of the possibilities that exist in many Traveller Universes, but I will at least try to hit the most common elements in my efforts below. The reason I decided to create a separate table for Exploration Site Challenges is because sites require more active interference, and so I aimed for more problems and complications on a personal level rather than on a world level.
Inspired by the Ruin Obstacles table in An Echo Resounding, I offer the following table for determining Exploration Site Challenges. As always, please note that it contains what I believe to be common Traveller tropes for exploration site challenges, based on character creation rules and other system elements found in the core rulebook. Your Traveller Universe may be different from mine regarding those underlying assumptions. If you come across an entry that doesn't seem to fit your needs, please feel free to change it for your own personal setting development.
Table: Exploration Site Challenges
d66 Exploration Site Challenges 11 Alien Invaders 12 Anti-Psi Cultists 13 Bounty Hunters 14 Cannibalistic Locals 15 Crime Syndicate 16 Dangerous Parasites 21 Deadly Spies 22 Dueling Rakes 23 Enemy Terrorists 24 Enigmatic Conspirators 25 Feuding Families 26 Fierce Predators 31 Fleeing Traitors 32 Game Wardens 33 Government Interference 34 Harsh Conditions 35 Hidden Evil 36 High Radiation 41 Illegal Poachers 42 Infected Mobs 43 Life-Hating AI 44 Living Planet 45 Man-Eating Monsters 46 Occupation Forces 51 Progenitor Defenses 52 Psionic Adepts 53 Raiding Offworlders 54 Ravenous Pests 55 Religious Zealots 56 Resistance Fighters 61 Secret Assassins 62 Sovereign Guardians 63 Stealthy Saboteurs 64 Unscrupulous Smugglers 65 Vigilant Psi-Warriors 66 Referee's Choice (Something Unusual)
Using the table above, I generated an Exploration Site Challenge for each of the three Exploration Sites we're using as examples. Here's what I came up with:
For Mudhava (Segin 2414 E526330-6), I rolled "Stealthy Saboteurs". Our exploration site was a Pirate Base, and is valued by patrons for the Scientific Research found within it. Adding saboteurs into the mix works in this instance. One of the biggest challenges that adventuring PCs will face in exploring this site will likely be rivals from among the surviving members of the original corsair band. They cannot find the treasure they believe is in the base, and thus they will sabotage the efforts of any other treasure hunters, hoping to keep them from obtaining the valuables hidden within the base. There's probably a lot of traps and ambushes, etc., that will plague explorers. This reminds me of a kobold warren in fantasy games, so this scenario works for me.
I generated "Dangerous Parasites" for Prishiboro (Segin 2810 E596568-5). As a reminder, our exploration site was a Wartorn City, and is valued by patrons for the Sacred Reliquary found within it. This could be lots of fun, as my initial idea reminds me a lot of the scenario from the movie Aliens. There are nests of these creatures throughout the ruins, and they tend to enrage any creature that they infest. This lets me add in some flavor from the movie Cujo, too. Oh, yes, this will definitely be run as a horror scenario.
Rolling for Tajimamori (Segin 2608 X410244-8 Red Zone) produced a result of "High Radiation". In this particular case, our exploration site was a Secret Base, and is valued by patrons for the Treasure Map found within it, with the added complication that there are Electronic Disruptions occurring in the system. This particular hazard creates another challenge for explorers, particularly if I put in situations that threaten to compromise suit integrity in addition to electronics complications. This is a situation where the environment is the enemy, more than anything else. (There will definitely be other challenges, too, but the big one will be the environment.) The flavor is distinct from our first two examples, so I'm good with how this has come together.
In our next post, I'll put all of this together into some world write-ups, then we can move into the next stage of the Traveller campaign setting development process: Lairs! Oh, yes, we're going to have a lot of fun with the active antagonists that will rear their ugly heads in that section of the development.