Jan 28, 2012

A Few Modifications to the Stars Without Number Planetary Generator

There was a point at which I had used the Stars Without Number planetary generation more than just about anyone else, excepting perhaps the author of the game himself. By the time I'd drawn up the Tellian Sector for 40K using it, I had 130-odd locations drawn up. While the generator is very good (the best since Traveller's), it does tend to produce extremely normal worlds - easily inhabited, populated by hundreds of thousands of ordinary citizens. I prefer a little more variety in my science fiction settings, so I came up with the following modifications to the system:

1) Roll 1d6 for interesting locations within a system to be statted out.

2) Change some of the ranges to create fewer garden worlds. The norm in SWN is a world with a breathable atmosphere, a human-miscible biosphere, temperate temperature, with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants at TL4.

Specifically, I would change the Atmosphere table to read

2 Corrosive
3-4 Inert Gas
5-6 Airless / Thin
7-8 Breathable Mix
9-10 Thick, Mask-Breathable
11 Invasive, Toxic
12 Corrosive, Invasive

Temperature to

2 Frozen
3-4 Variable Temperate to Cold
5-6 Cold
7 Temperate
8-9 Warm
10-11 Variable Warm to Temperate
12 Burning

Biosphere to

2 Biosphere Remnants
3 Microbial Life
4-6 No Native Biosphere
7 Human-Miscible Biosphere
8-10 Immiscible Biosphere
11 Hybrid Biosphere
12 Engineered Biosphere

and Tech Level to

2 - TL 0
3 - TL 1
4 - TL 2
5-7 - TL 3
8-10 TL 4
11 TL4 + Specialty
12 TL 5

3) The book recommends rolling for two tags, but I think 3-4 is more interesting and helps to throw planets into sharper relief from one another. This is especially true if you don't use the above altered tables, since you'll need something to make all the garden worlds the base tables generate distinct.