Monday, February 3, 2020

Clones for Mongoose Traveller

Clones and cloning have appeared in Traveller at least as early as the Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society 2 (1979). The MT adventure Arrival Vengance has clone NPCs and clone themes. The TNE Regency Sourcebook has several Library Data entries on clones. GURPS Traveller: Nobles has a discussion of clones and inheritances. And Mongoose Traveller’s Pirates of Drinax adventure has several clone NPCs.

But I believe Traveller5 is the first edition to provide detailed rules on how to generate and use clones. And Agent of the Imperium integrates clones into the fabirc of the Third Imperium. The concept is useful and interesting enough to gank for Mongoose Traveller.

Clone Creation

A typical TL13 clone production line.

A clone is a biological copy of an existing being, known as a pattern, and created using the pattern’s own genetic material. Most clones are produced in artificial wombs called metabolic chambers; such clones are sometimes called vat-grown. Some clones follow a normal gestation period, after which they are removed from the chamber and allowed to mature normally like any naturally-born child. The metabolic chamber can also be used to accelerate growth to about one year per week. This forced growth process allows for the creation of adult clones, though this technique also accelerates the aging pattern of the clone.

A force-grown clone body has no developed personality, though it is possible to implant a recorded personality, skills, and memories into the clone’s brain. The implant may be an unaltered recording copied from the pattern, or the implant may be selectively edited to remove memories or shape the personality to better support the clone’s intended purpose.

Generating Characteristics

Clones resemble their pattern in many ways but often exhibit subtle or not-so-subtle differences. Even individual clones from the same batch may have different scores in some characteristics.

Strength, Dexterity, and Endurance: A clone's physical characteristic scores are generated by throwing 1D and referencing the following table.

Clone Characteristic Scores
1D Roll

For example, a pattern has a Strength of 14. Throwing 1D generates a 3, so consulting the “11+” line results in a clone Strength of 9.

Intelligence: A clone that does not receive a personality implant generates an Intelligence score just as with a physical characteristic, by throwing 1D and consulting the “Clone Characteristic Scores” table. A clone that does receive a personality implant uses the same Intelligence score as the pattern, but scores below 2 are raised to 2 and scores above 12 are lowered to 12.

Education and Social Standing: These characteristics do not have genetic components. A clone that does not receive a personality transplant generates these characteristics with 2D just like a new character. A clone that does receive a personality implant uses the same Education and Social Standing scores as the pattern, though scores below 2 are raised to 2 and scores above 12 are lowered to 12.

Other Traits

Skills: A clone that does not receive a personality implant has no skills. A clone that does receive a personality implant receives all the skills and skill levels of the pattern.

Aging: Clones that were force-grown to a physical age of 18 begin making aging checks at age 26 instead of 34.

Guest Clones

Guest Clones are deliberately-created clones intended to be cheap laborers. A guest is a skilled duplicate of the pattern, lacking only the memories of the original. A suitable pattern provides genetic material samples, and personality and skill recordings. Guests are then force-grown and implanted with an edited recorded personality and skills. Although memories are supposed to be edited out of the personality, the process sometimes fails. Guests are typically sterilized when created, and many have physical markings that clearly designate their status.

The legal status of guest clones within the Imperium and the Solomani Confederation is often unclear, and individual worlds may grant expanded or restricted rights to guests. Imperial law considers permanent, uncompensated labor to be the equivalent of chattel slavery, but has repeatedly found that indentured labor is acceptable provided the term of service is delimited and the guest receives “reasonable” compensation and treatment.

Costs of Guests

Factories sell guest clones—or more properly, indenture contracts for guest clones—singly or in batches. These contracts generally range from 4 to 8 years in length, and may be purchased outright for Cr182,000 or can be financed for Cr36,000 down and monthly payments based on the term in years:

Clone Payments
Term (Years)Monthly
Payment (Cr)

Indentures can be sold, traded, or bought out early if the owner wishes. In any case, each clone is legally obligated to fulfill the terms of the indenture to the best of its ability. Once the indenture is complete guests are freed from further service. Although rare, escaped guests that are still under contract are subject to repatriation and may be hunted by bounty hunters.

Because the guest clone inherits an edited personality scan of its pattern, the clone has the same scores for all three mental characteristics (Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing) as the pattern. The guest also has the same skill levels.

Guests in Magyar

Although there are countless varieties of guests in Magyar and Dark Nebula sectors, a few clones are reasonably common in this region:

Alvin Y is a Solomani guest soldier well-suited for combat roles: physically strong and resilient, but experienced with military tactics. A product of NewGenAssist, the guest’s pattern served four terms in the Confederation Army. Str=[6+1D] Dex=[2+1D] End=[6+1D] Int=9 Edu=10 Soc=6; Athletics 0, Explosives 2, Gun Combat (slug) 3, Heavy Weapons (artillery) 1, Leadership 1, Medic 0, Melee (blade) 1, Pilot 0, Recon 1, Stealth 0, Survival 0, Tactics (military) 2.

Cymene is a resourceful Solomani guest laborer able to thrive on the harshest of colony worlds. A product of ConTech, her pattern spent eight years building up a new colony on a cold desert planet, even marrying and raising a family. Occasionally a Cymene will inadvertently remember details from that past life, one of the few known flaws in an otherwise remarkably reliable clone. Str=[5+1D] Dex=[3+1D] End=[6+1D] Int=9 Edu=8 Soc=7; Animals (veterinary) 1, Athletics 0, Drive 0, Flyer 0, Mechanic 0, Navigate 0, Profession (agriculture) 1, Recon 0, Streetwise 0, Survival 3.

Doctor Galena is a female guest produced by ConTech. Her pattern was a famous Solomani doctor who authored one of the standard medical reference works in Magyar sector, A New Anatomy of the Solomani Body, first published in 1011 and now in its 12th edition. A small woman with a raspy voice and cantankerous attitude, “Doctor Gal” was wildly popular in her day, hosting a long-running holovid series from 1028–1042, answering basic medical questions. Although the pattern died in 1072 at the age of 114, her clones are ubiquitous on Solomani worlds. Str=[2+1D] Dex=[4+1D] End=[6+1D] Int=10 Edu=12 Soc=11; Advocate 1, Art (write) 1, Athletics 0, Diplomat 0, Drive 0, Electronics (computer) 1, Investigate 0, Language 0, Medic 4, Persuade 0, Science (biology) 2, Science (genetics) 1, Vacc Suit 0.

Margeaux is a female guest based on the famous Imperial performer, Margot Furst. Born on Dingir in 1034, Furst was a talented singer and actress who exploded onto the entertainment scene when she was still a teen, appearing in a string of smash holovids. She struggled with fame, losing her fiance in an air/raft accident when she was only 28. In her later years Furst continued to be a successful star but behind the scenes struggled with drug use, dying while on vacation on Terra in 1074. Cynosure Entertainment, which owned her image and genetic pattern, released the Margeaux clone posthumously to “honor Margot’s eternal legacy.” Various Margeaux clones have gone on to star in a dozen or more Cynosure hits since Furst’s death. Str=[3+1D] Dex=[4+1D] End=[5+1D] Int=10 Edu=5 Soc=12; Art (performer) 4, Carouse 2, Deception 1, Drive 0, Electronics 0, Persuade 0, Steward 0, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1.

Marlowe is a male guest marketed as a fixer, a general purpose investigator skilled at infiltration and—if necessary—physical persuasion. A product of Kline Synthetic Technologies, the pattern for Marlowe had served four terms working for the Gladwell Security Agency in Magyar sector. Str=[5+1D] Dex=[4+1D] End=[6+1D] Int=12 Edu=8 Soc=5; Deception 0, Drive 0, Electronics 0, Gun Combat (slug) 2, Investigate 2, Melee (unarmed) 1, Persuade 2, Recon 1, Streetwise 2.

Mascon is a versatile and well-educated guest sold by Totaliti Workforce, able to assist with many tasks onboard merchant starships. The female pattern completed five terms in the merchant marines of Daibei, rising to First Officer. Str=[1+1D] Dex=[2+1D] End=[2+1D] Int=12 Edu=10 Soc=8; Admin 1, Animals 0, Astrogation 0, Athletics (dexterity) 1, Broker 0, Electronics (comms) 2, Language 0, Leadership 1, Mechanic 2, Medic 0, Persuade 0, Pilot (spacecraft) 3, Steward 0, Vacc Suit 1.

Modesti is a female Solomani guest produced by ConTech, a tough and streetwise clone often employed as a bodyguard, courier, or enforcer. As Modesties are associated with illicit activities, they are occasionally banned altogether from Imperial worlds with Law Levels of 7 or higher. Str=[4+1D] Dex=[3+1D] End=[5+1D] Int=11 Edu=5 Soc=7; Athletics (strength) 2, Deception 1, Diplomat 0, Drive (grav) 1, Electronics 0, Flyer 0, Gun Combat 0, Melee (unarmed) 3, Pilot 0, Recon 0, Stealth 1, Streetwise 1, Vacc Suit 0.

Roger Echo is a skilled guest soldier trained to fight in harsh wilderness environments. A product of SuSAG, the pattern was an Imperial Army sergeant experienced in special reconnaissance, having served three terms—including four separate deployments in warzones. Str=[5+1D] Dex=[3+1D] End=[5+1D] Int=6 Edu=6 Soc=8; Athletics (endurance) 1, Drive 0, Electronics 0, Gun Combat (slug) 2, Heavy Weapons 0, Leadership 1, Melee (unarmed) 1, Recon 2, Stealth 1, Survival 1, Vacc Suit 0.

Sung is an experienced Solomani belter capable of working extended hours in zero-G environments. A product of Argent Mining, Sungs are prized for their relentless focus and meticulous work. This guest clone is not available outside of the Wuan Technology Association. Str=[5+1D] Dex=[5+1D] End=[6+1D] Int=9 Edu=8 Soc=7; Athletics (dexterity) 2, Astrogation 0, Carouse 0, Electronics 0, Mechanic 0, Pilot 0, Profession (belter) 2, Science 0, Vacc Suit 1.

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  1. Great, simple system, thanks. Very usable in game. The only quibble I have is that SOC should be dependent upon actual social status. While a clone may have the social graces of their pattern, the actual SOC of an indentured servant would be quite low.

    Again, good stuff.

    1. I agree with you that Soc is different and had toyed with a couple of ideas. Offspring clones should probably generate Soc either with 2D or by using the table above. (Although not genetic, at least a component of Soc is inheritable.) Relict clones should use the same Soc as the pattern, with no cap. They are effectively replacements for the pattern. If marked with obvious status identifiers, guests should probably have lower Soc scores than the pattern, maybe -2 or so. But then again, guests like Dr. Galena or Margeaux, designed to emulate a famous personage, might have Soc equal to the pattern. Med clones should probably have Edu and Soc scores or 0.