Thursday, August 31, 2023

Example of a World-Driving Rumor Table for a Sci-Fi Game

I am starting a game with my wife in the same setting as my Starfarer game. I needed to set up a starting star system and space station to use as a home base. 8 have some big mysteries and ideas to work with, but I decided to let automated tables do the rest:

I created a star system using the Donjon Star System Generator 

Once I had a star system, I went through and made some notes about how people would live and operate on each of the planets, if they would have a reason to be at them at all.

I came up with a name of a cantina and a marketplace, and a few characters who would be doing vital functions about the space station.

Then I ran the Donjon space jobs generator. I could have also used the space job generator from the Science Fiction Codex of Lists 2e, which I have also used heavily in my solo gaming.

I went through the list and deleted a few repetitive entries. I renamed some characters and to change their species to add a little variety and fit my larger setting. Then I tucked that away in a GM notes document so I knew what was a trap, A scam, or had other difficulties.

I posted most of the jobs on the news board for the space station. Omitting any details of my giveaway surprises, and re-writing them with fees and contacts. 

I then added some flavor posts: a spaceship for sale, but entertainment event, and a couple of items sales to give the sense of the space station as the center of commerce in an active star system.

For every inhabited planet,  I added one or two "flavor jobs" to give a sense of what goes on on that planet. For example, Veles V is a highly volcanic world with a colony on a moon that does experimental hostile environment mining. I got the idea from the fact that it had a moon, and was a volcanically active Rock Planet. Advertising for mineral scanning and engineers to help them work on hostile environment mining Tech seems like a great way to describe that without telling the players what goes on on that planet. 

Likewise, Veles VIII is an ice mining planet with some eccentric, geeky characters turning it into a anarchist party planet. Adds for courtesans, casinos, rock bands, and dangerous sporting events seemed like a great way to get that impression.

In the end, with a little art and flavor added, I've ended up with a very interesting document that I will have beans to the calm link of the player characters when they arrive at the station. It will give them a pretty solid setting with over a dozen hooks in one swoop.

Anything the PCS don't pursue, if it doesn't have a timer already built in, I will give a cumulative 1-in-6 chance of changing or disappearing and being replaced every week (rolling new items from generated tables.)

Here's my final result. (The original tables will follow.)


Please check in with Sergeant Lōm after arriving.

Thirsty? Say hello to Itha-Q6 and Brenna at Bubble & Fizz! Genuine Earth and Uzz-III cuisine.


Rislerr Ryan tells seeks assistance in escorting a robotic freight fleet to Odetle Station. Reward 6,000 cr.

Lora Artez seeks a pilot to transport the Uthaz to the T'Anuthan sector. Comm code invluded. Reward 40,000 cr.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! The Vicious Lips vs. The Smoking Craters! T-minus 64 hours. Get ready for a good time at the Bubble & Fizz.

Lt. Jula Marte: I needs a discrete investigators for a brief investigation. See me at the Bubble & Fizz. Reward 9,000 cr.

N'sark needs a small crew to salvage a derelict freighter in the Anen Sector. Find me at the Temple. Reward Reward 120,000 cr.

Lord Savaan needs a ship to escort a group of robot cargo ships to the Vorti Cluster to assist in negotiating with the isolationists there. See adjutant Thrasak at the Shimmering Sea. Reward 9,000 cr

Ship for Sale!!!! Grelki's Last Joke, Series-Nh8-Y Vyn Starjumper. Well-loved. Outfitted with an industrial M-Laser. 16,600 cr. Find Ousz at the Bubble & Fizz.

Vorr C'somm needs someone to salvage a the Junji Agate in the Dari Foama Cluster. Enquire at the Shimmering Sea.  Reward ~60,000 cr

Atarian magnetic silk  ow for sale at the Shimmering Sea. 

Jamy Peray: I require transport with one other to Veles VIII in time for the Pirate Games. Comm me!

Missing! Vath drummer, Speaks only Keen and Spanish, answers to "Herrera". Last seen on Lunatic Fringe Casino on Veles VIII .

Rosson-D55: Salvage an ancient Vath computer recover an object from the ruins of Vakt-7. Details available. Come knock on the hatch of the Everoe. I will pay 25,000 cr

H'Kanaii: I want someone to escort my Frigate Dustwaalker to Veles III. I haven't  cash, but I will owe you big! I'm at the Bubble & Fizz

Merle: Planetary surveying is lonely work. Hiring companions. Must play chess and poker. Look me up. 😃

Veles I News

Interested in mining opportunities? Check the latest probe data on Veles I at the Shimmering Seas

Veles II News

Veles II welcomes historians, archeologists and retrotechnologists. Flight guidance on comm channel 5.2. QRC agents will be shot on sight.

Veles III News

7 new species of microorganisms identified! <<more>>

Tardigrade and Uxxu populations increasing! We are very proud... <<more>>

Shrimp harvest expected to be excellent in spite of last month's radiation storm. Enquire at the Shimmering Sea for more information. 

Work opportunities for discrete persons with starships and no prior experience working with Hune, Ubul, or Keen. Secure Comm with biometrics here.

Uum: the damn farm robots keep breaking. I need extra techs! Short term work, generous wages. Drop in on Blad Farm Complex 5.

Aerogel needed! Will pay 112.5% matket price! All you can haul. Bring it in to Terraforming plant Alpha.

C'somm Combine is looking for radiation shielding sales agents!

Veles IV News

Merle: Yep, still a boring rock...

Veles V News

Fireborn Industries seeks surveying ships for settled scans. Sensor Array test data required. Reward 2,000 cr. Speak to foreman Irr-X779 on Veles IV - Lunar Colony 5.

Takeshi Ukyō: Looking for human companionship! I miss seeing human beings. Drop in om Lunar Colony 3, and I will treat you to a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, real beer, & vintage computer games!

Nyx: I caught a weak hint of a very old distress signal while passing by Veles V. If you like looking for needles in haystack, it might be worth your while.  Drop me 500 cr if you see me in the promenade.

Veles VI News

Need help clearing booby Traps and robotic defenses from an archeological site. Price negotiable.  Comm attached.

Veles VII News

Merle: Still cold, dark, and airless. Nobody even wants to mine it.

Veles VIII

We have the best games on the frontier!! Come visit our many casinos and lounges, and see how living is pace was meant to be!

Missing! Vath drummer, Speaks only Keen and Spanish, answers to "Herrera". Last seen on Lunatic Fringe Casino on Veles VIII .

Companion Iss is taking new clients!! 💋

☠️☠️ ARR!! T-minus 291 hours until the 33rd Ice Pirate Games! Ice skimmer races, fencing, Rakka drinking, general jackassery! Be there or be a lubber!  ☠️☠️

Original Tables


Star Data
TypeG1 V Yellow Main Sequence
Radius7.99 x 105 km   (1.15 x sol)
Mass2.49 x 1030 kg   (1.25 x sol)
Temperature5800 K
Luminosity5.14 x 1026 W   (1.34 x sol)
TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius7.98 x 107 km   (0.53 AU)
Period3.05 x 103 hours   (0.35 earth years)
Radius5394.33 km   (0.85 x earth)
Gravity7.20 m/s2   (0.74 x earth)
TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius1.20 x 108 km   (0.80 AU)
Period5.58 x 103 hours   (0.64 earth years)
Radius4146.47 km   (0.65 x earth)
Gravity6.35 m/s2   (0.65 x earth)
SpecialAdvanced alien artifact
TypeTerrestrial World
Orbital Radius1.43 x 108 km   (0.96 AU)
Period7.34 x 103 hours   (0.84 earth years)
PhysicsSmall ocean
Radius4296.54 km   (0.67 x earth)
Gravity6.71 m/s2   (0.69 x earth)
Hydrosphere93 % water, 11 % ice
AtmosphereThin toxic
SpecialHeavy radiation
TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius2.20 x 108 km   (1.47 AU)
Period1.40 x 104 hours   (1.60 earth years)
Radius10660.19 km   (1.67 x earth)
Gravity16.45 m/s2   (1.68 x earth)
TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius3.72 x 108 km   (2.49 AU)
Period3.07 x 104 hours   (3.51 earth years)
Radius3185.11 km   (0.50 x earth)
Gravity5.04 m/s2   (0.52 x earth)
Special3 small moons, heavy volcanism
TypeRock Planet
Orbital Radius6.55 x 108 km   (4.38 AU)
Period7.16 x 104 hours   (8.19 earth years)
Radius5198.90 km   (0.82 x earth)
Gravity7.50 m/s2   (0.77 x earth)
SpecialAdvanced alien artifact, large moon
TypeIce Planet
Orbital Radius1.39 x 109 km   (9.31 AU)
Period2.22 x 105 hours   (25.40 earth years)
Radius1502.43 km   (0.24 x earth)
Gravity0.76 m/s2   (0.08 x earth)
TypeIce Planet
Orbital Radius2.56 x 109 km   (17.11 AU)
Period5.53 x 105 hours   (63.28 earth years)
Radius17274.21 km   (2.71 x earth)
Gravity9.78 m/s2   (1.00 x earth)
TypeIce Planet
Orbital Radius4.65 x 109 km   (31.10 AU)
Period1.36 x 106 hours   (155.08 earth years)
Radius20856.96 km   (3.27 x earth)
Gravity10.06 m/s2   (1.03 x earth)
SpecialLarge moon
Distant Companion
TypeM8 V Red Dwarf
Distance1.45 x 1010 km   (96.60 AU)
Radius2.72 x 105 km   (0.39 x sol)
Mass5.56 x 1029 kg   (0.28 x sol)
Temperature2100 K
Luminosity1.02 x 1024 W   (0.00 x sol)

Star System Generator by drow

  1. Rislerr Ryan needs someone to escort a group of robot cargo spaceships to a Oddetle Station. However, the destination requires passing through space controlled by hostile aliens.
  2. A military officer named Jula Marte needs someone to expose a corrupt corporate executive.
  3. A military officer named Braldy Thelly needs someone to rescue a hostage from the pirates of the R'Bisa Sector.
  4. An academic scholar named Hilie Johnsanch needs someone to salvage a derelict type in the Anen Sector. In addition, the crew gets caught in an unrelated firefight.
  5. An aristocrat named Risty Teray needs someone to escort a group of robot cargo spaceships to an uncharted space station in the Vorti Cluster. Further, the crew must travel through a planetary debris cloud.
  6. An alien government official named Balha needs someone to salvage a derelict type in the Dari Foama Cluster.
  7. A government official named Jamy Peray needs someone to transport him and a consort to a local colony.
  8. An aristocrat named Evid Hellee needs someone to transport him and an associate to a local star system.
  9. A wealthy diplomat named Frachy Rosson needs someone to recover an object from the ruins of Colony Location Name. However, the job is a trap.
  10. A mammalian alien named H'Kanaii needs someone to escort a group of robot cargo spaceships to a local world. However, the client can't pay them cash, and must owe a favor.

Alien with the laptop generated using Unstable Diffusion & edited with Sketchbook 3. 
Space station image from No Man's Sky  ©️2017 Hello Games; 
Planetary images courtesy of Many of the jobs were generated using the Donjon Space Jobs Generator


  1. But what about the futures market? We need to know the price for farm-raised spoo if we're going to outfit this expedition properly. Oh, come now, of course they can be safely transported. Those are just rumors...

    One of the better scenes in a sci-fi series (Rimworld, J.L. Curtis) is when the protagonist works his part-time gig as a dangerous game hunter on behalf of a large farm. Too many crocodiles in the river are keeping the workers away from the edges of those fields. The next year, he gets a call about something new eating the crops... and the workers. Turns out the crocs were the only thing keeping the killer hippos away.

    1. A randomized futures market would be really interesting if players wanted a space trading experience like Wing Commander: Privateer or Elite: Dangerous (my brother worked on that one!)

      I might need to find a random market tool to add in now.

      I am sure a machine learning boffin could enter some setting info, the URLs of a few random generators, and get Chat GPT to spit out and update these regularly.

      In a system with more terrestrial life than slime mold, adding in a chance of unexpected consequences for a job might be fun, too.

      Bonus points for Babylon 5 refs.!

  2. 2d6:
    2: -50% (+2 next month's roll)
    3: -30% (+1 next month's roll)
    4: -20%
    5: -10%
    6: -5%
    7: no change
    8: +5%
    9: +10%
    10: +25%
    11: +50% (-1 next month's roll)
    12: +100% (-2 next month's roll)

    1. Neat! I could have fun with that. As it is, I now have Chat GPT spitting out half-decent tables. I can never put a cool idea down.

  3. Ran across this this morning. Check it out.

    1. Thanks! I played within tool awhile back, and totally forgot to review it. I will rectify that error.