Mouse Culture

Ian M. Banks culture novel concept of Contact and Special Circumstances applied to the traveller universe.

Disfunctional team of miscreants used by higher powers to maintain the status quo.

That’s what we are working on and Mouse Guard seems a more appropriate system than any iteration of Traveller. So I see it as a mashup.

And we get to make up cool ship names too.

Wonderful! Please post or link when you have some stuff to share :slight_smile:

Were you thinking straight sci-fi, or still keeping mice?

Imagine beehives as the Minds? Not smart individually, but the hive itself generates a kind of emergent intelligence that the mice living in the same tree (or whatever) benefit from.

Straight Traveller Sci Fi really. Whilst the setting and backstory of Traveller has always appealed to me, the standard Traveller scenarios of Mercenary Tickets and Trade Routes have not. I’m a big fan of the culture novels and the idea of a Contact/Special Circumstances equivalent in the OTU sounded cool.

The closest thing to that in traveller canon is IRIS.

In the culture novels, the minds invariably reach out to very non-culture-like citizens (and often non-culture full stop) for Contact and SE to perform tasks that test the morality of the individuals. This fits nicely into the MG mechanics I think. As do missions and mystery solving. I don’t think any iteration of the Traveller rules a geared to this either.

I don’t want to do full-blown culture because I’m heavily invested in the OTU.

Human nature for IRIS (read Special Circumstances) agents in the Third Imperium
I struggled with this for a long time. The Starships and Spacemen hack put me on the right track though.

The four aspects of a character’s human nature are,
Human nature starts at 3.
Questions :
Have you overcome adversity in your past?
If you have overcome adversity, add 1 to your nature, increase your survival skill by 1 if you take it.
If you have not overcome adversity, subtract 1 from your nature.
Are you from the core?
If you are from the core, add core-born trait.
If you are not from the core, add 1 to your nature, you may not take the core-born trait.
Does your weapon of choice have a name?
If your weapon has a name, add 1 to your nature.
Are you a loner?
If you are a loner, subtract 1 from your nature.

Nature 0 : You have ‘gone native’. You have assumed the characteristics of the subject of your mission. You are of no more use to IRIS and you don’t want to be.
Nature 7 : Civilian. You have lost the will to to perform these acts in the name of the Imperium. You are of no more use to IRIS.

Brawler (replaces Sharp-tooth)
You are disposed to fighting hand-to-hand and are prepared to win by any means necessary. A fair fight is one I win! Always first to start a confrontation and usually first to finish it.

Core-born/bred (replaces Guard’s Honour)
You were born, raised or educated within the core sector of the imperium. The imperium is a way of life to you. It is second nature. Your social standing is high in the imperium and you are entrusted with certain privileges because of this. You do, however, have less sympathy for the philistines who exist outside the core.

Grunt (replaces Big Paw)
You are a warrior and proud of it. A foot soldier who eschews the trappings of command. You are in the trenches fighting the good fight within sight of the whites of the enemies eyes. You have a healthy disrespect for authority.

Guilt (new)
You have seen things most people wouldn’t believe and done things that would be viewed as criminal in normal imperial life. This weighs on your conscience. Do the means always justify the ends?

Messiah Complex (new)
You are the instrument of a higher power. You are the saviors of this confused bunch of savages. The imperium knows what is good for them. Better than they do.

Perceptive (replaces wolf’s snout)
You see things before anyone else and sometimes they are gone before you can tell everyone. Your eyes are ever alert for the threat or the opportunity. Your peers sometimes think you are a little paranoid.

Psionic (replaces Long Tail - i.e an odd genetic trait that is leveraged by the character)
You have strange dreams. Sometimes deja-vu. You can make things happen by will alone. You must not tell anyone as it is both a gift and a curse.
Note: This is a tricky one. The player doesn’t necessarily want to reveal this trait to his or her team. The general disposition to psionic abilities in the imperium is not good. A player may want to call in this trait to achieve his or her goal but at the risk of exposing their abilities to the team or their handlers. Maybe using this trait would tax their human nature?

Resistance (replaces defender)
You were born in a world under the heel of oppression and you fought against it. Street by street, field by field. You sympathize with the plight of the people you seek to liberate.

Techie (new)
You are at one with technology. ‘If I can reroute the power coupling through the jump-drive inducer circuit then we might be able to achieve jump-3!’

Techno-fear (new)
Technology hates you. ‘Every time I try to access the interlink I get a 400X error! Give me that book!’

Xenophobe (new)

Humaniti is prime! All other, so-called, sentients are a thorn in the Imperiums side. You see your work as assimilation.

Removed the following traits,

Deep ear,
Early riser,

This means we have the same number of total traits as MG.

Aw, you took out Lost!

Human nature seems a bit too broad. (It’s tough when non-humans don’t have a strong presence.) Perhaps contrast Special Circumstances members with the rest of humanity - or better yet for Culture - with the Minds?

Yep. Nature for this scenario has proved the most difficult aspect of this hack to nail down for me. My initial idea was that an agent would have his humanity taxed by performing his duty. Humanity being the more social and nurturing aspects of the psyche. I suppose the main struggle of this scenario is the big picture versus the small picture. The means versus the ends of a mission.


By the way, no minds in this version. It’s a culture/traveller mashup. I left minds out which I know is a major factor of the culture.

If Nature isn’t working, that is a signal to me that this engine probably isn’t the right fit. Nature’s integral to Mouse Guard.

No disagreement on that point, but I think the translation of mouse nature is the most important and difficult thing to get right. As you say, it’s integral. I’m not giving up yet though.

Perhaps use professions as nature? Marine, Scout, etc? And then come up with 4 qualities for each?

why not integrate it as a humanity/feelings vs. technology/robotics/logic thing?