Space Colonists

Max_Writer's picture
January 21, 2012 - 1:31pm
I'm trying to get a game of Bughunters (for TSR's Amazing Engine system :P) together and the premise of the scenario I found is that the PCs are Synth (synthetic humans) Marines who are being sent as the security force (all six of them) for a starter colony on 61 Cygni A, Planet Two. The colony consists of 50 people and to add to the game a little (and perhaps act as a red herring), I'm writing up a passenger manifest for the ship. All of the passengers are in stasis (as normal humans become nauseous and disoriented when exposed to the Isler FTL drives).

Long story to get to the question.

The manifest is going to list name, age, sex, nation of origin, etc., as well as "Profession" and I'm trying to figure out what professions would be chosen for such a colony.

Year is about 2132 or so and, after mankind's earliest colonies (sent in large, lumbering ships starting around 2115) started to fail due to the horrors on some of the worlds they were sent to, United Terra decided to test planets with tiny colonies guarded by Synths first, to see if said worlds were feasible.

So, any ideas of what professions might be sent to said worlds? So far I've gotten:


Of course, some of the professions will have little to do with life on the colony (and I'm making the assumption that some people who volunteered would simply end up doing whatever jobs needed done (such as the driver, housewife, barber, lumberjack, and such).

Any other suggestions?

jedion357's picture
January 21, 2012 - 4:59pm
For some scientific expeditions to antartica everyone present takes turns cooking. Cook is a possibility to delete off the list. One of NASA's current concerns for a trip to Mars is food going bad. Current technologies for packaging food have very few items that are good after 5 years and they need the food to last 10 years. So someone that should be included in your expedition aught to be a horticulturalist who will be responsible to keep the team fed. Though if humanity has access to stasis tech then perhaps fresh food can be shipped in stasis. Though contingencies should be in place for the possibility that they could get stuck there and need to feed themselves for years.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

jedion357's picture
January 21, 2012 - 5:03pm
You might also consider changing some of the profession titles like miner, which sounds so blue colar to geological engineer and the clerk to admin assitent etc. You'll need an administrator/ commander for the expedition.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

AZ_GAMER's picture
January 21, 2012 - 6:19pm

1. Security Specialist / sheriff (civillian) to help keep the colonists in line
2. Deputy - assistant to the sheriff
3. communication specialist
4. Janitor / Porter
5. Quartermaster / merchant trader (for keeping supplies ordered and distributed)
6. climatologist / meterologist
7. waste management / recycling specialist
8. priest, chaplin, pastor, spiritual advisor
9. corporate liason
10. computer tecnician (you will need a couple of these)
11. bar tender
12. entertainer singer/dancer
13. water reclimation / management specialist
14. naturalist
15. xeno biologist
16. stasis tech
17. life support system specialist
18. electrician / carpenter / metal worker / fabricator
19. mine foreman
20. occupational safety rep.
21. human resources rep.
22. workers union rep.
23. shop stewart

jedion357's picture
January 21, 2012 - 6:45pm
With only 50 people do you think they will send a chaplin? Why not a Councilor like Deana Troy? making space for a phsyc-social specialist NPC or PC. I think that most of those that go would scientist or engineers.

Is this a first step colony? these people are settign up the ground work and infrastructure for the follow on waves or just a study group to evaluate the viability of colonizing it? The answer will determine the %  of scientist to engineers.

Why are they sending 6 security specialists? do they have a reason to expect trouble? are their hostile fauna?

In a group this small they will make their own entertainment, people will bring out their music instruments after dinner and spend time together telling jokes, stories and singing songs. So I dont see you need singers/dancersnor a bartender. You know for the professions you're listing you might want to bump the number to 300 or 500 then a chaplin, dancer and bartender would be warrented. Far more likely that everyone wears more than one hat with such a small group.

There must have been an initial survey team that visited before this large of an investment was made.
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

AZ_GAMER's picture
January 21, 2012 - 8:33pm

Depending on the culture of the colonists a chaplin / spiritual advisor may be essential. Or that could also be replaced by a political officer if it was from a totalitarian regime. The chaplin may also be a miner as well but his profession is chaplin / clergy/ advisor.

as far as the bar tender and entertainment, that depends on how long they are going to be there at the colony before they get any homeworld contact. You need to keep the miners sane and productive which means entertainment. It may be accomplished by the same person but ask any soldier in Iraq of Afgh. if they want to be without the USO or some of the comforts of home. Sure you can have holo entertainment but someone has to run it and maintain it. Sure the miners can entertain themselves but at some point they will get tired of each other and start to turn on one another. An entertainer or bartender helps fulfill the non-clinical councelling. Lets face it, having a psychologist is essential but it rough miner types are more likely to talk to their local bartender then the company shrink.

Max_Writer's picture
January 21, 2012 - 8:35pm
Thanks guys.  These ideas are great.

The planet is terrestrial and very earth like. Here's the survey reports put together for a prop:

61 Cygni A, Planet Two

Position: 2
Satellites: 4
Planetary Gravity: .978 g
Land Area 89%
Year/Day: 391 days/34 hours
Atmospheric Density: Terrestrial
Climate: Tropical

2120: Automated probe surveyed planetary system and planet.

2131: UTRPF Survey (3 July – 6 July).

Initial survey found planet’s habitable areas are primarily rain forest. The planet is primarily jungle-covered and lush with small seas and numerous rivers and lakes. Vegetation is compatible with human physiology though some processing will be needed to make it completely digestible. Initial soil surveys indicate the probability of relocation of Earth flora and fauna to planetary surface. Some indication of possible exploitable resources for pharmaceutical purposes.

Negligible life forms on planetary surface. The largest herbivores are equivalent to a gazelle and only aggressive with threatened. Largest carnivore found is roughly the size and shape of a badger. Recommendations for colonization suggest only a small military force will be needed to protect any colonies planted on-world.

Geological survey indicates the world is sound. No indication of large amounts of rare metals or materials in initial survey. Recommend more intricate and detailed geological survey once colony is established.

Here's the intro in the (only) scenario for the game:

"In its first attempts at colonizing the stars, United Terra is discovering that the galaxy hosts horrible dangers. But given the increcible distances involved, the extent of those dangers remains unknow. In a groping effort to gain better information of Sol's galactic neighborhood, United Terra has decided for the moment to pepper the stars in Sol's vicinity with a virtual shotgun blast of colony ships."

Mankind has only used FTL for manned flight since 2111 and the second colony on Alpha Centauri's second planet was established in 2115. Outpost teams started being sent to various other nearby star systems, until the automated cargo ship failed ro return from UV Ceti in 2123 (an outpost team had been sent there in 2120). The UV Ceti unmanned probe that returned in 2125 had photos taken from orbit of the cargo ship at the outpost, but otherwise merely radio silence. A manned mission was immediately launched. Only a single member of that mission returned in 2127. He brought with him a horrifying story of the team's slaughter at the hands of hostile alien creatures.

Then, in 2128, the cargo ship sent to Ross 154 (where an outpost was established in 2119) fails to return, the UT Security Council authorized secret work to create human genetically superior clones to defend mankind. The next year, the cargo ship sent to Ross 248 (another outpost team had been sent there in 2121 as well) fails to return.

So, outside of Alpha Centauri, every single outpost team has failed to return. Acey-Two (the nickname for the colony on Alpha Centauri II) is the only full-fledged colony world beyond the solar system.

Hope that helps. Basically, this is one of the test colonies that is first using the synths to defend it. Earth is hoping to establish beachheads on several planets in the hopes that one of them will hold. Once the colony is dropped off, supply ships are due to arrive every six months.

TerlObar's picture
January 21, 2012 - 9:18pm
I have a comment related to your planetary brief.  This is just my gut reaction since we only have one data point but if the planet is 89% land its going to be very dry, probably mostly desert.  I don't think you would actually have rain forests.  Remember Earth (that's the one data point) is only about 30% land.

As to the composition, since the colony is there to establish a beachhead.  I would expect it to be split between a mining team (possibly fairly small since the world was reported to not have any obvious resources to exploit), a farming team (to establish self-sufficency), and an infrastructure team to help set up the initial settlement and keep it running.

So I see:
- colony manager/captain/leader whatever
- colony manager's assistant
- 6 PC security team
- lead geologist/miner
- 5 man mining crew including a roboticist (if they have robots) and a couple of technicians/engineers
- lead farmer
- 10 man farming crew
- a couple of biologists/xeno biologists to work with the local fauna and adapting the earth strains to the new planet
- a civil engineer to plan out and design the settlement
- 5 man construction crew to do the building and maintenance
- a couple or four engineers/technicians/roboticists to keep all the equipment running. One should be a power engineer to maintain the settlement's power system.
- a couple doctors and nurses to take care of injuries/ailments/etc.
- supply officer and assistant

I'm sure there are a few others I missed but if not you can increase the size of the different groups to provide the necessary number.
Ad Astra Per Ardua!
My blog - Expanding Frontier
Webmaster - The Star Frontiers Network & this site
Founding Editor - The Frontier Explorer Magazine
Managing Editor - The Star Frontiersman Magazine

Deryn_Rys's picture
January 22, 2012 - 5:43pm
Personally I think that even a starting colony should have more than 50 people in it. You should have at least three times that many people. You'd need at least 2 shifts/job, with each shift working about 6 hours, Plus you should have at least one additional person who can fill in for anyone who gets sick, or dies, specially in a situation where getting a replacement for someone working in an essential area would be very difficult, and where going without a person capable of performing an essential task would be detrimental to the whole affair.

Of course you could have robots perform certain jobs to cut back on living personel, but you would need at least one labor pool overseer, and at least two technitians per 4 robots that you have to insure that these robots were kept in working order.

A survey team could be relatively small, but if you're talking about a group who are setting up a colony, you really are looking about a minimum of about 150-200 colonists. look at aliens where you had a very small "shake and bake" colony of terraformers, and there were at least 100 working adults and maybe 30 or so non-essential personnel (family members, children).

That's just my opinion, I've been wrong before.
"Hey guys I wonder what this does"-Famous last words
"Hey guys, I think it's friendly." -Famous last words
"You go on ahead, I'll catch up." -Famous last words
"Did you here that?" -Famous last words

rattraveller's picture
January 22, 2012 - 7:24pm
Will this be a starting colony or a work colony? The early American colonies had crews but also included families. Now there weren't alot of them, think original Jamestown had 113 men, 7 women and 6 children. Of course sexual equality being much better in the Frontier married couples could make up teams but children would still be in the mix somewhere.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Menoitios's picture
January 22, 2012 - 8:39pm
If you are going to list professions for colonies don't forget:

Max_Writer's picture
January 22, 2012 - 9:23pm
Menoitios wrote:
If you are going to list professions for colonies don't forget:
HA!  I love this.  Okay - I've got to change three of my nerf professions (those who have professions that don't fit colonization but they were chosen as basic workers) now.

Thanks for all of the input everyone.  I've got a respectable list now.  As this is a seed colony that United Terra is not sure is even going to survive a season, I'm going to leave it at the 50 in the adventure.  It's split evenly between men and women and everyone is ages 19-32 (with the most being in their mid-20s).  Any more ideas are welcome (I've already changed the Anthropologist to a Veterinarian for one).