Search SJML Archives! (Powered by Google)

Previous Message: New Ship: Cobra
Next Message: Re: SPELLJAMMER digest 130
Month Index: February, 1995

From:     RJPugh@???.com
Date:     Sun, 19 Feb 1995 13:03:38 -0500
Subject:  Re: Trill thrills (ver 1.1)
Hello again.

After much delay, here is the revised edition of the Trill essay, which
incorporates several of the comments that were made the last time this thread
was active.  As before, feel free to comment.  If someone wants to be so bold
as the play test a Trill character, go for it, and tell us how it works out.



(A character race for Spelljammer.)

[Some of the information below is derived from Reid Bluebaugh's "Guide to
Star Trek in AD&D."]

Race Overview

The Trill are basically a humanoid race in appearence.  They tend to be quite
thin, with a series of brown spots that start around the temples, go down the
neck and shoulders, and ultimately to the ankles.

The Trill are a symbiotic race.  Many Trills, especially those that travel in
space, have what is called a "symbiont."  The symbiont is an invertebrate
creature that looks something like a short, fat snake, roughly eight inches
to a foot long, with a bulbous head and a flexable carapace.  The symbiont
can be implanted into a special cavety in the abdomen of the humanoid trill
(called a "host" in these cases).  When this is done, the two beings function
as one in all respects.  Humanoid trills without a symbiont can be considered
identical to humans in all respects except for some minor physical

Joined Trill (both host and symbiont) generally retain the basic personality
of the humanoid host, but the host gains all (or most) of the skills and
memories of any other host that the symbiont has had in the past.  There are
cases where the character of the symbiont, which generally tends to be
logical, calculating and extremely dull, dominates that of the host, but this
has proven to be the exception.  Generally the host brings the ability to
experience life, and the symbiont brings the experience of previous lives.

How this arrangement developed is a subject of constant debate.  Even the
Trill aren't entirely sure.  According to their mythology, the symbionts
lived underground while the humanoids were on the surface.  Due to an
environmental disaster, the two races were forced to 'join' to survive. As
time went on, this mutual support evolved into a biological interdependency.

Today, symbionts and Trill humanoids can and do live seperately, but members
of both races seem to "want" to be joined.  If for some reason a symbiont is
seperated from its host, the symbiont dies within twelve hours, unless a new
host can be provided, or the host is returned to the Trill homeworld.  A host
that has lost his or her symbiont dies within a few days.  It is possible to
prevent this using powerful healing magic, but typically the host will refuse
such help.  The emotional dependence derived from the union is so strong that
the host doesn't want to live without it.

On the Trill homeworld, unjoined symbionts live underground in silty,
subterranean pools, where they reproduce and communicate.  They communicate
with one another through some means of telepathy.  This telepathy can not be
transfered to a humanoid, however.  Only a joined trill host can communicate
with unjoined symbionts in this matter, and even this is restricted to
unclear images.

According to Trill history, joining between host and symbiont was at one time
unmoderated and highly random.  This often resulted in unsiutable matchings.
 Wars, social injustice, and a variety of other equally ugly things occured
as a result.  Apparently the Trill learned the hard way that symbosis isn't
something to be taken lightly.

Today, the joining of a symbiont with a host is managed by a group of sages
called "The Symbiosis Commission," which is a branch of the Trill government.
 Several factors are considered when paring a host and a symbiont: character
of the host, previous experiences of the symbiont, family history, and so
forth.  Many trill never reveice a symbiont, and many symbionts spend their
lives in the silt pools underground.

A symbiont can live without a host, so long as it's within one of the silt
pools on the Trill homeworld.  No other suitable location has (yet) been
found anywhere else.  If the symbiont has at some point in it's life had a
host, it tends to pine for a new host ever after.

The joining or a host and symbiont usually occurs during the early adulthood
of the humanoid host, though it could occur at any time after the host
reaches physical maturity.  The lifespan of a symbiont has been estimated at
about 500 years, so a given symbiont can have as many as ten hosts in it's
life time.  The symbiont somehow "knows" when it's time is reaching an end.
 When this happens, the host will devote large amounts of time to writing and
recording all the knowledge of the symbiont.

"Let's go count each other's spots."
- Trill pick-up line.

Trill Characters

AD&D Mechanics:

NPC trills may find roles as sages, patrons, diplomats, ambassadors, various
types of contacts, and so on.  Naturally, GM supervision is strongly
recommended in the creation of a PC trill, if a GM is willing to allow such.
 Experienced players (i.e. no munchkins) might find playing a trill an
interesting role-playing experience.

Ability         Range      Adjustment
Strength        3/17         -1
Dexterity       3/18         0
Constitution    3/16         -d2
Intelligence    6/20         *
Wisdom          7/21         *
Charisma        5/18         +1

Notes: The adjustments apply only to joined Trills.  Unjoined Trills should
be considered humans in terms of game mechanics.  If during the course of
play an unjoined Trill receives a symbiont, the adjustments are then applied
to the character's statistics.

Trills tend to have numerous physical weekness, probably as a result of the
symbiosis.  Hense the penalties on Strength and Constitution.  A truly wicked
GM might want to give them vulnerability to certain kinds of magics, poisons,
and so on.

By the same token, however, Trills have sizeable benefits for Inteligence and
Wisdom.  This reflects several lifetimes of experience, as conveyed by the
symbiont.  To reflect this, assume that the symbiont has lived in each
previous host for 51 to 70 years: 50+d20. (Determining the number of previous
hosts is described below).  The character then adds this resulting total to
their effective age, and receive the intelligence and wisdom benefits therof.
 However, they do not receive the physical penalties of old age until the
host reaches the appropriate age.

For a trill, physical age refers to the age of the host, which has the same
range as a human.  "Actual age," however, referes to the comined age of the
symbiont (determined as above) and the current host.

Skills and character classes:  All character classes are available to Trills,
and there is no limit to how high they can advance in their chosen class.
 Stats and class mechanics may impose limits, just as they would for any
other character.  Trills do have the option of becomming dual class
characters, though very few of them do.  No one has a good reason for this,
but it's probably related to the combined experiences of the symbiont
override any desire to make a major carear change:

     "Been there, done that."

When a PC generates a Trill PC, they should roll 1d12-1.  This indicates how
many hosts their symbiont has had.  For each host, the character earns 2-5
secondary skills *and* one non-weapon proficiency.  The secondary skills
should be totally random.  Duplicate rolls for a secondary skill (if they
happen) should be changed into a matching non-weapon proficiency.

The non-weapon proficiencies from the symbiont should be based on the
experiences of the previous hosts.  This can be achieved with the supervision
of the GM, or by using the following table:

d6  Class of previous host:
1   Warrior
2-3 Mage
4-5 Priest
6   Rogue

When the classes of the previous hosts are determined, the PC may select a
non-weapon proficieny from the lists of nonweapon proficiency groups (PH

In the cases where a symbiont has had a spellcasting host, the GM should roll
a d6.  On a 1-2, the spellbooks of the previous host (or hosts) are still
available, and the PC (if a wizard) will be able to copy them.  In the case
of wizard spells, the current host need not check to "learn" the spell,
because the symbiont, while unable to cast spells, already "knows" the spell.

In the case of a previous host being a priest, the GM should decide which
diety the previous priest worshiped.  The Trill character may then be able to
cast spells that are normally restricted to the previous hosts dietie,
assuming that the current host's dietiy isn't in direct opposition.

GURPS Mechanics:
(One version exists in a series of files by
tmp_harkins@?????.???????.???.edu.  I'm currently working another version.)

Sample Trill character
[This is not an "official" adaptation of the DS9 character, just a sample of
a trill character.]

Jadzea Dax
Chief Battle Wizard, Treladine Outpost
Level 12 Mage

Strength:       10
Dexterity:      15
Constitution:   13
Intelligence:   19
Wisdom:         19
Charisma:       14

Secondary Skills (detailed below) : Armorer, Fisher, Gambling, Scribe,
Trapper, Woodworker.

Proficiencies (detailed below): Animal Handling - 18, Blind-Fighting - 18,
Cartography - 17, Diplomacy - 19, Engineering - 19, Farming - 14, Gaming -
14, Heraldry (Space) - 19, Hunting - 18, Mason - 14, Music - 15, navigation
(Wildspace) - 17, Planetology - 18, Religion - 19, Spacemanship - 16,
Spellcraft - 17, Spelljamming - 17, Weaponsmith - 16.

Jadzea Dax is a Trill wizard that acts as the chief battle wizard for the
Treladine Outpost in Trabaspace.  She has a formadable spell library, thanks
to two of Dax's previous hosts being wizards.  Most of her everyday spells
are geared toward tending the Baracahania tree that serves as the Treladine
outpost.  She is well liked by most of her co-workers, and is a long time pers
onal friend of the outpost commander.

Her symbiont, Dax, has had seven previous hosts.  One was a dimplomat, another
 a musician, two were wizards, one was a priest, one a warrior, and one a
rogue.  Combined with her level, Jadzea has thirteen proficiency slots.  By
rolling d4+1 for all seven hosts, and another d4 for the current host, Jadzea
Dax receives *29* rolls on the secondary skills table.  After rolling through
all of these, some of the secondary skills appeared more than once, so they
were "promoted" to non-weapon proficiencies.  Among these were hunting,
farming, mining, and teamster/freighter (which I broke into animal handling
and weapon repair).  At some point, one of Dax's hosts must have lived on a
frontier area, such as a space coloney, were agriculture and animal work were
common.  Dax must have also spent some time among dwarves, or other
industrial types, giving Dax a knowledge of mining and masonry.

By looking at her collection of skills, one can see that Dax has been around
for a while.  Jadzea is likely to enhance this collection even more, because
she is naturally curious and likes to explore.  Her personal interests
include exotic cooking, art, and a rather dangerous scro version of raquettbal

Previous Message: New Ship: Cobra
Next Message: Re: SPELLJAMMER digest 130
Month Index: February, 1995

[ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]