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Jgd-Il-Jagd

by Paul J. Drye

The Jgd-Il-Jagd (the "Jgd" for short, possessive "Jgdi") are a technically advanced race hailing from Jagd, a large gas giant at 2307 Lishun. This article is intended as an expansion and update of the original article detailing the Jgd in the Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #17(authored by Phil Masters). I will be using this article as the background for an adventure to be submitted to Challenge.

I have made the assumption throughout this article that the Jgd are one of the most "major" minor races in the Imperium. This seems reasonable to me based on their high level of technology, as well as the alienness of it. By being so alien the Jgd are good at making items that are very, very difficult for more normal races to build. As a result, their goods are much sought after, and the Jgd are quite affluent.

The Jgd have proven very difficult to communicate with. Throughout this article I have used phrases like "seems to" and "apparently" in order to reflect the difficulties in obtaining information from the Jgd.


Biology

The Jgdi body is a roughly spherical balloon about three metres in diameter. The balloon is filled with hydrogen gas which allows a Jgd to float in the atmosphere of their homeworld. Around the "waist" are three manipulative tentacles which further divide into four fingers near the end of their length. Clusters of sensory equipment are grouped randomly around the body, with the greatest concentration at the base. A dozen small manipulative tendrils and a half dozen mouths are also located at the base.

Jagd is very cool by human standards, hovering just below the boiling point of ammonia at the heights where the Jgd live. Given the low temperatures it is not surprising that the Jgd live off chemical reactions quite unlike those used by Humans. Instead of combining hydrocarbons and water from food with oxygen from the air, the Jgd ingest hydrocarbons as food and combine it with hydrogen and liquid ammonia to produce water, methane and energy.

I have been stymied trying to find out which freezes first, ammonia or methane. I have decided on the latter, but if I have mixed up the two, reverse them in your head as you read this and let me know.

The Jgd reproduce by means of binary fission. Until the discovery of the Jgd it was believed by Solomani and Vilani science that it was impossible for complex forms of life to arise without some exchange of genetic materials fuelling natural selections, and in most cases this is correct. In the case of Jagd, however, the background radiation emanating from the depths of the planet is so high that it causes a reasonable mutation rate without the benefit of sexual reproduction.

All throughout life a Jgd grows, eventually reaching a diameter of four metres at age 200. At this time a Jgd will gradually grow a dividing skin throughout its entire body, running from "head"-to-"toe". Each of the arms of the Jgd will split down their length, with each of the pieces growing new fingers and becoming a fully functional arm. At the age of 210 the Jgd will enter a month long period of hibernation. It will split into two pieces along the dividing skin retaining only a small connecting tissue to pass required bodily fluids while each piece grows new organs to replace those left behind. At the end of the month the connection will break leaving two individuals. One of these individuals continues the life of the "parent", while the other begins a new career. Exactly how it is decided which individual is which is unknown, as all attempts to explain by the Jgd have defied translation. It also appears that over the course of three or four divisions the memories of the parent are gradually replaced by the memories of the new individuals. By age 630 or so the entire sum of the parent is lost.

The original Jgd article says "Average life of an identifiable Jgd individual...is approximately 630 plus standard Imperial years". By carrying individuality over the generations I have kept this statement true while allowing the Jgd to increase the numbers at a reasonable rate. If they reproduced only every 630 years even their oldest colonies would have only gone through a few generations, and have had a correspondingly small population. Also see below for the "forced reproduction" the Jgd can undergo.

Modern Jgdi science has developed a means of causing reproduction at age 10 or less. This method is invariably used during the early stages of colonizing a world, but it seems that the Jgd find forced reproduction distasteful and discard the process as soon as the colony has reached an adequate size.

The Jgd only have three senses. Their main sense corresponds to hearing, in that they are very responsive to atmospheric vibration over their entire body. Using this sense they are capable of obtaining as much information about their surroundings as humans are from sight. Their second sense perceives electromagnetic radiation from the lower end of the shortwave radio band to the far ultraviolet, but only to the extent of whether it is there or not, not true sight. Their last sense is touch, and is very much like our own sense of touch.

The Jgd have two main means of communication, the first being a long-distance language using infrasonic tones. Using this language a Jgd can communicate over tremendous distances (twenty or more kilometres). Apparently these sounds can be used to communicate only simple concepts and do not appear to be a real language. It can be compared instead to hand gestures used by humans to communicate in a pinch. The sounds are not produced by means of a specialized organ, but are instead made by vibrating the entire surface of a Jgd's balloon-like body.

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Much more effective for communicating is the manner in which the Jgd can pass information by direct physical contact. Using this method a Jgd can transfer vast amounts of information in a relatively short time. It is believed that the Jgd do not perceive this as "language" either, which further complicates the communication between humans and Jgd. Rather it is a literal transmission of the experience being explained. It is entirely possible that the Jgd receiving the information now believes that it was actually "there" when the transmitted experience occurred. This has had an interesting effect on the Jgdi understanding of causality. Between their main means of communication and the manner in which they reproduce, it is not beyond the bounds of reason to view the Jgd as a group mind with a slow reaction time.

Jgdi memories apparently have a near infinite capacity, so the Jgdi ability to learn and transfer information is incredible. Only one Jgd has to learn anything for it to be possible for the rest of the Jgdi species to learn it as well. In practice this rarely happens due to time limitations (a Jgd would have to do nothing but learn twenty-four hours a day to keep up), but the average Jgd is still ridiculously well-educated by human standards.

Another effect of this great memory and ease of information transfer is the lack of a Jgdi written language. The Jgd even have memories extending as far back as the very earliest days of the Jgd. Much information has been lost just through the deaths of the sole individuals holding various memories, but there is really no such thing as a Jgdi prehistory.

One more remarkable fact about Jgdi physiology remains unknown to Imperial science: they are incapable of entering jumpspace without large amounts of protection. Jgdi jump travelling capsules are opaque to virtually any type of radiation imaginable including electromagnetic, gravitic, pseudo-gravitic (the basis of anti-grav technology), neutrinos, mesons, and even virtual particles. The only means to communicate with a Jgd in one of these capsules is to get it out, and this is not a good idea unless one desires a Jgdi corpse.

If a Jgd is caught outside its capsule while in jumpspace it immediately enters a state of neural shock and dies within a few hours. The reason for this is unknown even to the Jgd.

The reason the neural shock effect is unknown to Imperials is simple: the Jgd discovered this effect themselves during their experiments with jump drive shortly after contact with the Vilani. By the time they were first offered a "ride" they had developed a method of circumventing it. They have simply not communicated the effect to human scientists. Death is a tricky concept in any language, and even more so for the Jgd, since a dead Jgd's memories are still floating around in many other Jgdi minds. Efforts to explain by the Jgd have defeated all translation attempts, and the Jgd have moved onto other, easier topics.

The original article makes it very clear that this effect is not known within the Imperium. The Jgd must have discovered this effect themselves or else it would be widely known. Imperial scientists are always on the outlook for clues as to how jumpspace really works and would have descended on Jagd like flies if they had known about it.


Psychology

The single most remarkable thing about Jgdi psychology is the race's obsession with symmetry. To them symmetry in any form has value, and the closer the correlation between things the greater the value. As well as aesthetic value symmetry has monetary value. Running a trading session using Jgdi symmetry is a little like a poetry session, in the sense that the Jgd will admire the symmetry of any trade, pointing out the symmetries that perhaps the other party may have missed. The amount of goods necessary to make a deal "even" depends of the level of symmetry perceived. Jgd do not hold back about symmetries in order to make the deal better for themselves. Humans may do so if they wish, but the Jgd will be angered if they discover the deception.

Trade is the manner in which humans deal with Jgd the most often, but desire for symmetry runs through all Jgdi society. For example, beginning a conversation is guaranteed to get a response, even if the response is only "I cannot speak with you now".

When it comes to Jgdi reproduction, occasionally a Jgd will fission before all six arms have developed. One new Jgd will get three arms and the other will get the rest. The Jgd that is shy a few arms will die if it does not receive immediate regenerative treatment at a Jgdi hospital (the arms will not develop by themselves in time). It is not known why the Jgd will die, but it probably has to do with the violation of symmetry playing on the Jgdi mind.

Jgdi law is very much based on symmetry, ensuring that the punishment literally fits the crime. Some human observers have seen this as brutal "eye for an eye" justice, but the Jgd are not the primitive humans who developed this original precept of law. Their system of law is every bit as sophisticated as human law.

Jgd live in groups called hunts. Hunts are highly variable in shape and form, but originally developed from hunter-gather groups in pretechnical days. Nowadays any coherent organization of Jgd is composed of a single hunt or, if the organization naturally breaks itself into several categories or departments, one hunt per category.


Early History

c Life on Jagd is quite unlike that on Terra. It began some three billion years ago in the lower depths of Jagd when small, single-celled life forms appeared. At first these lifeforms lived off a much simpler chemical reaction than the one the Jgd use now, converting methane into carbon and ammonia. The amount of atmospheric nitrogen available to drive this reaction was very small, however, and after a few tens of millions of years it ran out. The resulting crisis placed tremendous evolutionary pressure on Jagdish life and ended up producing multi-cellular creatures using the opposite reaction, thus striking a balance between the two types of life.

This second type of life was at first restricted to the ammonia seas of Jagd, but soon developed means of trapping hydrogen gas and using it to float in the huge atmosphere of their planet. Some of these creatures became triphibians living in the oceans, the air, and on the only solid "land" on Jagd: solid methane icebergs floating in the ammonia seas. These animals went on to become the Jgd-Il-Jagd.

When the Jgd first came into being some two hundred thousand years ago they were without real technology for a very long time. Shards of methane ice were used as weapons, and slushy clathrates of methane, water and ammonia were gathered into pools to trap prey, but no advancement took place. No sustainable reaction like fire could occur on Jagd, and metals were rare in the extreme, with only small chunks welling up from the planet's core during Jagdish hurricanes.

In this environment the Jgd became a race of thinkers. Dozens of Jgdi Euclids and Einsteins came and went, developing Jgdi mathematics, physics, and art to tremendous heights without the benefit of experimentation. Often they were spectacularly wrong in their views, but they were often right as well. When techniques were developed that allowed technical advancement and the Jgd could apply their vast theoretical knowledge their culture flowered.

The first breakthrough came about -12 000 from a small Jgdi settlement near a semi-permanent upwelling of gases from the lower levels of Jagd. A method was discovered by a local smith of bathing methane ice in the rising plumes of gas (rich in "exotic" elements like fluorine, magnesium and argon) to produce a complex material that could be worked into useful shapes. The method spread rapidly, and soon the Jgd had devised dozens, then hundreds of new processes for manipulating the materials available to them.

This is, of course, pseudoscientific gobbledygook. I have no idea what this "complex material" is. But it sounds good, and I defy anyone to prove it is impossible.

Given the ease with which the Jgd can pass information these techniques soon spread far and wide throughout Jagd, and transformed Jgdi life. Within a few hundred years the Jgd had leapfrogged from tech 1 to somewhere in the vicinity of tech 11. Jump drive was not developed for reasons outlined below, but the Jgd began building huge generation ships capable of 0.25c, using thruster technology for propulsion. The Jgdi obsession with symmetry slowed their expansion into space, as they first sent out exploration ships to explore and then return, then they would send colony ships to colonize their discoveries. No worlds truly suitable for Jgdi life were discovered, but several worlds acceptable as outposts were discovered and used.

0.25c is the approximate speed of the sub-light ships used to colonize the Islands Cluster in Trillion Credit Squadron, ships which were about tech 11, I think.

By -9100 the Jgd had explored and colonized an area of space four parsecs in radius.


Interaction with Humans

In -9100 the Vilani encountered the Jagd at one of their colony worlds and immediately came to Jagd. Jgdi-made goods became, if not common, at least not- unheard-of throughout Vilani space. Communication difficulties were tremendous, mainly because Jgdi "memory-sharing" could not be used with mechanical translators, and their cumbersome sonic language had to be used instead. The name "Jgd-Il-Jagd" is a corruption of the noise produced by one of these translators when the Jgd were first asked their names, long before any meaningful conversation was possible. Even today communication with Jgd on any topic other than trading is difficult. The Jgd, however, were the first race the Vilani had encountered that were more or less on a technological par with the Vilani and economic ties were eventually set up that were beneficial for both species.

The Jgd-Il-Jagd bothered the Vilani, however, as their sheer alienness made it very difficult for the Vilani to exert the same control over them as they did other races. Subtly, attitudes shifted away from the initial goodwill between the two species, and the Vilani stopped trading with the Jgd about - 7000. During the Consolidation Wars it was decided that the Jgdi worlds would be interdicted and the Jgd prevented from expanding any further. The Jgdi government of Jagd was informed of the interdiction then left to decide how they would deal with it. Thankfully the Jgd realized that a massacre was in the offing if they attempted to resist and they instead contented themselves with what they had.

Thanks to the interdiction the Jgd were utterly unaffected by the decline and fall of the Ziru Sirka and were, in fact, caught completely off-guard when the Solomani ship Heinlein came to make contact in -2211. The Solomani demand for Jgdi goods was insatiable and the Jgd rapidly became one of the most affluent of all races. Using this money the Jgd began buying themselves into regions of space they could not reach with their sub-light ships. By the time of the Rebellion the Jgd had several colonies throughout the Imperium.

All throughout the Rule of Man, the Long Night, and the Third Imperium the Jgd have remained independent of any human government. Since the end of the Ziru Sirka no attempt has been made to control the Jgd, and the Imperium considered the Jgdi spheres of influences as a independent client state. Whether the Jgdi view themselves as clients is unknown.

Since the collapse of Imperial authority in Lishun the contact with Jagd has been lost, but there is no reason to believe that the Jgd are in any danger from the Vargr. Since the lifting of the interdiction the Jgd have regularly armed their craft with high-tech weapons. Vargr corsairs would likely be completely overmatched by Jgdi system defenses.


Technology

Jgdi technology is wildly different from that of the Imperium. Rather than being based on metals and fire like our own it is instead based on crystals and chemistry. Since tech "levels" are a set of artificial categories devised by humans to describe the technology they see around them, the system breaks down when used to describe Jgdi technology.

Jgdi vehicular and communications technology is at tech 12.

Jgdi energy and materials technology is a tech 15 or higher. Since Jgdi materials science is based on crystals instead of metals the Jgdi are capable of feats that seem magical to humans (this attitude is probably shared by the Jgd when it comes to humans and metals). For example, Jgdi ship hulls are often built of single crystals. Jgdi computers are exceptionally flexible, small, and power-frugal. The Jgd have even come up with a method of storing water as a solid at temperatures well above freezing, though it is mostly considered a novelty.


Colonies

A world must meet stringent requirements before a Jgd can live on it unprotected. Before they met the Vilani the Jgd had found no worlds upon which they could live, just gas giants that were suitable as colonies only with protection. Once the Rule of Man began the Jgd began purchasing astrographic information from the Solomani. New worlds suitable for Jgdi habitation were discovered here and there throughout the Second Imperium, and plans were made to colonize them.

No habitable gas giant was close enough to Jagd to be reached with sub-light ships, so the Jgd arranged to have large numbers of themselves transported to the new worlds via jump ships. During one of these endeavours dozens of trading ships would be hired to take on cargoes of Jgd and their jump- travelling capsules, as well as equipment for use at the other end of the journey. Over the course of several years as many as forty thousand Jgd would be transported to the new world.

Once the new colony is well-established (two hundred years is the norm) it begins building sub-light ships to colonize the nearby less-than-perfect systems. Among the criteria used for selecting a new colony is the extent to which surrounding gas giants can be developed, even if they are imperfectly habitable. The net effect of this colonization method is to produce small bubbles of Jgd-inhabited space widely separated from each other. These bubbles are called "clades".

Unsurprisingly, setting up colonies in this manner is very expensive, even for a race as well-off as the Jgd. In the course of Jgdi history only six colonies have been begun, two during the Rule of Man and four during the Third Imperium (with a hiatus in colonization during the Long Night). One of these clades is within K'kree space.

Jgd inhabited worlds, the year they were colonized, and the radii of the clade they centre are as follows:
World Year Clade Radius
Jagd/Lishun 2307 Prehistoric 23 parsecs
Gabik/Vland 2029 -2108 11 parsecs
????/Fornast 0820 -1884 10 parsecs
Ghik'graxk/Star's End 3137 312 7 parsecs
Liaw/Massilia 2017 690 4 parsecs
Arend/Old Expanses 2004 977 zero

The number of worlds inhabited within each clade depends on the ability of the central world to support colonies on poorly habitable worlds.

Jgd also inhabit single gas giants outside of clades if they feel the economic benefits of a colony their outweigh the disadvantages of living on an imperfectly habitable world. Generally this means systems containing worlds with trade classifications of Hi, In, or Ri.

There are also several Jgdi space habitats permanently in orbit around worlds throughout the Imperium. This method is rarely used by the Jgd as it reduces their ability to create technical items by removing their sources of raw materials, their gas giant homes. Habitats are only encountered in systems that are of great importance and do not have any gas giants that are even marginally habitable to a Jgd.

It should be pointed out that worlds inhabitable by Jgd have surface areas hundreds of times larger than worlds inhabited by humans. Even given the size of space an individual Jgd needs, any amenable world can support tens of billions of Jgd. The total population of Jgd within the former boundaries of the Third Imperium is believed to be in excess of 250 billion. The populations of colonies on uninhabitable worlds are at most a few tens of millions.


Game Rules

The Jgd are treated as animals for combat purposes, because of their highly alien nature. Mature Jgd have 5D hits for unconsciousness and a further 4D to death. Encountered in their natural habitat their leathery skins give them the equivalent of jack armour. Outside of their habitat they wear armour to protect themselves equal to battle dress. Their travel capsules contain 2D Jgd and have an armour equivalent of a starship hull (40).

Jgdi mental skills can be dealt with using characteristics. Intelligence is 2D+2, and education is 1D+7. Jgdi social standing among themselves is incomprehensible to us, but among humans recognized individuals (and there are a few) have social statuses of 1D+3. They tend to be wealthy, but cannot be nobles.

Jgdi ships vary greatly in design (there is no recognizable Jgdi ship manufacturing industry as they do not have enough traffic to support it). In- system ships range between 2000 and 10 000 tons. Interstellar craft start at 75 000 tons and go up to 700 000 tons, with the bulk of them towards the high end of the range.

Ships are heavily armed with lasers, repulsors, nuclear dampers and meson screens (tech 14). Missiles and sandcasters are rare and only tech 7.

Jgdi ships never have jump drives. Propulsion is invariably done using thruster technology. The Jgdi are used to a gravity of 3G, and can take much higher g-forces if they stay afloat in the atmosphere of their ship. Ship accelerations match accordingly.

Jgdi worlds can be found anywhere and will be found on a 20+ on 2D with the following modifiers:

Jgdi worlds are large gas giants on 3+ on 1D, otherwise they are small gas giants.

Jgdi worlds generated in systems with no gas giants are always orbital habitats.

The population of Jgdi worlds at the centre of a clade is always A. Generate the population multiplier as normal.
The population of a Jgdi outpost within a clade is 1D+1.
The population of a Jgdi outpost outside of a clade is 1D.
The population of a Jgdi habitat is always 1D-1.

Jgdi government codes are as follows:
Roll Code
0 0
1 1
2 6
3 2
4 4
5 5
6 5

Jgdi worlds that are the centres of clades roll 1D on this table. All others roll 1D-1.

Jgdi worlds at the centres of clades have a tech level of 15. Always. Jgd can transfer information too easily for it to be otherwise. Other worlds in the same clade have tech levels of 13 to 15, as do habitats. Worlds outside any clade have tech levels of 9+1D.

The Jgdi do not have an armed forces per se. Bases are merely defensive in nature and are noted with the code D. They are ubiquitous however, and are present on a 3+.


Trading

First, the basics:
To make a Jgd understand a sentence using a translator The Jgd do not have a concept of money. They always barter.

Decide whether the goods being offered by the characters are Not Similar, Vaguely Similar, Similar, or Very Similar to the goods wanted in return. The Jgd will make an initial offer based on this distinction. The value of the goods offered in return is as follows:

Not Similar 100-(2Dx10) percent of the value in Cr on the nearest human world
Vaguely Similar 100-(1Dx5) percent
Similar 100+(1Dx5) percent
Very Similar 100+(2Dx10) percent
An offer of 0% means the Jgd will not accept the goods offered in return for its goods.

The players may attempt to change the ranking of their goods using the following task rolls:

To convince a Jgd of the existence of a symmetry that actually exists Routine, Artisan, Liason, 30 seconds (unskilled OK, fateful)

A successful roll ups the symmetry of the good one level. On a superficial or minor mishap the symmetry is merely not appreciated by the Jgd. On major or destroyed mishaps the Jgd will disagree entirely and up its price one level.

To convince a Jgd of the existence of a symmetry that does not exist Difficult, Liason, 30 seconds (unskilled OK, fateful)

A successful roll ups the symmetry of the good one level. On a superficial mishap the Jgd will believe the character but will not appreciate the symmetry. On other mishaps the Jgd will realize the player is trying to cheat it and break off the negotiation.


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