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Galaxy Builder Decks: Planet Traits

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Galaxy Builder Decks: Planet Traits is a deck of double-sided cards of planetary, geological, atmospheric traits and more for creating unique settings for worlds right on your table. Each card is loaded with information on trait attributes and is designed to use alone for encounters or to pair with Galaxy Builder Decks: Planets for a fleshed out star system setting. On the back are listed attributes and skills associated with this type of trait, useful for character creation or generating a native culture.

The Galaxy Builder Decks Series

Galaxy Builder Decks are a series of system-neutral cards for worldbuilders and GMs to quickly create scifi settings and cultures right on your table. Pair Planet Trait cards with Planet cards for making planetary locations and encounters. Each deck is designed to work with others in the series to help fully flesh out your galaxy. I created this series for several reasons: 1) as a helpful worldbuilding tool for authors and gamemasters to quickly create believable settings, 2) to boost immersion, appearing on the table as a series of computer display screens, 3) to provide players with a sense of exploration and discovery while you play, and 4) as a modular overmap on the table for seeing where you are in the universe without having to draw circles over and over.

Notable inspirations (Franchises): Star Wars, Star Trek, Mass Effect, Alien, Firefly, Babylon 5, Elite Dangerous, Dune.
Notable inspirations (Games): Stellaris, Endless Space, Master of Orion, Starbound, Stars Without Number, Ironsworn Starforged.

Deck of 54 Double-sided Poker-sized Cards Includes:

  • 12x Planetary Trait Cards (Astrophysic influences on planets)
    • Tidal Locked 
    • Axial Tilt (generates severe seasons) 
    • Rotational Period (day/night) 
    • Orbital Period (year) 
    • Eccentric
    • Degrading 
    • Meteor Showers 
    • Ring System 
    • Radioactive World 
    • Eclipses
    • Broken/Shattered crust
    • Unusual Magnetic Field
  • 10x Geological Trait Cards (Planet surface features)
    • Tectonic Activity
    • Caves
    • Volcano Activity
    • Poor/Fertile soil
    • Luminescense
    • Venting
    • Sinkholes
    • Rock Formations
    • Strange Fossils
    • Impact
  • 5x Weather Trait Cards (Various weather types)
    • Windy
    • Cold
    • Wet
    • Hot
    • Foggy
  • 13x Atmospheric Trait Cards (Breathability and Composition)
    • Breathable Atmosphere
    • Tainted Atmosphere 
    • Toxic Atmosphere 
    • Corrosive Atmosphere 
    • Oxygen Atmosphere 
    • Hydrogen Atmosphere 
    • Nitrogen Atmosphere 
    • Helium Atmosphere
    • Methane Atmosphere
    • Argon Atmosphere
    • Carbon Dioxide Atmosphere
    • Ammonia Atmosphere
    • Sulfur Dioxide Atmosphere
  • 5x Lifeforms Trait Cards (General lifeform types found)
    • Microbial Lifeforms
    • Flora Lifeforms
    • Invertebrates Lifeforms
    • Vertebrates Lifeforms
    • Sentient Primatives
  • 7x Civilization Trait Cards (Lasting effects of civilization)
    • Artificial World 
    • Terraformed 
    • Abandoned Ruins 
    • Battlefields 
    • Trash
    • Pollution
    • Strip Mined
  • 2 Instruction Cards
  • Full Color Tuckbox
*Star System Mats and Planet Cards shown below purchased separately.

Image collage of Planet Trait cards

Who Are They For

For Worldbuilders

Galaxy Builder Decks makes worldbuilding easier by placing important information for a setting concisely and visually on a few cards laid out on your table. You can quickly lay out many different types of planet traits, showing what is unique about these worlds in various categories such as astronomy, geology, meteorology, biology, planetology. If you pair them with Planet cards, they can tell you exactly what planet or moon is in a star system.

For GMs

You have an idea. You want your players to investigate a distress call from a planet with hordes of insects that mostly only come out at night. But wait, what else do we know about the planet? You decide it is a jungle planet, but what will your players encounter there? Draw a few Planet Trait cards! Your players must now deal with a toxic atmosphere of too high an oxygen mix, vast cave systems caused by seismic shifting, an eclipse that happens every few hundred years but lasts for weeks, and the night-loving alien insects are actually large, artificial, aggressive, luminescent, and feed on energy and...fluids? So, robot vampire bugs? Awesome!

During Play

Your players' ship lands on small desert moon orbiting a green gas giant. They have been hired to explore the system’s habitability for colonization. Confident, your players land and start to perform routine scans, becoming more and more alarmed as you draw Planet Trait cards at their request. “Hot Weather with lightning storms that last for hours.” This is fine, they tell you, watching dark clouds approaching. “Corrosive Atmosphere due to flora.” Why? What flora? “Small, poisonous, sentient silicon-based moss.” Wait, sentient what? Your players look nervously at their feet. “Oh, and the moon’s orbit will decay in a few days, crashing into the gas giant.” Right! Time to leave! So about that third planet, they ask...

For Players

Using the Galaxy Builder Decks series, players can create backgrounds for their characters.You can build your homeworld, make it unique, use the named traits and attribute icons on the back to pick skills that your character would have picked up from living in that setting. The more cards you use, the more fleshed out your character becomes. The skills are system-neutral enough to be included in most games as part of the "lifepath" form of character creation.

Continuing Mission's review of Galaxy Builder Decks

Review Link

continuing mission review

Card Anatomy for Galaxy Builder Decks: Planet Traits

How to Use the Planets Traits Deck

Using Planet Traits Deck cards

Trait Types in the Planet Traits Deck

  • Planetary - Astrophysic influences on planets
  • Geological - Planet surface features
  • Meteorological - Various weather types
  • Atmospheric - Breathability and Composition
  • Lifeforms - General lifeform types found
  • Civilization - Lasting effects of civilization

Planet Trait Types

Print-n-Play Version Includes:

  • Color version PDF - Front and Back sheets in 3x3 layout of US Poker-sized cards.
  • Printer-friendly version PDF - Front and Back sheets in 3x3 layout of US Poker-sized cards.

Planet Traits Print-n-Play instructions

Check Out Other Products Available In The Galaxy Builder Deck Series:

systems tuckboxPlanets product linkProduct Link to Star System MatsLabel Cards print-n-play

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File Size:
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File Last Updated:
October 17, 2023
This title was added to our catalog on October 17, 2023.