From Traveller Wiki - Science-Fiction Adventure in the Far future
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Wiki Navy.png

SOPHONT: A generalized term for an intelligent lifeform and technology-using being [Native Intelligent Life (NIL)] or Sapient, including humans as well as intelligent aliens, that have a significant interstellar presence within Charted Space.

  • The number of sophonts which have been contacted is quite high; the Imperium boasts more than a hundred; Charted Space boasts more than four hundred.
  • Tools are used to adapt, change, or control an environment. Tool-using cultures are groups of beings (not necessarily sophonts) with the ability to find or make tools.
  • But, using tools is not enough: Technology is the ability to use tools to make other tools. Only when societies make the leap to using tools to make tools do they become technological.
  • Technology builds on the successes of earlier tool-making experiences, and enables a progression to ever-higher levels.

Library Data Referral Tree

Please see the following AAB Library Data articles for related data:

Term Etymology

Derived from the Terran Greek word Sophia, meaning wisdom.

Description (Specifications)

A Sophont is a member of a species (race) generally recognized as sapient that has achieved a presence on an interstellar scale.

  • Sophonts are consistently described with a long name in the format “the [race name] of [homeworld]”. For example, the Llellewyoly of Junidy.

Alternate Terminology

A number of other terms exist amongst the many sophont species of Charted Space for technology-using beings including:

Cycle of Life & Sophontic Civilization


  1. A-life
  2. Proto-Life (transitory stage)
  3. Creatures
  4. Proto-Sophonts (transitory stage)
  5. Sophonts
  6. Transcendents (transitory stage)
  7. Ascendants
  8. Singularity

History & Background (Dossier)

Remarks: Any intelligent species. Sophont is preferred to Sapient, although the two terms are roughly synonymous. The IISS assumes a vague hierarchy in which sapient is inferior to sophont (roughly, sapients as a species have not left their homeworld, and sophonts are present in interstellar society).

  • Sentient technically means “feeling” and should not be used to describe an intelligent species.
  • Sophont encompasses all intelligent species.
  • The study of sophonts or intelligent life forms is sophontology; some older IISS materials used xenology, or even xenoanthropology, but sophontology is preferred.

Sophont Species Listing

Please see the following AAB article for a list of known sophont species: Races/summary.

Academic Sophont Sources

Some of the best guides to studying sophonts in Charted Space include:

References & Contributors (Sources)

This list of sources was used by the Traveller Wiki Editorial Team and individual contributors to compose this article. Copyrighted material is used under license from Far Future Enterprises or by permission of the author. The page history lists all of the contributions.