Tribbles are an iconic part of the Star Trek franchise, first introduced in the famous 1967 episode The Trouble with Tribbles, set in 2268. Subsequent references occur throughout the franchise, as both incidental background props and entire episodes revolving around the creatures.
Tribbles are formally Polygeminus grex, with a variety of sub-species, breeds, and colors. They are originally from Iota Geminorum IV, and under optimal conditions can breed astoundingly rapidly, with doubling times normally associated with microscopic organisms.
Other Useful Links:
IfniLuck?s Guide to Tribbles: IfnLuck was the first person to publicly organize a food and breed cross-reference chart
The_MadTom?s Tribble Breeding Table: The_MadTom has a differently-organized google doc, a spreadsheet that may be more useful for certain purposes
The_MadTom?s Visual Tribble Breeding flowsheet: A version of the above with the actual tribble art added, to help recognize color patterns
Wolfiesden?s SQL database: Interactive tribble food and breed cross-reference database, which lists which NPCs sell any food that can be purchased
In STO, the differing types of tribbles represented are described as ?sub-species?, which have a one-to-one correspondence to colors or patterns. Tribbles are activatable equipment, and can be placed in your character?s hot bar (?belt?), your bridge officer?s hot bar, your inventory, your personal bank, or a fleet bank. Activating a tribble provides a small bonus of some sort, and is represented in game by an animation of the character taking out the tribble and petting it, with appropriate cooing sounds. Tribbles have an official NPC sale or replicator value of 0 (zero); since breeding one requires consuming a food item with non-zero value, you are guaranteed to loose money breeding tribbles unless you can manage to sell a rare one to a fellow player.
Following are the known tribble powers. These can be used by most Federation player characters and bridge officers. It is reported that the Klingon species bridge officer of a Federation player has a mutually negative reaction to the tribble, as expected from the source material; it?s not clear if this means they cannot benefit from the powers, or is merely a humorous animation. It is possible for Federation players to unlock Klingons as a playable species (currently by purchasing in the C-Store for 240 Cryptic Points); their reaction to tribbles is unknown at this time.
Right-clicking on a tribble?s icon gives a short menu, with the option ?Info?; the info screen gives details on the tribble?s sub-species and activatable power.
An out of combat self heal
1.25s activate, 6s recharge
?Petting this sub-species of tribble will have the effect of stimulating the body?s natural healing capabilities.?
[exact effects unknown]
A long duration out of combat self damage resistance buff
1.25s activate, 6s recharge
?Petting this sub-species of tribble will have the effect of slightly stimulating the body?s natural ability to resist all types of damage.?
[Adds 1% Resistance to most types of ground damage, with a duration of 1 hour. This does carry over into space combat, although it?s not clear if it affects anything useful. Overrides Damage Buff, canceling it.]
A long duration out of combat self damage buff
1.25s activate, 6s recharge
?Petting this sub-species of tribble will have the effect of slightly stimulating the body?s natural production of adrenoline, improving one?s damage capabilities.?
[Adds ???, with a duration of 1 hour. This does carry over into space combat, although it?s not clear if it affects anything useful. Overrides Resistance Buff, canceling it.]
[Adds ???, with a duration of 1 hour]
Combat Skill Buff
The following sub-species (or breeds) of tribble are known, organized for now by their activatable power.
Genus species sub-species ?Color? (color clarification, pattern details, etc.)
(?)Polygeminus grex susilo ?White? (almost radiant white, HTML ?ghostwhite?)
(?)Polygeminus grex stahl ?Cream? (under magnification, may be a flecked mix of White and Tan; HTML ?moccasin? (used here) or ?antiquewhite?)
(?)Polygeminus grex sparkes ?Tan? (a light brown, khaki; HTML ?burlywood? (used here), ?peru?, or ?tan?)
(?)Polygeminus grex dotson ?Brown? (a medium-dark brown, milk chocolate; HTML ?saddlebrown?)
(?)Polygeminus grex thompson ?Black? (probably actually a very dark brown, dark chocolate; HTML ?black? is not a good match but there isn?t anything closer)
(?)Polygeminus grex vitales ?Gray? (pale cool gray; HTML ?lightgray? used here, but better match pending)
Polygeminus grex tuffli ?Cream with Brown Stripes? (original description, and probably the way most people think of it; under magnification, it may actually be Brown with a broad equatorial Cream stripe and several large Cream spots. One could argue that the pale color is Tan rather than Cream, but in comparison to jasperson and nix under magnification, the pale color is distinctly lighter here. This may well be the ?mutt? breed result, with middling colors and a mix of stripes and spots)
(Damage) Resistance Buff:
Polygeminus grex nix ?Brown with large Tan spots? (spots are approximately circular, and arranged in what may be an approximately cubic (or dodecahedral) vertex pattern)
Polygeminus grex stacy ?Black with multiple small White spots? (from Demonical_3, confirmed by Dakirn and Nack)
Polygeminus grex jasperson ?Tan with single equatorial Brown stripe?
Polygeminus grex mccary ?Tan with Brown spots? (from Adeon_Hawkwood)
Polygeminus grex cavallaro ?White with Black spiral stripe? (alternatively Black with White Z pattern, the 3D pattern appears to be a white ?polar cap? top and bottom, with a diagonal stripe or ring between them; from IfniLuck)
Polygeminus grex vitales [sic] ?Ttruncated icosahedron (soccer ball) pattern; Orange faces with Red ?seams?; single medium Brown spot in each face? (Some also describe it as an ?eyeball? pattern. This appears to be a bug or naming error, a very rare type with the same name as a common type. Currently being described as ?vitales-snail? on the forums until we get an official name fix. Reported by Snailelin, confirmed by Profetius Eteus)
Polygeminus grex deangelo ?Black with White spiral stripe? (alternatively White with Black Z pattern; the 3D pattern appears to be a dark ?polar cap? top and bottom, with a diagonal stripe or ring between them; from IfniLuck)
Polygeminus grex henry ?Brown with single equatorial Tan stripe? (reported on exchange by Snicker, confirmed by Dakirn)
Polygeminus grex highison ?Light Purple with double-zigzag Dark Purple stripes? (reported by Troglis)
Polygeminus grex mattson ? ?Orange with multiple zigzag Dark Purple stripes? (alternatively vice-versa; from Demonical_3, confirmed by nmdrkangl and Troglis); Damage Buff + Regeneration Buff
Polygeminus grex rivera ??golden/orange with blue halo fur??; Resistance Buff + Regeneration Buff + Combat Skill Buff (?) (reported as the pre-order tribble; from Mockingbird)
Polygeminus grex howe ?White with multiple small Black spots? (reported on exchange by Zacuis, confirmed by Dakirn)
Polygeminus grex ricossa ?Orange with multiple small Dark Purple spots? (from Dakirn)
Polygeminus grex griffis ?Dark Purple with multiple White rings? (alternatively, Dark Purple with large White spots which each contain a small Dark Purple spot; from Dakirn)
Please post any info you have on new breeds, or further details on the above breeds.
The primary way one gets tribbles is by breeding tribbles, and some types may only be available through breeding. See the following section for details. However, there are a few other ways to get a tribble:
* As a drop: Some NPC Klingon (and allies) ground enemies that you fight as a Federation character have a chance to drop a tribble as their loot. Details are currently unknown, but there are reliable reports of them dropping in ground missions as early as level 4, and possibly earlier.
* As a pre-order bonus: A tribble pet is available as a pre-order bonus from several retailers. Currently known: Best Buy (US), Game AU (AU), Gross Electronic Silver Edition (DE), HMV Gold Edition (UK), Micromania Silver Edition and Micromania Gold Edition (FR). The subspecies is Polygeminus grex rivera, unusual in both color and powers (see sub-species FAQ for details); it is believed to not be breedable.
* On the Exchange or via trading: Tribbles can be bought and sold on the Exchange, and traded directly between players.
Tribble breeding can occur in your active power bar, in your inventory, or in your Bank. Current reports are that they do NOT breed in the Fleet Bank, although that?s not completely verified. You only need a single tribble to start, although some breeds may require multiple tribbles present. They will consume any ?food item? in the same location category, replacing it with the new tribble.
Items considered ?food items? seem to include all of the consumable out-of-combat regeneration items, including beverages in glass bottles and whatever 25th Century Field Rations are packaged in. It does not include ?Provisions?, the non-consumable trade item (or at least the chance is very low). Uncommon food items (gotten from drops, or shops other than at Earth, rather than the replicator) are required or at least dramatically improve the chances of getting the less common tribble breeds. Note also that some ?uncommon? food items can be purchased from vendors in various locations, such as DS9. Check before buying at inflated Exchange prices!
The timing and odds of tribble breeding is still being researched. At the moment, it appears that there is some sort of time-based check based on elapsed time increments from when you logged in; further research ongoing. It is currently reported that tribbles do not breed in the Fleet Bank, and that they seem to breed slower in your hot bar (?belt?) than in your inventory.
Stopping Tribble Breeding
Historically, one of the first questions people ask about tribbles is ?How do I breed them??. Shortly thereafter, many people come to the follow-up question ?OK, now how do I STOP them from breeding??, quite possibly followed by ?Hey, that was my booze!?
While data is inconclusive, at this point it appears that tribbles only breed when there is a ?food item? (see above under Tribble Breeding) in the same location category as an existing tribble. For instance, if you have a tribble equipped in your Bridge Officer?s item bar, it will not consume food in your own item bar. In general, having equipped (usable) tribbles and equipped (usable) food is not long-term compatible. However, you can have an equipped tribble in your item bar, and as long as you are careful to not have any in inventory, you can store food in your inventory. You?ll just have to equip the food and use it promptly when needed.
Trivia: the names of the breeds (officially sub-species) seem to be the last names of Cryptic developers in at least some cases.
Trivia: It is rumored that the public test server for STO will be called ?tribble?.
Why do they drop from Klingons?: Based on what we know about tribbles in the franchise, it seems unlikely that a Klingon would be carrying them for buffs or cuddle factor. There have been a few suggestions made as to why Klingons drop tribbles as loot:
* Their ship or base has an infestation; the Klingon thought they were carrying some food, but it had been eaten by a tribble when they weren?t looking.
* Despite the noise and dislike, it might be a cheap way to tell a real Klingon from an Undine who is shapeshifted into a Klingon appearance; in effect the reverse of the incident from the original episode.
How to make the ?ASCII tribble? as seen on the forums, (?) : This is actually 3 characters with some vBcode, optionally colored:
That?s an open parenthesis, an underlined overbar (Unicode U+00AF (175)), and a close parenthesis. To color it, you can add [color=value]([u]?[/u])[/color], where ?value? is a vB recognized color. These are believed to match or be similar to HTML colors. See the listing above for some examples.
If anyone has detailed breeding tests, please post as much info as possible.