, , , , ,

Traveller - the latest edition from Mongoose

Traveller - the latest edition from Mongoose

Traveller is one of the great classics – the first sci-fi RPG and one of the first I ever had the opportunity to play. I’m a huge fan of the MegaTraveller edition of the game rules (if not the setting), but understand the love for the uncomplicated classic edition. It’s been through quite a number of editions (Classic, Mega, New Era, GURPS and so on) including the latest edition by Mongoose Publishing that I’m making this character with.

Traveller was the origin of the “Career Term” character generation system seen in a number of later releases from GDW and a few other games since. Characters as such start play with different amounts of experience and skills depending on the number of terms they served (and can also have reduced stats from aging). At heart, character generation becomes a game of it’s own – in earlier editions character death was an ever-present issue during the creation process.

So out come the 2d6 for my first Traveller character in years…

My initial concept is I’d like to make a Noble (if I can get the right stats), and if that doesn’t work, the Imperial Navy is a good place to get the social standing I need to become a noble. Rolls of 7, 10, 5, 11, 11, and 5 help me in the quest for an idle noble’s life. I put the two 11’s in Social Status and Education, the 10 in Dexterity, the 7 in Intelligence and the pair of 5’s in Strength and Endurance. With the 11 Social Standing, he’s already a Knight, a young landed noble by birthright!

Before we can move into his career and skills, we have to learn a little about his home world (especially since he’s born into nobility).

  • Size: 6 (.7G)
  • Atmosphere: 6 (standard Earth)
  • Temperature: 10 (Hot)
  • Hydrographics: 0 (Desert)
  • Population: 2 (under 1,000 people)
  • Government: 0 (no government)
    Sub Faction 1 – Representative Democracy – well known and supported
    Sub Faction 2 – Corporate – nearly as powerful as the government
  • Law Level 4
  • Cultural Drift: Very artistic
  • Starport: D (Poor, with a Scout base)
  • Tech Level: 7
  • Trade Codes: De, Lo (Desert, Low Population)

So our young noble is from the ruling family of a low population planet (although there are people on the planet who support transition to a democracy, and nearly half the population works for one company that would like to become the defacto government of the whole colony). The culture of the inhabitants values the arts, and the desert environment means all natives get the Survival skill at level 0. As a well educated young man he also gets three other skills at level 0 – he chooses Art (because of his home world), Carouse and Trade.

At the tender age of 18, he tries to get into his chosen career (Noble). However, the dice are not in his favor and he has the choice of taking the draft, or spending his first term as a drifter. Not seeing much difference between his goal of being a Dilletante and the fate of a drifter, he takes a term of Drifter. He selects the sub-career of “Wanderer” and spends four years drifting from spaceport to spaceport across the Imperium. He picks up a selection of useful if rogue-ish skills, advances a “rank” as a wanderer, gains +1 Strength and +1 Intelligence and avoids any major mishaps this term. However, in his wanderings, he comes across a psionics institute and is tested for psionic ability and discovers that he is actually a quite powerful natural psion, with a Psionic Strength rating of 10 and natural inclinations towards Awareness, Telekinesis and Telepathy.

Suddenly finding himself with “special” powers, Emil decides to keep searching out other psions and explore his own psionic potential (taking the psion career as a wild talent). Since he’s not continuing as a Drifter, he immediate rolls on the Mustering Out tables with 2 rolls – one for the term he spent there and 1 for being rank 1. He takes both from the “other benefits” table and gets +1 Education and a Weapon of his choice.

He not only survives the term, but excels at his new found talents. His rank as a psion increases to 1, and he explores the limits of his psionic awareness. He also uses these enhanced abilities to unethically increase his position during a visit back home.

Now 26 years old, Emil wants to try out for the Noble career, but with 2 other careers in his past, he would need to roll a 10+ to enter it on 2d6, and would also no longer be able to continue on his path as a psion. He decides to go for a second term as a wandering wild talent and then try to work his way back into the Nobility next term. His second term as a psion goes nearly as well as his first, surviving without mishap and only barely failing the promotion roll. By strange luck, his skill advancement is once again in his Awareness ability, making him particularly skilled with it. His life event for that year has him travel to a new world, giving him +2 on his next roll to join a career – finally a chance to become a full time Noble!

At 30 years of age, Emil leaves the Psion career to try his luck as a Noble. He musters out of the career with three mustering out rolls. These are a combat implant (he chooses a Tech Level 11 Dexterity Augmentation), Traveller’s Aid Society membership and a Contact (Jinx, a Rogue Psion who he had a brief affair with). With the benefit of both his enhanced Social Standing and the new planet he finds himself on, Emil manages to finally join the career he had been hoping for, becoming a Noble Dilletante. (Of course, once I check the actual page for the career, I discover that enlistment is Automatic if you have a Social Standing of 10+, so the first attempt to enter this career path should have been a success instead of a failure… too bad the summary table on page 9 didn’t make that clear).

Survival as a Dilletante will be all but automatic for our aging hero, but advancement will be his challenge requiring an 8+ on an Int based roll. He also chooses this time as the perfect chance to start taking Anagathic (anti-aging) drugs. This will prevent him from making aging rolls as this normally begins at the end of the fourth term. It requires him to make two survival rolls per term instead of one, but since he only fails on a natural 2, Emil is feeling good about the risk. It also costs between Cr2,500 and Cr15,000 per term which will be subtracted from his mustering out benefits. His first term gets him the promotion to rank 1, and sponges off his family wealth, earning him an enemy from his home planet corporation, as +2 on that term’s advancement check.

His second term as a Dilletante is as exciting as the first, making both his survival rolls and gaining the notice of the Imperium itself, resulting in an automatic promotion to rank 2 (with the lovely title of “Ingrate”, which improves his carouse skill).

His third term he also survives and continues to sponge off his family, bringing him another enemy from the political factions back home, as well as ensuring his continued climb up the social strata of rich imperial layabouts.

His fourth term is when it all comes crashing down around him as political maneuvering among the layabouts usurps his position and he is forced to live by his own wits again. He gains a Rival (young Baron Durand, who took his place) and a level of Diplomat as he tries in vain to maintain his position.

With three terms in the Nobility and a rank of 3, he gets 5 benefit rolls. Because of the price of his anagathics, he spends three of them on money, and two on other benefits. This gets Emil Cr 250,000 a 5 ship shares towards a Yacht (or 2 towards another ship) and two more ship shares towards any other ship. His 4 terms of Anagathics set him back Cr40,000, bringing him down to Cr210,000 at the beginning of play.

Name: Emil Grant
Age: 46 (7 terms)

Strength: 6 (+0)
Dexterity: 11 (+1)
Endurance: 5 (-1)
Intelligence: 8 (+0)
Education: 14 (+2)
Social Standing: 12 (+2)
Psionic Strength: 10 (+1)

Art (Sculpting) / 0
Athletics (Coordination) / 0
Carouse / 1
Deception / 1
Diplomat / 1
Gambler / 1
Gun Combat (Energy Pistol) / 0
Investigate / 1
Jack of All Trades / 0
Recon / 0
Stealth / 0
Streetwise / 1
Survival / 0
Trade / 0
Psionics: Awareness / 3
Psionics: Telekinesis / 0
Psionics: Telepathy / 1

Dexterity Augmentation (TL 11)

Contact – Jinx, a rogue psion ex-lover.