Star Legion Character Generation
This was the featured article in the February/March 2015 issue.
The procedure outlined here is a combination of elements of MegaTraveller and Marc Miller’s Traveller (T4). It is therefore recommended that the core rulebooks for both versions of Traveller be available. In addition, (Classic Traveller) Alien Module 3: Vargr and MegaTraveller Alien Volume 1: Vilani and Vargr provide background information on and character generation rules for the Vargr; (Classic Traveller) Adventure 2: Research Station Gamma and Travellers’ Digest #11 provide background information on chirpers and the Geonee; and Challenge #52 provides background information on the Hhkar.
This material comes from “Beyond the Extents”, a home-grown Traveller Universe set in the sector “New Hope”, beyond charted space coreward of the Vargr Extents, during the period between Imperial years 1120 and 1200. The campaign and setting are creations of Carlos Alos-Ferrer.
New Hope was settled, among others, by Terrans and Geonee escaping from the Long Night. They, along with Retani (a fatalistic human minor race) and Vargr, founded the Federation of the Races, a multilingual and multiracial polity. It is surrounded by Vargr (of Suedzuk and Urzaeng origin) and Hhkar, just to keep things interesting.
The Star Legion is one of the armed forces of the Federation of the Races.
Travellers’ Digest #11 refers to the chirper ‘matchmaker’ that a Geonee male must attract before being allowed to marry as a selweeda. In this campaign, the term used by Mr Alos-Ferrer is swanee. This article follows the latter usage.
To enlist, the candidate must meet certain physical fitness requirements, as the physical stresses of training are considered significant, and fatalities during training are not unexpected. Candidates who fall short of the requirements will not be accepted; those who do meet the requirements are accepted.
All recruits must enlist for a minimum of four years, though longer enlistment contracts are common. A recruit may sign on with any name; no identification or prior history is asked for. Enlistment is not barred to convicts; however, a convict’s minimum enlistment is the longer of half the term of their sentence, or four years, determined by consultation with the correctional system (if the convict chooses to enlist after commencement of sentence) or with the justice system (if the convict chooses to enlist at the time of sentencing). A convict enlistee will have the length of sentence and crime recorded, but this information is not made available to other Legionnaires except on a need-to-know basis as relevant to training or assignment. All recruits, upon enlistment, leave everything behind to become a Legionnaire.
There are two main Star Legion training bases, on Lutan and Dzorg.
Loyalty to the Star Legion is impressed on all recruits and is part of basic training. History of the legion is taught in class and traditions are adhered to at all times.
The Legion considers the abilities and weaknesses of all their recruits. Problems generally associated with Vargr and Geonee recruits are taken into consideration.
One of the main reasons that the traditions and loyalty to the Legion are taught is to overcome the tendency of Vargr recruits and Vargr Legionnaires to have swings in charisma during their terms of service. The adherence to traditions and the strong discipline within the Legion lead to a respect for all Legionaries and their abilities. This initially confuses Vargr recruits in their first few months, but after that, the Vargr recruits end up showing their loyalties to the Legion as a sort of extended family or devolved pack. No one sophont is the legion or commands the legion, but the legion still functions as a pack. Not only does this build teamwork and confidence throughout the Legion but specifically boosts the Vargr recruits confidence in themselves and their fellow legionaries. This results in an increase in the Vargr recruit’s charisma at the end of the first year, and also successfully reduces the swings in charisma for Vargr legionaries during their service. Recruits have it drummed into them that their superiors all have the ability to do their jobs, and promotions are given for ability and not confidence. One of the main reasons why the death penalty for insubordination is still enforced is to remove the effect of Vargr with high charisma, but little ability, from trying to take charge at inappropriate times. The death penalty is only usually enforced in battle situations, although with the Legion that can be a large amount of the time. Public flogging of the offender is the preferred method of punishment (Vargr Legionnaires receive –1 CHR as shown by the success table).
The only special treatment any legionnaire receives is if that legionnaire is a Geonee with a swanee (chirper ‘matchmaker’) accompanying him. These legionaries are assigned billets in ‘married quarters’. Although it is not allowed for any legionnaire to live with their spouse while in the legion, exceptions are made for Geonee with swanee when assigned to legion bases. This serves two purposes: it allows the Geonee recruits to relax and get on with the job of being a legionnaire, and allows the swanee to reproduce thus making available other swanee for Geonee, not accompanied by one, to have the chance of ‘gaining’ one while in the legion. No exceptions are made for swanee while aboard ship, although it is accepted that they may well be aboard. If swanee are on ship they are the legionnaire’s responsibility; no special accommodations are provided, and no special considerations are given if the Geonee have to engage in battles. The Legion, while it acknowledges that they exist, takes no responsibility for them. Recruits who have swanee are counselled in their care while in the legion by other legionnaires with swanee. There are also Geonee counselors who are available to Geonee legionnaires who have lost their swanee for any reason. This counselling is undertaken extensively for two weeks, after which the legionnaire is required to return to duty; no exceptions are allowed or tolerated. A legionnaire not returning to duty will be ordered to report the following day. Legionnaires refusing to report for duty after being ordered to, are charged with disobeying an order first (public flogging), allowing them an extra week for recovery, and then insubordination for a second refusal (death).
A Rigorous Curriculum
The first year of recruitment is devoted to training. The legion takes its training seriously; there are very few weekend passes during this time. Leave is non-existent, and the recruits generally work 14 to 16 hours out of each standard 24-hour day. Inspections are run almost daily. Frequent breaks are available throughout the day for meals and naps. Recruits have two half-days ‘off’ in the week, but no free time is available for any external activities.
The first six months focuses on soldiering, basic fitness training, drill, basic survival training, armed and unarmed combat, and language courses. The language of the Legion is Adzuk. If the recruit already has basic fluency in Adzuk, they will be taught another Federation language to basic functionality.
At the end of their first six months, the recruits ‘pass out’ with the title of Legionnaire, and continue to Space training, conducted in starship environments. Damage control, Vacc Suit and Zero-G-Environment courses are taught for three months. At the end of this period, the Legionnaire is assessed, and is assigned to branch training based on that assessment. A Legionnaire that qualifies for multiple schools at this time may select which school to attend.
At the end of the first year, the Legionnaires are assigned to normal duties. It is frowned upon to treat a new Legionnaire with any less respect than any other, as after their initial training they are qualified to undertake the position they are assigned to. Unfortunately, the regimes of training and active duty are very different. Until the new Legionnaire gets used to working in an active duty position they are generally referred to as ‘pups’ (it takes about six months, or until the next class of Legionnaires take up duty assignments, for the nickname to wear off).
During their first term Legionnaires can’t be promoted beyond Corporal, and may not be assigned to Special Duty.
Once the Legionnaire is in their second term they are eligible for officer training. Because the Star Legion usually operates with older ships, passed to them from the Federation Navy or captured as prizes, they are generally at a disadvantage when facing the enemy. The Legion makes up for this by teaching ship tactics and leadership skills to its officers, and by continually training all Legionnaires. The greater skill and aggressiveness of the Legionnaires is a balancing factor in most engagements. It is a generally-held belief that, given equivalent equipment against an equal or slightly larger force, the Legion would engage and win against any force the New Hope sector has to offer (including the Federation Army and Navy).
A Legionnaire remains assigned to a branch for the entirety of a four-year term, except if cross-trained during a Base duty assignment, but may draw a different duty assignment annually.
The Legion is organized into five branches. There is much overlap between the branches in the actual tasks that a Legionnaire will carry out, but the branches are generally focused as follows:
- Actual military engagements, operation of weapons, battlefield awareness.
- Operation of ships and small craft in support of military operations.
- Maintenance of weapons and equipment, including ships, small craft, and vehicles.
- Organization and transport of personnel and supplies.
- Other necessary Legion activities, including medical, intelligence gathering, recruiting, training, etc.
Duty assignments, regardless of branch, are of one of five general classes:
- the planed engagement of Enemies of the Federation.
- the planed engagement of Corsairs.
- assignment to one of the Legion’s Bases. In many cases, cross-training in another branch, or further training in one’s own branch, is given. A cross-trained Legionnaire is assigned to the new branch for the remainder of the term, and may be assigned to that branch in future terms. (base also includes training, or cross training in another Branch (roll 5+ to be cross trained in another branch and move to that Branch (consult Branch Assignment Table) can cross train in same branch assignment).
- the standard patrol of the space lanes (may result in unplanned engagement of corsairs; training is undertaken constantly while on patrol).
- Special Duty:
- Duties outside the standard assignments:
- Officer Training School:
- Candidates for promotion are sent to this school, where leadership and tactical skills training are emphasized. Graduates may be commissioned, or may opt to take a senior NCO slot if one is available.
- Intelligence School:
- Training for covert intelligence gathering and analysis, usually accompanied by a mission assignment and briefing.
- Space School:
- Training in less-frequently-used space-related skills is emphasized.
- Ground School:
- Training in less-frequently-used planetside skills is emphasized.
- Training in skills needed for recruiting new Legionnaires, and assignment to a recruiting station.
Although there is no effective limit on the number of Legionnaires who can achieve NCO or officer rank, the top ranks are limited, and generally occupied by senior (long service) Legionnaires. It is extremely rare for one of the few E6, O6, or O7 positions to be open, so Legionnaires generally do not expect to promote to these levels.
There is one rank E6 and one rank O6 for each Star Legion Base in the Federation, and one E6 and one O6 for each training base, making a total of 9 Rank E6’s and 9 Rank O6 currently in the Federation. There are only three O7 positions, exercising ultimate command of the Legion (subject to civilian governance).
Legionnaires wishing to continue to serve once their current contract is up are always welcome to sign a new contract. Even those Legionnaires who choose to leave the Legion for a while will be welcomed back, with no loss of rank if rejoining within two years (though if their separation is longer, they will have to go through basic training and earn their way back into rank).
On Mustering out a Legionnaire obtains a Federation Citizen ID in whatever name they signed on with including all licenses obtained while in service. If officers obtain a weapon they also obtain a government licence to carry that weapon for services to the Federation. The Legion also allows the sharing of cash allocation of “Prizes” among the forces involved in the action (taking into account any losses in said action).
When a Vargr legionnaire leaves the service, the confidence that they had in the Legion, and thus themselves, may be diminished as the structures that the Legion had in-place to limit the swings in charisma are removed. Because of this lack of structure, the Vargr ex-Legionnaire may soon find that they can no longer place their faith in the structures of their new life. This has the effect on some Vargr as a decrease in self-confidence (roll 2D for CHR or less to avoid –1 CHR), although many Vargr overcome this and carry the confidence found in the Legion into their new lives.
Rules and Tables
No enlistment roll is required. Enlistment is automatic for any character with STR 5 and END 6.
To survive basic training: roll 2D for 6+, DM lower of STR/3 or END/3 (round down).
- For each attribute listed, roll 2D. If the total is less than the character’s UPP value for that attribute, the character qualifies for the indicated school(s). All Legionnaires automatically qualify for Combat School. A character qualifying for multiple schools may select which school to attend.
- Support School
- Flight School
- Logistics School, Engineering School
- First Year Skills:
- All Legionnaires receive Combat Rifleman-1, Vacc Suit-1, and one skill level from the Branch School attended. Vargr Legionnaires receive Infighting-1 and CHA +1; all others receive Brawling-1. Legionnaires who do not already have Adzuk-2+ receive Adzuk-2; others receive another Federation language at skill-1 (Roll on the language table).
|Branch School Skills|
|1||Pilot-1||Engineering-1||Medical-1||Grav Vehicle-1||Turret Weapon-1|
|3||Sensor Ops-1||Gravitics-1||Computer-1||Small Watercraft-1||Heavy Weapons-1|
|4||Communications-1||Electronics-1||Steward-1||Ship’s Boat-1||Gun Combat-1|
|5||Roll Again||Roll Again||Administration-1||Trader-1||Blade Combatt-1|
|6||Roll Again||Roll Again||Trader-1||Administration-1||Brawling-1*|
* Vargr receive Infighting-1 instead.
Roll 5+ on 1D for each of +1 STR and +1 END.
Roll 6 on 1D for each of Zero G Enviroment-1 and Survival-1
After awarding the character the appropriate skills from the training year, resolve a short term of three years normally, except that a duty assignment of Special Duty should be rerolled, and a character who has reached the rank of Corporal should not roll for promotion.
Resolving a Term
It should be noted that certain skills are interpreted differently in this campaign from what is standard in Traveller. The skills so modified are as follows:
- does not include Spinal Weapons.
- Gun Combat:
- does not include Neural Weapons.
- High Energy Weapons:
- does not include Meson Guns.
- does not include Meson Screens
- Special Combat:
- does not include Battle Dress
At the beginning of each term, roll 1D for branch assignment, rerolling any result of ‘6’ or any branch in which the character has not been trained.
At the beginning of each year, roll 2D for duty assignment.
|5, 6, 7||Base|
|8, 9, 10||Patrol|
|11, 12||Special Duty|
Roll survival, decoration, promotion, and skill eligibility as per the Assignment Resolution table.
DM +1 on survival
roll if any skill 2+ from current Branch
|Legion Life||NCO Skills||Command Skills||Shipboard Skills|
|1||Physical||Heavy Weapon||Heavy Weapon||Vacc Suit|
|3||Hand Combat||Tactics||Leader||Forward Observer|
|4||Hand Combat||Leader||Ship Tactics||Gunnery|
|5||Gun Combat||Instruction||Fleet Tactics||Hi-G Environment|
|6||Gun Combat||Inborn||Interpersonal||Ship’s Boat|
|DMs||+2 if term 2+||+2 if Rank E4+||+1 if Rank O4+||+1 if term 2+|
|1||Pilot||Engineering||Heavy Weapon||Interpersonal||Grav Vehicle|
|2||Navigation||Engineering||Turret Weapon||Steward||Grav Vehicle|
|4||Communication||Electronics||Gun Combat||Administration||Small Watercraft|
|6||Computer||Computer||Special Combat||Computer||Ship’s Boat|
If the duty assignment is Base, roll 1D for 5+; on success, the character has been selected for additional training or cross-training. Roll 1D on the Branch Assignment table for the branch, then roll 1D on the Branch Skills table for that branch. This is a separate award of a skill from the normal skill eligibility.
If the duty assignment is Special Duty, roll on the Special Duty table, and resolve as indicated:
- Officer Training School (OTS):
- Advance to rank O1 (Ranks E4 and E5 advance to rank O2 or may elect to move to Rank E6 if there is a position available) in current or cross-trained branch. Skills: Ships Tactics-1 Leader-1. If OTS is rolled again assign skills Fleet Tactics-1, Tactics-1. Re-roll any further OTS assignments. (Legionnaires may be promoted again in the same term they first serve in OTS).
- Intelligence School:
- Throw 5+ for Survival. No promotion or decoration. Throw 5+ for each of Forgery-1, Vice-1, Streetwise-1, Interrogation-1, Computer-1. Intelligence missions are recorded as Base missions on the legionnaire’s CV.
- Space School:
- Roll 4+ for Survey-1, Robot Ops-1, Spinal Weapons-1
- Ground School:
- Roll 4+ for Recon-1, Stealth-1, Hunting-1
- Obtain Recruting-1 and one skill level in one of the Federation’s official languages (Roll 1D on the language table).
Vargr characters roll 2D at the end of each term, DM +1 for each decoration received during the term. On 2-, CHA -1; on 12+, CHA +1; other rolls no effect on charisma.
Re-enlistment is automatic; no roll is required. If the player chooses to retire, muster out as usual; the character may rejoin the Legion with no loss of rank if separated for two years or less.
Characters earn one roll (1D) per term. The first roll of a weapon on the Material Benefits table is taken as an actual weapon; subsequent rolls of a weapon may be taken as skill in that weapon. DMs on the cash table are not cumulative (maximum DM +1). Up to three rolls may be taken on the Cash table.
|+1 if Gambling Skill
or Rank O3+
|+1 if Rank O3+|
|Table of Ranks|
|E2||Senior Legionnaire||O2||Flight Lieutenant|
|E6||Legion Warrant Officer||O6||Admiral|