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Decorations in Marc Miller's Traveller

Awards for meritorious conduct in the face of the enemy on behalf of a grateful nation have always been an important part of every nation's heritage. Children are regaled with stories of how Grandpa won the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving that entire regiment in World War II for example. Decorations serve multiple purposes, one of which is to give the country a new hero to help bolster morale and support. The Third Imperium is no exception in this regard. 

In Book 4: Mercenary, players and gamemasters were introduced to the concept of decorations in the Classic Traveller universe. A decoration served to represent the service of a character in a particular event. How one received a decoration depended on what type of mission he served and if that mission allowed the character to be eligible for the medal. There were five primary decorations mentioned in Mercenary, which were also later used in Book 5: High Guard and the MegaTraveller Player's Manual:

In the case of the MCUF, MCG, and SEH, the player could "buck" for a decoration. That is, the player could gain a bonus of +1 for the decoration roll if he accepted a -1 on the survival roll. For example, a Marine is required to roll a 6+ to survive a mission and 8+ to get a decoration. The player decides that he wants to add +2 to his chance to get a decoration. This changes the required roll for survival for that mission to 8+. This decision must be made before the survival roll is made. 

When Marc Miller's Traveller came out in August 1996, there were several changes to the character system. One of them was the absence of a system to determine decorations for a character in the system. This article provides a proposed option for the implementation of awards/medals in the T4 character process. This article expands on the original idea, providing possible awards and decorations for all the careers presented in the T4 core rulebook, save the Psionicists (who are a group that does not advertise its existence) and the Rogues (who try to keep out of the public eye for obvious reasons.).

Army, Marines, and Navy

The Army, Marines, and Navy receive the same awards as presented in Mercenary, High Guard and the MegaTraveller Player's Handbook. To bring these awards into line with the character generation system for Marc Miller's Traveller, consider the following: 

The roll for decoration should be made before the roll for commission/promotion 


The rewards of a scholar should be quite different from those a military-oriented career. A scholar would receive a decoration for insightful work in a particular field of endeavor or discovery of a new idea/process. There are no combat ribbons or purple hearts in the scholarly fields. 

For a decoration, the scholar rolls a 4- on 2D6, no modifiers. This is in recognition that it is much more difficult in the scholarly field to gain recognition for work than in the military. 

A character should receive a Tenured Professor or receive a Chair only once in his career. If one of these options is already received and the character re-rolls it as an option, the scholar should receive a Published Researcher award. 


A merchant does not receive a decoration. Rather, a merchant receives a bonus for opening new trade territory, establishing major trade deals, etc. The type of bonus depends on the merchant's rank within the corporate entity. Needless to say, the captain of a free trader would receive a higher bonus than the crew members. A bonus is received when a merchant rolls 4- on 2D6, no modifiers. This reflects the involvement of the company in the affairs of its employees. The employees are working to ensure that the company makes a profit, correct? The type of bonus depends on the roll made. 


The life of a scout is quite lonely, dangerous, and can sometimes be underappreciated. As such, the IISS has made an effort to develop a system of recognition for outstanding members of their service. The benefits of the recognition are in lieu of no ranks in the IISS 

To receive a recognition, roll 4- on 2D6, no modifiers. 


The entertainer can receive additional recognition beyond the adulation/disdain of the masses in front of whom they perform. The result of this recognition is more monetary than the options. 

To receive a recognition, roll 6 - on 2D6, no modifiers. 


The agent is one of the unsung heroes of Imperial society. It is up to him to keep the wheels of Imperial society humming along. As such, when an agent achieves an honor, it is well known both in "official" society as well as "unofficial" society. 

To receive an honor, the agent should roll 6- on 2D6, no modifiers. Rolls should be made before commission/promotion rolls, with one per term possible. 


The noble is already highly visible in Imperial society. Additional recognitions are in acknowledgment to the service and expansion of the Third Imperium to achieve its ultimate goal as the inheritors of the First and Second Imperia. Recognition brings the eyes of the upper strata of Imperial society down upon the noble, eyes he might not want looking sometimes. 

To receive a recognition, the noble should roll 4- on 2D6, no modifiers. 

The individual gamemaster has the option to develop his own ideas on decorations/awards for the Traveller services, of course. Those above are provided as a possible starting point. As always, it is the Traveller gamemaster that has the ultimate as to what goes in his game or what doesn't.