This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2000, and was edited into this form to appear in the October 2014 issue.
Throughout history, humaniti has been governed by laws and customs designed to keep societies from lapsing back into savagery and barbarism. The enforcement arm of society is the police force.
Police forces occur at several levels. A world may have metropolitan forces for each of its large cities, several constabulary forces for its lesser populated areas, a para-military force stationed against rebels in the outback, and one or more overall planet-wide investigatory agencies. Many times there will be several layers of police organisations, sometimes with overlapping jurisdictions, and often working at cross-purposes.
Within the Imperium, law and justice exists on three levels. At the planetary and local level, low justice governs everything from homicide to littering. At the subsector level, middle justice protects helpless societies from exploitation, and protects all societies from excessive military action. At the highest, Imperial, level, high justice prevents revolt against Imperial authority; keeps the peace between worlds, subsectors and sectors; upholds the rights of sentients; and preserves free trade among member states. High justice is presided over by the Imperial Ministry of Justice (MoJ), and enforced by the Imperial Navy, Army, and Marines, often assisted by the Security Branch of the IISS Operations Office.
The lowest two levels of law and justice are covered by this character generation system. MoJ characters have a separate MoJ character generation system, although Police characters do have opportunities to transfer up.
The general term for officers serving in any form of police force, regardless of rank, branch, or type of force, is police.
Ranks for characters in the police are shown in the Police Table of
Ranks. Ranks O1 to O7 are called commissioned police officers. Ranks E1 to
E7 are simply called police officers, and correspond to enlisted rank in the
|Table of Ranks|
|Rank||Planetary Police||Subsector Police||Rank||Planetary Police||Subsector Police|
|E1||Probationer||Trainee||O1||(Detective) Deputy Inspector||Deputy Inspector|
|E2||(Detective) Constable||Constable||O2||(Detective) Inspector||Inspector|
|E3||Senior (Detective) Constable||Senior Constable||O3||(Detective) Chief Inspector||Chief Inspector|
|E4||(Detective) Sergeant||Sergeant||O4||Superintendant||Station Chief|
|E5||Senior (Detective) Sergeant||Senior Sergeant||O5||Chief Superintendant||Area Chief|
|E6||Station (Detective) Sergeant||Station Sergeant||O6||Deputy Commissioner||Bureau Chief|
|E7||(Detective) Area Sergeant||Area Sergeant||O7||Commissioner of Police||Subsector Chief|
A beginning Police character must determine if their homeworld is Aggressive (more likely to use weapons to control tense situations) or Non-Aggressive (more likely to use negotiation to control such situations). If Grand Census or World Builder’s Handbook is available and the homeworld is known, then check the world’s Aggressiveness Action. Militant and neutral worlds are considered Aggressive for the purpose of these rules, whereas peaceable and conciliatory are considered Non-Aggressive.
Once the character’s statistics are rolled, their homeworld determined,
and their default skills allocated, characters intending to follow a Police
career may consider attending College.
|Admission||9+||DM +2 if EDU 9+|
|Success||7+||DM +2 if INT 8+|
|Education||1d-2||DM +1 if INT 9+|
|Honors||10+||DM +1 if INT 10+|
|Honors graduates receive the greater of +1 EDU or EDU 10.|
|Planetary Police||Subsector Police|
|Enlistment||7+||8+, starport A or B|
|DM +1 if||INT 7+||INT 8+|
|DM +2 if||DEX 9+||DEX 9+|
Enlistment is automatic (if desired) for College graduates. College graduates and normal enlistees begin with rank E1; College honours graduates begin with rank O1.
Terms of Service
A term of service is four years long. Each term is subdivided into four one-year assignments, each resolved separately. At the end of a term, a character can attempt to re-enlist or elect to muster out.
Upon enlistment, the character must roll on the following table for their
branch assignment. A character with SOC 9+ may choose any branch. Characters
must stay in their assigned branch unless they undergo Cross-Training in
another branch, in which case they can transfer to the new branch at the
beginning of a new term of service.
|2D||Planetary Police Branch||Subsector Police Bureau|
Optional DMs: if STR 9+, DM-2; if END 7+, -1; if INT 8+, DM+1; if SOC 9+, DM+2.
- Riot police
- control civil disturbances that are beyond the capability of
uniformed police, but do not require military intervention.
Uniformed police deal with routine crimes in the community.
- investigate crimes in order to identify and gather evidence against criminal suspects.
- Customs police
- guard starport entry points and associated free trade areas, and deal with crimes concerning off-world trade (such as smuggling).
- Planetary Security
- investigates crimes against the state. The scope of this mandate depends on the government. Societies with high law levels will treat even minor political dissent or illegal economic activity as crimes against the state; those with lower law levels will only deploy security police against clear dangers to the social order (espionage, sabotage directed against the defence forces, major economic crimes such as counterfeiting, etc).
- Strike officers
- are a specialised force who raid newly-discovered havens of criminal activity.
- Liaison officers
- maintain contacts between the Subsector Police and the various planetary police bodies.
- Investigative officers
- investigate crimes that affect more than one member state of the Imperium, in order to identify and gather evidence against criminal suspects.
- Protective officers
- guard non-military installations of the subsector government.
- Subsector Security officers
- act as bodyguards to the subsector bureaucracy.
Brownie points (BPs) are special DMs received for significant success efforts on the part of a character. A brownie point may be used as a special DM on any die roll after it has been rolled. Once expended in this way, a brownie point is used up for good. Any number of brownie points may be used on a given roll, as long as the character has them available. They may be accumulated for as long as desired and used whenever desired.
For police characters, BPs include:
|Upon graduation from college||1 BP|
|Upon receiving honors from college||1 BP|
|Upon completing each four-year term||1 BP|
|After each assignment to Special Duty||1 BP|
|Upon receiving a Commendation||1 BP|
|Upon receiving a Meritorious Conduct Medal||2 BP|
|Upon receiving a Police Star||3 BP|
No BPs are awarded for a Wound Ribbon.
Basic and Advanced Training together comprise the first year of the Police character’s first term. Characters from Unagressive worlds receive Brawling; characters from Aggressive worlds receive Gun Combat. All characters receive an additional two skills rolled on the appropriate Branch Skills table.
Each year, roll 2D on the appropriate Assignment Table to determine the
character’s basic assignment for the year. If Special Duty is received, roll
on the appropriate Special Assignment table.
Assignment descriptions are as follows:
- Civil Disturbance:
- attend at a major disturbance in the community
- perform routine field work. For example, uniformed police patrol the community.
- identify and gather evidence against criminal suspects.
- perform administrative duties, complete paperwork.
- attend routine training.
- perform plain clothes undercover work, either surveillance or infiltration of criminal groups.
- Special Duty:
- Special Duty represents opportunity for the Police character to obtain specialized training. roll on the Special Duty table.
|1D||Special Duty Assignment|
|2||Combat School (Space Environ for Customs & Security)|
|DMs||+1 if Rank O1+|Optional +1 or –1 if EDU 8+|
Special Duty descriptions are as follows:
- Administration School:
- Receive Admin, then roll 4+ for each of the following: Computing, Instruction, Interview, Legal, Liaison, Recruiting.
- Roll 1D. On 1-4, the character is seconded to serve as an attaché (liaison officer) to the Subsector Police; on 5-6, the character serves as an agent for the Imperial Ministry of Justice. An attaché receives Liaison, a promotion of one grade and +1 SOC. An agent receives one roll on the MoJ Staff Skills table (assume MoJ rank E2), +1 SOC and may choose their next assignment (other than Attaché/Agent). At the end of any subsequent term of service, the character may transfer to the seconding organisation (to the Subsector Police at equivalent rank, or to the MoJ at rank E2).
- Combat School:
- Receive Gun Combat, then roll 4+ for each of the following: Battle Dress, Heavy Weapons, Recon, Survival, Special Combat, Vehicle. This school CAN be attended by a character from a Non-Aggressive homeworld.
- Roll twice on the Branch Skill table of another branch. The character may transfer to this branch at the end of any subsequent term of service.
- Intelligence School:
- Roll 4+ for each of the following: Vice, Communications, Computing, Interpersonal, Interrogation, Language.
- Medical School:
- Receive Admin, Medical, Science; if one of these skills is at 3 or more, receive Instruction instead.
- Officer Candidate School (OCS):
- Advance to rank O1 (E5 advances to rank O2) in current or cross-trained branch. Roll twice on the Officer Skills table and once on the relevant Branch table. Rank E6 or E7 advances to rank O3, but receives no new skills.
- Space Environment School:
- Receive Gun Combat, then roll 4+ for each of the following: Gunnery, Sensor Ops, Ship's Boat, Space Combat, Vacc Suit, Zero-G Environ.
- Technical School:
- Roll 4+ for each of the following: Communications, Computing, Demolitions, Forensic, Sensor Ops, Technical.
Roll on the appropriate table for the year in order to determine
survival, decorations, promotions, and whether skills are acquired.
|Uniform, Customs, Liaison,
Detective, and Investigative
A character risks some chance of injury or death while serving in the Police. To survive a duty assignment, roll the indicated number or higher. If successful, the character survives and continues with the resolution of the assignment. If unsuccessful, the character must leave the service immediately. The current term of service does not count when determining the number of mustering out benefits, but the character does receive a yearly pension no matter how long they have been serving (they are “pensioned out sick”).
If the indicated number is rolled exactly, the character has been wounded while on duty and receives a “Wound Ribbon”.
The character may take up to -2 for survival (the police force discourages risk-taking) and add that figure onto the Decoration roll. Alternatively, they may take up to +2 for survival, but must subtract this from their Decoration roll.
If a character rolls the indicated number or higher, they have performed outstandingly well and receive a decoration for actions above and beyond the call of duty. If the character rolls the indicated number or higher, they receive a Commendation (Com). If they roll at least three higher than the indicated number, they receive a Meritorious Conduct Medal (MCM). If they roll at least six higher, they are awarded the Police Star (PS).
If the character fails a decoration roll by 6 or more they have been criminally charged and must consult the Court-Martial Table (MegaTraveller Players’ Manual, p 47).
- Promotion chances in brackets are for E1-E6 only; commissioned officers cannot be promoted in these assignments.
- Skill Eligibility:
- Skills are received from basic/advanced training, special
assignments, or from the skill roll. The Skill Tables are restricted as
- Police Life:
- any Police character.
- NCO Skills:
- character is rank E4-E7.
- Officer Skills:
- character is rank O1+.
- Field Skills:
- character is in a Field, Investigation, Civil Disturbance or Undercover assignment.
- Staff Skills:
- character is in a Training or Staff assignment.
- Branch Skills:
- the character is in the appropriate service branch.
|1D||Police Life||NCO Skills||Officer Skills||Field Skills||Staff Skills|
|3||+1 STR||Gun Combat||Instruction||Gun Combat||Interpersonal|
|8||+1 SOC||Interpersonal||+1 SOC||Liaison||Academic|
|DMs:||+1 if E4+
+2 if O4+
|+2 if E4+||+2 if O4+||+2 if O1+||+2 if O1+|
|1||Gun Combat||Gun Combat||Zero-G Environ||Gun Combat||Gun Combat|
|6||Heavy Weapons||Streetwise||Vacc Suit||Streetwise||Vice|
|Note: On Non-Aggressive worlds, Gun Combat may be replaced by Brawling, choosing each time rolled. At the referee’s discretion, Martial Arts may be substituted for all occurrences of Brawling. On High Law Level worlds, Interrogation may be substituted for Interview.|
Contacts are as per TNE rules. Police characters receive one Law Enforcement and one Criminal contact per term. The referee should determine the specific nature of these contacts, preferably by reference to the character’s assignments during that term.
Reenlistment And Mustering Out
At the end of each term of service the player must decide whether to continue this career or muster out. If they want to continue, they must roll 5+ on 2D to be eligible to reenlist. If they want to leave, they must still roll 2D. If the result is 12 exactly, the character must reenlist.
If the character has been cross-trained in another branch, the character can elect to transfer to that branch, re-enlisting as normal.
A character may transfer to the Ministry of Justice if at any time during the term, the character was seconded to the MoJ. Note that MoJ character generation is beyond the scope of this article.
Mustering Out Benefits
When a character leaves the service (for any reason), they are eligible for
mustering-out benefits. Roll on the Mustering Out tables as follows:
|Per term of service||1 roll|
|If rank O1-O2||1 additional roll|
|If rank O3-O4||2 additional rolls|
|If rank O5+||3 additional rolls|
A character that has served at least 5 terms may retire and be eligible for
retirement pay. Annual retirement pay is equal to Cr2000 per term served.
This may be collected in monthly installments.
|1D||Cash Table||Benefits Table|
|DMs:||If Gambling 1+ or retiree, +1||If rank O5+, +1|
No more than three rolls may be made on the Cash table. If homeworld is Non-Aggressive, Weapon may be taken as Brawling skill, unless the character already has other weapon skills.
For travel allowances and material benefits, refer to the MegaTraveller Players’ Manual. For more information on the Forensic skill and the Forensic Kit, see “Law Enforcers” and “Forensic Science”, both in Travellers’ Digest No. 4.
Edited excerpts from the following sources are included in the Introduction to this work:
McInnes, Terry. 1982. “High Justice”. Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society No. 14 pp.19-22. Bloomington, IL, USA. Game Designers’ Workshop.
Wiseman, Loren. 1982. “Police Forces in Traveller”. Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society No. 14 pp.12-15. Bloomington, IL, USA. Game Designers’ Workshop.
The following sources were used as reference material:
Parker, Robert. 1986. “Law Enforcers”. Travellers’ Digest No. 4 pp.48-51. Boise, ID, USA. Digest Group Publications.
Parker, Robert and Nancy. “Forensic Science”. Travellers’ Digest No. 4 pp.52-54. Boise, ID, USA. Digest Group Publications.
Miller, Marc W. 1987. MegaTraveller Players’ Manual. Bloomington, IL, USA. Game Designers’ Workshop.
Brinich, Stephen and James Schwar. 1987. “There When You Need Them”. Challenge No. 30 pp.34-36. Bloomington, IL, USA. Game Designers’ Workshop.
Thomas, Gary L. 1987. Grand Census. Boise, ID, USA. Digest Group Publications.
Chadwick, Frank and Dave Nilsen. 1993. Traveller: The New Era. Bloomington, IL, USA. Game Designers’ Workshop.
Zeitlin, Jeff. July 1995. “Law Enforcer Characters”. Traveller Mailing List. New York, USA. [A revised version of this article appears on Freelance Traveller’s website as “John Law II: Character Generation for Traveller: The New Era” - ed.]
Miller, Marc W. 1996. Marc Miller’s Traveller, USA. Imperium Games.
Smith, Lester. 1996. Milieu 0. USA. Imperium Games.
McGregor, Phillip. September 1996. “Point-based Character Generation”. Dark Star No. 1 p.15. Australia. Phillip McGregor.
With apologies to The Bill.