[ Freelance Traveller Home Page | Search Freelance Traveller | Site Index ]

*Freelance Traveller

The Electronic Fan-Supported Traveller® Resource

John Law III: Police Character Generation in MegaTraveller

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.

General Background

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.

Police Ranks

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 military.

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

Initial Activities

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.

Pre-career Options

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.

Branch Assignment

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.

Branch Assignment
2D Planetary Police Branch Subsector Police Bureau
2 Riot Strike
3 Uniform Liaison
4 Uniform Liaison
5 Uniform Liaison
6 Uniform Investigative
7 Uniform Investigative
8 Detective Investigative
9 Detective Protective
10 Customs Protective
11 Security Security
12 Security Security

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

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/Advanced Training

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.

Career Resolution

Assignment Determination

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.

Duty Assignment
2D Riot/Strike Uniform Customs/Liaison Detective/Investigative Security/Protective
2 Investigation Undercover Undercover Undercover Field
3 Staff Staff Undercover Undercover Staff
4 Field Staff Staff Field Investigation
5 Field Investigation Investigation Staff Investigation
6 Civil Disturbance Field Field Investigation Undercover
7 Civil Disturbance Field Field Investigation Undercover
8 Civil Disturbance Field Field Investigation Undercover
9 Undercover Civil Disturbance Investigation Staff Investigation
10 Training Training Training Training Training
11 Special Special Special Special Special
12 Special Special Special Special Special

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.


Special Assignments
1D Special Duty Assignment
2 Combat School (Space Environ for Customs & Security)
3 Administration School
4 Technical School
5 Medical School
6 Cross-Training
7 Intelligence School
8 Attaché/Agent
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.
Assignment Resolution

Roll on the appropriate table for the year in order to determine survival, decorations, promotions, and whether skills are acquired.

Assignment Resolution
Uniform, Customs, Liaison,
Detective, and Investigative
Training Staff Field Investigation Civil Disturbance Undercover
Survival auto auto 4+ 5+ 6+ 6+
Decoration none none 11+ 10+ 9+ 8+
Promotion (9+) (8+) 8+ 7+ 7+ 7+
Skill 6+ 8+ 7+ 6+ 6+ 6+
Riot/Strike Training Staff Field Investigation Civil Disturbance Undercover
Survival auto auto 3+ 5+ 6+ 6+
Decoration none none 12+ 10+ 8+ 8+
Promotion (9+) (9+) 9+ 8+ 7+ 7+
Skill 5+ 8+ 7+ 6+ 5+ 5+
Security/Protective Training Staff Field Investigation Civil Disturbance Undercover
Survival auto auto 4+ 5+ n/a 5+
Decoration none none 10+ 10+ n/a 8+
Promotion (9+) (9+) 8+ 7+ n/a 6+
Skill 5+ 7+ 8+ 5+ n/a 4+

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 follows:
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.


Service Skills
1D Police Life NCO Skills Officer Skills Field Skills Staff Skills
1 Brawling Brawling Mental Hand Combat Admin
2 Carousing Streetwise Admin Blade Combat Computer
3 +1 STR Gun Combat Instruction Gun Combat Interpersonal
4 +1 DEX Admin Interpersonal Vehicle Medical
5 +1 END Leader Vice Vice Recruiting
6 Streetwise Tactics Inborn Interpersonal Legal
7 +1 EDU Academic Legal Legal Legal
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+
Branch Skills Riot/Strike Uniform Customs/Liaison Detective/Investigative Security/Protective
1 Gun Combat Gun Combat Zero-G Environ Gun Combat Gun Combat
2 Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle Vehicle
3 Recon +1 END Language Bribery Forgery
4 Interview Interview Interview Interview Interview
5 Gun Combat Interpersonal Vice Interpersonal Electronics
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 (optional)

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.

Changing Branch

If the character has been cross-trained in another branch, the character can elect to transfer to that branch, re-enlisting as normal.

Changing Service

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.

Mustering-Out Benefits
1D Cash Table Benefits Table
1 5,000 Low Passage
2 5,000 +1 INT
3 10,000 Forensic Kit
4 10,000 Weapon
5 20,000 High Passage
6 25,000 +1 SOC
7 50,000 Travellers’
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.