The “Other” Option: An Extended Career for Classic Traveller
This article originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.
One of the strengths of the Third Imperium is its diversity. Beings of every sort come together to fire the engines of commerce, social organization, and progress. Along with such diversity must come a diversity of occupations that allow each sapient to contribute to society.
Classic Traveller’s Book 1: Characters and Combat introduced us to the first six adventuring careers: Army, Navy, Marines, Scouts, and Merchants, and a sixth simply called “Other”. It was apparently designed to be a “catch-all” for characters that didn’t fit the other paths, but seemed to assume that those pursuing that option were criminals of some sort, through the skill lists skewing heavily toward such pursuits. “Other” is also the only career that offers a chance to lose Social Standing.
But what of those who have a yen for adventure yet come from non-military backgrounds? This generation system is intended to address that by expanding the “Other” career options using an expanded generation systems like those in Books 4-7. It is also intended to create rich, diverse characters that offer more motivations for adventuring than simply having been a soldier, explorer, or dealer.
The Career Categories
These rules will take a slightly different direction than previous ones of its sort. Since the number of occupations that could fall under “Other” can reach into the thousands; rather than try to present specific careers, we will work with twelve broad categories designed to generically encompass as many vocations as possible:
Conservators work primarily in the outdoors. Includes such individuals as farmers, fishing industry workers, environmentalists, rangers, and foresters. Hunters and Barbarians are covered in Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium.
Constructors build and fabricate structures and finished goods, or mine raw materials on a world’s surface. Includes construction workers of all types, manufacturers, and miners.
Creators utilize imaginative imagery and techniques to convey ideas and promote communication. Includes artists of all types, writers, and multimedia workers.
Designers engage in developing blueprints and plans for structures and machines, usually to be subsequently built by Constructors. Includes architects and engineers (other than starship engineers).
Educators instruct others in new concepts, ideas, and techniques. Teachers make up the largest segment of this career, but it includes academicians, scholars, and childcare workers.
Entertainers provide diversions and amusements through song, dance, acting, or other such performances. Includes actors, musicians, and other performers on stage and screen. If the industry is legal on a given world, may include sex workers. Characters with DEX 9+ may be acrobats.
Entrepreneurs use their knowledge of and talent for business to keep the engines of commerce running. Includes businesspeople, financiers, and general office/administrative support.
Helpers are the largest class of workers, handling a variety of duties usually involved in directly serving others in some capacity. Includes servants, salespeople, support staffers, food prep and other menial workers.
Lawbreakers ply their trade in the dark world of lawlessness. Includes criminals and scofflaws of all stripes, ex-cons, and sex workers (if the industry is legislated against.) Pirates and Rogues are covered in Supplement 4.
Litigators interpret the numerous and often complex laws of the empire and its worlds. Includes attorneys, paralegals, arbitrators, and judges.
Trainers work with animals, preparing them for use in labor, entertainment, or exhibition. Includes animal handlers, animal breeders, and zookeepers.
Transporters move and coordinate the movement of goods across distances. Includes logisticians, and vehicle operators.
After characteristic generation, players enlist in one of the chosen career categories. A specific career can be selected within a category at any time, taking the character concept and scores into account. For example, after generating the six scores, a player might look them over and enlist as a Trainer, waiting until later in the process to pick a specific vocation such as zookeeper.
Throughout the generation process, the concept of Capital is used. Capital represents social or professional rewards such as minor honors, official recognition, good publicity, and other things which reflect well on the individual and which may help advance his or her career. Capital is accumulated at a rate of 1D-3 per successful indicated throw on the table. 5 points of Capital may be traded in for a +1 DM on any generation table except where indicated. Once traded in, the points are lost but can re-accumulate. Any Capital remaining during the mustering out process is lost.
It is not necessary for a character to immediately enlist at age 18. Other options allow the character to further develop his/her basic skills and maturity. For the “Other” career, these include College, Trade School, Business School, and Wanderjahr.
College is a four-year (one-term) process that focuses on developing basic education and maturity. A character that succeeds in this option enlists in his/her chosen career at age 22 rather than 18, and resolves all career terms normally.
|Admission||9+||DM +2 if EDU 9+|
|Success||7+||DM +2 if INT 8+|
|Education||1D-2||DM +1 if EDU 9+|
|Honors||10+||DM +1 if EDU 10+|
To resolve College, roll on the table above, first Admission, then Success, then, if the character succeeds, Education (the result of which is added to the character’s EDU), and Honors. DMs apply based on the unmodified stats; that is, the DM for Honors is only available if the character had EDU 10+ before enrolling in College. If the character fails the ‘Success’ roll, he/she ages one year and enlists normally, with the first term being a short one of only three years.
Trade School is a one-year process that focuses on skill development. After Trade School, the character’s first term is a short one of only three years.
|Admission||8+||DM +1 if EDU 8+|
|Success||7+||DM +1 if INT 8+|
|Education||1D-3||DM +1 if EDU 9+|
|Honors||9+||DM +1 if EDU 9+|
To resolve Trade School, roll on the table above, first Admission (if the character is sent to Trade School as a special assignment, Admission is automatic), then Success, then, if the character succeeds, Education (the result of which is added to the character’s EDU), and Honors. DMs apply based on the unmodified stats; that is, the DM for Honors is only available if the character had EDU 9+ before enrolling in Trade School. If the character succeeds at Trade School, roll once on the Trade School skill table and add one level in the indicated skill. If the character succeeds in achieving Honors, roll again on the same table and add one level in the indicated skill.
Business School is a one-year process that focuses on the development of specifically business-related skills. After Business School, the character’s first term is a short one of only three years.
|Admission||9+||DM +2 if EDU 10+|
|Success||9+||DM +2 if INT 8+|
|Education||1D-3||DM +1 if EDU 9+|
|Honors||9+||DM +1 if EDU 9+|
To resolve Business School, roll on the table above, first Admission (if the character is sent to Business School as a special assignment, Admission is automatic), then Success, then, if the character succeeds, Education (the result of which is added to the character’s EDU), and Honors. DMs apply based on the unmodified stats; that is, the DM for Honors is only available if the character had EDU 9+ before enrolling in Business School. If the character succeeds at Business School, roll once on the Business School skill table and add one level in the indicated skill. If the character succeeds in achieving Honors, roll again on the same table and add one level in the indicated skill.
Wanderjahr (“Travel year”) is a one-year process focusing on the development of personal maturity. After a Wanderjahr, the character’s first term is a short one of only three years (but see below). A character that elects to take a Wanderjahr should roll 4+ for Survival. If the character survives, roll 4+ on 1D to receive either one level in the player’s choice of skill from the Initial Training table and DM +1 to enlist in that career, or +1 to the player’s choice of characteristic. Alternatively, a character that completes a Wanderjahr may subsequently attempt enrollment in College, Business School, or Trade School with a DM +1 for Admission. If the character enters College, the second term is only three years; if the character enters Business or Trade School, the first term is only two years.
Resolving the Career
The career is resolved first by enlisting, followed by a sequence of four-year terms, each consisting of four one-year assignments, followed by re-enlistment for the next term.
Each career type has its own enlistment roll, as shown on the table below. For all careers, enlistment is automatic if the character has graduated College, Trade School, or Business School with Honors; if no Honors but EDU 10+, all careers have DM +1.
If the throw for enlistment in the desired career fails, the player has a choice of trying to enlist in the career again at a cumulative DM of -1 per each attempt, or attempting enlistment in another career.
Upon enlistment, the character undergoes initial training and orientation. This process is part of the first assignment, and effectively gives the character an extra skill for the first term. Award the character the skill listed in the table below for the career in which the character has enlisted. Note that if the character already has the skill at level 1 or higher, an additional level is not granted.
Each term consists of four one-year assignments. To determine the assignment, roll 1D on the Basic Assignment table below; Lawbreakers have a mandatory DM –1 on these rolls, all others may take an optional DM –1 to earn 2×Capital for the year. A player cannot both use Capital for a positive DM and take the optional DM –1 on the same assignment. Lawbreakers may use Capital to offset the DM –1.
If a Special Assignment is received, roll 2D on the Special Assignment table below:
|2||Turning Point||6||Cross Training||10||Windfall|
Office: The year is spent in an administrative capacity at a corporate headquarters or subsidiary office; or in the case of careers that have no offices per se (such as Lawbreakers), the year is spent in easy, nondangerous work.
Routine: The individual is engaged in the routine duties of his or her chosen career.
Field: The character is assigned outside of the normal territory of his or her career. For example, an Entertainer may go on tour, or a Conservator may help rangers in another forest.
Danger: The individual is assigned to duties that carry a significant chance of danger. For example, an Educator may be assigned to teach in a rough part of town or on a lawless world; or a Designer may be employed designing structures in a war zone.
Special: The PC is on a special assignment for the year. See below.
Special Assignment Explanations
Turning Point: A career adversity (for example, a layoff or an economic downturn), means the individual can no longer continue in his or her chosen career. Enlist in another career. Enlisting in the previous career is not permitted.
Award: The character has been selected to receive an award in recognition of his or her service. +1D Capital and Cr(2D×100).
Cross-Training: An opportunity arises to cross-train in another career, perhaps on some sort of detached duty or a continuing education class. The player may throw twice on any other career path table of his or her choosing, but both throws must be on the same table.
School: The individual has an opportunity to return to Business School (Entrepreneurs, Educators, Entertainers, Litigators, and Transporters) or Trade School (all others). Resolve as indicated on the Business School or Trade School table above. Admission is automatic; there is no need to roll.
Sabbatical: The worker has been granted an extended paid leave of absence from work. +1 EDU and two throws on the Personal Development table.
Networking: The year is spent building or maintaining a network of colleagues. +1D Capital and throw twice on the Working Life skill table.
Mentor: The PC gains a person who offers guidance through their career. +1 EDU, +1D Capital, and choose the next year’s assignment. The mentor may become a recurring contact later in the campaign.
Windfall: The individual receives unexpected good fortune in the form of a monetary award (such as contest winnings.) Throw once on the appropriate Cash Benefit table below.
After the assignment (other than Special Assignment) has been determined, roll on the Assignment Resolution Table to determine Survival, Skills, and Capital. If the Skills roll is successful, the player should choose a skill table and roll 1D to determine the skill gained. The player may expend Capital at the rate of 5 points of Capital for each DM +1 on the Skill table. If the Capital roll succeeds, roll 1D-3 to determine how many points of Capital are gained. Note that if the character has earned double Capital for taking DM –1 on the Basic Assignment table, the player should still roll 1D-3, then double the result.
|Assignment Resolution Tables|
|Conservator, Constructor, Lawbreaker, Transporter|
|Creator, Designer, Entrepreneur, Helper, Litigator, Trainer|
Each assignment a character may be eligible to receive a skill (if the Skills throw is successful, or if the skill is an entitlement due to a special assignment). The player should select a column to roll on, then throw 1D to determine the skill awarded. Capital may be expended at the rate of five points of Capital for each DM +1. Skills are as described in Classic Traveller Books 1-7; new skills appear in bold and are described following the tables. In Skills Table 1, the Personal Development and Working Life columns are open to any character; the Office, Routine, Field, and Danger columns are open to characters in any career classification who have received the appropriate assignment; the Trade School and Business School columns are open to those who are resolving a special assignment to those schools, or who are attending those schools as pre-career options. In Skills Table 2, each column is open to any character in the indicated career classification.
|Skills Table 1|
|Roll||Personal Development||Working Life||Office||Routine||Field||Danger||Trade School||Business School|
|2||+1 DEX||Primary||Electronics||Vehicle||Vehicle||Blade Combat||Mechanical||Liaison|
|3||+1 END||Primary||Computer||Primary||Instruction||Gun Combat||Medical||Trader|
|Skills Table 2|
|1||Survival||Fabricate||Liaison||Naval Architecture||Leader||Blade Combat|
|4||Trader||Liaison||Gun Combat||Legal||Animal||Heavy Vehicle|
Explanation of Skills
Skills are per the original Classic Traveller source material they appeared in, listed below:
Book 1: Characters and Combat: Admin, Air/Raft, ATV, Blade Cbt, Brawling, Bribery, Carousing, Computer, Electronics, Engineering, Forgery, Gambling, Gun Cbt, Jack of All Trades, Leader, Mechanical, Medical, Steward, Streetwise, Tactics, Vehicle
Book 4: Mercenary: Instruction, Interrogation, Liaison, Recon, Recruiting, Survival
Book 5: High Guard: Communications
Book 6: Scouts: Equestrian, Hunting, Naval Architect
Book 7: Merchant Prince: Broker, Legal, Trader
Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium: Air Craft, Prospecting, Water Craft
Primary: Immediately gain a level in the skill listed in Initial Training for the career classification.
Animal: The individual is skilled in training and working with non-sentient beasts. When encountering an animal, the trainer can use his or her skill to modify the creature’s reactions; the skill level divided by 5 (round down) is applied to the animal’s throw to attack or flee (per Book 3). The skill level is also applied as a DM to any throws made to train an animal. Note the difference between Animal skill and Equestrian skill (Book 6).
Art: The hero is accomplished at creating objects of great cultural or aesthetic value from varied materials. This is a broad field encompassing the visual arts (such as graphic design, fine art, and filmmaking) and the literary arts. The skill level is used as a DM not only to create objets d’art, but also to appraise the value of a completed piece or the relative competence of another artist.
Cargo: The adventurer is able to properly load and secure cargo in a ship’s hold or on a surface vehicle. This skill also covers the operation of fork lifts and other loading aids, but not exoskeletons (see below).
Exoskeleton: The individual can operate an internally-piloted exoskeletal robot that exponentially augments the operator’s strength. Such devices are typically employed in cargo loading and construction. An exoskeleton pilot can use Powered Combat Armor at -1 to skill.
Fabricate: This skill covers the manufacture and assembly of finished goods of all kinds, from small, portable items all the way up to and including structures. It also includes the use of devices like 3-D printers and robotic assemblers.
Heavy Vehicle: Heavy vehicles as defined here are large conveyances such as trucks, buses, construction vehicles, and trains. ATVs are generally not covered by this skill, although an individual with Heavy Vehicle can drive an ATV with DM –1.
Perform: The individual can present a pleasing and amusing entertainment to an audience, using such talents as singing, dancing, or acting. Use the skill level as a positive DM for audience reaction.
Structural Engineer: The skill of designing large-scale projects such as buildings, bridges, and dams. Individuals with this skill are able to calculate stresses and loads, select suitable materials based on strength and durability, and determine the quality of such works.
Re-Enlistment and Mustering Out
At the end of each term (four assignments), the player must roll to determine if the character may continue in the career. Roll 2D for the indicated number or higher on the appropriate career classification on the Re-enlistment table below. This should be done even if the player does not wish to continue character generation; if a 12 is rolled, the character must continue for an additional term. Capital may not be expended for DMs on re-enlistment.
When a player no longer wishes to continue character generation, or when a survival roll is failed, the character ‘musters out’. This process gives the character some equipment, possessions, and/or liquid assets. For each term completed, the character may roll once on the Mustering Out table. Capital may be expended at the rate of 5 points of Capital for DM +1 on the Material Benefits table, but not on the Cash table; characters that have Gambling skill may take DM +1 on the Cash table.
Different career classifications offer different benefits upon mustering out. Use the columns indicated below for the various classifications. Characters who have been cross-trained in a different classification may roll on any appropriate column.
- Helper, Lawbreaker
- Conservator, Constructor, Creator, Educator, Trainer, Transporter
- Designer, Entertainer
- Entrepreneur, Litigator
|Mustering Out Table|
|1||Low Psg||Low Psg||Low Psg||High Psg|
|2||Mid Psg||Gun||Mid Psg||+1 SOC|
|3||Gun||Mid Psg||+1 INT||Gun|
|4||Gun||+1 INT||+1 EDU||+1 EDU|
|5||Blade||+1 EDU||High Psg||+1 SOC|
|6||-1 SOC||Mid Psg||+1 SOC||TAS|
|7||High Psg||High Psg||TAS||Yacht|