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Psionic Guardians: An Expanded Classic Traveller Career

Editor’s note: This adventure appeared in its present (edited) form in the September 2013 issue. The earlier version originally was posted to the Freelance Traveller web site in 2003.


Although the default Third Imperium setting for Traveller essentially bans general psionics use, there is still the possibility for psionic undercover operatives. Other settings may make heavy use of psionics and may have the equivalent of a psionic police force that protects the populace. Some of these psionic guardians may go about their duties relying heavily on mysticism; others may go about it in a scientific way. Psionic usage also varies; some do almost everything using their powers, while others use their powers when it is the only option. The social order can vary just as much, with one group having a heavily stratified order while others are essentially democratic. Generally, any psionic guardian organization can be split into three groups: law enforcement, social welfare, or military (which may be divided further into covert or overt). Not all organizations will have all these groups, and in those that do one group might be more important or larger than others.

Required Materials

This article assumes that the Classic Traveller core rules (Books 1, 2, and 3; Deluxe Traveller; or The Traveller Book) are available. Special attention is directed to the Psionics rules in any version. The various extended career books (Book 4: Mercenary, Book 5: High Guard, Book 6: Scouts, and/or Book 7: Merchant Prince) or third-party Classic Traveller extended careers from other sources may be useful as well.

Generating Psionic Guardian Characters

The basic process is the same as for any career:

  1. Generate the character’s stats
  2. Enlist in a career
  3. Resolve the career

In settings where psionics are legal and openly used, follow the core rules (except as noted below) for determining the character’s psionic strength and abilities, and training, as part of step 1.

For legal psionics, assume that training is available on any world of POP 6+ and TL4+; on other worlds, roll 2D for 8+, DM –1 for each level of POP or TL below the above. Since this is being done as part of initial character creation, do not impose age penalties when rolling Psionic Strength Rating.

If psionics are illegal or generally unavailable, as in the standard Third Imperium setting, use the procedure for finding a Psionics Institute and receiving training as outlined in the Traveller core rules. Alternatively, finding training and later joining a psionic guardian organization may drive an adventure.

In any case, a character may not join a psionic guardian organization unless his PSR is 5+.


If an extended career that the player feels is appropriate for his character is available, follow the normal enlistment procedure for that career. Otherwise, use the “Other” career from the Classic Traveller core rules. If the character fails the enlistment roll, roll for Draft as normal.

Once a character has enlisted (or been drafted) into a career, if the character has PSR 5+ and expresses an interest, they will be accepted into the career’s psionic guardian arm.

For third-party careers, the referee should use his best judgment as to the most appropriate psionic skills for the career. The Service Psionic Skills table entries for the Other career may provide useful guidelines.

Acquiring Skills and Expertise

If you are using one of the extended character generation procedures (Books 4-7 or third-party expanded careers), follow the normal procedure for resolving the career, except that along with the usual yearly Survival, Decoration, Commission/Promo tion, and Skill rolls, roll for Psionic Experience as per the core rules for each psionic talent that the character has that is also on the Service Psionic Skills list for the service. Note that the training period that equals the first yearly assignment includes psionic testing and training for psionic characters (and such testing and training should be conducted as per the core rules, with the Service Psionic Skills being tested for first), and the Psionic Experience roll should be made even if no other rolls are. If the referee permits, at the end of the term, roll Psionic Experience for each psionic talent that the character has that was not rolled for during the term.


Service Psionic Skills
Service Skills Service Skills
Army Teleportation, Clairvoyance Navy Telepathy, Clairvoyance
Marines Telepathy, Teleportation, Clairvoyance Scouts Telepathy, Telekinesis, Clairvoyance, Awareness
Merchants Telepathy, Telekinesis Other (Law Enforcement) Telekinesis, Awareness
Other (Social Welfare) Telepathy, Clairvoyance Other (Covert Operations) Teleportation, Clairvoyance, Awareness

Psionic Guardians for “Other” Characters

It is assumed that the character has enlisted (or been drafted) into the “Other” career normally, as discussed above, and has rolled a PSR of 5+.

Terms of service: Upon enlistment, a character embarks on a term of service lasting for four years. This adds four years to the character’s age. Each time a character reenlists, it is for an additional four year term of service.

Each Term of service is subdivided into four one year assignments. Characters will determine their new assignment each year and resolve all pertinent actions pertaining to it. At the conclusion of four assignments, a character has completed a term, and may attempt to reenlist.

Choice of arm: Upon entering the academy the character is given 8 months of general training, followed by psionic testing and four months of psionic training (as detailed in book 3). At the end of this period they are given the choice of which arm of the order they want to enter. These arms are Law Enforcement, Social Welfare and Covert Operations. To enlist in that arm the character must have all the talents shown for the arm in the Service Psionic Skills table.

Law Enforcement involves catching dangerous criminals such as murderers and drug smugglers.

Social Welfare includes counselors, diplomats, psychologists, doctors, etc.

Covert Operations is mainly for small scale assaults against heavily armed opposition (such as military and organized crime bases). They often work closely with Law Enforcement.

Basic Training: During the academy training the character has the opportunity to learn the following skills. Roll 3+ on one die for each skill legal, admin, gun cbt and blade cbt.

Advanced Training: At the end of advanced training the player may roll to see if their character’s psionic experience has increased (per the core rules); they may also roll on the skill table for their arm. Basic Training plus Advanced Training together take one year, and includes the four-month psionics training period.

Assignments: Following basic and advanced training, the player will determine his first assignment. Each term, a player will carry out four assignments. Basic and advanced training constitute the first assignment of the first term. Resolution of assignments is carried out in three steps: determine general assignment, determine specific assignment, determine outcome of the assignment.

General Assignment: Locate the column of the general assignment table corresponding to the player’s arm of service. Roll a six-sided die to determine which general assignment is received. If the player has an intelligence of 8 or higher, a DM of +1 may (but need not) be applied.


General Assignment
Roll 1D Law Enforcement Social Welfare Covert Operations
1 Outreach Intelligence Intelligence
2 Intelligence Outreach Action
3 Outreach Intelligence Intelligence
4 Intelligence Outreach Action
5 Training Training Training
6 Special Assignment Special Assignment Special Assignment

Action: The character will principally be involved in armed hostilities.

Intelligence: The character’s assignment is principally to gather information.

Outreach: The character’s assignment principally involves interacting with individuals outside the service to establish a positive relationship.

Training: The character’s assignment is principally involved with increasing his own skills, or teaching others in the service.

Specific Assignments: Special assignments are handled in a separate section below. If the player has not rolled Special Assignment, roll one die and determine the result from the appropriate column of the Specific Assignment table. Also roll for Psionic Experience (per the core rules).


Specific Assignment
1D Action Intelligence Outreach Training
1 Raid Police Action Patrol Administration
2 Raid Police Action Patrol Administration
3 Counter-insurgency Ground Duty Administration Ground Duty
4 Patrol Space Duty Administration Ground Duty
5 Internal Security Administration Internal Security Space Duty
6 Garrison Administration Garrison Space Duty

Administration: The character is assigned to do the paperwork that allows the organization to operate on a day-to-day basis.

Counterinsurgency: The character is acting against hostile elements within the local society.

Garrison: The character is assigned to a defensive position against hostile action that is considered low-probability, or to a base from which patrols are sent out.

Ground Duty: The character is assigned to general duties appropriate for his skills, based on a planet.

Internal Security: The character is assigned to investigate and locate possible hostile elements operating within the guardian organization.

Patrol: The character is assigned to be a visible presence in the local society, while watching for and prepared to respond to hostile or criminal activity.

Police Action: The character is assigned to operations aimed at preventing hostile forces from operating in the area.

Raid: The character is assigned to operations aimed at disrupting or shutting down the operations of hostile elements.

Space Duty: The character is assigned to general duties appropriate for his skills, aboard a spacecraft or starship.


Assignment Resolution Table
  Administration Counter-insurgency Garrison Ground Duty Internal Security Patrol Police Action Raid Space Duty
Survival auto 8+ 4+ 5+ 3+ 3+ 6+ 6+ 5+
DM +1 if   INT 8+ or Awareness 4+ INT 8+ INT 8+ INT 8+ INT 8+ INT 8+ or Awareness 4+ INT 8+ or Awareness 4+ INT 8+
Decoration none 5+ 10+ 9+ None 10+ 9+ 6+ 9+
Commission 11+ 7+ 10+ 9+ 11+ 10+ 9+ 7+ 9+
Promotion 10+ 6+ 9+ 8+ 10+ 9+ 8+ 6+ 8+
Skills 8+ 5+ 7+ 7+ 8+ 7+ 7+ 5+ 7+
DMs All assignments: +1 Commission or +1 Promotion if any Service Psionic Skill 4+

Resolving the Assignment: Four or five results must be rolled for in a normal assignment: Survival, Decoration, Commission or Promotion, Skills and Psionic Experience (per the core rules).

Survival: Most activities involve some danger, and even accidents in training occasionally cause fatalities or injuries. To survive a normal assignment, a player must roll the indicated number or higher on two dice. If the indicated number itself is thrown, the player has been injured or wounded. Injuries and wounds have no effect except in Raid, Counter Insurgency and Police Action. Each of these assignments is officially classified as a combat action, and sustaining a wound or injury in such an assignment causes the player to be awarded the Purple Heart. As an alternative to killing a character as a result of a failed survival roll, the player may muster out with half a six-sided die (rounded up) worth of damage applied to STR, END or DEX. A player may elect to take a negative DM on his or her survival roll and then apply it as an equal positive DM for decorations in the next step.

Decoration: If the player rolls the indicated number or higher, they are awarded the citation for Meritorious Conduct Under Fire (MCUF). If the player rolls a number at least three higher than the stated number, he or she receives the Medal for Conspicuous Gallantry instead (MCG). If the player rolls at least six higher than the number indicated he or she receives the Starburst for Extreme Heroism (SEH) instead. If a negative DM was taken on survival, an equal positive DM may be used to attempt to win a decoration. For example, a player might elect to take a DM of -2 for survival, thus increasing the chance that the throw will not be achieved. If they survive nonetheless, then a DM of +2 is allowed when rolling for decorations. The reverse of this procedure (positive DMs for survival and then forgoing decorations because of the negative DMs) is not allowed.

Commission or Promotion: The character may be promoted if the player rolls the indicated number or higher. A character that has Enlisted rank may roll for Commission, and if successful, receives rank O1. A character may not receive a commission and a promotion in the same assignment. Members of the Social Welfare arm may only roll for promotion once per term. See the note on rank at the end of the article.

Skills: If the player rolls the indicated number or greater, one skill may be rolled for. All players can roll on the service or life table for their arm of service, or their general assignment table. Players on Space Duty may roll on the Shipboard table. Those on Ground Duty, Patrol, or Police Action can roll on the ground table. Players on Raid, Counterinsurgency or Police Action can roll on the Combat table. A player can never have more skill levels (e.g., Pilot-2 counts as two skill levels) than INT+EDU. If at the end of character creation a character’s total skill levels exceeds INT+EDU they must reduce any skills they want till the total is equal to INT+EDU (a skill level of 0 is not the same as not having that skill).


Service Skills
  Law Enforcement Life Social Welfare Life Covert Operations Life Law Enforcement Service Social Welfare Service Covert Operations Service
1 +1 STR +1 EDU +2 STR Admin Admin Admin
2 +1 DEX +1 INT +1 DEX Liaison Liaison Blade Combat
3 +1 END Streetwise +2 END Streetwise Medical Tactics
4 Carousing Carousing Carousing Gun Combat Legal Interrogation
5 Streetwise Brawling Brawling Blade Combat Computer Gun Combat
6 Brawling Gambling Blade Combat Leader Steward Leader


Assignment Skills
  Intelligence Outreach Training Action Shipboard Ground Combat Specialist
1 Interrogation Blade Combat Interrogation Interrogation Computer Vehicle (Wheeled) Brawling Computer
2 Forgery Gun Combat Recruiting Liaison Ship’s Boat Vehicle (Grav) Blade Combat Medical
3 Bribery Steward Instruction Mechanical Gunnery Streewise Gun Combat Legal
4 Electronics Computer Liaison Electronic Vacc Suit Gambling Hvy Weapons Mechanical
5 Mechanical Liaison Leader Vehicle Navigation +1 STR Tactics Electronics
6 Jack of All Trades Jack of All Trades Jack of All Trades Jack of All Trades Pilot +1 END Fwd Observer Communications
7         Engineering +1 SOC Leader +1 INT
DMs         +1 if INT 9+ +1 if SOC 5- +1 if INT 8+ +1 if EDU 9+

Special Assignments

Determine which assignment a player receives by rolling once on the appropriate Special Assignment table. The means of resolving special assignments are listed below.


Special Assigments
Roll 1D Law Enforcement Social Welfare Covert Operations
1 Cross-Training Recruiting Seconded
2 Specialist School Specialist School Ship Training
3 Seconded Seconded Specialist School
4 Specialist School Teaching Cross-Training
5 Ship Training Ship Training Seconded
6 Recruiting Diplomatic Mission Recruiting
7 Diplomatic Mission Cross-Training Teaching
Optional DM +1 if INT 9+ INT 9+ or SOC 9+ INT 9+ or PSR 9+

Cross-Training: The player rolls once on the Arm of Service table of any other service arm than his or her own. They further note that they have been cross-trained in that arm. At the conclusion of any term after a player has cross-trained in another arm, and the player successfully reenlists, and has the required talents, the player may switch to that arm.

Specialist School: The player has been chosen to receive specialist training in a specific field. The player rolls a single six-sided die and receives one level of expertise in the indicated skill from the Specialist skill table.

Seconded: The player has been seconded (loaned) to another service. The player can either attempt to enlist in another service or can submit to the draft. Once any training is finished the player is automatically given a commission. The player than resolves the rest of the assignments left in the current term in that service. At the end of the term, provided the player makes a successful reenlistment roll for that service and was promoted at least once, he or she may elect to stay in that service. If at the end of a term the player fails a reenlistment roll or wishes to leave that service, they muster out and return to the Psionic Guardians. The player must attempt to reenlist normally.

Ship Training: The player has been selected to receive training in the operation of a star ship. Roll 3+ on one die for each of Vacc suit, Pilot, Navigation, Engineering, and Computer.

Diplomatic Mission: The player has been sent on an important diplomatic mission. Roll 10+ on 2D for SOC +1; each time this succeeds and results in the character having SOC B+, the character receives an additional roll on the Mustering Out table.

Recruiting: The player has been assigned to a recruiting station and automatically receives Recruiting. Roll 4+ on one die for each skill to receive Liaison and Streetwise.

Teaching: The player has been assigned either to teach at an academy or to look after an apprentice. He or she automatically receives Instruction skill and a commission to teaching rank (O1). If player is already of teaching rank than they are promoted.

Changing Arms of Service

At the beginning of any term of service, a character who has successfully re-enlisted may transfer to a different arm of the service, provided that he has been cross-trained in that barm and has the appropriate Service Psionic Skills.

Automatic Skills

Term and rank skills as called for in the core rules are neither rolled for nor received, as the extended character generation rules result in greater levels of skills.

Multiple Assignments to Specialist School or Ship Training

Players who receive several assignments to the specialist school or ship training are considered to be taking a refresher courses and gain the listed skill or (in the case of ship training) may attempt again to receive each of the listed skills, unless a player upon receiving such an assignment already has a skill level of 2 or higher in any one skill offered by the school. In this case, the player is assigned to the school as an instructor, and receives one automatic Instruction skill, in addition to be commissioned to teaching rank O1 (if applicable).

Re-enlistment and Mustering Out

After completing four assignments, a player has completed one term, and may attempt to reenlist. Reenlistment is as per the Classic Traveller core rules, except that a player with PSR 9+ or a Service Psionic Skill 5+ may take an optional DM +2. At the conclusion of a player’s last term, they roll on the mustering out tables once for each term of service. Ranks O1 to O6 get two extra rolls. All ranks higher than O6 get three extra rolls.


Mustering Out Benefits
Roll 1D Material Benefits Cash
1 High Passage 2,500
2 Blade 5,000
3 Gun 10,000
4 TAS Membership 25,000
5 Psi Drug SPECIAL (4 doses) 50,000
6 Ship 100,000
7 Yacht 250,000
DM +1 if Rank O6+ Gambling 1+

A Note on Rank

This article assumes that the rank structure is roughly based on standard military rank structures, with nine “enlisted” and ten “officer” ranks. Other rank structures are possible, with more or fewer ranks, with or without separation between “enlisted” and “officers”, and with various titles ranging from military to mystic to religious. It is also possible to base rank strictly on psionic ability. The referee should consider the nature of the campaign setting and design a rank structure appropriate for it.