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Quick Hiver Character Generation for Conventions

based on “Quick Character Generation for Conventions” by Marc Miller with Jeff Zeitlin, Freelance Traveller #084, November/December 2017

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2021 issue.

Sadly, I have been unable to attend TravCon UK or TravellerCON/USA, but I have enjoyed reading Timothy Collinson’s and Jeff Zeitlin’s after-action reports. When I saw Jeff’s announcement that the September/October 2021 issue would be a Hiver theme issue for TravellerCON/USA, I decided that even though I couldn’t attend, I would try to contribute to others’ enjoyment. Thus, this article.

I’ve used Marc Miller’s quick method (as outlined in the Freelance Traveller article) for my own games; it works well, and lets you get under way quickly – a five-hour window for play lets you actually play for about four-and-a-half hours, give or take a few minutes.

As Jeff said in the article, one can modify it fairly easily for non-humans or for non-Third-Imperium settings.

I have the Classic Traveller Canon on CD, so when I decided to work up a Hiver version of the procedure, I referenced the Hiver alien module from that CD.

The overall process is quite similar – some of the changes are in nomenclature only; others are to accommodate the differences between Hiver characters and Imperial/Humans.

First, generating characteristics. The Hiver module says that Hivers don’t have Social Standing (SOC); they have Curiosity (CUR) instead. However, they’re generated the same way, so just roll 2D six times for characteristics.

Hivers have a different selection of careers from Imperial/Human characters, so Table 1 from the article, the career list, needs to be changed. Using the careers from the Hiver module, the careers available are Navy, Explorer, Merchant, Story-Teller, and Leader:

Table 1: Careers
Navy (Split Career)
Merchant (Split Career)
Leader (Split Career)

“Split Career” in the table above indicates that the career has “branches”, similar to military careers in the original article. If a Split Career is chosen, use the modified Table 2 for selecting initial skills.

Table 2: Split Career Branch and Skills
Navy Merchant Leader
Crew Vacc Suit Deck Computer Navy Leader
Flight Pilot Engineer Engineer’g Merchant Admin
Medical Medical Purser Steward Explorer Computer
Technical Computer Sales Broker Story-Teller Liaison
Engineer Engineer’g        
Security Weapon*        

* Cascade skill. Choose any Gun or Blade skill

Hivers do not have Social Standing or nobility, so skip the step where SOC is used to define a noble title.

Career resolution proceeds as described in the original article. However, there is no equivalent to commission in any Hiver career; all characters should roll for Advancement after succeeding at the Survival roll. Skills should be chosen from the modified Table 5 following; note that any character may choose from the Hiver Life column, and Leaders may also choose skills from the career column that matches their selected “branch”. I have generally played that a character may select skills from the combination of all columns that s/he would be eligible for, e.g., using the original tables, a commissioned Marine character could select his/her four skills for a term as two from the Marines column, one from the Everybody column, and one from the Officer column.

As in the original rules, characters may not have more levels in any skill than they have served terms, except that the chosen branch skill in split careers may be one level higher.

Table 5: Skills
Navy Explorer Merchant Story-Teller Leader Hiver Life
Weapon* Bribery Bribery Vehicle Admin Carousing
Mechanical Vechicle Vechicle Electronic Liaison Manipulate
Gravitic Vacc Suit Vacc Suit Computer Leader Computer
Electronic Mechanical Broker Manipulate Manipulate Streetwise
Computer Electronic Commo Liaison Vehicle Jack-o-T
Pilot Gravitic Weapon* Vacc Suit Computer Liaison
Navigation Computer Pilot Admin Weapon*  
Engineer’g Ship’s Boat Engineer’g Carousing Instruction  
Gunnery Engineer’g Computer Instruction Medical  
Medical Medical Steward Weapon* Vacc Suit  
Admin Liaison Medical Jack-o-T Pilot  
Steward Commo Admin Medical Jack-o-T  

* Cascade skill. Choose any gun or blade skill

As medals and knighthoods are an aspect of social standing, which Hivers do not have, and as ship ‘ownership’ has a different meaning for Hivers, the Benefit tables need to be revised.

Table 6: Benefits
Term Navy Explorer Merchant Story-Teller Leader
1 Weapon Weapon Weapon Weapon Weapon
2 Nest Cred 1 Nest Cred 1 Nest Cred 2 Nest Cred 1 Nest Cred 2
3 +1 INT +1 INT +1 INT +1 INT +1 INT
4 +1 STR +1 CUR Nest Cred 4 +1 CUR Nest Cred 3
5 Nest Cred 2 Nest Cred 2 M Status Nest Cred 2 M Status
6   Ship Ship M Status Ship

Benefit notes:

  • Weapon: Choose a gun or blade that the Hiver has skill in.

  • Nest Cred x: Roll xD 10,000 Cr. This represents an amount that the Hiver can draw on from nest funds. These awards are cumulative.

  • Ship: The Hiver’s nest owns a ship which has been assigned to the Hiver character’s use.

  • M Status: The Hiver character has earned formal Manipulator status. If the character does not already have Manipulate skill, award Manipulate 1 as well.

Hivers may serve up to 9 terms before mandatory retirement; if a Hiver character serves more terms than there are benefits listed for, award duplicate benefits in sequence (e.g., a 7-term Explorer will get a second weapon).