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Martial Artists: A Career for Mongoose Traveller

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2014 issue.

Unarmed combat and combat with ‘archaic’ and improvised weapons has long been given short shrift in Traveller—there are stats for such weapons within the normal rules, but no real opportunity for a PC to specialize in it the way that one can specialize in military skills, merchant skills, and so on. This article presents a worked-out career for Mongoose Traveller for the specialist in Martial Arts, presented in a form recognizably similar to the careers presented in the Traveller Core Rules (which are a required prerequisite) and supplemental career rulebooks, such as High Guard, Scouts, Dilettantes, and so on.

This career includes a new skill, Martial Arts Weapons (M.A.Weap.). M.A.Weap. includes specialties of Thrown Weapons, Staves, and Archery. Thrown Weapons covers Ranged (thrown) use of knives, daggers, shurriken, and other similar weapons; Staves covers the use of staffs, nunchaku, and so on; Archery covers the use of a bow-and-arrow. See the Martial Arts Weapons table for combat statistics for Martial Arts weapons.

Martial Artist

Individuals who make their living fighting with fists or melee weapons.


Choose one of the following:

Streetfighter: You took on all comers on the streets to protect your reputation.

Monk: You dedicated your life to the study of meditation, philosophy and the martial arts in a monastery or school.

Combat Athlete: You were a professional athlete who fought in a ring or cage.

Note on Skills: Where two skills are shown in the table, the player must choose one. A choice on one roll does not constrain the choice on later rolls.

Qualification: Dex 7+; -1 DM for every previous career.


Skills and Training
  Personal Development Service Skills Advanced Education
(EDU 8+)
Streetfighter Monk Combat Athlete
1 +1 STR Melee (Unarmed) Medic Melee (Unarmed) Melee (Unarmed) Melee (Unarmed)
2 +1 DEX Athletics (Coordination) Diplomat Streetwise Athletics (Any) Art (Acting)
3 +1 END Melee (Any) or M.A.Weap. (Any) Advocate Melee (Bludgeon) or Gun Cbt (Slug Pistol) Social Science (Philosophy) Athletics (Any)
4 Melee (Any) Athletics (Endurance) Social Science (Any) Carouse Melee (Any) or M.A.Weap. (Any) Streetwise
5 Athletics (Any) Stealth Language (Any) Persuade Medic Melee (Any)
6 M.A.Weap. (Any) Recon Trade (Any) Gambler Persuade Carouse


Rank Skills
  Streetfighter Monk Combat Athlete
  Rank Skill Rank Skill Rank Skill
1 Brawler Streetwise 1 Disciple Athletics (Any) Prospect Athletics (Any)
3 Tough Guy Gun Cbt (Slug Pistol) 1 Warrior Monk Soc. Sci. (Philosophy) 1 Contender Art (Acting) 1
5 Bad Ass Persuade 1 Master Medic 1 Champion Persuade 1


Mustering-Out Benefits
Roll Benefits Cash
1 Contact 100
2 Weapon 500
3 Ally 1000
4 +1 DEX 2000
5 Weapon 3000
6 +1 EDU 5000
7 Two Ship Shares 10000


1 Severely Injured. (This is the same as a result of 2 on the Inury table.) Alternatively, roll twice on the Injury table (p.37 of the Traveller Core Rules) and take the lower result.
2 You dishonor or embarrass yourself in a fight. Lose one Benefit roll from this career, and take Drifter as your next career.
3 A Martial Artist training with you betrays you. Gain a Rival or an Enemy who is a Martial Artist of equal ability.
4 You are forced to kill someone in a fight and must flee the planet. Gain Deception-1, and an Enemy in Law Enforcement.
5 Your Art is declared illegal by the local authorities. Gain Trade (Any)-1
6 Injured! Roll on the Injury table (Traveller Core Rules).


2 Disaster! Roll on the mishap table, but you are not ejected from this career.
3 You are publically challenged by a superior fighter. If you accept the challenge, roll Melee (Unarmed) 9+. If you win the fight, gain +1 SOC. If you lose the fight, roll on the Injury Table. If you decline the challenge, suffer -1 SOC.
4 You help to found a school to teach your art. Gain Admin 1 or Advocate 1 or Diplomat 1.
5 You are favored by a teacher of your art. Gain +1 to any one Benefit Roll, but also gain someone overlooked for the same honors as a Rival.
6 You have an opportunity to betray a fellow martial artist for personal gain. If you do so, gain +4 DM to you next Advancement Roll. If you do not, gain him as an Ally.
7 Life Event. Roll on the Life Events Table (Main Book page 34).
8 You spend many months at an isolated retreat, training your body and skills furiously. Gain +1 DEX or +1 END, and Melee (Any).
9 Your gang, school or team is attacked by rivals. Roll any Melee skill 8+. If you succeed, gain an extra Benefit roll. If you fail, roll on the Injury Table.
10 You are forced to get a “regular job” to earn a living, in addition to your art. Roll END 8+. If you succeed, gain another Benefit Roll. If you fail, suffer -1 END.
11 A master of your art deems you worthy of special training. Gain Melee (Any).
12 You win an epic battle. You are automatically promoted.


Martial Arts Weapons
Weapon Martial Arts Weapon Skill Specialty TL Range Damage Heft Mass Cost
Shurriken Thrown Weapons 2 Ranged (thrown) 1d6-1 - - Cr5
Knife/Dagger Thrown Weapons 1 Ranged (thrown) 1d6+2 - - Cr10
Bow-and-Arrow Archery 1 Ranged (Pistol) (not Personal) 2d6 - 5kg Cr50
Nunchaku Staves 2 Melee (Bludgeon) 1d6 1 1kg Cr5
Staff Staves 1 Melee (Bludgeon) 2d6 1 2kg -