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Travelling Alone

Editor’s note: This is a lightly revised (by the author) version of an article originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2004, and reprinted in this form in the June/July 2014 issue. It was translated into Spanish and appeared in Vuelo Raso N. 7. Lea este artículo en español.

I started playing Traveller in 1978 with the original LBB set. Book 1 said Traveller could be played solo, but didn’t say how. I followed the starting advice given in an early White Dwarf and rolled a few planets, crewed up a Free Trader and started to get the hang of the rules by travelling around and trading. It was out of this that the system developed, but it is still being refined and modified.

The system is designed for solo play, but can also be used by a referee in an episodic campaign, or to set up events etc in advance.

The important thing to realize is that the system is not designed as a programmed paragraph adventure (although a later subsystem does use paragraphs.) It is designed to make you think, to create situations to spark your creativeness.

It is important to write things down as they occur; this is your personal history. It also provides continuity and it is scary sometimes how the game seems to take on a life of its own, with events ‘just falling into place’ (and past events providing justifications for present actions and incidents). In the example below, perhaps during the mini-scenario starting with the offer of an illegal cargo of drugs, Judson shoots and injures a police officer in getting away. Years later, that same police officer might turn up as a Chief Inspector when Judson is brought in on a minor charge. And he’s got a long memory.

Have Fun!


Let’s take Judson Deathdancer, ex-Army, newly mustered out on Neu Regari. (Go to 1.)

At (1), having assembled all characters, go to (2).

At (2), Judson has to pay Upkeep equal to Cr10×soc2. Now throw 1D. A 6, so he goes now to (5) Healing.

At (5), he can heal if necessary, or pay for a prolonged stay in hospital, or buy medikits or drugs, etc. Judson wants some Slow Drug; depending on the law level of the world you may have to set up a mini-scenario using bribery, streetwise, etc. Perhaps the cops get involved? Do as much detail as you want and play it out. At the end, throw 1D. A 1, so now go to 7 (Event)

At 7, throw D66 on Event Table, throw is 66, (offered illegal cargo, drugs.) Aha! In his earlier dealings trying to by the Slow Drug, did Judson come to the attention of the local crime boss and chief pusher? Is he being offered a job as a courier, or being set up a a fall guy? Roll up some characters for who’s involved and design a scenario, then play it out… (etc.)

(Incidentally, all of that was rolled as I typed it, so none of it was preplanned to ‘make it fit.’)

Note: Clarification of Areas 3 & 4: Buy/Sell one item or one group of related items. This is deliberate; you can only buy one 50m length of rope or 24 bullets (or whatever). It is designed to a) stop players saying “right, we’ll buy everything we need plus replace everything we used” and b) abstracts the fact that the item may not be available, that the shop was closed, that you forgot to buy it, it was out of stock, there was only one available or you ran out of time…. The later Buy/Sell area (13) does not have so many restrictions.

The Tables

A. Off-Time Flowchart

  1. Start. Assemble Characters. Once party is assembled, go to (2) Upkeep
  2. Upkeep. Sell Cargo, pay Ship costs, pay Crew wages. All characters pay Cr10×soc2 for upkeep, clothes, etc. After accounting is completed, roll 1D6:
    1-2 Go to (3) Buy Equipment
    3-4 Go to (4) Sell Equipment
    5-6 Go to (5) Healing
  3. Buy Equipment. Each PC may buy one item or group of related items of equipment. After purchase, roll 1D6:
    1-2 Go to (4) Sell Equipment
    3-4 Go to (5) Healing
    5 Go to (7) Event
    6 Go to (3) Buy Equipment
  4. Sell Equipment. PCs may sell any one item of surplus equipment and/or curios they have collected. Equipment may be sold at 50% of base cost; curios, etc., throw 9+ to find a buyer then negotiate. After sale is concluded, roll 1D6:
    1-3 Go to (3) Buy Equipment
    4 Go to (5) Healing
    5-6 Go to (6) Event
  5. Healing/Medical. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medipacks, drugs, etc. Roll 1D6 when complete:
    1 Go to (7) Event
    2-3 Go to (10) Seek Patron
    4-6 Go to (8) Options
  6. Event. Roll on Event Table. Events may affect the whole group, or just an individual. Some have long-reaching effects, see Event Table for details. After dealing with the Event, roll 1D6:
    1-3 Go to (8) Options
    4-6 Go to (9) Healing
  7. Event. Roll on Event Table. Events may affect the whole group, or just an individual. Some have long-reaching effects, see Table for details. Deal with the event, then roll 1D6:
    1-2 Go to (8) Options
    3-4 Go to (10) Seek Patron
    5 Go to (12) Expenses
    6 Go to (3) Buy Equipment
  8. Options. May take any Action, initiate new project, take a job etc. Afterward, roll 1D6:
    1-2 Go to (11) Hear Rumor
    3-4 Go to (13) Buy/Sell Equipment
    5 Go to (10) Seek Patron
    6 Go to (14) Encounter
  9. Healing/Medical. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medipacks, drugs etc. Roll 1D6 when completed:
    1-3 Go to (13) Buy/Sell Equipment
    4-5 Go to (11) Hear Rumor
    6 Go to (8) Options
  10. Seek Patron? Roll 1D (or choose using another method):
    1-4 Generate Patron as per Chart C
    5-6 No Patron

    Go to (11) Hear Rumor

  11. Hear Rumor. Roll on Rumor Table with appropriate mods. After generating rumor, roll 1D6:
    1-2 Go to (8) Options
    3 Go to (14) Encounter
    4-5 Go to (9) Healing
    6 Go to (13) Buy/Sell Equipment
  12. Misc. expenses. An unforeseen expense that must be paid. Roll 1D:
    1-2 Cr100
    3-5 Cr1×soc2
    6 Cr5×soc2

    After payment, roll 1D6:

    1-3 Go to (14) Encounter
    4-6 Go to (16) End
  13. Buy/Sell Equipment. Group may buy/sell as much equipment as is desired.
    1 Go to (14) Encounter
    2-6 Go to (16) End
  14. Encounter. Group may encounter NPC's, Law Enforcers or even creatures.
    1-2 No Encounter
    3 Law Enforcers. Throw 2D6 for Law Level+ to avoid.
    4-5 Roll on Encounter table and check reaction
    6 Animal. Roll on Animal Encounter table for area.

    After encounter, roll 1D6:

    1-4 Go to (15) Healing
    5-6 Go to (16) End.
  15. Healing/Medical. Recover Wounds or pay for Medical Aid. May also purchase medipacks, drugs etc.
    Go to (16) End
  16. End. Either repeat cycle if a further week on planet is necessary, else roll for Cargo availability, passengers etc. Check for passage off-world if you don’t own your own ship.

B. Selling Cargo

Throw for availability of Broker; DMs Streetwise, Bribery, Admin.


Broker Skill Available on 2D6 throw of
Broker-1 5+
Broker-2 7+
Broker-3 9+
Broker-4 11+

On an unmodified throw of 12 there is no broker available this week. PCs must cycle through Chart A and try again next week, or sell without a Broker.

C. Patron

Roll Patron

Generate Stats (if required), plus tags etc. See NPC creation.

Generate mission (or select one), decide if PCs will accept it (or roll 1D: 1-3 = Yes; 4-6 = No)

Return to Chart A (10)

D. Events

Throw 2D6 reading individually (“D66”) for the event:

11 Meet NPC
12 Meet new PC (a way to introduce new characters)
13 Legal encounter, throw Law Level+ to avoid
14 Gambling. Win Cr100×(2D + Gambling)
15 Misc. expenses. Pay Cr50×1D
16 Receive a message from….

21 Patron encounter
22 Random encounter
23 Hear Rumor
24 Get involved in a brawl (fight it out)
25 Shot at by accident (throw 10+ to be hit)
26 Meet NPC

31 Opportunity to buy exotic item
32 Close relative dies (who?)
33 Inherit Cr100×3D
34 Weapon rendered permanently useless (see notes)
35 Legal encounter, throw Law Level+ to avoid
36 Opportunity to buy property (may be worth rent etc.)

41 Hear some news about….
42 Opportunity to make TAS application (open entry)
43 Receive information about…
44 Meet NPC
45 Robbed/burgled. Lose 50% of possessions (see notes)
46 Mistaken identity (roll reaction)

51 Meet alien or group of aliens
52 Civil disorder on planet (why?)
53 Planetary event (see notes)
54 Hear rumor
55 Patron encounter
56 Some equipment breaks down and needs to be fixed.

61 Papers/documents not in order. (see notes)
62 Complication with cargo (see below)
63 Special charter (transport to…, act as bodyguard to…, etc.)
64 Asked to carry message
65 Gain Contact or Favor owed by NPC (who, why, what)
66 Offered Illegal weapon/Black market goods/drugs etc.

Event Notes

34 Weapon rendered permanently useless: Customize this event to the particular weapon, e.g., a sword might have the blade broken off short, a gun’s chamber might be damaged by firing a round with too much powder, etc.

45 Robbed or burgled: Divide possessions into two approximately equal piles. Randomly determine which pile was lost.

53 Planetary Event: This can be any sort of serious disruptive event appropriate to the world, e.g., earthquake, storm with severe flooding, breach of protective dome, meteorite strike, etc.

61 Papers or documents not in order: This is a bureaucratic annoyance. A scenario similar to the mini-adventure “Exit Visa” would be appropriate.

62 Complication with cargo: There is a potential problem with any cargo that will be picked up in the End Phase. Once cargos are generated, throw 2D6 for each, 9+ to have a potential problem. Then roll 1D6 for where the problem is, this end (3-) or at the destination (4+). If this end, then roll 1D on the table at the top of the next column to see what it is. If destination, do not roll until PCs get there!


Roll 1D Type of Problem
1 Needs special import/export license (see Chart A (8) Options).
2 Damaged. Real value reduced by 10-30%
3 Offensive stench will permeate LS system and make passengers unhappy
4 Hazardous cargo, throw 12+/day in transit to leak/explode and damage cargo area
5 Customs believe it is contraband and cargo is impounded
6 Shipping manifest was wrong and half/double (roll) agreed amount has arrived

E. Passage Off-World

Check for ship availability depending on class of starport. The notation nD6:m+ should be read as “Roll nD6. The number you roll indicates how many D6 to roll. For each die that shows m+, a ship is available to take passage on.” If the result of the first roll is zero (e.g., if 1D6-3 and you roll a 2), there are no ships available this week. For example, 2D6:3+: Roll 2D6; the result is 6. Now roll 6D6; the results are 3 4 2 5 3 1. Since four of the dice are showing 3 or more (3+), there are four ships available to take passage on.


Port Class Ship Availability
A 2D6:3+
B 2D6:5+
C 1D6-1:4+
D 1D6-2:5+
E 1D6-3:5+
X 1D6-4:6+