Expanding and Integrating Character Generation
This article was originally posted to the pre-magazine Freelance Traveller website in 2006, and reprinted in the July/August 2016 issue.
With a little work, the referee can avoid generic characters from generic backgrounds and involve players in the entirety of their characters’ lives, making the players intimately familiar with the campaign universe in the process. Using this method, players will feel as if they have lived as their characters have lived, immersed in the atmosphere of the campaign, using character generation as a sort of short-hand meta-game. The players’ characters start the mini-game at birth, on the character’s homeworld, and through the choices the players make, with guidance from the referee, they live their entire lives up until the point at which they begin the formal game. Playing character generation like this provides a granite-like foundation for role playing in your games to come. Players will know exactly who their characters are, and all characters in the campaign will have a solid background, and backstory, as they start game session one.
This method, in short, customizes chargen with a focus on role playing. My current game is a “greatly-referee-tweaked-version” of The Traveller Adventure, using the Classic Traveller rules set, and thus will be used as an example of how to employ this method of character generation expansion. But, the ideas presented here can be easily transferred to any version of Traveller, especially a game using the MegaTraveller, Traveller: The New Era, Marc Miller’s Traveller, or even the upcoming fifth edition of Traveller rule set.
Note that, although I use Classic Traveller as my core rule set, I also implement ideas from other Traveller editions as well as create new rules when appropriate. Role playing is a creative endeavor, and the whole point of this essay is to encourage referees to take advantage of Traveller’s unique, remarkable character generation mini-game, growing and customizing it for maximum enjoyment by referee and players alike.
You are a role player. Be creative, and play some Traveller!
The first step of character creation in this campaign is the determination of nobles among the player characters.
- Roll 2D for SOC:
- SOC B (11) = Knight
SOC C (12) = Baron
Nobles in this campaign will either be from Aramis (Aramis/Spinward Marches) or Vanejen (Rhylanor/Spinward Marches). Roll 1D randomly (or skew the roll to the player’s taste) between these two homeworlds for any nobles among the PCs.
A PC’s dominant genetic ancestry can affect aging rolls (Vilani Blood, below) and likelihood of genetic engineering (Solomani Geneering, below).
Roll 1D for dominant genetic ancestry:
|PC’s Homeworld||Solomani||Vilani||Imperial Humani|
During character generation, a noble may attempt to use his position, family, and contacts to influence his destiny, but only at most once in each four-year term (or once during determination of background skills). The ability to do so becomes available if the PC rolls SOC or less on 3D, and allows the noble to use a +1DM or a -1DM on any roll, any time during character generation.
Roll SOC or less on 3D to determine if the noble is landed. Awards of lands are described on pgs. 14-15 of the MegaTraveller Imperial Encyclopedia. If this roll is unsuccessful, the noble title is awarded without lands. But, anytime the noble’s SOC is increased, this roll can be made again (a fief, or extra lands, may be awarded with a new title).
Fiefs produce income for the character annually (add income from the fief to the character’s starting money for the years spent in character generation).
Nobles typically have retainers, advisors, bodyguards. If a noble is in the party, another player’s character may be one of the noble’s retainers.
Nobles attempt careers just like non-noble characters. But, a noble may choose to resolve any 4-year term using the Noble career tables listed in Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium in place of the tables associated with the noble’s chosen career.
For example, a player with a noble character may choose to enlist in the Imperial Navy. If successful, the player may resolve any term on either the Naval tables from Book 1 or the Noble tables from Supplement 4. If the character ends up going three terms, the player may have ended up resolving term 1 on the Naval tables per Book 1, then resolving term 2 on the Noble tables from Supplement 4, then gone back to Book 1 to resolve the third term—or whichever combination suits the player.
The first term of a career, though, must be resolved on the non-Noble career tables, unless the only career the noble is attempting is that of a noble.
All rolls must be consistently taken from the respective career (a player couldn’t resolve a term using the Naval skills tables but then roll for re-enlistment using the number shown under the Noble career).
But, a noble could roll a complete term using the Noble career tables, roll for reenlistment, then switch to the Naval career tables to resolve the next term (and the character would then use the Naval reenlistment number after having resolved the term using the Naval career for the next term).
Most people don’t leave their homeworld. It’s an expensive and time-consuming proposition (akin to a ride across the Pacific, for a week, in a shrimp boat, costing $8,000…people wouldn’t travel as much if that were the case). The people who travel the spacelanes are a relatively small population when compared to the total number of citizens in the Imperium. But the ones who do, make up a new social class of sorts.
These people are called Travellers.
Players roll 1D on the table below to determine their character’s homeworld. (If a character is a noble, his homeworld has already been determined.)
|1||Pysadi||C4766D7-4||Agricultural. Non-Industrial. Gas Giant. Imperiallines Station.|
|2||Vanejen||C686854-5||Rich. Imperial Research Station.|
|3||Natoko||B582211-8||Imperial Naval Base. Non-Industrial. Low Population. Gas Giant. Naasirka Station. Tukera Station.|
|4||Patinir||C000632-9||Asteroid Belt. Gas Giant. Imperiallines Station. Non-Agricultural. Ancient Site.|
|5-6||Aramis||A6B0556-B||Imperial Naval Base. Imperial Scout Base. Non-Industrial. Subsector Capital. Akerut Station. Tukera Station. Naasirka Station. Desert World.|
Pysadi, a world in the Aramis scatters, lies in a hot binary system. People live close to the poles, and the natives tend to be weak because of the 0.5G local gravity. The atmosphere is dirtied with a light taint (as described in The Traveller Adventure).
Pysadi is a low-tech world settled by a Solomani Muslim sect a few hundred years ago. Characters from Pysadi are considered to be Imperials, not locals, who live and operate the Class C downport and its associated businesses (not unlike working for an oil company in the Middle East today). The entire interior environs of the starport are built using standard 1G grav plates (typical of space station construction), and although Pysadi has been rated at TL 4, the starport is considered TL 8.
Typical temperatures (degrees F) on Pysadi average 171 at the equator (Summer 174 … Winter 154) because of the binary stars. The tropics aren’t much better, averaging 144 (Summer 154 … Winter 117), but the habitable area of Pysadi, the two poles, are fairly comfortable, averaging 81 (Summer 109 … Winter 25).
Pysadi is ruled by a fairly strict Religious Dictatorship (described in The Traveller Adventure), but the downport is considered extra-territorial. The Class C installation sees moderate traffic from free traders operating in the scatters, and Imperiallines maintains an office on the world. Over the last five years, the Imperium has built and maintains a small scientific outstation in the Pysadi system, deep in the outer orbits of one of the system’s stars.
Vanejen, in spite of its dense standard atmosphere, is a pleasant world with the good fortune, in the distant past, to be lying on spinward main (the main jump route used during the exploration of the sector during the Second Imperium). Over the last five hundred years, though, the X-Boat routes and jump-mains have shifted, leaving Vanejen in a somewhat remote starcluster of the Rhylanor subsector.
The planet was settled by the Solomani during the Rule of Man, and today a Solomani ethnic majority remains on the world (although the planet does have a native, bronze-age, aborginal race referred to as Chirpers). The world is governed by a strict, traditional feudal system, ruled by a number of Solomani noble families (the most powerful of these being House Margrave), although the feudal system, over the last two decades, is thawing a bit in the wake of the planet’s governors’ plans to improve Vanejen’s technological sophistication (with the long-term aim of making Vanejen one of the foremost worlds in the subsector). For the last hundred years or so, these noble families have been officially recognized by the Emperor, the Imperium, and the Moot—all of the families being vassals and banner Houses to the Count of Rhylanor. At this time, Vanejen does not support a space-faring navy nor inter-planetary army, although plans, that may take decades, have been made in that direction.
Vanejen’s local gravity is near Terra-normal at 0.825G. Its twin suns promote near-earth-like weather with temperatures (degrees F) averaging 90 at the equator (Summer 126 … Winter 32), 57 at the tropics (Summer 118 … Winter -42), and -19 at the poles (Summper 43 … Winter -117). An Imperial Research Station is also known to exist on the world, although the subject of its research has not been divulged.
Natoko is a planet in the Aramis Trace that is wholly owned by Tukera. The only mark of civilization on the world is the Class B downport which Tukera has built to service its local fleet, although Tukera’s main office in this region of space is located on Aramis.
Temperatures on Natoko are a bit hot, due to the systems twin suns, and average (degrees F) 118 at the equator (Summer 131 … Winter 95), 91 at the tropics (Summer 133 … Winter 19), and 28 at the poles (Summer 70 … Winter -44). Natoko is a dry world, with a hot, dense atmosphere and very little water (no large bodies of water) but sporting standard gravity of 1G. Environs around the starport are rocky desert with large flat-topped mesas. Activity outside the starport is strictly restricted to all except Tukera-approved personnel.
The total population of Natoko is measured in the thousands with all
persons located at the starport. Not counted in this number is the
Imperial Navy’s Special Operations Base, a nonstandard installation
headquartering the Navy’s intelligence and special operations forces for
the region. Naasirka also maintains an installation on the planet,
adjacent to the starport.
Characters from Natoko are children born from the workers, employees, and soldiers stationed on the planet.
Patinir is a thickly populated asteroid belt in the scatters of the Aramis subsector, home to numerous mining companies and independent belters, all governed by a loose collection of managers from various companies. There are three, very large, space stations located at Trojan Points within the system (one is located inside the belt), but numerous, smaller installations and hollowed out asteroids exist at a multitude of points within the belt.
Patinir is a major source of lanthanum (metal-ore needed for jump drives) for the Imperium, and, notably, the largest corporation located in the belt is the Imperiallines headquarters. Also of note is the find of an Ancient Site on one of the larger asteroids and the accompanying Imperial scientific outpost built there to study it.
The Patinir “government”, called the Managers, does maintain a small, local space-faring force of Guardsmen (Naval troopers) and Marshalls (Law Enforcers), but in spite of this, law enforcement is virtually non-existent in most areas of the belt. A space-faring criminal element of raiders, pirates, or corsairs is known to exist, and some shipping company personnel and belters have had trouble. Many of the independent companies of the Patinir belt maintain their own security forces.
Aramis is the personal fief of the Marquis of Aramis (who also has strong ties, through marriage, to the Tukera family—probably the most powerful noble family within the Imperium outside of the Emperor). Aramis is the capital of the subsector, and the majority of the subsector government is conducted in the planet’s single city (Leedor).
Although the world’s gravity is a standard 1G, Aramis is a desolate, hostile place with coriolis winds that will blast skin straight off the bone. The planet’s corrosive atmosphere will eat through protective suits within hours. Temperatures on the surface of the planet range from -250 to -400 degrees F, and landing at the Aramis downport is typically an exercise in expertise. Good ferry pilots are always in demand.
When the Spinward Marches sector was settled during the Second Imperium, Aramis was discovered and mined. Over time, the mine was tapped out, but a thriving camp had established itself within the miraculously large cavern that was mined from under the planet’s crust. The settlement grew as the world was used as a border planet on the Imperium’s spinward frontier until finally the Emperor himself deeded the planet to House Bolden, who remain the caretakers of the fief today.
One of the largest Imperial Naval bases in the entire sector is located on Aramis. The single city on the planet is home to a number of corporations and governmental agencies. The Imperial Scouts use Aramis as one of their largest headquarter facilities. Akerut, Tukera, and Naasirka all have major offices on the world.
Despite the world’s single underground city, Aramis is a center for business, government, and society along the Imperial frontier.
|Tech Level||Industrial||Industrial||Pre-Stellar||Early Stellar||Average Stellar|
Roll 2D to determine the dominance of a character’s Vilani ancestry. Noble characters who previously rolled Vilani ancestry still have to roll on this chart to obtain the benefit, but noble influence can be used as well. Noble characters who rolled Solomani ancestry cannot use this chart.
Strong Vilani ancestry will provide a positive DM when/if rolling on the aging table (34+ yrs.).
Characters whose homeworld is Natoko have a DM of +1 rolling on this table.
|11||Vilani mixed-blood (+1DM on the aging table)|
|12||Vilani mixed-blood (+2DM on the aging table)|
|13||Vilani mixed blood (+3DM on the aging table)|
Characters who have not otherwise been determined as having Vilani ancestry (either from the Noble ancestry chart or the Vilani Blood chart) may be the benefactors of Solomani geneering of their family tree. Nobles who have been determined as having Solomani ancestry still have to roll on this chart to get the benefit.
Procedure for Solomani Geneering
- Roll SOC or less on 2D to see if he character is a candidate for Solomani geneering. Failing this check means the character is not a recipient of Solomani Geneering.
- If the throw in STEP 1 is successful, make a second check (12+ on 2D) to determine if the character is in fact a product of Solomani Geneering (cannot be a Vilani character). Noble influence can be used on this roll.
- If the checks made in STEP 1 and STEP 2 are both successful,
then 1D is rolled on the table below for the geneered character.
1D Extent of Geneering 1 1 geneered stat 2 1-3 geneered stats: (Roll 1D: 1-3 = 1 stat; 4-5 = 2 stats; 6 = 3 stats) 3 1-5 geneered stats: (Roll 1D: 1-2 = 1 stat; 3 = 2 stats; 4 = 3 stats; 5 = 4 stats; 6 = 5 stats) 4 3 geneered stats 5 Geneering (see following) 6 1 geneered stat: player’s choice
Results #1-4: Indicated number of geneered attributes are rolled randomly among STR, DEX, END, INT, and EDU. SOC is never Geneered. Select which stats are geneered as follows:
- In all cases, assign numbers to the stats: STR=1, DEX=2, END=3, INT=4, EDU=5.
- For one or four attributes, roll 1D; the number rolled indicates the geneered attribute for one attribute, or the NON-geneered attribute for four attributes. Reroll any result of 6.
- For two or three attributes, roll 2D; the numbers rolled indicate
the geneered attributes for two attributes, or the NON-geneered
attributes for three attributes. Reroll any result of 6, and reroll
ONE die if both dice come up with the same (non-6) result.
Result #6: Geneering on one attribute, but the stat selected is player’s choice (not SOC).
- Characters who are recipients of Solomani Geneering do not roll their starting attributes in the standard fashion. Instead, the geneered attributes are thrown by rolling 3D and taking the best two results. Attributes that are not affected by Solomani Geneering are originated in the normal manner by throwing a single roll of 2D.
At this point in character generation, the player will originate his character’s attributes by rolling a single throw of 2D for each characteristic in the usual manner: STR, DEX, END, INT, EDU. Note that SOC has already been determined, and other stats may have already been generated if the character is a recipient of Solomani Geneering.
Background Skills reflect expertise a character gains before the age of 18. These tables take into consideration the trade codes, law level, tech level, atmosphere, and other aspects of the homeworld.
Roll EDU or less on 2D: The difference from the roll and EDU is the number of background skill rolls granted. Should the roll be higher than EDU, no background skills are received.
For each Background Skill awarded, roll on the appropriate Background Skill table (determined by a character’s homeworld). Unlike the career skill tables, the first background skill rolled is acquired at Level-0. Rolling the same skill again improves the skill by 1 level (From Level-0 to Level-1; from Level-1 to Level-2; etc). Rolling the same Background Skill twice results in Skill improvement by one level.
There are two Background Skills tables for each homeworld. Players roll randomly for table (roll for each skill—they may be on different tables), but a player may pick the table if a check is made. The check is to roll SOC (or EDU) or less on 2D (check for each skill). The player may choose either his character’s SOC or EDU when making this throw.
Results in bold indicate a choice of skill the player must make. Results in italics indicate that a roll on the indicated sub-table must be made
|Background Skills Table 1 (1-3 on D6)|
|1||Linguistics||Brawling||Vice Tbl||Vice Tbl||Vice Tbl|
|2||Liaison/Admin||Liaison||Economic Tbl||Patinir Tbl||Economic Tbl|
|3||Swimming||Swimming||Commo||Vacc Suit||Vice Tbl|
|4||Wheeled Veh||Wheeled Veh||ATV||Ship’s Boat||Club/Dagger|
|5||Pysadi Wpn||Vanejen Wpn||Computer||Computer||Computer|
|6||Sm. Water Craft||Sm. Water Craft||Economic Tbl||Economic Tbl||Economic Tbl|
|Background Skills Table 2 (4-6 on D6)|
|4||Recruting||Gambling||Dagger||Robot Ops||Aramis Tbl|
|6||Tracked Veh||Steward||Economic Tbl||Commo||Carousing|
(Skill/Skill): Choose between the two skills.
(Homeworld) Wpn: Roll on appropriate Homeworld Wpn table below.
(Various) Tbl: Roll on indicated table below.
|Background Skills Sub-Tables|
|D6||Pysadi Wpn||Vanejen Wpn||Economic Tbl||Patinir Tbl||Vice Tbl||Aramis Tbl|
|3||Blade||Club/Cudgel||Trader||Zero-G Environ||Streetwise||Vacc Suit|
Polearm: Select spear, halberd, cudgel, or pike.
Bow: Choose either short bow or long bow.
Crossbow: Choose sporting, military, or repeating.
Sword: Choose foil, cutlass, sword, or broadsword.
As a character receives skills, whether through the Background Skills table or during the character’s career, record the TL at which the skill is received next to the skill. There will be times during a game session that this may become important (as when a character learns Intrusion at TL 10 and tries to pick an old fashioned TL 3 tumbler lock).
How to determine, during a game session, if TL is a factor when making a skill check: First, find the difference between the two TLs (ex. 10 - 3 = 7).
- Did the PC learn at a lower TL, and is trying to use the skill at a higher TL? Throw the difference on 2D or higher. (ex. 7+ on 2D to avoid an issue)
- Did the PC learn at a higher TL, and is trying to use the skill at a lower TL? Throw the difference on 3D or higher. (ex. 7+ on 3D to avoid an issue)
Following is a chart displaying homeworld technology levels for various technology categories (the categories roughly correspond to those detailed on pgs. 86-87 of The Traveller Book). When a character is awarded a skill during character generation, simply decide which category the skill belongs to and pick a TL for the skill. See the descriptions of each category following the table.
|Low Common||2 (2-4)||2 (2-5)||4 (4-8)||4 (4-9)||5 (5-B)|
|Energy||4 (2-4)||5 (2-6)||8 (4-9)||8 (4-A)||D (5-D)|
|Computer/Robotics||2 (1-4)||5 (2-6)||9 (3-9)||8 (3-A)||D (4-D)|
|Communications||4 (1-4)||5 (2-6)||8 (3-9)||A (3-A)||9 (4-D)|
|Medical||2 (0-4)||6 (0-6)||9 (0-9)||8 (0-A)||D (0-D)|
|Environment||4||6 (1-6)||9 (4-9)||A (5-A)||D (8-D)|
|Land Transport||4 (0-4)||5 (1-6)||8 (4-9)||8 (5-A)||D (8-D)|
|Water Transport||4 (0-4)||5 (0-5)||8 (3-8)||8 (3-8)||D (8-D)|
|Air Transport||4 (4-9)||5 (4-9)||8 (4-9)||8 (4-9)||D (8-D)|
|Space Transport||2 (1-4)||5 (3-6)||9 (6-9)||8 (7-A)||D (A-D)|
|Personal Military||4 (0-4)||5 (0-6)||9 (0-9)||8 (0-A)||D (0-D)|
|Heavy Military||4 (0-4)||5 (0-6)||9 (0-9)||8 (0-A)||D (0-D)|
- Common TL:
- The TL normally associated with the world. The High Common TL is that used in the world’s UWP, determined by the Scouts when the world was surveyed. High Common TL applies to the area around the world’s starport and large urban areas on the planet. Low Common TL is that associated with the world’s rural and more remote areas (on some worlds, this can refer to a majority of the world’s population—especially on low population worlds). A range is given next to the Low Common TL to give the referee an idea of the technology used on the world.
- Achievement TL:
- When a player goes through character generation, the referee can and should use a TL from the appropriate category for each skill a character obtains rather than using the High Common TL for every skill earned.
- For example, a world’s High Common TL may be TL 9, but since the world is an asteroid belt, water transportation may not be highly developed (in fact, in this example, any TL associated with water transportation is obtained by industry in the area, producing items for export).
- When an achievement TL is higher than the High Common TL (represented in the range of TLs given, not the usual TL given for the category), this represents prototype, experimental, and research-driven technology not common to the masses (so use common sense when allowing a character to associate one of his skills a TL that is higher than the High Common).
- So, on Vanejen, it is common to see TL 6 medical instruments and drugs, but TL 6 robots are still in the experimental stage (TL 5 robots are common).
- Military TL:
- Personal Military applies to any type of weapon or gear a person can carry. This can be weapons or armor. Note that things like radios fall under Communications.
- Heavy Military applies to vehicles and items not normally associated with personal gear. This TL supersedes the world’s transport TLs.
- Novelty TL:
- The novelty category represents items that characters can find on a world that are rare but have been imported or are a result of “spillage” from interstellar travelers.
- Starport TL:
- No matter the TL associated with a world, a starport has a minimum TL associated with it (akin to the high-tech equipment found in US bases in Vietnam during that war).
- Naval Base TL:
- Two of the possible homeworlds for PCs have Imperial Naval Bases. Equipment qualified on and used while stationed at these bases can have a TL that is higher than that of the world on which the Naval Base sits.
- While in the Navy, Marines, or Army, and stationed on Natoko or Aramis, roll 1D6 for each skill gained in those careers, using the indicated TL for the skill instead of that normally used on the world. On Natoko, the TL is 8 + the 1D6 roll; on Aramis, the TL is D on 1-4, E on 5, and F on 6
Before embarking on a career, characters may attempt one of the pre-career options available on their homeworld.
These lists are prepared specifically for use with characters in this campaign (i.e., there is a college on Pysadi, but it is just unlikely that a PC non-Pysadian local from the extraterritorial starport would attend—or even be allowed admission, not being “of the faith”).
|Pysadi||No college (native college only).|
|Vanejen||College. Medical School.|
|Aramis||College (OTC and NOTC available). Naval, Military Academies. Graduate School. Medical School. Flight School. Merchant Academies (Tukera, Naasirka; requires Merchant career enlistment throw 9+).|
College, NOTC, Medical School, and Naval Academy are described in Book
5: High Guard, p.15
Merchant Academy is described in Book 7: Merchant Prince, p.17
Military Academy and OTC are described in the MegaTraveller Player’s Manual, p.47
|Admission||7+||DM +1 if INT 9+|
|Success||7+||DM +1 if INT A+|
|Honors||10+||DM +1 if INT B+|
|Education||+1 EDU (+2 EDU if honors)|
If a player wishes to change his homeworld, and thereby change the types of careers that are available to him (and only the five homeworlds are available in this campaign), the only way this will be possible is for the character to submit to the Imperial Draft.
All Class C or better starports within the Imperium have draft kiosks, but these kiosks are operated by Imperial drafting agents who recruit for all four of the Imperial services. The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Scouts share resources using this method, so it is not possible for a character to find a Naval recruiting station from which to join the Navy. Imperial recruiters recruit into the services that need people at that moment (and for those services that pay the highest bonuses).
In theory, this method of stocking the Imperial forces regulars is cost efficient while giving citizens, who would otherwise be land-locked to a single planet their entire lives, an opportunity to “see the galaxy”. In practice, the method is some 60% less expensive for the Imperium to run one mid-sized recruiting station on a world instead of four small-sized ones, but recruitment policies, enlistment drives, and personnel incentives tend to place willing citizens in organizations they are ill-suited to or not interested in.
- If a PC submits to the draft, his homeworld may change (for example, Naval personnel will be stationed at either Aramis or Natoko). When this occurs, the PC’s former homeworld is listed as the character’s birthworld, and the new planet he is stationed on becomes the character’s homeworld.
- Mandatory Draft:
- The Imperium typically runs all-volunteer forces, but the Imperium is so large that there are places in which a mandatory draft is necessary. All characters must check to see if the Mandatory Draft will affect them. If SOC 5 or less, the character may be drafted. Characters with SOC 5 or less should roll 1D; if the roll succeeds, the character has avoided the mandatory draft.
- For example, a character with SOC 5 must make a mandatory draft roll. Roll 1D. A result of 6 means the character is drafted. Roll on the draft table below to determine which branch drafted him.
- Otherwise, PCs may submit to the draft at their choosing. Draft kiosks are available at Class C+ starports.
- The Draft:
- Characters submitting to the Imperial Draft (either by their own choice or as required by a mandatory draft) roll 1D on the draft table below. Roll SOC or less on 2D to get a +1DM on Draft throw (Player’s choice). When drafted, roll 1D to see on which planet the character is stationed.
//TABLE - DRAFT
|D6||Service and Station|
|3||Army (Roll 1D for station: 1 = Natoko; 2-6 = Aramis)|
|4||Marines (Roll 1D for station: 1-2 = Natoko; 3-6 = Aramis)|
|5||Navy (Roll 1D for station: 1-2 = Natoko; 3-6 = Aramis)|
|6||Scout (Roll 1D for station: 1 = Natoko; 2-6 = Aramis)|
A direct commission allows a character to replace the enlistment and commission (or position) rolls of the first term of service in a career with the direct commission roll. If successful, the character will start Term 1 at Rank 1.
Any character may attempt a direct commission for any career as long as the character has both EDU A+ and SOC 9+, but characters attempting a direct commission into military careers are not restricted in this manner. If changing careers, the direct commission will take the character to one rank lower (minimum is Rank 1). Nobles may want to use noble influence on this roll, but if it is used, noble influence cannot be used during Term 1 of their careers.
To enter a service with a direct commission:
13+ on 2D;
+1DM if college graduate;
+1DM if SOC B+
Careers open to characters are determined by that character’s homeworld.
All careers available to a character are listed in the career table. If a career is not listed as a choice for the character’s homeworld, then it is not possible for the character to enlist in the career (with the exception of a character sending his destiny to the fates by way of the Imperial Draft).
Some careers have tags listed with them that detail more information about the career. For example, if a native of Vanejen is interested in joining the Army, his only choice, shy of submitting to the Imperial Draft, is to join one of the local native armies in service to one of Vanejen’s noble families. This is not the Imperial Army on Vanejen (the Imperial Army on Vanejen is only possible through the Draft), and characters serving in this army will have skills at a TL commensurate with the TLs of Vanejen (and a +1DM should be provided to join this local army, rather than the higher enlistment throw required for the Imperial Army). In a similar fashion, the Bureaucrats of Aramis have several organizations and companies from which they can be employed.
All careers are resolved using Book 1 or Supplement 4 CT basic character generation.
In the table below, the possible careers are listed at the left, homeworlds across the top. If the cell at the intersection of the row and column has a note, the career is available to characters from that homeworld.
|Army||Feudal Family (DM+1 to enlist)||Yes||Yes|
|Bureaucrat||Imperiallines||Feudal Family||Naasirka, Tukera||Patinir Government, Sternmetal, Imperiallines, Misc. Local Companies||Imperial Government, Tukera, Akerut, Naasirka, Misc. Local Companies|
|Diplomat||Imperial Government||Imperial Government, Feudal Family||Imperial Government||Imperial Government|
|Flyer||Imperiallines||Feudal Family||Misc. Local Companies, Imperial Government|
|Law Enforcement||Imperiallines||Feudal Family||Naasirka, Tukera||Imperiallines, Misc. Local Companies, Patinir Marshals, Sternmetal||Imperial Government, Akerut, Tukera, Naasirka, Misc. Local Companies|
|Merchant||Imperiallines||Naasirka, Tukera||Imperiallines, Free Trader||Tukera, Akerut, Naasirka, Free Trader|
|Noble||Feudal Family||Imperial Government|
|Scientist||Autodrone||Imperial Research Station Gamma||Ancient Site, Sternmetal, Misc. Local Companies||Yes|
A “Yes” in the preceding table indicates that the career is available on that world with no restrictions on employer; a list of governments, corporations, and/or other organizations indicates opportunities limited to those organizations.
For non-dangerous or civilian careers, roll survival a second time after a survival throw is failed. If successful the second time, actual physical injury did not occur—but something happened during the character’s term that forces him to leave he career (maybe he was fired). If the second survival throw is not successful, then the character was physically injured (maybe he was in an accident).
Poltroonery is allowed for military careers only (see MegaTraveller Player’s Manual, p.47). A military character may take a +2DM on the Survival throw, but, in return, he will suffer a -2DM on any Commission, Promotion, or Reenlistment rolls made that term. When poltroonery is used, and the Promotion roll fails by 6 or more points, the character is subject to Court Martial (see MegaTraveller Player’s Manual, p.47).
Heroism awards are allowed for military careers only. Characters who roll 9+ on the Survival roll are considered for a medal (11+ if poltroonery was used). When characters are considered for commendations, roll 2D on the heroism table, DM -2 if poltroonery.
|10||Meritorious Conduct Under Fire (MCUF)|
|11||Medal for Conspicuous Gallantry (MCG)|
|12||Starburst for Extreme Heroism (SEH)|
When characters are physically injured from a failed Survival throw, roll on the Injury table for the effects of the injury. Then roll on the Recovery table to determine if injuries healed (of course an injured stat cannot be increased over its original level).
Disability Benefits: Permanent injury of 3+ points (even if from more than one stat) requires a disability discharge. Roll twice on the Muster Out table for each term served (instead of the usual once) plus an extra two rolls if a commission has been earned. Up to 6 rolls can be made on the Cash table (instead of the usual 3), giving the character a much larger amount of money with which to start the game.
If a player uses CT advanced character generation (the 1-year method found in Book 4+), a player will know his character’s enlisted rank (Army, Navy, Marines). But, since we’re using Book 1 and Supplement 4 basic character generation (the usual CT 4-year method), the only ranks known are for military officers.
Roll 2D for SOC or less. Success at this roll indicates enlisted promotion.
Here’s an easy way to determine Enlisted rank when using basic chargen: The character starts at rank E1 on the first year of his first term. Every year during the first term, the character may be promoted. After the first term, enlisted personnel can only attempt promotion once per term.
The usual CT rules indicate basic skill eligibility as 2 skills for the characters first term served and 1 skill for every term served thereafter. A player can elect to stay with that CT rule for his character’s basic skills eligibility (as indicated by the career choice), or the player can attempt to earn more basic skills per term for his character (with the risk of getting no skills during term). At any time during character generation, a player may choose to attempt one of the options below in lieu of basic skill eligibility. A skill is granted for every successful roll, but if no rolls are successful, then the character is not eligible for basic skills that term (although the character does still receive any automatic skills and/or skills awarded for commission and promotion).
Example: A Scout, who normally receives 2 skills per term, would never roll on the second option (he’s already getting two skills for the term without rolling). Should he want to try for four skills per term, though, he would give up the automatic award of 2 skills for the term for the opportunity to roll 2D four times—receiving a skill every time he rolls 9+.
|Skill Option #1||Automatic skill awards as described in CT rules.|
|Skill Option #2||2 Skills per term: Roll twice for 7+ each throw.|
|Skill Option #3||3 Skills per term: Roll three times for 8+ each throw.|
|Skill Option #4||4 Skills per term: Roll four times for 9+ each throw.|
Note on LL and TL: The referee should review the Law Level and TL of a character’s homeworld when skills are awarded. For example, it is unlikely that Laser Carbine can be taken as a Gun Combat skill on Aramis if the character is in a civilian career; Aramis’ TL is high enough to allow laser weapons, but the planet’s Law Level prohibits their use.
The referee should adjudicate these occurrences as they present themselves during character generation. A character in a military career will have easier access to training with weapons outside the Law Level and Tech Level of the character’s homeworld. A check, such as rolling SOC or less on 2D, may be appropriate when a player wants his character to learn a skill that violates what is normally possible on the world. In the final analysis, it’s the referee’s decision. Use common sense. Role play it out.
Basic and Advanced CharGen Compatibility: Characters generated using advanced chargen typically finish the process with more skills than a character created using basic character generation. MegaTraveller introduced two simple rules that equalizes the two character generation methods in the form of the Extra Skill rule and the Special Duty rule (below).
Skill and EDU: A character’s skill level in any single skill can never exceed his EDU level. At the referee’s option, total skill levels in all skills may be limited to the sum of INT+EDU; if the character’s skills exceed this at any time, drop skill levels as needed, but no skill should ever be completely lost (although they may be dropped to 0).
Extra Skill: Per the rule in the MegaTraveller Player's Manual, p.15, if any roll for commission/position, promotion, or special duty is exceeded by 4+ points, then an extra skill is awarded that term.
Special Duty: Each term, a character may roll Special Duty. If successful, the character is awarded an extra skill that term. This is the same rule from MegaTraveller Player’s Manual, p.14.
The Special Duty roll succeeds for the indicated rolls for the indicated
4+: Merchant, Law Enforcer, Scout, Marine
5+: Rogue, Navy, Scientist, Diplomat, Pirate
6+: Army, Doctor, Flyer, Sailor, Belter, Hunter, Noble, Bureaucrat
7+: Barbarian, Other
Fifth Table (Homeworld Skills Table)
During character generation, careers provide four tables from which to skills are obtained: the usual Personal Development table, Service Skills table, Education table, and Advanced Education table (that can only be used for characters with EDU 8+).
This rule adds a fifth table into the mix, providing skills based on the character’s homeworld. Note that some military characters may have changed homeworlds after joining the military. Anytime a character is eligible for a skill, the player can attempt to roll on one of the Fifth Tables instead of the normal career tables. When attempting to roll on the Fifth Table, the character must roll 2D for SOC or less; a failure of this roll means no skill at all is awarded. Otherwise, roll 1D on the appropriate column to find the Fifth Table that will be used to determine skill. Skills obtained on the Fifth Table are awarded just like normal career skills (Skill-1 is awarded first, and if the same skill is rolled a second time, the skill becomes Skill-2, etc). This is unlike the Background Skills tables, which begin at Skill-0.
Rolls on the Fifth Tables can only be attempted once per term.
If the SOC check (above) made to earn a roll on the Fifth Tables succeeded by 3+ points, there is an optional +1DM on this table (player’s choice). If the SOC check made to earn a roll on the Fifth Tables succeeded by 5+ points, the player may pick the appropriate table (subject to the column of his character’s homeworld).
The Business, Vice, and Personal tables are identical for all worlds, and are consolidated in the table below; select the skill from the appropriate column based on the roll.
Characters from Pysadi must roll 2D for INT or less when rolling on the
Vice table. Failure of this roll results in no skill being awarded.
Physical allows +1 to choice of STR, DEX, or END
Mental allows +1 to choice of INT or EDU
Special allows the player to roll on his/her choice of any other Fifth Table, regardless of requirements.
Transport: Characters from Vanejen or Natoko with EDU 8+ have DM +1 on this table. Characters from Aramis must have EDU 8+ to roll on this table, or the skill is forfeited.
|2||Equestrian||Wheeled Veh.||ATV||Vacc Suit|
|3||Sm. Watercraft||Sm. Watercraft||Hovercraft||Vacc Suit|
|4||L-T-A Craft||L-T-A Craft||Grav Belt||ATV|
|5||Wheeled Veh.||Lg. Watercraft||Air/Raft||Grav Veh.|
|6||Lg. Watercraft||Submersible||Helicopter||Ship’s Boat|
|7||Prop Aircraft||Jet Aircraft|
The Technical and Space tables are only available to characters from Natoko, Patinir, or Aramis. Characters with EDU 8+ have DM +1 on the Space table.
|2||Medical||Robot Ops||Medical||Vacc Suit|
|4||Engineering||Gravitics||Engineering||0-G Environ/0-G Combat|
|5||Navigation||JoT||Navigation||Acell Rifle/Snub Pistol|
(Skill/Skill) result indicates the player chooses between the two
Table result (italicised) indicates the player should reroll on the indicated table.
The Combat table offers a selection of personal weapons skills. The referee is reminded to perform the Law Level and Tech Level checks, as described earlier, when awarding skills from this this table.
|5||Polearm||AutoPistol||Laser Wpns||Demolitions||Snub Pistol|
|6||Revolver||Rifle/Carbine||Accel Rifle/Snub Pistol||0-G Wpns||Accel Rifle|
(Skill/Skill): Player chooses between the skills.
Polearm: Select from bayonet, spear, halberd, cudgel, or pike.
Blade Cmbt: Select from pg. 10 of Supplement 4.
Bow Cmbt: Select from pg. 11 of Supplement 4.
Pistol: Includes revolvers and autopistol (not body pistol or snub pistol).
Laser Wpns: Includes laser rifle, laser carbine, and laser pistol.
0-G Wpns: Includes accelerator rifle and snub pistol.
Starting on Term 8, the re-enlistment roll is replaced with a throw equal to the Term # or better. For example, a character attempting re-enlistment after completing his 8th Term would roll 8+ for re-enlistment. A character who has completed his 9th Term requires a roll of 9+ for re-enlistment. A character who has completed his 10th Term needs a roll of 10+ to re-enlist, and so on.
Should a character, during the character generation process, fail a survival roll or decide not to reenlist in a certain career, the character may attempt enlistment in another career. Use a -2DM on the enlistment throw for characters who want to change careers, -3DM for a third career. -4DM for a fourth, etc. Otherwise, careers are determined normally (as modified by these rules, of course!).
Note that the penalty applies to each attempt at a new career, so it is very likely that, after failing a survival throw for the character’s first career, it will not be possible for him to enlist in a new career after a few failed attempts as the penalties stack up.
Old Age Experience
When rolling on the Aging Table, roll the exact same roll a second time. If successful, the PC is awarded a skill. For example, Harri is 34 years old and is required to roll on the Aging Table. His rolls are 8+ or -1 STR; 7+ or -1 DEX, and 8+ or -1 END. Harri rolls and ends up with the same STR rating but looses one each in DEX and END.
But, old age and experience typically make people wiser. Harri is allowed three throws to determine if skills are awarded. He’ll throw 2D, three times, for 8+, 7+, and 8+. Each time Harris succeeds in that throw, he is awarded a skill.
Muster out after each term. This way, PCs will have money if they want to travel to another world or buy anagathics (or even use it for a PSI test) during character generation. The referee should adjudicate any player’s attempts. But, PCs are still limited to only 3 rolls on the Cash Table, so keep count!
Remember that Disability awards may increase the number of times the Cash Table can be accessed. And landed nobles will accrue money from their fiefs each year (increasing the amount of money the character has at the start of gameplay).
Remember to consult the world’s Law Level and Technology Level when players choose weapons. A world like Aramis has a high enough TL that laser weapons can be available, but the Law Level prohibits their use. Therefore, characters in civilian careers will not gain skill in laser weapons on Aramis; characters in military careers might. Use common sense.
A noble’s position in Imperial society affords him some perks, one of these being the Benefits table when mustering out.
Nobles may choose to roll on the Noble career muster tables, or the muster tables from the career the noble chose to follow (if the noble didn’t follow the Noble career path solely). Only three rolls on the cash table—any cash table—are allowed, though, unless disability benefits are appropriate. For example, if a noble is following a career in the Imperial Navy, the noble may choose to use the muster tables from the Navy or from the Noble career.
When a noble rolls on the Benefits table of the Noble career (and only on that table—not on the Benefits table of any other career he is following), roll 1D. A result of 1-3 means that the muster table in Supplement 4 is used. A result of 4-6 means the Alternate Benefits table below is used. Nobles can use noble influence on this roll.
|4||Travellers’ Aid Society|
Fief: A fief means awarding the noble lands corresponding to his noble rank, or, if already landed, it means lands are expanded to include an area as if the noble was 1 rank higher (rank doesn’t change, only the lands).
//TABLE - NOBLE FIEF AND INFLUENCE
|Noble’s SOC||Size of Fief||Range of Noble’s Influence|
|B||1 hex on homeworld (2D sq. km)||Homeworld|
|C||2 hexes on homeworld (2D×10 sq. km)||Subsector of Homeworld|
|D||4 hexes on homeworld (2D×100 sq. km)||Subsector of Homeworld|
|E||16 hexes on homeworld (2D×1000 sq. km)||Sector of Homeworld|
|F||256 hexes on homeworld (2D×10000 sq. km)||Sector of Homeworld|
|G||480 hexes on homeworld (entire world)||Imperium-wide: especially strong in Domain containing homeworld|
Fiefs produce income in taxes of Cr1000 per hex per year. Use the hex count indicated in the chart determine the amount of income provided the noble each year. For example, a noble with SOC D (Marquis) receives Cr4000 each year in taxes (in addition to any retirement or disability income). Referees who wish vary this amount can do so by determining an average yearly amount as just described, taking 10%, then multiplying that result by a 3D roll on any particular year. Should the noble’s lands be further developed in the campaign, roll 2D and multiply by the indicated amount to determine the actual size, in square kilometers, of the fief on the character’s homeworld.