Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My Traveller Character Generation Rules

To my mind, there are few purer joys in gaming than creating Traveller characters.

Below is my draft for my Traveller character generation rules for our upcoming Imperial Navy campaign. I think doing it this way should create some very competent, interconnected characters:

1) Each character will start with an array of numbers to put into your characteristics. Your standard array is 5,7,7,7,8,9, plus 2 points to put into a characteristic or characteristics of choice (note an average human characteristic is 6-8). Determine characteristic modifiers.

2) Choose a homeworld.

3) Record background skills. Remember, all skills start at Rank 0. If you select a skill again, it becomes Rank 1, and so on.

4) You're starting off as an 18 year-old. Since we're running a Imperial Navy-only campaign, character generation will differ a little here. For your first term, you may either a) directly enlist in the Navy (no need to roll), b) attempt to get into the Naval college, or c) try for another career field. The first option gets you going right away, but there's no chance of commission. Naval college can boost you up to a commission quickly, but if you flunk out, you're back to being a drifter for a bit. Trying for one 4-year term in something else before joining the Navy can give you some great experience, but can delay your chance for advancement. If you're going with option c) and want to make it random, declare for the draft! You'll end up in a random military-related career field for a term.

Every character will get at least one, no more than four terms in the Navy. Naval college graduates are treated as having "Crewman" path (getting the service skills from that path) before they move on to their chosen career field. Remember, if you don't like how something turned out, you get one auto-success and one reroll during chargen!

5) If this is your first time in your career, record your basic training skills. You get all skills listed under Service Skills at Level 0.

6) Choose a specialty. Choose one (and only one) of the Skills and Training tables for this career and roll. Roll on Survival to see if you make it to another term. For our purposes, if you don't make this roll, that's where your current development ends, and will be where you start the game. Good thing you have that free auto-success and reroll!

6a) If you did not succeed on your Survival roll, proceed to roll on the Mishap table. You will remain in the service, but may have some career-altering event in your past. If you made your Survival roll, disregard this step. If you had another career field before the Navy, you may roll on that career's mustering out table.

7) Roll for Events. Some players will want to take every opportunity they can to gain the highest military honours possible during character creation. As a result it is possible for players to go for glory whenever they are presented with a chance for a reward. A character may add up to 3 to the difficulty of the skill roll, making it much more likely to be injured. However, when it comes to receiving an award the modifier is added to the Effect instead.

7a) After your Events, you may optionally make a Connection with another player. For example, if you were injured in a fight against pirates, perhaps you say that Player X's character dragged yours to safety. Each player may do this once during Chargen. If a Connection is made, one additional skill roll is allowed to each player involved. No player may be involved in more than 2 Connections.

8) Roll for advancement, to see if you were promoted. Alternately, you may attempt to see if you gained commission. If commissioned, you immediately become a rank of O-1 (Sublieutenant). Note any bonuses that advancement or promotion grants.

9) After you first Naval term, you may roll to see if you qualify for one of the other Naval career paths: Engineering, Pilot, Gunnery, Command, Support, Small Craft Pilot, High Command, Naval Intelligence and Naval Research. If you fail, you may spend another term as a crewman, studying up and waiting for your big break. Note that you can also automatically join a career field if you meet the minimum number of terms required! Make sure to add 4 years to your age for each term served. If you are 34 or older, roll for Aging modifiers.

10) Each character will receive two free skill ranks to place where they wish. They may use the two ranks to buy one skill they do not have, or may increase any skills by one per rank.

11) Once everyone is done with the characters, the group takes turns selecting skills from the campaign pack. Every selects a listed appropriate skill until there are none left. The skills for your campaign are: Pilot (any) 1, Gunner (any) 1, Engineer (any) 1, Mechanic 1, Sensors 1, Medic 1, Comms 1, Astrogation 1. This represents the vital skills and minimum required training for a viable starship campaign.

12) Don't worry about equipment--weapons, armor, and other equipment are stored in the ship's locker, to be assigned as mission dictates. You don't have much personal space onboard, but you can write down a few personal effects and 1-2 tools of the trade, as needed. Yes, you get a Mulligan Stone (worth one free dice reroll for you or another, non-Referee player). You really, really want to save it in this game.

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