Let's Read “Traveller: Core Rulebook - A Second Example of Character Creation”

More of the Traveller Character Creation Mini-Game

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A part of my Let’s Read “Traveller: Core Rulebook” series. Go grab your copy of Traveller: Core Rulebook and join in.

I had so much fun rolling up Pat that I decided to roll up Quinn.

Pre-Career

Quinn’s a nimble studious person. I’m thinking they practice lots of soccer and study hard.

Characteristics
Str 8
Dex 12 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 4 (-1)
Edu 8
Soc 8 (0)
Skills
Art 0
Athletics 0
Language 0

Term 1: (18-22)

Quinn wants to be a professional athlete. This looks like an Entertainer (Performer). I roll, and they qualify. Welcome to soccer.

For their basic training they get: Art, Carouse, Deception, Drive, Persuade, and Steward. Not quite what I’d imagine as an athlete. However, I can see how this relates to the fame of being a professional athelete.

I think they’ll focus on personal development. They gain Jack-of-All-Trades.

To survive, Quinn needs an Intellect 5+; I roll a 10 and Quinn survives.

Next up, let’s see what life has to say. I roll on the Entertainer event table and get:

As an artist, you lead a strange and charmed life. Go to the Life Events Table and have an Unusual Event.

Alright, let’s hop over there. I roll a 1 for an Unusual Event.

Psionics: You encounter a Psionic institute. You may immediately test your Psionic Strength and, if you qualify, take the Psion career in your next term. See page 196 for more details.

I haven’t done this before. So lets give it a go. I roll up a Psionic Strength score of 6. Let’s go for Awareness. This will cost. I roll a modified 7. I need 8+ to learn the talent.

I’ll try Clairvoyance. I roll a modified 9. Quinn gains Clairvoyance 0. Next, I’ll go for Telepathy. I roll a modified 12; Quinn gains Telepathy 0. I check the remaining talents, and Quinn fails to learn Teleportation and Telekinesis.

Well, that was an interesting detour.

Back to the Entertainer chart to see about a promotion.

I roll a modified 9, and Quinn advances to a Rank 1 performer. Gaining a +1 Dexterity. Rolling on the personal development, I get +1 Intellect for Quinn. It looks like the detour into Psionics helped increase Quinn’s quickness of thought, and mental agility.

Characteristics
Str 8
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 8
Soc 8 (0)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 0
Deception 0
Drive 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 1
Language 0
Persuade 0
Steward 0
Telepathy 0
Athletics 0
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 2: (Ages 22 to 26)

Quinn has what it takes to be a great athlete. However, I want to see how the Psionic subsystem works.

Quinn takes a stab at becoming a Psion; If they make it, I’d imagine they’ll be wild talent. The dice show a 6, but I take a -1 penalty for each previous career. Quinn fails to qualify for the Psion path.

Quinn’s fans must wonder why they would quit a promising career as a soccer player. Was it the rumors of joining a cult?

Failing to become a Psion, Quinn can either go into the draft or become a Drifter.

Quinn’s been very focused, but has expanded their mind. I think a term as a Drifter will help give them space to “find themselves.”

For their “service” skills, I’m going to pick Streetwise. And I’m eyeing that “Jack-of-all-Trades” on the personal development table. Let’s roll there. I get a 1, which is a +1 to Strength. Not bad, Quinn now gets +1 DM to all Strength tasks.

Does Quinn survive as a Wanderer? I need a End 7+, and roll a modified 12. Yes.

For the life event, I roll a 4:

You pick up a few useful skills here and there. Gain one level of Jack-of-all-Trades, Survival, Streetwise or Melee (any).

I think I’ll take that Jack-of-all-Trades! In Traveller, if you aren’t trained in a skill, you take a -3 DM penalty to your checks. Each rank of Jack-of-all-Trades reduces that penalty by one. Quinn, with 2 ranks, has a knack for figuring out a lot of things. Normally I’d attribute that to Intellect, but fictionally maybe its a very subtle psionic manifestation.

Closing out this term, Quinn needs an Int 7+ but rolls a modified 5 and fails to advance.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 8
Soc 8 (0)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 0
Deception 0
Drive 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Persuade 0
Steward 0
Streetwise 0
Telepathy 0
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 3: (Age 26 to 30)

You can always fall back to Wanderer, so Quinn decides to give another go at being an Entertainer. This time, they have a DM-2 for qualification. The dice come up with a 4. Quinn gets a DM+2 for their Dexterity, but with the DM-2 fails to make a comeback.

So, again Quinn faces a dilema. Do they go wanadering or join the draft. This time, Quinn looks at their past career, and casts their lot in the draft. I muster out Quinn’s Drifter career, and they get a +1 Education. Not bad!

A law enforcement agency drafts Quinn.

For their service skills, Quinn grabs Investigate. I’d imagine Quinn’s nascent Psionic skills may come in handy.

For their training, I roll and Quinn gets a rank in Recon.

Quinn survives their first term, and has the following life event:

You are given advanced training in a specialist field. Roll EDU 8+ to increase any one skill you already have by one level.

Quinn fails the Education check. Mentally, I’m thinking that they are receiving advanced training in psionics. Again, I’m taking each action to point them towards the Psion career.

Quinn advances, becoming a Corporal. They gain Streetwise 1, and a roll on a table. Quinn rolls on the Advanced Education table, and gets Medic 1.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 8 (0)
PSI 6
Skills
Athletics 0
Art 1 (performer)
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 0
Deception 0
Drive 0
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Medic 1
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 0
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 4: (Age 30 to 34)

Quinn sticks with Law Enforcement. This term they learn Gun Combat and survive their term.

Rolling on the event table, they again get:

You are given advanced training in a specialist field. Roll EDU 8+ to increase any one skill you already have by one level.

And this time, their advanced training sticks. Let’s bump up that Clairvoyance to 1. An interesting aspect of character creation is when you keep trying for something. I decided to have Quinn attempt to develop psioinics each time. In this way, I’m listening to the oracular nature of the dice.

Quinn checks advancement, and becomes a Sergeant (rank 2). And further developes their Gun Combat.

With Quinn now 34 years old, I check for aging. Quinn suffers no ill-effects.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 8 (0)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 1
Deception 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat 2 (lasers)
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Medic 1
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 0
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 5: (Age 34 to 38)

This term feels like a big risk. Mechanically, Quinn’s physical ability scores are near a cusp. A minor aging event could strip Quinn of those bonuses.

Recognizing this, I think I’ll have Quinn attempt to secure some anagathics; The drugs that abate the effects of aging.

Let’s first muster out of Law Enforcement. With two terms and two ranks in law enforcement, Quinn gets 3 benefit rolls: Weapon, Combat Implant, and SOC +1. To start anagathics requires a SOC check. I imagine that Quinn’s rise in SOC reflects associating more and more with upper echelon.

Quinn reaches out to try to score some anagathics. This requires a Social Standing roll of 10+. Anagathics are illegal, but heavily used by the nobility and upper echelons of society. This is a long shot, and Quinn fails to secure a supply of anagathics.

With Quinn’s past focus on psionics, receiving advanced training, and seeking life-extending drugs, I think Quinn’s going to again attempt to enter the Psion career.

This is a long-shot, but Quinn’s following their training. Quinn needs to make a PSI 6+, and with 3 past careers, has a DM-3 to their roll. I throw box cars (double sixes).

Earlier, I thought Quinn would be a wild-talent. However, with their career in law-enforcement, they become a Psi-Warrior.

For their basic training, they learn Awareness. And they roll Telepathy for their career skill.

Quinn needs an Endurance 6+ to survive; I roll a 10.

For their life event, I get:

You pick up potentially useful information using your psychic powers. Gain DM+1 to any one Benefit roll.

Let’s remember that potentially useful information. Its something that other characters can latch onto during the last steps of character creation.

I roll for advancement, needing a 6+; Quinn succeeds, and gains Gun Combat (any) 1. Already trained in lasers, Quinn grabs Gun Combat (slug) 1. As part of their advancement, I also roll on the Service Skills, and increase their Telepathy.

Quinn again avoids the ravages of age.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 9 (+1)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Awareness 0
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 1
Deception 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat 1 (slug)
Gun Combat 2 (lasers)
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Medic 1
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 2
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You pick up potentially useful information using your psychic powers.
Benefits
Weapon
Combat Implant
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 6: (Age 38 to 42)

Life’s good. And Quinn’s learning a lot about Psioncis. Again, they are eager to hold off the effects of aging. Quinn tries to secure a supply of anagathics. And succeeds! I see Quinn’s rising social standing as well as experience in law enforcement as the means by which they track down a supplier.

Quinn rolls on the Service Skills table and gets to pick to advance any talent. They increase their awareness.

Now, in taking anagathics, I need to roll twice for suvival, and take the worst result. I roll a 5, and Quinn experiences a mishap.

You are asked to use your psionic powers in an unethical fashion. Accept, and you may continue in this career, but you gain an Enemy. Refuse, and you must leave the career.

Normally, a failure to survive would mean you don’t check for advancement and you must end character creation or try for another career.

Quandry time, would Quinn act unethically? How might this relate to their “potentially useful information?” Yes. I think Quinn’s life as a law enforcement officer gave her a perspective of bending/breaking the law to your purpose.

Besides, Quinn doesn’t have any explicit relationships from character creation. Now they have an enemy.

Let’s check for advancement. Quinn advances to Rank 2 (Captain), and gains Leadership 1.

I’m thinking with this unethical behavior came both a promotion and a diversion from their psionic training. So instead of rolling on a table that guarantees developing a Psionic skill, I roll on the Psi-Warrior table.

Quinn gains another rank in Telepathy. Interesting! Quinn’s likely abusing their powers.

Because Quinn’s taking anagathics, they don’t need to roll for aging.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 9 (+1)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Awareness 1
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 1
Deception 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat 1 (slug)
Gun Combat 2 (lasers)
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Leadership 1
Medic 1
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 3
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You pick up potentially useful information using your psychic powers.
You use your psionic powers in an unethical fashion, and gain an Enemy
Benefits
Weapon
Combat Implant
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.

Term 7: (Age 42 to 46)

A Term 7 Traveller is as far as I’d let anyone go in my game. It feels like the sweet spot is term 5. However, as this is part example and part fun, I’m going to roll up one more term, as I’m assuming Quinn won’t survive this next term.

I’m going to stick with the idea that as Quinn advances in their career they have less time to focus on developing psionics and instead focus on their career. I again roll on the Psi-Warrior table, and Quinn further increases Telepathy. I like this, Quinn’s climbing the organizational ladder by further leveraging psionics. This has me wonder, is Quinn actually operating as a mole in some other organization? Is this a covert psi-warrior corp?

For their survival I roll a 9 and an 8. Quinn survives without mishap.

For their life event I get:

You gain a mentor. Gain an Ally and DM+4 to your next Advancement roll (in any career) thanks to his their aid.

I like this alot. I think the mentor sees Quinn drifting into dark places. And nudges Quinn to leave. This mentorship, while helping towards advancement, is the kick to start Quinn’s adventures. And if the organization is covert, this mentor and ally may be someone who later needs help. But that’s for game play.

Let’s roll for a promotion; Quinn easily achieves Rank 3. For their promotion roll, I pick a different table: Advanced Education. Quinn picks up a rank in Mechanic. That appears to uncharacteristic for Quinn. I wonder did Quinn’s mentor teach them?

Now, let’s muster Quinn out of the Psi-Warrior assignment. They get 5 benefit rolls (3 for terms served and two for their rank). And for one of those rolls, Quinn gets a DM+1.

I roll and Quinn gets: 3 Combat Implants, a Contact, and a TAS membership. I chose not to roll on any of the Cash tables as none of the professions provided much in the way of Cash. Also, Quinn owes a lot of money for Psionic training and Anagathics. That’ll help frame the initial situations for the campaign.

And now we see how much Quinn owes for anagathics…Cr900,000 (2d6 × Cr100,000). Oof. Quinn, an adept telepath owes a lot of money. And I’d imagine those drug dealers have lots of connections.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 9 (+1)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Awareness 1
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 1
Deception 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat 1 (slug)
Gun Combat 2 (lasers)
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 4
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You pick up potentially useful information using your psychic powers.
You use your psionic powers in an unethical fashion, and gain an Enemy
You gain a mentor. Gain an Ally.
Benefits
Weapon
Combat Implant (×4)
Contact
Travellers Aid Society membership
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.
Cr900,000 for anagathics.

Rounding out the Career

We talk amongst the group, and agree that we’ll play a Traveller style game. Between the four players, we need to divy up Pilot 1, Deception 1, Electronics 1, Gunner 1, Gun Combat 1, Persuade 1, Stealth 1, Medic 1.

Quinn grabs Pilot 1 and Electronics 1.

We also go around the table and connect our Travellers together.

In their last term Pat and Quinn collaborated on gathering intelligence; Quinn picks up a rank in Melee (blade) 1. Things got real dicey.

Quinn’s unethical decision impacted Kris; Quinn picks up Stealth 1.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 13 (+2)
End 9 (+1)
Int 5 (-1)
Edu 9 (+1)
Soc 9 (+1)
PSI 6
Skills
Art 1 (performer)
Athletics 0
Awareness 1
Carouse 0
Clairvoyance 1
Deception 0
Drive 0
Electronics (comms) 1
Gun Combat 1 (slug)
Gun Combat 2 (lasers)
Investigate 0
Jack-of-all-Trades 2
Language 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee (blade) 1
Persuade 0
Pilot 1
Recon 1
Stealth 1
Steward 0
Streetwise 1
Telepathy 4
Events
You encounter a Psionic institute.
You pick up a few useful skills here and there.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You are given advanced training in a specialist field.
You pick up potentially useful information using your psychic powers.
You use your psionic powers in an unethical fashion, and gain an Enemy
You gain a mentor. Gain an Ally.
Benefits
Weapon
Combat Implant (×4)
Contact
Travellers Aid Society membership
Debts
Cr100,000 for training.
Cr900,000 for anagathics.

Quinn’s player and the referee still need to flesh out the Ally and Enemy.

Conclusion

As you may be able to see, I’m having a lot of fun with Traveller’s Character Creation. In the various characters that I’ve rolled up, this is my first time in which I rolled up a Psion. I wanted to push against that and see where things went.

Quinn’s life certainly went down wildly unexpected paths. I thought that they would’ve been a star athlete. Instead they’re a morally ambiguous drug-addicted mind-reading combat-enhanced gun-lugger.

Next up, let’s look at Traveller’s Skills and Tasks.