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

Because Rolling Lots of Dice is Fun

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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’ve already rolled up two characters: Pat and Quinn. I’ve been thinking of playing a solo game, using Zozer Games’s “Solo: Solo RPG Campaigns for Cepheus Engine” supplement.

The Cepheus Engine is analogous to a fork in software code-bases. The Cepheus Engine derives from the SRD of the prior edition of Traveller (also produced by Mongoose).

With a cursory read, the rules are quite compatable between the Cepheus Engine and Mongoose’s latest version of Traveller.

While creating Kris, I’m going to be referencing the same terms from the other characters. I’m assuming, as a group the players would all be creating their characters together. And while the ending ages may vary, we’d be stepping through the first few terms together.

Pre-Career

Kris is quite studious but perhaps a bit sedentary. I roll these characters 2d6 in order. I’m also working on them with the idea that they’ll be a group of Travellers setting out on an adventure.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 11 (+1)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 12 (+2)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Art 0
Electronics 0
Language 0
Mechanic 0
Science 0

Term 1: Ages 18 to 22

Kris, already rather book smart, looks to attend University. They need to make an EDU check 7+. I roll an 11. And they’re enrolled.

From an academic list of skills they to pick one skill at level 0 and another at level 1. Also, they increase their EDU by 1.

Kris chooses Admin 0 and Advocate 1. These are quite different paths from the other two characters.

I roll for an education life event:

You join a political movement. Roll SOC 8+. If successful, you become a leading figure. Gain one Ally within the movement but gain one Enemy in wider society.

I roll and get a 9. So, Kris becomes a leading figure in a political movement. They gain an Ally and an Enemy.

I check for Graduation. I need an Int of 7+. I roll an 11 and Kris graduates with honours. I bump their Admin and Advocate by 1 level. I increase their Education by 2 more. And I get a +2 to qualification rolls for a handful of careers. I had previously written up this character by hand, but chose to re-roll at this point. In graduating with honours, I can see a different path. It’s much easier to get into the military and get a commission.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 11 (+1)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Admin 1
Art 0
Advocate 2
Electronics 0
Language 0
Mechanic 0
Science 0
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.

Term 2: Age 22 to 26

With Pat in the Army (though eyeing the Scouts) and Quinn positioned to become a Psion, I’m thinking Navy Line/Crew.

I need an Intellect 6+, I roll a 5 but because Kris graduated with honors, I get a 7. It looks like someone in the Navy probably graduated from Kris’s Alma Mater. Maybe Kris’s Ally? Let’s hold this lightly as we move through character creation.

Because Kris graduated from the University, they may start their term with a commission roll with a DM +2 for graduating with honours. Kris needs a Social Standing 8+, the dice show 7, but with that DM+2, Kris gets a commission. Alright, this is enough to say “Yup, Kris’s Ally helped pull a lot of strings for Kris.” Kris begins as an Ensign, gaining Melee (blade) 1. I’m uncertain if I should treat this as a promotion or not. I think in this case I won’t. If it were a promotion, I’d get another roll for skills and development.

Let’s do basic training. Kris picks up Electronics, Astrogation, Engineer, Drive, Navigation, Admin.

I choose personal development, and get a +1 Dexterity. Nice! That bumps it to a +2 modifier.

I check for Survival, and Kris fails. I roll the following mishap:

You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. If you were responsible, then you gain one free roll on the Skills and Training table before you are ejected from this career as your guilt drives you to excel. If you were not, then gain the officer who blamed you as an Enemy, but you keep your Benefit roll from this term.

I think Kris is responsible for the deaths. I choose to roll on the Officer training table, and get Tactics (naval). Based on the event, this implies Kris made a bad tactical decision.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 12 (+2)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Art 0
Admin 2
Advocate 2
Astrogation 0
Electronics 0
Electronics (computers) 1
Engineer 0
Drive 0
Navigation 0
Language 0
Mechanic 0
Melee (blade) 1
Science 0
Tactics (naval) 1
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.
You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. You caused it.

Term 3: 26 to 30

Stinging from what they view as poor judgement, Kris seeks their next term. They’d make a great Merchant, Scout, Citizen, or Physician. Because this will be their second career, they get a -1 to the roll. I can’t decide, and flip a coin. Heads Physician, tails Broker.

Kris decides to try to become a Physician. They need an Intellect of 7+. I roll a five. They would’ve qualified for a Merchant (Broker), but alas, their guilt drove them to attempt to help others.

Now I must decide, does Kris become a Drifter or join the Draft? Given their guilt and failure to become a doctor, I don’t think they’d join anything organized.

Kris becomes a Drifter. They join a salvage crew. Some nice mindless work as they sort through some stuff.

For their service skill I pick Survival. And for their training, I roll on the scavenger table and get Mechanic.

With such quick reflexes, Kris survives this term. And their life event is:

You manage to scavenge something of use. Gain DM+1 to any one Benefit roll.

Kris doesn’t advance as a Drifter. Not eager to remain a Drifter, Kris musters out. They get 1 Ship Share.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 12 (+2)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Admin 2
Advocate 2
Art 0
Astrogation 0
Electronics 0
Electronics (sensors) 1
Engineer 0
Drive 0
Navigation 0
Language 0
Mechanic 1
Melee (blade) 1
Science 0
Survival 0
Tactics (naval) 1
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.
You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. You caused it.
You manage to scavenge something of use.
Benefits
One ship share

Term 4: 30 to 34

Kris, not eager to continue as a scavenger attempts to connect with a merchant and become a broker. Kris’s attempt is successful.

For their Service Skills, I pick Persuade 0. For their training, I roll on the Broker table, and get a rank in Advocate; Kris is quite an effective lawyer.

Kris easily survives their term, and gets the following life event:

You make an unexpected connection outside your normal circles. Gain a Contact.

While they’re an effective space lawyer, their company looks them over for a promotion.

As this is their fourth term, I roll for any effects of aging. No problem.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 12 (+2)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Admin 2
Advocate 3
Art 0
Astrogation 0
Drive 0
Electronics 0
Electronics (sensors) 1
Engineer 0
Language 0
Mechanic 1
Melee (blade) 1
Navigation 0
Persuade 0
Science 0
Survival 0
Tactics (naval) 1
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.
You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. You caused it.
You manage to scavenge something of use.
You make an unexpected connection outside your normal circles. Gain a Contact.
Benefits
One ship share

Term 5: 34 to 38

Chris, finding a bit of redemption in the brokerage business, decides to stick around.

They pick up a rank in Electronics, given they’re past training was in sensors, I opted to add a rank to electronics (computers).

Kris again surives the term, and has the following life event:

You have a chance to risk your fortune on a possibility lucrative deal. You may gamble a number of Benefit rolls and roll Gambler 8+ or Broker 8+. If you succeed, you gain half as many Benefit rolls as you risked, rounding up. If you fail, you lose all the rolls risked. Either way, gain one level in whichever skill you used.

So far Kris is quite poor. But that free rank looks tempting. If Kris gets a promotion, they’d gain Broker 1. So I’m going to choose Gambler. Also, Gambler 1 means Kris gets +1 to all Benefit rolls.

This is a long shot. Given that Kris is not trained in either, they get a DM-3. I gamble one of their benefits and roll a 4. They lose the benefit. But Kris learns Gambler 1.

I check, and Kris gets a promotion. They pick up Broker 1. I roll on Broker table and get Streetwise. It looks like the company’s been putting Kris in some risky situations.

I check the aging event, and Kris is fine.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 12 (+2)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Admin 2
Advocate 3
Art 0
Astrogation 0
Broker 1
Drive 0
Electronics (computers) 1
Electronics (sensors) 1
Electronics 0
Engineer 0
Gambler 1
Language 0
Mechanic 1
Melee (blade) 1
Navigation 0
Persuade 0
Science 0
Streetwise 1
Survival 0
Tactics (naval) 1
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.
You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. You caused it.
You manage to scavenge something of use.
You make an unexpected connection outside your normal circles. Gain a Contact.
You have a chance to risk your fortune on a possibility lucrative deal.
Benefits
One ship share

Feeling the mounting pressures and risky business, Kris thinks back to those crew members who lost their life. Kris decides to muster out and start adventuring.

With two terms and rank 1, Kris would normally get 3 rolls. However, they gambled away one of them.

I roll twice and get Education +1 (which is lost because 15 is Kris’s racial max). And Cr 50,000.

Rounding Out the Travellers

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.

Pat and Quinn already picked Persuade, Stealth, Pilot, and Electornics. This leaves Deception, Gunner, Gun Combat, and Medic. When I started this “Let’s make a character” I was thinking of making only one character. However as you may have guessed, its a bit of fun. So I made another. And while the rules say to go in order when picking your skills from the above package, I didn’t do that. So I’m spending a bit of time retrofitting those decisions.

Based on the backstory, I think Kris would definitely pick up Medic. And Gun Combat seems a likely add.

Quinn’s unethical behavior impacted Kris. That happend during Kris’s 4th term. I like the idea of connecting Quinn’s behavior and the contact Kris gained in their event. I think Kris picked up Steward.

Quinn learned about the lucrative deal from Jean. I think Quinn picks up a bit of Recon from this event.

Characteristics
Str 7
Dex 12 (+2)
End 5 (-1)
Int 7
Edu 15 (+3)
Soc 6 (0)
Skills
Admin 2
Advocate 3
Art 0
Astrogation 0
Broker 1
Drive 0
Electronics (computers) 1
Electronics (sensors) 1
Electronics 0
Engineer 0
Gambler 1
Gunner 1
Language 0
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee (blade) 1
Navigation 0
Persuade 0
Recon 1
Science 0
Streetwise 1
Steward 1
Survival 0
Tactics (naval) 1
Events
You graduate with honors.
You join a political movement and become a leader. Gain an Ally and an Enemy.
You are blamed for an accident that causes the death of several crew members. You caused it.
You manage to scavenge something of use.
You have a chance to risk your fortune on a possibility lucrative deal.
You make an unexpected connection outside your normal circles. Gain a Contact.
Benefits
One ship share
Cr50,000

Kris’s player and the referee still need to flesh out their Contact, Ally, and Enemy.

Conclusion

I’m having a lot of fun seeing what characters emerge from the character creation.

I know that the randomness might be off-putting to some. I’ve seen some referees give each player 3 or 4 re-roll tokens for character creation. For any roll, a player can turn in a token to re-roll. This gives a bit of control to the character creation.