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

Having Loads of Fun Rolling Up Characters

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This is the fourth and final character creation example. The group consists of Jean (this example), Pat, Quinn, and Kris.

I may get around to trying Zozer Games’s “Solo” with this group of characters.2020

Pre-Career

Jean looks to be a street rat, quick of thought, and physically fit. I think they’r likely a belter, used to hard and maybe even demeaning work.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 10 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Profession 0
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0

Term 1: Ages 18 to 22

It’s a bit of a stretch, but Jean’s going to try to join the Army Academy. They need an Endurance 8+. I roll an 8. I’m looking at opportunities to bump up their Social Standing characteristic. Graduating with honours would do that.

Jean gains Drive or Vacc Suit, Athletics, Gun Combat, Recon, Melee, Heavy Weapons.

For their life event I roll:

A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Roll SOC 8+. If you succeed, gain a Rival. If you fail, gain an Enemy. If you roll 2, you must take the Prisoner career in your next term.

I roll a modified 7. As expected, the prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, and Jean gains an enemy.

I roll for graduation, and Jean fails to graduate. They may automatically enter the army.

Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 10 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Drive 0
Gun Combat 0
Heavy Weapons 0
Melee 0
Profession 0
Recon 0
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.

Term 2: Age 22 to 26

Jean joins the Cavalry. For enlisting, they get Gun Combat 1. For basic training, Jean picks Gun Combat again. For their skills, I roll on the Cavalry table, and get Drive.

Jean survives this term, and I roll the following life event:

You are thrown into a brutal ground war. Roll EDU 8+ to avoid injury; if you succeed, you gain one level in Gun Combat or Leadership.

Jean throws a 9 on the dice and chooses to advance Leadership. I’m seeing a grunt witnessing a horrible event, rise to the occassion and hold their unit together.

Because they failed to graduate from the Army academy they cannot attempt to gain a commission this term. I roll for advancement, and Jean advances to Lance Corporal, gaining Recon 1. I guess the brass also saw Jean’s leadership. For the promotion roll, I roll on the Cavalry table and Jean gets another rank in Recon.

Careers
Army (Rank 1)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 10 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 2
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Melee 0
Profession 0
Recon 2
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.

Term 3: Age 26 to 30

Jean, having been at the bottom of society sees an opportunity to advance their career. They keep at it. This term they look to some personal development, and increase their Dexterity.

Jean survives their term, and have the following event:

Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives. Gain DM+2 to your next Advancement check.

I roll to check for a commission, and it’s close. I need an Social Standing 8+ but get a modified 7. It looks like Jean’s upbringing has cost him a commission. Jean will never be an officer in the Army, but does secure a promotion to Corporal (Rank 2).

I roll on the Personal Development, and Jean picks up a level in Medic.

Decision time. The army keeps throwing Jean into horrible conflicts. They also denied Jean a commission based solely on his low social standing. Jean’s had enough and musters out. Based on Jean’s stats, their likely to survive and even more likely to receive a promotion. However, the next promotion gives Jean Leadership 1. They already have that. So let’s see where things go for Jean.

Jean gets three benefit rolls: 2 their terms and one for being rank 2. Jean gets a Weapon, Armour, and a Combat Implant.

Careers
Army (Rank 2)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 11 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 2
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Medic 1
Melee 0
Profession 0
Recon 2
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.
Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives.
Benefits
Armour
Combat Implant
Weapon

Term 4: 30 to 34

Pissed at being passed over for a commission, Jean attempts to turn to a life of crime.

Jean tries to become a Rogue. They need a Dexterity of 6+, however because this is their second career they get a -1 to the roll. I roll a 6, which is just enough to qualify. Jean goes the route of a Thief.

For their basic training service skill, Jean gains Deception.

To survive they need an Int 6+, and do so easily. For their life event I roll a 4:

You are involved in the planning of an impressive heist. Gain Electronics 1 or Mechanic 1.

I check with the other characters, and no one yet has Mechanic. Jean picks that up.

I roll, and Jean gets a promotions, picking up Stealth 1. For their promotion skill, I get Gun Combat and choose to keep pushing slug throwers.

Jean avoids the ravages of age and considers their next step.

Careers
Army (Rank 2)
Rogue (Rank 1)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 11 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Deception 0
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 3
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee 0
Profession 0
Recon 2
Stealth 1
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.
Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives.
You are involved in the planning of an impressive heist.
Benefits
Armour
Combat Implant
Weapon

Term 5: 34 to 38

Hmm, not under active fire. Getting to plan heists, and be in control, Jean chooses to enlist in another term.

For their skill, I roll on Personal Development. Jean gets Carouse. Finally, it looks like Jean’s learning to relax.

Jean survives this term, and rolls a 5 on the life event:

One of your crimes pays off. Gain DM+2 to any one Benefit roll, and gain your victim as an Enemy.

Excellent. Always nice to have more Enemies. At least the crime paid.

Jean gets a promotion (to rank 2). And picks up another rank in Gun Combat. I suppose when you’re trained in combat you see many things through that lens.

Jean has no problem with aging, though the odds are starting to weigh against them. Mechanically, Jean has 2 points of Dexterity that they could afford to lose without a drop in bonuses. For the next term, odds are still in their favor.

Careers
Army (Rank 2)
Rogue (Rank 2)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 11 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Carouse 1
Deception 0
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 4
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee 0
Profession 0
Recon 2
Stealth 1
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.
Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives.
You are involved in the planning of an impressive heist.
One of your crimes pays off. Gain DM+2 to any one Benefit roll, and gain your victim as an Enemy.
Benefits
Armour
Combat Implant
Weapon

Term 6: 38 to 42

Let’s do this. It’s quite evident to Jean that crime pays.

For their skill, they go with Personal Development. I’d love for Jean to get Gambler 1, so they have +1 to all benefit rolls. I roll a 5 and Jean gets a rank in Melee. Jean picks up unarmed melee.

They handily survive their term; I rolled a 12. For their life event, I get:

You are arrested and charged. You can choose to defend yourself, or hire a lawyer. If you defend yourself, roll Advocate 8+. If you succeed, the charges are dropped. If you fail, gain an Enemy and take the Prisoner career in your next term. If you hired a lawyer, gain the lawyer as a Contact and lose a Benefit roll.

The Prisoner life path is quite brutal, and at Jean’s age, the effects of age are likely to pile up. Jean weighs their options and chooses to hire a lawyer.

Through all of that, Jean gets a promotion. Let’s be clear, its not so much a promotion as it is rolls to see if you pick up some skills and more benefits. In other words is Jean thriving as a thief or merely scraping by.

With this promotion, Jean gets Streetwise 1. Again, eying the Personal Development, I roll hoping to get Gambler. Nope. Another rank in Melee.

I throw a 7 on the dice for aging, and subtract six for the number of terms served by Jean. No aging affect.

Jean looks around, sees that the laws nipping on his heels. They choose to muster out. Jean gets four benefit rolls (3 rolls for terms, 2 for rank, and -1 for the event). Jean uses that +2 to roll for cash and gets Cr100,000. The remaining three they spend on benefits: ship share, weapon, and armour.

Careers
Army (Rank 2)
Rogue (Rank 3)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 11 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Carouse 1
Deception 0
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 4
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee (unarmed) 2
Profession 0
Recon 2
Stealth 1
Streetwise 1
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.
Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives.
You are involved in the planning of an impressive heist.
One of your crimes pays off. Gain DM+2 to any one Benefit roll, and gain your victim as an Enemy.
You are arrested and charged. You hire a lawyer, the charges are dropped. You gain a Contact but lose a benefit roll.
Benefits
Armour ×2
Combat Implant
Cr100,000
Ship share
Weapon ×2

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.

Jean picks up Deception 1 and Gunner 1.

According to Pat’s backstory, Jean introduce them to a romantic relationship. I think this involved a bit of persuasion from Jean. Let’s give Jean a rank in Persuasion.

Quinn learned about a lucrative deal from Jean, right at the time Jean makes a big score.

Careers
Army (Rank 2)
Rogue (Rank 3)
Characteristics
Str 9 (+1)
Dex 11 (+1)
End 6
Int 10 (+1)
Edu 7
Soc 2 (-2)
Skills
Athletics 0
Carouse 1
Deception 1
Drive 1
Gun Combat (slug) 4
Gunner 1
Heavy Weapons 0
Leadership 1
Mechanic 1
Medic 1
Melee (unarmed) 2
Persuade 1
Profession 0
Recon 2
Stealth 1
Streetwise 1
Survival 0
Vacc suit 0
Events
A supposedly harmless prank goes wrong and someone gets hurt, physically or emotionally. Gain an Enemy.
You are thrown into a brutal ground war, and avoid injury.
Surrounded and outnumbered by the enemy, you hold out until relief arrives.
You are involved in the planning of an impressive heist.
One of your crimes pays off. Gain DM+2 to any one Benefit roll, and gain your victim as an Enemy.
You are arrested and charged. You hire a lawyer, the charges are dropped. You gain a Contact but lose a benefit roll.
Benefits
Armour ×2
Combat Implant
Cr100,000
Ship share
Weapon ×2

Conclusion

I’m going to stop writing up examples of Traveller character creation. My hope is that you see the Traveller character creation rules as an interesting mini-game that creates unexpected twists for your characters.

By the time you’re done with character creation, you’ll have a useful outline for your characters backstory. There may have even been a few decision points where you need to think “What would my character do?”