#RPG Bright – Character Generation in Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018)

One aspect of “old-school, rules-light, 2D6-based” sci-fi tabletop roleplaying games I really like is character generation. Using a life path system, characters are taken from age 18 to the end of a career. Some may even die is the process (after all, chargen is a game). Last evening I took the new Cepheus Light (Stellagama Publishing, 2018) out for a spin.

Cepheus Light (hereafter CL) uses a very streamlined, basic version of chargen. Unlike some other Cepheus Engine versions there are no stages of youth or schools or single-year resolution. Instead, characters roll for their six characteristics (Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing), determine their Homeworld Skills, and then enter their career. Career development is resolved in 4-year increments (one Term) with Survival, Skills, Advancement, Rank Skills, Aging, and Reenlistment determined. If the character successfully reenlists then they can do another Term or Muster Out to start adventuring.

A few notes on character blocks. Skill levels assume that “Zero-level” are not skilled enough to hold down a job but neither is the character unskilled and penalized in a task related to that skill (CL, p. 11). Recommended Zero-level skills are Athletics, Driving, Grav Vehicle, Gun Combat, Melee Combat, and Zero-G. Skill Level 1 is employable, Skill Level 3 a professional, and Skill Level 5 an expert (CL, p. 30).

In a short evening I randomly rolled up three characters. Let me tell you a bit about them:

Rand Ider Age 38 (5 terms), STR 6, DEX 6, END 11, INT 11, EDU 8, SOC 6. Athletics-0, Computer-1, Driving-0, Gun Combat-3, Gunnery-2, Jack of All Trades-1, Leadership-2, Medicine-1, Melee Combat-0, Piloting-1, Repair-1, Survival-1, Tactics-1, Zero-G-1.

Rand hails from a Frontier World where he learned survival (Survival-1). He enlisted in the Navy where he served five terms and rose to the rank of Commander (Rank 4) with a specialization in Gunnery (vehicle or ship-mounted weapons). In his fifth term, he barely passed his Survival roll and the Aging roll cost him -1 Strength and -1 Endurance. This sounds like he was injured in combat (that same term he got promoted and, in a twist of fate, gained Gun Combat-2 using both the term skill roll and promotion skill roll). Upon mustering out, he also gained +1 Social Standing; more evidence of some sort of combat action award. After mustering out Rand has a bank account of 52,000 credits and a Snub Pistol. He also earns retirement pay (10,000 credits annually).

Tecel Edic Age 30 (3 terms), STR 9, DEX 11, END 10, INT 8, EDU 7, SOC 7. Athletics-0, Driving-0, Engineering-1, Gun Combat-0, Leadership-2, Melee Combat-1, Repair-1, Survival-1, Zero-G-2.

Tecel grew up on an Inhospitable Outpost where he picked up the Zero-G skill. He attempted to enlist in the Marines but was rejected, although the Navy drafted him. He served three terms advancing to the rank of Lieutenant (Rank 2). He is well versed in Zero-G combat and knows his way with melee weapons. Upon mustering out he has 25,000 credits to his name and hold a Middle Passage voucher.

Vase Fre Age 34 (4 terms), STR 12, DEX 6, END 8, INT 8, EDU 7, SOC 4. Athletics-0, Animals-0 (substitute for Driving/Grav Vehicle), Gun Combat-1, Melee Combat-1, Recon-2, Repair-1, Science-1, Survival-3, Watercraft-1.

Vase left a Primitive Backwater planet and became a colonist. After four terms he had risen to the rank of a District Delegate (Rank 2) but sensed he was going nowhere. He was a bit of an outdoor survival nut (Recon-2, Survival-3) and when he mustered out he pocketed 10,000 credits, a Low Passage voucher, and kept a Tech Level 5 Rifle.

So what can I do with these three characters?

I envision that Rand, Tecel, and Vase have joined together into a small, freelance security team that can add muscle to traders operating along the frontier. Rand is the leader and gunslinger, while Tecel is the ship security specialist and Vase provides planetary support. Not all is great amongst the team; Rand is the “war hero” but actually lower than Tecel in social standing. Both have Leadership-2 and Tecel believes he would make the better team lead. Vase, the “simple” backwater planet guy, is definitely the “muscle” but he ain’t stupid either….

Using the CL rule book, I imagine these guys have been hired by a company that has several TL9 400-ton Subsidized Merchants (p. 120) that worry about piracy or planetside shenanigans and needs small “security” force. Next step will be to generate a subsector for adventuring….

Feature image courtesy ianotoole.com.

#RPGThursday #Orbital2100 RPG #CepheusEngine Chargen

Using Orbital 2100: A Solar System Setting of the Cepheus Engine I ran thru a character generation example. As I talked about in a previous post, Orbital 2100 makes only minor changes to the standard Cepheus Engine character generation process.

Meet Vanov Page, idealistic young man born aboard LSC-1 Mattias Vanderveen in Earth orbit at L4.

STR 4 (DM-1) / DEX 9 (+1) / END 4 (DM-1) / INT 9 (DM+1) / EDU 3 (DM-1) / SOC 6

Background skills are as in Cepheus Engine (3+ EDU DM). However, one must be taken from the Orbital 2100 Background Skill table (p. 31). Vanov, coming from an Orbital Colony, gains Mechanics 0, as well as Computer 0.

Choosing a Mining and Colony Survival campaign, Vanov becomes a Surface Operator. The equivalent Cepheus Engine career is Colonist.

First Term: Survives. As Rank 0 gains Survival 1. Does not commission nor advance. Service Skills gained are Mechanics 0 (already possessed), Gun Combat 0, Animals 0, Electronics 0, Survival 0, and Vehicle 0. After an eventless first term, Vanov reenlists.

Second Term: Survives. This time Vanov commissions as an Officer (Rank 1 – District Leader) and gains the skill Jack-of-all-Trades! After gaining an additional service skill in Vehicles, he now has Vehicle (Ground ) 1. Vanov also successfully advanced this term (Rank 2 – District Delegate) and picks up Gun Combat, making his skill Gun Combat (Slug) 1. Riding high on his success, Vanov reenlists again.

Third Term: Survival roll is END 6+, and thanks to Vanov’s DM-1 he FAILS. Rolling on the Injury Table, we find Vanov was severely injured which reduces one physical characteristic by 1D6. Rolling a 5 (super ouch!) Vanov reduces his END from 9 to 4 with a new DM -1. Per Cepheus Engine, Vanov must now leave the service after an abbreviated term (2 years) and will get no benefit roll this term.

Mustering Out: Vanov gets two benefits rolls. He takes one on the Orbital 2100 Universal Benefits Table (p. 35) and gets +1 SOC. His cash benefit is 4,000Cr. Per the Orbital 2100 rules, this is reduced to 10% of the Cepheus value, or  400Cr.

At this point I review Cepheus Engine and look at the rules for Medical Care (p. 29). Restoration of a lost characteristic is 5,000Cr per point. Raising DEX to 6 (2 points) would cost 10,000Cr and void the DM -1. Rolling on the Table: Medical Bills (p. 30) results in “the company” covering 50% of the cost, but this leaves Vanov having to cover the other 5,000Cr. I figure this is a good character aspect; Vanov is in debt and therefore more likely to be “asked” to do provide “interesting” tidbits of information.

Vanov Page, Age 28, ex-Colonial District Delegate (Medically Retired, now available as a Contract Advisor). 400Cr.

STR 4 (DM-1) / DEX 6 / END 4 (DM -1) / INT 9 (DM +1) / EDU 3 (DM -1) / SOC 7

Animals 0, Computer 0, Electronics 0, Gun Combat (Slug) 1, Jack-of-all-Trades 1, Mechanics 1, Survival 1, Vehicle (Ground) 1.

Vanov Page was born in an Orbital Colony above Earth. Although the habitat has some gravity, Vanov is generally frail but very agile in the lower gravity. Raised not to look down but out to the other planets, Vanov decides to become a Surface Operator supporting mines and colonies. His first few years are taken by hard study where he learns the basics of his career. After a few years, Vanov begins to make his mark and quickly rises in rank to District Delegate. But then a great accident befalls him, and he is severely injured. At the depths of his physical misery, Vanov is approached by an old friend who offers to help pay for part of his medical bills in exchange for certain “favors” in the future. Grasping at the slim chance presented to him, Vanov agrees.

Medically retired from colonial government matters, Vanov Page hires himself out as a advisor for small start-up colonial and mining ventures. Vanov is secretly in debt to Tharsis Heavy Industry for “only” 5,000Cr – or so he thinks. He needs to pass along a few real “gems” of information if he ever is to get free of his obligation. The last time Vanov passed on info about a new outpost setting up, Tharsis was able to use the inside information to underbid their competitors and win the contract. Vanov then realized that Tharis planned on using “less-than-optimal” equipment and some of the staff sent were a bit iffy. Vanov wonders if his restored health is worth the risks he is taking….

#CepheusEngine RPG Character Generation Run-Thru

Took the Cepheus Engine System Reference Document: A Classic Era Science Fiction 2D6-Based Open Gaming System for a test run. One thing I love about the old Traveller RPG series, especially Classic Traveller, was the random character generation. Not only does one learn more about chargen, but it makes for interesting thinking about how or why the character is now a Traveller.

Traveller [TRAV-uh-ler, TRAV-ler]. -noun. [Origin circa 1300 CE, from the Middle English travaillour, the treader of a path, emphasizing labor or toil, as in “to make a difficult journey”]. 1. One who travels, or has traveled, or will travel, as to distant places. 2. An adventurer. 3. The game of science-fiction in the far future. Traveller5 v5.09 Title Page

Please meet Franclyn Phaerwick.

Step 1: Characteristics. Rolling characteristics per the rules yields:

STR A (DM +1) / DEX 7 / END 3 (DM -1) / INT 8 / EDU 7 / SOC A (DM+1)

Step 2: No homeword is used (optional). However, with the EDU DM of 0 Franklin gains three Level 0 skills from the primary education list. Franclyn, seemingly a noble, takes Gun Combat-0, Carousing-0, and Advocate-0.

Step 3: Career. Franclyn is socially elevated so can’t see himself in a blue-collar type of job. He choses Bureaucrat. Roll to qualify is SOC 6+. Rolling an 8, Franclyn easily enters the bureaucracy.

Step 4: Basic Training. Service skills (all Level-0) are Admin, Computer, Carousing (already taken), Bribery, Leadership, and Vehicle.

Step 5: Survives.

Step 6: Commission and Advancement. Starting as Rank 0, the Ranks and Skill table awards Franclyn Admin-1, promoting his previous skill. He attempts to gain a Commission. Required roll is SOC 5+. He easily gains his Commission. The extra skill is taken from the Personal Development table where he rolls a 3, +1 INT making his INT 9 (DM+1). Franclyn also tries to advance; is successful, and rolls on the Specialist Skills and gains Leadership. [The rules do not specify that this rank is stacked with previous skill levels. Given that the rule is explicitly cited in Step 7, I elect to not stack skills here. Also, in a change from the Mongoose Traveller SRD, there are only commissioned ranks. As a former Navy officer I fully understand the importance of enlisted persons. Not a game-breaker, but an interesting design choice?]

Step 7: Skills and Training: Franclyn choses to roll on the Specialist skills table again. He again gains Leadership. This time he promotes the skill to Level-1.

Step 8: Aging. Franclyn is now 22 years old.

Step 9: Reenlist. Successful. Decides to continue as a Bureaucrat.

Term 2 Step 5: Survival is again EDU 4+. Franclyn rolls a 3 – FAIL. Using the alternate death system, we roll on the Mishap table. Getting rolling a 5 and being dishonorably discharged from the service after serving an extra 4 years of prison for a crime and losing all benefits from this career.

Term 2 Step 8: A two-year term for mishap plus four-years prison means Franclyn gets out at the age of 28.

Term 3 Step 3: After prison, Franclyn tries to reinvent himself. Looking at his high SOC, Franclyn tries to become a true noble. He succeeds.

Term 3 Step 4: Service skill gained is Gambling-1.

Term 3 Step 5: Survives, rolling a 4 which needs the DM+1 to just (barely) make it!

Term 3 Step 6: As a Rank -0 Noble, Franclyn gains Carousing-1. Trying to advance, Franclyn finds himself a newly minted Knight! [Although not specifically stated, the Rank table for Nobles equates with the Titles of Nobility by Social Standing on p. 23. Thus, Franclyn not only becomes Rank 1, but also is now SOC B] Franclyn picks up Melee Combat (Slashing Weapons) -1.

Term 3 Step 7: Skill this term is Liaison-1.

Term 3 Step 8: Age now 32.

Term 3 Step 9: Reenlistment successful.

Term 4 Step 5: Survives

Term 4 Step 6: Once again, Franclyn advances (Rank-2 Baron, SOC C) and picks up Medicine-1 for his additional skill.

Term 4 Step 7: Term skill is Gun Combat. Franclyn adds Gun Combat (Slug Pistol)-1.

Term 4 Step 8: Age now 36.

Term 4 Step 9: Franclyn misses his reenlistment and must muster out.

Step 10: Benefits.  Franclyn has no benefits from his aborted time as a bureaucrat. He gets 2 rolls for his terms as a Noble, plus an extra roll on the Cash Benefits Table for his Gambling-1 (see p. 31). Choosing to make all three rolls on the Cash Benefits table, Franclyn  is setting off with a slim 30,000Cr in his account.

Step 11: Next Career. Choose to end character generation here.

Step 12: Purchase Equipment [not executed].

Baron Franclyn Phaerwick, Noble, Age 36. 30,000Cr.

STR A (+1) / DEX 7 / END 3 (-1) / INT 9 (+1) / EDU 7 / SOC C (Baron)

Admin-1, Advocate-0, Bribery-0, Carousing-1, Computer-0, Gambling-1, Gun Combat (Slug Pistol)-1, Leadership-1, Liasion-1, Medicine-1, Melee Combat (Slashing Weapons)-1, Vehicle-0.

Franclyn was a nice guy but with little physical endurance to keep up with his friends. Of average education and intelligence, Franclyn did come from a good family. He became a somewhat timid bureaucrat, hoping to just get along. It worked for a few short years.

And then everything changed.

Sent to prison for a crime he is convinced he never committed, Franclyn was released four years later a changed man. Taking advantage of his family connections, he became a true Noble for his planet. Within a few short years, this disgraced bureaucrat had turned from prisoner to Courtier to a Knight and then Baron.

But the past has caught up with Franclyn; his family has sent him off world. Franclyn is not sure if it is because of political problems with long-time rival families who can’t seem to let anyone forget that Franclyn was a condemned man or if there is another reason. After all, there was that time just after prison that he swears someone tried to kill him….

Let the traveling begin.

“Cepheus Engine System Reference Document, Copyright (c) 2016 Samardan Press; Author Jason “Flynn” Kemp.”

“The Traveller game in all forms is owned by Far Future Enterprises. Copyright 1977-2015 Far Future Enterprises.”

#TravellerRPG Character Generation (Mongoose 2nd Edition)

After shoveling the driveway out of the 30″ of snow that #blizzard2016 dropped, I decided to take the new Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition RPG (MgT2.0) through a few paces. Character generation is not very different from the previous edition: roll characteristics, attempt college, find a career, get skills, survive, resolve events or mishaps, see if one can advance, then repeat or muster out. MgT2.0 does add a handy flowchart for character generation (p. 10) which is nice but not strictly necessary after the first time thru.

Allow me to introduce Channing M’rrfeld.

(At start) STR 8, DEX 12 (+2), END 8, INT 10 (+1), EDU 5 (-1), SOC 6

At age 18 Channing applied for college but didn’t make it (EDU 7+, DM-1, Roll 6-1=5 FAILURE).

After failing to enter college Channing successfully enlists in the Navy and selects the Flight Branch. He gains skills from Basic Training (Pilot 0, Vacc Suit 0, Athletics 0, Gunner 0, Mechanic 0, Gun Combat 0). He survives his first term, applies for a Commission, and receives it (Rank O1). In this term Channing also gains his CO’s interest (Event 11) and gains Tactics (Naval) 1.

For Channing’s second term he continues with the Flight Branch and gains Pilot (Small Craft) 1. He survives, advances (Rank 02) but falls in with a gambling ring (Event 2 – gain Gambling 1).

In Channing’s third term he is trained as a starship pilot (Pilot-Starship 1) but is improperly revived after being placed in the Frozen Watch (Mishap 2). This reduces his STR, DEX, and END each by -1. There is no chance for advancement this term. Channing decides to leave the service.

For his Muster Out benefits, Channing gets a total of four rolls (3 terms, +1 for rank). He gains some EDU (+1), Cr55,000 (thanks to the DM+1 from the Gambling 1 skill picked up in the second term), and a “Ship’s Boat.”

The rules specify that characters injured or wounded in combat must roll to see how bad their injuries are (see Injuries, p. 47). After that there may be Medical Care available to undo the effects of the damage (see Injuries – Medical Care, p. 47). The Mishap that Channing suffered in his third term specified the injury making a roll on the Injury Table seemingly not necessary. However, it also seemed to me that the medical care option should apply. Channing gets the Navy to pay for 100% of his medical bills, restoring the lost STR, DEX, and END to their original values.

The “Ship’s Boat” benefit is a bit confusing too. There is a small craft called a Ship’s Boat (p. 192) but the actual benefit defines “Ship’s Boat” as, “…a ship’s boat or other small craft with a limit of MCr10 and TL 12” (p. 45). The Ship’s Boat on p. 192 cost MCr8.192 but is TL 13 and thus not an eligible small craft. Channing instead selects a Pinnace (MCr8.732, TL 9) found on p. 190. This also avoids having to use the Beta version of High Guard to design a suitable small craft.

Channing M’rrfeld, Age 30, Navy (3 Terms)

STR 8, DEX 12 (+2), END 8, INT 10 (+1), EDU 6, SOC 6

Skills: Athletics 0, Drive 0, Gambling 1, Gun Combat 0, Gunner 0, Mechanic 0, Melee (Blade) 1, Pilot (Small Craft) 1, Pilot (Starship) 1, Streetwise 0, Tactics (Naval) 1, Vacc Suit 0

Owner/Operator 40ton Pinnace “Move Over”

Bank Account: Cr53,000

Starting Equipment: Cloth Armor (Cr500), Mobile Comm TL 10 (Cr500), Portable Computer TL 10 (Cr500), Gauss Pistol (Cr500)

Channing M’rrfeld is a discharged Navy Pilot and Owner/Pilot of the Pinnace Move Over. He has a healthy enough bank account to pay the monthly maintenance on his Boat (Cr728/month – see p. 192) and live at or above his SOC 6 standard of living (Average Cr 1200/month – see p. 92). He will have to pay for fuel at Cr500/ton (p. 145) but he only needs 1 ton for 4 weeks of operations.

Running Costs and Maintenance (p. 144+) has a Life Support and Supplies section (p. 145) that computes life support costs based on the number of staterooms in a ship. Small craft, like Channing’s Pinnace, do not have staterooms. Additionally, Berthing Costs (p. 225) again seem to be based on a starship and not small craft. Since the rules are silent on these costs, it seems like the referee will have to decide what, if any, additional cost/fees Channing will have to account for.

In all my time as a Traveller RPG player, I cannot remember ever getting a “Ship’s Boat” as a mustering out benefit. This makes for an interesting adventuring challenge. Does Channing limit himself to adventure in one system? Or does he get hired onto a ship? How will he outfit his Pinnace? Hmm…the possibilities!

Firefly RPG – Benedict Changram, Small-Time Trader, Captain of Eagle-class Light Transport “Drunken Tiger”

Courtesy http://lloydallan.blogspot.com

Benedict Changram, Small-Time Trader, Captain Eagle-class Light Transport “Drunken Tiger”

Attributes: Mental D8, Physical D8, Social D8

Skills: Craft D4, Drive D6, Fight D6, Fix D4, Fly (Transports) D8, Focus D6, Influence D8, Know (Trade Guild) D8, Labor D4, Move D4, Notice (Hidden Compartments) D6, Operate D6, Perform D4, Shoot D8, Sneak D4, Survive D4, Throw D4, Treat D4, Trick D6.


  • Debt D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of aD8
    • Pay it Forward: When you use your financial resources on behalf of another, spend 1 PP to create an appropriate asset.
  • Guild Trader D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Shadow of the Guild: Gain 1 PP when your decision to go against the Trade Guild’s policies, practices, or orders puts you in danger or hot water.
  • Ship’s Captain D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8

Signature Asset: Custom Datapad D8: It looks like just another data pad, but it has fancy encryption and hacking tools that can cruise the Cortex without anybody else knowing just how you got into that Alliance – or corporate – database.

Reputation: Alliance D4, Browncoats D6, Corporations D8, Criminals D6

“Drunken Tiger” Eagle-class Light Transport

Attributes: Engines D12, Hull D6, Systems D6


  • Been Around the Verse D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
  • Built for Speed D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Full Burn: Spend 1 PP to reroll a pool containing the Engines dice. On our subsequent roll, both 1s and 2s count for Complications.
  • Smuggler’s Delight D8
    • Gain 1 PP when you roll a D4 instead of a D8
    • Hidey Holes: When a crewmember is trying conceal cargo, add the ship’s Hull die to the roll.

Signature Assets:

  • Hard Burn Optimization D8: When you are trying to travel between worlds when your under a deadline, spend 1 PP to guarantee your arrival before that time.
  • Flares and Chaff D8: Spend 1 PP to avoid being taken out by a missile strike.

Star Wars: Edge of the Empire RPG – Jado Ragon (Human Explorer/Trader)

Courtesy swredshiftchronicles
Another Nameless Starport in the Outer Rim (Courtesy swredshiftchronicles)

Jado Ragon (Human Explorer/Trader), Captain-CoPilot of ILH-KK Citadel Light Freighter “In the Black”

Brawn-2 Agility-2 Intellect-2 Cunning-2 Willpower-2 Presence-3

Soak=3 Wounds=12 Strain=12 Defense (Ranged/Melee)=0/0 Total XP=110


Astrogation (Career)-2, Charm (Species)-2, Cool (Career)-2, Deception (Bonus)-1, Negotiation (Bonus)-2, Perception (Career)-1, Piloting (Career)-1, Survivial (Career)-0, Ranged Light (Species)-2, Knowledge Core Worlds (Bonus)-0, Knowledge Lore (Career)-0, Knowledge Outer Rim (Career)-1, Knowledge Underworld (Bonus)-1, Knowledge Xenology (Career)-0.


Know Somebody (1), Wheel & Deal (1), Smooth Talker (1)

Motivation: CAUSE – Overthrow the Empire

Obligations: Addiction (10), Oath (10)

Equipment: Lt Blaster Pistol, Heavy Clothing, ComLink, Utility Belt, Datapad, Extra Reloads

Jado is the Co-Pilot and Captain-Aboard the Citadel Light Freighter “In the Black.” For reasons he doesn’t speak about he is a quiet anti-Imperialist. Those that know him have heard his oath – but no one can tell you for sure what it is. Jade does like his Alderaan beer, but understandably it has been hard to procure in the Dark Times.

Going Rogue in T5

REVIEWING the Traveller 5 RPG character generation errata, the two careers that had the most changes were Citizen and Rogue. I decided to explore the Rogue career and the Scheme Payoff mechanic for my next T5 chargen experiment.

Pim Pebow (UPP 694385) was a street kid from Arden. Though technically educated to a college level (8) he actually had little common sense (Intelligence 3) and, growing up in a lower-middle class family (Social Status 5) meant he didn’t want to go to college. Instead, Pim got immediately mixed ups in small schemes.

To begin Rogue Career choose Controlling Characteristic (CC). Using Dexterity (9) 2d6=5 SUCCESS

Pim’s first scheme was audacious – he scammed a fellow Rogue!  It worked so well he walked away with a cool Cr600,000.

Scheme DM +6. 2d6=4+6 for Rogue Scheme Target. Risk/Reward against CC of 9; both succeed. Scheme Payoff Roll is 4. Payoff 100,000 x (1+9-4) or Cr600,000. Gain 6 Skills. Roll against CC  to continue; success.

For Pim’s second scheme, he goes after a Scout that regularly visits Arden. A few years later, the Scout is out 8 Ship Shares.

Scheme DM +4. Risk/Reward successfully passed. Scheme Payoff Roll 2. Payoff is Shares x (1+9-2) or 8 Ship Shares.

Continuing on, Pim runs his next scheme against an aging soldier. Getting a bit more daring, he becomes a bit bolder this time around. His bank account grows another Cr550,000.

Scheme DM+3. Risk/Reward of Brave (-2 Risk/+2 Reward). Both passed. Payoff Roll of 1 for Payoff of 50,000 x (1+9+2-1) or 50,000 x 11 or Cr550,000. Roll to Continue is DM+3 for three terms; roll of 7+3=10 versus CC is FAILURE and Muster Out. During Mustering Out, roll for Fame Flux with Fame= 3x Successful Schemes or Fame-6 plus Flux (-1) for Fame-5.

Pim Pebow (UPP 6A4486/Genetic 4611XX) is now age 30 (3 Terms) and famous (infamous?) in his town but not much further (Fame-5).

SKILLS: Actor-1, Broker-1, Comms-1, Computers-1, Electronics-1, Flyer-0/Grav-1, Flyer-0/Rotor-1, Hostile Environment-1, Stealth-1, Streetwise-3, Trader-1, Vacc Suit-2.

Bank Account: MCr 1.2. Owns 8 Ship Shares in a small surplus Scout Ship. He also has a Traveller’s Aid Society (TAS) Fellow Membership.

Pim has teamed with Conrad Fundo. Where Conrad is the Pilot/Mechanic/Gunner as needed, Pim is the moneyman – always working the angles to make credits.


Traveller 5 Character Generation

HAVING been a Kickstarter backer of the Traveller 5 (T5) RPG, I have had the delivered version in hand for over a year now. In the last year there has been many discussions/arguments/angry expressions/flamewars on the Citizens of the Imperium message boards that often talk ill of T5. My own feelings are actually a bit ambivalent; I like the system but wish the delivered product was proofread better.

I recently moved all the T5 Core rules to my iPad. Along the way I also got the latest errata. I decided to update the Character Generation chapter with all the errata. What I discovered is that, though the errata for this section seems lengthy, there are actually very few “show stoppers” that change too much. So I decided to dig into character generation again and see what happens. I started with the Character Generation Checklist (p. 78).

A. Create a Homeworld: My character is Conrad Fundo. I defaulted on this and used my favorite world of Arden (Arden/0201 Vilis/Spinward Marches) as his homeworld. Given the Trade Classification of High Population (Hi) this resulted in a Homeworld Skill of Streetwise-1 (p. 81)

B. Generate Characteristics: Using 2d6, I generate Strength-Dexterity-Endurance-Intelligence-Education-Social Standing. The resultant Universal Personality Profile is 993873. The Genetic UPP (taken from the first die in each 2d6 combination) is 341XXX. (p. 69, 113)

C. Consider Education and Training: I decide Conrad wants to go to University. He has the prerequisite Education of 7+. To apply is a 2d6 roll versus Intelligence or Education – I chose Intelligence (8) since it is higher. He successfully applies. Next comes four Pass/Fail rolls (one for each year) against Intelligence or Education. Again I use Intelligence. Unfortunately, he fails the second year. He could apply for a Waiver (roll 2d6 against Social Status) but, needing to roll a 3 or less on 2d6, it fails. (p. 100)

D. Select Career: Leaving University (a bit shamefully – why?), Conrad decides to make a career move.

  1. He tries to join the Arden Space Defense Forces (Spacer Career). To join requires a throw against Intelligence – success! As a Spacer Rank 1 (R1) he automatically gains a skill in Fighter. The Fighter Skill includes Knowledges and the first receipt of the skill gains Skill-0, Knowledge-1. Conrad chooses Slug Throwers as the Knowledge (Fighter Skill-0, Slug Throwers-1) (p. 142, 144).
  2. Rolling for Branch, he is assigned as an Engineer. Next, the four assignments for this term are generated using the Naval Operations Table. The result is Patrol (Mod 1), ANM School (Mod 0), ANM School (Mod 0), and Mission (Mod 3).
  3. For Risk/Reward he must use the highest Mod (Mission 3) and chooses Strength (9) as his controlling characteristic. Throwing caution to the wind, he chooses to use the Mod as a negative (-) for Risk and positive (+) for Reward. For his Risk roll, his 2d6 is an 11, which after the -3 Mod means he is wounded (-1 hit against Strength, but 1d6 recovery so all is healed) and gains a Wound Badge. The Reward roll is 9; +3 gives him a Reward but using the Medal Table (p. 109) we get Strength 9 minus Reward Roll 9 for a result of 0 or no medal. (p. 73, 109)
  4. To try to commission as a Spacer officer is a roll against Endurance (3). Failure! Promotion for Spacer uses the Dexterity characteristic (9) with a +1 mod for the Wound Badge. The roll is successful for promotion to Able Spacehand (R2).
  5. For skills, we first resolve the skills gained from the ANM School. The Education-1 Table on p. 100 shows what skills can be learned. In keeping with the spirit of being an Engineer, Conrad learns Maneuver Drives (Engineer-0, Knowledge Maneuver Drives-1) and Turrets (Engineer-0, Knowledge Turrets-1). This term, Conrad is eligible for five skills; four for the Term and one for Promotion. The four Term skills must come from the Patrol or Mission skills tables. Making two rolls against the Patrol and Mission column of the Spacer Skills table results in 3x Starship Skills and Sensors. The Starship skills added result in Pilot-1, Knowledge Small Craft-2, and Sensors-1. The fifth roll is against the Personal column of the Skills table and results in Strength +1.
  6. To Continue requires a roll of 7 with a Mod of +1 (first term). The roll is a 9 (8+1=9 Failure).

E. Muster Out: Mustering out generates three types of awards: Automatics, Benefits, and Entitlements. Since his Fighter skill is 0 there is no Personal Weapon awarded (p. 75). Without any Noble rank or being an officer or being awarded a medal the Fame is 0; the decision to invoke the Fame Flux event is passed (p. 109). One term is one roll on the Muster Out Benefits Table. Choosing the Money column, the 1d6 roll of 2 results in a Star Pass (a multi-use Middle Passage valid for 1-year after first use; value Cr250,000) (p. 76). As a One-Term-Wonder, Conrad is not eligible for any entitlements.

F. Start Adventuring: So here we have Conrad Fundo, UPP A93873, age 24 from Arden and a one term Spacer veteran who earned a Wound Badge. His skills are Engineer-0 Maneuver Drive-1, Fighter-0 Slug Throwers-1, Gunner-0 Turrets-1, Pilot-1 Small Craft-2, Sensors-1 and Streetwise-1. He has no money but possesses a Star Pass that he can decide to use or cash out.

[Note also that all characters also have Default, or Level-o, Skills (p. 143). These are Actor, Artist, Athlete, Author, Comms, Computer, Driver, Fighter (see chargen), Turrets (see chargen), Mechanic, Steward, and Vacc Suit.]

Conrad can be useful in a starship campaign as a pilot. He can pilot starships or spacecraft and is especially good at piloting small craft (Pilot-1 Small Craft-2). He can fix the engines (Engineer-0 Maneuver Drives-1), use the Sensors (Sensors-1), and even man the guns (Gunner-0 Turrets-1). His Streetwise-1 may also be able to rustle up some “business” – or spare parts – when planetside.

Possible Adventure Hooks

  • Why did Conrad fail out of University? Did it have to do with his low Social Status?
  • How did Conrad, a university drop-out and one-term-wonder of no fame end up with a Star Pass?


Edge of the Empire – First Characters

After a very successful and entertaining Edge of the Empire (EotE) Beginner Game, both Little I and T rolled up characters today. EotE uses a point-buy system which was easy for the boys to grasp when it came to buying characteristics, skills, talents, and gear. More difficult was the concept of Obligation and Motivation.

Little I created a human Bounty Hunter Gadgeteer; T created a Rodian Bounty Hunter Assassin.

Both ended up rolling Betrayal for their Obligation. This allowed us to come up with the backstory that Zero the Hutt had betrayed both of them and they know are in debt to Jabba the Hutt who has taken them on.

Motivation was also hard for them to immediately grasp but ended up being another key to the backstory. Little I rolled Cause-Non Human Rights which allowed us to create a linkage between his character and T’s Rodian. T rolled Relationship-Extended Family which we plan on using as an asset since both are dirt-poor right now!

I am rather proud of the boys who have already figured out that they are going to need some help. They have hinted that they are acquaintances of Pash from the Beginner Game and would not mind joining up with the team that recently escaped from Teemo the Hutt.

Both are clamoring for an immediate session. I think the first one will be an easy job like a low-level bounty that I can use to help them learn their characters. We didn’t really use Talents in the Beginner Game nor did I really enforce rules like Strain. A simple session which makes them study their character sheet and help understand their characters seems in order.