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Variant Character Generation

"In order to acquire some experience, it is possible to enlist in a service."
— Marc Miller, Traveller Book 1: Characters and Combat


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A Free-form Fallback

While the Earth Colonies campaign adopts a "free-form" approach to character generation it is also possible to use traditional Traveller prior career character generation, such as those for scouts and merchants, to create Earth Colonies campaign characters.  The variant prior career generation models presented here are meant to better align the traditional Traveller careers with the Earth Colonies campaign setting.  Any of these variants may be used as an alternative to the free-form approach to character generation.

Army, Navy and Marines | Prior Career Variants


Military Service Careers

"We're a combined service, Captain."
— James T. Kirk (D.C. Fontana), "Tomorrow is Yesterday," Star Trek


Mirroring the actual military service experience of its creators, original Traveller character generation focused on "careers" modelled primarily on the military services of the United States in the latter half of the 20th Century.  Three of the first six "basic" careers were the "army," the (space) "navy" and the (space) "marines" (an especially pulp-oriented option for a "generic" science-fiction setting).  All characters attempted initial "enlistment" in a prior career — even for non-military service, were "drafted" into a random career (again, possibly a non-military service) if this enlistment attempt was unsuccessful and underwent four-year "terms of service," after which "reenlistment" was required to continue.  The result was a proliferation of military veterans (and paramilitary non-veterans) among characters and non-player characters and a focus on mercenary-oriented adventuring.

The following prior military service career generation variant is a modified amalgamation of basic Traveller prior service generation for army, navy and marine characters for use in the Earth Colonies campaign, where military services among the Colonies States (and other Colonies Sphere polities) vary — and are somewhat different from those of the United States in the late 20th Century.

Prior Service

Enlistment

DM of +1 if
DM of +2 if

7+

INT 8+
EDU 9+

Survival

DM of +2 if

5+

END 8+

Commission

DM of +1 if

7+

SOC 9+

Promotion

DM of +1 if

7+

EDU 7+

Reenlist

7+

    Characters cycle through this table during each term of service.  Note that the reenlistment die throw is required even if the character does not intend to reenlist.
    DMs are cumulative (in the case of Enlistment) if the characters have the necessary prerequisites.  All rolls are 2D6 throws.


Acquired Skills

Throw
(1D)

Personal
Development

Service
Skills

Service
Education

Advanced Education (EDU 8+)


1

+1 Phys attr*

Personal combat*

Adjutant*

Command*

2

+1 EDU

Personal combat*

Special forces*

Staff*

3

+1 SOC

Vehicle*

Technical*

Staff*

4

Brawling

Craft*

Technical*

Technical*

5

Gambling

Shipboard*

Shipboard*

Shipboard*

6

Carousing

Unit combat*

Unit combat*

Unit combat*

    Characters consult this set of tables during each term of service, and acquire skills based on skill eligibility.  Characters may distribute their rolls over the three tables (the four tables if the characters is of education 8 or greater), but must specify the table being consulted prior to the die throw.
    When a cascade skill is acquired, the specific skill in which expertise is achieved must be specified immediately.


*Cascade Skills

    Adjutant: admin, carousing, craft (cascade), instruction, jack-of-all-trades, leadership, medical, steward, vehicle (cascade).
    Command: admin, fleet tactics, jack-of-all-trades, leadership, ship tactics, tactics.
    Craft: aircraft (appropriate to tech accomplishment), watercraft (appropriate to tech accomplishment), ship's boat (non-starship pilot).
    Gunnery combat: field artillery gunnery, gunnery (spinal mount), gunnery (turret), heavy weapons, screens.
    Personal combat: blade combat (appropriate to tech accomplishment), bow weapons (appropriate to tech accomplishment), brawling, grav belt, gun combat (appropriate to tech accomplishment), vacc suit, zero-g combat, zero-g weapons.
    Physical attribute: strength (STR), dexterity (DEX), endurance (END).
    Shipboard: engineering, gunnery (turret), pilot, navigator, ship's boat (non-starship pilot), vacc suit, zero-g combat.
    Special forces: battle dress, blade combat (appropriate to tech accomplishment), brawling, energy weapons (includes laser weapons and portable high-energy weapons, appropriate to tech accomplishment), forward observer, grav belt, gun combat (appropriate to tech accomplishment), recon, stealth, survival, zero-g combat, zero-g weapons.
    Staff: admin, broker, carousing, instruction, interrogation, jack-of-all-trades, legal, liaison, linguistics, medical, naval architect, recruiting, trader.
    Technical: communications, computer, mechanical, electronic, gravitics, jack-of-all-trades, sensor ops, robot ops, vacc suit.
    Unit combat: combat engineering, communications, craft (cascade), demolitions, gunnery combat (cascade), robot ops, sensor ops, ship tactics, tactics, vehicle (cascade).
    Vehicle: wheeled (ATV), tracked, grav (air/raft, grav belt).


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Rank and Service Skills

One term of service

Personal combat*

Rank 2

Command*

Rank 5

+1 SOC

Rank 6

+1 SOC

    Some skills accrue to a character automatically (without the necessity of throwing for them, and without using up eligibility) by virtue of military service or attaining a specific rank.  The rank and service skills table indicates the specific eligibilities which result in these acquisitions.  These skills are acquired in addition to those presently held, and add to expertise levels in the normal manner.  This table should be consulted during each term of service, and the skills added to the character as soon as they become eligible for them.
    When a cascade skill is acquired, the specific skill in which expertise is achieved must be specified immediately.


Mustering Out Benefits

Throw (1D)

Material Benefits

Cash Allowances

1

Low Psg

2000            

2

+1 INT

5000            

3

+1 EDU

7500            

4

Weapon

10000            

5

Mid Psg

15000            

6

High Psg

35000            

7

+1 SOC

40000            

    Characters are allowed one roll per term of service; characters of rank 1 or 2 are allowed one extra roll; characters of rank 3+ are allowed two extra rolls.
    A maximum of three rolls per character are allowed on the Cash Allowances table; all remaining rolls must be on the Material Benefits table.
    Characters with rank 5+ may add +1 to their rolls on the Material Benefits table.
    Weapon benefits must be declared as to type immediately, from the "weapons" of the Personal Combat cascade skill list (including grav belt and vacc suit); additional benefits of that type may be declared as skill.
    Characters with Gambling skill are allowed a +1 to their rolls on the Cash Allowances table.



Prior Career Variants

"However, once a character has entered either the Army or Marines, and wishes to become a mercenary, an altered service generating procedure is followed."
— Frank Chadwick, Traveller Book 4: Mercenary


Originally in Classic Traveller, there were six "prior career" options — Army, Navy, Marine, Scout, Merchant and Other (a catch-all career which typically gave characters "roguish" skills like forgery, gambling, bribery and streetwise, but also technical and scientific skills like mechanical, electronics, computer and medical) — which used a "basic" prior career generation system to produce characters.  "Expanded" prior career generation options were subsequently produced for the Army and Marines (Mercenary, 1978), the Navy (High Guard, 1979), Scouts (Scouts, 1983) and Merchants (Merchant Prince, 1985).

In Citizens of the Imperium (1979), the Other career was supplemented with additional "basic" prior career generation options: Barbarian, Belter, Bureaucrat, Diplomat, Doctor, Flyer, Hunter, Noble, Pirate, Rogue, Scientist and Surface (or "Wet") Navy (or Sailor).

For MegaTraveller (1987), the Other prior service career was replaced with the Law Enforcer career, giving eighteen career types: Army, Barbarian, Belter, Bureaucrat, Diplomat, Doctor, Flyer, Hunter, Law Enforcer, Marine, Merchant, Navy, Noble, Pirate, Rogue, Sailor, Scientist and Scout.

A variety of alternative "expanded" prior career generation options and additional "basic" prior career generation options were also produced, both by Game Designers' Workshop and by other gaming outlets, and were typically published in role-playing gaming magazines:

• Military: "Mercenary Character Generation Outline," Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #3, 1979.
• Military: "The Traveller Navy Wants to Join You" ("expanded"), Dragon #25, 1979.
• Other: "The Traveller Politician" ("expanded"), Dragon #32, 1979.

• Other: "[Imperial] Bureau of Internal Security" ("expanded"), Dragon #35, 1980.
• Other: "The 'Other" Options: Academia, Administration, Arts, Finance and Politics" ("basic"), Dragon #35, 1980.
• Scouts: "More Clout for Scouts" ("expanded"), Dragon #35, 1980.
• Other: "Criminals: Pirate, Thief, Thug, Assassin and Con [Artist]" ("expanded"), White Dwarf #19, 1980.
• Scouts: "Star Patrol" ("expanded"), White Dwarf #20, 1980.
• Other: "Robe and Blaster: Upgrading Aristocracy" ("expanded"), White Dwarf #22, 1980.

• Military: "Military Academy" ("expanded"), Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #10, 1981.
• Merchants: "Merchant Prince: Special Supplement 1" ("expanded"), Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #12, 1981.
• All: "Plotting a Course for Choosy Players," Dragon #51, 1981.
• Merchants: "Merchants Deserve More, Too" ("expanded"), Dragon #53, 1981.
• All: "Filling in Skills: Experience, Service-switching," Dragon #55, 1981.
• All: "The Self-made Traveller: Optional Skill Acquisition," White Dwarf #25, 1981.
• Other: "The Imperial Secret Service" ("expanded"), White Dwarf #27, 1981.
• Military: "More Citizens: Calvary and Artillery" ("basic"), Different Worlds #15, 1981.
• Other: "More Citizens: Technician, Engineer, Reporter, Civilian" ("basic"), Different Worlds #15, 1981.

• Other: "Androids in Traveller" ("basic"), White Dwarf #30, 1982.
• Military: "Prior Service in Traveller" ("expanded"), White Dwarf #31, 1982.

• Scouts: "Sword Worlds Patrol Service" ("basic"), Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #18, 1983.

• Other: "Skyport Authority" ("expanded"), Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #19, 1984.

• Other: "Imperial Academy of Science and Medicine" ("expanded"), Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #22, 1985.
• Other: "Journalist Character Generation" ("basic"), Travellers' Digest #2, 1985.
• Other: "Dead or Alive: The Bounty Hunter" ("basic"), White Dwarf #70, 1985.
• Other: "The Stellar Diocese: The Clergy" ("basic"), Dragon #101, 1985.

• Other: "Journalism and the Stars" ("expanded"), Challenge #27, 1986.
• Other: "Law Enforcers" ("basic"), Travellers' Digest #4, 1986.

• Other: "Scientists" ("expanded"), Challenge #29, 1987.
• Other: "There When You Need Them: Police" ("expanded"), Challenge #30, 1987.

There are also a variety of alternative "basic" and "expanded" prior career generation options available at Freelance Traveller.



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