Monday, December 13, 2010

First Impressions - Classic Traveller

As I mentioned yesterday, I have decided to expand the content on this website, so, I have been looking at systems other than D&D 4e to give them a try. I downloaded the free version of the Classic Traveller rules and decided to give their described method of character generation a try.

First of all, I have to say that I really like the look of the book. It does have a very classic feel (which makes sense since this is a classic game). I was also thrilled to find out that they actually have a set of solitaire rules inside the book (though I haven't found them yet). I had heard about the character generation process before trying it out, and that it can actually cause character death during the character generation process.

Well, they were right.

To put it quite simply, I made 2 characters following the rules to the letter, but foregoing the option that failing a survival check results in just a grave injury and taking the DEATH! result as a very serious one.

2 of my Marines died during character generation. It isn't a good time to be a marine apparently.

The third time around, I got some OK stats. After rolling, I picked up a decent Intelligence Score, but everything else was pretty average. So, I decided to see if I could become a Merchant. I was successful. I guess the best thing about this class is that both reenlistment and survival are both pretty easy checks to pass. I did pass them. Many, Many times. I made it to my 7th term of service actually (meaning that my character is now over the age of 45...), but the effects of aging were not kind to me, no, they were not kind at all.

I lost 5 Strength, 3 Dex, and 3 Endurance from aging. This was not pleasant. The skills I picked up thankfully helped to offset this a bit. I rolled primarily on the first chart, picking up some Strength, Dex, Endurance, and I also picked up the Skills: Steward, Vacc Suit, Streetwise, and Gunnery. I like the fact that I picked up Vacc Suit - That Combat Armor is looking quite nice right now... Unfortunately, the mustering out process was not very kind to me. I did get to roll 8 times (choosing to take 3 rolls on the cash, and 5 rolls on the benefits). I picked up only 26 K in Cr, and ended up with Low PsG twice, Blades Skills (with Broadswords) and an increase to education.

At this point, I am honestly not sure what half of this means, but I am pretty sure that I just generated a middle aged RPG Nerd who spent his life in space doing space walks and apparently not learning any relevant skills in the process. I think I will call him Ralph.

At least Ralph will be getting a nice bit of Retirement Pay.

I'll post up another character later when I get a chance to go through the whole process again. I find this terribly amusing since it is basically the total opposite of character creation in 4e. I will most likely try to get into the Marines again and die several times doing so.


  1. Good stuff, and welcome to Traveller!

    With Steward, Vacc Suit, Streetwise, and Gunnery as his skills and his loss of physical stats, it could be that your Merchant ended up on a Zero Gravity/Zero Atmosphere Mining Colony a large asteroid. That would explain his atrophied physical capabilities as well has his skill with a Vacc Suit. He could have been an Information Broker, hence his skills as schmoozing with his Steward & Streetwise skills. Gunnery would be an essential skill for anyone living in a dense asteroid belt - those neighbouring other asteroids can get mighty close sometimes!

    The end result is a character with more than a few interesting tales to tell who is rarely seen without his well-worn vacc suit. It could be that he has left the colony to get some meat back on his old bones. Or maybe he is on the run, having heard something best left unheard......

    Hope that gives you an idea how Traveller's generation can spark ideas :)

    Shame about those darned Marines. They always die too young, too soon.

  2. Thanks Greywulf! That is an idea for this character. I'm going to have to try it again and generate the character background myself this time around. Great ideas. I look forward to exploring the game further and playing out character generation...many, many times.

  3. Nice! I downloaded the starter kit, too - couldn't resist the chance to try out something drastically different from my usual fare, and after reading this I had to run through character generation at least once myself ... I may post the results later. Short version: I was lucky enough to survive my first attempt, and wound up with a character who made it through a single term in the Army (failed reenlistment, grr), made it to Lieutenant, and looks like he'd make a fair mercenary or something. Several different combat skills (a blade and about 3 kinds of guns), decent education, "Admin" skill... I'll have to do some thinking about what exactly that makes him.

    I have to admit, though, the chance of death combined with rolling the stats for the first time in ages was really tense! Fun, though. I can't wait to try again. :D

  4. I think we can all agree that the Classic Traveller rules for Character gen are awesome. The thing that came to my mind today is how Classic Traveller would be much less awesome with a character generator program. I will be making a post about this topic very, very soon.

  5. It's nice to see others are checking out Traveller for the first time too! It is kind of addictive rolling up characters isn't it? If the game is as good I can see why it's stuck around so long and through so many versions.