Making Traveller Characters

There are many old and new resources for making Classic Traveller characters. You can use any of them, or the method I’ve given here below (still to be formatted). Different methods may offer a different set of skills and may take from 10 seconds to an hour. None are likely to produce unbalanced characters. Remember that all characteristics are rolled on 2d6 in order, and failing a survival roll results in Death. All characters also have a Special Ability – some advantage that is not well-defined by the rules. It is not necessary to define the ability before play begins.

The honor system demands that you do the best you can with what you roll, but you MUST discard characters that you have no desire to play. Keep at it until you’re honestly charmed by the character you’ve created. Some people are honestly charmed by high stats and skills, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Remember that Traveller character generation produces a resume. Your own resume is probably not a complete summary of who you are or what you can do. Many Traveller skills are very specific and job-related. There is no Persuasion skill, no Perception skill, no Insight skill – there aren’t even any Science skills. Your characteristics and skills should not limit your conception of what the character knows or can try. Note that all Travellers from any of the methods below are treated as having some familiarity with all weapons — "skill zero" — so it is not crucial that you acquire a weapon skill.

Watch out for constructing an over-elaborate story to justify the various events of the generation process. The details rarely come into play and tend to dilute a strong, clear vision of the character. The interesting part of the character’s life begins when he joins the game.

No matter what character generation method you use, do not buy equipment until you begin play, as your initial location may limit what is appropriate to the game. You can have as many characters in play as you like, though you can’t necessarily play more than one in a session.

You could …

  1. Use the original method from Classic Traveller Book 1, Characters and Combat. The application Traveller Chargen will do this automatically in a second or choice by choice in about a minute.
  2. Use the sheet “Making Travellers” by me. This is based on Book 1 and Supplement 4 Citizens of the Imperium, but a few of the skill selections have been modified to be more relevant to most of the games we will play. And it’s all on one page!
  3. Use Supplement 4 Citizens of the Imperium – if you must. Many of the careers here are over-specific and can erode the tone of Traveller, so use with care.
  4. Use the expanded character generation methods from Book 4 Mercenary (Army and Marine characters), Book 5 High Guard (Navy characters), Book 6 Scouts (Scouts), or Book 7 Merchant Prince (Merchants). These methods seem as if they would produce characters with slightly more skills, but statistical analysis has shown that the authors did a pretty good job with their numbers in “balancing” extended generation characters with Book 1 characters.
  5. Something else – including careers from old magazines or Paranoia Press.

Below is a routine for making Travellers that needs lots of formatting, aaarrrggh.

Making Travellers
Roll 2d6 for each of your Characteristics: Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social Standing.
Choose your desired service and make a roll to Enlist. If the roll fails, roll for the Draft (1d6) and enter that service instead.
Each 4 year term of service involves some danger, so a character must roll for his Survival. Failure results in death; begin a new character.
All careers begin at Rank 0. Scouts, Scientists, and Wanderers have no higher ranks. Skills listed at each rank are automatically acquired. Most services have a Commission roll to become an officer of Rank 1. A character may attempt to acquire a commission once per term of service until successful, except that a draftee may not attempt to acquire a commission in the first term of service. In the same term of service that a commission is received, and in each subsequent term, a character may attempt to roll for Promotion.
Roll to Reenlist even if you want to leave the service. A roll of 12 means you must serve another term. Each time a character reenlists, it is for an additional four year term of service.
Navy Marines Army Scouts Merchants Official Scientist* Barbarian Wanderer
Enlistment 8+ 9+ 5+ 7+ 7+ 8+ 6+ 5+ 3+
DM +1 if Intel 8+ Intel 8+ Dext 6+ Intel 6+ Stren 7+ Edu 8+ Intel 9+ Endu 9+
DM +2 if Edu 9+ Stren 8+ Endu 5+ Stren 8+ Intel 6+ Soc 9+ Edu 10+ Stren 10+
Draft 1 2 3 4 5 - - - 6
Survival 5+ 6+ 5+ 7+ 5+ 5+ 5+ 6+ 7+
DM +2 if Intel 7+ Endu 8+ Edu 6+ Endu 9+ Intel 7+ Edu 10+ Edu 9+ Stren 8+ Intel 9+
Commission 10+ 9+ 5+ - 4+ 5+ - 6+ -
DM +1 if Soc 9+ Edu 7+ Endu 7+ - Intel 6+ Soc 9+ - Stren 10+ -
Promotion 8+ 9+ 6+ - 10+ 8+ - 9+ -
DM +1 if Edu 8+ Soc 8+ Edu 7+ - Intel 9+ Intel 9+ - Intel 6+ -
Reenlist 6+ 7+ 7+ 3+ 4+ 5+ 5+ 6+ 5+
Your character begins his career at age 18. Each term adds 4 years to the character’s age. Older character’s abilities may diminish. At the end of the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th term, roll 8+ to avoid -1 Stren, 7+ to avoid -1 Dext, 8+ to avoid -1 Endur. At the end of the 8th, 9th, 10th, and 11th term, roll 9+ to avoid -1 Stren, 8+ to avoid -1 Dext, 9+ to avoid -1 Endur. At the end of the 12th and subsequent terms, roll 9+ to avoid -2 Stren, 9+ to avoid -2 Dext, 9+ to avoid -2 Endur, and 9+ to avoid -1 Intel.
Rank 0 (automatic) Cutlass Rifle Pilot Admin Computer Blade Cbt
Rank 1 Ensign Lieutenant
Revolver Lieutenant
SMG - 4th Officer Junior
Secretary - - -
Rank 2 Lieutenant Captain Captain - 3rd Officer Under-
Secretary - Warrior
Blade -
Rank 3 Lt Cmdr Force Cmdr Major - 2nd Officer Secretary
Liason - - -
Rank 4 Commander Lt Colonel Lt Colonel - 1st Officer
Pilot Counselor - - -
Rank 5 Captain
+1 Soc Colonel Colonel - Captain Minister - Chief
Leader -
Rank 6 Admiral
+1 Soc Brigadier Brigadier - - Ambassador - - -
Each term, roll for acquired skills on one of the four tables below. First term, two rolls. One roll for each subsequent term, except for Scouts, Scientists, and Wanderers, who receive two rolls every term. One extra roll for earning a Commission and one for achieving Promotion. Education must be 8 or higher to roll on the second Advanced Education table.
Skills with a parentheses () require a specialization that must be determined immediately. See the Skills List.
All player characters have as kill of 0 in all Guns.

  • Scientists may decide they are Doctors. Doctors get Medical instead of Computer when they enlist and may substitute Medical for a weapon, Navigation, Mechanical, or Jack-o-T.

Personal 1 +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Stren +1 Sten +1 Stren
Development 2 +1 Dext +1 Dext +1 Dext +1 Dext +1 Dext +1 Educ +1 Dext +2 Stren +1 Dext
3 +1 Endur +1 Endur +1 Endur +1 Endur +1 Endur +1 Intel +1 Endur +1 Stren +1 Endur
4 +1 Intel Gambling Gambling +1 Intel +1 Stren Blade Cbt () +1 Intel Carousing +1 Intel
5 +1 Educ Brawling +1 Educ +1 Educ Blade Cbt () Gun Cbt () +1 Educ +1 Dext +1 Educ
6 +1 Social Blade Cbt () Brawling Jack-o-T Bribery Carousing Carousing +1 Endur -1 Social
Service 1 Ship’s Boat Vehicle () Vehicle () Vehicle () Vehicle () +1 Intel Gun Cbt () Brawling Gambling
Skills 2 Vacc Suit Vacc Suit Air/Raft Vacc Suit Vacc Suit Vacc Suit Blade Cbt () Blade Cbt () Vehicle ()
3 Pilot Blade Cbt () Gun Cbt () Mechanical Jack-o-T Vehicle () Vehicle () Blade Cbt () Air/Raft
4 Gunnery Gun Cbt () Survival Navigation Steward Vehicle () Jack -o-T Blade Cbt () Brawling
5 Blade Cbt () Blade Cbt () Blade Cbt () Electronics Electronics Gambling Navigation Bow Cbt () Blade Cbt ()
6 Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt () Computer Survival Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt ()
Advanced 1 Vacc Suit Vehicle () Vehicle () Vehicle () Streetwise Forgery Mechanical Blade Cbt () Streetwise
Education 2 Mechanical Mechanical Mechanical Mechanical Mechanical Streetwise Electronic Mechanical Vacc Suit
3 Electronics Electronics Electronics Electronics Electronics Admin Medical Survival Gunnery
4 Engineering Tactics Tactics Survival Navigation Computer Computer Survival Survival
5 Gunnery Blade Cbt () Blade Cbt () Gunnery Gunnery Liaison +1 Intel Streetwise Ship’s Boat
6 Jack-o-T Gun Cbt () Gun Cbt () Medical Medical Bribery +1 Edu Bow Cbt () Bribery
Advanced 1 Medical Medical Medical Medical Medical Bribery Medical Medical Forgery
Education 2 Navigation Tactics Tactics Navigation Navigation Pilot Computer Tactics Pilot
(Educ 8+) 3 Engineering Tactics Tactics Engineering Engineering Liaison Admin Leader Gambling
4 Computer Computer Computer Computer Computer Leader Pilot Jack-o-T Liaison
5 Pilot Leader Leader Pilot Pilot Tactics Liaison Vehicle () Admin
6 Admin Admin Admin Liaison Admin +1 Soc Jack-o-T Vehicle () Bribery
Muster Out at the end of service. Add one skill from the Service Skills table at level 0, indicating basic familiarity. Make one roll on either the Benefits Table or the Cash Table for each term of service, plus one roll if Rank 1 or 2, two rolls if Rank 3 or 4, and three rolls if rank 5 or 6. Characters that have the Gambling skill roll at +1 on the Cash Table. Low, Mid, and High Psg are redeemable for interstellar travel. Blade and Gun give a weapon. Subsequent rolls add a skill level. Traveller’s indicates membership in the Traveller’s Aid Society.
Benefits 1 Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg Low Psg
2 +1 Intel +2 Intel +1 Intel +2 Intel +1 Intel +1 Intel Mid Psg Blade -1 Social
3 +2 Educ +1 Educ +2 Educ +2 Educ +1 Educ +2 Educ High Psg Blade +1 Social
4 Blade Blade Gun Blade Gun Mid Psg +1 Soc Blade Blade
5 Traveller’s Traveller’s High Psg Gun Blade +1 Social Gun - Gun
6 High Psg High Psg Mid Psg Scout Ship Low Psg High Psg Lab Ship High Psg High Psg
7 +2 Social +2 Social +1 Social - Free Trader Traveller’s - High Psg -
Cash 1 1 K 2 K 2 K 20 K 1 K 10 K 1 K - 1 K
2 5 K 5 K 5 K 20 K 5 K 10 K 2 K - 5 K
3 5 K 5 K 10 K 30 K 10 K 10 K 5 K 1 K 10 K
4 10 K 10 K 10 K 30 K 20 K 20 K 10 K 2 K 10 K
5 20 K 20 K 10 K 50 K 20 K 50 K 20 K 3 K 10 K
6 50 K 30 K 20 K 50 K 40 K 60 K 30 K 4 K 50 K
7 50 K 40 K 30 K 50 K 40 K 70 K 40 K 5 K 100 K
Record your Universal Personality Profile (UPP) using hexidecimal notation: 10=A, 11=B, etc. Purchase equipment available on your starting planet.
Mediate upon a Special Ability your character has that is not well-defined by the rules. It is not necessary to define the ability before play begins.
Your character may end up something like this:
Lieutenant Alexandra Dextrin-Crawley UPP 687B9A Age 30 3 terms Cr 10,000
Admin 2, Pilot 1, Gun (autopistol) 1, Medical 1, Vacc Suit 0 Traveller’s, Blade
Special Ability: Lt. Dextrin-Crawley is on detached duty from Naval Intelligence.

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