Thursday, March 15, 2012

Traveller: Character Creation

Our current D&D campaign only has a handful of sessions left, and we've been thinking about what to do next.  We've decided to play Traveller.  It's a sci-fi RPG with a flavor that has been compared to Firefly.  Today we planned to spend a couple of hours before our D&D session working on our upcoming Traveller characters.  However, time got away from us and we spent the entire session planning our party.

Traveller's character creation is quite different from what I'm used to.  You add to your career path in four-year increments, and at any point you can quit with what you've got, or add another four years to your background.  Depending on how well you roll, adding more to your background could give you more skills, starting money, and other benefits.  But you also risk getting in accidents resulting in lost limbs and other injuries.  So it's a bit of a gamble building an experienced character.  But we're lucky - in older editions you could actually die during character creation.

So we got the basics of character creation out of the way, though we still need to think about our characters' personalities and other fluffy details.  Looks like we have a noble, a marine, a scout, a pilot, a medic... and me.  My character doesn't excel at much, and will probably serve as the group's comic relief.  She chose three career paths - Scholar (Field Researcher), Drifter (Barbarian), and Citizen (Colonist).  All three ended with an accident.  As a result, she is missing an eye and has very low Strength and Dexterity scores. So I've decided my character is accident prone.

So here's what I'm looking at so far:

Name: Malta Klonk
Age: 30
Race: Human
Homeworld: Tanoose
Str 1, Dex 2, End 8, Int 6, Edu 10, Soc 7
Advocate 0, Comms 0, Computers 1, Diplomat 0, Engineer 2, Investigate 0, Medic 0, Phsyical Sciences 0, Sensors 1, Space Sciences 0, Stealth 1, Steward 0, Survival 0, Vacc Suit 0

 Career Path
1 (4 years): Scholar (Field Researcher), Accident: Nearly killed
2 (4 years): Drifter (Barbarian), Minor Accident: Lightly injured
3 (4 years): Citizen (Colonist), Accident: Lost eye

Early life:
Early on, Malta's parents noticed her propensity for tripping over her own feet and walking into walls, so they encouraged her to excel at non-physical activity.  Any time she tried to engage in exercise, they said, "Wouldn't you rather be on the computer than to go outdoors?"  Therefore she put all of her efforts into her studies at school. 

Career 1 (4 years): Scholar (Field Researcher), Accident: Nearly killed
Upon reaching adulthood, Malta joined the crew of a deep space research vessel, assigned to study space anomalies. A few years in, she became romantically involved with a fellow crew member.  The rotating duty roster meant that occasionally the two were assigned to man the bridge together while the rest of the crew slept.  One shift things got a bit amorous, and they made out in various locations around the bridge.  At one point Malta sat on one of the control panels, and somehow locked the ship into a collision course with a nearby moon.

The alarms woke up the rest of the crew, who rushed to the escape pods.  Malta herself also tried to get to a pod, but accidentally locked herself in a bathroom instead.  Meanwhile, her boyfriend stayed on the bridge and attempted to unlock the controls.  He managed to recover control with seconds to spare, but for Malta's career the damage had already been done.  For risking the lives of the crew, and the expense of recalling the escape pods, Malta was in a world of trouble.

She was thrown off the research team and blacklisted from similar projects.  Her boyfriend would have nothing more to do with her, and she was forever known as "that girl who can crash spaceships with her butt."  In some circles, the name "Klonk" is still used as derogatory slang, as in, "You really klonked up; get your head out of your klonk!"  With all her life's dreams crashing around her, she decided she needed a fresh start.

Career 2 (4 years): Drifter (Barbarian), Minor Accident: Lightly injured
Malta was now on the run from her embarrassing reputation, so she decided to go off the grid for a while.  On one planet she found a small society of people who were living as simply as possible.  They were aware of modern technology, but rejected it in favor of spiritualism and "the old ways".  Malta missed computers and indoor plumbing, but she couldn't deny it was a less stressful life.  She still wasn't particularly graceful, but the other villagers were tolerant of her bumbling antics.  Forgiveness was in their nature, and besides, how much damage could she really do without sophisticated machinery?

Well, over the next four years, they found out. It's hard to say exactly which accident led to her expulsion from the community.  It might have been when she accidentally she mixed the Town Elder's ceremonial staff in with the firewood.   But it's more likely because the fire she started with that staff also burned down the town hall.  But let's not dwell on particulars.  She was banished from the community, and took the next opportunity to leave the planet.

Career 3 (4 years): Citizen (Colonist), Accident: Lost eye
By this point her accident on the research station was nothing more than an urban legend.  She had the opportunity to throw in with a small colony attempting to seed a new world.  Malta was glad to see higher technology again, in an environment where her name wasn't a running joke.  She became the personal assistant to one of the colony leaders.  By being extra careful, she managed to get through the next few years without any major embarrassments.

And then she had one really bad day. First, she spilled coffee in her boss's lap.  While trying to help him, she somehow stapled his tie to his desk.  Unable to tear the fabric or remove the staple, her next thought was to cut off his tie.  She ran to the supply closet to grab some scissors, and in her rush to get back she forgot one of the first lessons most people learn in childhood...

She awoke in a Navy hospital ship, headed away from the colony.  She had lost her left eye, and had been asked not to return to the colony.  Now she's a drifter once again, looking for purpose in life.

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