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[RPG] FANTASY TRAVELLER CAREERS [Sep. 4th, 2006|07:01 pm]
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I still remember back in high school wondering why GDW hadn’t ever tried to use their rules engine for Classic Traveller (CT) to support the fantasy genre for RPG play. After all, their workable rules included stats for ancient and archaic blade and bow weapons, there were ‘Barbarian’ and ‘Rogue’ and ‘Hunter’ career paths, and there was even support (of a sort) provided for playing in a fantasy setting wth stats for playing written by Marc Miller included in Chaosium’s classic Thieves Guild boxed set.

The following are a transliteration of several D&D-like fantasy career life-paths using the format of GDW’s Classic Traveller (CT) rules. This is somewhat of a half-baked thought experiment, and comments are welcome. Many apologies in advance for the tables looking screwingy in LJ (I'll use tables next time).

To conserve both space and my typing fingers, definitions of skills acquired are not included here and persons using this will need to refer to:
1) CT Book 1: Characters and Combat
2) CT Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium

Characters are generated initially through a series of six 2D6 dice rolls as per the CT rules which determine basic characteristics. These ability scores are (in order of the UPP): Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education & Social Standing.

All beginning characters start off at age 18 the same way; untrained, inexperienced and eager to explore a strange and fantastic world. To become an adventurer, characters must select one of the four career types below to avoid a life of mundanity and boredom, and succeed the throw required to enlist on the Prior Enlistment Table.
WIZARD: Arcanely gifted individuals who practice the art and science of Magic.

FIGHTER: Well trained individuals skilled at fighting with a variety of hand held, bow and missile weapons.

THIEF: Persons who live by their wits at the fringes of society and make a living via crime.

CLERIC: Devout individuals who practice divine Magic within the tenets of their religious beliefs.
If characters fail their initial enlistment throw, they must find another career to follow. Rejection in all four career paths will lead to the default career of Thief, but at a cost of aging 4 years, not being eligible for promotion that four year block, and finally a -1 Social.

Characters may serve (and cycle through the tables) up to 7 terms of four years voluntarily, and may retire at any time after the end of the 5th term. Mustering out benefits occur whenever a character leaves for whatever reason except in the case of transferring to another career path in which case the mustering out benefits occur when the character finally retires.

Failure to successfully achieve the survival throw usually results in the death of the character, unless one of the following optional rules are followed and is selected by the referee or player:
Optional Rule 1: a failure can be converted to an injury for a character who must leave the service after serving only 2 years of their four year tour of duty. Mustering out benefits still occur, but this short 2 year term isn’t counted in the final total.

Optional Rule 2 : a failure can be converted into a chance for enlistment into one of the three other prior services; success means that the character is now dual-classed with further gains only in their new service role. Failure to enlist in a new career means the final death of the character.


                    Wizard        Fighter         Thief            Cleric
Enlistment       9+              5+                6+              7+
DM +1 if        Intel 9+        Endur 9+      Dext 7+       Social 8+
DM +2 if        Educ 10+    Stren 10+     Intel 8          Educ 9+

Survival        5+                 6+                  6+                5+
DM +2 if        Intel 8+        Stren 8+       Dext 8          Educ 8+

Position        8+                 7+                  9+                6+
DM +1 if        Social 8+    Social 7+      Intel +          Educ 8+

Promotion        9+             6+                  7+                8+
DM +1 if        Educ 8+      Dext 7+         Stren 7+     Intel 8+

Re-enlist        6+                7+                  5+ *              6+

Thieves must throw re-enlistment or lower to leave their Guild before retirement.


                     Wizard              Fighter            Thief                 Cleric
Rank 1            Mage                Veteran          Rogue              Acolyte
Rank 2            Magician          Warrior           Footpad           Priest
Rank 3            Warlock            Hero               Robber             Curate
Rank 4            Sorcerer           Champion     Burglar             High-Priest
Rank 5            Arch-Wizard    Superhero     Master-Thief    Bishop
Rank 6            Arch-Mage       Lord               Arch-Thief        Patriarch


                     Wizard               Fighter            Thief               Cleric
Table 1      1    Scroll                Blade             Blade               Mace
Material     2    Scroll                Blade             +1 Blade          Scroll
Benefits     3    Potion               Bow                Potion              Potion
                4    Heal Potion      +1 Armor        Heal Potion     +1 Armor
                5    +1 Armor         Heal Potion   Scroll               +1 Mace
                6    Wand                +1 Blade       Wand               +1 Social
                7    Tower *            Keep *            Guild *              Church *

Characters with Rank 5 or 6 may add +1 to their die roll on this table.  Tower, Keep, Guild and Church each allows for the possession of the appropriate building in the benefits section. 

                       Wizard             Fighter             Thief                Cleric

Table 2          1    50 GP                   ---                    ---               50 GP
Cash              2    100 GP                 ---                    ---              100 GP
Benefits         3    200 GP               50 GP              15 GP             150 GP   
                    4    250 GP               100 GP            50 GP              200 GP
                    5    300 GP               200 GP           100 GP             250 GP
                    6    400 GP               400 G              500 GP             500 GP   
                    7    500 GP               500 G              1000 GP          1000 GP   

A maximum of three rolls on Table 2 is allowed per character; all remaining rolls must be on Table 1.


During each 4 year term of service, a character has the opportunity to learn a variety of skills or improve their ability scores from the experiences gained during this time interval.

Skills are acquired by rolling on one of the four skill tables below.  Personal Development, Service Skills, and Advanced Education are available to all characters, however only those with Education 8+ may roll on the final and fourth Advanced Education table.


Personal Development Table

      Wizard           Fighter             Thief                Cleric   
1    +1 Intel           +1 Stren           +1 Intel           +1 Intel
2    +1 Intel           + 2 Stren          +1 Stren         +1 Intel
3    +1 Intel           +1 Dext            +1 Dext           +1 Educ
4    +1 Educ          +1 Endur           Carousing       +2 Educ
5    +1 Educ           Carousing        Brawling          Language
6    Language        Brawling          Gambling        +1 Social

Service Skills Table

     Wizard              Fighter           Thief                    Cleric
1    Magic                Weapon          Weapon            Healing
2    Magic                Weapon          Brawling            Liaison
3    Magic                Weapon          Jack-o-Trade    Magic
4    Weapon            Weapon          Pick Lock           Weapon
5    Rune                 Brawling          Pick Pocket       Healing
6    +1 Educ            Equestrian       Streetwise        +1 Social

Advanced Education Table

      Wizard              Fighter             Thief                    Cleric
1    Scribe Scroll    Disarm               Climb Wall        Turn Evil
2    Make Potion    Blind Fight         Disable               Make Potion
3    Rune                 Equestrian         Shadow Hide    Magic
4    Magic 1            Survival              Move Silent        Magic
5    Magic 2            Hunting               Disguise             Weapon
6    Language        Teamster            Jack-o-Trade     Equestrian       

Advanced Education Table (allowed only of character has education 8+)

     Wizard            Fighter                 Thief                      Cleric

1    Leader             Leader                 Use Magic            Scribe Scroll
2    Craft Ring        Tactics                 Set Trap               Craft Device
3    Craft Wand      Two-Handed       Forgery                Magic 2
4    Craft Staff         Craft Armor          Use device         Healing 2
5    Craft Device    Siege-craft            Make Potion      Necromancy
6    Dragonology   Magic                    Magic                  Demonlogy

Automatic Skills
Wizard     Acolyte: Use Magic, Rune; Warlock: Leader; Arch Mage: Craft Wand

     Veteran: Weapon; Hero: Leader; Lord: +1 Social, Weapon

Thief        Robber: Pick Lock; Master Thief: Rune, -1 Social; Arch Thief: Use Device, JOT 1, -1 Social

Cleric       Acolyte: Healing; Priest, Turn Undead; Patriarch: Leader, +1 Social

BASIC SKILLS: General Description/Specific Game Effects

Craft Armor/Device/Ring/Staff/Wand/etc:
Characters with this ability are able to create permanent magical items given enough time and money devoted to research and construction. Each increment in this skill means the maximum number of spell bonuses applied to the item created (i.e. Craft Ring 2 means the person can make a +2 ring of protection).

Demonology: The magical ability to use Demon Magic.

Commune: Persons with this ability can commune Divinely with powerful Outsiders and ask three questions (once per week). Each level given an additional +1 DM to the accuracy or clarity of the question asked.

Disable (Device): persons with this ability can thwart cunning traps and infernal devices.

Dragonology: The magical ability to use Dragon Magic.

Equestrian: Persons with this skill can manage to ride a single animal (which must be selected ahead of time) and all the equipment required. Each point in the skill gives a bonus check to unusual and otherwise adverse riding circumstances at the discretion of the GM.

Healing: The divine ability to cure disease and stabilize wounds. Healing 1 allows a person to roll 1d6 and subtract this amount of damage from one ability score per subject per day (Maximum subjects = Educ level). Healing 3 allows for this ability to be used on up to three ability scores per person per day. Healing 4 is the minimum required to allow for curing disease and poisons, and Healing 7 is the minimum required for Raise Dead.

Magic: The ability to wield magic in the form of spells. Each increment in this skill means the ability to cast spells of that level or less (i.e. Magic 4 means can cast 4th, 3rd, 2nd and 1st level spells). More information on the chapter on Magic (under construction)

Necromancy: The magical ability to use Death Magic.

Make Potion: This skill grants the ability to brew potions that provide spell like abilities. Each increment in this skill means the ability to brew potions that include spells of that level or less (i.e. Make Potion 3 means can cast 3rd, 2nd and 1st level spells into a potion for later use). The cost of brewing potions is 50 GP x Spell Level, and each potion takes 1 week to brew in a properly equipped laboratory. One advantage of Magic Potions is that they do not require the skill Use Device to be effective.

Rune: The ability to read magical writing such as scrolls so that spells can be cast. It also allows the person with this skill to read other forms of magical writing including spell books.

Turn Evil/Undead: This is the divine ability to turn, dispel or destroy undead or demonic creatures. DM is 1D6 levels of Undead or Demonic creatures per level of expertise. Exceeding this number x2 destroys the undead or demonic creature, otherwise they are simply turned for 1D6 turns (DM +1 turn per level of expertise).

Pick Lock: This skill give both a base ability and a bonus at trying to undo locks and other warded devices.

Scribe Scroll: This skill gives the ability to inscribe scross that provide spell like abilities when read by someone with the Rune skill. Each increment in this skill means the ability to write magic scrolls that include spells of that level or less (i.e. Scribe Scroll 3 means can cast 3rd, 2nd and 1st level spells into a potion for later use). The cost of writing magic scrolls is 25 GP x Spell Level, and each scroll takes 1 day to inscribe in a properly equipped library and study

Seige-Craft: Persons with this ability can construct, repair and/or use a variety of siege machinery not limited to trebuchets, catapults, battery rams, Greek Fire, etc.

Teamster: Persons with this skill can manage teams of mutiple animals, the vehicles they pull and all the equipment required. The type of vehicle (i.e. chariot, wagon, stage-coach, etc.) must be assigned ahead of time. Each point in the skill gives a bonus check to unusual and otherwise adverse riding circumstances at the discretion of the GM.

Two-Handed: The ability to use a weapon in each hand for two attacks/round; off hand takes a -2 to hit. Extra ranks can entirely buy off the negative DM.

Use Device: The ability to use magic items or other devices magical construction

Weapon: This skill may be taken as Blade Combat, Blunt Combat (Clerics), Bow Combat, or Brawling.


[User Picture]From: mylescorcoran
2006-09-05 11:22 am (UTC)


Brilliant! I love this and I hope you're going to include it in A&E soon; it should provoke some interesting discussion, ideas and chat about the 'old days'.

What's the difference between position and promotion in the prior service table? It's an age since I used the Traveller rules.

Have you seen Greg Stolze's previous careers tables for his Nemesis and REIGN games? The Nemesis one is here:, and the REIGN one is here:
[User Picture]From: doc_mystery
2006-09-06 01:38 am (UTC)


Thanks for your kind words, Myles. I was hoping on some additional comments and feedback here before sending on a more refined version off to A&E.

I was also wondering about how to handle other traditional bog-standard fantasy races, such as elves and dwarves. One option I thought of would be to make them simply another career path.


PS. position is used instead of rank in Citizen's, which makes sense when referring to non-military roles or careers.
From: doccross
2006-09-05 03:40 pm (UTC)


Doc, this is some very cool stuff. I second the motion that you write it up for A&E. I want to play Traveller.
[User Picture]From: doc_mystery
2006-09-06 01:48 am (UTC)


Thanks, Doc!

Yeah...I want to play some Classic Traveller, too.

I'm still puzzling how to make Magic work, and I don't want to have it work like Psionics did in CT.

[User Picture]From: mylescorcoran
2006-09-06 08:05 am (UTC)


Yes, it's a puzzle, particularly as CT doesn't have the escalation of levels that D&D has. How is any mage supposed to gain levels in Magic once he or she is out of the previous experience? The general assumptions of D&D and CT might clash here. D&D assumes an increasing level of power for the PCs and a concurrent increase in the power of the opposition. CT doesn't really allow for the PCs to improve in expertise, and increases in power are usually in the form of purchasing power, the ownership of bigs guns/armour/spaceships or political and social power. If you stick with a CT approach, you have to address the assumptions of increasingly poweful opponents and the escalation of magic items and spells that D&D is built on.

It would work fine for a grittier sort of fantasy than D&D usually produces though.

I notice that both Thief and Fighter have an opportunity to get levels in Magic on the Advanced Education Table. Is this supposed to represent Paladins and Rangers and such? It's not very old school to have spell-casting fighters, though I can see an argument from the literature for both thieves and fighters with some magical skill.

[User Picture]From: doc_mystery
2006-09-09 03:32 am (UTC)


Your comments stimulated my most recent LJ posting, Myles.

And yes, I added spell-casting fighters and thieves to more closely the literature.

Another thing I'm trying to puzzle over are demi-human mages and how they acquire skills. They must use something different than a four-year time interval for acquring experience and skills.

Aging also would seem to play havoc on human Wizards, as I use Endurance and Strength as the 'magic battery' and these ability scores insidiously decreas with aging.