Friday, September 26, 2014

The Others: Coming to a CT Game Near You.

In the beginning there was LBB 1 Character generation and it was good. After all you haven't lived till you died in character generation. Or in some cases failed to kill off a character in chargen.

Then we got Citizens of the Imperium which added many many civilian occupations to Traveller. Apparently not everyone joined the Armed Forces in the Imperium. We could thrill to Barbarians with broadswords engaging Marines with cutlasses in a sword fight!

Before this cornucopia of options though people looking to dodge avoid the military had one option: the Others. They didn't even have a title really. If the Army was benignly ignored by those wanting to be Marines and the Scouts were hastily avoided by those wanting to live the Others had a worse public image than a Vargr crashing a K'kree wedding. I do not exaggerate. One Personal Development roll lowered your Social Standing. They got no ranks, no service skills, and one skill per term. The Scouts got many people who wanted no part of society. The Others were the people of which society wanted no part.

Many people point to Mercenary as the start of Traveller's militarizing. But really when you treat the only civilian career like this what else could you be except a militarist? You are essentially saying the universe is composed of military and rabble.

One saving grace of the service is in the Advanced Education table. The Others are the only place besides the Scouts that you can pick up Jack of All Trades. The other advantage is purely story based. You can make up any wild story to justify the weird collection of skills you come by, like the guy who picked up Broadsword-3 and Gambling-2 (Cut the cards! Wham!-buh-dump-shh!)

I suggest the following tweaks to help the Others:
The Others receive Jack of All Trades as a service skill given that they can be found almost anywhere doing nearly anything.

Rolling -1 Social entitles you to choose one skill level in Forgery, Bribery, or Streetwise. You had to be doing something interesting to get that bad reputation.

Passing your survival roll by 4 or more grants you a second skill for that term.

If your Social Standing drops to 2 congratulations: you are a convicted criminal. If it drops to 1 you are a parolee. The cops on most worlds are allowed great latitude in harassing you. If your Social Standing drops to 0 you are a wanted man on at least one planet and or have made the wrong people very angry with you.