Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

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Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby Void(null) » Tue Dec 27, 2011 5:43 pm

So I have started running a Traveller campaign and one of my players asked "I want to learn a skill before the game starts. Somehow I have made it through the entirety of my career in the Navy as a Pilot and never learned how to use a Vac Suit."

Looking at the rules there was nothing to cover this, and in fact the only thing to do with learning new skills states "Current skill total + New Skill level in weeks."

No mention of cost, no mention of finding a trainer, no mention of technology and also no way to increase attributes without becoming a cyborg.

Perhaps I am missing something important but I didn't want my players to be 50 or 60 years old floating around space looking for adventure. I wanted them to be in their prime! They ran 4 terms, left to began their adventures at 34 and this seemed like a great way for them to get some history under their best and skill have room to grow in game, but the rules don't see to accommodate such.

A character can't do some pushups or be involved in physical labor and gain an characteristic point? In a TL14 culture where there is mass cloning and people can travel to new stars, they can't have a skill uploaded into their brain for a cost?

For the above problem, I just took a skill from their skill package and replaced it with Vac suit, but that still leaves quite a large gaping hole in the system as written.

If someone could point me to detailed rules for character advancement and development that would be amazing! If not, I was wondering if I could get your opinions on homebrew advancement system I quickly cobbled together after the discussion with my players last night?

Character Advancement System

During play characters may wish to learn new skills or be placed into a situation either accident or intentional where they would gain new knowledge, understanding or physical prowess.

At the referee's discretion and if it is appropriate to the situation and roleplay, should a player exceed their target roll they may be allowed the opportunity to advance their skill or gain a characteristic.

Character Advancement Roll = 2D6 + Degree of Success + Edu DM
Difficulty = New Skill Level or New Characteristic DM + Appropriate Characteristic Score

A roll of 12 automatically succeeds regardless of difficulty.

Only one skill or characteristic may be advanced per scene and it should be noted that the Referee should reserve character development rolls only for those occasions where the players do something truly special. If an event is such that your players in weeks or years to come will open up a conversation with "Do you remember the time that" then it is most likely worth an advancement roll.

Referee's may also allow players to make Character Advancement Rolls through sufficient practice, study and training. At least one hour a day for a number of weeks as follows:

Total Characteristic DM + New Characteristic DM in weeks
New Skill Total + Skill DM in Weeks - Edu

Skill training time may be sped up by improved facilities, better instructors, technology or enhancement drugs. The following lists the costs to reduce the time it takes to learn a new skill.

Total Training time:
0 Weeks: Cr 100,000,000 (TL16)
1 Week: Cr 50,000,000 (TL 15)
2 Weeks: Cr 10,000,000 (TL 14)
3 Weeks: Cr 5,000,000 (TL 13)
4 weeks: Cr 1,000,000 (TL 12)
5 weeks: Cr 500,000 (TL 11)
I appreciate this means that the higher your characteristic the harder it is to learn new skills which makes mathematical sense but not logical sense. I was going to explain it as the more naturally talented you are the more easily bored or frustrated they are.

Someone with a High Characteristic but Low Edu has not learned to properly hone their ability's into learning new skills or may become frustrated at going over the basics, being stubborn and hard to teach, or the technique may simply be too advanced as to be out of their reach. Where as someone with low characteristics or skill has far more room for improvement and much more to learn.

Thoughts? Advice?

Thank you everyone who reads this and responds in advance!
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby jwlovell » Mon Jan 09, 2012 12:29 pm

I found the random skill allocation to be bizarre and not really balanced for a 'player character' to have much leeway in defining their character. I might as well have pre-rolled a character or handed out NPC's given the random nature of much of the tables. I had three players end up with practically no combat skills. One had the default Gun combat at 0, another had Melee Blade at 0, and all three ended up having an abundance of Pilot skills. Given the nature of my campaign, I certainly began to realize that after 4 terms, my players characters were not as well rounded as I would have liked....

So, looking at page 40, of the core rulebook, I decided that I will experiment with one of the following methods:

Select Skills
In this variant, the player picks skills from the various Skills and
Training tables instead of rolling randomly for them. In all other
ways, it is identical to standard generation.

Point Allocation
Instead of rolling on the career tables, you can buy a character’s
characteristics and skills using points.

I think that the Select Skills method would be a nice compromise, and we will be experimenting with that.


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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby Myrm » Fri Jan 13, 2012 8:50 am

Void - the career rolling system is designed to simulate people being in a big universe where they don't have total control of their destiny. So sometimes you just luck out, or have to make hard choices - but there are usually a fair number of points to choose, so what did that player take instead of Vaccsuit - if there's a point you can go back and say - well swap that choice for choosing vacc suit then do that - quick and easy. Another option is to quietly change his homeworld - there's one homeworld that gives Vacc Suit 0 - it allows for that important element of player choice, sacrifice one area for another rather than just handing free stuff over because the player wants it.

On this specific point though - isn't Vacc Suit a Navy Service skill, therefore something they have picked up automatically during Basic Training (or are you using High Guard where I know some careers don't get that) - Vacc Suit 0 knows how to use a Vacc Suit - they are not a Zero G acrobat, but they certainly can get one on quickly and use it safely.

FOr those that do not like the random element of the character generation system, there is the character build option - the whole points one is the one I go for - the skill choice only one just doesn't work for me its too much a mix of random and choice and for me satisfies neither preference. It is really really worth looking at that build system - It doesn't give quite as many skills potentially, but it does give total control which allows for designed characters - a bonus in itself.

For character generation in my game I let an player run a random build and if they are not happy to discard it and do a purchased build instead. This saves interminable runs through the chargen system for me and the player and often they have been happy to take a build character of the same number of terms and essentially use the build system to tweak the story of the original character - in effect trading the various slightly random bits of skills all over the shop for a focussed build - sometimes they just go from scratch with the build system to get exactly what they want.

As a final option - there is that starter package for a group. You can pick one of those which includes Vacc Suit, or simply make your own package up for the campaign and include it.

Anyhow - for the problem at hand - 'Urg I have made this character and its missing this skill I think is vital' - there are several ways of solving the issue within the rule structure without having the other players feel put out or disadvantaged.
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby Void(null) » Sat Jan 28, 2012 11:37 pm

"As a final option - there is that starter package for a group. You can pick one of those which includes Vacc Suit, or simply make your own package up for the campaign and include it."

If you had read the initial post you would have seen that I gave the player in question the ability by replacing one of the skills in the starting package.

"For the above problem, I just took a skill from their skill package and replaced it with Vac suit, but that still leaves quite a large gaping hole in the system as written. "

The character generation rules are why I play Traveller. I find it takes people out of there element and forces them to create a person rather than a set of stats.

Also the player in question started out as another class and then went into the Navy so they did not get the first time skills. The problem I had was with a character learning skills after character creation, not with character creation itself. There is a huge gap in the rules that expects all characters to start out as 60 year old geezers who never need to grow or develop.

If you want to start characters with only 3 or 4 terms and have them still relatively young and ready for adventure then they get shafted by the lack of a proper advancement system and that is the problem I was attempting to address with my CAS.

I do not believe in giving something for nothing, but neither do I believe in an entirely static game where what a character starts with for skills is what they will have no matter how many years you run a campaign. The home brew CAS I was asking for advice on was to try and allow players to earn new skills through play and roleplay, rather than being limited to a handful of cybernetic enhancements or via computers doing the work for them.
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby cetiken » Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:33 am

Its also worth noting the Connections Rule on page 8. I find these two additional skill ranks useful for shoring up any perceived gaps in the characters skill set. Perticularly the naval officer with no ranks in Vac Suit (though personally I find it very believable you could make it though with no more thank rank 0 in the skill).
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby pdunwin » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:58 pm

It's not a hole in the system.

For one thing, it's not a problem because there is a variety of ways to provide a character with a skill the referee, player or group deem necessary. Random tables are fun, but they're not perfect.

For another thing it's not a problem in this case because the only downside to not having that skill (at least according to MgT) is a penalty to actions taken while wearing the vacc suit, equal to -2 for each difference between skill level and the skill for the vacc suit. For higher TL vacc suits, the skill required is Vacc Suit 0, so as long as he equips himself with a good suit he'll only take a -2 penalty. You could even flavor it as him having the skill but for some reason being extremely uncomfortable in the suit. Maybe it triggers his claustrophobia. Maybe he had a bad experience in a vacc suit.

But, go ahead and add a skill acquisition mechanic to the game. I would personally find that to clash with the character generation system, since even while being trained it takes four years to pick up even just a couple of skills, but this seems to be impacting your enjoyment so make whatever changes you deem necessary.

Edit: I was just listening to the Whartson Hall Traveller game from Martin asked the group if anyone had picked up Vacc Suit, they replied no, and he game them all Vacc Suit 0. Done.
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby Exile1043 » Tue Jun 19, 2012 8:34 am

Void(null) wrote:Also the player in question started out as another class and then went into the Navy so they did not get the first time skills.
Hi there!

You actually get one of the service skills listed when you leave one career and enter another!

So the player in question would have been able to choose one of the skills on the service skills table in the navy career when he joined up there.

Hope you read this, even though the topic is 4 months old. ^^
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby FinH » Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:02 am

Just another very vaguely related question about skill development/character generation:
is there a maximum level to which skills can be raised? Reason I ask is that I recently rolled up a Judge for the Judge Dress RPG who, through a freak series of coincidences ended up with Law: 6. Is this usual? Is there a limitation on the maximum level to which Traveller skills can be raised?
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby Exile1043 » Wed Jan 16, 2013 5:47 pm

I believe the Traveller core rulebook stated that someone with 4 ranks in a skill would realistically be one of the most talented and skilled persons in the galaxy.

The example stated was Medic 4, which means you are an intergalactically esteemed super surgeon...

So I guess it's up to your referee, but I'd think 4 would be the cap.

More so because a +6 on a 2d6 roll always guarantees success on normal difficulty skill rolls.
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Re: Traveller: Learning Skills/Character development

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Jan 30, 2013 4:46 am

Re-roll a new character until satisfied with the characteristics, careers, and skills.

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