Creating "new" characters

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Tupper
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Creating "new" characters

Postby Tupper » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:47 pm

Quick question: suppose a character dies in a campaign, or a new player joins the group. A new character has to be created and added to the team. Three things become potentially complicated:

1. If the new character has ship shares (and/or a deceased character had ship shares). This has been discussed on the forum previously.
2. What to do about connections for the new character?
3. What to do about skill package skills for the new character?

I could see that with 2, one could "retrospectively" give the new character connections to the existing party, potentially explaining why they're willing to accept a "newcomer" into their posse. However, point 3 seems tricky. Should the character simply choose 1 (or 2 in a small party) skills from the skill package list?

I'm curious as to how people handle these issues in their games.
AnotherDilbert
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:01 pm

No retroactive changes...

1. If the party has a ship, don't bother. If the party does not have ship, the new character can provide it.

2. You can have second degree connections, you can have the same friends, relatives, or enemies.

3. If the party really needs a specific skill, e.g. Engineering, the new char gets it, otherwise nothing.
paltrysum
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 12:55 am

If they can be made without suspending disbelief too much, I give the two connections skills to the player. Otherwise, I give them "connection" skills to events in the campaign. One way or another new and replacement characters get those two skills. My group wanted to discourage optional rerolls (meaning: rerolls because you just want a new character), so we don't give connections skills to those.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:02 am

I don't use any of the connections rules after chargen.
Tupper
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Tupper » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:25 am

Thanks for the answers. Not allowing any extra skills for connections on "new" characters seems a fairly hard line. Those two points (that can be added to skills of the player's choosing) are pretty valuable. The skill package one is also tricky. On the one hand, denying a player the 1-2 skill points is a bit harsh, but if one let them choose from *all* the skills in the package, that's pretty generous. Most people during a group generation are going to be choosing from the list after it's "picked over".
Old School
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:57 pm

I would certainly allow two skills for connections. The original travellers had their connections, but obviously each traveler will have known and worked with many folks through their careers. The new traveller knows a couple of your existing group, and is therefore recommended into the group by the connected travellers. Obviously only the new traveler gets the skill bonus, the others have already gotten theirs.

Because I tend to have very strong travelers as a result of my house rules on traveller generation (3d drop the lowest for traits, and pick the table after the roll for advancement skills), I don't use skill packages. So a new traveler into the group, if a certain skill would be needed, the player would know that and develop their character accordingly, or suffer the consequences. Generating "by the book", I'd give them the same skills the previous traveller selected from the package if needed.

Ship shares - if your group is tracking ownership shares of their ship, etc., then the deceased traveler's ownership passes to the rest of the group (or if you want to complicate things, to another heir), and the new traveller can buy in with their ship shares. Or you can just ignore it and substitute one in for the other and get on with the game.
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:22 pm

Old School wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 1:57 pm
Because I tend to have very strong travelers as a result of my house rules on traveller generation (3d drop the lowest for traits, and pick the table after the roll for advancement skills), I don't use skill packages. So a new traveler into the group, if a certain skill would be needed, the player would know that and develop their character accordingly, or suffer the consequences. Generating "by the book", I'd give them the same skills the previous traveller selected from the package if needed.
I make several concessions during character generation, too. Not quite as generous as that, but I allow them to either enhance their characteristics with a few randomly determined points or reroll their lowest stat. During their careers, I give them a level up in the bonus skills instead of only giving them a level-1 if they don't already have it. I also give a few "wild cards" to enable them to direct their skill acquisition a bit as they proceed through their careers. I like random chargen, but I like to throw the players a few bones to help them make more or less what they want to play.

I'm not a fan of point-based chargen. The characters come out too focused and dull with no surprises.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
TrippyHippy
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby TrippyHippy » Thu Oct 04, 2018 7:48 pm

We have players generating multiple characters, usually as part of a wider crew on a larger ship (if appropriate) or as contacts. If anyone dies, we simply have them adopt another character.
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Old School
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:38 pm

paltry, I agree. I understand that some people prefer point based character generation, but I really enjoy the traveller life-path process and think it gives the characters a good back story, which helps with role playing.

I prefer games where the characters are very much above average, but the 3 dice and drop the lowest can be way too powerful as well. It gives an average of about 8.5 per stat, but you can get some travellers that average about a 9.5 as well - that's a little too much.

I started letting them pick the skill table after the roll every time, but then changed it to having the pick the table up front on your first roll of the term, and then if you get promoted you can pick after the roll for that one. Goes with the logic that you have input into some of your specialization, but not the standard training you are assigned. Give a mix of directed skillsets and randomness.
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby paltrysum » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:49 pm

Old School wrote:
Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:38 pm
I started letting them pick the skill table after the roll every time, but then changed it to having the pick the table up front on your first roll of the term, and then if you get promoted you can pick after the roll for that one. Goes with the logic that you have input into some of your specialization, but not the standard training you are assigned. Give a mix of directed skillsets and randomness.
That's a really great idea. Mind if I copy it? :P
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Old School
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Old School » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:56 pm

I "borrowed" it from another poster, either on this forum or COTI, so it's not my idea to hold on to. :D
Condottiere
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Condottiere » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:42 am

1. Ship shares could be inherited on a one to one basis; anything above could be divided amongst the surviving partners, and anything below could be optionally cashed out or be a share in another venture.

2.If the party is shortchanged on certain skills, those extra points could be spent on them, giving another reason for them to accept a new member.
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Linwood » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:18 am

I use the 3D and drop one method too. It works fine as long as you scale the challenges - and the rewards - accordingly.

And I just saw one of those above average characters very nearly get one-shotted by a TL 3 would-be terrorist with a war pick, so i’m not convinced it makes the characters too tough. You just have to adjust the campaign to fit.
Old School
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Old School » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:02 pm

Does that mean the character would have been killed if the stats were a average? Combat is deadly in traveller no matter the stats. My Pirates campaign players got ambushed by Ogmha raiders while doing some repair work on a neighboring planet. One was down immediately, and three found themselves charging into gunfire because their Sindalian Revolvers thst they thought were very cool have lousy range.

Their Engineer, who the raiders wanted to kidnap and therefore didnt shoot first, happened to have a gauss pistol and Gun Combat (slug) 3. I think he personally took out three of the four bad guys.
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:19 am

What if your ship has a vat where you could grow clones of deceased characters?
Epicenter
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Epicenter » Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:38 am

When a character dies, you should ask the remaining characters how they plan to fill in the gap because there likely is a gap in the group's skills. This is particularly easy if the gaming group is based around the idea of the crew of a small ship. If the person who died was the pilot, the characters are likely looking for a new pilot. If the death was an engineer's assistant, they might be looking for a new engineer's assistant. Or if the character in question was literally just taking up a space and doing nothing special, the remaining characters may decide the death of that person is a good way to fill in the spot with someone who has some skill the group could use.

The role being filled does not necessarily have to be a friend, or a friend of a friend. It's entirely possible the crew might post a NOW HIRING at their next port of call or simply look at the listings of people looking for jobs and hire someone to fill the slot on a trial basis ("we'll hire you to the next port to see how you fit in"). Every human relationship begins at some point with a rather contrived and arbitrary meeting - in HBO's Band of Brothers, those guys are lifelong companions, how'd they meet? They wouldn't have if they weren't somewhat randomly put into the same unit together. A child's relationship with their parents is because they just happened to be born that couple and not another. Your school friends are your school friends because they happened to go the same school as you; your work friends are a similar case.

While this kind of character generation might seem to interfere on people's sense of "freedom", often players like some sort of framework to build their character around. It's even easier if you have NPCs filling certain roles. If the character who died was a ship's marine but your group has a NPC Pilot, now the pilot and the marine slots are open - if the player makes a pilot, just say the NPC pilot decides he or she got an offer they want to check out or something came up and they have to quit. The new character is hired on as a pilot and the players can hire a new ship's marine NPC at some point. In addition, the new character might have a role, but they can be pretty wildly different as long as they have the skill(s) in question (as a GM, you can even fudge dice rolls during chargen to ensure the new character has the proper skills).
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:55 pm

Epicenter wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 9:38 am
When a character dies, you should ask the remaining characters how they plan to fill in the gap because there likely is a gap in the group's skills. This is particularly easy if the gaming group is based around the idea of the crew of a small ship. If the person who died was the pilot, the characters are likely looking for a new pilot. If the death was an engineer's assistant, they might be looking for a new engineer's assistant. Or if the character in question was literally just taking up a space and doing nothing special, the remaining characters may decide the death of that person is a good way to fill in the spot with someone who has some skill the group could use.

The role being filled does not necessarily have to be a friend, or a friend of a friend. It's entirely possible the crew might post a NOW HIRING at their next port of call or simply look at the listings of people looking for jobs and hire someone to fill the slot on a trial basis ("we'll hire you to the next port to see how you fit in"). Every human relationship begins at some point with a rather contrived and arbitrary meeting - in HBO's Band of Brothers, those guys are lifelong companions, how'd they meet? They wouldn't have if they weren't somewhat randomly put into the same unit together. A child's relationship with their parents is because they just happened to be born that couple and not another. Your school friends are your school friends because they happened to go the same school as you; your work friends are a similar case.

While this kind of character generation might seem to interfere on people's sense of "freedom", often players like some sort of framework to build their character around. It's even easier if you have NPCs filling certain roles. If the character who died was a ship's marine but your group has a NPC Pilot, now the pilot and the marine slots are open - if the player makes a pilot, just say the NPC pilot decides he or she got an offer they want to check out or something came up and they have to quit. The new character is hired on as a pilot and the players can hire a new ship's marine NPC at some point. In addition, the new character might have a role, but they can be pretty wildly different as long as they have the skill(s) in question (as a GM, you can even fudge dice rolls during chargen to ensure the new character has the proper skills).

Or you could tun th NPC into PC and have a player play him.
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Re: Creating "new" characters

Postby steve98052 » Wed Oct 10, 2018 7:58 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:
Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:55 pm
Or you could tun th NPC into PC and have a player play him.
Along those lines, see also this thread:

viewtopic.php?f=89&t=121568&p=931061&#p931019

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