Starting Age

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sjmiller
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Starting Age

Postby sjmiller » Tue Mar 19, 2013 5:01 am

I am doing some character creation and I was looking through Book 3: Scout. The example character in there, Mahran Schaeffer, is shown as starting at age 16. I thought that character creation started at age 18. I looked for anything that talked about starting younger, but could not find it. I then looked for starting age in general. Either I am missing it entirely, or it is not listed anywhere.

So, I guess what I am asking is: what age does a character actually start at? I know that things like aging are supposed to apply at the end of your fourth term, which should be 38 if I am not mistaken. I know as an old school Traveller player I just assumed you start at 18, but new editions might change things.
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locarno24
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Re: Starting Age

Postby locarno24 » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:47 am

Start at 18, you're correct.

Some non-standard careers, though - don't know if scout is one of them? - start at 16 but you lose the education (i.e. the 3+EDU DM skill/0 skills) and get something else for the first two years.

Term 4 ends at 34 - 18-22, 22-26, 26-30, 30-34.
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ShawnDriscoll
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 19, 2013 10:55 am

sjmiller wrote:I am doing some character creation and I was looking through Book 3: Scout. The example character in there, Mahran Schaeffer, is shown as starting at age 16. I thought that character creation started at age 18. I looked for anything that talked about starting younger, but could not find it. I then looked for starting age in general. Either I am missing it entirely, or it is not listed anywhere.
I never noticed the starting age of a character missing from the rules until I read this. The example scout character seems legit though because he is 36 when setting out for adventure. It would make sense not mentioning a starting age, since drifters could start at any age.

Traveller rules are world famous for their ambiguity. Just as well the core rulebook had not mentioned a starting age.
CosmicGamer
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Re: Starting Age

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:06 pm

Core rulebook page 6 "At this point, you are eighteen years old." after determining homeworld and education.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 1:53 pm

Also on page 36 of the core rulebook under aging:
"The effects of aging begin when a character reaches 34 years of age (their fourth four-year career term)."
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 19, 2013 2:12 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:Also on page 36 of the core rulebook under aging:
"The effects of aging begin when a character reaches 34 years of age (their fourth four-year career term)."
That's the line where I reversed-engineered what their age may have started at. :)

I was looking for the actual "18" printed somewheres. :oops:
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Re: Starting Age

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:04 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
CosmicGamer wrote:Also on page 36 of the core rulebook under aging:
"The effects of aging begin when a character reaches 34 years of age (their fourth four-year career term)."
That's the line where I reversed-engineered what their age may have started at. :)

I was looking for the actual "18" printed somewheres. :oops:
If searching a pdf, it was there as "eighteen", and not "18", on page 6.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:12 pm

As a GM, if a player really wanted to start younger and they had a good story for it I'd allow it with some penalties.

It's one thing if this is part of an overall background that the player wants for their character. It's another thing if the player is just trying to abusing this to "cheat" and get more skills before aging rolls start at age 34. I'm going to have penalties for those early starters.

Some of these penalties are to reflect difficulties younger characters would have to qualify for careers, survive, and gain promotion. A 12 year will probably look young. On average, a younger person also wont have the same maturity and amount of life experiences as their piers. The penalties are low enough to still allow for the exceptional character as a child to be equal or more competant than an average 18 year old.

STARTING STATS

It's best to make a column of youth DMs

DEX, STR
For those starting younger, their physical development is not complete yet. I'll impose a penalty but it is recoverable as the character ages back up to 18. -1DM to DEX and STR for every 2 years they start early (always round up). So a player that has their character start at age 15 would have a -2 youth DM for these characteristics.

Recovery is at the end of a term. If they are over 18, remove all the youth DMs. If they are still under 18, recalculate the DM. So for a 13 year old with a -3 youth DM when they start, they will have a -1 youth DM at age 17 when they start their 2nd term.

END
General health and determination. No change here.

INT
While this is something more innate, I also see it as something that matures to it's full potential as the person matures.

I'll impose a small penalty but it is recovered. -1 to INT for every 4 years they start early (always round up). A player that has their character start at age 15 would have a youth DM of -1.

Like for DEX and STR, recovery is at the end of a term. For the 13 year old with a -2 youth DM to INT when they start, they will have a -1 youth DM to INT at age 17 when they start their 2nd term.

EDU
The characters Education would be reduced to reflect the younger start and lower level of education compared to someone older. -1 for every 2 years they start early (always round up). This is not a youth DM. This is not recovered! You've been busy with a career and not in school. Perhaps you will increase it through character generation such as rolls for EDU on personal development.

SOC: Play it loose. The noble child might start their career early when a family member passes. Same for a young person inherriting the family business. A noble child who runs away and starts living off the streets commiting petty crimes...

Background skills would no longer be 3+ EDU DM. Subtract 1 (rounded up) for every 2 years the character starts early since they have not had as long to gain these skills.

At first I thought certain careers should be off limits for starting early, like the military not taking you until you are 18, but if the player gives the character a good story I'll allow it. Maybe the Imperial army won't take a child but some worlds may have groups that force able bodied children to be soldiers. A 16 year old who really wants to leave home and be a scout might pass themself off as their 18yo brother. While a good story is a must, the youth DMs above still help reflect barriers to entry.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:33 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
CosmicGamer wrote:Also on page 36 of the core rulebook under aging:
"The effects of aging begin when a character reaches 34 years of age (their fourth four-year career term)."
That's the line where I reversed-engineered what their age may have started at. :)

I was looking for the actual "18" printed somewheres. :oops:
If searching a pdf, it was there as "eighteen", and not "18", on page 6.
Just speed reading a book.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby Captain Jonah » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:38 pm

There is no reason why characters apparent or actual age needs to be fixed. If you want to play a prodigy character who started Uni at 16 and has managed 5 terms worth by the time he hits 30 then that’s fine, the delicate little flower will just have aged a bit sooner than most.

Create the character as normal and move the age a bit in the back story.

By the same token a character that has retired from character creation and ended up doing odd jobs (Traveller) need not be exactly 18 + 4/term. There is no reason why the character could not be a few years younger or older. Just keep the book keeping correct so if you say your 5 term character is 45, book wise and for aging rolls he is still 38. His back story could have him doing odd jobs for several years that gained him no skills. He would be one of those types that ages well since his book age would be 38 not 45. Or a drifter who spends a lot of time travelling by low berths could take 5 or 6 years to finish a term since they are frozen so much, how about a marine that spends years at a time in a frozen watch. That merchant that spent a few years adrift after a ship wreck before the navy character found his life pod and thawed him out.

As long as the GM/Ref/Game God is happy and you keep the book keeping correct Age is not something that needs to be chiselled in stone.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 19, 2013 4:51 pm

Captain Jonah wrote:There is no reason why characters apparent or actual age needs to be fixed.
I've started characters later than 18 so I don't have everyone (including NPCs) with ages four years apart from each other.
sjmiller
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Re: Starting Age

Postby sjmiller » Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:41 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Captain Jonah wrote:There is no reason why characters apparent or actual age needs to be fixed.
I've started characters later than 18 so I don't have everyone (including NPCs) with ages four years apart from each other.
Back when I played a lot more Traveller (LBB), we used a lot of the expanded character creation options found in books 4-7 (Mercenary, High Guard, Scout, Merchant Prince). Most of them had college options. If you failed in your admission to college you aged a year and could then try to enroll in the service in the usual manner. The rules said you should make that first term a short term, but we never did it that way. We had your final term end up being a short term. Because the terms are resolved on a year by year basis, you could easily add in the aging roll when you reached the right age. It did not matter if you hit 34 at the end of the term or somewhere in the middle. Once you reached the age where the maximum seven standard terms would end, you would have to take a short term and muster out. Final age of a character at the end of creation really did not matter, as long as you took good notes while making your character, who cared how old you were?
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Mar 19, 2013 7:22 pm

sjmiller wrote:
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Captain Jonah wrote:There is no reason why characters apparent or actual age needs to be fixed.
I've started characters later than 18 so I don't have everyone (including NPCs) with ages four years apart from each other.
Back when I played a lot more Traveller (LBB), we used a lot of the expanded character creation options found in books 4-7 (Mercenary, High Guard, Scout, Merchant Prince).
Now that I play Traveller even more (Mongoose), we use a lot of the advanced career rules found in Scoundrel, Scout, Merchant Prince, Dilettante, Dynasty, High Guard, Psion, Agent, and Mercenary.
sjmiller wrote:Final age of a character at the end of creation really did not matter, as long as you took good notes while making your character, who cared how old you were?
Players that role-play tend to care about the age of their character. It's part of their backstory, and how other PCs and NPCs may react to them when encountered.
sjmiller
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Re: Starting Age

Postby sjmiller » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:04 pm

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
sjmiller wrote:Final age of a character at the end of creation really did not matter, as long as you took good notes while making your character, who cared how old you were?
Players that role-play tend to care about the age of their character. It's part of their backstory, and how other PCs and NPCs may react to them when encountered.
That is quite true. I believe the point I was trying to make was it really does not matter if your character's age is not 22, 26, 30, 34, 38, 42, 46, or even 50 years old. They can be other ages without much issue. It is just nice if they would make the default age a tad easier to find and explain why example characters do not follow the defaults.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby Hopeless » Tue Mar 19, 2013 8:37 pm

In the alternate spinward marches game I've run I had the characters start off at age 12 explaining that life has become very hard for those inn the Marches and has grown steadily worse after the Extra Stellar Gate Network self destructed taken out the most technologically advanced systems as well as wiping out alot of people making it even more necessary for teenagers to begin their career training early with the first tour being an apprenticeship.

They retain the education bonus explained as part of the fact everyone received an expanded education to cope with the pressures of life in the campaign system.

I introduced my players to Mongoose Traveller so they've yet to ask questions about why this is the case but if they do continue they'll learn exactly why this has happened and no they haven't asked outside of the game...
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Re: Starting Age

Postby Batgirl III » Wed Apr 10, 2013 12:50 am

I see no real problem with letting characters slide their age by +/- three or four years, just to add a little variety to things. I'd still hit them with aging modifiers if they went four or more careers, for mechanical reasons, but its highly unlikely everyone on the crew would share a birthday!

If Ralcolm Melnolds is 34 (18+4 Terms), Cayne Jobb is 36 (18+4 Terms, adjusted), Faylee Krye is 26 (18+2 Terms) and Timon Sam is 29 (18+2 Terms, adjusted)... every player can be happy and we move on.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:31 am

I'm liking having characters that are 45, 37, 23, etc. 34+ is the aging process still as normal.
pasuuli
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Re: Starting Age

Postby pasuuli » Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:43 pm

For any particular game, I don't mind if a player character starts a little early. I prefer a penalty for it, such as losing the pre-career education benefits, but I'm not a stickler if the player can convince me.

For a published adventure, chargen "ought" to stick to the rules, or else first get the core rules changed for everybody.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Thu Apr 11, 2013 8:20 pm

Personally, I prefer to have everyone start at 14 (no background skills) and then roll on various setting specific tables (including Events and Mishaps) that help generate their Background skills. Then, at age 18, they can start their 'careers'.
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Re: Starting Age

Postby The Vrusk » Wed Apr 17, 2013 5:24 pm

Is there anything published about playing as a kid?

You know, someone with a silver spoon in their mouth, living in their parent's basement, no mortgage, no kids, no bills ... and bored out of his/her/its mind. (A future Gen Y, if you please).

So they decide to hit the stars?

I guess you could simply roll stats, give background skills, and go to it. They will have to rely on their attributes, a few skills, and a hell of a lot of moxie to get by.

AND, IIRC, they can level up skills by training a LOT faster than experience characters, right? Almost like a standard RPG character who does not start with a lifepath pregen.

Hmmm ... could be fun.

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