Alternative Species bonuses/penalties in Character Generation?


Cosmic Mongoose
One thing that struck me, when playing a Bwap, is that you have an increased chance of dying during character generation!

Bwaps enjoy a -4 adjustment on both their Strength and Endurance rolls, so, if you roll low and subtract is it not possible to begin play with Strength and Endurance at either zero or negative scores. Not quite dead, perhaps but probably unconscious and certainly not very playable. Does a certain percentage of Bwaps just get born in a terminally dire situation?

Now, mathematical programs have ascertained that a Boon or Bane die effectively adjusts your rolls by +2 or -2 respectively, but the beauty of rolling them is that the range is not adjusted, just weighted in one particular direction or the other. So, if I roll up a Bwap, would it not make more sense to give 2 Bane dice to each or Strength and Dexterity scores when rolling up? Still possible to get a range between 2-12, but unlikely to roll above average. Alternatively, you could try and match it with a D6+1 for the total, I guess.

I’m not sure how it relates to other Species. Aslan get a +2 bonus to Strength and Endurance, and a penalty to Dexterity. However, if you use Boon dice instead of the bonus, they will never get higher than 12. So that might be a problem. I’ve still not quite worked out why Vargr would take any penalty to Endurance at all, going on their Terran canine ancestry (have you ever seen an unfit wolf?), but would a Bane to rolling their Strength score be better?

TrippyHippy said:
(have you ever seen an unfit wolf?)

Yes, I have. Mostly as a result of disease or starvation, sometimes because of injury (which can also contribute to the first two). Wolves aren't actually particularly more fit than most other wild animals; it's mostly a matter that the things which can render them unfit are likely to be fatal fairly quickly. You won't see an unfit one for long, basically.

That said, I'd be supportive of using Boons and Banes for character stat generation. Yes, it will eliminate the over-range results for beneficial adjustments, but it also eliminates the under-range results for detriments - a fair trade-off to my way of thinking, and it additionally wipes out the possibility of, as you pointed out, rolling up an essentially non-viable character prima facie.
Well, there is a reason why Bwaps don't usually join the Marines...
The racial adjustment is harsh, granted, but Bwaps are not physically suited to careers that require a great deal of physical strength or stamina. This is why they gravitate towards non-violent careers, or at least careers that require a deft and intelligent approach to violence. Lleylywolly [Dandilions] are the same way.

But don't count these guys out! Bwaps are common enough in Imperial space that they're anatomy and treatment is in most medical databases sold in the Imperium and Julian Protectorate. Standard medkit equipment works on them without modification. Their medical ability, especially in treated diseases, is second to none. Yes, it's a bit more holistic and diet, supplements, and herbally based than most Human approaches, but it's still very effective.
Of course with using +/-2 = 1 boon/bane dice you get a Bwap rolling two bane dice that can nevertheless still theoretically end up STR and END 12... or even more absurdly STR 12 and END 2.

For NPCs at least it makes more sense to adjust the dice rolled based on average rolls.

So 2D6-4 gives an average of 3.

Which is as near as dammit 1D6 so I'd just use that.

As for Aslan I'd keep the 2D+2 for strength but use 2D6 and a bane die for DEX.

I know we're supposed to ignore sex but I'd also have Aslan females just roll 2D for both STR and DEX so on average they are as every illustration and their gender roles suggest they rather less strong than males but more agile and dextrous.

(I also like apply DMs for homeworld Size - proxying for gravity - and Tech Level as if they were stats - so an asteroid dweller (Siz 0) gets +2 DEX and -2 to STR and END - while a TL 15 worlder gets +3 - or +1 and a boon dice - to EDU).

Fiddly I know - but this is Traveller where you are expected to design your own equipment from scratch...