Avoiding the Character Generation 'mini-game'


Some times you just need player characters quickly, and in those circumstances having players come up with dud PCs who got injured in their first term is not really an option.

Now please, don't think I'm disparaging the player character generation. Some times I like to just try my hand and see what I get for fun. It's awesome and it should always be part of Traveller in my mind.

Anyway, here's my quick PC generation system:

- Point Buy with 45 points.
- Decide how many terms before hand. Do not roll for re-enlistment.
- All PCs get two (2) skills per term. Roll for the first and choose the second.
- Roll for commission/promotion as normal but no skills are awarded.
- Muster out as normal.

There it is!
I suspect most people use something similar, but I thought I'd post mine for you. It makes PCs very similar in 'power' which I like. It can be used with any of the editions except The New Era


Banded Mongoose
Iron man point buy: write down whatever numbers you want. If I approve the character you can play. If I don't approve the character you can't play.

Notice I didn't say you can't play that character, I said you can't play.


Cosmic Mongoose
I use an app. Makes millions of NPCs quickly to populate worlds with. Most are good enough to give to players to role-play as Travellers.


I might get sidetracked here, but the character generation is part of the traveller "balance" mechanism.

We've had a few players create characters using point-by and they manage to create some pretty damn monsters, compared to regularly created characters.

Even the random skill distribution tables are somewhat rigged - with some skills being more common than others. Even some skills are rewarded as profession ranks. Usually, one wants to be a pilot but ends being a wrench monkey or melee fighter.

What I mean is, no problem for NPCs, but handle player character generation carefully with point-buy.


I don't think it's a good idea to mix the two systems. It's not a problem if all the PCs use point buy, and it's easily tunable by reducing the points.

I'm sure that, in-universe, Traveller encyclopedia open to random entries, and that explains why character generation works that way.

On our group the guy who rolls the worst character in a random generator usually dies in the first encounter, then rolls up a new hero because we all want to play. I'm not sure how that happens. Maybe the bad luck from character generation somehow sticks to the character.



Emperor Mongoose
It really depends on what kind of game and characters the players want.

A totally random character generation allows some leeway in the process, which is why in Dungeons and Dragons you could roll four dice and select the best three, or assign results to specific characteristics.

Disastrous results can be mitigated with a second roll which provides a range of consequences from mildly annoying to fatal.

Mixing point buy and random would require that all results are final with no second chances, and the advantage being that the character could acquire more skills or enhancements that the default assigned point pool couldn't afford.