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The Traveller 5 [T5] character generation system is versatile. It has more than enough variation between careers – and even within most careers – to allow for wide variety of characters and skills. The ability to select some skill results, rather than a random result on the die roll (Shipboard skill has seven options, for example) allows a player to better customize the PC to his liking. This makes it much easier for a player group to gain all the skills necessary to crew a ship properly. I’ve played in groups where none of us could roll an engineer to save our lives. This small example shows why having some customization available can be important to a group of adventurers… er, Travellers.
In earlier versions of Traveller my favorite career has always been the Scouts. While they are still great in T5 (eight skills per term if you choose the Explorer branch, though you don’t receive the automatic Pilot skill anymore), my new favorite career is the Rogue.
The Rogue career is a ‘catchall’ career for everything from misfits, to con artists, to call center scammers, to pirates, and much more. The ‘exact’ career description would depend on the player’s ideas and the skills rolled, of course. The PC may not even be a criminal. He may just be a person who takes what opportunities come his way, and if they are less than legal, so be it. Han Solo of Star Wars fame would certainly be a Rogue with these rules.
The Rogue career is an excellent choice if you are fortunate with your stat rolls. The rest of your stats can be junk, as long as you have that one good stat. Once you choose your initial Controlling Characteristc (CC) you use it for your entire Rogue career, for all rolls (Beginning the career, Risk, Reward, and Continuing). Indeed, play a Vargr character instead of a Human. Vargr use a stat called Vigor rather than Endurance, and roll 3D (3 dice), not 2D, for it. With a 3D average roll of 10-11, you have a solid chance of having a great Vigor score.
And many Imperials in the setting believe Vargr are all Rogues anyway, and not to be trusted much…
Each Term in the Rogue career you roll to determine a Scheme – and its base Value. The reward is typically money – sometimes in absurd amounts, if you roll well – but can also be Ship Shares.
All careers involve Risk. No matter how high your Controlling Characteristic (CC) for this career is, you will always fail any roll on a max roll (“12” on 2D). If your CC is 12 or greater this gives you a great chance to rake in some cash (see DARING, below). The main issues with failing a Risk roll are, 1- you are injured; 2- you may spend your next Term in Jail; and 3- Your Reward roll result is halved. Them’s the breaks, right? You knew the risks when you chose this career. 😉
In all careers with Risk (all but Citizen, Craftsman, Entertainer, and Noble) you have the option to be Safe or Daring. Basically, you specify a number from 1 to 9. If being Daring this number reduces your chance of success, and increases your chances of Reward, Commission, and Promotion (if available to that career). And if being Safe it acts as the reverse of this.
Here’s the “cheat”, if you will, which should greatly increase the payoff from your Schemes. If your CC is 12 or greater, chose Daring to the level which will make your Risk roll 11 or less to succeed. For example, if your CC is 12, choose Daring for -1, giving you an 11 or less on 2D to succeed. You’ll gain a +1 to your Reward roll (see below). If a “12” always fails, why not gain a bonus on your Rewards?
As I stated above, Rogues can rake in a LOT of cash. Or Ship Shares. If your Rogue has a high CC, the amounts can be very high, indeed. I was playing with the system recently, and generated a Vargr Rogue with enough Ship Shares to own a Free Trader outright – AND he had over 19,000,000 Credits in his pocket. It took him 6 terms to do so, but he’s set for the rest of his adventuring life. Well, until his ship’s engines get shot up, anyway.
In the Rogue career you determine its base value at the term’s beginning. If successful you add 1 to your CC (Controlling Characteristic), plus the reverse of your Daring DM (if any); say you reduced your Risk roll chance of success by 5, you add 5 to your Reward roll. Then you subtract a 2D6 roll (your actual Reward roll). This final number is multiplied by the Scheme’s Base Value you rolled earlier.
With good rolls and a little luck, your PC could rake in some serious cash, and/or more than enough Ship Shares to own a ship outright.
Only the Scout and Civilian careers gain more skills on average than Rogues. Well, Civilians in their first term or two anyway, assuming the PC succeeds at finding a job. (They quickly level off after 2 terms. Scouts gain 8 skills per term of they choose the Explorer branch, only 4 in Communications.)
Rogues gain two skills, plus four additional skills if their Risk roll succeeds (only one more if they fail), for a total of six (three on failure). The military careers (Army, Navy, etc) usually gain 4 to 5 skills per term, though the possibility of schooling can increase this. Over a lengthy career, Rogues can accumulate a good array of skills.
The skills available are varied, though they are “light” on the combat skills. I personally think Gambling skill should be available a little more (it only occurs once on the Rogue charts, out of seven available tables), but that’s probably just personal preference on my part.
And “most importantly” for any adventuring group, Rogues can gain significant ship skills. This can be important for some groups, especially small ones, as the Rogue can (hopefully) pull his own weight (mass?) aboard ship, rather than being a mere passenger. This may make it easier for some other players to trust the Rogue, as well…
The Rogue career seems to be a most excellent career choice. You have the potential to gain a good number of skills, some ship shares, and potentially a lot of cash. While many referees may consider the potential cash levels… excessive, it is very, very easy for referees to separate this cash from a player’s accounts. After all, there are ship repairs, expensive high tech gear, bribes, and so forth, which can quickly drain the Rogue’s cash reserves.
I hope you find my little foray into the Rogue career useful in some way. Please feel free to leave me a comment, suggestion, or idea.
Keep On Travelling!