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Day 8: Traveller Generic Extended Character Generation System

 Generic Extended Character Generation System is a variant for Classic Traveller written by James Jensen. I discovered it over a decade ago, and it is my favorite method to generate characters for the game. It provides a year-by-year resolution of a term for any Traveller career using the charts in Book 1: Characters and Combat and Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium. It is designed to provide similar amounts of experience and skills as Book 4: Mercenary and its successors but provides an alternative to them for the army, marines, navy, merchant, and scout careers.

The process is similar to Book 4: Mercenary we used yesterday and the day before but without the detail. Assignments is replaced with a generic difficulty rating rolled on 2D6. The higher the roll, the safer the assignment, with a 12 being a special duty assignment.

So, let’s do a character with this system.

First, we do UPP resulting in 7A678B. With an 11 in Social Standing, equivalent to the rank of Knight, I’m going to take the automatic selection to the career of Noble from Supplement 4. Note our character is not yet a knight. That has to be gained through a position roll in the career. We’ll assume one or both of his parents hold the rank.

In our first year as an adult noble, we have a difficulty of 11, the safest you can be. To determine our survival chances, we have a target of the career’s regular survival roll minus half of the difficulty minus four, rounded up. Half of 11 is 5.5. Subtracting 4 and rounding up we get 2. A noble normally rolls 3+ to survive. This modifies it to 1+. Our young noble clearly spent his first year as an adult being a toady at some local court.

Next, we need to roll for a position. Our target is the standard target plus one-third of our difficulty rounded down. For a noble, this is 5+3 = 8+. A roll of 9 indicated we toadied well enough to get our own title of Knight. We can try for a promotion with the same math using the normal promotion value. This is a 12+3 = 15 and is not happening.

A decoration requires a roll of three times the difficulty minus enlistment DMs. There are no enlistment DMs for nobles and rolling a 33+ on 2D6 is impossible.

Finally, we need to roll our difficulty to get a skill. We’ll use the optional DM of IQ/5, rounded down, for a +1. 4+1 does not make 11+ so we learned nothing at court.

Our difficulty the next year is 10. We’re still at court, just with an actual title. People probably are toadies for us. A roll of 11 makes for easy survival. Promotion and decoration rolls remain impossible. A roll of 11+1=12 for skills means we finally learned something. A roll of 6 on the noble service skill table yields Bribery-1.

I’m figuring we’ve started bribing doormen to let our whole party into exclusive venues.

We continued in court the next year with a continued difficulty of 10. We roll a 10 for survival and a 4 for skills.

In the last year of the term we’re sent to tour some backwater worlds and the difficulty drops to 7. We actually have to roll for survival as the target is now 3+. A 10 indicates an uneventful round of press junkets but still no chance of promotion or decoration. We did learn something among the unwashed, however. A service skills roll of 2 indicates blade combat. I’m thinking we did a bit of fencing and picked up Foil-1.

A re-enlistment roll of 3 indicates we’re no longer welcome at court as the re-enlistment target is 4+. Another layabout knight who does nothing more than go through the motions isn’t much use so we’re sent off to make ourselves useful elsewhere.

We get one mustering-out roll for one term plus another for our rank of Knight. I’ll take one on benefits and one on cash. Rolls of 2 and 3 indicate we left with one high passage and 50,000 credits.

Finally, our layabout Knight needs a name. Our knight seems like the kind of person who fits the jet-setter moniker. According to Wikipedia, “The term “jet set” is attributed to Igor Cassini, a reporter for the New York Journal-American, who wrote under the pen name ‘Cholly Knickerbocker‘.”

Cholly Nichols, Esq. sounds like the young man we’re looking for.

Cholly Nichols, Esq. 7A678B Noble, 1 term Age: 22
Bribery-1, Foil-1
Cr: 50,000
Passages: 1 High

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