Its been exactly seven years since I started writing my ‘Fantasy Traveller’ series of articles where I converted the Classic Traveller rules system for use in a fantasy environment. As much as I love Classic Traveller, I feel Cepheus Engine is its modern decendant with an ever-improving level of support from third-party publishers. More and more settings are being released with a greater variety of backgrounds and source material. Some examples of these are Gypsy Knights Games ‘Clement Sector’, Stellagama Publishing ‘These Stars Are Ours’ and Zozer Games’ with Orbital 2100 / Hostile and various CE-related products.
I’ve dabbled and dipped into parts of Cepheus Engine, but I want to get to grips with the system in more detail to support additional articles in this blog.
Therefore I’m going to start converting my ‘Fantasy Traveller’ articles to Cepheus Engine as I think this could be interesting for future visitors and provide an alternative environment to use the CE rules set in. I’m not going to drop support for the Classic Traveller articles entirely, but I’ve reached the point where I’m happy with the ‘rules’ as a ‘system’ and adding much more feels like adding for the sake of it.
So, I need to get to grips with the char gen system, combat and weapons before I start updating the world of ‘Grond’ with a Cepheus Engine set of mechanics. I’ve been reading through the CE System Reference Document and noted the most relevant parts which I think I can utilise for the basis of a rules set. Originally, I extracted the Classic Traveller careers mainly from Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium and CE already includes a number of these as a career path. To get the char gen process ‘right’, I’m going to take one career path and use that as a basis that I can apply to other careers.
The general aim should be roughly the same as the original Fantasy Traveller where I try and keep it as simple as possible (within the game mechanics) and not deviate too much from the original rules set. Only where there aren’t rules already in place do I add something in eg. magic. So, I’m going to have a look at a ‘Hunter’ career and modify it for a fantasy world.
One if the lions at Osborne House I photographed on the Isle of Wight.
Character Creation Checklist
1) a) Roll your six characteristics using 2D6
b) Determine characteristic modifiers
Homeworld Background Skills
2) a) Character gains a number of background skills at Level 0 equal to 3 + their education modifier. Select from table.
3) a) Choose a career.
b) Roll to qualify for that career. If you fail the roll, you automatically become a Drifter and follow that career path.
4) a) For your first term in your first career, you get every skill in the service skills table at Level 0.
b) For the first term in the Drifter career, you may pick any one skill from the service skills table at Level 0.
5) a) Roll for survival, if you succeed, go to step 6.
b) If you fail, you have died. Alternatively you can roll on the mishap table and you complete your career development process. No benefits are received for this term.
Commission and Advancement
6) a) You begin as a Rank 0 character.
b) If you are a Rank 0 character and your career offers a commission check, you can choose to roll for commission if you want. If successful, you are now rank 1. Choose one of the skills and training tables and roll on it for an extra skill. Take any bonus skills from the ranks table for this career.
c) If your career offers an Advancement check and you are rank 1 or higher, you can choose to roll for Advancement. If successful your Rank improves by 1. Choose one of the skills and training tables and roll on it for an extra skill. Take any bonus skills from the ranks table for this career. You can also roll for Advancement in the same term that you succeeded in a Commission roll.
Skills and Training
7) a) Choose one of the Skills and Training tables for this career and roll on it. If you get a characteristic gain improvement, apply it immediately. If you gain a skill as a result and do not already have levels in that skill, take it at Level 1. If you already have the skill, increase your skill level by one.
8) a) Increase your age by 4 years.
b) If your character is 34 years or older, roll for aging.
9) a) Roll for re-enlistment. If you fail, you must leave the career. If you roll a natural 12, you cannot leave even if you want to and must continue for another term. Go to step 5.
b) If you have served more than seven terms, then you must retire, go to step 10.
c) If you wish to continue in this career, go to step 5.
d) If you wish to leave this career, go to step 10.
10) a) If you are leaving the career, roll for benefits. A character gets one roll for every full term of service. You also get benefit rolls if you reached a higher rank.
11) a) Purchase your starting equipment.
I’m on holiday as I write this article so here’s a picture I took of Freshwater Bay on the Isle of Wight just to break up the text…
Hunter Career as an Example
Roll 2D6 for the six attributes Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education and Social Standing. Apply characteristic modifiers as per the table on page 24 of the CE SRD.
Because all careers are based on the world of Grond, there are no homeworld-specific skills so I’ll suggest the following table that you get three skills (choose, or roll D6 for) plus 1 per education attribute modifier and receive the skills at Level 0.
1 Animals (choose cascade skill from Farming or Veterinary Medicine)
5 Vehicle (Wheeled Vehicle)
Career choice, using Hunter as an example. Roll to qualify (assume qualification). Gain all service skills at level 0. This is where I’m going to have to change the service skills list, using this table:
If you already have a skill at level 0, there is no additional advancement if you get the skill again.
Roll for Survival – need to get 8+.
There are no ranks or advancement, so you get skill Survival-1 at Rank 0.
Skills and training; if your character has Education 8+, then they may choose from the Advanced Education table in addition to the Personal Development, Service skills and the Specialist skills tables. If not, you may only roll on the Personal Development, Service and Specialist tables. Roll 1D6 per table chosen – because the Hunter does not have an advancement table, you can roll twice.
The Personal Development Table is changed thus:
Specialist Skills Table
Advanced Education Table
Now increase your age by 4 years and apply any modifiers if appropriate and roll for re-enlistment, where a roll of 6+ is required. Repeat the survival and skills rolls, until you are either dead or exit the career.
Benefits: You get one roll on the benefits table per full term of service served. You can only roll three times on the cash table and there are no retirement benefits.
Material Benefits Table for Hunter career
1 Hunting and trapping equipment sufficient to catch small animals
2 +1 INT
5 Armour (piece of or full set, as described on armour table)
6 Horse and riding equipment
Cash Benefits (gold pieces (gp)
So now I have a basic process with which to generate character careers in CE; over the coming articles I’ll expand more on the skills by modifying them for the fantasy background, more on the character classes and testing the system in a dungeon adventure.
Update: part 2 of this series can be found here.
This article is released under the Open Game License as defined under the heading ‘In respect to Cepheus Engine and Open Game License (OGL) Products‘ in the ‘About’ page.