Though I have started work on converting my ‘Fantasy Traveller’ articles over to the Cepheus Engine rules system, I still want to develop material for the Classic Traveller background, especially as there have been a number of positive comments on Twitter and the Citizens of the Imperium forum. What I write here will eventually help fuel the CE variant of the Fantasy Traveller anyway, so the two will sort of run in parallel. In addition, it is helping me build up the background for the wider subsector I want to develop.
I’d been looking at expanding the ‘Noble’ career from the original as described in Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium. Instead of making a ‘close’ approximation of how Nobles are described in Classic Traveller (mainly diplomats or people who don’t really make or do anything), I want them to be more distinct in the world of Grond. My vision of Nobles is of a well-educated, well equipped ‘class’ of people that live ‘above’ the rest of the denizens of Grond. They essentially live off the spoils of what the people of Grond build or create. Part of their training and ascendancy to rank is to take part in the state-run dungeons and complete adventures in order to advance in status. In some ways its a bit like the state-run colesiums of Roman times, but underground. Sometimes criminals are put in the dungeons to fight the adventuring Nobles, with the offer of a repreve or clemency. Other denizens are paid to help run the dungeons, for the benefit of the Noble class. Some of the dungeons are publically viewable with open viewing areas above the rooms where the action takes place.
Day-to-day life under the Nobles rule on Grond is pretty tough; they help keep the denizens of Grond ‘under the thumb’ by forcing them (some as slaves) to mine a number of important minerals. The Nobles also have a dark secret… nobody knows what happens to the minerals once they have been extracted and anyone that has tried to discover the secret has never been seen again…
There is no societal difference between male and female Nobles, they both progress in the same way and can fight equally as well as each other. They achieve the same rank and can hold the same status; unfortunately all Nobles consider the rest of the populace as ‘beneath them’. Several large families form Noble ‘houses’ and compete with each other for favour with the Emperor of Grond, sometimes by grinding the populace into the dirt, increasing the mining quotas or by participating in the state-run dungeons for sport. To help effect this control over the greater part of the populace, Nobles use the fearsome ‘Skorr’ – a sort of large wolf on steroids which they train and employ for crowd control, hunting and guard patrols.
Image: Public domain photographic reproduction ‘Byzantine Fresca from St Lucas.jpg‘.
Nobles are ‘born’ into the career and receive a great deal of training and schooling up to their age of 18. From there, they progress to military school where they train with the ‘real-world’ skills necessary to perform their duties and help rule / police the populace of Grond.
Some are assigned routine work such as patrols, policing, others are challenged to take on the dungeons for sport or prestige. Others through rank become admistrators of districts, towns or governors.
Typical outfits of the Nobles when in military gear is to wear a quilted coat which is covered in lamellar, scale or chain mail armour. Helmets are generally round or pointed with covers for the ears and back of the head. Plate greaves are worn to protect the legs. Shields are optional, depending on the weapon preference. I’ve modelled the Nobles military gear on what was worn by the Byzantine army, dated the 7th to 12th centuries. If you want to take a further look, I’d like to recommend some books by Osprey Publishing; Angus McBride produced some lovely illustrations of the Byzantine army as this is more-or-less how I envisaged what the Grond Nobles would look like in their military gear. I can’t link to any images here as the work is copyrighted, but I do recommend that you look at the books.
Changes to the Noble Career Path
Skill changes compared to Supplement: 4.
First off, I’m going to have to make some changes to the ‘technological’ skills of the Noble and find some replacements.
Gun Combat is replaced with Bow Combat.
Vehicle is replaced with Riding skill.
Pilot is replaced with Recon.
Ships Boat is replaced with Blade Combat.
Engineering is replaced with Survival skill.
Computer is replaced with Interrogation.
I’ll also introduce an additional skill to cover the Nobles ability to control the Skorr: Service Animal. Increases in skill give a DM of greater chance of controlling the Skorr and the creature carrying out the Nobles intended actions.
Prior Service Table
Enlistment (special) – the Noble career is open only to persons with SOC 10+.
Survival – 6+ (changed this from 3+ to reflect the tougher life of Nobles on Grond)
DM +1 if EDU 9+
DM +1 if INT 10+
Table of Ranks
Rank 1 Knight
Rank 2 Baron
Rank 3 Administrator
Rank 4 Senator
Rank 5 Governor
Rank 6 —-
Table 1 Material Benefits
1 +1 SOC
2 Bow Weapon
3 Blade Weapon
4 Blade Weapon
5 Nobles Set of Armour
6 Horse and Kit
Table 2 Cash Benefits (Grond Currency)
Personal Development Table
1 +1 STR
2 +1 DEX
3 +1 END
4 +1 INT
1 Bow Combat
2 Blade Combat
6 +1 DEX
Advanced Education Table
2 Blade Combat
3 Two-handed Combat
4 Heavy Weapon Combat
6 Service Animal
Advanced Education Table (if EDU is 8+)
The non-standard skills mentioned above (ie. what I have come up with), you can find further details in previous articles based on ‘The Fantasy Traveller‘ tag (link takes you to a list of the related posts in the series).
Example Character Generation
I’ll test the character generation process now, so we have Salakel of the House Marciim who has reached age 18 and needs to improve her skills and contribute to her House. She rolls for her attributes first, 7 7 8 9 10 12. Assigning these, she ends up with 98C77A. As I want Salakel to be a Noble, I need to assign at least a 10 (A) for SOC in order for her to ‘enlist’ in the character class.
She rolls for survival and gets a 10 (there are no DMs) and lives. As its her first term, she gets two skills, which she can roll on the first three tables, but because her EDU score is less than 8, she can’t roll on the fourth table.
She rolls once on the service skills table and once on the advanced education table, getting a 3 (Hunting) and a 2 (Blade Combat). I’ll choose what type of blade later. She then rolls a 2 and fails to get a promotion.
For the next term, she rolls an 8 and survives. Rolling on the advanced education table she gets a 6 (Service Animal) and learns how to manage and control a Skorr. She then rolls a 12 and gains a position to the rank of knight. Unfortunately she only rolls a 3 and fails to get promoted any further, so an additional roll on the skills table (personal development) and rolls a 1 (+1 STR).
Stats start with the third term at A8C77A and a roll for survival results in a 10. Rolling on the advanced education table results in a 4, heavy weapon combat. Salakel fails to get a promotion and decides to exit any more terms in service. To summarise, she is now 30 years of age, rank of knight and has the skills:
Heavy Weapon Combat-1
She has four rolls on the benefits tables (three from terms served and one extra from rank one position) and decides to pick two from each.
From table 1 she gets two blade weapons and from table 2 she gets a total of 8,000Cr (Grond currency).
I’ll be expanding on the role of the Nobles in a future publication, I have a few ideas how to expand on this which links into the dark secret they are complicit in… watch this space!