14 Sep 2014

Fun With Traveller - The Lab Ship Researcher

A bit of a test run this time around.  I recently purchased Book 10: Cosmopolite, the citizens and scholars supplement for Mongoose Traveller.  The book allows players to create characters who are the common people, the bulk of civilization.  Two additions in the book help.  First, post-secondary education.  While Book 2: High Guard did have naval academies, they were specific to the Navy career.  Cosmopolite's approach is similar that /High Guard/'s academies aren't broken or obsolete.  Second, an expanded Life Events table to match the extended Events tables in the other career books.  The new table lets characters who have life events differentiate a little more from other characters who also have rolled on the table.

I'll be trying out the new table in this installment.  As always, though, I need a concept or goal to work with.  Why not see if I can create one of the crew of the lab ship Spencer is helping refuel in the non-existent Traveller fic I have in mind?  The resulting character doesn't need to fill a specific crew position; half the fun is seeing how the character comes together and what he can do.

From the basics, I need a name, a homeworld, and the characteristics.  Danilo Peck will be from D'Ganzio in the Lanth subsector of the Spinward Marches.  D'Ganzio is a poor, small, high tech world with a very thin tainted atmospher, little surface water to be found, and no industrial base, and is owned by Instellarms.  For Danilo's characteristics, I rolled 7, 8, 10, 11, 8, and 2.  Ouch on that last roll, but I still average higher than 7.  Danilo will be heading to university, so I need his Intelligence and Education to be high.  I assign the 11 and the 10 in that order.  Danilo's an average citizen, thus his Social Standing gets the 7.  Danilo is suddenly clumsy as Dexterity gets the 2, leaving the remaining 8s for Strength and Endurance.

The basic education Danilo has before his eighteenth birthday leaves him with four background skills.  He must take Animals and Computers from the trade codes Poor and High Tech, leaving him with two choices left.  His first choice is Space Sciences; there's not much planet beneath his feet to study properly, but a whole lot of space above his head.  The second choice is Carouse; he gets along with others.

Danilo's ready to head out into the galaxy.  He applies to the All-Lanth University, and rolls 9.  Adding his Education bonus, the total of 10 is more than the 8 needed to be admitted.  He gets two skills, one at 0, the other at 1, from the list in Cosmopolite; Danilo takes Space Science (Planetology) at 1 and Social Science at 0.  Danilo's Education increases by 1 as well.  During his time at university, Danilo does have an event occur, as all university students do.  Danilo joins a political movement and now needs to make a Social Standing roll to see if he becomes a leading figure.  The roll is 8, which is what he needed; Danilo gains an Ally in the movement but an Enemy in wider society.  The last thing to do is check for graduation.  Danilo needs to beat 8 using his Intelligence modifier; a 10 or higher makes him an honours graduate.  The roll, with the modifier, is 10; Danilo graduates with honours.  The graduation grants him bonus to the skills he learned, an increase to his Education, and a +2 modifier when trying to enter his career as a scholar.  Social Science requires a specialty beyond level 0; Danilo takes Archaeology.

With his diploma, Danilo looks for his new career.  All-Lanth does have a lab ship, purchased with help of the Imperial Interstellar Scout Service.  Lab ships are a great way to study planets, first by being able to get to the planet and then by scanning it and having labs to analyze samples.  Danilo applies to All-Lanth not as a student but as a potential Academician.  To qualify, Danilo must roll 6 or higher, adding his Education modifier and the +2 from being an honours graduate.  The roll, after modifiers, is 12.  All-Lanth has a new researcher for its lab ship.

Not mentioned in the Pre-Career Education section is how enlisting in a career afterwards works.  As seen with Danilo, the number of skills is low, in line with a term in a career not including basic training.  Thus, Danilo still gets basic training despite his degree.  Real life works much the same way.  Danilo's basic training gets him up to speed with Comms, Diplomat, Medic, Investigate, and a Science skill.  He already has training with Computers; the refresher course doesn't increase his understanding.  Danilo takes Life Science to better understand how organisms interact with the natural course of a planet's life.  As an Intern, Danilo gets Science (any) 1; he chooses to add to his Space Sciences with Xenology.  His first skill roll is taken on the Lab Ship Researcher table, getting Science (any), allowing Danilo to improve his Planetology.  Danilo must now check for survival, needing to roll 6 or better after adding his non-existant Endurance modifier.  The roll is 11; Danilo has not tripped over his feet into an airlock.  He now checks for an event, the roll is 31; he is fascinated with exploration and may automatically join the Scout Service next term.  While tempting, his low Dexterity may make that a very short career.  Danilo hopes his staying put helps him with a promotion.  He needs to roll 8 or higher with his Education modifier; he gets 5 total and remains an Intern.

Despite the low roll, Danilo gets to continue in his career.  First thing he does is roll on the Lab Ship Researcher skills table and gets Science (any) and applies it to Planetology.  Next, he must try to survive and rolls 8, more than enough.  The event rolled is 61; he pilots a drone into an erupting volcano and gets Remote Operations as a skill.  Finally, it's promotion time.  Danilo really wants stop being an Intern and rolls 8.  Still an Intern, but he's no longer Rank 0.  His bonus skill roll is taken on the Personal Development table; he wants to be less clumsy but instead gains a point of Endurance.

Danilo's third term as an Academican starts.  He rolls on the Lab Ship Researcher table again and gets Science (any); he applies that to Vulcanology.  His survival roll, now with a modifier from his Endurance, is 8; no problems with tripping over his own feet.  The event rolled is 55, Danilo is given the team leader position in an experiment, getting a +1 to any one Benefit roll.  Danilo's achievements in Space Science is getting noticed, but does that lead to a promotion?  The roll is 9; Danilo is promoted to Scientist, and he is shown how to use the lab ship's sensors.  The bonus skill roll is taken on the Personal Development table, getting another increase to Endurance.  However, this is the end of the fourth term, even though Danilo has only spent three in his current career.  Danilo must check for aging results; if he can roll a 1 or higher after subtracting the number of terms so far, he doesn't have to worry; the roll is 3.  Nothing, yet.  Danilo could start anagathics, but he'll hold off for now.

The newly minted Scientist returns to work.  The first skill roll is taken on the Lab Ship Researcher table, getting Engineer (any); Danilo takes Power Plant as the specialty.  The survival roll is 7, just enough to avoid a mishap.  For the event, Danilo rolls 56; he is offered the chance to field test a science robot and gains Engineering (Robotics).  Finally, the promotion roll; the result is 6, not enough.  At the end of the term, Danilo again checks for aging; the modified roll is 2.

Danilo continues his career as a Lab Ship Researcher.  He's done far more than he dreamed about on D'Ganzio so far and wants to see where it leads.  The first skill roll is again on the Lab Ship Researcher, getting Science (any), which Danilo decides to use to improve his Xenology.  Next, the survival roll is 8, more than enough.  The event rolled is 16; Danilo is given advanced training as long as he rolls 8 or better after adding his Education.  The result is 9; Danilo chooses Leadership as he wants to show that he's ready to move up.  The promotion roll is 11; his efforts are rewarded.  The bonus skill roll is taken on the Advanced Education table this time, getting Computers.  However, Danilo must check for aging; he rolls a total of -2; all three physical characteristics are reduced by one each.  With his Dexterity at 1, this is as far as Danilo will go.

Technically, Danilo is still working at All-Lanth, but for the sake of completeness, I'll go through his mustering out.  Danilo served five terms as a Lab Ship Researcher, finishing with rank 3, getting him seven rolls on the Benefits tables.  For the purposes of mustering out, Danilo is retired, getting Cr10 000 per year in retirement pay.  The first two rolls are taken on the Cash table, getting Cr30 000 and Cr60 000 for a total of Cr90 000.  The remaining rolls are taken on the Other Benefits table, with the following results of 2, 5, 6, 1, and 5.  Danilo bumps the 6 to a 7 with the +1 modifier earned earlier, getting him a Travellers' Aid Society membership in recognition of his work in Planetology.  The other rolls get an increase to Education, Scientific Equipment, an increase to Intelligence, and Scientific Equipment.  The second instance of Scientific Equipment gets used to increase Danilo's Comms skill.

Overall, Danillo is one of the top planetologists in the Lanth Subsector, and in the top 100 in the Spinward Marches.  His shipboard experience will allow him to compete for an engineering position on board a starship, with his bridge skills - Comms, Sensors - being an added benefit.  At age 42, though, Danilo is starting to look dangerously clumsy.  He may be better off looking into changing careers, becoming a lecturer at All-Lanth instead of serving on the RV Poni Pride*.

Danilo's character sheet:
Name: Danilo Peck
Age: 42
Species: Human (Solomani/Vilani mix)
Homeworld: D'Ganzio/Lanth (B121410-D Naval Base, Poor, Non-Industrial, High Tech)
Rank: Scientist (3)

  Str 7/+0
  Dex 1/-2
  End 9/+1
  Int 12/+2
  Edu 13/+2
  Soc 7/+0

  Animals 0
  Carouse 0
  Comms 1
  Computers 1
  Diplomat 0
  Engineering 0
    Power Plant 1
    Robotics 1
  Investigate 0
  Leadership 1
  Life Science 0
  Medic 0
  Remote Operations 1
  Sensors 1
  Social Science 0
    Archaeology 1
  Space Science 0
    Planetology 4
    Vulcanology 1
    Xenology 2

Career - 1-University; 2-Academician, Lab Ship Researcher
Term 1: All-Lanth University, led political movement, graduated with honours.
Term 2: Fascinated by exploration but turns down Scout service.
Term 3: Piloted a drone into an erupting volcano; promoted.
Term 4: Given the team leader position in an experiment; promoted.
Term 5: Field tested a science robot.
Term 6: Given advance training in Leadership; promoted.

Cr90 000
Retirement Pay: Cr10 000

Ally: In political movement
Enemy: Lanth political junkie

  TAS Membership
  Scientific tool kit
As always, if you wind up playing this character, let me know how it goes.

* Ponis are six-legged riding animals adopted as the symbol of the Scout Service after a mistake was made when describing the old Pony Express in the history of Terra/Sol/Solomani Rim.  (That would be Earth.)  Go Ponis!

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