Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Fantasy Traveller, Part Two

Ok, so, the title might be a little misleading (it got you here at least). As I wrote a couple weeks ago, I'm not so much interested in building out a full-fledged fantasy-variant Traveller, as I am in adopting some of its principal character generation elements into a fun, simple, and loose mini-game compatible with old school D&D.

With that in mind, I came up with a few design methods and goals to help guide the project:

1.Take my background and chargen charts as a baseline for the character's previous career. Think of this as the equivalent of rolling the terms of service in Traveller. 

2.Tie-in some of its results with a simple background skills system such as  BFRPG's Backgrounds and Specialties Supplement.  To keep it more on the D&D feel side of things I believe it must be somewhat vague and simple on the skills provided. 

3.Provide both risks and rewards from background rolls: ability hikes/losses, more/less starting gear, more/less starting cash, and the like. Think the mustering-out, survival and promotion charts of Traveller merged. 

4.Orient it to low and mid-level starting characters (levels 1-5). 

Below you can see my first two draft efforts. I'm currently working on other tables for “positive” and "neutral" background events, military service, religious or magical experiences along the same general lines of the traumatic events table. 

I'm already running into all kinds of dilemmas. Does this over or under balance starting characters?  What level of detail should I provide on results?  How do you categorize “traumatic” or “positive” outcomes? How do you make it class-specific? Etc. etc. 

Background Skills

1. If you were apprenticed and rolled on Chart 2A: Craft, you get the “Tradesman” background skill set.

2. If you learned (or were apprenticed in) an occupation by rolling on Chart 2: Occupation, and rolled:
...Craftsman/Skilled worker or Merchant, you get the “Tradesman” background. 
...Peasant/Farmworker or Farmer, you get the “Farmer” background.
...Miner/Forester, you get the “Outdoorsman” background.
...Fisherman or Sailor, you get the “Seafarer” background. 
...Soldier/Mercenary, you get the “Soldier” background. 
...Slaver, you get the “Barbarian” background.
...Government Official, Gentleman, or Noble, you get the “Aristocrat” background. 
....Sage/Scholar/Alchemist or Scribe, you get the “Scholar” background. 

Traumatic Events

1. For each traumatic event (being orphaned, having family killed, killing someone, having a comrade killed, etc.) rolled on Chart 3: Childhood or Chart 4: Young Adulthood, you must roll once the Trauma Chart. 

2. If you roll a  traumatic event on a sub-table of Chart 3 or 4 (military service, religious experience, magical occurrence, etc.) you must roll ONE TIME ONLY on the Trauma Chart. 

Trauma  Chart (Roll d20)
1 “Folded, spindled, and/or mutilated”, -1 to ability of your choice
2-4 “I blame society”, roll once on Chart 4D: Vice
5-10 “It left a mark”, physical/emotional scar but otherwise no effect 
11-16 “Got lucky”, no effect 
17-19 “I rise to the occasion”, roll once on Chart 4C: Virtue
20 “Whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger”, +1 to ability of your choice. 

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