Thursday, October 10, 2019

Traveller Experience Rules

I've written about Traveller's Experience system before. 

I do not understand why this system has not been used more widely, even among Traveller players. It is simple to understand and requires FAR LESS BOOKKEEPING than the other major experience system in play in the old days. 

That other RPG's experience point system led to a type of metagaming known as the "XP quest" where PCs would kill & steal and do whatever for no in-game reason, but only to get enough XP to "level up". While not everyone did this, it was common. I played this way at times as well. You had to track every little thing you picked up, and every monster encounter was evaluated in terms of the potential XP gain.

It took multiple adventures to gain enough XP to level up, and only after three or four levels would a PC see any growth in their To Hit numbers or saving throws - which is what most players really wanted.
Contemplating a third term in the Scouts. Should he risk it? Again?

Traveller's Experience rules were simple by comparison. 

Choose which skill(s) you want to improve, and make the dedication throw. That's it. The results were instant - either you didn't make the throw and had to wait a while before trying again, or you did make the throw, and were awarded with an immediate boost to the selected skill(s).

You're playing the ship's Engineer?  Go the Experience route and just like that you go from Engineering-1 to Engineering-2 and you're eligible for a 10% raise in pay! As well, now when attempting to repair battle damage (Damage Control) the DM is +2, instead of 1.  On Traveller's 2D6 curve, that is a significant improvement!

Once I figured this out, it became standard practice for me to make the Experience rules the last stop in character creation. Finish mustering out, then hit up the experience system to build up my primary and secondary skills. Instant leveling up, instant benefit.

Weapon skills or Basic Skills or Transportation skills could all be improved. Not stated in the rules but implied (and later stated in JTAS) is that brand new skills could be learned as well. Also, the TTB mentions zero-level skills; just enough to avoid a penalty, not enough to get a bonus. Zero-level skills don't count against the skill level limit imposed by INT+EDU. You want skills in Traveller?  They're not hard to come by, and there's almost no book-keeping required.

Postscript: this is my 300th post here at AF3. Milestone! Image credits
Man of Space Pixabay

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