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  #1  
Old May 12th, 2004, 08:00 PM
icewall icewall is offline
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Welp, I just moved and my roommate dug up some old treasures moving out of his old place. Sure enough, he finds his old stack of classic Traveller books. He has a fairly decent collection of most of the pre-'81 booklets. Books 0-5, most of the supplements and adventures too.

Of course, it piqued our interest in the game and we rolled up some characters for old times sake. Now we're determined to do some adventuring, even if it doesn't get much farther than some beer and pretzel gaming.

Anyhoo, the question I have and the topic of discussion regards the "gaining experience/skill advancement portion" of Traveller, or rather the lack thereof.

We scoured the books for the official rules regarding character advancement, but this seems to be rather lacking. Even the published adventures make no real mention of it as I can see (just "completing the mission gives the players X amount of credits). Thinking back, I'm remembering now that this was an issue back in the old days, too.

What I'm asking is there is an "official" means of character advancement in the old school Traveller rules? How does a character improve his/her skills outside of initial advancement? I'd be glad to hear input on others means of dealing with this, or how it has been houseruled by the referee.

Here's my take on the subject, with what I've gleaned from the books and my own experience playing.

System One: There is 'no' official experience system. Characters only get what they start with. The only way to improve/gain new skills is to pay an instructor to teach you, as per the "instructor" rules in High Guard
Pros: Simple
Cons: Characters get no credit for life experience i.e. adventuring. Focus on money to advance. Instruction skill itself impossible to learn except during character creation.

System two: Every four 'adventures' roughly translates into a "tour of duty" equivalent to a military branch. A completed "tour" entitles the character to one skill point. It can be player's choice, referee assigned or even random off the enlistment tables.
Pros: pretty simple still
Cons: Advancement is slow

System three: The 'tickmark' system. This was one of our house rules in the old days. The way it worked was you got a tickmark every time you rolled a 2 or a twelve on a given skill roll (natural critical success/failure). When you recieved a specified number of tickmarks, the skill improved to the next level. Typically, all combat skills would require five times as many tickmarks to advance as non-combat ones, as they come up far more frequently in play. I don't remember the actual numbers, but I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 tickmarks to level non-combat skills and 20 for combat ones. As a variation of this, you could just award tickmarks for one or the other (two or twelve instead of both.
Pros: simple without too much recordkeeping overhead, adjustable level of advancement
Cons: Random, so possible that some characters get screwed while others get a windfall.

I won't detail these here, but I am familiar with GURPS and D&Ds rules for advancement as well. I've breezed over the D20 Lite rules for Traveller, but I have no desire to regress to what is essentially D&D for the Traveller universe. (I still love D&D, I just don't want to ruin my Traveller experience with a cumbersome conversion.)

What do you guys think about these? Is there some 'official' ruling on this? What are your own houserules?
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  #2  
Old May 12th, 2004, 08:00 PM
icewall icewall is offline
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Welp, I just moved and my roommate dug up some old treasures moving out of his old place. Sure enough, he finds his old stack of classic Traveller books. He has a fairly decent collection of most of the pre-'81 booklets. Books 0-5, most of the supplements and adventures too.

Of course, it piqued our interest in the game and we rolled up some characters for old times sake. Now we're determined to do some adventuring, even if it doesn't get much farther than some beer and pretzel gaming.

Anyhoo, the question I have and the topic of discussion regards the "gaining experience/skill advancement portion" of Traveller, or rather the lack thereof.

We scoured the books for the official rules regarding character advancement, but this seems to be rather lacking. Even the published adventures make no real mention of it as I can see (just "completing the mission gives the players X amount of credits). Thinking back, I'm remembering now that this was an issue back in the old days, too.

What I'm asking is there is an "official" means of character advancement in the old school Traveller rules? How does a character improve his/her skills outside of initial advancement? I'd be glad to hear input on others means of dealing with this, or how it has been houseruled by the referee.

Here's my take on the subject, with what I've gleaned from the books and my own experience playing.

System One: There is 'no' official experience system. Characters only get what they start with. The only way to improve/gain new skills is to pay an instructor to teach you, as per the "instructor" rules in High Guard
Pros: Simple
Cons: Characters get no credit for life experience i.e. adventuring. Focus on money to advance. Instruction skill itself impossible to learn except during character creation.

System two: Every four 'adventures' roughly translates into a "tour of duty" equivalent to a military branch. A completed "tour" entitles the character to one skill point. It can be player's choice, referee assigned or even random off the enlistment tables.
Pros: pretty simple still
Cons: Advancement is slow

System three: The 'tickmark' system. This was one of our house rules in the old days. The way it worked was you got a tickmark every time you rolled a 2 or a twelve on a given skill roll (natural critical success/failure). When you recieved a specified number of tickmarks, the skill improved to the next level. Typically, all combat skills would require five times as many tickmarks to advance as non-combat ones, as they come up far more frequently in play. I don't remember the actual numbers, but I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 tickmarks to level non-combat skills and 20 for combat ones. As a variation of this, you could just award tickmarks for one or the other (two or twelve instead of both.
Pros: simple without too much recordkeeping overhead, adjustable level of advancement
Cons: Random, so possible that some characters get screwed while others get a windfall.

I won't detail these here, but I am familiar with GURPS and D&Ds rules for advancement as well. I've breezed over the D20 Lite rules for Traveller, but I have no desire to regress to what is essentially D&D for the Traveller universe. (I still love D&D, I just don't want to ruin my Traveller experience with a cumbersome conversion.)

What do you guys think about these? Is there some 'official' ruling on this? What are your own houserules?
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  #3  
Old May 12th, 2004, 08:45 PM
far-trader far-trader is offline
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Hi icewall, welcome aboard

The only official CT basic advancement rules I'm familiar with aside from Instruction are from "The Traveller Book", a compilation of the revised/second editions of the first 3 LBB's and a few other tidbits, all in one large format book.

Basically it allows improving Education, Fitness (Strength, Dexterity and Endurance), Weapon Skills (one Gun and one Blade), or Skills (any two).

The progress is however painfully slow, about 1-8 years though with some immediate gain and options for advanced techniques (surgery, science, drugs, etc.) to do it much more quickly.

All your house rules are good, it is afterall whatever works for you that works best.

I think we came up with awarding 1 point per character per adventure and an 8+ roll to apply it to a skill or stat of choice. Or something like that, but I'm not sure we actually ever used it.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 08:45 PM
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Hi icewall, welcome aboard

The only official CT basic advancement rules I'm familiar with aside from Instruction are from "The Traveller Book", a compilation of the revised/second editions of the first 3 LBB's and a few other tidbits, all in one large format book.

Basically it allows improving Education, Fitness (Strength, Dexterity and Endurance), Weapon Skills (one Gun and one Blade), or Skills (any two).

The progress is however painfully slow, about 1-8 years though with some immediate gain and options for advanced techniques (surgery, science, drugs, etc.) to do it much more quickly.

All your house rules are good, it is afterall whatever works for you that works best.

I think we came up with awarding 1 point per character per adventure and an 8+ roll to apply it to a skill or stat of choice. Or something like that, but I'm not sure we actually ever used it.
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  #5  
Old May 12th, 2004, 09:18 PM
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Page 103 in TTB. I also don't recall it being in the LBBs.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 09:18 PM
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Page 103 in TTB. I also don't recall it being in the LBBs.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:50 PM
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I like #3 also, though I would rather there were a way to not need tick marks... not that that really matters I suppose.

But then again, tick marks are useful things. Perhaps it takes one mark to advance from a level 1 to level 2, but two marks to advance from a 2 to 3, three marks from a 3 to 4, etc.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:50 PM
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I like #3 also, though I would rather there were a way to not need tick marks... not that that really matters I suppose.

But then again, tick marks are useful things. Perhaps it takes one mark to advance from a level 1 to level 2, but two marks to advance from a 2 to 3, three marks from a 3 to 4, etc.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:53 PM
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Page 42, Book 2: Experience.
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Old May 12th, 2004, 10:53 PM
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Page 42, Book 2: Experience.
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