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Old December 24th, 2018, 03:28 PM
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Default PTL - Personal Tech Level

"Let's throw this out on the porch and see if the cat licks it up."
-- Ancient Solomani Quip


Along with the UPP, Traveller characters are rated by the PTL, the Personal Technological Level. This rating generally describes the Traveller's competence with high technology.


A character's EDU score serves as his base tech level of which he is trained and comfortable. Because of tech bleed in the star-spanning Imperium, a person has no trouble with technology up to two levels higher.

Thus, a person who grew up on a TL 7 homeworld and ended up with EDU A has a PTL-10 and is comfortable with higher technology up to TL-12.

This person went to the best schools and was introduced to higher technology from teachers imported from higher tech worlds.

Note that TTB stipulates that EDU can never be raised higher than INT (post character generation).

Referee: A character's PTL will never be lower than the character's EDU unless specifically specified by the referee. The default PTL for an NPC is the NPC's EDU level (barring no other known factors that would raise the PTL).


If the UWP of the character's homeworld indicates a TL higher than the character's EDU, then the character's PTL is raised to that level. In other words, a character's PTL is the higher of the TL of his homeworld and his EDU score.

Referee: Since most citizens in the Imperium never (or rarely) leave their homeworld, it can be assumed that any NPCs encountered are from the world where the player character encounters them. If this is true, consider NPC PTL's to be the higher of the NPC's EDU or the current world's TL (if the referee agrees that that NPC's homeworld is the current world).


A person's PTL is first determined by his schooling during his first 18 years of life (determined by homeworld or EDU score), but the PTL can be vastly changed by the character's previous career.

Book 1 Careers

Imperial Navy = TL 15.

Imperial Marines = TL 15

Army = Homeworld TL

Scouts = TL 15

Merchants = Home Port TL or Vessel TL

Other = Homeworld TL
Referee: The referee should adjust career TL to match custom circumstances (such as the character entering the local world Marines).


These rules are specifically designed to be easy to use in the game and not hinder the PCs unless special circumstances appear. Note how a character's PTL is raised to TL-15 with most of the careers provided in Book 1, making the PTL a moot factor.

These rules are meant to add some depth to play sometimes. For example, an NPC is created using Book 5, and the character ends up mustering out from the Colonial Navy (which is considered a Subsector Navy by the Book 5 rules). This person's career TL is equal to that of the Subsector Capital (according to Book 5).

If from the Aramis subsector of the Spinward Marches, that means that this characters career TL is TL 11.

The referee may not know or wish to ponder the character's homeworld, so the Ref quickly knows that the NPC is the higher of TL 11 or the character's EDU score.

And, remember that tech bleed allows for two additonal levels, so an NPC with PTL-11 is competent with tech up to TL-13.


If a situation occurs (rarely) when a character is not competent at a TL, then make the throw to resolve the tech crisis.

2D for Crisis Level or higher

Crisis Level is the difference between the level of technology being attempted and the character's PTL.

For Example: Alex spent two terms in the Army on Aramanx, which is a TL 6 world, and mustered out as an Army Major. Alex's UPP is 7C67A8, and this means that Alex attended extremely advanced education classes that improved his PTL from PTL 6 to PTL 10. With the tech bleed modifier, Alex is comfortable with technology up to TL 12.

Alex would have a tech crisis when interacting with technology of TL 13-15.

Alex would throw 2D for 3+ to operate TL 13 tech.

Alex would throw 2D for 4+ to operate TL 14 tech.

Alex would throw 2D for 5+ to operate TL 15 tech.

Referee: Alex should be given one try at the Tech Crisis, where failure means that he cannot operate the device. Additional tries should not be forthcoming unless the factors of the Crisis change. Instruction from a character who can operate the device may be sufficient to warrant a second Crisis attempt if the device is simple to operate. But, complicated technology will require a PTL change in the character in order to attempt another try at the Crisis.

Another Example: Forgi has a UPP of 684A45. He's an ex-Other from Natoko, in the Aramis subsector. His homeworld TL is TL 8. Thus, his PTL increased from PTL 4 to PTL 8 because of his environment on Natoko.

Forgi spent 5 terms on Natoko in the Other career, and he has these skills: Forgery-1, JOT-1, Medical-3, Streetwise-1, Vacc Suit-0, Shotgun-0, Dagger-0.

Forgi makes a friend of one of the captains for the large cargo carriers that go through Natoko, and that captain asks him to sign on as ship's Medic.

Forgi tours the captain's TL 15 vessel and sees that the sickbay, medical bed, and diagnostic equipment are way over his head. Can Forgi fulfill this position competently?

This is a Tech Crisis.

TL 15 minus PTL 8 = 2D for 7+.

If Forgi makes the roll, then he can serve as Medic aboard the vessel. If the roll fails, then the TL 15 equipment is not something that he can competently use.


1. A character Personal Technology Level, or PTL, indicates the level of technology at which the character is familiar.

2. Because of tech bleed, a character can competently operate technology that is two levels higher than his PTL. The two extra levels represent experimental and emerging, cutting edge tech, from the character's perspective.

3. A character's is first determined by his homeworld TL and then by his EDU score until the character is 18 years old. Then, the PTL can be increased by the character's career.

The character's homeworld TL is technology that the character is first used to using.

The character can be educated to use technology that is above his environment. Thus, if the character's EDU is higher than his homeworld's TL, then his PTL is raised to the level of his EDU.

A character's career usually has a vast impact on the character's PTL, which is raised if the career TL is higher than either the character's EDU or homeworld TL.

4. If the character attempts to use technology that is above his threshold--that is, the technology being used is 3+ levels above his PTL, then the character is in a Tech Crisis and must make that throw in order to perform with the higher tech.
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