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John Law: Character Generationm for Classic Traveller/MegaTraveller

Overview

MegaTraveller introduced the Law Enforcer career, but provided only the brief Classic Traveller Book 1 style of character generation. This article provides an expanded, High Guard/Mercenary style character generation system for the Law Enforcer career.

Enlistment

After rolling the personal characteristics for your character, roll 2D for enlistment with DMs from the following table. If enlistment fails, select an alternate service as usual, either by draft or by attempting to enlist in other services. Enlistment is for a term of four years. After each term, the character may either leave the service voluntarily or roll 2D for Reenlistment. Failing the reenlistment roll results in discharge.

Enlistment Roll 8+
DM +1 if: Str 8+
DM +2 if: Int 8+
Re-Enlistment Roll 5+

At the referee's discretion, a character discharged from one service may attempt to enlist in another, with a DM of -1 applied to the enlistment roll for each full four years of age over age 18.

Automatic Skills

Certain skills are gained automatically by police characters, representing initial training. Once enlisted in the Police, the character gains the following skills: Streetwise-1, Gun Combat-1 (usually with a pistol), and Vehicle-0.  Police gain Leader-1 upon attaining rank 2 (Sergeant) and Liaison-1 upon reaching rank 3 (Lieutenant).

Automatic skills are never cumulative. For example, if a Police Officer with Leader-2 reaches Sergeant, he or she does not gain Leader-3.

Assignment

Once enlisted in the Police, the character rolls 2D and consults the following table to determine duty assignment. Once assigned to a particular duty, the character remains in that duty until he or she opts to change in a given year and makes the Change Assignment roll associated with the duty, or until the Change Assignment roll is 10+ whether the character wishes to change or not. The following year, roll again for assignment. Assignment is retained from year to year and across a term reenlistment unless the change roll is made.

2 Disciplinary Action
3 Detective
4 Detective
5 Desk Job
6 Beat Cop
7 Beat Cop
8 Beat Cop
9 Elite Force
10 Elite Force
11 High Tech Investigation*
12 Internal Affairs

* Not available if local tech level is below TL8.
If this assignment is rolled, treat as "Elite Force"

Assignment Resolution

First, make a 2D roll for Survival; failure of this roll results in a severe injury sufficient to discharge the character from service. The referee determines the injury and its results; the character should be rendered "interesting" rather than "unplayable" as a result. If both Intelligence and Endurance are 8 or over, there is a +1 to the survival roll.

Next, roll 2D for Skill; if the roll is made, the character gain a skill from one of the available tables. The Police Life table is always available; the Advanced Education table is available to characters with an Education score of 8+, and the Assignment Skill table corresponding to the current Assignment is available. The character is not eligible for a skill roll in any year in which they obtain an automatic skill, including their first year of enlistment. Cascade skills allow the player their choice of the listed skills; Gun Combat, Blade Combat, and Vehicle are the standard cascades for the game system in use. The skill of Hacking is a selective combination of Intrusion and Computer, and covers both unauthorized accesses to electronic systems and detection of the same.

Third, roll 2D for a Special event; if the roll is made, consult the Specials table below.

Next, roll 2D for promotion. Police characters start at rank of Rank 1 (Officer/Detective) and advance one rank every time the promotion roll is made. To be promoted from Rank 3 to Rank 4, or Rank 4 to Rank 5, there is a DM of -1; to be promoted from Rank 5 to Rank 6, there is a DM of -2.Only one promotion is possible per four-year term. Police gain automatic skills of Leader-1 at rank 2 (Sergeant) and Liaison-1 at rank 3 (Lieutenant).

Finally, roll 2D for Change of Assignment. If the roll is 10+, the character's assignment changes the following year, like it or not. If the indicated number or above is thrown, the character may change assignment if desired.

Assignment Descriptions

Disciplinary Action:
The character has been accused of misconduct. This results in a Beat Cop type of assignment, but the character is on probation, and must keep squeaky-clean. Resolve as normal for Beat Cop, but do not roll  for promotion, and apply the following changes:
  • When rolling for special, ignore results of 4+.
  • When resolving On Trial or Corruption, DM-2.
  • Do not roll for Change; next assignment will be Beat Cop without these modifications.

This character henceforth has a permanent DM-1 for promotion. This DM is cumulative.

 
Detective:
The character is assigned to investigate major crimes: murders, grand thefts, grevious assaults, and so on.
 
Desk Job:
The character is assigned to administrative tasks, and does not do a significant amount of field work.
 
Beat Cop:
The character patrols the streets, doing a significant amount of deterrence as well as criminal investigation.
 
Elite Force:
This assignment includes special units such as the Vice Squad (or Public Morals Division), Anti-Terrorist/Hostage Rescue teams, and task forces targeted at any specific crime that's excessively popular.
 
High Tech Investigation:
The character is assigned to combat High Tech Crime. In this realm, the police are usually under-equipped and under-trained compared to their criminal counterparts.
 
Internal Affairs:
The character investigates the activities of other police. Who watches the watchmen?

Assignment Resolution Table

Assignment Detective Desk Job Beat Cop Elite Force High Tech Internal Affairs
Survival* 6+ 3+ 5+ 6+ 3+ 4+
Skill 7+ 8+ 8+ 7+ 7+ 6+
Special 7+ 9+ 8+ 7+ 7+ 5+
Promotion* 8+ 10+ 10+ 8+ 9+ 9+
Change 6+ 7+ 8+ 6+ 5+ 6+

*Survival DM +1 if Int 8+ and End 8+
Promotion DM -1 if Rank 3 or 4; DM -2 if Rank 5

Skills Tables

Police Life Advanced Education** Detective Desk Job Beat Cop
1 +1 Strength +1 Education Streetwise Admin Streetwise
2 +1 Dexterity +1 Intelligence Forensics Admin Brawling
3 Service Weapon Combat* Computer*** Interrogation Forgery Vehicle
4 Vehicle Leader Computer*** Computer*** Carousing
5 Brawling Interrogation Service Weapon Combat* Legal Jack-of-all-trades
6 Streetwise Legal Brawling Instruction Interrogation

*Standard service issue weapon
**Advanced Education available for characters with EDU 8+ only
*** Not available below TL8. See Low Tech Alternatives below.

Elite Force High Tech*** Internal Affairs
1 Medical Computer Liaison
2 Demolitions Liaison Interrogation
3 Special Weapon Combat* Streetwise Admin
4 Vice** Hacking Computer***
5 Vehicle Electronic Leader
6 Interrogation +1 Education Legal

* At referee's discretion, Tactics may be substituted.
"Special weapon" refers to a weapon other than the standard issue service weapon,
which may be used in exceptional situations (e.g., hostage situations).
** Cascade: pick one of Bribery, Forgery, Carousing, Gambling, or Intrusion
*** Not available if local tech level is below TL8. See note with Assignments above.

Special Events Table

1 Corruption
2 On Trial
3 Vendetta
4 Hero
5 Journey
6 Patron

Rank Table

1 Constable or Officer or Detective*
2 Sergeant
3 Lieutenant
4 Captain
5 Inspector
6 Chief or Commissioner

* Detective is used if character has ever been given a Detective assignment

Special Event Resolution

When a special event is indicated, roll 1D on the special events table. Consult the following descriptions for the special events.

On Trial:
The character is arrested on suspicion of a serious crime. The character may or may not actually be guilty. The character allocates legal fees if he or she has any money (from reward money, corruption takings, previous careers and the like) in increments of Cr5000. 2D are rolled. The character's current Social standing and (legal fees/Cr5000) are added to the roll. The number of terms the character has spent in Rogue service (including the current term) and the number of previous trials the character has faced are subtracted from the roll. If the law level of the world involved is known, (5-law level) is added. With all modifiers totalled up, consult the following table. If a sentence is indicated, go to Prison Time, below. Add or subtract the indicated modifier to the character's Social Standing. Social Standings below 2 should be retained for posterity and amusement; the minimum social standing is 0. For the most extreme sentences, the referee should either simply write off the character or explain how the character gets out of jail. The player should have the option to write off a character and start over if the sentence would make the character too old for the player's taste. If a Police character is tried, and does not end up either Jailed or Acquitted, his or her next assignment is automatically Disciplinary Action.

Trial Resolution Table

Result Sentence Social Standing Mod
0 or less Cruel and Unusual Punishment* -10
1 Death Sentence or Life Sentence* -8
2 1D x 10 Year Sentence -6
3 1D x 5 Year Sentence -5
4 1D x 2 Year Sentence -4
5 1-6 Year Sentence -3
6 1-6 Year Sentence -2
7 1-3 Year Sentence -2
8 1-3 Year Sentence -1
9 1 Year Sentence -1
10 6 Month Sentence -1
11 Guilty of Felony; 90 Day Sentence or less; no jail roll. -1
12 Guilty of Misdemeanor; fines 1D x Cr1000. 0
13 Guilty of Misdemeanor; fines 1D x Cr500. 0
14 Acquitted. 0
15 Acquitted. 0
16 or more Acquitted with publicity +1

* Referee's discretion to explain survival/escape, or write off character

Prison Time:
If the character is found guilty of a Felony and/or jailed for any length of time, they are automatically discharged from Police service. At the referee's discretion, the character may muster our or the referee can determine what effects a criminal record has on other enlistment opportunities. After the first year of jail, and every 4 years in jail thereafter, roll 1D to see what skill is gained while in jail:

Jail Skills Table

1 Brawling
2 Brawling
3 Streetwise
4 +1 Strength
5 +1 Endurance
6 +1 Endurance
Patron:
Someone with money and power, possibly a major political or underworld figure, owes the character a small favor, or considers him or her trustworthy enough to consider for a future job. This special may be "traded in" and lost to cancel a Prison Time special received later in the career process. The referee determines any other effects of the Patron.
 
Vendetta:
The character has made a mortal enemy. The referee determines if, when, and how the enemy will strike.
 
Hero:
The character did something brave and hazardous, and had his or her fifteen minutes of fame as a result. +1 Social standing is gained, as well as the result of 1D rolled on the following table:

Hero Result Table

1 +1 Social (total +2)
2 1D x Cr500 reward money
3 High Passage
4 Medal, Plaque, etc., worth 1D x Cr10
5 Busy Year (See below)
6 Traveller's Aid Society Membership
Busy Year
The next chronological year of the character's life is resolved as if it were two normal years.
 
Journey:
The character's career takes him or her to several other star systems - a fairly unusual occurrence, possibly as an exchange program. The character gains +1 Education and a skill rolled on the following table.

Journey Skill Table

1 Gunnery or Commo*
2 Liaison
3 Vehicle or Ship's Boat*
4 Vacc Suit
5 Carousing
6 Zero-G Combat

* Referee's choice

Corruption:
The character becomes aware of corruption on the force. The player has a choice; he or she can either Blow The Whistle or Join The Party. If an enemy is made from Blowing The Whistle, or if money is gained from Joining The Party, roll 1D; on 4+, the character's next assignment will be Disciplinary Action.

Blow The Whistle Table

1 The character is discharged at the end of the current year.
2 The character is falsely imprisoned; resolve a Prison Term special as above.
3 The character makes an enemy; resolve a Vendetta as above.
4 The character makes an enemy; resolve a Vendetta as above.
5 The character becomes a Hero as above.
6 The character becomes a Hero as above.

Join The Party Table

1 The character is caught and jailed; resolve a Prison Term as above.
2 The character is caught and jailed; resolve a Prison Term as above.
3 The character pockets Cr1000.
4 The character skims Cr5000.
5 The character scores Cr10000.
6 The character heists Cr20000.

Mustering Out

When leaving a service, the character makes rolls for mustering out benefits. One roll is allowed per four year term served or portion thereof; Police of rank 3 or 4 gain an extra roll; Police of rank 5 or 6 gain another extra roll. Rolls on the cash table gain a +1 if the character has Gambling skill; rolls on the material benefits table for Police of rank 5 or 6 gain +1. No more than three rolls may be made on the cash table in any event.

Benefits Table

Material Benefits Cash Benefits
1 Low Passage 2000
2 Middle Passage 5000
3 Gun 10000
4 Watch 10000
5 Forensics Kit* 20000
6 High Passage 30000
7 Traveller's Aid Society 40000

* If character has Forensics skill. Otherwise, +1 EDU.

Customizing the Career

Different cultures have different needs for policing. For color, consider some of the following customizations:

Service Issue Weapons
For many cultures, this will be a gun skill, most likely Pistol or Revolver. However, there are places where the police might not routinely carry guns, in which case you might want to have the issue weapon be a sword (which uses Blade, Sword, or Cutlass skill, depending on type), a knife/dagger (uses Dagger skill), or a nightstick/baton (which uses Club skill). Alternatively, in a really tough environment, heavier armament may be standard, such as a shotgun, submachinegun, or carbine (use appropriate skill). Whichever you choose, substitute it for "Service Weapon Combat" in the skill tables.
Low Tech Alternatives
High Tech Investigation capability is unlikely to be available on worlds below TL8. Instead, treat this assignmet as though it were "Elite Force".  Also, where "Computer" skill is awarded, choose an alternative appropriate to the tech level - in most cases, Admin will do nicely, although a detective might have the opportunity to gain Forgery or Intrusion skill instead. Similarly, "Vehicle" may be changed to "Animal Handling" if the TL is low enough (TL 5-).
Rank
Feel free to adjust the rank titles as you see fit. Some suggestions might be "Subaltern" for "Lieutenant", "Marshal" for "Chief", "Commandant", "Major", or "Colonel" for "Inspector", or just translate the terms into another language. Also, the extended character generation sequences in the original Traveller introduced a more detailed rank system, with up to 10 enlisted ranks plus up to 10 commissioned ranks. If you wish to use such an extended rank system, either add a roll for Commission to the Assignment Resolution Procedure (recommended: target number is promotion +1), or assume that a character must progress through all the ranks, going from E10 to O1 as a normal promotion. If you chose the latter, remove the one-per-term limit on promotions, and allow a promotion every year. Depending on the local culture, the table may look like that for one of the military arms, or it might be completely different. A sample rank table, based on the New York City rank structure, might be:
Extended Rank Title Equivalent Basic Rank Extended Rank Title Equivalent Basic Rank
E1 Recruit 1 O1 Lieutenant 3
E2 Officer 1 O2 Captain 4
E3 Corporal 2 O3 Deputy Inspector 4
E4 Sergeant 2 O4 Inspector 5
O5 Deputy Chief 5
O6 Assistant Chief 5
O7 Bureau Chief 6
O8 Chief 6
O9 Commissioner 6
Note that for the purposes of DMs affected by rank, the Equivalent Basic Rank is used.
Journey Alternatives
A journey might be an exchange program with a police department elsewhere. At the referee's discretion, instead of the simple +1 EDU, the character may be awarded a skill level in a skill that might not be available on the homeworld - for example, if the exchange is to a lower TL, where the police ride horses instead of using air-rafts, the character might get Animal Handling.