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Zhodani Character Generation for Traveller: The New Era

Generating Zhodani characters according to TNE rules requires a few modifications. The persistence of psionic superiority within their culture adds a few advantages to Zhodani characters when attributes are rolled. The attributes of Zhodani characters follow the usual 2D6-1 system outlined in the rulebook. But if their die generated social standing is A or B, the character is immediately tested for psionic potential. Should the character have a psionic strength of 6-, their social standing falls to 9, and they do not receive psionic training. Characters who have a psionic strength of 6+ are either Intendants (Social Standing A) or minor Nobles (Social Standing B). This is a significant point, as nobles and intendants automatically receive commissions upon enlistment within certain careers, and have a different starting educational background. Nobles generated by this system are assumed to be savants or especially gifted psions that succeeded in the Olympic Games at a young age; Intendants are the average psions who have to wait for the chance to prove themselves at a more advanced or seasoned age.

All character generation for noble and intendant characters begins at age 13, when they enter the first level of the Aristocratic Academy (see below) and begin receiving an intensive education in psionics. During this time, progressive testing of talents and aptitudes predetermine the career path of most of these individuals, usually within the government, military or academia. Intendants are the functional managers and facilitators that run most important functions of the Zhodani Consulate. Their careers are usually Attorney, Bureaucrat, Law Enforcement, Engineer, Manager, Professor, Scientist, Doctor, Psionics Researcher, and all military options. Nobles are the creme de la creme of Consulate society and usually are found in Attorney, Bureaucrat, Engineer, Manager, Professor, Doctor, Psionics Researcher and Wealthy Traveller. No normal Zhodani Noble or Intendant will have career backgrounds in Athlete, Barbarian, Entertainer, Criminal, Corsair, Tough or Prisoner careers by choice, and those that do are considered to be deviants, with a social standing of 1. Nobles rarely are found in the Undercover Agent and Law Enforcement careers.

Zhodani Proles, those with a social standing of 9-, have access to all careers in TNE rulebook except for Barbarian, Wealthy Traveller and Psionics Researcher. The Criminal, Corsair, Tough and Prisoner careers are rare, and any Zhodani Prole with such a career background has their social standing reduced to 1, and will be outlaws subject to harassment or arrest by Zhodani police and Tavrchedl forces. Proles are generally not found in senior management positions, and those that have managerial or military commissions are limited to a rank of O5 or less. Prole social standing is effectively limited to 9, unless they are in a scientific, medical or legal career where social advancement is listed under the "Other Effects", in which case such benefits represents recognition for distinction within their fields, but this is a Ceremonial Nobility without power or authority, in contrast to the Authentic Nobility with psionic talents.

Noble Social Advancement: Regardless of career chosen, the Authentic Nobility advance one social point for every two terms served in a career. Ceremonial Nobility only advance according to their careers. Those in the specific Noble career simply receive a generic "officer" rank that denotes their standing as a junior or senior member of a particular noble strata, and are expected to obey their seniors or command their juniors.

Starting Cash: Nobles start with four times the cash rolled on the starting cash table, and Intendants start with two times. In addition an Authentic Noble always has land and responsibilities commensurate with their social standing, usually a fief, in kilometers, to 1D10x(Social Standingx2) that generates 2D6x100 credits a month per kilometer. Nobles with such land must spend at least one third of a Zhodani year in contact with their managers or present on their estates, or forfeit their grants. Nobles may liquidate their grants for 2D6x100 credits per kilometer of fief.

Noble Name Suffixes: With every advancement in social standing above B, the name suffix of the noble character changes to reflect their position. This suffix is always taken in place of the last syllable of the characters' name as generated in original generation:

Social Standing Name Suffices
SOC Name Suffix
A (10) -iepr
B (11) -atl
C (12) -stebr
D (13) -tlas
E (14) -tlasche'
F (15) -iashav

Pre-Career education: Zhodani characters have access to every education option available in the rulebook (save for the Hiver Technical Institute). Intendants have the additional option of going to a Aristocratic Academy; in any case they take, in addition to the normal skills under each education listing, an asset of 3 in Psionics.

  1. Aristocratic Academy: The elite prep schools in which Zhodani nobles and intendants are prepared for careers in the Zhodani government, military and security services. Intendant characters do not have to take this option, but it does fast track promotions, and automatically allows for the character to compete in the Psionic Olympics, which are the only means by which a character may enter the authentic nobility. The Academy is divided into two levels: A Basic Academy that begins for a character at age 13 takes a full term to complete. Upon finishing this term, a character may opt to enter undergraduate university, military academy or flight school, or continue on to the Advanced Academy, which also takes a full term:

    Prerequisites: Social Standing A+, Homeworld in Zhodani Consulate

    First Term (Basic Academy):
    Skills: Psionics-4, Determination-2

    Second Term (Advanced Academy):
    Skills: Psionics-2, Physical Science-2, Social Science-2, Interaction-1, Perception-2, Determination-1

    All Terms:
    Contacts: If student enters Advanced Academy, they receive two contacts, either Noble or Academic.

    Other Effects: No secondary activities may be taken during either level of academy. Advanced Academy students may either enter Postgraduate university, or the Noble or Intendant careers. Intendants may immediately try out for the Olympic Games. Nobles receive an additional Psionics asset of 1 upon completion of the first term.


  2. Olympic Games: The psionic competition that determines the advancement of intendants into the ranks of the nobility. Intendants may only enter the competition once during their careers, but are not barred from entering again if they change careers. The Olympic Games count as one term.

    Prerequisites: Social Standing A. Must have completed Basic Aristocratic Academy.

    Resolution: The competition is divided into preliminary and final rounds. During the preliminary rounds, a character must throw his or her psionic strength or less on 3D6 for EACH psionic talent they possess. In the final round, the character must roll for 12+ on 2D6, DM+1 for each successful preliminary competition (each talent successfully rolled for) and DM-1 for each failed preliminary competition.

    Skills: If more preliminaries were won than lost, Psionics 1 in each victorious talent. Finals winner receives Psionics 2 in each victorious talent from preliminary round, and Social Standing B.

    Other Effects: No Secondary Activities during Olympic Games. Characters who win the final round automatically become either nobles, or enter the Noble career.

    Zhodani Service Skills: Most Zhodani careers are virtually the same as those presented in the TNE rulebook. However a Noble or Intendant may substitute advancement in Psionics for any skill listed in their career path. Additionally Prole characters may opt for either Interaction or Perception even if it is not normally part of their career's skill package.

Zhodani Careers

  1. Zhodani Noble

    Description: The Zhodani Noble is the pinnacle of his or her society. By dint of their superior mental capabilities, they are given immense power over their less talented and enlightened equals. But this power is not to be taken or used lightly. A noble is only as good as his or her moral character, for power breeds responsibility. This well intentioned social contract has created contradictions, however, that have rattled the normal equanimity of Zhodani culture in recent years. For in theory all Zhodani are equal before the law, and a noble is no higher or greater than the lowest prole. But their power and responsibility are calculated to protect their charges from the evils of emotional turbulence and deceit. And protectors are by definition not equal with those they protect, as the Proles are dependent upon their guidance and vigilance. And it is not clear if this division should rely upon the supposed superiority of psionics. This bit of "all are equal, yet some are more equal than others" Orwellian logic has come under greater scrutiny as psionic talents have waned and waxed in some regions of the Consulate, and cracks long plastered over by the Consuls have manifested into bloody conflict and schisms farther to coreward. Nevertheless, the nobility represent the best and brightest that the Consulate has to offer.

    Prerequisites: Social Standing B+, Homeworld in the Zhodani Consulate. Graduate of Advanced Aristocratic Academy.

    First Term:
    Skills: Psionics-4, Economics-2, Determination-1, Social Science-1

    Subsequent Terms:
    Skills: Psionics, Social Science, Determination, Interaction, Economics, Perception, Social Science, Vehicle

    All Terms:
    Special Adventure: 7+ for Aircraft, Engineer, Charm, Vehicle or Vice
    Promotion: 9+, DM+1 if Psi 8+ and Int 8+
    Contacts: Two per term among Nobility, Academia or Government
    Other Effects: Three ship DMs per term for a Scout, Trader or Yacht (players choice)


  2. Zhodani Noble Intendant

    Description: But while the nobles bask in their glory, it falls to the unsung Intendants to actually keep the trains running. In many ways the Intendant is the touchstone between the Proles and the eternally busy Authentic Nobility, the medium of communication between the two main strata. The middle ground that an Intendant occupies is critically important to the health of the Consulate, in that information flow constantly reaches the insulated upper classes. But it is an unglamorous job. Most Intendants naturally have ambition for advancement into the upper ranks of the nobility, and nearly all spend years concentrating upon the psionic advancement that would allow them to successfully pass the Olympic Games. Failure to advance is grudgingly accepted by the losers, though the anonymity of defeat is clearly not preferred. But if the Intendants are the watchmen, who watches them? While their ambition is laudable, the examples of elders who failed to succeed in the Olympic Games makes competition for advancement intense. And the process awards the strongest of psionic talents, not the smartest or the most experienced. The flow of information that Zhodani nobles receive, then, is biased and manipulated by social climbers who are basically indifferent to bringing any bad news, exacerbating the schisms that have appeared in Zhodani culture in recent decades.

    Prerequisites: Psi 6+ and Social Standing A, Homeworld in the Zhodani Consulate, Graduate of Advanced Aristocratic Academy

    First Term:
    Skills: Psionics-4, Economics-2, Interaction-2

    Subsequent Terms:
    Skills: Aircraft, Charm, Economic, Interaction, Perception, Social
    Science, Psi, Vehicle

    All Terms:
    Special Adventure: 8+ for Psionics, Charm, Engineer, Explore, Artisan, Gun Combat, Vice and Spacehand
    Contacts: Two per term, Noble or Government
    Added Effects: Two Secondary Activities per term. Double Starting Cash. Two ship DMs per term for a Scout, Trader or Yacht (players choice)


  3. Zhodani Bureaucrat

    Description: Beneath the nobles and intendants are the colorless pencil pushers and data entry clerks of the various Consular, subsector and planetary councils. Oddly this gives the Bureaucrats a greater degree of power than one would expect, since the Consulate depends upon the flow of information, but in many cases the Intendants and Nobles are too busy to pay much attention. The ability to know where all of the bodies are buried allows for these grey fellows to avoid or redirect scrutiny by the Tavrchedl or other authorities that would curb their power and access to easy wealth. Many have recently begun redirecting money and information to their own private stockpiles, in anticipation of further disintegration. After all, any successor state will still need tax collectors and functionaries in order to grow and survive, and after centuries of tireless duty these people are ready to get that long promised gold watch.

    Prerequisites: Int 7+ and Edu 5+, Homeworld in Zhodani Consulate.
    Nobles and Intendants must be graduate of Basic Aristocratic Academy

    First Term:
    Commission: Automatic for Nobles and Intendants. 8+ for Proles, DM+1 if Edu 8+, DM+2 in Soc 8-9
    Skills: Computer-2, Perception-2, Economics-1, Interaction-1, Technician-1

    Subsequent Terms:
    Skills: Language, Charm, Economics, Computer, Interaction, Technician, Vehicle

    All Terms:
    Promotion: 8+, DM+1 if Soc 8-9, DM+2 is Soc A+
    Special Adventure: 8+ for Gun Combat, Language, Aircraft, Space Tech, Perception, Vice
    Contacts: Two per term, government or law enforcement
    Other Effects: Nobles and Intendants receive two Ship DMs per term, proles receive one ship DM per term


  4. Zhodani Consular Guard

    The elite psionic militia of the Zhodani Consulate is pervasive and omnipresent in their society. The Consular Guard is charged with the protection of the Zhodani Consulate and its societal system against all enemies, foreign or domestic. For the most part the normal Guardsmen is a soldier who uses his or her psionic abilities to devastating effect against enemy militaries and guerrillas. These soldiers wear the distinctive "bug-eye" battle dress and combat armor made infamous during the Frontier Wars with the Third Imperium. This armor is specially designed so that its electronic features do not interfere with psionic talents. In CG service, Nobles are the officer corps, while Intendants are the rank-and-file and NCOs. Because of the scarcity and value of these troops, training is more extensive, with heavy concentration in psionics and exploration talents. Military skills are often neglected at their expense, so that these troops are deployed more for their shock value than their combat abilities.

    Prerequisites: Soc A+ and Psi 7+, Homeworld in Zhodani Consulate, Graduate of Basic Aristocratic Academy

    First Term:
    Commission: Automatic for nobles. 10+ for Intendants, DM+1 if Psi 8+
    Skills (officers and enlisted): Psionics-4, Spacehand-1, Explore-2
    Other Effects: No Special Duty or Secondary Activities during first term

    Second Term:
    Skills (Officers): Gun Combat-2, Tactics-2, Determination-1, Explore-1, Spacehand-1, Interaction-1
    Skills (Enlisted): Gun Combat-2, Heavy Weapons-1, Thrown Weapons-1, Space Tech-1, Spacehand-1, Personal Transport-1, Explore-1

    Subsequent Terms:
    Skills (Officers): Gun Combat, Tactics, Heavy Weapons, Artillery, Personal Transport, Determination, Interaction, Spacehand, Charm
    Skills (Enlisted): Gun Combat, Melee, Heavy Weapons, Artillery, Space Tech, Personal Transport, Spacehand, Vice

    All Terms:
    Promotion: 8+, DM+1 if Psi 8+
    Special Duty: 7+ for Melee, Aircraft, Vehicle, Vice, Interaction, Technician, Artillery, Determination and Psi
    Contacts: One per term in military or law enforcement
    Other Effects: One Ship DM per term in either trader or warship (players choice)


  5. Thought Police

    Description: The guard dogs of the flock are the Tavrchedl ("The Guardians of our Morality") or more popularly known as the Thought Police to Non-Zhodani. Combining the elements of police, undercover agents, psychologists and triage medics, the Tavrchedl is forever on the lookout for the kinds of mental defect and emotional turmoil that could infect the entire community. In that sense they are closer to public health officials in their demeanor and respectability. Patrols rove through the community at periodic intervals, summoning proles to reeducation sessions and therapy that cleanse them of their grief, resentment and hostility. But as a Solomani philosopher once said, when you look into the void, the void looks into you. In the past, too many Tavrchedl of conscience became burned out by either the emotional turmoil they encounter and become confused or embittered, and even begin to question the underpinnings of their society. These people do not last long, and are eventually purged, leaving to a perfunctory and partially corrupt petty officialdom the all important task of gauging the health of the body politic. The void of society has become a void within the government itself, a black area that the upper classes had unknowingly veered into.

    Prerequisites: Previous term in Consular Guard, Telepathy and Sense talents

    First Term:
    Commission: Automatic for nobles. 10+ for Intendants, DM+1 if Psi 8+
    Skills: Psionics-3, Determination-1, Perception-2, Interaction-1,

    Subsequent Terms:
    Promotion: 8+, DM+1 if Psi 8+
    Skills: Psionics, Determination, Perception, Interaction, Charm, Vice, Vehicle

    All Terms:
    Special Duty: 7+ for Vice, Crime, Language, Melee, Medical, Technician and Social Science
    Contacts: One per term, Law Enforcement or Prole
    Other Effects: One Ship DM per term in either trader or warship (players choice), If more than one term served, +1 Initiative


  6. Prole

    Description: The Salt of the Ear...er Zhodane. The base of the Zhodani pyramid consists of the basic skilled workers that work tirelessly away in Zhodani factories and offices and other basic places of employment. Up until the Dawn Heralder rebellion to coreward, it was safely assumed by most nobles and intendants that the Proles could be convinced of their contentment and place in society. Now nothing is fixed or stable, and the lower class are beginning to worry about their place in the disintegrating Consulate. Centuries of indoctrination and Tavrchedl reeducation has destroyed the independence of the Proles, so that they are now sheep willing to follow any shepherd that promises stability, even if it destroys the Consulate in the process. Proles always use enlisted ranks (E1 to E10). A skill cascade must be chosen from the Prole cluster listed below; and that subsequently becomes the characters career focus, and must choose every other skill from that cascade.

    Prerequisites: Soc 9-, Edu 5+

    First Term:
    Skills: 8 in any Prole cluster, Interaction or Perception

    Prole Cluster: Economics Technician
    Vehicle Animal Handling
    Artisan Engineer (except for Combat Engineer)
    Fine Arts Spacehand
    Medical Space Tech

    Subsequent Terms:
    Promotion: 9+, DM+1 if Edu 8+
    Skills: Prole specialty, Interaction, Perception or Charm
    Special Adventure: 8+ for Gun Combat, Aircraft, Spacehand, Vice, Vehicle and Explore
    Contacts: Two per term, Prole or Academic
    Other Effects: +1 Secondary Activity at end of career