Scrapper: A New Career for Mongoose Traveller
This article originally appeared in Spanish in Vuelo Raso N 1, in two parts, both under the title “Desguazador”, by Gaizka “Akerraren Adarrak” Márquez. The translation was done by Google Translate and edited/“cleaned up” by Jeff Zeitlin. This translation appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Freelance Traveller.
A scrapper is someone who lives off scraps. Travellers who choose this career are generally hiding from justice or dangerous rivals, although it can also be an ideal starting point for Travellers with low SOC. You can try to enter this career every time you get a prison entry result. You are considered “Fled” or “Escaped” during the first term of this career.
When entering this career, note the general TL of the planet you are on. For each level above TL 11 the survival difficulty will increase by 1; similarly, each TL below 11 will facilitate your survival. However, when it comes to making benefit rolls, you won’t be able to find anything with a higher TL than that of the world you’re on during this career. We recommend choosing planets from TL 8-9 to facilitate the survival of the Traveller since, if you have entered the career to avoid prison, being expelled from the career implies entering prison and if you have the assignment "Landfill Rat" the only way to abandon the career is to successfully overcome that test.
Scrapper or Scavenger?
Although at first the “Scrapper” career may seem to be similar to the “Drifter/Scavenger” career and although they have a similar focus, they have a very different social context. Rarely does a Traveller enter the Scrapper career voluntarily. They are usually people wanted by the courts who have already been born into a scrapping family or who have reasons to hide. A whole term successfully passed in this career usually draws attention away from the Traveller. At least for a time…
Scrappers do not travel from planet to planet and the vast majority of them go to bed wishing they had a stroke of luck the next day that would provide them with enough money to get out of their situation. Those who do not go to bed thinking about that, go to bed wishing that their crime would be shelved and that they could reintegrate into society, having avoided the “Prisoner” career. Regarding injuries, in this career nobody pays for anyone; you will not receive a debt reduction for treatment.
Depending on the focus of the career, the character may be:
The Post-apocalyptic Reclaimer lives off what is found on a planet that has fallen under a planetary apocalypse. They can be a survivor of that planet or someone who has decided to hide in a destroyed place for a long period of time to go unnoticed. Together with the Referee you must decide what kind of apocalypse devastated the planet and why your traveler is on it (a radiation leak, a disease, a great war, a climatic event ...).
The planet may be in a recovery phase where bases are being established with the intention of resurrecting the planet as a colony, and the dangers that brought it down may or may not be active. These planets are usually far from the trade routes and will rarely have a starport better than E, maximum C. It is also not surprising that they are classified with travel code “Red” or “Amber” if there is still danger, although they may be inside of systems with other major planets much more grateful for travelers.
For those who read Spanish, there is an example planet (Vestigial-Alpha), as well as a pregenerated character (Marconi), in Vuelo Raso N 1.
The War Vulture makes a living moving between old planetary battlefields, where powerful armies fought, leaving behind large amounts of forgotten bodies and machinery. There may even be crashed spaceships on the planet’s surface.
Unlike for the Post-apocalyptic Reclaimer, this planet does not have to have any difficulties for survival or to have been abandoned. However, once the war is over, the combatants or the government are not so keen to be bothered to clean up the remains of the battlefield, leaving the locals to take care of recovering much of the reusable material in exchange for cash. Sometimes authentic jewels can appear among so much trash.
For those who read Spanish, there is an example planet (Sombra-Beta), as well as a pregenerated character (Fátima) and some ideas for developing an adventure, in Vuelo Raso N 1
Unlike the previous two, the Landfill Rat usually thrives on planets with a very high population, large advanced starports, etc. They generally survive in the shadows where they are rarely seen. Like the Post-Apocalyptic Reclaimers, they search through alleys, dumpsters, landfills … The stark reality of this career is that you need to survive in order to abandon it, rather than being kicked out with an unfortunate outcome. On the positive side, failure doesn’t automatically land you in prison.
For those who read Spanish, you can find a pre-generated character in the adventure “Lagartija a Bordo” in Vuelo Raso N 1.
Qualification: Automatic (if SOC 5 or less, make a promotion roll at the beginning of your career).
Special: if you are attempting to enter this career as an alternative to going to prison, you may immediately make a Streetwise 10+ check to contact a human trafficking mafia: you will avoid prison, but you will lose all benefit rolls accumulated so far.
|Post-apocalyptic Retriever (“Recovery”):||You survive amid the ruins of a shattered planet.|
|War Vulture:||You survive by scrapping military vehicles and looting bodies from abandoned battlefields.|
|Landfill Rat:||You literally live in garbage.|
|Recovery||END 7+||INT 7+|
|Vulture||DEX 7+||INT 7+|
|Rat||END 8+||DEX 6+|
|2||150 Cr||Melee Weapon*|
|4||1,500 Cr||Discarded/Damaged Armor**|
|6||10,000 Cr||Armor and weapon*|
|7||60,000 Cr||Armor, weapon and choose combat implant* or a powerful ally|
|* As explained in the Traveller Core Rulebook but with the TL limit of
the planet in question. If nothing is available to that TL, choose the
previous result from the table. (e.g., if you cannot find a Firearm (3),
choose a Melee Weapon (2); if you cannot find Armor-and-Weapon (6), gain
an Ally (5), etc.)
** Discarded/Damaged Armor: Protection +4, TL 7-10, Mass 8, 150 Cr. If you get this result again, you can add a filter mask to the armor.
|Ranks and Rank Benefits|
|Rank||RECOVERY||Skill or Bonus||VULTURE/RAT||Skill or Bonus|
|3||Hardened Survivor||Gun Combat 1||-||Any 1 combat skill to 1|
|5||-||Medicine 1||-||1 benefit roll at DM +4|
|6||Wasteland Hope||SOC +1||-||SOC or EDU +1|
|1||END +1||Athletics||Athletics||Athletics or
|3||DEX +1||Streetwise||Melee Combat or
|1||Severely Injured (same as a result of 2 on the Injury Table). Alternatively, roll twice on the Injury Table and choose the lowest result. If you were fleeing from justice you are imprisoned.|
|2||You and your companions, if you have them, are
assaulted by a rival gang or pirate raiders. Roll 1D:
|3||You discover a smuggling position of a criminal organization. You have been discovered spying and they want to kill you. You manage to flee from the planet, but you gain Deception 0 and the criminal organization as your Enemy. If you were fleeing from justice you are caught in your escape.|
|4||The situation in the place is only getting worse, becoming untenable, so you are forced to flee, leaving this career behind. If you were fleeing from justice you are caught in your new escape.|
|5||An explosion, several fires, chaos and destruction everywhere. The origin can be the result of a natural event or artificially caused. You quit this career with a roll on the Injury Table. If you were on the run from justice, you are caught in your new run|
|6||Wounded. Roll on the Injury Table. If you were fleeing from justice, you are caught and the injuries may be the result of your capture|
|1||Severely Injured (same as a result of 2 on the Injury Table). Alternatively roll twice on the Injury Table and choose the lowest result. If you were running from justice, you are incarcerated.|
|2||A change in the legislation of the planet prohibits your usual activity leaving it illegal for some reason, for which you are forced to abandon the career. If you were fleeing from justice you are caught abandoning the career.|
|3||You find a piece that you consider really expensive. After much effort to move it, extract it and find a buyer, you end up discovering that it is a fake or is not in as good condition as you thought. It not only makes you lose a lot of time, but also the money invested. When you retire from this career, you make a Cash roll with DM -2. As if that were not enough, if you were fleeing from justice, you have attracted enough attention to be arrested.|
|4||Sometimes weird things happen when you're not looking. Someone you considered a friend, betrays you. Turn a Contact or Ally into an Enemy. If you didn't have any, you win an Enemy. If you were fleeing from justice, this betrayal leads you to jail.|
|5||A mercenary corps in low hours goes to collect remains that can be used. They do not look favorably on the competition and disrupt everything they find including your “little way of life”. If you were fleeing justice in any way, you are recognized, captured, and handed over to end up in prison.|
|6||Wounded. Roll on the Injury Table. If you were fleeing from justice, you are caught and the injuries may be the result of your capture.|
|1||Rumor has it … that you are seriously injured (same as a result of 2 on the Injury Table). Alternatively roll twice on the Injury Table and choose the lowest result. You continue in the streets.|
|2||Rumor has it … it’s not worth working with or helping you. You can detail the origin of the rumor or that its origin is a mystery. The next survival roll has DM -2 as fewer people are willing to help you get off the streets.|
|3||Rumor has it … that nothing new awaits you on the horizon. You are still on the streets.|
|4||Rumor has it … that the police are looking for you and you are going to prison. Define with the referee whether or not you are guilty or if you have been mistaken for a wanted criminal with similar characteristics. When your period in prison is over, you will be able to try a single access to a new career. If you get it, you leave the streets.|
|5||Rumor has it … you’ve been asked to help the police: an opportunity to get off the streets, but everything goes wrong. Is it your fault? What exactly happened? Several police officers have died and everyone points to you. Get 2 Rivals; one is the agent who contacted you and the other is the criminal group the police were trying to catch. You’ll have to watch your back while you rummage through the trash|
|6||Wounded. Roll on the Injury Table. You continue in the streets.|
|2||Disaster! Make a roll on the mishap table, but you are not expelled from this career (nor do you enter prison if you are on the run)|
|3||You fall through a hole in the ground that leads you to an entire unlooted underground gallery, possibly an old shopping center or a network of subway tunnels. Not only do you know where it is so that you can take shelter at need, but you also gain an additional benefit roll with DM +2.|
|4||It is normal for reclaimers to move in groups in these places, what is not normal is that a group as united and loyal as yours is created. You win over your old group of reclaimers as an allied gang (you can use them as a single Ally or as 1d6 separate Contacts; agree with the referee).|
|5||You manage to steal something useful; it may
not be the best for sale, but it will make your life easier.
|6||During your adventures you have the opportunity to accompany a local quack as his protector. This period helps you learn the basics of medicine. Gain Medicine 0.|
|7||Life Event. Make a roll on the Life Events table.|
|8||Lucky strike! Gain Drive 0 and one of the
following vehicles with firearm support (Roll 1D):
Personal weapons can be fired from the vehicle using Firearms (at DM -2) or Heavy Weapons (Vehicle). These supports are nothing more than anchors with straps to adjust the weapon and a system of springs and cables that carry the trigger to the pilot’s controls, allowing him to activate the trigger and shoot while driving.
|9||You have spent much of the period hired by a well-armed and organized group: you gain or upgrade one of the following skills: Heavy Weapons (Vehicles), Gun Combat (Slug), Suits.|
|10||You become friends with the leader of the local starport, the old man of a survivor colony, or a warlord. You gain +1 SOC and choose between +4 to the next promotion roll or +2 to a benefit roll.|
|11||A passenger ship arrives on the planet looking for something specific. You can try to help them and win them over with your knowledge on the ground. Gain an Ally and Leader +1 or gain DM +4 to a Cash roll.|
|12||You have managed to survive some special circumstances in which nobody did anything for you. You win an automatic promotion.|
|2||Disaster! Make a roll on the mishap table, but you are not expelled from this career (nor do you enter prison if you are on the run).|
|3||This shouldn’t be here … You find a small ancient artifact, something probably older than humanity itself, and certainly older than the empire. You are totally unaware of its value, but you can be sure that there will be people looking for it. If the Referee considers it excessive, it can be any other small object of high value and desired by a group of powerful people.|
|4||You have spent much of the period hired by a well-armed and organized group. You gain or upgrade one of the following skills: Heavy Weapons (Vehicles), Gun Combat (Slug), Suits.|
|5||You meet a new buyer for your goods: you gain a Contact on the black market.|
|6||You have recovered something really important for the army. Turn it in and your criminal record (if you have it) will be misfiled and lost; gain +1 SOC as well. Or, sell it and get DM +2 to the benefit roll for this period.|
|7||Life Event. Make a roll on the Life Events table.|
|8||Lucky strike! Gain one of the following weapons
(without ammunition, although you will be able to acquire it
later): Roll 1D:
|9||During your adventures you have the opportunity to accompany a local quack as his protector. This period helps you learn the basics of medicine. You gain Medicine 0.|
|10||In itself it is not very normal for Vultures to move in groups in these places. And what is even rarer is that a group as united and loved as yours is created. You win over your old group of Vultures as an allied band (you can use them as a single Ally or as 1d3 different Contacts; agree with the referee).|
|11||You fall through a hole in the ground that leads you to an entire unlooted underground gallery, possibly an old arsenal or a network of trenches. Not only do you know where it is so that you can take refuge in case of need, but you also gain an additional benefit roll with DM +2.|
|12||Your looting is much better than everyone expected of you. You win an automatic promotion.|
|2||Disaster! Make a roll on the mishap table, but still, you manage to get off the streets!|
|3||You are about to die in a garbage compactor, incinerator, or similar. Fortunately the operator notices at the last moment, takes care of your injuries and gives you hot food while you recover: he cannot help but feel guilty. You gain a Contact that has helped you get off the streets. If you wish, you can make a roll on the Injury Table to help you define how close you were to death (although this is not a real expense).|
|4||A scientist wants to do a series of experiments with you: they can be social, medical, illicit, or of any other kind. During the process you fall in love with him and at the end he decides to help you get off the streets. If you had any unpaid debt due to injuries, he takes over 50% of this debt.|
|5||A military conflict is looming over the planet you live on. This war will last for a period during which you are drafted to fight on the front lines. Resolve your next term as “Army (Infantry)” and gain one of: Gun Combat 0, Melee Combat 0, Heavy Weapons 0. Get off the streets!|
|6||The underworld is not unknown to you. You start
working with a criminal organization, either voluntarily or
forced to play along to survive. After a certain number of jobs
you can decide to join them or reject them: you have enough to
leave the streets. What will you do? Continue with them or
suffer their anger? If you join, you automatically qualify for
the Rogue career next term. If you refuse, roll once on the
Injury Table. Either way, you get off the streets and roll
Get off the streets!
|7||Life Event. Make a roll on the Life Events table. Also, you have left the streets!|
|8||What people throw away! You have found a wedding ring, a precious gem, or something especially expensive. Gain a Cash Roll at DM +1D6. If the result is 4-5, the old owner of the object is on your trail: gain a Rival. If the result is a 6, you are unjustly accused of theft since no one believes that you could have found that in the garbage and you find your bones in prison. When calculating the Parole Threshold, apply DM -4. Your stay may be really short. You have left the streets!|
|9||Hey! That implant sure works for me! Many businesses and people of doubtful morals tend to leave behind bodies that it is better not to ask about, and sometimes those bodies have a useful implant. You receive an implant of up to 50,000 Cr that a doctor accustomed to asking no questions agrees to install in you. If you get this result again, add the doctor as a Contact.|
|10||The law calls you. You have the opportunity to collaborate with law enforcement agencies to resolve a sensitive issue that requires people on the ground. If you accept, you gain +1 SOC and one Contact in that agency. You may automatically qualify for the Agent career, or receive a pardon if you have a criminal record. If you refuse to help law enforcement, gain one criminal Contact. Either way, you get off the streets!|
|11||You learn thanks to a social assistance program. Increase to 1 a skill that you did not have (it can be art, profession, electronics or mechanics …). That ability opens the doors for you to leave the streets and give you the opportunity to access another career. Get off the streets!|
|12||A scrap dealer has special faith in your abilities. You can enter the Drifter/Scavenger career with an automatic promotion. Get off the streets!|