I’m currently going through character creation with my player group so I’ve recently been exposed to all the different aspects. The different Traveller incarnations have always had rich character creation, starting players off in the game with not only a history of how they acquired skills but also a bit of equipment via the Muster Out tables. For a long while now I’ve felt these tables have been in need of a little jazzing up.
On the plus side the current tables have some occasional career specificity, and certainly they have brevity. But when I think about all the things that could be conferred, “taken with,” or otherwise acquired on the way out the door from a career, many more rich options come to my mind beyond the old standbys of armor, weapon, TAS benefit, and Ship Share.
Mind you, I don’t think the current system is broken, as I’ve said just in need of a little love, and maybe a tiger. So let’s expand things.
My table below is meant to be used in conjunction with current tables – as Ref I could simply have players now choose from three tables when they’re rolling the Muster Out Benefits – the appropriate cash table, that career’s “Other Benefits” table, or my new table, below. This is the simplest method, and probably “breaks” current flow the least.
A Referee could also have players choose one item on a the appropriate Other Benefits table they were not interested in, and substitute a roll on this larger table for that option, should it be rolled.
Or substitute the lowest cash value for a roll on this new table. You get the idea.
I’d let the player know up front that I might choose to exercise a Referee veto for items that seemed out of bounds for our current game. I’d give them another roll if this happened.
As a side note, this list can also be seen as inspiration for gifts to be given, items to be found, shiny rewards to be conferred during play. Just because a thing is on my new Muster Out Benefits table doesn’t mean character creation is the only time a character could acquire such things.
Some of the items listed are strong candidates for some sort of story or further descriptors; as a Referee I enjoy this aspect of character co-creation and encourage my players to come up with a few sentences that further define their items and the circumstances surrounding their receipt.
Without further adieu…
the Grand List of Muster Out Benefits
( explanations follow below )
|1||3||Letter of introduction and good graces|
|1||5||Permit or license to carry, develop, or do something|
|1||6||SPA special status|
|2||3||Imperial pardon - get out of jail free once|
|2||4||Emergency Medical Extraction membership|
|3||3||Traveller gear package|
|4||4||Piece of Art|
|4||6||Improved cloth armor|
|5||4||Badge of distinction|
|5||6||Improved environment suit|
|6||3||A fancy gold watch|
|6||4||Upgraded astrogation charts|
|6||5||Two skill wafers|
|6||6||Artificial psionic shield helmet|
Cover identity – this is a functional ID document keyed to a clean identity that closely fits the character’s description, with enough history in “the system” to pass most intense forms of scrutiny and read as legitimate. Most appropriate for Agent, Scout, Drifter, Prisoner or Psion careers but interesting “how I got this” stories could be crafted for any career.
Favor marker – some powerful entity has given this “I need help right now” token to be redeemed at the character’s discretion some point later when things get rough. There should be some definition around who gave this, but the redemption of the favor can be a bit broad. “Show this at any Scout base for quick, no-questions-asked transport out of the system” sounds about right, power-level wise. This is probably a single-use token.
Letter of introduction and good graces – A powerful noble or other figure has penned a hand-written endorsement of your character’s character, greasing the wheels for future activity of some sort. This can be vague, as in “pay this good sophont all practical courtesies…” or something quite specific.
Bank reference – this is like the letter of introduction, but is more specific in scope; it makes getting a line of credit much easier, on more favorable terms, or opens otherwise closed doors in some financial concern. The bank in question should be something solid and appropriately impressive.
Permit or license to carry, develop, or do something – this is a document giving the character permission to carry particular gear, develop a particular resource, travel in a certain area, or otherwise act in a way that only licensed people can act.
SPA Special Status – A bit like TAS membership, a Starport Authority special status card often lets the bearer cut through a lot of the red tape at a starport. It’s not a get out of jail free card, but it would get you a berth in the earliest available time slot, or deeply discounted refined fuel.
Sanctuary – this is an offer of protection or concealment should the need ever arise. It might be a temporary arrangement of anonymous acceptance into a monastic order, a travel visa and the deed to a cozy little out-of-the-way dacha on some second-tier space station. The idea is that this is a place of sanctuary available for the character to flee to if things get “too hot.” Of course getting there is half the fun.
Significant memorabilia – when mustering out the character acquires a piece of history relevant to their career; the pen used to sign an important treaty or accord, a championship ring from that one sport everyone knows about, and so on. The piece should be relatively valuable, but moreso it should be relevant to the game and interesting, not something to be immediately sold off for cash.
Imperial pardon – This is a “get out of local jail free once” card. Present this to an Imperial authority on a member world of the Imperium and in any case not a violation of Imperial High Law wheels will be set in motion to arrange for your release. This is definitely a one-use item.
Emergency Medical Extraction membership – this is like a TAS membership, but instead of lodging and concierge services this entitles the bearer to rapid mercenary-backed extraction in situation where their medical telemetry flatlines. Of course it’s only useful on a planet where this Imperium-wide service is licensed to do business; usually high-pop worlds at Early Stellar or more advanced, and only if the character is wearing her tracker beacon ( included ). The arrangement is for extraction, stabilization, and delivery to a convenient definitive care facility.
Robot valet – this is a simple robot that is minimally intelligent, responds to its name and voice commands, and will perform services such as opening doors, carrying packs, or presenting the character’s business card to potential patrons. The robot is smart enough to do small chores and act in a beneficial manner, but cannot perform any skill-based action that requires a roll. The robot could be upgraded ( for a cost ) to have skills, more intellect, have concealed spaces, dispense medicinal concoctions, and so on.
“Clean” transponder – although it’s a notoriously difficult engineering task to access a ship’s transponder, this programable-then-install device will swap out for most models. It is a highly suspicious piece of gear to have at one’s fingertips, but seriously useful under certain circumstances.
Numbered account – this mysterious benefit is simply the number and access information to an account with some physical institute of safekeeping. The bearer of this information has directions and legal access to whatever the account contains, which could be an amount of Imperial credits or local planetary currency, or the contents of a safe deposit box. How old is this account? What does it contain? No way to know without going there in person.
Personal automedic – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Traveller gear package – a collection of high-quality, durable items that make any traveller’s station, shipboard, or planetside life just a bit easier. This is expressed as an additional 5k to spend only on gear of this type. Luggage, outfits, conveniences, or technology a Traveller needs ( i.e. comms, personal armor, but not weapons or scanners ). As noted, gear should be of superior craftsmanship.
Memorial package – when your character shuffles off this mortal coil, at least their final arrangements have already been made. This benefit provides for an appropriate service, disposition of remains ( if any ), a not-quite-inappropriately-sized monument, and even rented emotional mourners if your character is the sort who didn’t exactly have a wide circle of friends while alive. This is typically provided for on the character’s homeworld, but could really be planned for anywhere reasonable.
Deed – this is a valid document in the character’s name relaying ownership of a small but comfortable parcel of land and possibly a modest dwelling there, on some planet of the character’s and Referee’s mutual choosing.
Companion animal – this benefit represents something fairly noteworthy, such as a topline robotic pet, uplifted but commonly-appearing animal, or some large, trained beast not typically kept as a pet. The companion animal is friendly and responsive to commands from the character, but may present certain logistical difficulties. For example, how do you keep a large tiger on a free trader starship?
Persona – this is a high-end digital personality, not quite an AI but for most intents and purposes can serve as a conversational companion. The persona has a unique enduring personality, memory, mental attribute scores, and access to general Library information. Additional skills or other augmentations may be purchased. The Persona comes housed in a handheld device that can interface with other devices as a comms unit.
Personal Mediscanner – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Air/Raft – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Piece of Art – This item works best if the piece is culturally significant or popular in the areas the character will be travelling in. It could be sold for credits but if created well it would be far more valuable as a key to starting conversations with potential patrons or passing velvet ropes that would otherwise bar the character for certain social circles.
Vacc suit – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Improved cloth armor – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Optics – this represents a compact, high TL device that combines the listed capabilities of PRIS binoculars and PRIS goggles.
Personal drone – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Courtesy badge – this is a badge or other device issued by some policing agency as an official way of extending professional courtesy to individuals not who are not officials, officers, or agents. The badge typically improves reaction and warrants courtesy, but rarely provides a pass on any but the most mundane of illegal activity.
Badge of distinction – like a courtesy badge above, but for some non-law-enforcement agency or organization.
Debt forgiveness – this benefit is most commonly applied to medical debt, although it can be used for any debt the Referee sees fit to apply it to except a ship’s mortgage.
Wafer Jack – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.
Improved environment suit – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog, except this item provides protection against extreme heat, cold, and radiation. It acts as ballistic cloth, and is augmented with computer weave.
Diplomatic pouch – this is a large gymbag-sized, scan-resistant and durable bag is clearly marked and appropriately sealed as a Imperial diplomatic bag. By treaty agreement, the bag can remain sealed and its contents out of bounds for lawful search by planetary authorities. This is a legitimate bag, and all registration numbers check out. Imperial authorities may demand the pouch be opened for inspection at any time. The mere presence of a diplomatic pouch can potentially attract unwanted attention.
A fancy gold watch – the traditional muster out benefit from ancient Terra, this beautiful timepiece is a famously-branded conversation starter, otherwise unremarkable except that it gives a +1 DM to SOC reaction rolls with anyone whose own SOC is 10 or lower.
upgraded astrogation charts – this is a digital set of charts for a given sector of space that is accurate to the best knowledge of the IISS or the Imperial Navy. On all Astrogation rolls to plot a jump, the distance in question is treated as being 1 parsec shorter for purposes of determining -DM.
Two skill wafers – much more useful if you have a wafer jack; choose any two /3 EDU- or INT-based skills. If the character has the proper augmentations to use make use of physical skill wafers, you may substitute one or both as physical-based skills instead.
Artificial psionic shield helmet – as per the item description in the Central Supply Catalog.