For Christmas I received Mongoose’s Traveller revision. I’ve been reading a lot about Traveller over the last year. Probably have Jeffro to thank for that one, too.

I just can’t get over character creation. I love rolling careers. I finally had to get a couple of the guys in our weekly group to run through character creation together, just so they could see it in action.

And I think they did! I mean, there’s a palpable thrill in letting the dice speak for your character’s past, because you dictate the future. Do you try for another term in your career? What if you blow the Survival roll? What if you can’t make another promotion before ennui sets in?

I have some concerns, however.

First of all, careers seem like, really seriously weighted. I mean, almost anyone could wind up a traveler, right? That’s sorry of the point. But the grouping of careers seems kinda… not good. The four main military branches seems like a great idea, but their special branches are WEAK. Like, super-generic.

Then there’s this thing about Events and like, Allies, Contacts, Enemies, and Rivals. It seems like Events would be the main place to pick them up–but there are so few of them. Seriously, my pirate made one Ally because I refused to stab him in the back–then I got a Life Event… “betrayal.”

Sure, the Life Event said “choose one of,” but I only had one. In fact, I think of the three of us, I was the only one to get ANY NPC connections.

Speaking of connections, wow did I misunderstand how those were supposed to work. I mean, after going through character creation several times with other players and reading through the example described in the book, I get it. But it’s a little, I don’t know, generic? You get to pick ANY skill (and give it to a friend, too). I guess I shouldn’t complain.

Speaking of ACER (at least tangentially), I LOVE this system of NPC relationships. It’s so easy to explain. Honestly, I’m trying to work out how to get more work out of the system. It’s so simple, I want to use it everywhere!

Coming back to careers for a moment, I think it’s cool that your Education is 2d6: it’s like, if a point of Education represents a year of school… then most people get by on the average of like, a middle school (7th-grade) education. Totally!

My main problem worn this is that, school or academia isn’t a career option, least of all one that might be required for other careers (like technical ones). Oh sure, there’s the scholar career, but that just isn’t the same. Seriously, you should have a choice between A) school, B) the draft, and C) drifting if you can’t get into your career of choice.

It’s what a lot of us do: go back to school.

Also, I was surprised to see civil service and bureaucracy underrepresented. Why no social workers? Maybe all this was supposed to be more abstract than I’m thinking, but the problem was as I looked over the career options, I didn’t see anything that really explained how the society functioned with or without my character.

All that said, I love rolling for attributes, for careers, and for Events/connections. I love rolling for promotions and Benefits. Good stuff, all around. It’s some of the most inactive character creation I’ve experienced in s long time.

But I think one of the most remarkable things was the discussion of what our characters would do first: we calculated the ship’s mortgage and started trying to work out how to pay for it. We hadn’t even discussed a Traveler campaign, we were only doing this as an exercise. And here, we were coming up with a strategy to make money and pay off our spaceship (which we may or may not have named).

It was a great experience, really. One I hope we can have again… in another context, if not Traveller.