Classic Traveller – Savaged

Posted: 15 February 2011 in Tryouts
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I’ve never felt a need for anything more complex than CT Book 2 for Starships, or Book 3 for Worlds and Adventures, and I don’t think I’m alone; throughout all the incarnations of Traveller, the heart of subsector and world generation remains unchanged.

Over the last 30 years, though, the trend has been to give players more control over their characters, both during character generation (point-buy systems and templates replacing random die rolls) and during play (narrative control through luck points, action points, bennies or what have you). If CT has weaknesses for gaming in the 21st century, they are the character generation and combat systems. So, for my CT game, I’m using Savage Worlds to replace Book 1: Characters & Combat.

I’ll need a few interface rulings…

Characteristics: Strength is the same in both systems. CT Dexterity and Intelligence are SW Agility and Smarts, respectively. CT Endurance is both Vigour and Spirit in SW. CT Education and Social Standing are dropped, except that Social Standing B or above implies the Noble edge. You could also use extreme values of Social Standing to justify Rich, Filthy Rich, Poverty or even Wanted.

The CT value is rounded down to the next nearest die type. So, for example, Dexterity 7 becomes Agility d6, or Intelligence 11 becomes Smarts d10.

Skills: Expertise level 0 (or 1/2 if you’re really Old School) is d4, increasing one die type per additional level. So Pilot-3, for example, becomes Piloting d10. To avoid introducing a Vacc Suit skill, I’ll treat it as Common Knowledge for spacers, and a Knowledge specialisation for non-spacers.

Edges: The only Arcane Background permitted is Psionics. Three new edges are needed:

  • Scout Ship: Constructive possession of a surplus scout ship; balanced by needing to report to the service at regular intervals, and the fact that everyone will assume you are a spy.
  • Free Trader: Constructive possession of a tramp freighter, balanced by the Poverty hindrance to reflect the enormous costs of upkeep.
  • TAS Membership: Exactly as described in CT.

Hindrances: No change required, CT characters didn’t really have them, except that known psionics were Outsiders. I’ve decided that psionics who are not yet identified as such count as Wanted, since they are in deep trouble if anyone figures out what they can do.

Gear: Savage Worlds has everything you need up to powered armour and laser weapons, and the non-combat equipment like vacc suits and portable computers can be taken straight from Book 1. We just need to say that Cr 1 = $1 and 1 kg = 2 lbs, and we’re away.

Psionics: In over 30 years of playing Traveller, I can count the number of psionic characters (both PC and NPC) in my campaigns on my fingers, and still have some fingers left over. The only change needed is that the Mind-Reading power has to be brought in from the PEGC forums – it’s central to the way CT operates psionics.

  1. Erin says:

    It satisfies the ‘tinkerer’ in me to see such a seamless conversion. Clearly, this is one of the strengths of SW, and I’m eager to see how this (and your other SW projects) turns out.

    Of course, my goals are entirely self-serving…Perhaps one day I’ll entice you to give Chimera a shake… 😉

    • andyslack says:

      SW: Yes, one of the things that drew me to SW was how easy it is to do mashups with it. It’s designed from the ground up for GMs who don’t have a lot of prep time, which description fits me quite well these days.

      Chimera: Could be, I do try a lot of games. 😉

  2. Goring Fasi says:

    Andy, have you ever played in a Wild-west setting (ala Firefly)?
    Any books for that?

    • andyslack says:

      I’m a big Firefly fan, and it always seemed very Traveller-ish to me. I have the Serenity RPG from Margaret Weiss Productions but never played it; I think it just went out of print, but you may be able to get one if you move quickly – Amazon seem to have (literally) a couple left in stock. That covers the Firefly universe under the MW Cortex system. There’s a review here.

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