Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Boy Scout Commando Characters in Car Wars and Traveller

I’ve always liked the extra skills that were introduced for Car Wars in ADQ issues 4/2, 7/1, and in the Compendium 2e.  The thing was, though, that we never bought very many of them for our characters.  If you knew you were going to be dueling very much, you maxed out your character points on Driver and Gunner skills– and that was it!  Previously, I suggested using “General” skill point awards from duels and adventures to improve non-combat skills, but after playing Traveller I see there’s a less heavy handed approach to accomplishing the same thing– at least in the case of former Boy Scout Commandoes.

Not everyone can claim to have been a Boy Scout Commando– this is only at the referee’s discretion.  Players using these character generation rules have to use them in sight of their fellow players if they intend to use their characters in a game: you can’t just roll up a hundred characters until you get what you want.  (Go play GURPS if you already know exactly what type of character you want to play!)

To determine your character’s background, first roll up the standard Traveller attributes for your character.  These consist of 6 2d6 rolls applied consecutively to Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education, and Social.  Don’t worry if you don’t know when, where, and how to adapt these values to your adventures: a consensus has never really emerged even among Traveller fans.  You could even throw them out altogether when you start playing your character: in a high tech future, skills are going to be a lot more important than attributes.  If they do impact a skill roll, they should never improve a roll 2d6 skill check by more than +1 or +2.

Scouts begin the character generation process at age 12.  Each year they will make rolls to determine if they survive, advance, and if they persevere.  The survival roll is required because like in the corps is dangerous: that really cool character with nifty skills and attributes is likely to improve each year he stays in the corps… but you just might lose him.  Not everyone advances and not everyone stays involved with their troop; rolls for both of those are required each time as well.

To become a scout, roll your Soc attribute or less on 2d6.

To Survive, roll 6 or more on 2D6.  (Add one to your roll if your Dex is 8 or higher.  Add two to your roll if your End is 10 or higher.)

To Advance, roll 9 or more on 2D6.  (Add one to your roll if your Int is 7 or higher.  Add two to your roll if your Edu is 9 or higher.)

To Perservere, roll 7 or more on 2D6.  (Add one if your Str is 9 or higher.)

Each time you advance, you gain a new skill at base level.  When you advance to Tenderfoot, you gain the Handgunner skill.  First Class scouts receive Paramedic skill.  Star scouts gain Driver skill… and Death scouts pick up Gunner skill.  If a scout fails his survival roll, he’s dead.  When you finally get a character to survive the process, you can use the dead ones as fellow scouts from your character’s patrol that all died on a particularly gruesome mission.  If you fail a perseverance roll, then your character quit scouting for some reason and the process ends there; you do pick up your skills for that year, however.

Each year your character remains in scouting, he gets to roll on a skill table.  If he doesn’t have the skill he rolls, then he receives it at base level.  If he already has the skill, then he gains a level in it.  Low ranking scouts roll on the Skill Awards Table.  Star and Death scouts roll on the Merit Badges Table.  Scouts gain these skills in addition to the ones they pick up for advancement.

Skill Awards
1) Survival
2) Stealth
3) Scrounging
4) Handgunner
5) Runner
6) Climber

Merit Badges
1) Driver
2) Gunner
3) Mechanic
4) Explosives
5) Paramedic
6) Martial Arts

The only new skill in the above list is Scrounging– use that to help determine if your character can find supplies, ammo, and/or spare parts for jury-rigging equipment.

Once you survive your 6th year of scouting, fail a perseverance roll, or drop out, add up your character’s total skill levels in Driver and Gunner (including your base levels.)  If you have less than 3 total skill levels there, then round out your character by adding the difference in new skills or skill levels.  For instance, if your character was Driver-1, you could pick up Gunner-0 at this point.  If your character had no skill levels at all in Driver or Gunner, you might pick Mechanic-2 or even Politics-2.

The first character I rolled up with these rules had 9,9,5,7,10, and 3 for attributes and was Handgunner-1, Stealth-0, Scrounging-0, Paramedic-1, Driver-1, Gunner-0, Mechanic-0.  (Yeah, he actually did make his Soc roll to join the troop!)

Note that Car Wars skills are much more effective than their Traveller “level zero” counterparts.  But these rules can be used in either game, because most of the additional skills the Car Wars character receives will be in non-combat disciplines.  In Traveller, adding a few level zero skills to a character will probably not imbalance the game– in fact many referees do so already– but referees should be aware that this system can yield level 1 skills or even level 2 skills as well.  While characters should technically be able to join a standard military service after 4-6 years in the BSC, referees might want to limit this generation process to only those characters that are from a violent post-apocalyptic world– a world whose citizens might not have access to the usual Imperial careers!

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2 responses to “Boy Scout Commando Characters in Car Wars and Traveller

  1. William Hostman April 24, 2007 at 11:38 am

    Method I used for getting players to take non-combat skills in CW:

    60 point characters, no more than 30 amongst: diver, gunner, handgunner, paramed, pilot, cyclist.

    Plus any disad points increase the limit by half value… as in, a 20 point disad ups the limit on combat by 10 points.

  2. jeffro April 28, 2007 at 9:05 am

    What “disadvantage rules” were you playing by??

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