Last year in the Character Creation Challenge I had my first opportunity to create a character for the very popular Classic Traveller system. The post generated a lot of traffic and some feedback from fans of that system. During the rest of the year, I catch various sales on DriveThruRPG and one of those sales landed me the Cepheus Deluxe Enhanced Edition from Stelagama Publishing.
What is the difference between Cepheus and Traveller? Traveller is the original game and Cepheus is based off of the System Reference Document (SRD), so essentially a re-write of the rules for some clarification and house-rule additions. It’s kind of like how there is the original B/X Dungeons and Dragons and Basic Fantasy RPG. As I was doing some research on the differences, I came across Timothy S. Brannan’s excellent blog The Other Side where he had recently talked about this very subject.
So on page 9 of the rules it starts talking about the character creation process, but the actual steps start on page 12. Instead of rolling your characteristics, assign these scores to one of the six. 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. The characteristics are still the same as they are in Traveller. Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence (now abbreviated as INT), Education and Social Standing. I wrote down my selection (and their dice modifiers) on character generation worksheet.
This is a game of skills. Before you started your career at the age of 18 you learned a single skill. I was instructed to select a homeworld and choose one of the skills available from that list. My guy would have grown up on a high-tech core world and learned about computers. This leads us to step three where the character goes through a career. I decided to make this character a scout (I didn’t see anything that was randomly rolled). I elected to increase my Education characteristic and add a skill rank in Survival. I rolled on the career event table and it instructed me to roll a life event. This resulted in a new romantic relationship which generated a contact. Hmm. Interesting. So no mustering out at the end of the first term so the character gains four years to the age of 22.
OK, second term. Two more skills increased and another life event rolled on the career event. My character ended up with cybersurgery getting cr5000 of commonplace cybernetics. I selected a cybernetic eye. Nothing I read stated that the career was done, so I added four more years and went to the third term. Added two more skills and on the career events I rolled up the discovery a new world which got me an extra skill (+1 END) and an extra benefit roll on mustering out. On to the fourth term. One more skills advanced. For the career event I rolled a rescue mission. I had to make a skill roll to see what happened. Failed to rescue, so I gained an enemy. Interesting. Next the 5th with 2 more skills and a career event roll. Another life event which resulted in the character studying and gaining +1 EDU. I’m supposed to roll an aging effect since I’m 34. But I don’t understand the table. It goes from 1 to -6, what am I rolling against?) It says see page 37, but that has nothing on it for aging. Ugh, not a good sign for this system. Do I go onto Term 6 at age 38? I guess I do. One more skills and a career roll. Deep space travel which resulted gaining a skill. Another aging effect in which I still don’t know what to do. Nothing said to stop so 7th and final term on the worksheet. The scout chart shows a bonus skill for science +1. Added a skill and rolled the career chart, exemplary service, gain a DM+1 on one benefit roll.
Ok muster out is where you leave your career and gain stuff before the adventure begins. I see the chart with the scout, but do I gain all of this? The Mustering Out benefits on page 30 were vague. Again I wonder if this book is meant to be used with another set of books? I don’t recall Traveller being this clunky in the character creation. I could have used a good GM helping me along with this character. I just wrote down what I had and put the final character sheet in the scanner.
Was it fate? Today as I was writing up my character, Stellagama Publishing sent me a message that the hardbound POD of Cepheus Deluxe was now available on DriveThruRPG. Veeerrryyyy innnteresting.
I really liked that there was a character creation worksheet for Cepheus Deluxe. When I re-read my Classic Traveller entry in the 2022 Character Creation Challenge, I had commented that I would have created my own worksheet if I was planning to run some people through the character creation process. However the worksheet still had some mistakes on it (when referencing page number for example) which caused some confusion. When I tried to just look at the book, they had charts listed with little definition. For example on page 14 there was a Skills Package chart based upon the campaign style (good idea) but do I automatically get those skills? Or are the skill listed added to the skills list provided with each class? The charts with the class (as well as the master character generation table) mention adding to the characteristics, but it is not listed in the steps. I wonder if this document was written for players already familiar with the Traveller system? The worksheet needs a re-work. I know this character isn’t play ready, but I was frustrated by the time I got to this point.
The system itself sounds pretty straightforward. Roll 2d6 an add bonuses/skills to beat a target number. I’d love to play a session or two to see how this works at the table.
So far no feedback on the John Carter of Mars post I made on the Modiphus discord channel. However I did receive another email with a blog participating in the #CharacterCreationChallenge. I’ve added it to the links site on the CCC page.
Coming Up Next:
When The Moon Hangs Low
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