IMTU Chimera

This page is a reference point for my Traveller-esque campaign. Posts on the main blog page will be condensed here for easy player reference.

In gamer lingo IMTU stood for In My Traveller Universe, and indicated their own Traveller game. Original versions of Traveller had Imperial SF concepts baked in but not a shared "Universe". I'm sticking with that as our game setting is different from the eventually codified Traveller Universe.

In out case IMTU stands for Intersystem Merchant Transport - Unaffiliated, the code to indicate a tramp freighter merchant ship. Jason decided to name his ship Chimera, hence the campaign name

I am building new mechanics using Feng Shui as the engine. This changes the Traveller dynamic, but not enough to make it unrecognizable. The players brainstormed by setting after they had agreed on enough elements (communication at speed of travel, primarily human space with some alien races, human empire bordering collapse, swords held equal to guns as weapons) that it felt Traveller enough. I'll discussing each new aspects in Blog posts and then moving them here.

Key game mechanics:
  • Task resolution is Skill added to the outcome of positive and negative dice. This means PCs are reliably as good as their skill, with room for spectacular success of failure. 
  • PCs have 3 normal stats - Body, Mind, Reflexes - rated from 3-9. The first serves for all strength and toughness related functions and the latter two are the default for any skill the PC doesn't have. 
  • PCs have a 4th stat - Meta - that powers PC or player ability to manipulate environment. This is usually Fortune points (add another positive d6 to roll) but might also power Shticks. 
  • Skills range from 9 to 15, where anything 12+ is action hero levels. 
  • Skills are either Action Skills (Drive, Martial Arts, Guns) where they work primarily in combat and other actions scenes or Bridge skills, which are relied on to gather information, interact with people and get the knowledge needed to bridge you from one Action scene to the next. 
  • Characters have Shticks in some areas (Guns, Bladework, Driving and some others we're inventing) that further differentiate them. 
  • Combat runs on cinematic rather than real world rules; one new one for this game is that PCs health depends on how the number of players to help standardize the table duration of fights. 
Setting
We are running this in a version of the Traveller universe, so a few things the players should know.

Setting
We are running this in a version of the Traveller universe, so a few things the players should know.

0.1 Traveller

This was the first Science Fiction RPG, or at least the first to really take off. It’s built around the tropes of golden age Imperial science fiction, which are baked into the system. While early players developed their own universes Game Designers Workshop (GDW) developed a standard Traveller universe over the course of their supplements. We are using some of that as a base but setting our own course.

0.1.1 Default Assumptions

It is a human universe.

At the very least the parts of it that humans inhabit. There might be different cultural types but the PCs are human, as are the worlds they inhabit. The setting has a handful of aliens whose sphere of influence overlaps with humaniti but it’s not the shared pluralistic space of, say, the Federation.

Jump Ships and Communication Speed:

There is no FTL communication – news travels as fast as a fast ship. Hyperspace jump ships have a 1 week transit time where the strength of your drive determines how far you can go – a Jump 2 ship can cover twice as much space as a Jump 1, a Jump 3 goes three times as far, and so on. This makes space maps a series of system hops with some logistics for fuel. Long trips take a while.

Empire:

Communication limits tend to empires Traveller assumes an Imperium where the empire limits itself to protecting space lanes, defending planets & preventing atrocities, otherwise leaving each systems to a local ruling family. Social Status is a game stat, with higher scores indicating noble titles.

The Collapse:

Not written into the rules but part of the genre is the imperial collapse. Foundation is about recovering from it with a better world; CoDominium it’s about making sure it doesn’t happen again. We start just as the Long Night is beginning, in some of the first system to break away from the Empire to try a new government. This gives us a looming empire and vestigial nobility where the titles mean something in terms of wealth and power.

Real World Physics

Jump drive tech beget anti-gravity, but other than that we have real world physics: projectile weapons rather than laser blasters, missiles rather than photon cannons and so on. Anti-grav works just enough to get us SF – ships can get on and off planets, move from star to star and have the characters orient to the floor. One does not fire pistols on board a space ship so swords are common.”

Psionics:

Traveller has this, as do many parts of its source material, but I don’t like it. It doesn’t fit our theoretical turn to emergent powers and it breaks the otherwise hard SF of the setting. I’m instead postulating memtic linguistics, akin to the Bene Geseret of Dune. It serves the same function of secret/strange psionic/mystical powers without having teleporters and telekinetics

Travelling

You don’t NEED a ship, but you can have one. Traveller was built around Dumarest of Terra stories where our titular hero took passage from world to world, scraping together funds on each for passage to the next. It’s a solid ‘planet/ problem of the week’ campaign frame. PCs could also find Patrons who would hire them to go out and do stuff. If they start play with a ship it either had 40 years’ worth of onerous payments on it, it was 40 years old or some variable in between. Payments to keep the ship yours and running and paid off meant the same story rules applied to ship owners as passage travelers. We will be using that framework here.

0.1.2 Official Traveller Setting

With the elements baked into Traveller discussed, here are the things we’re keeping from the official Traveller setting.

Humaniti:

When Terrans got to the stars they found Humans waiting for them. Specifically the Vilani Empire from the planet Vland, a vast, decaying empire that Terrans encountered after inventing a Jump 1 drive. Terrans reacted poorly to being told they’d be absorbed into the empire and counter attacked. The sector governor couldn’t convince the imperial bureaucracy of the threat until Terrans built Jump 2 and Jump 3 drives. Suddenly Terrans, now called Solomani, had huge logistic and tactical advantages. They captured the imperial capital and, depending on who you ask, took over or were absorbed into the imperial bureaucracy. In any event their cultural vitality and better drives reinvigorated the empire, holding off the collapse for a couple of centuries.

For our purposes the PCs are all Solomani to ease culture shock, while the imperials are Viliani or Solomani who have been absorbed into their decaying ways. There was a third branch – Zhodhani, which I’m dropping as they are a psi-focused adversary culture and don’t interest me.

The Ancients

The reason behind multiple branches of humans (Humaniti) was a plot thread in the early Traveller. The answer was that Humans evolved on Terra but an ancient spacefaring race picked up human stock and seeded it on other planets (they even uplifted Terran wolves any plopped them on a planet, the Vargr). Many forced colonies died out due to planetary biological incompatibility but some developed highly formal, ritual rules around food preparation that converted into religious/mystical social structures. Once the PCs proved that, the next questions were “How and Why?” These conundrums don’t matter at all for this game. We have other fish to fry –Ancient technology and democratic politics.

The Long Night

Our game is taking place during the Long Night – the period after the collapse of the Ramshackle Empire (what the Vilimani nobles called the Solomani extension of their empire) and before its reformation. By setting it before the normal ‘start of play’ I can gleefully ignore all the parts of the Traveller canon I don’t want to deal with.

Alien Races

In addition to the uplifted wolves (Vargr) there are also Aslan, Droyne, Hivers and K’kree – lion men, bug men, hexpedial squiddy things and centaur men – who are all way more complicated than I’m making them here. None of them are available as PC races and won’t show up for the first few sessions anyway.

0.2 In My Traveller Universe

That’s what IMTU originally stood for. In our case it stands for Interstellar Merchant Transport – Unaffiliated.  Aside from that little joke here are the other divergences from CT.

0.2.1 Computers

Coming from the 1970’s and based on stories that were old even then Traveller had very poor computers. We expanded that so that AIs of several levels exist. Most of them exist to do anything that it would be boring to have the PCs do – they act as autopilots, monitor systems, translate languages and pretty much anything else where doing it would get in the way of a fun time. There are also Minds, full AIs, but the Minds all fled coreward at the collapse to stay where tech exists to maintain them. They are also in a slow invisible war with one another – much as plants are incredibly violent but humans never notice it. A Mind may appear as a plot element but otherwise aren’t relevant to play

A secondary aspect to this is that droids don’t exist. There are no androids or robots or similar items. There are Shells that Minds will use from time to time as humaniform waldos but those aren’t the same things as having Danieel Oliva, C-3PO or even Tweekie wandering around the setting. Shells will only turn up in the play space as a precursor to the plot elements that would bring in Minds.

0.2.2 Medicine and Memetics

This will be repeated in several places but the other two big changes to CT are an emphasis on the improvement of medicine (the campaign setting is JW Station, a space hospital now dealing with a political refugee crisis and the alien tech on the planet it orbits; James Whites Sector General by way of Babylon 5) and the existence of memetic linguistics (which explain away any cultural oddities the players may see in the setting surrounding guns and swords and replaces the psionic system that felt out of place).

0.2.3 Emergent Powers

One of the ideas kicked around for the game was an emergent powers riff, where the PCs would gain super-human abilities, being the first of their kind, (which is later revealed to be the first of their generation, as per usual in these sorts of stories). We opted against it in the short term but are leaving the door open as a possible continuation/2nd season turning point.

0.2.4 Politics

In the last 15 years the PCs sector has had a rebellion, breaking away from the empire to form a new republic. This was not without some significant cost and was mostly a public relations victory – the republic managed to drag the fight on long enough, took advantage of some imperial mistakes and curried enough favor with prominent families that the decaying empire just wrote it off as too much trouble. There were several key events in the rebellion.

10 YA: The Dinner Party of Infamy (Doc, Gears, Jack)

Key families in the sector, major players in the sector Imperial services and the new Imperial envoy to the sector met and discussed Imperial support. Like the rest of the Empire the sector was suffering from technological and economic decline –Minds were migrating coreward, bandit attacks were up, K’Kree were pressuring – and sector families and services wanted support. The inexperienced and decadent envoy, who had spent his first months with airy promises, finally told them, using the Imperial Speech of memetic linguistics, to count themselves lucky the important core worlds didn’t demand even more from them.

Things went downhill from there.

This party marks the official start of the rebellion in popular consciousness. Instead of cementing the idea that rim sectors needed to commit to support the core, he cemented that the core sectors did not feel a reciprocal obligation. Those present dedicated the next decade to breaking off such an unbalanced relationship.

9 YA: Empire takes sector capital:

Things were not all wine and roses for the rebels. Early in the conflict the Imperial Navy captured San Lou[1] in a fairly bloodless battle. This makes it clear that the sector has little chance against imperial might, but the sector keeps fighting.

8 YA: Misaimed Attack (Jack)

Infuriated by the pointless resistance the Envoy kicks up the pressure by demanding more attacks. This lead to Imperial attack on loyalist families – including two who ran significant trade companies. The conversion of merchant freighters to capital ships in retaliation aids the Sector immensely.

8 YA: Imperial/Vargr Conflict:

As close to simultaneously as communication allows sees a second over-zealous attack take out Vargr ship, the Lurking Rhythmically. The Sector sees this as a wedge to open trade and relations with the Vargr and immediately send an envoy, which is received to show displeasure with the Imperials.

7 YA: Forge Battle:

The space hospital JW Station was constructed orbiting Clifton Forge (better known as the Forge), planet in a strategically located refueling system with lots of fuel heavy gas giants where the one barely habitable planet had multiple Ancient sites. Imperial Forces try to claim control of the sector with three capital ships, while two large converted merchants ships and a dozen smaller ones stood to defense. For reasons unknown a spacetime rift opened and ‘vanished’ everything with a Jump 2 or better drive. The Sector declared victory by default and no one has taken a capital ship in past the Forge gas giants since.

6 YA: Solar Flare Incident:

After 2 years of grinding losses the Sector had another notable victory. Stories differ as to whether this was brilliant tactics or pure luck but Captain Randolph Borodin and the converted merchant Helen Henson engaged the Imperial Flagship Clea’s Pride in a battle that pulled it deep into the star’s gravity well. A sudden solar flare event fried Clea’s Pride, forcing its surrender.

6 YA: Evacuation of Imperial flagship:

Borodin then turns and arranges a convoy of free traders to evacuate the ship before it falls into the star. This is a public relations coup for the Sector in the Empire.

5 YA: Memetic Event (Skipper)

In another part of the war another strange battle occurs: A part of the Sector fleet that had been bottled up by Imperials blocking their exit from the gravity well are able to escape when a Memetic outbreak stuns everyone present. The Sector forces recover faster and are able to flee the scene. Those present now speak to each other in a language known only to them, and have inexplicable knowledge of Ancient technology and language in their heads.  

5 YA: Prion Plague (Skipper, Doc)

On Alexandria a secret Sector weapons center – run by people who think the Sector cannot win otherwise and are unaware of how Imperial public relations are changing - were engaging in bioweapons research. They release a Prion Plague that destroys the targets brains. This Forces a planetary evacuation using any ship available, mostly from former Scout ships hauling out as many people as they could jam in at a time. Most refugees ended up on hastily constructed gravity platforms outside JW Station called the Reef. The event, and certainly its causes, are kept as secret as possible during the war, and even today most people don’t know the plague was manufactured.

4 YA: Vargr treaty signed

After 4 years of complex negotiations the Sector diplomats show up on the scene with a sizable fleet of Vargr ships at their side. The momentum of the war is clearly changing.

4 YA: Battle of Baltimore:

Baltimore, a key Sector outpost, holds out against the final push from a vastly superior Imperial force. This, combined with the entry of the Vargr on the Sector side, is when Imperials lose interest in the conflict. The treaty is signed shortly thereafter.

3 YA: Imperial families institute recovery/relief

After the war several Imperial families make a good faith gesture in light of saving the flagship and the now public Prion plague refugees. Relations start to thaw a bit, which does wonders for trade – still nothing like what it was, but the Sector is now a clearing house for trade with the Vargr that would otherwise be illegal for the Imperials.

0.2.5 Recent History

It’s been 8 years since the war ended, and in that time the PCs who were involved in that conflict have met, banded together and become the crew of the IMTU Chimera. They contract with JW Station for medical service and docking rights and do other merchant work in the Reef and around Forge system. Their latest recruit, Genadi Shostakovich, is a former Imperial Marine who mustered out into the Sector.

0.3 The Immediate Area

The area where most of our action takes place is in the Clifton Forge system, which has a Yellow-Type star with 5 planets and formerly an asteroid field. The planets are a Mercury type one fairly close to the sun, Clifton Forge inside the habitable band and three Gas Giants further out in the system. The small asteroid belt was repurposed as land for the Reef by using crude engines to maneuver them into place. Much of that mass was repurposed into broad flat spaces with gravity generators to create the habitats but at least one is on an asteroid the size of Ceres.

0.3.1 JW Station

The main focus of our heroes’ activities James White “JW” Station is a large hospital station. With 100 tons of displacement and over 6000 people on board as crew and compliment it’s a sizable station.

Key Personnel

I’ll be adding more here later, this is a place holder

0.3.2 The Reef - Kandahar

This is a modest sized trading post for the Republic but pretty big in the reef. It is home to Captain Osman’s family who are a possible resource for the crew of the Chimera

Key People

Another placeholder for later

0.3.3: Rosewood Clinic and the Amethyst

There is a mining settlement on Anvil, the asteroid in the Reef, made up of people carving out a living on valuable metals in the asteroid rock. This settlement is bound on one side by Rosewood Clinic, a charity medical clinic that has connections to but is not directly funded by JW Station and the Amethyst Saloon on the other. Anyone who thinks that this is inspired by the TV show Deadwood is correct.

The crew of the Chimera have connected themselves with the community, with Doc and Gears helping out in the clinic after a mining accident and Doc, Gears and Skipper all learning that the Amethyst’s bouncer is another veteran of the 3rd fleet, which led to them taking a simple, extremely high paying courier job from Butkis.

Key People

Lon Butkis, proprietor of the Amethyst.
More will come later; placeholder


0.4 The Forge

Clifton Forge, or just The Forge, is the planet under JW Station. While it is a habitable Earth-Type it is an untamed world of extreme environments – the shorelines are primarily rocky and hard to access, the temperatures are high with plentiful storms and sizable humidity, the deserts are extreme places of heat and erosion and the forests and jungles are huge and grow very rapidly, and all life is evolved to a decent level of toxicity and scavenger nature. Add in the presence of several Precurser sites with their inexplicable physics and other strangenesses and even the refugees in the Reef prefer staying in that known discomfort over risking their lives on the planet.

Our heroes, of course, went down there in session 2.

0.4.1 The Collapsed Towers

The site of an Imperial University archaeology dig before the war this is possible a city, possibly a temple, something from the precursors. It is in many ways archaeology as practiced by the child of Indiana Jones and Laura Croft.

The crew of the Chimera have entered one tower on the heels of a recent unauthorized expedition, likely by pirates, defeated several threats and then accidentally blew up part of the structure when Osman inserted an activation key into a machine that the raiders had already scavenged parts from, causing a short out and fire.

Key Items

Gamma ray lasers, poisonous scavenger hornets, rooms bigger on the inside than our, feathered lizard machinist dogs living in the technology.

0.5 The Gas Giants and their Mines

There are roughly a dozen mining stations scattered around the three gas giants (nicknamed Hammer, Tongs & Bellows as CF-03, CF-04 and CF-05 are dull). These have small complements of 3-10 people each and mine H3 for fusion and other gasses from the atmospheres for resale in the system.

0.5.1 Kai Johannsen Station

This station was being used by the Pirates who attacked the IMTU Poseidon and several other ships as a refueling port; it’s not clear how much they controlled the station crew by violence or money. The crew of the Chimera broke up this arrangement by capturing the crew and killing one pirate, but the pirate ship had already departed for the Forge (see above), apparently to scavenger precursor technology.
Character Creation

1.0 Templates and Paths

CT had a lifepath system, where a series of decisions and rolls gave you your character from enlistment to start of play with all skills earned from that. I wanted to keep something similar for IMTU but Feng Shui works on a series of broad archetypes that the PC lightly modifies. To square the circle the archetypes are all very standard Traveller concepts (and if you read all them you’ll learn a decent amount about the setting, such as what Jay called the ‘great chain of griping’ between the services) and then we add a life events section stolen conceptually from Greg Stolze’s Reign. That gives some skill boosts and key events in the PCs life. Combined these give us an effect like the CT lifepath system but without all of the fuss.

1.1: Navy

The Imperial Navy is the world of capital ships, often floating cities staffed by highly trained professionals of all stripes, expert naval academy graduates and the children of the nobility (who sometimes know what they’re doing).

1.1.1 Navy Officer

You spent years working your way up through “the High Command”, from smaller frigates to the massive capital ships, and know the ins and outs of the direct command and indirect bureaucracy of everything up to the Imperial city-sized vessels. You’ve certainly qualified on core weapons training and can take the helm of a ship if needed but your real expertise is in the air of command and the ability to interact smoothly with the Imperial nobility (of which you may be a member, but maybe you just know how to work with them. Now that you’re freelance you can put those skills to a profitable use, and perhaps do some good free from Navy bureaucracy.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command# 13; Computers 9; Drive; 10 Guns12; Info (choose) 11; Intimidation 9; Investigation 9; Martial Arts 8; Status 12

Shticks
Shtick 1- Command Presence (Bio or Guns)
Shtick 2– Never Misses: (Bio)
Shtick 3 – pick one other Guns, Bio or Memetic shtick

1.1.2 Navy Engineer

Someone has to keep the Imperial Navy in space, and that’s you. You’ve taken apart, repaired and replaced every part on their ships (which given their size is a LOT of parts) and despite what other services say about how the Navy has replacement arts to spare, those people never had to jury rig systems during a capital ship battle to keep the lights on. As an independent contractor those skills are in high demand from big corporate jobs and merchant liners, but who want to deal with their stultifying chains of command?

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command# 9; Computers 13; Drive 9; Guns 9; Info (Science) 9; Info (choose) 9; Martial Arts 11; Repair 12; Sabotage 12; Status 10; Trader 9

Shticks
Shtick 1- Jump Drive Physics: You can, with a difficulty 15 Repair roll, modify a jump drive to do something bizarre. This might super-charge the ships hydrogen scoop to make it a limited use force field or magnetic grapple, push into Hyperspace at a non-jump point, act as a Jump +1 drive, whatever. Failure means GM decides what happens.

Shtick 2- Pick one Blade Shtick,

1.1.3 Navy Legacy

Members of the Noble Houses know they should give back to the Empire. For many this means a posting in the Imperial Navy. An officer posting, of course: anything less would be demeaning. On one of the larger ships, certainly: one can’t go without comforts. You entered the Navy a useless lump of privilege, cosseted by a system designed to protect you while giving you the illusion of service. For some reason you have struck out on your own, perhaps to see what you can do without relying on family, or perhaps as an agent of your family to expand their power in subtle ways.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command# 10; Deceit 11; Drive 10; Gambling 11; Guns 9; Info (Imperial trends) 9; Info (choose) 10; Intimidation 10; Martial Arts 8; Status 13; Trader 10

Shticks
Pick 3 shticks between Bio and Memetics

1.2 Marines

The marines are the close combat arm of the Navy, performing ship defense and boarding actions. They are hands down the scariest close combat fighters in the setting because firing pistols on spaceships is not terribly smart. When NPCs their main weapons are sabers, quiet arrogance and a fanatical devotion to the emperor.

1.2.1 Marine Commander

You’re from the classic lead from the front, out fight the enemy, don’t give up the ship Marine – Marines work their way up from private to officer status so you’ve years of experience to back up your reputation. You’re very likely still in possession of some advanced biomods. Whatever your background you’re dedicated, tough and well able to command troops in any engagement, from the front, where a real commander belongs.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 12; Computers 9; Drive 8; Gambling 9; Guns 10; Info 9; Intimidation 10; Intrusion 12; Investigation 10; Martial Arts 12; Status 11

Shticks
Pick 3 shticks between Bio and Blade shticks

1.2.2 Marine Incursion Leader

One of the toughest jobs for a Marine is the incursion crew, who at the first on board enemy ships, sometimes fighting in soft, or even hard vacuum. You were one of these, and damned good at it – scary and effective, you could often end encounters just by your arrival and a growl.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 10; Drive 8 ; Guns 9; Info (choose) 9; Intimidation 12; Intrusion 11; Investigation 9; Martial Arts 13; Sabotage 11; Status 10

Shticks
Shtick 1- Marine Vacc Suit Training: you have mastered moving and fighting in a vacc suit. You suffer no penalties when wearing one or in zero gravity. You are also cleared to use a mech suit, (Advanced Vacc Suit skill is a prerequisite). Marines generally disdain their use, but you can run one.

Pick 2 other shticks between Blade and Bio shticks

1.2.3 Marine Security

Marines maintain security on capital ships, and you had that difficult job. This might have been done through special training and biomods, through hard-nosed pragmatism, or perhaps a willingness to bust heads, but you managed to keep the peace in a chaotic environment. Those skills have some use in the broader galaxy.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta (Bio) 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 11; Computers 10; Deceit 9 Drive 9; Guns 10; Info (Choose) 10; Intimidation 11; Intrusion 9; Investigation 13; Martial Arts 11; Medicine 10; Status 9

Shticks
Pick two shticks between Blade, Bio and those listed here.
Shtick 1- Blink Speed Forensics:
Shtick 2- Human Lie Detector:

1.3 Army

The Army are ground based forces – tasked with claiming, securing and holding areas. Sometimes they do this with guns, sometimes with tanks and sometimes with mech battle armor. They constantly complain that they have worse resources, worse medicine and tougher jobs than the Navy. This is because it’s true. Unlike the formal nobility of the Navy it can be hard to tell an Army officer from a regular grunt on the ground; unless you’re Army. They just know.

1.3.1 Army Special Ops

The tip of the spear, the Army Special Ops units are the first ones on the planet, scouting the ground, making contact (good or bad) with the natives and otherwise gathering information before all the boots hit the ground. They are well rounded, smart, capable and deadly shots.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 9; Deceit 10; Drive 8; Guns 12; Intimidation 9; Intrusion 10; Investigation 11; Martial Arts 9; Repair 9; Sabotage 13; Survival 12

Shticks
Pick 2 shticks between Guns, Bio and those listed here

Shtick 1- Army Officer: add 3 to your Command score; you are a higher ranked Army officer

Shtick 2- Forward Observer: you’re highly trained in getting into specific locations and calling in direct or indirect fire from your ground or air support. Split 3 points between Repair and Intrusion and add Info (Indirect fire) at a 12.

1.3.2 Army Grunt

One of the troops, the Army Grunt is the one that’s doing the complex work of clearing and holding ground, and then the arduous task of policing it until civil authority is put into place (Imperial bureaucracy used to be very good at this sort of thing, but these days it gets harder and harder). You mustered out armed with experience, initiative, bravery, a work ethic and blow the hell out of things if required.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 9; Drive 8; Gambling 9; Guns 13; Info 10; Intimidation 11; Intrusion 9; Investigation 9; Martial Arts 10; Repair 10; Sabotage 10; Survival 11

Shticks
Pick 3 shticks from Guns, Bio or those listed below
Shtick 1- Army Officer: add 3 to your Command score; you are a higher ranked Army officer

Shtick 2- Army Vacc Suit Training: you have mastered moving and fighting in a vacc suit. You suffer no penalties when wearing one or when using a mech suit (Advanced Vacc Suit skill is a prerequisite). You also suffer no penalties in Zero G, not that it happened much in the Army.

1.3.3 Army Medic

Unlike the Navy and Marines, who have top end medical facilities on their ships the Army Medic must make do with what they can carry onto the battlefield, scrounge from the environment or, in a perfect world, have in their tiny Surgical Unit Vehicles. Many argue this makes them superior to the surgeons hired by the Navy when it comes to working with independent traders; no doubt you would agree. You’re adept with medicine under harsh conditions, and making conditions harsher for people who try to stop you from getting your boys back home.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.
Skills
Drive11; Guns 11; Info (choose) 9; Investigation 10; Martial Arts 8; Medicine 12; Repair 10; Status 9; Survival 13

Shticks
Pick 3 shticks between Guns, Bio and the two shticks below

Shtick 1- Army Officer: add the Command skill at 11; you are a higher ranked Army officer

Shtick 2- field Medicine: spend a fortune point to be able to find/repair/replace any medical gear you need, removing all field penalties for that patient.

1.4 Scouts

The Scout service is constantly looking at new jump points, new worlds, new opportunities and are usually the first to coming back with the reports of new threats. Of all the imperial services they have the most autonomy, but they are also the furthest from resupply, so each Scout ship is a small, on its own unit on the fringes of known space.

1.4.1 Scout Pilot

Someone has to boldly go where no one has gone before. And you were the sad one didn’t step back fast enough and got the job. It’s not all bad – the pilots are the commanding officers on the ship, albeit over a crew that is threadbare and perhaps crazy. Eventually you mustered out, but your skill set lends itself to going back out into the black.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command 11; Deceit 9; Drive 13; Gambling 9; Guns 8; Info (Navigation) 12; Info (Choose) 9; Martial Arts 9; Repair 10; Status 9; Survival 10 ; Trader 10

Shticks
Pick 3 shticks between Blade and Drive

1.4.2 Scout Scientist

The Scout services job is to stick their damn fool noses into places Humaniti has never been before. Naturally there are scientists on board to record what happens when the nose hits the new! You’re one of those people, expanding the frontiers of human knowledge one stick poking at a time, either by making first contact with new races, analyzing the relics of an ancient alien race or just being the first to breath the air of a new world. Nothing fazes you – not when there’s still so much more to be learned!

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Computers 11; Drive 11; Guns 10; Info (science) 13; Info (Choose) 10; Martial Arts 8; Medicine 11; Repair 9; Survival 10; Trader 9

Shticks
Shtick 1- Information Node
Shtick 2- Pick any two other shticks from Guns, Blades, Bio or Drive

1.4.2 Scout Scrounger

For all the Army guys kvetch about how bad they have it in terms of supplies compared to the Navy, they are rolling in working gear compared to the Scout Service. When you’re out past the rim there are no good drydocks to pull into for parts – even the stuff you pay dearly for has already been reused and repurposed. That’s where you come in: keeping the scout ship (or the independent vessel post mustering out) running for just enough jumps to limp back into port. Plus everything else on the ship, including the crew – they expect you to fix them too.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Computers 12; Deceit 9; Drive 11; Guns 10; Martial Arts 9; Medicine 9; Repair 13; Survival 11; Trader; 9

Shticks
Pick 3 Shticks between Guns, Blades and the one below

Shtick 1- Have it on hand: For one Fortune point you can always have the tool you need on hand, or find/make the part you need to keep the ship going with one day’s work and at least one complication in obtaining or installing it. (for 2 fortune points you can skip the complication, but where’s the fun in that?

1.5 Merchants

Merchants have a background in the large, Imperially-chartered merchant ships that tied the Empire together with trade. They are now on their own, savvy businessmen, some of whom border on the criminal with shady deals, fleecing the rubes and engaging in trade wars, but they’re excellent at weighing risk against profit.

1.5.1 Merchant Captain

By the time you mustered out you had made it to your own command of one of the mid-sized merchant vessels, and spent time on some of the really big ones. While even those aren’t as big as the imperial warships they are damn site larger than any free trader. Still, the work of moving things on relatively routine hauls pales after a while, and on exiting from your megacorp you have the chance to do something new – open up new trade routes, act as a manager for mercenary companies, whatever.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Command* 10; Deceit 11; Drive 12; Gambling 11; Guns 8; Info (Navigate) 10; Info (pick) 10; Martial Arts 10; Status 10; Trader 13

Shticks
Shtick 1- Smooth Operator: spend a Fortune Point to temporarily bamboozle anyone with a line of patter. This won’t make them your willing slaves but it will distract them and reduce the difficulty of any social tests by 3.

Shtick 2- any Guns or Blade shtick.

1.5.2 Merchant Broker

Sure you spent time on the merchant vessels, but your real skill lay in connecting the people who needed something in one place with someone who had it in another, by way of someone who could actually move it. Now that you’re out from the big merchant chains you can actually start putting this web of connections to personal use. While you no longer have nigh limitless resources behind you there are plenty of ways to make a killing.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 6 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Computers 10; Deceit 13; Drive 12; Gambling 10; Guns 9; Investigation 12; Martial Arts 9; Repair 9; Trader 11

Shticks
Shtick 1- Knows a Guy: Unless entirely implausible (mis-jumped to a planet no human has ever seen level implausible), spend a Fortune Point to have a connection anywhere where there are enough people to call a town. It might be a friend of a friend of a friend, but it’s enough to get you some support, depending on what you ask.

Shtick 2- pick one guns or blade shtick

Merchant Quartermaster

The Quartermaster of a major trading ship is responsible for getting the cargos in and out, and making sure the ship is fully supplied. They also have to be a dab had at repairs and possible vacc suit certified to get out of the ship and assist. When you scale that down to the Tramp Freighter level, like many of your old friends from the company have, you suddenly become chief mechanics, space based contact expert, primary programmer and heaven knows what else. But it certainly keeps you busy!

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 5 points amongst your stats, with no more than 4 points in any one.

Skills
Computers 10; Deceit 10; Drive 9; Gambling 13; Guns 11; Info (Choose) 9; Martial Arts 10; Repair 11; Sabotage 9; Survival 9; Trader 12

Shticks
Pick 2 shticks from Guns, Blades or those listed below.

Shtick 1- Scraps and Remnants: you have all the stuff in the corners of the hold that you couldn’t move, or the sample copies of things that look interesting. You can always make a Trader roll to see if you have something that might serve for your purposes, or spend a Fortune point to guarantee it.

Shtick 2- Merchant Vacc Suit Training: you have logged a thousand hours in both standard vacc suits and industrial cargo loaders that are essentially mech suits with the serial numbers filed waaaaay off. You suffer no penalties when wearing a Vacc suit or in zero gravity. You know just enough to run a mech suit without penalty (Advanced Vacc Suit skill is a prerequisite).

1.6 Specialists

These are backgrounds outside the usual career structure. The characters probably did serve in one of the branches (Doctors get hired as outside specialists for the Navy to protect royalty, Everyday Heroes/Gamblers often have backgrounds with Scouts or Merchants, etc.) but they’re more defined by other attributes.

1.6.1 Big Bruiser

You may have come from any background but your defining characteristic is your size and strength, which are second to none. You can handle yourself well in a fight and would have been an asset to the Marines or the Army, served intimidating presence in the merchant or naval trades and would have helped in a variety of capacities in the poorly-resourced scouts.

Body=11, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta 0
Divide 5 points amongst your stats other than Body, with no more than 4 in each stat

Skills
Drive 9; Gambling 10; Guns 8; Info (pick) 11; Info (Pick) 10; Intimidation 13; Martial Arts 12; Repair 11; Sabotage 9
You may swap your Repair skill for another skill you don’t already have, or trade it for a +2 increase in any skill other than Martial Arts or Intimidation.  You may swap your Sabotage skill for another skill you don’t already have, or trade it for a +1 increase in any skill other than Martial Arts or Intimidation.

Shticks
Shtick 1- Strong as Hell: adds 3 points to your Body (already added); your blows are hard enough to drop Mooks on a 4+ Outcome.

Shtick 2- Tough as boot leather: you can take 10 more wound points than normal before facing impairment or death.

Shtick 3: Pick one Blade or Drive Shtick

1.6.2.Everyday Hero/Gambler

You’re an ordinary Joe or Jane, but you’re the one every-thing happens to. In some cases you’re basically good hearted, helping out those who are less fortunate who constantly stumble in your path; others with your luck turn to a career as a professional gambler, traveling with the wealthy on high passages or having a side job on a merchant trader that consistently gives you rubes to fleece. In either case you’re loyal to your friends and help out those who are less fortunate, just to keep your luck going.

Body 5, Mind 5, Reflexes 5, Meta (fortune) 6
Divide 3 points amongst your stats

Skills
Deceit 12; Drive 10; Gambling 12; Guns 8; Info (Choose) 10; Info (Choose) 9; Intrusion 11; Martial Arts 11; Medicine 9; Survival 9; Trader 11
You may swap your Trader skill for another skill you don’t already have, or trade it for a +2 increase in any skill other than Deceit or Gambling.  You may swap your Medicine skill for another skill you don’t already have, or trade it for a +1 increase in any skill other than Deceit or Gambling.

A lot of your ‘skills’ benefit from your incredible luck, with stumbling onto what you need to survive on alien worlds or having guards take conveniently timed naps for intrusion.

Shtick
Shtick 1- Strange Luck: Add 3 points to your Meta, added in. You are a magnet for strange occurrences, but you also always use your full Meta for fortune rolls, even if you’re already spent some points.

Shtick 2- Improvised Weapon: you gain a +1 AV on any improvised weapon – cooking implements, barstools, irreplaceable alien vases in your cargo hold, whatever – or any firearm you pick up in the fight and fire for the first time. Of course if you start carrying anything around it’s not improvised any more.

Pick one Blade or Drive Shtick

1.6.3 Doctor

You are a highly specialized, highly trained expert in the medical arts; it’s likely you have just come off of a stint as a doctor on a Naval vessel, but you could have just decided to head into the Black looking for adventure, or be the chief of a small medical support team on a space station. Whoever you were before, now you’re the person who can all but guarantee that if the body gets back to sick bay even slightly alive you can get them back up and moving. Eventually. 

Body 5, Mind 7, Reflexes 5, Meta 1
Divide 3 points amongst your stats.

Skills
Computers; 11; Drive; 9; Guns; 9
Info (choose); 11; Info (choose); 10; Intimidation; 9;
Investigation ; 11; Martial Arts; 9; Medicine; 13;
Status; 11; Survival; 9; Trader 9

Shticks
Pick 2 of the following Shticks
Shtick 1 – Information Node
Shtick 2 – Blink Speed Forensics:
Shtick 3 – one other Bio, Drive or Blade shticks



1.7 Lifepath

In his ground breaking work Reign, Greg Stolze came up with a brilliant random background simulator, where people would roll 11d10 and look for matches, each pair (trio, quartet, quintet) were compared to a chart where each number tied to a certain profession, so 2x1 and 4x6 meant you had some experience as a beggar (the 1s) and a lot more experience as a soldier (the 6s). It was up to you to decide what order those were in – were you a beggar who was press ganged into a life in the army or a career soldier who had fallen on hard times? – but each came with some skills or abilities. Any ‘orphan’ dice were used to determine life events that were sprinkled into that order, and those also carried skills or abilities. Each character ended up with the same number of points spent but a quick and easy way to get a framework for their character’s story.

IMTU couldn’t work quite the same way since so much of the character background is tied up in the template structure but I still wanted to put something in. I isolated 6 elements of character background from the CT rulebook:  
1)       Length of enlistment
2)       Combat & Survival
3)       Specalized Training
4)       Promotions
5)       Non-Service Skills
6)       Mustering Out
And since both CT and Feng Shui are d6 systems…well, I’m sure you can see where we’re going here. Orphan dice are applied to a table of key historical events for the setting: 12 or 16 things (2 or 3 columns of 6) that happened in the campaign setting that people might have been involved in (see 0.2.4 above – this would be different for a different campaign).

Everyone rolled 4d6 and then had 3 ‘master dice’ that they could set to whatever number they wanted after the roll. This guaranteed at least some sets and gave the players a decent amount of control. While the descriptions for each set are the same across the board the bonus varies based on the Archetypes service. (Noted below)

1.7.1: Enlistment length (1s)

Default assumption is that everyone signed up at 18 and served at least one 6-year term. Each 1 you rolled (even if it’s an orphan; those are connected to the further back in time events) indicates another 6 years in your service. Once you have a set you’re 36 and have spent 18 years in the service. (Note that one particular biomod messes with your age, so triple these numbers if you have that one.)

Mechanically the 1s improve your ability in the core skills of your career – things rated 13, 12 or 11 in your archetype. You should apply these increases before making any decisions for the higher sets.

2x1: Mid-career professional (36)

At this mark you have served long enough in the service to have some real experience under your belt. Take your 13 rated skill and increase it to a 14. (Marine Commanders and Everyday Heroes can chose one 12 skill to raise to 13.)

3x1: Old Hand (42)

With another 6 years in the service you have some added breadth as well as depth. Increase your 13 skill to a 14 as above and increase any one 12 rated skill other than Status to a 13. (Army Grunts, Marine Security, Navy Legacies Scout Scientists and Doctors increase any one 11 rated skill other than Status to 12)

4x1: Professional (48)

At this point you’re at the high end of your career in the service, with everyone knowing you’re very broadly experienced. In addition to the advantages above you make take any one skill other than Status rated an 11 and increase it to 12 (Army Grunts, Marine Security, Navy Legacies Scout Scientists and Doctors increase the skill they would have boosted to 12 at 3x1 to 13 instead)

5x1 Forced Retirement (50)

Many of the services have a 32 year and out policy, given the size of the Imperium and the number of recruits pushing up. Once you’re 50 you’re expected to have been promoted out of the field, move to a teaching position or, in the case of player characters, gone on to another career. Rather than the paths detailed above you can either a) raise your 13 skill to a 15 or b) raise your 13 skill to a 14 and raise two 12 skills to 13s. (Marine Commanders and Everyday Heroes can chose one 12 skill to raise to 14. And a second 12 skill to raise to 13.)

1.7.2 Conflict and Survival

Life in any of the services comes with risk; sometimes this is action in hot military zones, sometimes it’s being stranded on alien worlds.  In either event the character walks away more experienced or they don’t walk away.

Mechanically the 2s give you shticks and increase action skills, repair or survival. If you have a set of 2s make sure you have a variety of high risk actions you can natter about at the drop of a shot glass.

2x2: some individual incidents

You have been involved in several individual incidents – pirate raids, tense battles, a lost in space event – that gave you some significant expertise. Add one shtick of Guns, Blades, Drive or Bio.

3x2: Time in a Crisis Zone

Rather than, individual incidents you have spent sizable chunks of your career in a part of space where such incidents are common, or a shorter time in a full-fledged hot zone. In addition to the Shtick above you are able to raise one of your Drive, Guns, Martial Arts, Repair or Survival to an 11; if you pick one of those skill not already in your archetype you add it at a 10.

4x2: Terms at the Front Line

You have spent entire terms of service at the most dangerous places in the Imperium. No one does that without being obscenely lucky, or needing replacement parts. In addition to the numbers above increase either the Fortune or Bio parts of your Meta stat by 1, no higher than 4.

5x2: Always on the edge

Your entire time in the service was in high risk areas, either by choice, necessity or accident. In addition to all of the above you may take the skill you increased in 3x2 and raise another point (to a 12 if it is an archetype skill or 11 if not).

1.7.3 Specialized Training

Inside every service there are skills that are necessary to have but aren’t core or critical. Many people are tagged to receive special above and beyond training in these skills to make sure the service has the people on hand that it needs.

Mechanically these sets increase skills in your archetype set at 11 or less, and ideally 9s and 10s.

2x3: Took a Class In It

You were picked out to get better at a single skill and have to take regular refresher classes. Increase any two Bridge skills (other than Status) already in your Archetype to an 11

3x3: Certification

You are fully licensed and certified in that specialized skill and can now practice it professionally when you leave the service; increase an Archetype skill at 11 to 12.

4x3: Vacc Suit Training

In addition to the Certification you are also trained in how to use a Vacc suit to a high enough level that you take no penalties while in it. This includes zero G training and the ability to pilot a mech suit if one is available. This is such a valued ability that it ends up under a lot of certifications. If you already have this shtick from your archetype, select another one from your Archetype list.

5x3: Multiple Certs

Having attained mastery in your original certification you have moved on to another one; pick another Archetype Bridge skill to raise to 11.

1.7.4 Promotions

The longer you’re in the service the more opportunities you’ll have to get promoted to an officer status, with higher pay, more benefits and better training (along with a ton more responsibility). Not everyone gets promoted in their careers, so if you don’t have any sets here you mustered out as a well-regarded Warrant officer, sergeant or petty officer. Alternately if you have a status score higher than 9 you can assume some sort of promoted rank but don’t get any of the advantages listed below for having the sets.

Mechanically, sets here increase your characters Status more than anything else, but there are a wide array of other advantages. The Scout Services does not have ranks, so convert any 4s to 5s or 6s of your choice. If you’re a Specialist use whatever service you’re tied to.

2x4: Officer

You are officially an Officer – albeit at the equivalent of a naval Lieutenant JG or an Army Lieutenant. Your Status increases to a 9 (if it’s already 9, make it 10) and you gain the shtick Decorated Officer, which provides you social advantages anywhere the GM thinks that would be relevant or, with a Fortune Point spend, automatically have your officer status be advantageous to the situation.

3x4: Second Promotion

You’ve received a second promotion, making you a full Lieutenant in the Navy or Marines, a Captain in the Army or something similar. Your Status increases to 10 (if it’s already 10 make it 11), you gain the shtick listed above and any Archetype skill to a 10. (If you’re a Merchant Captain, add any Bridge skill at a 10.)

4x4: Third Promotion

A third round of promotions and you’re a Commander in the Navy or Marines, a Major in the Army or something similar. Your status increases to 11 (if it’s already 11 make it 12) and you gain the other advantages above.

5x4: Fourth Promotion

At this point you’re Captain in the Navy or Marines or a Colonel in the Army or the equivalent. Your status increases to 12 (if it’s already 12 make it 13) and upgrade to Decorated Officer 2, which in addition to the other effects lets you make a Fortune Point spend to gain Resources 1 in play once per game. (This can’t be activated during character creation when Resource Points are 50 times for valuable, but clever thinking)

1.7.5 Non-Career Skills

Of course not everything you did during your career tied directly in to your work in the service. You also picked up a few other things along the way. Scouts tend to have a lot of sets in this area given their inability to get promotions.

Mechanically these sets let you fill out skills that aren’t in your Archetype. This is really useful for the Navy Officer and other archetypes that only have 8 skills, less useful for the Doctor, who has 12.

2x5: Jack of All Trades

You’re a broadly skilled individual who has picked up a little of this and a little of that. You gain the shtick Jack of All Trades which lets you make a 1 point Fortune spend to gain any skill you don’t have at a 9 for the scene.

3x5: Led an interesting life

You’ve read a lot, done a lot, and practiced a little of this and that. In addition to the Jack of All Trades shtick you gain two skills you don’t already have at 9 – one of those can be an Info skill at 10.

4x5: A little of this, a little of that

Much as before you’ve branched out a lot in your experiences. Take the skill you raised at 3x5 and increase it to 10, then add 2 more skills you don’t already have at 9.

5x5: Just enough to be dangerous

Now your ability to fake it is unsurpassed. You upgrade to Jack of All Trades 2, which means your Fortune spend gives you a 11 in any skill you don’t have at at least that score for the scene, but any critical failure will be truly horrific.

1.7.6 Mustering Out

When you finally leave the service they always give you something for your trouble. At the very least you ended up with enough to carry you through from mustering out to the start of play, but you may have received more. The mustering out benefits are generally stingy to promote the sort of behavior that creates player characters.

Mechanically this determines what major equipment you have with you at the start of play. See 2.3.3 for a little more on this but any dice in this category equate to real, long term benefits the character can draw on in play rather than smaller cash payments.

2x6: Resources 1

It is very common for veterans to leave their service with a ceremonial blade (Marines and Merchants), licensed firearm (Army), or a choice of the two (Scouts, Navy). In addition to the ceremonial weapon some leave the service with a major piece of equipment. This set also gives Resources 1, Pre game resources are detailed below

3x6: Resources 2

As above but you have 2 pts of Resources

4x6: Resources 3

As above but you have 3 pts of Resources

5x6: Resources 4

As above but you have 4 pts of Resources

1.7.7 Resource Options

Here are some immediate suggestions on places to spend those resource points

Traveller’s Aid Society (Resources 1)

Your mustering out involved a lifetime membership in the Traveller’s Air Society – this is a reciprocal organization of people who ply the spaceways that is surprisingly well funded. Gain the Shtick Traveller’s Aid Society for the ability to make a Fortune Spend to find some way to get TAS support; if you don’t have any Fortune points left you can still call on them for help by guaranteeing to accept a complicating TAS plot thread in this or next session.

Merchant Ship (Resources 1+)

Each point of Resources spent gives you 5 years of ownership in a 45 year lease on a free trader. You have to make payments to the bank for the mortgage and keep it fueled and in repair but it’s a special sort of freedom. Minimum crew is 3, easy rooms for 6

Scout Ship (resources 1 or 2)

The scout system will give mustering out members free use of their aging ships, but those ships can’t be sold or passed on – they still technically belong to the scout service. For Resources 1 it’s an old, nearly decrepit ship that requires a lot of maintenance, while for 2 Resources it’s nearly new and was moved out of service for some unspecified bribe.

Marine Quality Vacc Suit (Resources 1)

This is a top of the line vacc suit; it gives the wearer Armor 2, a weapons pod that gives +1 to unarmed damage due to extendable blades and firearms equal to a small pistol, self sealing to protect from gasses/vacuum, magnetics to sick to hulls and propulsion systems for slow zero g flight.

Army Mech Suit (resources 3)

This is a vacc suit (less advanced than the marine one) covered in an armored exoskeleton. It gives Armor 4, multiple different firearms options and jumpjets to manage both high atmosphere/in orbit drops and really long leaps once on planet. It’s a humanoid tank. Avoid fighting them.

High Passage (Resources 1)

This is a luxury 1 week trip for one (that can be on a Jump 3 ship for what it’s worth) with all the trimmings. This includes perfectly cooked exotic cuisines, designer drugs, copious amounts of alcohol, and all the best entertainment. The tickets are transferrable and most be accepted (as long as the offering cruise line is still in business, though you need not fly that particular line), so they are sometimes are used as currency on the border between the rim and the core.



[1] For a naming convention the planets in the sector are named after Independent Cities in the US. Just because the players named Baltimore and I wanted to have some framework. San Lou is St. Louis, Carson is Carson City. Others are Bedford, Clifton Forge, Manchester. South Boston (Sou Bo), South Norfolk (Sou No), Nansemond, and Warwick. 

2: Shticks

2.1: Guns Shticks

Guns are one place we're digressing from Classic Traveller: being a non-fantasy setting where guns could actually harm opponents (i,e, not D&D or Call of Cthulhu) Classic Traveller was a place for gamers who liked guns. Add in many PC backgrounds being military in nature and guns made sense. That they were not magic 'just knock people out' guns gave room for more 'real' (for various levels of reality) gunfights.

IMTU Chimera is not quite following that. At player request close combat and swordplay is culturally emphasized. This is explained two ways: First, starship safety means using guns on a starship is stupid so everyone carries blades. Second, there's a very powerful meme (we'll get into memetics in the campaign later) that Guns Are Weapons Of War. This is just culturally accepted. Therefore pistols are rare, with licenses being a precious mustering out benefit, and rifles are very tightly regulated. Using a gun to wound or kill anyone is prosecuted as a war crime. Everyone accepts this because Guns Are Weapons Of War.

If the PCs join a military unit or enter an actual war? Guns will come out and bullets will fly because those are Wars. For the merchant trader setting we're in? Not so much.

Guns Shticks have a strange overlap between Memetics and Biomods (we'll get to that too), but for simplicity anything that requires Boimods goes there but anything that is a Guns + Memetics combo goes under Guns. This keeps weird memetics stuff out of player sight. For example, the Navy Officer's Never Misses shtick requires a Biomod so you'll find it there, but his Command Presence is a pistol backed up by memetics, so it's here.

2.1.1 Guns Schtick List

Carnival of Carnage

One shtick reduces the target number for dropping a Mook by 1 (normally moving a 5 to a 4). Two shticks is another 1 point reduction (normally 4 to 3). That’s as good as it gets.

Command Presence:

With 1 Fortune you can temporarily end any conflict with a barked command and a brandished firearm. Everyone stops what they’re doing and has to talk. If your opponents restart hostilities after talking, you get a pre-initiative Outcome 16 guns check on the target of your choice (which need not be an opponent).

Eagle Eye

Your vision is perfect, and you can use it to spot and target any vulnerable parts of your target. Each shtick gives +2 AV vs. range & cover / obscurement penalties, and lets you ignore a target’s armor (even Armor Shticks).

Fast Draw

For each shtick in fast draw, add +1 to your initiative. Your first action must be shooting a gun.

Hair Trigger Neck Hairs

Even when you seem to be doing something else, you are constantly wary for danger. You gain a +2 Mind to sense danger for each Shtick you have in this ability. Once you sense the danger, your outcome is added to your Dodge or your Guns AV, depending on whether you decide to dodge the danger…or shoot it.

Lightning Reload

Ever wonder why the hero never needs to reload? They are, just faster than you can see. Each shtick of Lightning Reload taken gives a -1 shot from weapon reload time down to a shot cost of 0. With 3 shticks in this, you never run out of ammo. No matter what.

Nobody Gets Away

When you are chasing after an opponent you are almost impossible to lose. Each shtick gives +3 on your Mind roll to follow someone. If successful add the outcome to your next action skill, so you can either chase more or end this with a good shot.

Pistol Whipping *

Your weapons are almost an extension of your own arms: they are deadly in your grasp whatever the situation. You can Pistol whip or club an opponent using your Guns skill at –2 (or no modifier with a second shtick)

The Quip

You know a particular witticism, sarcastic remark, or cool quote to add insult to injury (and vice versa), a sort of “trademark”. It must be a short, catchy sentence. Once each game session you may spend one shot saying The Quip to invoke one of the following (chosen when you say the Quip):
1) The target can’t use Body to reduce the damage.
2) You automatically hit. Damage is base weapon damage of your weapon; Outcome is 0 + the difference between AV and target’s DV as if you had actually fired. You may spend a Fortune die to add to Outcome.
You can’t have more than one Quip, you can only use it once per session, and it only modified your Guns attacks.

Shoots Through Walls

Given guns penetrating power most cover protects by impeding the shooters aim. The Shoots Through Walls lets you fire accurately through whatever they’ve hidden behind. Spend 1 shot to make a Mind check (target 7) to eliminate most cover penalties; you can ignore the penalties for anything that is not thick hard metal).

Signature Weapon

For each Shtick, pick one weapon, giving you +3 damage with it and making it Plot Invulnerable.

Slo Mo

If you have a higher Initiative than your opponents, they can’t make Active Dodges against you until their respective first Shots come up.

Trenchcoat Effect

For every level of this shtick, you can reduce your concealability by 4. This shtick can only be used with a trenchcoat/duster/long opera cape long enough to realistically (more or less) hide the weapon(s) and at least come to the PC’s mid-thigh. No more than 2 Shticks can be spent on this Trenchcoat Effect.

Zen Marksmanship

Each shtick in Zen Marksmanship lets you aim three shots beyond the three normal shot limit with full benefits.

1.1.2: Gun Damage

Before we start listing out the various future Gun models here are the basic terms for guns
·         Small Handgun: 8 damage
·         Medium Handgun: 9 damage
·         Big Handgun: 10 damage
·         Really Big Handgun: 11 damage
·         BFG: 12 damage
·         Small Shotgun: 10 damage
·         Combat Shotgun: 13+1 damage
·         Medium Rifle: 13 damage
·         Heavy Rifle: 13* damage

* Note that all attacks with a base damage of 13+ drop Mooks on an outcome of 4+, but heavy rifles do that one better, dropping Mooks with an outcome of 3+. Note that this stacks with Carnival of Carnage, but it always requires an outcome of 3+ to drop a Mook – you can’t have CoC2 and a Heavy Rifle and drop mooks on an outcome of 1+. Instead CoC2 means that in your hands any gun is as good as a heavy rifle when clearing out the riff-raff.

2.1.3 Concealment

Guns have a Concealment rating. If you’re trying to hide that you’re packing heat (a great idea given cultural memetics) you need to make a Deceit roll. Once you have your total subtract the Concealment ratings of all the guns and ammo you’re carrying. Anyone with a Mind score less than that number can’t tell you’re packing. Make a single roll when you start trying to hide the guns and the GM will note it for comparison later. You always think you’ve done a good job at this until you get spotted, so don’t keep rerolling until you get a good roll. Trying that gives you the original roll -2.

·         Concealment 1: Small handgun, handgun ammo pack.
·         Concealment 2: Medium Handgun, rifle ammo pack
·         Concealment 3: other handguns
·         Concealment 4: folding stock longarm
·         Concealment 5: other longarms

1.1.4 Capacity

This is the number of shot you can fire before you have to reload. As a quick and easy counter-balance, capacity and reloading are linked to concealment.

Capacity is equal to 6* Concealment for most guns, or 9 for really big handguns& combat shotguns and 6 BFGs & shotguns. This means big handguns have the ‘best’ balance between damage, concealment and capacity in the handgun arena, but every gun has some advantage.

Reloading takes a number of shots equal to the guns Concealment.  Bigger, more damaging weapons take longer. Blame it on future gun tech, and that the guns have airtight seals and designs that let them fire in vacuum. Plus it makes smaller guns more attractive.

2.1.5: Guns of the Future:

With these rules in place I’ll leave it to any gun-toating PC to care about the specifics (such as a Callahan Full-bore Auto-lock. Customized trigger, double cartridge, thorough gauge) and I’ll write them up here.

Gun
Dam
Conc
Capacity
Resources
Small HG
8
1
6

Med HG
9
2
12

Big HG
10
3
18

Real big HG
11
3
9

BFG
12
3
6

Small SG
10
4
6

Combat SG
13+1
5
9

Med Rifle
13
4
24

Hvy Rifle
13*
5
30





2.2 Blade Shticks

One thing players wanted was swordplay - Nick in particular likes the sword/fantasy combat element of RPGs and asked for that in play. As Classic Traveller had many PCs start play with Blade skills and Blades we built on that. Since Traveller guns are still slugthrowers and spaceships have lot of breakable bits and thin walls the culture severely restricts their use on ships. This means swords and knives are key for ship security, and since everyone carries one they are prevalent in ports. Sword carrying is a big part of the culture, whereas gun carrying is ostracized (more on this later).

I decided that rather than the Fu shtick trees of Feng Shui we'd have fencing schools that included non-bladed close combat to some extent. Less Wixua but still potent. The design is that there are five schools, each of which provide concrete advantages but each are tailored to be better in certain situations. Each of the five schools has 3 levels – a stance, a strike and a mastery – where you cannot take the strike without having the stance and cannot claim mastery without having the strike. Some shticks can be taken multiple times for increased effect.

In addition, you cannot use the strike or mastery unless you are in that stance. It is assumed that if you see a fight coming at all you will instinctively adopt a stance, so as soon as you take your first action you also adopt your stance (or the stance of your choice if you have more than one) as a 0 shot action. If you have more than one school changing stances for them is a 1 shot action in-fight.

There are 5 styles:
·         Air style emphasizes subtlety and minimalism, throwing foes off balance.
·         Fire style is about speed, either in a single attack or overwhelming defenses with a flurry of blows.
·         Earth style is about strength and power; minimalizing damage to you, maximizing it on your opponents.
·         Water style is about turning your opponents against each other. Best used against groups.
·         Void style is about movement and acrobatics. Best used against guns or in low gravity.
These have pretty basic designs: Stances are defensive; Strikes are better than normal attacks that carry with them some penalty so they aren’t the only thing you ever use. Mastery is a seriously kick ass move that has some penalty, usually a larger one. Mastery moves tend to be fight-enders, so strangely enough they cost less the longer you’ve been in the fight. This doesn’t mean you can’t use them on your first shot, but it will cost you more to do.

2.2.1 Air School

This school relies on a series of small movements – attacks, feints, dodges, and so on – that increasingly throw your foes off balance. Once the foe’s defenses off, you finish it.

Air Stance:

When you’re in the Air Stance any opponent who attacks you with Martial Arts, successfully or not, picks up a -1 on their Martial Arts until they spend a shot recovering themselves. This either slows them down as they have to recover or makes them progressively less effective. Each shtick in Air Stance adds 1 shot to the recovery time.

Air Strike

By making a 3 shot attack you can distract your opponent rather than injuring them. If successful the opponent gains 3 Impairment for a number of shots equal to your Outcome.

Air Mastery:

This is a very clever feint that looks like a smaller attack until it becomes deadly. This adds +4 to the Outcome of an already successful attack. Unfortunately the feint leaves you off balance, and you are at a -3 on your Defense for the remainder of the sequence (so use it on shot 1!)

2.2.2 Fire School

This school relies on speed, both in single devastating attacks or flurries of smaller ones.

Fire Stance:

Each shtick you have in Fire Stance adds +1 to your initiative. This is added to the first combat sequence unless you declare you’re starting in a different stance – complete and total ambushes are actions outside the first sequence, so Fire School people are usually the first to hit back.

Fire Strike

This is a flurry of small attacks against one or multiple targets. Each shtick lets you reduce your damage by 2 points to increase your Martial Arts by 1 point for the attack.

Fire Mastery

A masterful, super-fast strike that your opponent can barely see. Add the difference between your Martial Arts and the opponents Reflexes to the Damage, but the strain of the attack costs you 1/3rd of the health that would take you to a Death check. This is a 4 shot attack due to recovery time.

2.2.3 Earth School

This is style is all about strength and toughness, and unlike the others favors blades wielded with two hands, often in large strokes.

Earth Stance

While in Earth stance you gain 1 point of Armor for every level you have in this Shtick.

Earth Strike

This is a heavy swing designed to crush through armor. It is a 4 shot attack that ignores the targets armor and light cover. Your sword can cleave through ceramic armor, wood, and even the thin metal of spaceship walls. If the base damage of the attack is 12+ it drops Mooks on an outcome of 4+. A second shtick means you can penetrate heavy cover, and a base damage of 11+ lets you drops Mooks more easily.

Earth Mastery:

This is the ultimate attack in the Earth style, a total focusing of strength on an opponent. It is a 6 shot attack which, if successful, both ignores Armor and means your opponent cannot use Toughness to reduce the damage. Given how long this takes to do it is best to use it at the end of a sequence and hope that it ends the fight.

2.2.4 Water School

This style works best against groups, turning the opponents’ numbers against them.

Water Stance:

While in Water Stance add one to your Defense for each opponent attacking you in Martial Arts, with a minimum of +1. The more foes attacking you, the harder you are to hit.

Water Strike

This circular form lets you redirect opponent’s attacks. As a 2 shot active dodge you can make a Martial Arts attack roll at -2 for any attack that misses you. The damage done is based on that attacker’s Body. If they are the only target in range the attack hits them as you slam them to the ground or into walls. If there is someone else nearby you can target that foe for damage based on the opponents Body plus the damage for their weapon. Each shtick past the first reduces the penalty, till at 4 shticks the redirects are at +0.

Water Mastery

When you make a successful Martial Arts attack against an opponent you can, on your next shot, make an attack against a different foe. This continues as long as you keep hitting people, have new foes to hit or reach the end of the sequence. Start your next sequence at -3 initiative.

2.2.5 Void Style

This style is about movement and momentum, and keeping an unpredictable, acrobatic profile.

Void Stance

Each Shtick in Void Stance gives you a +1 Martial Arts for any movement related stunt, and also a +1 on defense against Guns attacks. You become a fast, acrobatic, impossible to predict target.

Void Strike

Those inside the Void can arm themselves from others. If you make a 3 shot martial arts attack specifically disarm someone a successful attack means you take their weapon and have a +3 to attacks made with it against that foe. Alternately a 2 shot Martial Arts maneuver will let you impressively reach and grab something you can use as weapon that gives you +1 to all attacks with it for the fight.

Void Mastery

This is a fast, momentum based attack that sends the opponent flying, or wrenches them into a painful or deadly contortion. Make a 4 shot attack that, if successful, sends both you and your opponent flying a number of meters equal to the outcome of the attack in addition to the damage done. The GM determines where you end up when you go flying, and we guarantee it will be inconvenient. Alternately both of you slam to the floor and both take additional damage equal to the Outcome.

2.2.6 Melee Attack Damage

·         Punch, Kick: Body +1
·         Small club, Knife: Body +2
·         Staff, Club, BodyBlade: Body +3
·         Sword, Spear: Body +4

2.2.7 Armor of the Future

Armor has simple rules. Wearing armor gives you the following
·         Toughness: Add to your Body for resisting damage.
·         Slowness: Reduce your Reflexes for initiative.
·         Cost: before slash is character creation cost, after is in play cost (Resource Pts are worth less in play.)
Armor
Toughness
Slowness
Cost
Rumblewear
1
1
0/1
Marine Vacc Suit
2
0
1/50
Mech-Suit
4
2
4/200
Rumblewear is heavy leather/synthetic clothes work for protection but are also immediately visible; everyone knows you’re looking for a fight. The cost outfits all PCs in team.
Mech Suits stand 8’ tall and 4 ft wide. Think the Starship Troopers book or Edge of Tomorrow movie.


2.3 Biomod Shticks

This is where we really start veering off from Classic Traveller. A core fact of our setting is that the medical technology has advanced beyond what is in the CT setting with its enhanced pharmaceuticals and low passage sleep, developing the sort of biological modifications that one sees in the Culture novels. Many of these are constrained by law and money – some biomods are restricted or hellaciously expensive – but they are not considered creepy or weird. Another aspect of memetics at work – guns are socially avoided but sticking pieces of vat grown technology into your brain is A-OK!

More than accepted, it’s almost required: people in IMTU operating ‘standard’ tech level have a biomod that give them conscious control of their reproductive system; anyone with a history of being in a dangerous career have a boimod that speeds clotting, constricts blood vessels, tones down shock and otherwise keeps a body alive (if not out of pain – that’s still a useful reminder to stop doing what you just did!), which explains the cinematic health to weapon damage ratio for heroes, while Mooks don’t have them.

A skill of 12 is unmodified human maximum so anything past that is training + biomods. These might be information nodes inside the brain, reflex boosts, programmed combat tactics or anything else you want to define to explain how you’re modded up past human limits. As I said, biomods are everywhere and not at all creepy.

The biomods listed here are ones that are combat worthy or enhance character skill. Some have legal implantation restrictions (so if the PCs have them it just means they were implanted at a time in their background when they could have them) or Resource costs (again, PCs spent money they had at the time to get these) – restrictions and costs are plot hooks if the players want to add them in play, not true barriers to having the mods turn up.

Some biomods have aspects with limited uses per session – Bio is an aspect of their Meta stat, and refreshes per session. Like all Meta uses Bio points let the players edit moderate parts of the setting or activate significant powers.

2.3.1 Biomod List

Adrenal Control (Resources 1)

This biomod lets you control your adrenal reactions. Short form is this gives you a +3 on any Mind check to resist fear, anger or shock – in game speak that’s Intimidation checks and Death checks – and people’s inability to rile you gives you a +1 on your own Intimidation and Gambling checks when the situation warrants it.
Bio Spend: 1 point to pump your adrenal system into high gear, gaining a +3 Body for the remainder of the Scene. You are tougher, stronger and harder to hurt. If you want to you can bump this to +5 Body, but you’ll have 3 impairment that reduces 1 per scene as you recover.

Blink Speed Forensics (Marines)

You can analyze a crime scene (and make your first Investigation roll) in seconds and record the results for review later (for a second Investigation roll) in the ongoing investigation.
Bio-Spend: When reviewing the data in a later scene 1 point of Bio will let you find any significant clues or plot points from the crime scene.

Human Lie Detector (Marines, Law Enforcement)

Your senses are attuned to various nuances in speech, tone, stance, facial expression and so on that make you impossible to lie to. You will always detect straight up lies and have a +3 on Investigation rolls to see through more complex Deceits.
Bio Spend: with 1 point you can immediately allocate blame for a complex event based on body language, speech patterns, etc. You must be able to interview the people involved, either in a group or individually.

Information Node

True experts in Bridge skills have accessible information bundles in their brains, updated wirelessly when they enter a space with a new update (it also stores the last 3 updates, so no worries about being hacked with bad data) and stores personal experiences in their specialty. This biomod lets you ignore any penalties for a single Bridge skill, and gives you photographic recall inside that skill.
Bio Spend: 1 point to immediately intuit a key piece of information on any puzzle in your field. You can either ask the GM to provide it or develop it yourself as a new plot point/future plot hook with GM approval.

Muscle Modification (Marine, Army, Resources 1)

You large muscle groups have been upgraded to produce greater bursts of spring strength. Each shtick boosts your Body score by 2 for any lifting, jumping or damaging factors.
Bio Spend: 1 point spend to lift, shift, move or break anything. You can shift a space ship, lift a grav car off the ground, throw a human several yards, bend steel bars, pry open doors, whatever.

Never Misses (Navy Officers)

Navy Officers can be trusted to have a gun on the ship because they will never miss when they pull the trigger – this biomod linking their hand to their eye insures that. If you fails in a guns attack they simply don’t pull the trigger. This still takes 3 shots (even if you were trying for a snapshot) but no round is fired.
Bio Spend: 1 point to make a 3 shot attack that hits the target with an outcome of 5. Regardless of how ridiculous the shot is it will hit and either drop a mook or do a lot of damage to one named opponent.

Physical Rewriting (Resources 3)

The truly wealthy and decadent have bio-mods that give them incredible control of their bodies. They can reduce or reverse their physical aging (though neural degeneration caps human lifespan at 125 years), change genders, change hair, eye or skin pigmentation and various other feats. These are all slow processes – it takes weeks to change apparent age, 6 months to a year to alter gender, days to change pigmentation – but the miracle is they can be done at all. With this biomod you can engage in these tricks, but also gave a +3 on any roll to resist Seduction attempts or the negative effects of drugs.
Bio-Spend: 1 point to reveal how much older you are than you appear – for one scene you gain any Bridge skill at either a 10 or 1 point lower than any PC in the scene with that skill.

Resistant Skin (Army, Resources 1)

Your skin automatically redistributes kinetic energy, acting as armor vs. guns and blunt attacks (blade damage isn’t reduced). Each shtick gives 2 pts of armor vs. these attacks.
Bio-Spend: for 1 Bio point and 3 shots you can eliminate the damage from any attack that pushes your health loss past Imparement. You instead lie ‘dead’ for those three shots before you tear open your shirt to reveal your armored skin and get up to keep acting.

Sensory Shift

This biomod lets you control how your brain processes sensory information. The baseline use is shutting off your color vision to enhance your nightsight and distance vision, so you can see in the dark with 20/5 vision, and reducing your ongoing pain sense to avoid imparement. In addition to these basic effects, each Stick gives +2 on any Mind check to perceive things, and a -1 on Imparement caused by pain
Bio Spend: 1 point to automatically have detected an ambush or other surprise that just occurred. Tell the GM your intentions right after any damage is rolled and we’ll rewind as you explain some heightened senses reason why you saw the attack coming.

2.3.2 Healing

A was implied above, biomods help explain the (normally for Feng Shui cinematic conceit) insane amount of damage named characters can take. It also explains the healing rules – as long as the PCs get to a medical facility more or less alive they are 100% healed by next session. Isn’t modern medicine wonderful?