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Spacehounds Character Creation and House Rules


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  • 1 year later...


I have had a falling out with the Cypher system and so to continue this game I have switched systems. My first inclination was to simply port it over to Trinity as that is now my favored system. But after reflecting I decided I wanted a simpler system that was built around the pur sci fi space opera genre and traveller and its derivatives are the perfect choice for this. Outside of character creation which can be some what overly complex the system is incredibly simple.  What follow our the basic rules for playing the game. Plus a couple of house rules. This is all you need to play the game. I am not supplying game books because I am not using any single specific version of the system but rather bits and pieces form the lines entire life as well as some material from several OSR clones of this system.

If you simple have to have a book to reference, then the Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition is the base on which these rules are taken from. That book is available on the Trove.


Character Creation.

I didn’t use it except as a rough guidline in converting your characters. Traveller CC is neither balanced nor fair (yes, in classic RAW, it is possible even likely that your character can die in CC). Your characters are not balanced, not with the universe and not with each other so don’t try to match your sheets to any version of traveller CC they wont meet up.


BASIC RULES i.e. What you NEED to know to play the game.

Every Traveller will acquire a variety of skills during creation that will indicate the tasks he is good at


If a Traveller has no level in a skill at all (Skill -), thenhe is untrained and will suffer DM-3 when trying to use that skill.

If a Traveller has zero level in a skill (Skill 0), then he is competent in using that skill, but probably has had little experience in actually using it. He does not get any bonus from his skill ranks when using that skill from his rank, but at least avoids the penalty for being untrained.

If a Traveller has one or more levels in a skill (Skill 1, Skill 2, and so on etc.) then he is trained in that skill.

Each level represents several years of experience using that skill, and grants DM+1 per level to all skill checks using that skill. A Traveller with level 2-3 in a skill is a skilled professional in that field. A Traveller with level 4 or 5 is probably both well-respected and well-known in his field.

For example, a Traveller with Medic 1 may be a paramedic or nurse, while another Traveller with Medic

2 might be a doctor. If a Traveller had Medic 3, they would likely be a very well-regarded doctor with many years of practice under their belt. A Traveller with Medic 4 or 5 would be at least world-renowned, and may well be known across several star systems for his expertise.


Some skills have specialities – specialised, more focussed forms of that skill. A Traveller picks a speciality

when he gains level 1 in a skill that has two or more specialities.

For example, a Traveller might have Engineer 0, allowing him to make Engineer skill checks without the unskilled penalty. He might then gain a level in Engineer, at which point he would need to choose a speciality.

For Engineer, this is a choice between jump drive, manoeuvre drive, power plant and electronics.

If he choose jump drives, he would record this on his character sheet as Engineer (jump drive) 1. He would then make all Engineer checks involving jump drives at DM+1, but would still make all other Engineer checks at DM+0 (in other words, with no penalty).

A Traveller can have multiple specialities in a skill – he might have Engineer (jump drive) 1 and Engineer (power plant) 2. He would therefore make checks related to jump drives with DM+1, checks related to power plants with DM+2, and all other Engineer checks with DM+0.


Most actions undertaken by Travellers do not require a skill check. A player does not have to roll Athletics to run through a forest, or roll Electronics (computers) to access information from his ship’s library. Some actions will require the Traveller to have a particular skill but will still not require a roll. A Traveller with Flyer 0, for example, can fly an air/raft under normal conditions without having to make a roll.

The referee should only call for checks when:

● The Travellers are in danger.

● The task is especially difficult or hazardous.

● The Travellers are under the pressure of time.

● Success or failure is especially important or interesting.


To make a check, the Traveller rolls 2D and includes any appropriate Dice Modifiers (DM). If the total is 8 or more, the Traveller succeeds.

The most common forms of task checks are characteristic checks and skill checks.

Characteristic Checks

The Traveller adds his characteristic DM. For example:

● When forcing open a sealed door on a derelict ship, a Traveller would use his STR Dice Modifier.

● When balancing on a narrow beam, a Traveller would use his DEX Dice Modifier.

● When trying to endure a long trek through the desert, a Traveller would use his END Dice Modifier.

● When trying to decipher an alien puzzle-box, a Traveller uses his INT Dice Modifier.

● When attempting to remember some trivia or piece of common knowledge, a Traveller uses his EDU


● When trying to impress a guard with his wealth or position, a Traveller uses his SOC Dice Modifier.

Skill Checks

For a skill check, the Traveller adds both his skill level and an appropriate characteristic DM. The combination of skill and characteristic varies depending on the situation:

● Shooting a gun would use the appropriate Gun Combat skill and the Traveller’s DEX Dice Modifier.

● Repairing a damaged gun might use Gun Combat and EDU.

● Trying to work out what sort of gun caused a particular wound might use Gun Combat and INT (or

perhaps Investigate and INT).

● Hiding from an enemy soldier would call for Stealth and DEX, while staying still for a long time to avoid

detection would be a Stealth plus END check.

● Just generally carousing at a party might use Carouse on its own, without any particular characteristic. If the Traveller wants to beat someone in a drinking contest, then he might use Carouse and END;  spotting who is out of place at a party would be Carouse and INT, and snubbing someone might use Carouse and SOC.

If a Traveller does not have any levels in a skill used in a check, he suffers DM-3 on the check for being


To summarise; To make a normal (Average) skill check, a Traveller rolls 2D + his Skill Level + his Characteristic DM + any other relevant DMs, and must get a total of 8 or more to succeed.

For example, Kathya (DEX 10, Stealth 0), Erik (DE 6, Stealth 2) and Morn (DEX 12, no Stealth) are all trying to sneak down a corridor. Kathya has DEX DM+1, and while she gets no DM from only having level zero Stealth, she at least avoids the unskilled penalty. Her final modifier is DM+1; she rolls 2D+1 and tries to get 8 or more. Erik has DEX DM+0, but has level 2 Stealth. His final modifier is DM+2; he rolls 2D+2 and tries to get 8 or more. Morn is more dexterous than either of his companions, with his DEX DM+2. However, he has no Stealth skill at all, and so suffers DM-3 for being unskilled. His final modifier is DM-1, so he rolls 2D-1 and tries to get 8 or more.


Some tasks are easier or harder to complete than others and so far we have just looked at Average checks that need 8+ to succeed. When the referee decides a task should be either easier or harder, he may change the target number needed for the check.

Simple tasks are trivial for everyone. A Simple task might be requesting weather data from a standard tourist computer system, ordering a meal in a language you know well, or sneaking up on a drugged guard. Simple tasks require a 2 or more to be rolled for the check if, indeed, they are rolled for at all.

Easy tasks are trivial for a trained professional, and simple for an amateur. An Easy task might be hiking cross-country for a few hours, holding a ship in perfectly  level flight, or activating an unfamiliar device that has a clear and simple interface. Easy tasks require a 4 or more to be rolled for the check.


A Routine task is trivial for a trained professional, and relatively easy even for an amateur. A Routine task might be hitting a prone victim in melee, landing a ship in optimum conditions with computer assistance, translating a newspaper and so on. Routine tasks require a 6 or more to be rolled for the check.

An Average task is a moderate obstacle to a trained professional. Shooting a gun accurately at range, plotting the jump calculations for a starship, repairing a damaged circuit board, or finding a buyer for a cargo bay full of  achine parts on an industrial world are all examples of Average tasks, which require the normal 8 or more to be rolled for the check

A Difficult task is difficult even for a trained professional. Examples might be making an accurate shot in the middle of a ferocious storm, defending a client in court when he is clearly guilty, hacking into a secure computer network, or spotting the flash of sunlight reflecting off a sniper’s scope. Difficult tasks require a 10 or more to be rolled for the check.

Very Difficult tasks are hard for a trained professional, and nearly impossible for an amateur. They require a 12 or more to be rolled for the check.

Formidable tasks are exceptionally hard, such as performing surgery on a alien of radically different biology,  hacking a military-grade computer network, disarming a terrorist bomb, or convincing a city of superstitious natives that you are a peaceful trader and not a demon from the outer darkness when you do not speak a word of their language. Formidable tasks require a 14 or more to be rolled for the check.


These difficulties are summarized in the Task Difficulty table

Task Difficulty

Difficulty Target Number

Simple 2+

Easy 4+

Routine 6+

Average 8+

Difficult 10+

Very Difficult 12+

Formidable 14+

Impossible 16+

For example, Erik (INT 9, Carouse 1) is trying to find information about a mysterious ship that landed at the starport. He goes to a bar frequented by travellers and spacers, hoping to pick up on a rumour. This is a Carouse check, and the referee says that it is a Difficult (10+) task. Erik has one level of Carouse, which gives him DM+1, an INT of 9 (for an additional DM+1), giving him a final of DM+2. He rolls 2D+2 and tries to get 10 or more.

Note that if no difficulty is listed for a check, you can always assume it is Average (8+).



We will also be using an Advantage/Disadvantage system. Some results or actions may place a character at a disadvantage or give her an advantage on a test. In these cases, 3d6 are rolled instead or 2d6.

 For a Disadvantaged test the highest die rolled out of 3d6 is dropped and the remaining 2d6 are totaled +DMs as normal.

For an Advantaged test, roll 3d6 and drop the lowest die result, the remaining 2d6 are totaled +DMs as normal.



As discussed individually, I will be adding a Psionic component to the story using an advanced set of Traveller rules. All of the PCs will end up with a PSI rating and some powers, but these will be revealed in game as the story unfolds. One thing to keep in mind when they do show up as this is not a supers or a supernatural game and the psi powers are more logic and low key, even the powerful ones like Teleport, than you are probably used too. They are based off of classic science fiction depictions of psionic powers from older science fiction material.

Psionics will not be rolled for as is the case in RAW, instead things shall be assigned by me as the game progresses.



We will not be tracking cash instead we will use an abstract Wealth system. As you can see on your sheet you each have a wealth stat. this gives you a DM as well as a Credit score. If you are acquiring something under your score it is assumed, you can afford it. If you need to buy something over your score you will need to make a test to get the credit/cash for the purchase.  This cuts down on bookkeeping and lets you but the necessities when and where it is needed without worrying.

There may be times that for added drama we end up roleplaying financial things.



We will be adding a system of Talents and Traits that are much like feats from D&D. each PC has two to start. I ill send you a description in PM as to what they are/do. Future talent/Traits may be awarded or earned but are not something that are automatic.



TL in the traveller system is somewhat static and doesn’t take into account that most civilizations would have different level in different categories, nor has it been altered since its inception back in the 1970s to take into account real world advancements. We will continue to use the RAW TL table, but this should be considered a Rough overall average TL for any given civilization encountered.

For instance, Earth has at the time of the game an overall average of TL9 on the cusp of rolling over to TL10, however things like space craft and computers are clearly higher than a 9 or even a 10, probably in the realm of 11 and 12 possibly higher in some specific instances.

In RAW as written some things are given an arbitrary TL rating higher than is reasonable this was done to not clutter the basic Raw with too many choices. For instance, in the rules the standard FTL system is the jump drive this starts at 10  or 11 however in later additions they added other options but in each case gave these other options much higher rating even though from a scientific stand point some of them would probably been invented even before the jump drive such as a working warp.

In these cases, if such technologies are discovered or invented, I will reassign them a more appropriate tech level.

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I Realized after Asa asked a question that the skill level definitions weren't readily apparent so here is a breakdown


Skill Level 1 represents a basic professional level of competence. The Traveller should be able to perform routine tasks, maintain equipment and remember information relevant to their field of competence.

Skill Level 2-3 represents an experienced professional who will be able to undertake quite complex tasks and will know a great deal about their subject.

Skill Level 4+ represents highly advanced knowledge, training and experience. The Traveller will be able to connect apparently unrelated facts or spot small discrepancies that a less experienced individual might miss.


a level 0 is trained and eliminates the basic untrained DM of -3
if you have a 1 or more in a skill specialty you are considered 0 level in most other specialties that fall under that skill. there are exceptions such as science which have broader categories and then split into sub categories which is where the specialties are.

if you have a 4 or 5 in a skill you are in the top 5-10% of the field and are probably know worldwide at least within that field

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