For my own purposes I have been making notes on things using the MegaTraveller Game System to keep track of things like my characters planets and so on. I thought for your purposes this might be a little way of getting behind the scenes of the story and knowing more specifics about the character Ayn Jones and her universe.
The genius of the Traveler and MegaTraveller systems was there simplicity. An entire character could be summed up in a few lines of data. For the purposes of this post I am going to give you Ayn Jones’ character data and explain things to those of you that are not familiar to the game. My hope is to show how this combination of game and fiction writing can help with record keeping as well as keeping things consistent. So here is Ayn Jones’ character data at the end of the last post:
UPP: AACC8A Age: 19(18) Race: Human Sex: Female
Homeworld: Regulus III – UWP: C365361-A S Lo Ni Rs
Skills: Pilot-1, Handgun-0, Computer-0, Grav Vehicle-0
Character Note: Ayn Jones underwent a anagathics experiment from the time she was 18 to 19. He chronological age is thus one year behind her physical age. The experiment was a success and in addition to retarding her aging process to 10% normal (1 year for every ten), it also added 2 points to her Strength, Dexterity and Endurance. Her original UPP was: 88AC8A.
UPP stands for Universal Personal Profile. In Traveler the UPP was six digits in hexadecimal form. That means zero-nine were normally represented as 0-9 but when you got to ten or higher they are represented by a letter. A for ten, B for eleven and so on although no score could be above F or fifteen(15). The order for the UPP is Strength, Dexterity, Endurance, Intelligence, Education and Social Status. The first four were difficult to change for the most part and could diminish as the character aged.
Ayn Jones thus has a Strength of ten (A), Dexterity of ten (A), Endurance of twelve (C), Intelligence of twelve (C), Education is eight, and Social Status is ten (A). An average score is seven so she is above average in a lot of areas. I justify this on a couple grounds- 1) She is going to be adventuring solo a lot so she is going to have to deal with a lot of things herself and 2) the story element because she is still getting use to the idea she is stronger, more agile and has greater endurance. Some explanation might be needed for education and social status because they are the most changeable stats in the game. Education can go up very quickly in game terms but usually does not shrink. Social status can change too. It often takes a lot to make it go up but it can drop like a stone. Ayn Jones is the daughter of a planetary administrator but nor royalty (UPP would have to be B to F to be royalty). High social status has its advantages and disadvantages.
When you generate a character in Traveler, you also have to generate a Homeworld. This provides some basis for default skills as well as the careers characters are eligible for. The UWP stands for Universal World Profile. It to is a straight line of numbers that each indicate a certain piece of information about that world. Regulus III UWP is explained as follows: Starport C (maintenance and refueling only) , Size 3 (Small – about the size of Mars). Atmosphere 6 (standard), Hydroponics 5 (Wet World – 50% water), Population 3 (thousands), Government 6 (captive government/colony), Law Level – 1 (only explosives illegal), tech level – A (Early Stellar – jump drive) but I fudged tech level a little because it is a colony of the Republic so certain things are tech level eleven (B). This is why Ayn has Grav Vehicle skill zero instead of Wheeled Vehicle. S – stands for scout base, Lo – Low population, Ni – Non-Industrial, Rs – Research Labs. Of course since it ha been abandoned its UWP is now C365000-A. It still has all its designations except Rs but has added Br- Barren World. This is not however right for Ayn, because the homeworld in her character slot is what she was raised on, not what it is later.
Skills reflect the characters abilities to do certain things based on training or education. Ayn has Pilot-1, Computer-0, Handgun-0 and Grav Vehicle-0. In MegaTraveller you could have as many zero level skills as you like. This represents the ability to do something without penalty but not necessarily with any skill. Ayn can fire a handgun, run a computer system and drive a grav vehicle without penalty but she is no expert in any of them. Expertise in the Traveler system is represented by a positive number behind the skill. The higher the number, the greater the skill. Some skills require a certain level to be considered something. A person has to have a Medical skill of 3 to be considered a doctor in MegaTraveller for instance. Ayn has a Pilot-1 skill and this is referring to starships. There is another skill entirely for flying atmospheric type planes.
Normally when it comes to skills a character starting out would only have default skill from their homeworld but I always thought this was lame. So I granted the players who played with me a single skill of their choice that made sense with their homeworld. Ayn is on a planet with a scout Base, wants to be a Scout and loves space. I figured she would find a way to qualify to be a Starship Pilot which is the first skill you learn in scout service. This also answered a simple question of how to get her off Regulus III. There is a maximum number of skill levels a character can have which is equal to her intelligence plus education. Ayn has a 12 ad 8 respectfully so she can have a maximum of twenty skill levels. She has Pilot-1 so she has nineteen left. She can increase this number by improving either her intelligence (hard to do) or education (requires only time and a teacher).
Finally there is character notes. In her case I had to note her experience with the research labs in anagathics. She ages at one tenth the normal rate now and all her physical attributes are increased by two. Thus, when you see her age it is represented as 19(18). The first number is her actual chronological age of 19. The second number is her physical age of 18 as she didn’t age during cold sleep. As she goes along she will age one year biologically for every ten years she passes chronologically. When she hits 29 she will be 19 physically, 39 she will be 20 and so on. This is going to create some interesting stories as she has the capability to live well into the hundreds of years old.
Now, I want to note something. I have had to ramble on for six paragraphs to explain something that if you know the system would take all of a minute to read and understand. This was the genius of the people who designed Traveler and MegaTraveller. That broke things down to simple numbers and systems to explain something quite large and complex. For me as a writer this means I can note things for this series a lot quicker than I can for my other two. It will make remembering things a lot easier for this reason.
From time to time I will run this type of post again to keep records and to give some background to the story. I hope you enjoyed it.
Blessings and Cheers!!!