Traveller to GURPS Conversions
by David P. Summers
[Permission is granted for strictly non-commercial use provided this notice is retained. GURPS, GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Space and GURPS Vehicles are trademarks of Steve Jackson Games. Traveller, Marc Miller's Traveller, MegaTraveller, and T4 are trademarks of Imperium Games]
Like many gamers, I was weaned on science fiction roleplaying by GDW's Traveller. Even today you still hear people talk about Traveller's "little black books". Today, with Imperium Games' publication of "Marc Miller's Traveller" (T4), there is renewed interest in the Traveller setting. New material will be published covering new periods in the setting history. For those of use who love the Traveller background, but prefer GURPS mechanics, playing "GURPS Traveller" is a natural. How well does Traveller work with GURPS? Great! So, without further to do, let me present my own modest contibution to SF gaming, GURPS Traveller.
It is assumed in this article that the reader has access to Traveller rules, GURPS Basic Set, and GURPS Space (However, Space is not strictly necessary). These rules can be combined with settings and mechanics from "Classic" Traveller, MegaTraveller, and "T4". In particulalar Traveller rules can be used intact for ship generation, ship combat, world generation and world economics. To convert . . .
Classic Traveller &ndash GURPS skills levels are related to Traveller skill levels by the formula:
Traveller Skill = (GURPS Skill &ndash 10) / 2.
Mega Traveller &ndash Skill levels are related as above.
For stats use:
GURPS stat = Traveller stat + 3.
Traveller task difficulties are used in GURPS as skill roll modifiers . . .
Easy +2 Routine 0 Difficult -4 Formidible -8 Impossible -12
T4 &ndash As above.
Task difficulty roll modifiers are . . . .
Easy +3 Average 0 Difficult -3 Formidible -6 Staggering -9 Impossible -12
CharactersIt is recommended that characters start at 110 points with; 30 points of disadvantages (since Traveller characters tend be less 'quirky'), 5 points of quirks and maximum of 90 points in stats. Suggested starting cash is 2,500 Cr (Credits). The benefits associated with mustering out (including extra starting cash) are bought as advantages (see below). A character point will buy 1/2 starting cash (1,250 Cr).
To retain some of the flavor of Traveller, where most people are an ex-military or ex-merchant something or the other, "careers" are used. This is essentially a grouping of skills into background areas so that what a character has learned matches what he used to be. Careers are not mandatory and there is no "point break" associated with careers. However, some skills are only available to characters using the appropriate careers (see below). They impose some minimal requirements on a character. For characters with backgrounds not covered by the listed careers; a) no career is necessary if no skills with career requirements are used, b) a similar career can be modified or c) the GM can simply look at the character to make sure that the character's background matches the skills he/she has learned.
Each career comes with a list of required skills. A character must take at least 3 required skills from the career. They must have one each at a level of at least 11, 12 and 13. At least 1/4 of all points put into skills must be in required skills. Also, the PC's skill list should be constant with their background, years of service, and specialty (if any) within the profession. Characters may combine careers provided they meet all requirements. Careers are listed at the end of the Article.
RankFor use in GURPS, add one to Rank levels in Traveller (Ranks of 2 or greater are considered officers).
Former Rank &ndash 5 points/levelThis is your military rank, except you are no longer in active service. Your former rank is a mark of achievement and competence and provides a reaction bonus. It also provides a suitable requirement for skills that are only available to officers.
Level Former Rank 1 Rank 2 or 3 2 Rank 4 or 5 3 Rank 6 4 Rank 7
Education &ndash 5 points/levelIn the Imperium, education levels very significantly. An educated person is accorded more respect and receives a reaction bonus. It is also a prerequisite to some skills and presumes a greater general knowledge. It may be used as a modifier on rolls to see what a character knows. (GM discretion).
Level Description Modern equivalent 0 Basic education High School/Trade school 1 Higher education College 2 Advanced education Graduate/Professional School
Free Trader &ndash 20 pointsMerchants or ex-merchants may "own" a 200 ton type A Free Trader (or at least a piece of one). The PC is responsible for expenses and monthly payments (150,000 Cr for 40 years). Player is responsible for figuring out how his character was able to come up with the down payment and convince the bank he was a suitable risk (however, any reasonable story will be accepted). For an extra 5 points, you can add standard weaponry (Beam Lasers, Pulse Lasers, Missiles, Sand Casters) to the allocated hard points.
Scout &ndash 30 pointsA scout or ex-scout may have a 100 Ton Type S Scout/Courier that the scout service has loaned to you (dependable PC's only, GM judgment, former rank and status help). It may not be sold or mortgaged. The ship may be used for limited commerce but the scout service gets a 50% cut on all (net) profits and any information from any explorations. The ship (and you along with it) can be recalled to active service at any time. Scout bases will provide free fuel and maintenance (class B or better), the character carries other expenses. Character has a &ndash 5 point Duty to the scout service (counts against limit). For an extra 7.5 points, you can add standard weaponry (Beam Lasers, Pulse Lasers, Missiles, Sand Casters) to the allocated hard points.
(Note: A GM may wish to allow players to pool points toward ownership of a ship)
Travellers' Aid Society Membership &ndash 10 points.This society provides hostels and facilities at Class A and B starports and provides 1 high passage every 2 months.
SkillsSince, in Traveller, a character's age helps to determine how capable the character is, the skill point limit of twice age should be strictly enforced. In Traveller it is possible to need to learn to use a Vacc Suit on worlds with vacuum or corrosive atmospheres. For that reason the Free Fall prequisite is dropped. However, in zero G situations, any use of a vacc suit will be a the minimum of the two skills if Free Fall is <12 (in addition to any other limitations ).
New GURPS SkillsBroker &ndash M/A (prerequisite, Merchant); Training specifically in assisting the purchase/sale of good for interstellar commerce.
Steward &ndash M/E; Training in the care, feeding, and management of passengers.
Forward Observer &ndash M/A; Training in calling on, and adjusting fire from, batteries and orbiting ships. Includes knowledge in the capabilities of such weapons in various roles.
Interstellar Astrogation &ndash M/H (Requires Astrogation); Making sure your ship jumps to the right place. A normal failure means you ended up further out from the system than intended. On a critical failure, another skill roll is made. Making the roll gives the same result as given above for a normal faliure. A failure means you ended up 4d days out from the nearest Gas Giant or Starport. A critical failure means you jumped to the wrong spot.
Engineer, Jump Drive &ndash M/VH; Building and servicing Jump Drives.
Jump Drive Operaration &ndash M/H (Defaults to Engineer, Jump Drive &ndash 3); Operating a Jump Drive so the ship will jump correctly. A normal failure means the jump failed and you have to wait 1 hour, for each point you missed by, before you can jump again. On a critical failure, another skill roll is made. Making the roll gives the same result as given above for a normal failure. Missing means were able to abort in time and your ship was thrown 4d days travel in a random direct (you use half the fuel you would otherwise have used). A critical failure means you have misjumped. (Note: A ship in poor repair, too close to a planet, etc., may also require a misjump roll as specified in Traveller).
Zero-G Combat &ndash M/A (Requires Free Fall); All combat skills in free fall are at the minimum of either combat skill level or Zero-G Combat.
GURPS SpecializationsArmoury &ndash Hand Weapons, Rifles/Handguns, Beam Weapons, Vehicle Weapons, Spaceship Weapons.
Driving &ndash Car, ATV, Hovercraft, Tank
Electronics/Electronic Operations &ndash Communications, Computers, Holographics, Medical, Security Systems, Sensors, Grav Vehicles (for repair only, operation is piloting).
Engineer &ndash Spaceship Powerplant, Maneuver Drive, Jump Drive, Combat.
Guns &ndash Pistol(Body, Auto, Snub and Revolver), Rifle (Carbine, Assault Rifle, Rifle, Auto. Rifle, ACR), Light Automatic (Submachine Gun), Shotgun, Gauss Rifle, Accelerator Rifle, Grenade Launcher.
Beam Weapons &ndash Laser, Plasma Gun
Gunner (Vehicle, Field Guns) &ndash Grenade Launcher, Machine Gun, Autocannon, Howitzer, Gauss Gun, Mortar, Plasma Gun, Rocket Launcher, Meson Accelerator
Gunner (Ship Weapons) &ndash Beam Laser, Pulse Laser, Plasma Gun, Missile, Sandcaster, Particle Accelerators, Meson Gun.
Mechanic &ndash Fuel Cell/Electric Engine, Gasoline Engine, Jet Plane, Robotics, Hovercraft, Spaceship (Covers Airlocks, Hull,etc.).
Piloting &ndash Jet, Helicopter, Grav Vehicle, Grav Belt, Hovercraft, Spaceship, Interstellar.
New requirements for skills
Career RequirementsN=Navy, M=Marines, A=Army, S=Scouts, T=Merchant (Trader);
Astrogation NST Battlesuit AM Demolition AM Engineering (Spaceship Powerplant, Maneuver Drives, Jump Drives) NST (all req. 1 level educ.) Combat Engineering AM Forward Observer AN Free Fall NMST Gunner, "Ships Guns" NST Gunner, "Field Guns" A Intelligence Analysis NAM Interrogation NAM Intersellar Astrogation NST (N and T require 1 level education) Leadership NAM Piloting (Spaceship) NST Piloting (Interstellar) NST (N is officers only, T requires 1 level of education) Steward T Strategy NA (officers only) Tactics NAM Underwater Demolition AM Vacc Suit NASTM Zero-G Combat NM.
Education Requirements (See also Career Requirements)
Tech LevelsThe assignment of TL's past GTL/TTL 7 is necessarily arbitrary. For Game purposes (skills, ads, disads, etc) the following Traveller Tech levels are defined as the following GURPS Tech levels. (The Traveller description of what is available at each level applies)
TTL 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 GTL 0 1-3 4 5 5 6 7 7 7 8 8 9 9 10 10 11
PsionicsIn the Imperium, disapproval of psionics exists at both the popular and official levels. For starting character to posses psionic training (skills) requires a 10 point unusual background.
A player may buy powers without the background and attempt to be trained in skills after character creation. The character gets one IQ roll a year to realize that he/she is potentially psionic and then must find the Psionic Institute (as per Traveller rules) to try and get training (paying appropriate fees).
Characters who start without psionics will, if they successfully contact the Psionics Institute, have a chance of buying psionics (character will have to pay all necessary points at that time). The roll is up to the GM. One possibility is an IQ-3 roll on a power to see if any talent exists (if successful, roll again, at a cumulative -1 penalty, on a new power). For each success, roll 2d6 for the number of levels (with a successive -1 each time after the first one).
The following powers and skills are designed to match those given in the Traveller rule book. GMs shouldn't feel inhibited from adding additional abilities if it fits their campaigns.
Power Skill Telepathy Mind Shield Life Detection Emotion Sense Telereceive Telesend Mental Blow Mental Stab ESP Clairvoyance Clairaudience Seekersense Psychokinesis Levitation Telekinesis Teleportation* Autoteleport Combat Teleport Healing** Healing Suspended Animation* The limitation that objects retain orientation and speed is mandatory.
** The limitation, self only, is mandatory
Life Detection &ndash works with the same modifiers as Emotion Sense but detect living organisms. User can "ignore" bacteria or unimportant animals in the area. +1 for intelligent minds, -1 for unintelligent minds, Shielded minds are not detectable.
Suspended Animation &ndash works like metabolism control. Character can last for 7 days without the need for food or water and with minimal air (5% normal). May be stopped at any time provided with external stimulus (alarm, slap, etc.) but there is no "internal alarm". Cost 1 Fatigue (when you wake up). Cannot be used to fool lie detectors.
EquipmentIn general, Traveller prices and capabilities are used for equipment. Lists may be expanded by adding from GURPS Basic and GURPS Space. GURPS and Traveller prices don't correlate well, but the average seems to be 2-3 Cr = $1.
WeaponsAvailable Melee Weapons:
In addition to description given in Traveller, ranged weapons have the following GURPS stats . . . .
Submachinegun &ndash Can be fired one handed (add 3 to SS, subtract 3 from ACC, double Rcl).
ACR (Advanced Combat Rifle) &ndash Takes either high density discarding sabot ammo (HDDS) or high explosive ammo (HE). HDDS rounds divide DR and damage after DR by 3. HE rounds double DR, it does 5d damage + 1d explosive damage (x5 if buried in meat,no blow through).
Snub Pistol &ndash Characters with Zero-G combat at 12+ can use one in free fall with just a -1 recoil penalty. Takes tranquillizer, armor piercing explosive (APE), and high explosive (HE) rounds. Shots are very low velocity and may be blocked as per arrows. APE rounds explode with a small shaped charge as the hit the target doing an extra 1d of damage (DR is halved as is damage). HE rounds are as per ACR HE rounds (but you must do at least 1 point of damage to "bury" the round).
Accelerator Rifle &ndash Characters with with zero-G combat at a 12+ can use one in free fall with just a -2 recoil penalty.
Gauss Rifle &ndash Round is a dense armor piercing core surrounded by a softer metal covering ending in a hollow point. Divide armor by 3 but damage that penetrates by 2.
Grenade Launchers &ndash Grenades from both kinds of grenade launchers do 5dx2 damage. A RAM Grenade Launcher can be fired on a flat trajectory like a gun. Character uses guns skills but can also use telescopic sights, etc.
Ranged Weapon Table
Weapon Type Dam. SS ACC 1/2D Max RoF Shts ST Rcl LC Body Pistol cr 1d+2 10 2 50 200 3~ 6 7 -1 5 Auto. Pist. cr 3d+1 10 3 200 2,000 3~ 15 9 -2 5 Revolver cr 3d+1 10 4 275 2,750 3~ 6 10 -2 5 Shotgun cr 4d 12 5 25 150 3~ 10 12 -3 4 Submachinegun cr 3d+1 10 7 200 2,000 10 30 10 -1 3 Carbine cr 6d 10 10 500 3,000 3~ 10 8 -1 4 Assault Rifle cr 6d 10 10 500 3,000 10 30 8 -1 2 Rifle cr 8d 12 11 1,000 4,500 3~ 20 9 -1 3 Auto. Rifle cr 8d 12 11 1,000 4,500 10 20 9 -1 1 ACR (HE rnds) cr 5d 9 15 1,000 4,500 10 20 9 -1 0 ACR (HDDS rnds) cr 8d 9 15 1,250 6,000 10 20 9 -1 0 Snub P. (HE) cr 1d-3 14 2 25 100 3~ 6 &ndash 0 2 Snub P. (APE) cr 1d-2 14 2 25 100 3~ 6 &ndash 0 2 Accel. Rifle cr 5d 12 9 500 3,000 8 15 7 0 2 Laser Carb. imp 11d 10 11 750 1,200 3~ 50 &ndash 0 1 Laser Rifle imp 2dx10 12 13 1,500 2,000 3~ 50 &ndash 0 0 Gauss Rifle cr 8d 11 18 1,750 7,500 20 40 9 -1 0 PGMP-12 imp 4dx10 14 4 200 750 1 40 14/T -5 -1 PGMP-13 imp 4dx12 15 2 300 1000 1 &ndash * -5 -2 PGMP-14 imp 4dx12 15 3 300 1000 1 &ndash 9 -1 -3 FGMP-14 imp 6dx10 15 2 300 1000 1 &ndash * -5 -4 FGMP-15 imp 8dx8 15 3 300 1000 1 &ndash 9 -1 -5 Grenade Launcher &ndash &ndash 13 4 &ndash 400 1 1 8 -1 0 RAM GrenadeL. &ndash &ndash 10 6 &ndash 1000 1 3 8 0 0
Weapon Type Dam SS ACC 1/2D Max Wt. RoF Shots ST Rcl Light Mach. Gun cr 8d 12 10 1,000 4,500 12 20 100 12/T -1 Auto-Can. (API) cr 4dx5 20 15 1 mi 3 mi >660 40 &ndash &ndash - Auto-Can. (HE) cr 4d(10) 20 15 1.5 mi 3 mi >660 40 &ndash &ndash - VRF Gauss Gun imp 6dx3(3) 14 16 1 mi 4.5 mi 4,400 60 &ndash &ndash - Auto G. L. &ndash &ndash 13 4 &ndash 400 13 12 16 14/T -1 Auto RAM G. L. &ndash &ndash 10 6 &ndash 1000 14.5 12 20 14/T 0
ArmourAll Cost/Weights are for a suit. A Vest is 40% the Cost and Weight of a suit.
Armor PD DR Wt Cost (Cr) Jack 1 1 1 50 Mesh 2 4 2 150 Cloth * Light 2 8 7 250 Medium 2 16 12 375 Heavy 2 24 16 500 Ablative ** 4 24 40 75 Reflect *** 6 2 2 1500 Combat Armor **** 60 20,000 Torso 6 100 Arms/Legs 4 85 Hands/Feet 3 60 Helmet 6 85 Face 4 70 Battle Dress***** 105 200,000 Torso 6 125 Limbs/Head 6 100 Face 6 75* PD1,DR2 against impaling attacks.
** Every hit of >3 reduces DR by 1. Every three hits reduce PD by 1.
*** PD 0, DR 0 against non-lasers.
**** Can provide life support. These are general stats as armor will vary by source.
***** Powered Armor with a mount to hold a heavy weapon. Gives ST 20-25. DX is at a -1. Requires the Battlesuit skill. Will provide life support. Stats will vary from army to army.
Other EquipmentIn addition to other description, the following equipment has the following stat in GURPS . . .
The following drugs out of Space are also suitable ($1 = 4 Cr) . . .
AliensDescriptions are as given in appropriate Traveller supplements.
Aslan, 31 pointsAslan have ST +2, DX -1, HT +1, Claws (+2 damage, 15 points), Acute Hearing +2 (4 points), Night Vision (halves darkness penalties, 7 points), Enhanced move (only for 5 seconds, then fatigue penalties start to apply, 7 points), Code of Honor, Aslan (-10 points). Aslan male PC's may want to take a female ally to help them function in imperial society. All Aslan PC's will need to consider Aslan society and have a reason why they are wandering about the Imperium and are not back with their clan. Character choice of skills should be consistent with gender roles in the Traveller Aslan supplement. An Aslan who openly disregards Alsan code of behavior will have a Social Stigma (-3 reaction, Aslan culture only, -5 points, counts against limit) and a 5 point unusual background.
Droyne ,VariableAll Droyne have; Night Vision (halves darkness penalties, 7 points), Claws (+2 damage, 15 points), Invisibility (Can become invisible at will, doesn't affect purely mechanic devices such as robots, recorders, etc., 60 points), Winged Flight (Thick atmosphere/light gravity only, 15 points), Peripheral Vision (15 points), Fragile -20 points. Each caste has is own functions (see skill list in Traveller supplement) and a character should take suitable skills. Because of caste rigidity, Droyne don't use careers. Additionally, each caste has . . .
ST DX IQ hitpnts other Total Package Cost Leader -3 -2 +4 -2 72 points Tech -4 +1 +1 -4 Lacks Initiative* 32 points Worker +1 -1 -2 -3 Lacks Initiative* 37 points Warrior -1 +2 -2 -2 Lacks Initiative* 52 points Drone -3 0 0 -3 Obedient** 37 points Sport -3 0 0 -3 Obedient** 37 points* While these characters will take initiative and make decisions, they will defer to, and obey, memebers of the Leader caste. -5 points.
** A mild form of slave mentality. Character will care for itself and be able to pursue task in natural directions. He/she will not take on new task or make fundamental decisions about where the project should go. When a task is finished, or when a reaches a point where a fundamental decision needs to be made about direction, the character will need the direction of a leader. -20 points.
Droyne have the following additional available Telepathic skills; Boost, Mindwipe, Link. Link is part of the permanent bond between members of a dreskay. For 15 seconds the character will see and hear everything the linked character experiences and knows his direction and distance. Costs 1 fatigue. Boost allows another psi to draw from the character's fatigue. Costs subject 2 fatigue per point of fatigue drawn. Each activation allows the other psi to draw fatigue for 10 minutes. Failure costs 1 fatigue.
Hivers &ndash 39 points.What can I say, they're weird. You need to read the book. Hivers have ST -2, HT +2, -2 Hitpoints, Infravision (15 points), Clinging (30 points), 5 Legs/Arms (40 points*), +1 Manual Dexterity (4 points**), Regrowth ('fingers' only, 10 points, takes 3x2d weeks), Pacifism (Will not engage in personal combat, &ndash 10 points), Social Stigma ("Bug Eyed Monster" -2, -10 points), Odious Racial Habit (Occaisonally drop larva, -1, -5 points), "Mute", -25 points
*All five legs/arms have manipulators. However, you need 2 to stand on (and that's like standing on one leg).
**+1 to skills involving manual dexterity.
K'kree, 15 pointsK'kree have HT+3, ST -2 (upper bodies only, -5 points*), Increased ST (lower bodies only, 30 points*), Enhanced Movement (10 points), 4 legs (5 points), Inconvenient Size (-10 points), Claustrophobia (-15 points), and Fear of being alone (-10 points). A K'kree will generally need an ally group.
*The net effect is to give a K'kree a split ST. You buy ST normally. For task using the lower body only the ST is (ST-2)x2.
Vargr, 14 pointsVargr have ST -1, DX +1, Acute Smell +4 (8 points), Acute Vision +1 (2 points), Enhanced move (only for 5 seconds, then fatigue penalties start to apply, 7 points), Claws (+1 damage, 7 points), Night Blindness (double darkness penalties. -5 points), Reputation, Disloyal -1 (-5 points). Additionally, their Hearing is in a higher range than human. They can't kick but can bite for 1d-1 damage in close combat. Reaction bonuses/penalties for Charisma are doubled with Vargr. Success or Failure at important tasks may raise or lower a Vargr's Charisma.
ZhodaniSince they are human, no racial package applies. All Zhodani PC's should take Honesty and Truthfulness. The Zhodani Consulate is current opposed to the Imperium so Social Stigma or Enemy might also apply.
AnimalsThere are no hard and fast rules for converting animals. If you have a good idea what it's like, then the best thing is just to modify the most similar animal you can find in GURPS to suit the description. For example a 100 Kg pouncer carnivore might be similar to a 200 Lb Cat (for example, a Jaguar).
One can come up with rough guidelines as to what a Traveller animal should look like in GURPS. PD/DR would be similar to that of the armor listed under the "armor" column (Jack = PD1/DR1, Mesh = PD2/ DR3, Cloth = PD3/DR6). Damage is similar to 1d-4+(wounds/2) (where every +4 is replaced by a second dice, ie 1d+5 = 2d-1). For hit points, take the number of hits it takes to render an animal unconscious and dead, then add them together (which we will call "total hits", TH). TH/2 to TH seems to be the range, with numbers generally closer to TH (particularly for larger animals).
Required Skill List
Navy , Scouts, and Merchant all have . . .
For Navy, add . . .
For Scouts, add . . .
For Merchant , add . . .
Marines, Army both have . . .
Marines, add . . .
Army, adds . . .
Note . . .Some people have asked me about using GURPS rules for Traveller type ships. To do this, you need one main principle, that volumes and masses for components in Traveller are compatible with GURPS Vehicles and GURPS Space. (Stats from MegaTraveller work better because it provides both volumes and masses).
First you take the volume of the ship you are designing and look up the volume, or volume and mass, of a jump drive big enough to give the proper jump rating. Then you look up the amount of fuel the jump drive needs. (This is so the logistics of travel, trade, and war work the way they do in the Traveller universe). At this point you can . . .
You will need at least on of the following conversions . . . .