Modding Traveller: Stress for Success

I have played a whole lot of role-playing games. Everyone has something I love about them and something I don’t. Traveller is a great example of this. If I want a game without a thousand one little ways to change the outcome of a situation, Traveller is my go-to game. However, there are times when I really would like some way to change that blasted natural-2 die roll.

Enter the Stress system. Some systems call this Stress, some call it Willpower. Variations of this include Hero Points or Luck or a hundred other names for it. At the end of the day, it is some way to change the outcome.

How does this work in Traveller? Everyone player character has a pool of points equal to their highest Characteristic’s dice modifier (DM’s for STR, DEX, END, INT, EDU, SOC). This excludes PSI. You can spend a point from this pool to take one Stress This gives you a Boon to your next roll. However, it also gives you a penalty equal to your Stress on every dice roll thereafter until you get rid of it. This would be an 8-hour session of indulging some Vice.

What does this look like in Scifi TV/movies? In Firefly, Kaylee failed a SOC roll by calling Shepherd Book a “grandpa.” She took the point of stress to reroll it and succeeded. As a result, he didn’t take offense. But it also meant she ate all the strawberries herself instead of sharing them with anyone else on the ship. That was her vice. While it is not scifi-based, The Fugitive/U.S. Marshalls movie is another example of this. One character always wants to eat, another is highly particular about their fashion choices, and so on. Would these characters take a Stress, they’d get rid of it by going clothes shopping or enjoying a good meal and relaxing afterward.

Next time we’ll talk about how to get rid of that Stress. In the meantime, join our Patreon to help us create more subsystems for Traveller or other blog posts for you to enjoy.

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