Spooky action at a distance

Space Campaign Lifepaths

First post collecting all the rules for my Traveller-esque space campaign. Follow the sojourner tag for more.

A dying overextended empire. Merchant guilds squabbling over scraps. Outlaws roaming the few trade routes left. War after war. Spoils of which fuel what they call the economy. You cannot change what is bound to occur. The most complex machine the universe has ever seen has reached its warranty. You might just die in service of it.


Burdens are negative modifiers to your skill rolls. Severe burdens count as rank 2. So for example severe debt is equivalent to debt 2.

d6 1 2 3 4 5 6
Burdens Isolation Injury Insecurity Illness Dishonour Debt


Roll d6 for your family’s house and your starting reputation. A house represents your starting upbringing, education and resources. Roll or choose a house name.

d6 1 2 3 4 5 6
1-3: Common house (0 Rep) Strigan Briia Tay Moora Toren Seeker
4-5: Noble house (1 Rep) Dener Mor Ghaiad Larkell Anden Kera
6: Royal house (2 Rep) Kel Warder Sonett Proxima Sarte Vendaai

You start service at 18 years old.

Enlistment was something I really enjoyed about Traveller. Going for a higher level career means risking not getting reenlisted later.

Roll 2d6 + reputation for your enlistment. You may choose any of the careers where your total is higher than the enlistment score. If no careers are available, take a debt burden and age 5 years.

Career procedure:

  1. Roll 2d6 for your career service.
  2. Roll d6 for a career skill. Roll d6 for a burden if any.
  3. Reduce the enlistment score of your served career by 1.
  4. Age 5 years if you didn’t die.
  5. Choose to either reenlist in your served career or leave service.
2d6 Service roll
2-3 death
4-5 skill + severe burden
6-8 skill + burden
9-10 skill
11-12 skill + promotion

If you roll the same skill or burden, they stack and increase in rank. So if you get computers twice, write down computers 2, meaning you have rank 2 in computers.

Reenlist: roll 2d6 equal or over your chosen career’s enlistment score to continue service. Once per lifepath you can change careers to any other available. Otherwise, leave service.

Promotion: increase your reputation score and serve another term in your career.

Science: if you roll a 12+ on your enlistment roll, you are drafted into the imperial R&D. Instead of the usual career skills, you gain expertise in one of the sciences: biology, physics, mathematics, chemistry, geology, theology.


  • Navy: the space fleet that maintains borders and hunts pirates.
  • Guild: merchants that rule the supply and demand.
  • Descent: soldiers that keep relative peace on imperial worlds.
  • Frontier: settlers of colony worlds, terraforming barren wastelands.
  • Breaker: those with odd jobs on factories, mob turfs and casinos.

Enlistment scores given in italics.

d6 Navy 9+ Guild 8+ Descent 7+ Frontier 6+ Breaker 5+
1 Zero-G Trade Medical Scavenging Machinery
2 Helm Computers Tactics Rimwise Repair
3 Gunnery Rimwise Athletics Engineering Forgery
4 Astrogation Helm Vehicle Medical Gambling
5 Command Vehicle Weapon (rifle) Vehicle Brawling
6 Weapon (blade) Weapon (pistol) Weapon (carbine) Astrogation Weapon (scattergun)

Vehicles (pick one): aircraft, groundcraft, watercraft.


As an optional rule, roll 2d6 over your total burdens to see if you survive. Otherwise you die of old age.

Choose a downfall, the reason why you left the service. Was it a lost love? Cutthroat rivalry? Just an accident? Take two trinkets, one from your house and one from your service. Name your character. Choose to either continue your house’s legacy or to find your own path.

Feel free to share your characters in the comments below!

Published on June 10, 2022.

Tagged: mechanics   space   osr   lifepath   sojourner  


Spooky action at a distance is a blog run by emmy verte, to muse on sci-fi, fantasy location exploration and short fiction. You can donate to support Ukraine here.