I remember the night Hammer came to me and made his pitch for the Coalition Marines. I’d been on three team rescue missions with the old Ashtabula and at least I hadn’t embarrassed anyone. We learned a lot those first times out, and Hammer wanted that experience for the regular raiding groups he was trying to build. I wasn't certain what I wanted to do just then. The job at hand, sure, but what about afterwards? Maybe just to say something I asked “What’s the outfit’s A0 gonna be?”
He swept his arm across the night sky, that one gesture encompassing the entire Milky Way.
Everywhere, civilization is fallen into a dark age and mankind has begun to forget the heights from which it has fallen.
In one tiny corner of the former Third Imperium, the light of civilization still flickers on the verge of being snuffed out. But the men and women of the Reformation Coalition have no intention of allowing the last, best hope of civilization to die without a fight.
For civilization to reawaken, the survivors must pay a terrible price in blood, courage and endurance. You’ve seen what passes for existence in the ruins of civilization and it’s not good enough. Not by a long shot. Winning the stars was never going to be easy, but you’re going to make that new future one world at a time. It’s time for a New Era.
Each of the player characters is an agent of RCES, the Reformation Coalition Exploratory Service. Known to friend and foe alike as the Star Vikings, RCES is charged with going out into the dangerous Wilds, establishing contact with other planets and seizing materials necessary to drag man back to the stars.
Opinions differ from world to world whether the Star Vikings are murderous thugs or noble crusaders. No matter. The men and women of RCES do what is necessary to keep the light of civilization from going out forever.
These are Diaspora Sector (upper left), Old Expanses Sector (upper right), Solomani Rim Sector (lower left) and Alpha Crucis Sector (lower right). The area in black has recent, mostly accurate information confirmed by RCES (or through its recent long-distance contact with the Covenant of Sufren).
The area in white is data from the 1105 Imperial Survey. As RCES moves out beyond the immediate Area of Operations, the black (accurate) area of the map will grow. The green line is the flight of the Arguurir. On the black map, the area in red is the official Area of Operations, seven parsecs coreward and spinward from the Reformation Coalition. On the white map, the red/orange line is the border between the Third Imperium and the Solomani Confederation.
The Path of Tears game is set in the Reformation Coalition starting in the Imperial Year 1202. This setting was introduced and expanded in the various “Traveller: The New Era” (TNE) publications and using the TNE rules. While this campaign uses that setting, it does not use those rules. Instead it uses the “Mongoose Traveller” rules. Character creation in Path of Tears is a hybrid of the two, using the rules from Mongoose adjusted for the particulars of the TNE setting.
What the Skill Numbers Mean:
No Skill: If you don't have a skill listed, you are untrained in that skill, and suffer a -3 penalty to any attempt to use it.
Skill 0: If you have a skill at 0, you are trained in that skill and have a basic working knowledge of it. You are competent.
Skill 1+: You have some level of expertise in a subskill. A 1 indicates experience. 2-3 indicate that you could be a skilled professional in that field. A 4+ means that you are among the best in the business.
Subskills: When you have any skill's subskills at 1+, you have all of that skill's subsets at least at 0. For instance, a character with Gun Combat (laser pistols) 2 also has Gun Combat (all) 0. A character with Engineering (jump drives) 3 also has Engineering (all) 0.
Rule 68A is simply a mnemonic device to remember how the Traveller skill system works. "68A" is "6-8-10" in Traveller's pseudo-hexadecimal system, and it stands for the following:
Simple Tasks: Roll a 6 or better on 2d6+skill bonus+Ability bonus.
Average Tasks Roll an 8 or better on 2d6+skill bonus+Ability bonus.
Difficult Tasks: Roll a 10 or better on 2d6+skill bonus+Ability bonus.
Example: A character with Astrogation 1 and EDU 8 (+0) wishes to make a difficult Astrogation roll. He must roll a 10 or better on 2d6+1+0.
The more skills a character possesses, the longer it takes him to learn a new skill. A character’s Skill Total is calculated by summing the levels of each skill (level zero skills count as zero). A character with Mechanic 1 and Gun Combat (slug pistols) 2 would have a Skill Total of 3.
To increase a skill, a character must train for a number of weeks equal to his current Skill Total plus the desired level of the skill. So, to advance from Pilot 2 to Pilot 3 with a current Skill Total of 3 would take (three, plus three) six weeks. A character may only train one skill in a given week.
The Jack of all Trades skill cannot be learned in play.
You must gain a skill at 0 before you can gain it at 1. Gaining a skill at 0 takes half the time, rounded up. Thus, a character with 15 skill ranks who wants to train a new skill to skill 0 would spend (15+0/2) = 8 weeks learning that new skill.
You can only achieve one skill rank at a time, meaning that you can't go from Medic 0 to Medic 3 in one go. You've got to earn Medic 1 and Medic 2 first.
There are a number of Reactions a character can perform in combat, most notably Dodge, which increases the difficulty of hitting you but imposes a penalty on all skills for the next round. Because combat in a message board game is already slow, I will, as a general rule, ignore the possibility of such reactions. However, if you specifically give a standing order such as "I always dodge when someone shoots at me", I'll be happy to implement that. I just won't pause each time a bad guy does something to ask you if you want to react.