Maximize your Mongoose Traveller RPG character potential by understanding the ins and outs of mustering out benefits. Read on for a complete rundown.
(Part 4 of the 11-part series, "The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller RPG")
Mongoose Traveller Mustering-Out Benefits
What Are Mustering-Out Benefits?
Every character earns some swag from their chosen Career. This swag is called, “Mustering-Out Benefits” and represents resources your character has accumulated during their careers.
Earning Mustering-Out Benefits
You get one benefit for every full term in a career.
You get an additional benefit for every two levels of Rank you earn in your career.
For example, if you served 3 terms as an Agent and got promoted to Rank 3, you would receive 3 + 2 = 5 benefits; 3 for Terms served, and 2 for three levels of Rank.
If you are injured or forced to leave a Career in the middle of a Term, you do not earn a Benefit for that Term.
Types of Mustering-Out Benefits
What types of things might a character collect over the years?
Mustering-Out Benefits come in a variety of forms, including:
- Characteristic Increases
- Personal Vehicles
What you can get as a Mustering-Out Benefit depends on your chosen Career. Each Career lists its Mustering-Out Benefits on its own table.
Let’s take a look at some of these categories.
Armor- If you are in a military or law enforcement Career you might end up with your own set of free armor. There is a limit to the value of the armor, but it’s a pretty generous amount.
Augments- Some Careers give you the benefits of cybernetic enhancements that can take your Characteristics above the normal human limit of 15. Cybernetic upgrades can also give you different abilities, extra limbs, and more. There is a limit to the value of the cybernetic augment, but it is a decent amount that can get you some sweet cyber gear.
Cash- You can start the game with savings or a nest egg to fund your adventures. Of course, some Careers pay better than others.
Characteristic Increases- Usually EDU, INT, and SOC, but also sometimes DEX and END. You can increase your Characteristics with a limit of 15 for humans. The exception to this is SOC, which gives you Ship Shares for every excess point over your maximum.
Equipment- Scientific equipment for your Scholar character’s lab. Pick from scanners or other lab equipment up to a certain value. Expanded equipment lists can be found in the Central Supply Catalog.
Goodwill- During your Career, you might meet friends or acquaintances along the way. These are represented as Allies and Contacts. Having a “friend on the inside” can be very useful. Sometimes these friends might be quite powerful or notorious. Be sure to try to call on them for any resources they might provide when you need help during your adventures.
Investments- Star ships are very expensive, thankfully some Careers can help you out. One common way to purchase one is through Ship Shares. Friends or business associates pitch in towards the purchase of a Ship or a share in an existing ship-based enterprise (such as research or trade). Each Ship Share represents one million Credits worth of value but cannot be converted to cash. Ship shares can provide a passive income if the character does not have possession of the ship (due to another character in the group having a bigger/faster/better/same ship).
Memberships- Some Careers give you professional associations, like the Traveller’s Aid Society. Think of this members-only club as a star-spanning automobile or travel club. Members are sent a free High Passage ticket every 2 months that can be used or sold. Membership can also be purchased for one million Credits, so this is indeed a valuable asset to get for free.
Personal Vehicles- It’s nice to have your own vehicle to get around in when planetside. Some Careers help you start with a ground car or air/raft.
Skills- Many Careers grant you extra skills. You can earn additional levels of Electronics, Science, Drive, Flyer, Melee, or Gun Combat.
Spacecraft- Like a personal vehicle, personal spacecraft can also be very useful and valuable. Shuttles, ship’s boat, and other small spacecraft can be earned through terms in many Careers.
Starships- Characters can also earn partial ownership of Starships from their Careers. These ships are capable of using Jump Drives. Scout, Lab, Yacht, and Free Trader ships are available. In the case of Scout ships, those are on loan from the Scout service, so expect to be sent on Scout missions now and then to maintain your borrowing privileges.
Weapons- Some Careers, such as Military and Law Enforcement give you weapons as benefits. These are normally Guns and Blades up to a certain value.
As you can see, Mustering-Out benefits can come in many forms, depending on the Career.
The last benefit type to talk about is Pensions.
Characters who spend 20 years (5 Terms) or more in a single Career are considered retired and earn a Pension. The Pension is paid in the form of passive income regularly.
How Mustering-Out Benefits Impact Character Development
Benefits acquired through character creation carry on into the game and are valuable resources your character can take advantage of during the gameplay.
Having a ship of your own, or dependable income can free your character to go on adventures instead of having to concern themselves with where their next meal or ship fuel will come from.
Owning a set of “signature gear” for your character can also bring a sense of realism and depth to your character.
Best Practices for Maximizing Mustering Out Benefits
Check out the Mustering-Out Benefits for the various Careers you might be interested in and choose the Careers with appealing combinations of Skills and Benefits.
If you prefer to generalize and work in different careers over your character’s pre-play lifetime, that’s OK. Just realize you won’t be earning a Pension that way.
If you are interested in earning a Pension, try to stay in the same Career for 5 Terms. If successful, you can always do a Term or two under a different, complimentary Career choice.
Cash or Benefits?
You are only allowed to roll on the Cash portion of the Benefit Table a total of three times across all Careers, so you may want to save these rolls for high-paying Careers and choose Benefits rolls for Careers that don’t pay as much.
In general, money is easy to come by when you start the game. Income in the form of resellable TAS tickets, Ship Shares, and Pensions means your character has a certain degree of security and doesn’t have to wonder where their next meal will come from. Therefore my recommendation is to roll only ONCE for Cash – on the highest paying Career’s Benefit Table.
You can always get a job and earn some money, but things like Ship Shares and million-Credit memberships are far more valuable.
Your Turn. What Do You Do?
Which Mustering-Out Benefits would YOU like to roll?
Please share with us in the Comments section below.
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