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Mongoose Traveller Character Creation - Rolling Characteristics -title

Mongoose Traveller Character Creation- Rolling Characteristics

Learn how to balance Physical & Mental Characteristics in Mongoose Traveller Character Creation with this step-by-step Character Creation guide.

Mongoose Traveller Character Creation

Grab your copy of the Traveller Core Rules, or the Traveller Explorer's Edition if you want to try Traveller, and follow along.  Let's make a character together!

In this article, Part 1 of The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller RPG, we focus on rolling up Characteristics and deciding which ones are most important.

Rolling Characteristics

When creating a new Traveller character, the first thing you usually do is roll up your Characteristics.  You do this by rolling two 6-sided dice and adding them together.  Do this six times; once for each Characteristic.  Once you have rolled the six numbers you can apply them one at a time to any Characteristic in any order you choose.

The standard Traveller characteristics are:

Strength (STR): This measures the character's muscle power.  Characters with high Strength lift heavy objects easier and do more damage with their bare hands in a fight than characters with low Strength.

Dexterity (DEX): This measures the character's agility and deftness.  Characters with high Dexterity have better balance and aim.  They can manipulate small objects with their hands better than characters with lower Dexterity scores.

Endurance (END): This measures the character’s stamina.  Characters with high Endurance have a more constitution and can work longer and endure hardships longer than characters with low Endurance.  Endurance is important because it’s the first Characteristic that is damaged by combat.

Intellect (INT): This measures the character’s cleverness and resourcefulness.  Characters with high Intellect can figure out puzzles and come up with original plans and designs easier than characters with lower Intellect scores.

Education (EDU): This measures the character’s formal training level.  Characters with high Education have typically gone to university and studied for a degree.  They may know trivia and obscure facts about things they have never personally encountered.  They can make educated guesses on things easier than characters with low Education scores.

Social Standing (SOC): This measures the character’s status in society.  Many Referees use this interchangeably with Charisma.  It can measure a character’s charm, intuition, and awareness in social situations.  In my experience, SOC is a throw-away stat that rarely comes up during play.  In my games, we use it as Charm or Charisma and it governs social interaction skills like Streetwise and Persuade.

Psionic Characters

If your Referee is willing, you can roll up a character with advanced ESP and mental abilities.  In this case, your character will also have a PSI attribute.

Characteristic Maximum

Characteristics range in value according to the type of creature.  Some races have higher or lower maximum values than others.

Characteristic values for normal humans range from 2-12, with 15 being the normal human maximum.

It is possible to increase your character's strength above 15 through the use of cybernetic augmentation.

Traveller Characteristics can be grouped into two categories: Physical (Strength, Dexterity, Endurance), and Mental (Intellect, Education, Social Standing).

Which Characteristics Are Important?

Deciding which Characteristics are most important depends on your tastes and your character concept.


Strength, Dexterity, and Endurance are important because they determine your character’s effective health/hit points.  Add up your STR, DEX, and END scores and that tells you how much damage your character can take before they die.  The average is about 21 points.

Of these three, END is most important because it acts as a buffer before you start taking damage that could knock you unconscious.

Remember that when your character receives damage, it is applied first to their physical characteristics, starting with END. As your characteristics decrease due to damage, so do the associated Characteristic Modifiers. This implies that crucial Characteristics for combat, such as DEX, must be safeguarded, and having a high END score helps prevent other Characteristics from being affected by damage.


Since characters will be interacting with technology and computers, Intellect and Education are important characteristics as well.

The Characteristic that is used most is EDU.  This is normally the default characteristic for all knowledge skills.

INT is normally reserved for creating or building new things whereas EDU represents your actual learning experience.

Characteristic Modifiers

Characteristic Modifiers are a bonus or penalty you add or subtract from dice roll results when attempting to accomplish various tasks during your adventures.  The rule book contains a chart for figuring out your modifier for each Characteristic.

Be sure to note your Characteristic Modifiers prominently on your character sheet, as you will be referring to these numbers often.

The Most Important Characteristics

The most important and most frequently used Characteristics are:

END - For being able to last longer in a fight before damage effects begin to change your STR and DEX,

EDU - for all the knowledge skills you will employ during your time as a Traveller, plus high education allows more background skills and more skills overall.

Put your two highest rolls n these Characteristics and put your lowest into SOC if you are using it as Social Standing.

Where To Go Next

After you roll up your characteristics you are ready to choose your Background Skills.

You can find more info in this article:
Mongoose Traveller Character Creation: Background Skills

Your Turn.  What Do You Do?

Which characteristics would you put the highest numbers in?  Which ones would you put the lowest values in?

Please share with us in the Comments section below.

Want More?

Enjoyed these insights on rolling characteristics? Discover more advanced techniques and in-depth advice in our booklet 'Beyond the Horizon: The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller'.

If you found this article helpful, please give it a good rating at the top, thanks!


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