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Recently, I've been considering running a Mongoose Traveller campaign, and I recieved a question from a potential player about how possible it would be for them to spend their time aboard ship making stuff for use and sale. This seemed like a reasonable use of time for a character with few or no ship-focused skills.

However, I've not been able to find any rules that support player character crafting or manufacturing in the core rule book, though the skill descriptions do imply that it should be possible. (I do recall that Classic Traveller had rules for writing computer programmes, but they don't seem to have made the jump to MGT.)

Are there any solid rules that allow player characters to create stuff in Mongoose Traveller?

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+1 Awesome title. –  Brian Ballsun-Stanton Sep 11 '12 at 8:09
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Not that I've seen in the CRB, Books 1-8, nor supplements 1-6.

The only real gainful product by PC's rules I can recall in any Traveller edition are the CT computer programming rules. And then, one's unlikely to be selling computer programs; those rules really are there for cheapskates and emergencies. A purchaser would be unlikely to pay for a PC's version when the guaranteed reliable commercial versions already on the market are readily available.

Note that GURPS does have some such rules somewhere, but they're not in the GT rules. Likewise, ISTR some rules on making of weapons and armor for Hero System 4E or 5E, but not in the Traveller For Hero books.

Now, there are gear construction rules in TNE's World Tamer's Handbook, but those are focused upon production using specific rapid construction units for colonies, which are not given stats sufficient to put them into the game as starship components.

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I still "mantain" (i.e. "I haven't deleted") some pages from my long-defunct Traveller campaign, including guidelines on how to implement "complex research projects" in Traveller (lifted/stolen/adapted from Chaosium Ringworld).

(I also dabble in a similar cottage industry myself, as a Shodo student who sometimes sells or gives away his work, so I think I am qualified to answer ;) )

The guidelines use a generic task system based on T4 but with a modified 2D6 mechanic (you can find it under "YATTS" on the same page) and I believe that converting the research mechanics to a similar task/difficulty system should be pretty easy.

I suppose that any "produce something salable" could be modeled by composing tasks I label as "Theoretical Research", "Laboratory Research" and "Library Research". The actual production for the final object would probably work best as a Laboratory Research task. You should decide, depending on what the PC is actually creating, if a failure means that the "artifact" is lost, or if it salvageable. In the same spirit, an outstanding success could result in an object that can be sold at a higher price.

In general terms, you should define a flowchart with the steps to create a given "object", assign cost, times, and appropriate task roll to move forward to the next step, possibly including branches for critical success and failure – try to involve the player in designing the flowchart with you. (I've used Flowchart.com in the past.)

Here is an example "complex research project" flowchart to get your juices flowing (but try not to make things too complicated, or most of your session could be taken up by taking care of the cottage industry PC).

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