Travellers #4

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This is the fourth in my series of Traveller NPC’s as part of the ‘character-a-day‘ challenge. This batch includes my first telepath, Ushle Ujarii. The interesting side of Traveller character generation is that you don’t get full control of the character. You may start with an idea in mind at the start, then either find it goes off in a completely different direction due to a failed roll or a random event, or a couple of odd skills ends up changing the focus of the character.

The first character in this list, Samzam Shalaja was an example of the second. I decided that she was a singer, and that’s the way she went. But why did she have a high Streetwise skill at the end of it all?

At the other end you have someone like Valkentana Vidar, who might be interesting, but has limited usefulness as a PC because of a whole string of bad rolls.

Samzam Shalaja

Samzam Shalaja is a 30 year old red headed woman from Imisaa. She is attractive, friendly and outgoing, and tries to see the best side of things. She used to be the lead singer in the band Frantic Reds.

Samzam was born on Imisaa, and always wanted to sing in a band. She was pushed into going to university by her parents, but failed to get in which ‘forced’ her into signing on with a records label and becoming the lead singer in the Frantic Reds after an early borderline pornographic holovid of hers went viral. She also started to make money on the side when she realised that she could use her fame as a distraction for associates of hers to gain access to buildings or people for nefarious purposes,

There was a minor incident early in her career when a fellow singer became famous with a song that had been written for Samzam. She decided not to pursue it in the courts though it potentially lost her a lot of money. She had decided by this point that she had more interest in her side gigs than in the singing, though she did enjoy the fame and having tens of thousands of people watching her dance around on stage almost naked. She’s self-aware enough to realise that most people don’t follow her for her singing ability. Though the constant jokes about her lack of vocal skills is an irritant, she lets it slides because it’s allowed her to have a relatively easy life whilst pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes about what she’s really doing.

After winning an award for the most scandalous artist of Tobia, she has decided to leave the Frantic Reds and is going solo, planning a tour of the Tobia sub-sector sometime soon. She keeps on saying each tour will be the last, but there’s always another interesting place to play at and a gang of criminals or con artists looking to take advantage of a big distraction in order to make it all that much more exciting.

Tony Turner

Tony Turner is a quiet individual, obviously well educated and with a depth and breadth of experience most people don’t have. He makes few friends, but when he does he takes it very seriously.

Tony was a bright student from New Home (Reft, 1925) who always wanted to grow up to be a starship engineer. He got into university to study engineering, making two close friends of other engineering students who he remains in intimate contact with to this day.

Out of university, he was hired on as an engineer on board a Scout ship, surveying systems in Foreven sector. At one point, his ship was in the right place at the right time to rescue the high ranking son of a powerful noble from a war zone. He got a commendation for that, which enabled him to have his own ship, exploring parts of the Reft. Whilst near the Anundarluu Nebula though, he lost contact with the outside world for almost six months. He has no memory of that time – his ship was found drifting in empty space by a rescue mission sent out to look for him.

He left the Scout Service after that, and went into the corporate world trying to put his practical skills to good use. He found work for the Islandbridge Trading Corporation at Elysee. His eye for data got him noticed when he spotted unusual spending patterns that he was able to take advantage of to save the company billions.

He become one of the most skilled data scientists on Elysee, but eventually decided that enough was enough and he sold his shares and is now looking to go independent, hoping to put his mix of practical and theoretical skills to use in some new venture.

Ushle Ujarii

Ushle Ujarii is a small dark haired woman in her late thirties, who nevertheless looks to be well muscled and fit. She is rather scruffy, and seems to be good at fading into the background.

Ushle was born on Tobia, and identified as having strong psionic talent when she was young, and taken in to be raised by an underground group of telepaths. However, she was brash and hot headed, and often clashed with those in charge who she considered to be dumb and stupid. When it came time to graduate, she was pushed aside by the leader of the group, Ijer Adarmiku.

She took to surviving on her own, something she turned to be quite capable at, working with a gang of street thugs and turning them into a more civilised band of scam artists and blackmailers. It’s much easier to blackmail people when you can read their thoughts, and with a team to get the physical proof they made a good living for a couple of years. Then they tried to blackmail the wrong person, and the local security forces cracked down hard. She and her gang were rounded up and she spent the next three months in jail.

Ushle was able to subtly use her powers to survive amongst the gangs and eventually got released early because she knew exactly what to say and to whom. As soon as she was out, she teamed up with a small starship crew for a while, and made friends with an Aslan engineer.

She continued to try to get back in with the other telepaths, but was repeatably pushed aside, something that caused her to resent them more rather than modify her behaviour. She drifted from world to world, picking up a job as a mechanic on Gor due to her knowledge of advanced technology, and learning to scrounge broken parts on Imisaa in order to sell them to shops.

After almost ten years of trying, she was finally accepted back into the telepath community over the objections of Ijer Adarmiku, and was inserted into a mercenary group led by Major Memmula Khapikuu. She and Ushle got on well, and though her tour of duty is over they’ve agreed to keep in touch.

Valkentana Vidar

Valkentana Vidar has the appearance of a homeless bum, possibly somewhere in his late 40s. His face is scarred, and his clothes tattered, and he is missing his left arm below the elbow.

Valkentana Vidar was the son of a rich family on Berengaria (Trojan Reach, 2105). He was always a sickly child, who was hoping that he could live off his parent’s success. Unfortunately their luck ran out when they suffered total bankruptcy, forcing him to accept the draft. He joined the Merchant Marines, where he spent most of his time working as a quartermaster and providing supplies to the blackmarket.

Unfortunately, he was caught and whilst trying to make a hasty exit from the docks managed to crash his car, severely injuring his arm. Escaping the crash, he couldn’t go to a hospital since doing so would end up with him being identified and arrested, so he went to a back street clinic where it was amputated.

He can’t remember much of the following few years, but he drifted from plan to place until he found himself outside of Imperial space in the Sindal sub-sector without much memory of how or why he got there. It was there he managed to catch a disease that would have killed him on Noricum (Trojan Reach, 2018) if it weren’t for some aid provided by Aslan Ihatei.

From there, he managed to hitch-hike back to the Imperium, learning to live between the cracks and avoiding the eye of the authorities, sometimes managing to sponge off rich women looking for someone in need of care, sometimes being stabbed and left for dead in some side street. Unfortunately he didn’t avoid the eye of criminal gangs, and managed to anger not just one but two major criminal organisations over the last few years. Both now want him dead for the simple crime of befriending their girlfriends a bit too closely.

When his luck is with him, he still knows how to play the role of a rich member of the nobility. He can put on the right accent, knows the mannerisms and can wear the clothes that give him the appearance of an ill nobleman in need of looking after, which appeals to a certain type of person. However, he needs the money to be able to do this, and doesn’t always have that available. At that point he’s back on the streets, where his ill health and tendency to be seen as an easy target for mugging often leaves him in a state where he can’t play that role.

Willa Weber

Willa Weber is a thin woman in her thirties, normally smartly dressed in a plain suit. She comes across as slightly cold, but always professional.

Willa Weber grew up on New Colchis (Reft, 1327), living in the country where she learned to ride and camp outdoors. After finishing schoo, she tried to get into the Merchant Academy. However, they didn’t her, so she applied for a corporate job at United Defence Associates and was accepted into their intelligence division, something she never expected but ended up enjoying.

She learned to use a gun, and to attend corporate events to find potential candidates for bribery or simple befriending, and was quickly promoted. From there she was moved to the starport arm of the company, where she got introduced to electronic intelligence. Ironically she was awarded some ship shares by a rival firm for failing to pass on information to her own team.

Willa began to be groomed for a more active roll off-world, and was given self defence training. Unfortunately her father died just before she could be deployed, and she took a couple of months off to deal with family affairs. She lost out on a probably promotion because of it, but doesn’t regret the choice.

Once she was back to work, she again applied for a role at the sharp end of the business, and was deployed to The Borderland sub-sector. She handled herself well, but then things went sour during a rather shady weapons delivery and she was caught in the cross fire, almost getting herself killed.

She was shipped back home and given medical treatment, but was still left with a hefty medical bill even after the company insurance kicked in. Viewing her as a broken asset, UDA severed her contract for considerably less of a payout than she was expecting, and she is now looking for work as an independent contractor.

Xander Xenakis

Xander Xenakis looks older than the 46 he actually is. He’s frail, with a poor health, finding it hard to exert himself for any length of time. He can be quite abrasive, often talking over and ignoring others and belittling them if they don’t agree with him.

Xander Xenakis grew up on Helifil (Reft, 0313), and was quite athletic in his youth, pursuing sports rather than academics. Unfortunately he had an accident with an airlock, which caused lung damage when he suffered explosive decompression and inhaled dust from the outside which left him with heavily scarred lungs.

He tried to get into the Naval Academy at Berg (Trojan Reach, 3212), but was rejected due to his poor health and lack of academic qualifications, so he got a job there working as a low level office clerk for Ling Standard Products.

Due to his brash personality, he quickly made enemies with his co-workers, but his boss noticed his outspokenness and mistook it for competence, promoting him. He gradually climbed the ranks over the following years, making more enemies but managing to portray an aura of competence to those above it, always blaming his coworkers or team members for his failures. His inability to make real friends pushed him into gambling, and introduced him to the seamier side of society. Xander used this to his advantage at times, getting dirt on coworkers and rivals in order to push his agenda within the company.

Eventually his failings caught up with him, and when there was a round of restructuring he found himself first on the list to go. However, he was even able to turn this to his advantage, grabbing a Director level job at Tobia (Trojan Reach, 3215).

However, the atmosphere there wasn’t to his liking, and his lungs were by now really causing him problems. So he decided to resign and take a generous package, looking to retire to some smaller world with a decent atmosphere where his body would find it more comfortable.

Xander is not sure what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He is a psycopath, only viewing others as tools to use to get what he wants. He’s not good at hiding though, so has been unable to forge long term relationships, driving away anyone who might be willing to be a friend. This drives the cycle, making him more willing to use and abuse people for his own advantage.

Ironically it was whilst leaving LSP that he did meet an HR representative who seemed willing to put up with his personality, but possibly because she was as broken as he was.

Samuel Penn