I'm cobbling together some random generation tables for my Classic Traveller game. NPC's, like PC's are built on six attributes each created with a 2D6 throw. Pretty straight forward. Unless there is a mess of them. You could go with straight sevens across the board. That way you don't even need to write anything down until your NPC's start taking damage. That's because in combat damage is applied to the three physical stats of the character; Strength, Dexterity, and Endurance. But yeah, that's fucking boring. You've just made any random encounter the same dumb ass squib over and over. You know, like when you run into Goblins in a game of D&D they are all kinda the same. Unless you delve into some of the neat random tables littering the blogosphere to help crack that crap. Classic Traveller is old-school role playing. Like they did in '77! And that means you never know if the mook you just engaged in the bar is some drunk local, cyber enhanced gang banger or maybe even ex-military!
One of the most important combat distinctions between Player Characters and NPC's is your game's PC's all start with a default Level Zero (0) skill in all weapons listed in the LBB's. This does not apply to your average NPC on the street. That means your average NPC on the street will be dealt a -5 to any combat rolls in combat. That is a serious distinction. But variety is the spice of life. If your gnarly space jocks get in a mix up with the local street toughs some of them may have some relevant weapon or hand to hand skills right?
But I have no interest in stat'ing up ahead of time five, ten, twenty different types of NPC's for any given game session. To find out who is at the end of my player's upraised fist I want random results and I want them instantly! Fortunately we do not live in 1977 and we have mad gamers who know how to make random generators which we can all use from our desktop, tablet and phone.
Bookmark this blog post. You are going to want to use it. Following are generators which give you all six character attributes accurately weighted and randomly generated. I've also broken the generators out in the chance of any one member of a group of NPC's having a level zero or level one (or both) in a relevant skill.
I'm tacking on some career flavor tables to give some more specific flavor, but these tables, for me, are to give a detailed look at the combat effectiveness of any scum and villainy my PC's decide to get hot and personal with.
So now you got a bunch of space scum for your PC's to tussle with. Maybe they need some more flavor. Here I am going to use Paul Gallagher's Augmented Reality, The Holistic City Kit for Cyberpunk Games. I can import his tables into the random generator so with a click of the button you can give your home slice some local stank!
So ideally this would work with one click. You could enter the number of mooks encountered and spit out a text report of all of them and if any are skilled what is their skilled career background. Well, I don't have those kind of skills. I am relying on The Last Gasp Grimoire to facilitate this tool. I guess to use this succor successfully you need to hit the link for the type of NPC you are interested in and record/copy & paste stats. If they happen to be skilled you can hit the other generator. Myself, I will most likely use this tool to figure out how many thugs in a crowd do not suffer the -5 penalty when attacking in combat.
The random career is a simple method of figuring out what the NPC is skilled at. If it is a medic or emergency technician than the skill would be Medical. A Mercenary you need to pick some combat skill. A Fixer is easy slap on Streetwise. Transport Worker? Evac, Steward, Drive ATV; these are all good choices. Remember Classic Traveller goes light on skills. The combination of place, attributes and maybe a skill or two is all you have to create the NPC on the spot. This is enough for skilled roleplayers. The skill list for Classic Traveller is 23 individual skills plus weapon and unarmed combat skills. Some of the skills are a header for a cascade list. So yeah just pick what makes sense. The more I play with Classic Traveller (which is admittedly not a lot) the more I appreciate its stone cold old school aesthetic.