Traveller task system

Ancient Indus D6

  • “I punch him hard in the face hoping to knock him out”
  • “I jump to the other ship using my vacc-suit skill”
  • “I do a Sense task to see if I can get a tracked”
  • “I bluff the bouncer telling him I am the boyfriend of the drummer”

These are all situations that may lead up to a task roll in your role-playing game. Traveller is a role-playing game created by Marc Miller at Game Designers Workshop in 1977. Since then there have been many incarnations from various publishers, Megatraveller, TNE, GURPS Traveller etc. The most current versions are Mongoose Traveller and Traveller T5 by Marc Miller

My Traveller rules determine the results of tasks by rolling 2D6 +Skill and other modifiers versus a target number, the target number will be determined by the rules in everything I publish but in actual play a lot of times the referee has to come up with a number of the fly, when in doubt always use the 8+ normal task target number

  • 5+ for easy tasks
  • 8+ for normal tasks
  • 11+ for hard tasks

It is similar to how the original Traveller resolved tasks but also determine degree of success by checking how much above or below the target number you rolled. This notion was invented by Digest Group Publications and was incorporated into Megatraveller and later versions.


How much the die roll including skill and modifiers succeeded or missed the target number, the hitmargin or mismargin, determine how well the task went. Not all tasks will have specific rules for each degree below, often whether it was a success or a miss is the only fact that matters.

  • If you rolled 6+ above the target number your result is Very Good. The task went as good as it could, impressive!
  • If you rolled 3-5 above the target number your result is Good. You managed competently and professionally.
  • If you rolled 0-2 above the target number your result is Fair. You made it, but not very impressive.
  • If you rolled by 1-2 below the target number your result is a Miss. You failed, but not by much.
  • If you rolled 3-5 below the target number your result is Bad. You clearly blew it.
  • If you rolled 6+ below the target number your result is Very Bad. You totally screwed it up didn’t you!

Exploding dice Social class

Exploding dice

If both dice rolled are sixes the dice roll explode. Add 1D6 / 2 rounded down to the roll, keep rolling and adding as the die turns up a 6.

So, let’s say you roll boxcars (two sixes in gambler parlance), exploding dice time! Let us see how high you can get. You roll 1D6 and it turns up a 6. Add 6/2 rounded down to the previous roll, you are now at 15. You roll another D6 this times rolling 3. Add 3/2 rounded down to 15 for a total of 16. As you failed rolling a six this tine the dice stop exploding.

You ended up rolling 16 on 2D6, sometimes exploding dice can save your day!

Sonar with Linnea at Pitchers

Me hiding behind the screen when playing Sonar at a pub, screens are excellent to hide behind when rolling the referee D6 of a secret task roll.

Secret rolls

In situations where the task result should remain unknown, such as when rolling reactions for smarter NPCs. Player roll 1D6 and the referee rolls another, secret D6. If the player rolled a 6 do as usual for exploding dice but the referee won’t add it to the roll unless he too rolled a 6.

In the example on exploding dice above the player rolled four above her original roll of 12. If it had been a secret task she would roll exploding dice if her roll turned up a 6. The referee would roll his D6 in secret and if that roll turned up a 6 he would add the exploding dice to the die roll and if the secret die roll was 1-5 he would merely add the two D6 results together ignoring the exploding dice.

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