25 Obscure Sci-Fi Character Ideas (For the Hard-to-Please)

In the last post I explained that with the Deeps of Lyrae campaign I’m going to use the templates published in GURPS Space and GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars with a few extras from GURPS Action 1: Heroes.

However, I also took a pass through my more obscure Traveller books and those of my friends. This came up with a few other character templates that might be useful if you don’t mind upgrading them from GURPS 3e to 4e. I don’t think that would be too hard.

You can just skip to the bottom now to see the list. If you choose to keep reading, I’m going to narrate my way through the books I checked for a few paragraphs. It’s been a long time since I looked at these! In most cases, years!

What I Found And Where

More Merchant, Please! GURPS Traveller: Far Trader has a bunch of other ideas like Purser, Cargomaster, Fixer, Arms Dealer, Entrepreneur, Courier, and (surprisingly, to me) Advertising/PR Agent.

GURPS Traveller: First In, which is the book about the scouts, has the intriguing (to me) variant on a Spy called Deep-Cover Observer. I take it you could design this person as someone trained to operate at a lower tech level in order to assess a society? Sounds awesome, actually.

GURPS Traveller: Nobles describes the interesting idea of the Seneschal. Not a word I remembered from my previous Traveller reading, but Wikipedia tells me this is a medieval chief of staff, steward, or majordomo of a great house. It also adds “Noble” variants for a bunch of things I’ve already listed in my last post, but that’s less helpful. A few are funny/interesting though. How about Impoverished Baronet? They call this Minor Noble and it comes in wealthy or impoverished. In addition this book contains a template for planetary ruler — I don’t think I’ll let any players be one of those, but it is an interesting read. One idea would be for a heroic character to be a deposed planetary ruler. That one I would allow. Sounds like great back story.

GURPS Traveller: Ground Forces gives me a soldier variant that could be amusingly absurd: Cavalry. In this setting you could take this to mean someone in a tank or helicopter (they call helicopters “air cavalry,” right?), but this book points out that on some planets it could also mean horses. It also has Speeder Pilot, which I did not see covered elsewhere. In fact there hasn’t been much “ground vehicle expert” stuff. Wheelman, etc.

The GURPS 3e Traveller core book has a great find for a campaign about space pirates: it has a Pirate (75 points). However it is called a “corsair” or “privateer.” It also has a few more unusual templates that I guess didn’t make the port to 4e. How about a Big Game Hunter / Guide? or maybe you want to be a Farmer? I noticed they also have a template for Naval Aviator? Quite specific. I think I will leave off Naval Aviator, too much duplication.

Finally, I seem to remember some of the early non-GURPS Traveller stuff (like from way back) had a character that was a kind of homeless wanderer. Or maybe it was GURPS? Maybe religious, maybe just someone dedicated to hitchhiking. There’s some overlap with the GURPS Traveller dilettante, but I think there’s something to it. I’m going to list it here even though I can’t remember what book it’s from. Let me know if you find it!

I also found a few random jobs of interest flipping through online lists and other books — these apparently appear in GURPS 3e Cyberpunk, GURPS 4e After the End 1: Wastelanders, GURPS Uplift, GURPS TransHuman Space, and GURPS 4e Vorkosigan Saga, as noted.

The Obscure Occupation Suggestion List

OK, here’s the list! If, for some reason, the template list in the last post was just not enough for you, also add these ideas from old GURPS Traveller books. Or you could use this list as a pay to pick NPC passenger occupations on a random spaceship encounter!

  1. Activist / Community Organizer (G:TS)
  2. Advertising Broker / PR Agent (GT:FT)
  3. Arms Dealer (GT:FT)
  4. Big Game Hunter / Guide (GT3e)
  5. Cargomaster (GT:FT)
  6. Cavalry Soldier / Officer (GT:GF) (as in, horse cavalry)
  7. Celebrity (G:C) / (G:TS)
  8. Chaplain / Minister (G:TS)
  9. Courier (GT:FT)
  10. Deep-Cover Primitive-World Observer (GT:FI)
  11. Deposed Planetary Ruler (GT:N) (I added the “deposed” because I do not want players as planetary rulers)
  12. Entrepreneur (GT:FT)
  13. Farmer (GT3e)
  14. Fixer (GT:FT) / Broker (G:C) (although somewhat related to the Cleaner from my last list, it looks like the Fixer is more about brokering information — basically introduces criminals to each other and arranges all kinds of transactions. Sort of a merchant, but for people and information?)
  15. Genehacker (unregulated genetic engineer or biomodification specialist) (G:TS)
  16. Homeless Wanderer / Nomad / Monk (??)
  17. Minor Noble (GT:N)
    • either “Impoverished Baronet” or “Wealthy Baronet”
  18. Pirate / Privateer / Corsair (GT3e)
  19. Psychotherapist (G:VS) / Psychologist (G:TS)
  20. Purser (GT:FT)
  21. Seneschal (GT:N) (this word means “chief of staff” or “majordomo”)
  22. Sentient Computer Program (G:TS)
  23. Scavenger / Refugee / Primitive / Apocalypse Survivor (G:ATE1)
  24. Speeder Pilot / Crew (GT:GF)
  25. Uplift Specialist (G:U)

Key to Sources:
G:C = GURPS 3e Cyberpunk
GT:FT = GURPS 3e Traveller: Far Trader
GT:FI = GURPS 3e Traveller: First In
GT:N = GURPS 3e Traveller: Nobles
GT:GF = GURPS 3e Traveller: Ground Forces
GT3e = GURPS 3e Traveller (core book)
G:U = GURPS 3e Uplift
G:ATE = GURPS 4e After the End 1: Wastelanders
G:TS = GURPS 4e TransHuman Space
G:VS = GURPS 4e Vorkosigan Saga

Unlike the last list, note that on this list the templates are of much more varied quality (if I got a chance to look at them at all) and might need a lot of work. Some of them look like nothing more than a few paragraphs with some lists of suggestions. Some of these might not even exist.

If you want to use a GURPS 3e template with GURPS 4e, to convert versions you would use the free guide in GURPS UPDATE.

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