Cepheus Deluxe is a new rule set for space opera sci-fi RPG campaigns, published by Stellagama Publishing. It is similar to Cepheus Engine but changes a few things to simplify the game, improve playability, and add some extra depth in places.
One thing that is simplified is character creation. But for my campaign, all the players already had characters created under the Cepheus Engine rules. So I wrote these conversion rules to apply to the existing characters to make them more compatible with Cepheus Deluxe.
Note to other referees: All these are “house rules” for my These Stars Are Ours! campaign. None of this should be considered canon. Maybe these conversion rules will work for your campaign, maybe not. You decide.
Page numbers are from Cepheus Deluxe Original Printing - September - October 2021. In some cases, I quote text from that rule book; literal quotes are set apart using indentation.
For brevity, I often use the acronym CE to mean Cepheus Engine and CD to mean Cepheus Deluxe.
– Todd Bradley, email@example.com, updated 01-August-2022
Cepheus Deluxe uses the same traditional six characteristics (sometimes called “attributes” or “stats”) as Cepheus Engine and Traveller. Nothing changes here.
Characteristic Modifiers stay the same, too.
The skill list in CD is much shorter. Some skills have been combined.
CD doesn’t have cascade skills. So you no longer get a default zero-level skill in the other branches of the cascade tree that you didn’t specialize in.
“Subsumes” below means that the skill existed in CE, and includes that meaning of the skill plus it also includes the other listed skill(s).
“Replaces” below means the skill either didn’t exist in CE or was a cascade skill and you no longer must choose a specialty.
If you had any of the skills in brackets (one of the subsumed or replaced skills), the skill level is now the maximum of the main skill and any that have been subsumed or replaced.
Example 1: If you had Gambling-1 but not Carousing, you now have Carousing-1.
Example 2: If you had Gambling-1 and Carousing-1, you still have Carousing-1.
Below is the list of all 31 skills. In square brackets are notes about converting each one. Some of these notes come from the CD book, and some are things that just felt right to me when I compared the CE skill list to the CD skill list.
- Aircraft [replaces Airship, Rotor Aircraft, and Winged Aircraft]
- Animals [replaces Farming, Riding, and Veterinary Medicine]
- Carousing [subsumes Gambling]
- Computer [subsumes Comms and Prospecting]
- Driving [replaces Mole, Tracked Vehicle, and Wheeled Vehicle]
- Grav Vehicles
- Gun Combat [replaces Archery, Energy Pistol, Energy Rifle, Shotgun, Slug Pistol, and Slug Rifle]
- Gunnery [replaces Bay Weapons, Heavy Weapons, Screens, Spinal Mounts, and Turret Weapons]
- Heavy Weapons
- Jack Of All Trades
- Liaison [subsumes Bribery and Broker]
- Melee Combat [replaces Natural Weapons, Bludgeoning Weapons, Piercing Weapons, and Slashing Weapons]
- Piloting [subsumes Navigation]
- Repair [replaces Electronics, Gravitics, and Mechanics]
- Science [replaces Physical Sciences, Social Sciences, and Space Sciences]
- Watercraft [replaces Motorboats, Ocean Ships, Sailing Ships, and Submarine
- Zero-G [subsumes Battle Dress]
In Cepheus Engine, the Survival skill was a cascade skill off Animals. But in Cepheus Deluxe, it’s now a separate skill and not subsumed by the CD Animals skill. To me, that makes much more sense.
In Cepheus Engine, the Recon skill was used both to spot hidden things and to hide from people trying to spot you. Cepheus Deluxe has two separate skills for that. Recon is now for spotting hidden things, but Stealth is used to hide from others. If you had Recon in CE, choose one or the other skill in CD, but not both, unless you have a level of 2 or more in which case you can split the levels between the two.
CD characters know a number of languages equal to 1 + EDU modifier (minimum 1). There is no longer a Linguistics skill. If you had Linguistics in CE, you now simply know that many more languages.
Throw out any Homeworld Skills from Cepheus Engine that are still at level 0. Refer to the Cepheus Deluxe Homeworld Skills on p. 19. You get one skill relevant to your homeworld, at level 1. For the purposes of converting existing characters, this only applies to skills you don’t already have at level 1 or greater.
Cepheus Deluxe doesn’t have Allies and Enemies in the same way that Cepheus Engine does. Instead, there are Contacts (p. 36). Normally, you start the game with a number of Contacts equal to your SOC DM, and can gain more through the course of your career.
For the purposes of converting existing CE characters to CD, just take any Allies you already have, and start calling them Contacts instead. If your number of Allies is less than your SOC DM, make up enough new Contacts to fill in the gaps.
Cepheus Deluxe bucks the old Traveller tradition of using the 3 physical characteristics for “hit points”. Instead, it has 2 other characteristics. From p. 39:
The character’s Stamina represents their toughness, and their ability to take a hit and shrug it off. Stamina is equal to the sum of character’s END Characteristic + Athletics skill. For example, a character with END 7 and Athletics 1 will have Stamina 8.
The character’s Lifeblood represents their resistance to injury. It is equal to twice their Stamina.
If the character lacks the Athletics skill, their Stamina simply equals their END score, and their Lifeblood simply equals twice their END score.
Traits are a new concept in Cepheus Deluxe, and there’s a whole chapter devoted to them, starting on p. 41.
Read the wonderful list, and choose one Trait for every two career terms you completed, with a minimum of one.
Keep your existing equipment. CD has some new equipment, and changes some details of old equipment. But for simplicity and continuity, nothing in my campaign will immediately change regarding old equipment.
Unlike Cepheus Engine, Cepheus Deluxe has an experience point (XP) system. In Cepheus Deluxe, you learn new skills (and languages and Traits) by spending XP for them.
To convert a CE PC into CD, take the number of weeks you have been studying a new skill and just use that as the number of unspent XP you have.
So, if you’ve been on a training program and have accumulated 4 weeks toward Piloting and 8 weeks toward Gun Combat, you now have 12 unspent XP. You can spend those immediately on skill advancement, or hold on to them and use them later.
By the way, don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the game uses XP now, there are levels or ranks. There aren’t. XP is simply earned for adventuring, and then spent to improve your character, one thing at a time.
Here is how I’m judging some items from These Stars Are Ours! to work with Cepheus Deluxe rules.
The Reticulan Heavy Blaster is treated as a the Cepheus Deluxe “Blaster Rifle” (page 79). Here is the description for this setting.
Reticulans equip their heavier auxiliaries – typically Cicek - with this devastating two-handed laser weapon, which provides heavy firepower and avoids the need for an external power pack. Unlike Terran infantry lasers, the Heavy Blaster is capable of automatic fire.
The Reticulan Vibro Blade is treated as a the Cepheus Deluxe “Vibro-Blade” (page 77).
The Reticulan Medical Robot “appears as a grav-propelled metal sphere with a plethora of arms and articulated tools.” In game terms, it can either operate as an automous medic with skill Medicine-2, or it can assist another medic by providing a DM+1 to Medicine rolls.
As with the original version…
The standard Reticulan multiscanner is a TL13 handheld device which combines the following detectors into a single, hand-held instrument: Magnetic Compass, Radiation Detector, Metal Detector, Inertial Locator, and Electromagnetic Probe. It also includes a wide range of medical-scientific scanners capable of basic medical investigation and examination of biological and chemical samples. The multiscanner includes its own holographic projector and wireless modem. Reticulans typically use the multiscanner in conjunction with their CompuOrb.
Interpreting the results uses Science skill. The multiscanner doesn’t give a bonus to Science skill checks - it makes them possible by replacing a variety of other tools the PC would normally need to use.
The Pocket Laboratory is a sophisticated, miniaturized, device capable of performing a wide variety of laboratory tests on-site on biological or mineral samples.
As with the multiscanner, the pocket laboratory makes it possible for PCs to use their Science skill without other tools. The multiscanner is more generally useful, which explains why it costs three times as much as the pocket laboratory.
The standard Reticulan personal computer is a small hand-held orb which projects a holographic display that can be manipulated by the user’s other hand.
In Cepheus Deluxe terms, this is a TL13 version of the OmniComp that also has the ability to understand and translate between all known languages. It gives the user DM+1 on all Computer skill checks.
These devices are forbidden in or near any United Terran Republic office, installation, or starship, due to the cybersecurity risks. Nobody fully trusts these things.