New to Traveller, couple of questions

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blaster219
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New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby blaster219 » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:17 pm

I'm getting ready to run a Traveller game in the immediate future, and I have a couple of queries that I'm not entirely clear about.

Skills
I have at least one rank in a specialisation, am I assumed to have rank 0 in the skill overall? For example, if I get Engineer during character creation and take it as Engineer (J-Drive) 1, do I get Engineer 0 as far as the other specialities are concerned? I can see it working that way for something like Engineer, but then I see that Science has a metric ton of specialities, and I'm dubious that a rank in Science (Biology) should give and competence in Science (History)

Characteristics
Does damage to physical Characteristics affect their DM?

I recognise these are basic questions, is there an FAQ or something?
Being
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby Being » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:33 pm

Yes you get the other related skills at 0. The Traveller Companion addresses the Science categories in more detail. But by RAW and the Core Book you get all Science at 0.

Yes damage effects the DM associated with Characteristics.
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby Being » Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:35 pm

ottarrus
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby ottarrus » Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:43 pm

@Being is spot on with his rules read.

Some other things about skills and skill checks...
- Boons and Banes cancel each other out on a 1-for-1 basis. For example, if a player is aiming over iron sights at dusk, then the Boon for Aiming and Bane for Poor Light cancel each other out.
- Jack-of-all-Trades [or, JoT] is a GREAT skill to have, but it doesn't make you all-knowledgeable. JoT skill checks will have certain downsides that should be played out. For example, a Traveller with JoT 3 theoretically has all skills a level 0, but his task attempts take longer to do and can actually cause more problems than they fix. In a social task, he might achieve what he was trying to do, but cause offense where none was meant. In a technical task, his repair will take longer to get done and might even damage another system in process. The takeaway is that JoT should NEVER replace actual skill levels, even skill level 0.
- Don't forget the odd-ball but applicable skills that might help. For example, a Traveller has Engineering M-Drive 1 but is trying to figure out why the Life Support has a problem. He has a skill level of Eng: L/S 0 as a cascade. But he ALSO has Science: Biology 1. It's worthwhile to give him a Boon to figure out that there is a mold growing in the O2 filtration system that's causing the CO2 levels to rise.
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby Saladman » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:52 am

Answers above are correct. 1e had separate Science skills (Life, Physical, Social and Planetary), each with their own specialties, so Biology would give Genetics 0 but not History. 2e changed it.

There's a meta-game consideration around skills like Science or Seafarer of how often are they really going to come up? Pilot, Gun Combat and others are likely to come up nearly every session, so it's okay to split them up more and still expect them to come up in play. More niche skills that come up more rarely can be safely combined more, even if it fails at a simulationist level, just to be fair to the player who rolls them.

But then you need to judge your own campaign somewhat. I merge Seafarer into one skill with no specialties, not because it's realistic for sailing a yacht and piloting a submarine to use the same skill, but because it's not likely to come up more than once or twice in a game I run so what's the harm? If you expect Science skills to be useful in most sessions by all means split them up again, but most campaigns really don't need it. And you can always justify the Biologist with History 0 as being general knowledge he picked up in college or his independent studies - it's not necessary that a biologist be well read, but it's certainly plausible.
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby Saladman » Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:05 am

ottarrus wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:43 pm
For example, a Traveller with JoT 3 theoretically has all skills a level 0, but his task attempts take longer to do and can actually cause more problems than they fix.
I know what you're saying, but there's a fine distinction to be made - JoaT can offset the unskilled penalty down to 0, but read literally doesn't provide any skills at level 0. This is important if, like me, you do a lot with the language on page 55 of skilled characters not having to roll for certain routine tasks that unskilled characters do. So a JoaT 3 and a Pilot 0 character might have the same dice modifiers to a Piloting check, or the Jack might be even better with stat bonuses, but the Jack will always have to make the roll, where the Pilot will often skip the roll until he's being shot at, opposed, or otherwise working under adverse circumstances.

Then I'm not formally coming up with JoaT tasks taking longer or causing more problems than they fix, because the chance of failing the roll already bakes that in. But I suspect we're getting to similar points by a different route.
ottarrus
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby ottarrus » Fri Oct 01, 2021 12:30 pm

Saladman wrote:
Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:05 am
ottarrus wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 7:43 pm
For example, a Traveller with JoT 3 theoretically has all skills a level 0, but his task attempts take longer to do and can actually cause more problems than they fix.
Then I'm not formally coming up with JoaT tasks taking longer or causing more problems than they fix, because the chance of failing the roll already bakes that in. But I suspect we're getting to similar points by a different route.
I think you're right about that. Insofar as JoT tasks taking longer and/or possibly causing more problems later, that might be an old referee ruling from many years ago. I remember discussing this with a friend who is much more of a Traveller gearhead than I am. He gave the analogy of getting your car repaired at a trained mechanic's shop or having a friend who 'knows cars' do the work. The specific problem will be fixed, but there is an increased likelihood of delays and problems with a guy who is just a hobbyist. Anyway, that's the way I've run the JoT skill in my games and it's worked out well.

And I absolutely agree that JoT NEVER gives knowledge of a skill, it only reduces the penalty for a lack of skill. This is a key point in understanding the logic behind the skill... JoT can stop the bleeding and clear the airway, but it can't treat a disease or do brain surgery.
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby ochd » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:06 pm

Being wrote:
Thu Sep 30, 2021 4:35 pm
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KGX ... I-t58/edit

errata & some clarifications.
Wow, I'm just seeing this for the first time. Thanks for compiling and sharing that. Very helpful.

Dan.
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blaster219
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby blaster219 » Fri Oct 01, 2021 1:20 pm

Thanks for the clarification. And the FAQ/Errata doc.
Being
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Re: New to Traveller, couple of questions

Postby Being » Fri Oct 01, 2021 3:01 pm

The errata isnt my work. It is very useful.

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