Using a Vacc Suit with no skill

agroschim

Mongoose
The description of the Vacc Suit skill in the Core Rules reads: "A Traveller will rarely need to make Vacc Suit checks under ordinary circumstances – merely possessing the skill is enough." This wording suggests, that the Vacc Suit skill is required to use a vacc suit. But what exactly is the penalty of using a vacc suit without the proper skill? Anyone can don a vacc suit, right?

The skill description further prescribes a DM-2 per missing level for each skill check made wearing a vacc suit. Now, some vacc suit have a requirement of Vacc Suit 0. How much of a penalty would a user without the Vacc Suit skill suffer to their skill checks? I can think of at least three ways to resolve this. I could be no DM, since vacc suits at this TL are supposed to be second skin. It could also be DM-6, since untrained skills come with a penalty of DM-3 which could be thought of as -3 levels of the respective skill. Alternatively, the DM could be -3 for being untrained in Vacc Suit.

This gets potentially even more complicated when an unskilled user is trying to use a vacc suit with a requirement of Vacc Suit 1. However, in this case I tend to rule that the unskilled user simply cannot use the vacc suit.

Any ideas or suggestions?
 

Helpersson

Mongoose
As far as I understand it, someone with no vacc suit skill at all will have the following DMs on all their skill checks:

-2 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 0 skill
-4 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 1 skill
-6 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 2 skill

So, not too bad if they are wearing a nice comfy high tech-level civilian vacc suit (-2), but pretty dangerous if they are trying to operate powered battle armour (-6).
 

Helpersson

Mongoose
To be even more precise, that last bit should say:

-6 for powered battle armour at tech-level 13.

-4 for powered battle armour at tech-level 14.
 

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
The text on page 100 of the updated Core rulebook reads:

Some armours have a required skill. A Traveller suffers
DM-1 to all checks taken in the armour per missing
skill level. For example, a Traveller with Vacc Suit skill
0 who is in a suit that requires Vacc Suit 2 would have
DM-2 to all their checks. Not having the skill at all
inflicts the usual DM-3 unskilled penalty instead.


(Isn't the plural of 'armour' also 'armour' ? Oh never mind.) In any case it looks like the unskilled person would always have DM-3 to any sort of suit they tried on.
 

Helpersson

Mongoose
@Geir

The text on page 100 of the updated Core rulebook reads:

Some armours have a required skill. A Traveller suffers
DM-1 to all checks taken in the armour per missing
skill level. For example, a Traveller with Vacc Suit skill
0 who is in a suit that requires Vacc Suit 2 would have
DM-2 to all their checks. Not having the skill at all
inflicts the usual DM-3 unskilled penalty instead.


Hmm, that's interesting, as it seems to be contradicted by the Vacc Suit skill description on page 72 of the updated Core rulebook upon which I based my calculations:

The Vacc Suit skill allows a Traveller to wear and
operate spacesuits and environmental suits. A Traveller
will rarely need to make Vacc Suit checks under
ordinary circumstances – merely possessing the skill
is enough. If the Traveller does not have the requisite
Vacc Suit skill for the suit they are wearing, they suffer
DM-2 to all skill checks made while wearing a suit for
each missing level. This skill also permits a Traveller to
operate advanced battle armour.
I wonder if we have discovered an error in the text or am I missing something?


I do, however, think you're right about the -3, so my revised post would be:

As far as I understand it, someone with no vacc suit skill at all will have the following DMs on all their skill checks:
-3 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 0 skill
-4 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 1 skill
-6 if wearing a vacc suit that requires 2 skill
 

Condottiere

Emperor Mongoose
As I recall the reasoning, you're trying to do stuff in a bulky suit, and possibly in zero gravity. Or possibly under twice gravitational norm.

In theory, that should include any bulky suit, whether deep diving or fire resistant.

What you have is a sort of balance between the clunkiness of the suit, versus the more sophisticated articulation conferred by a higher technological level.

As to penalties, I tend to think it's also dependent on the environmental conditions, if you're not used to either the equipment, or the gravity.

The tropeic exercise is transferring an egg, while wearing the suit, from one hand to the other.
 

ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
The description of the Vacc Suit skill in the Core Rules reads: "A Traveller will rarely need to make Vacc Suit checks under ordinary circumstances – merely possessing the skill is enough." This wording suggests, that the Vacc Suit skill is required to use a vacc suit. But what exactly is the penalty of using a vacc suit without the proper skill? Anyone can don a vacc suit, right?

The skill description further prescribes a DM-2 per missing level for each skill check made wearing a vacc suit. Now, some vacc suit have a requirement of Vacc Suit 0. How much of a penalty would a user without the Vacc Suit skill suffer to their skill checks? I can think of at least three ways to resolve this. I could be no DM, since vacc suits at this TL are supposed to be second skin. It could also be DM-6, since untrained skills come with a penalty of DM-3 which could be thought of as -3 levels of the respective skill. Alternatively, the DM could be -3 for being untrained in Vacc Suit.

This gets potentially even more complicated when an unskilled user is trying to use a vacc suit with a requirement of Vacc Suit 1. However, in this case I tend to rule that the unskilled user simply cannot use the vacc suit.

Any ideas or suggestions?
I use the rule from Mongoose Traveller 1st Edition 1st Printing.
 

agroschim

Mongoose
The text on page 100 of the updated Core rulebook reads [...]

Okay, I completely missed that. But as @Helpersson has pointed out, that passage outright contradicts the description of the Vacc Suit skill.

As far as I understand it, someone with no vacc suit skill at all will have the following DMs on all their skill checks: [...]

I like the -2, -4, -6 progression a bit better to be honest since -3, -4, -6 feels a bit of. Man I wish that rule book was a bit more consistent sometimes...
 

Helpersson

Mongoose
@agroschim

Yes, the specifically written -2 rule may well overrule the more general -3 rule.

But having thought about it a bit more, I think if it ever comes up in my games I'll definitely just relax and play it on a case by case basis, erring on the side of fun and game-flow.

The armour equipment table definitely seems to imply that things get easier to use the higher tech level they are, so if the character in question is from a medium tech world (e.g TL7 ) and trying to wear a high tech vacc suit (TL13) designed for civilian use, then I'd give it a -2, and then only for really complex, difficult or quick-reaction tasks, reasoning that the vacc suit is very probably designed to be extremely user-friendly, even idiot-proof (like something from an Iain M. Banks 'Culture' novel with its own built-in computer Intellect running skills like Steward - Hi there! How can I help you today! - Vacc Suit, Navigation etc).

If the character and suit were both TL14+ then I might go even further and rule that the suit grants the character temporary Vacc Suit 0 - Suit! Get me over to that wildly spinning airlock! Sure thing, Bob. I'll even anchor you safely in place with my magnetic grapples when we get there. Hang on now, here we go!

I might save the -3 DM for Ugthakk, the recently rescued TL2 Barbarian, in that very cheap beat-up TL12 suit.

The possibilities are endless, of course, which is what makes games like Traveller such fun.
 
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ShawnDriscoll

Cosmic Mongoose
Okay, I completely missed that. But as @Helpersson has pointed out, that passage outright contradicts the description of the Vacc Suit skill.



I like the -2, -4, -6 progression a bit better to be honest since -3, -4, -6 feels a bit of. Man I wish that rule book was a bit more consistent sometimes...
Are your players going to be wearing armored suits without having skills in vacc suit? Probably not. So why are you worried about it?
 

Geir

Cosmic Mongoose
Well. I’ve got to look at this with two hats. The referee hat that says, “Okay, that’s messed up. Here’s how we’re going to do it. And... err, let me write this down so I remember it next time.” And the hat of someone who helped edit the Core update and completely missed the potential contradiction (All I have in my ‘margin notes’ about Vacc Suit is how I missed having the Zero-G and Battledress skills and wasn’t happy they were all rolled into one (with Athletics(Dex) encompassing the Zero-G as well). Not helpful, but at least I didn’t cause the problem.

So, referee hat and tea leaf reader hat: The text on page 100 seems more concerned with performing Vacc Suit skill checks, not all skill checks. And the text on page 72 refers to all other skill checks – meaning checks for skills other than vacc suit skill.
 

NOLATrav

Banded Mongoose
how I missed having the Zero-G and Battledress skills
Yeah, IMTU I’ve kept the Zero G skill as it seems like such a specialized situation. Battledress hasn’t come up yet but I imagine that someone with military training (and the requisite Vacc Suit skill) could grok it pretty easily. I’ll have to noodle a bit on civilians trying to use battledress ;)

I might save the -3 DM for Ugthakk, the recently rescued TL2 Barbarian, in that very cheap beat-up TL12 suit.
The TL differential is a valid point. More noodling…
 
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