RPG Thursday- Skills in Classic Traveller High Guard

Courtesy Star Wars Wiki

Classic Traveller Book 5 – High Guard (HG) is part of the Traveller RPG family, yet the Starship Combat rules are very light on using player skills. It becomes all the more surprising given author’s statement on p. 44 under Starship Combat – Individuals where he says, “The skills of individual participants in a battle may affect its outcome, and the reverse is certainly true” (HG, p. 44). The rules go on to state that skills of player characters (PCs), if sufficiently high, may have a noticeable effect on the battle. Assuming the average skill level is two, higher skills are useful in four cases in the rules as written:

  • Fleet Tactics affects initiative
  • Ships Tactics affects performance and can enhance a ship’s effective computer rating
  • Pilot/Ship’s Boat affects maneuver and again can enhance agility (HG, p. 44).

A review of Book 1 and Book 5 reveals several other skills that could have an effect on starship combat; Engineering, Gunnery, and Navigation , as well as Medical and Tactics (for the Ship’s Troops or Marines). So let’s take a new look at using skills in HG, combining a bit of plagiarism of the existing rules with some newer concepts.

Skills in High Guard – Alternate System

Skills. The skills of player characters, if sufficiently higher than average, may have a noticeable effect on the battle. The average skill level of a non-player character in their assigned job (and hence the background level of the combat system) is assumed to be two. Higher skill levels can be useful in certain  cases:

  • Battle Formation Step: The Fleet Commander with the higher Fleet Tactics skill places his ships in Battle Formation second. If both players have the same Fleet Tactics skill then both form their fleet simultaneously
  • Initiative Determination Step: The Fleet Tactics skill level of the Fleet Commander is a + modifier to the initiative die roll
  • Pre-Combat Decision Step: The skill level of a ship’s Maneuvering Drive Engineer may affects its Emergency Agility; subtract one from the Engineering skill level of the ship’s Maneuvering Drive Engineer, divide by two, and drop the fraction; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s effective agility
  • Combat Step: Skills that may affect combat are:
    • Ship’s Tactics – The skill level of a ship’s (or small craft/fighter’s) captain affects its performance; subtract one from the Ship’s Tactics skill level of the captain and divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s effective computer level (a computer Model/5 is treated as a Model/6); the computer must be working at least at level 1 for this modifier to apply
    • Pilot/Ship’s Boat – The skill level of the ship’s/craft’s/fighter’s command pilot affects its maneuver;  subtract one from the Pilot/Ship’s Boat skill level of the command pilot and divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s/craft’s/fighter’s effective agility; the agility must be at least one for this modifier to apply
    • Engineering – The skill level of the ship’s Power Plant Engineer may affect its performance; subtract one from the Engineering skill level of the ship’s Chief Power Plant Engineer and divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s effective agility; the agility must be at least one for this modifier to apply
    • Gunnery – The skill level of a battery’s Chief Gunner may affect its performance; for offensive weapons subtract one from the Gunnery skill level of the Battery Chief Gunner and divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as both a + DM Allowed To Hit and a – modifier for the Ship Damage Tables; for weapons used defensively (sandcasters, missiles or beams, and screens) the result is used as a + modifier to the effective USP  – with a maximum USP 9 – of the defending battery when the firing unit determines penetration
  • Pursuit Step:
    • Pilot/Ship’s Boat – The skill level of the command pilot affects it agility in the same manner as in the Combat Step
    • Engineering – The skill level of a PURSUING ship’s Maneuvering Drive Engineer may affects its agility; subtract one from the Engineering skill level of the ship’s Maneuvering Drive Engineer, divide by two, and drop the fraction; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s effective agility (Note that the Engineering skill for ESCAPING ships is affected in the Pre-Combat Decision Step)
    • Navigation – The skill level of the Chief Navigator may also affect the ship’s escape – subtract one from the Navigation skill of the Chief Navigator and divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as a + modifier to the ship’s effective agility; the agility must be at least one for this modifier to apply
  • Terminal Step: Several skills are applicable to actions taken during the Terminal Step:
    • Tactics – Used by Ship’s Troops or Marines during Boarding Action Resolution; subtract one from the Tactics skill level of the Ship’s Troops/Marine Commander, divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is used as a + modifier for the Boarding Action Resolution roll; at least one section of boarders (5 Marines/10 Ship’s Troops/50 Crew) must be used in the boarding action for this modifier to apply
    • Medical – The skill level of the ship’s Chief Medical Officer can be used to restore crew casualties (including Ship’s Troops or Marines); subtract one from the Medical skill of the Chief Medical Officer, divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is the number of crew sections (or 5 Marines/10 Ship’s Troops)  returned to duty after four turns; this action may used twice in battle – once to restore a crew section and once to restore 5 Marines/10 Ship’s Troops
    • Engineering – The skill level of the Chief Engineer can affect Damage Control and Repair; for each repair attempt subtract one from the Engineering skill level of the Chief Engineer, divide by two, dropping fractions; the result is a  + modifier on the repair attempt
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