Thursday, August 21, 2014

Combat in a Matrix Pt. 2

In Book 4: Mercenary, Frank Chadwick and GDW introduced many of the features we have come to associate with Traveller. You had the powerful and remote government that gave zero f*cks, the mercenary unit for campaigning and many items of equipment near and dear to our hearts.

It's also the book where the combat system comes the closest to breaking in my opinion. The Gauss Rifle and various energy weapons are a little too good. Players going up against a plasma or fusion gun are in trouble, even in battledress (or an armored car.) The hit mods were just too good (especially on automatic fire.)

As I went through the book again I thought that problem was I was thinking of it in the wrong terms. Combat in Book 1 was a bit more cinematic. You could make a break for it and live if you were lucky (and had cloth armor.) Book 4 was war. You shot it out at great ranges at high tech levels. You made full use of the best armor, concealment, cover, evasion and obscurement devices or you died.

More than a hash of different systems and being rules light in various departments we know are VITAL now this was the heart of Old School: your actions had consequences. You had to learn how to bite the bear and sometimes the bear bit you.

I wrote up the following weapons I'd discussed in my previous post. With the exception of the Coil Gun none of them are as deadly as half the stuff in Mercenary. You should still use cover, concealment and obscuration wherever you can. It doesn't matter whether you take a shot from a body pistol to the head or get hit with a plasma burst. Dead is dead.

Heavy Body Pistol (900 grams loaded; Cr 520; TL 6): A semi-automatic pistol designed to be worn concealed. It fires 8 gram projectiles at a velocity of 350 to 400 meters per second. A magazine containing 15 cartridges is located in the pistol handle.

Heavy body pistol ammunition is interchangeable with the ammunition for submachineguns. A heavy body pistol can be fitted with a silencer.

Length: 200mm. Weight, unloaded: 850 grams (a loaded magazine weighs 50 grams). Base price: Cr500 (one loaded magazine: Cr10).

Heavy Body Pistol 3D
Characteristics - Length: 200 mm. Weight: 850 grams. Base Price: Cr 500.
Req. Dex 7 RDM -2 Adv. Dex 10 ADM +1
Nothing Jack Mesh Cloth Reflec Ablat. Battle
+1         +1     -2     -3       +1       -1       -6
Close     Short    Medium   Long Very Long 

+1          +2          -4            -6      no

Machine Pistol (1800 grams loaded; Cr520; TL 6): A small automatic weapon designed to fire heavy body pistol ammunition. It fires 8 gram bullets at a velocity of 350 to 400 meters per second. Magazines holding 30 cartridges are inserted into the weapon in the pistol grip. The gun fires four rounds per pull of the trigger. Machine pistol ammunition is interchangeable with body pistol ammunition. Most machine pistols are equipped with slings or holsters to allow ease of carrying. Several machine pistols are collapsible and easily carried in a pocket until unfolded and loaded with a magazine. This takes one round (two if the user is evading.) 

Length: 270mm. Weight, unloaded:1300 grams (loaded
magazine: 500 grams). Base price: Cr400 (loaded magazine: Cr20).

Machine Pistol 3D
Characteristics - Length: 270 mm. Weight: 1800 grams. Base Price: Cr 520.
Req. Dex 6 RDM -2 Adv. Dex 9 ADM +1
Nothing Jack Mesh Cloth Reflec Ablat. Battle
+4         +4     +1     -4      0         -1         -6
Close     Short    Medium   Long Very Long 

-4          +3         +1            -5       no

Heavy Submachinegun (2000 grams loaded; Cr520; TL 6): A small automatic weapon designed to fire assault rifle ammunition. It fires  6mm 5 gram bullets at velocities of 900 meters per second. Magazines holding 30 cartridges are inserted into the weapon behind the pistol grip. The gun fires four rounds per pull of the trigger. Heavy submachinegun ammunition is interchangeable with carbine or assault rifle ammunition. Most heavy submachineguns are equipped with slings to allow ease of carrying.

Length: 500mm. Weight, unloaded:1670 grams (loaded magazine: 330 grams). Base price: Cr600 (loaded magazine: Cr20).

Heavy Submachinegun 3D
Characteristics - Length: 500 mm. Weight: 2000 grams. Base Price: Cr 520.
Req. Dex 7 RDM -2 Adv. Dex 10 ADM +2
Nothing Jack Mesh Cloth Reflec Ablat. Battle
+6         +6     0       -3      +6         +2       -4
Close     Short    Medium   Long Very Long 
-4          +1         0             -4        -5

Laser Pistol (750 grams, excluding power belt; Cr 2000; TL 9): The standard high energy sidearm, firing high energy bolts in the same manner as the laser carbine. Lighter than the laser carbine, the laser pistol is capable of sustained action. A power belt  can provide 30 shots before recharging and includes a holster. The laser pistol is connected to the power pack by a heavy duty cable. Power belts are not interchangeable between the other laser weapons.

Length: 350mm. Weight of pistol: 750 grams. Weight of power belt: 1500 grams. Base price: Cr2000 (extra power packs: Cr 750). Cost of recharge, at commercial rates: Cr180. 

Accessories: the following accessory is available for laser pistols.

Power Stocks (2000 grams; Cr 1000; TL 9): It is possible to produce a shoulder stock which may be attached temporarily to a laser pistol, resulting in a crude carbine arrangement and some greater accuracy at longer ranges as well as holding power for several shots. The overall length of the pistol is increased by the length of the stock, and the pistol cannot be holstered. Attaching the stock (or detaching it) requires one combat rounds or two if the user is evading. The stock powers 20 shots and adds 350 mm to the pistols length. The stock can’t be used with standard laser carbines or rifles.

Laser Pistol 4D
Characteristics - Length: 350 mm. Weight: 750 grams. Base Price: Cr 2000.
Req. Dex 7 RDM -2 Adv. Dex 9 ADM +1
Nothing Jack Mesh Cloth Reflec Ablat. Battle
+2         +2     +1     +1       -8       -7       -6
Close     Short    Medium     Long Very Long
-2          +2          0               -1        no

Smoke grenades
Mercenary mentions smoke grenades but doesn't give rules for their use. I suggest they count as partial darkness at TL 5-7 and total darkness for TL 8-9. Electronic sights have these penalties at TL 8 or 9.