Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stats vs. Skills

I presented one idea for using stats with equipment to modify rolls. After some pondering I realized that stats should be good for more and in fact in some situations may be far more important than skills. Some editions of Traveller use acrobatics or athletics as skills which short changes stats. Also I do not add new skills to Classic or any version of Traveller lightly. Adding more skills means you have to add more skill levels to get enough skills to function. This means players will have characters with levels concentrated in a narrow range of skill at times randomly and at times by design.

Good stats are rare in a game where aging rolls take their toll. A person who musters out after one or two terms will have little in the way of skills but might have baby fresh high stats and go on to be the heavy lifter of their party.

Classic Traveller had one rule for a roll heavily influenced by stats: Throwing Blades. Roll 18+ on 2d6 adding Dexterity + skill - target evasion. I'd include the armor modifier for the weapon as well. Rolling 18 or higher requires an 11 for an average character with 7's in their stats which is a little high to roll for things like saving your life. Since throwing a knife to hurt someone who is likely running or shooting at you, you might want to drop the target numbers for less stressful tasks. Since many referees go with the 6-8-A rule (6 for easy stuff, 8 for average stuff, 10 for hard stuff) you could set up a similar progression for stats rolls: 12-15-18 (or C-F-J for those who like hexadecimal).

WTH2O addition
Jeff Zeitlin asked how ammonia would work as an alternate fuel. Liquid ammonia would mass 9 tons for each displacement ton of hydrogen fuel replaced and contain 1.6 tons of hydrogen per displacement ton. Since ammonia freezes at -77 C it's easier to liquify and store than liquid hydrogen, a little lighter than water and unlike methane and hydrogen doesn't explode. It's also quite pungent allowing you to find leaks with the Mark 1 Schnozolla. Dealing with ammonia requires a full face mask as it will damage eyes.

Evyn MacDude was nice enough to correct me on a point of ship construction. Traveller ships in canon mass 10 tons per displacement ton. This was codified in TNE and fits MT treatments of the ships. I said from the start that I was going with lower figures for mass based on some facts I noted about missile warheads and materials fit for radiation shielding. The important thing to note is that Traveller vessels can float. A displacement ton of water masses 13.5 tons while the ship is still less dense at 10 tons per displacement ton so the the picture in the Referee's companion is spot on. Three quarters of your ship is going to be underwater though. Don't forget your maneuver drive can make your ship as buoyant as you need it to be.