Sunday, July 27, 2014

Traveller Skills and Setting part 4

We all need a little savoir-faire.

"So our mission this week will take us into Zhodani space . . ."  "What?!?"
The Social skills are all about getting NPC's to cooperate, or do what the PC's want them to do. These skills are:

·         Administration
·         Bribery
·         Forgery
·         Leadership
·         Streetwise

          Traveller has no generic Charisma stat, nor a general Persuasion skill – each of the five social skills covers an particular kind of interpersonal situation. It seems reasonable for some of the Social skills to play a part in getting a favorable reaction from an NPC, beyond what the skill description states.

A side thought about Streetwise. The description of this skill mentions how sub-cultures tend to be similar wherever one goes, but I had always thought of it in terms of lower class sub-cultures. Is not the Aristocracy its own sub-culture?  So a character with high SOC and Streetwise skill can move with and influence the rich & famous.

Streetwise also shows that the different worlds in the setting at least may have a common social history, if sub-cultures on different worlds all share common characteristics. So, the worlds have some amount of cultural unity despite the distance between them. Of course there can always be interstellar states that are culturally unified within but distinct and separate from other states.

In a curious move Bribery is mentioned in the Trade & Commerce section as being useful for influencing the purchase and sale price of speculative cargo. The Merchant career, which offers Bribery skill, has pointed many Traveller players in the direction of becoming Free Traders, wandering from planet to planet, buying and selling goods.

Leadership skill can be used anywhere there are people, but the rest of the social skills presuppose organized societies. There is nothing stopping the PCs from going back and forth between those two areas, but the social skills require that civilized area exist. Otherwise, why have them? Leadership in particular is about motivating others, so it should be useful as a reaction bonus.

Social interaction is part of the setting, without specifying to what ends those skills should be employed. Two of these skills are generally illegal to employ – so an element of lawlessness exists, even in the civilized parts of the setting.The PCs can be either part of that lawlessness, or avoid it, or be actively working against it.

The outcome of every  other kind of social interaction is determined by the Reaction table in the Encounters section. In comparison with more modern games, it is a pretty simple table, requiring the Referee to interpret and translate the result. Doing police investigations, trying to get a date, running for political office or engaging in other criminal activities are left to the role playing skill of the player and the flexibility of the Referee.

This is the fourth post in the series. Posts one two and three are here, here and here.

Next up: the Vehicle skills and my Summary.

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