Classic Traveller . . . has none of that. That concept is nowhere to be found. I have reviewed 35 Amber Zone adventures on this site, and I own all of the GDW Adventures and Short Adventures. None of them have any discussion in the preparation section for how many PCs should be part of the crew, or what skills or weapons the PC group should have. There's usually a pre-generated list of eight characters in the standard Traveller short form, but no indication that all of them need to be included.You've just got to be prepared for anything.
Over on the Facebook Traveller-RPG page, there was a discussion last month about this matter. A new member asked the group if there was in Traveller an analogue to D&D's challenge rating. Several posters replied that Traveller just don't work that way. I won't quote, since I don't want to take the time to ask permission, but several responders gave advice like this:
- Running away may sometimes be the PC's best option. You can and will be outnumbered or outgunned.
- In-game aspects like Tech Level and Law Level will influence how hostile NPCs are equipped, but that's an aspect of the game world, not game mechanics.
- Avoid encounters with NPCs that have fusion guns and Battle Dress.
- Learn to negotiate. Use the Reaction Table!
- Traveller PCs are not meant to be super heroes or demi-gods. They're talented and adventurous, but normal people. More Dominc Flandry and Slippery Jim DeGriz than Conan the Barbarian or Gandalf.
- Remember that NPCs should also have motivations beyond being an obstacle for the PCs.
However, the following weapons, if encountered, should be avoided:
The PGMP/FGMP series of 'high energy' weapons. The least bad of this lot will dish out 12d damage, enough to kill an average PC twice (average 42 dmg vs stats 777).
The VRF Gauss gun. This is a fully automatic hopper-fed rail gun spraying 10 round bursts. Whole squads can get mowed down in one round by this one. Duck and cover!
The Gauss rifle. One of the most popular weapons in the game. Semi or full auto, integrated electronic sights, 4D damage with autofire bonuses and an Armor DM profile to make the lowly shotgun jealous.
The LAG (light assault gun). A modern rifle in old flintlock calibers (.60+). Multiple ammo types and good range.
Laser Rifles. They've got good armor DMs, except against Reflec, and great range, and are available by TL 9. 5D damage has almost a 1 in 4 chance to kill an average PC in one shot.
The lowly shotgun. Nothing says Traveller like Shotguns in Space. Range isn't great, Armor DM's aren't great, but against weak armor a 4D blast will put you on the mat in a hurry. And they're legal just about everywhere, and so low-tech that you can find them anywhere.
Please note that with even the basic, simplified CT rules on wounding and recovery, if two stats are reduced to zero [777>bang> 070], the PC is unconscious and without Medical-3 care recovery is not possible. Auto pistols are capable of inflicting this level of damage, so treat the big guns with respect. With the advanced medical rules detailed in JTAS 11, we get the deterioration rule which ticks off additional wound points if aid is not rendered pronto. So the advice to sneak and run is well worth heeding.