Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Medical Skills for Medical Adventures

He's A doctor, yes, but . . .
He's THE Doctor!
 In Space Gamer #47, J Andrew Keith wrote "I'm a Doctor not a . . .", a rules variant about expanding the Medical skill in Traveller to cover the range of medical activity in greater detail.

I've written in other posts about my dislike for "skill bloat", but in this case I see not bloating of skills, but subdividing medical specialties to give characters distinct roles.

The 'general' Medical skill is broken down into these categories:
  • first aid
  • surgery
  • pharmacy
  • exo-medicine
  • diagnosis
  • patient care
  • and a few other specialties
Each one gets more detailed rules for how and when it is employed. Medical skill is still earned the same way in character generation. The player chooses specialties when a level of Medical skill is awarded.

I see this expansion option as not really necessary for many PC groups. If medical care is mostly post-battle recovery, then Medical skill as written covers it just fine, with or without the expanded rules from JTAS #11.

The expansion is an excellent fit with my recent post on Mercy Ships from the TAS. There, medical practice is central to the campaign, and there can be more than one PC with Medical skill. In this case it adds to the campaign; each PC can take up a specialty and face specific medical challenges. The referee can throw just about any kind of medical emergency at the players, and let them decide who's most capable of handling it.

Last time I checked, back issues of Space Gamer (which has other Traveller articles) were available from Archive.org.

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