|"The drive signature looks familiar - like a Suleiman-class scout . . . "|
The 'Selective' group of Offensive programs have long confused me as to how the results should be applied. I have just now noted the following text from Starter Traveller Rules booklet, page 41. It does not appear in Book 2 (1977) but it does in The Traveller Book, on page 77. I've just never noticed it before. As I have stated elsewhere, TTB is my rules book of reference for my games.
"If a Select program is being used to influence attacks, the firing player rolls one die for each hit inflicted. On a 1 or 2, he picks the hit location, specifying one of the following: Maneuver drive, Power Plant, Jump drive, fuel, hull, hold, computer or turret. If the roll is 3+ roll hit location normally."I have written before about how I see Classic Traveller starship combat as a Resource Management Game. This program is a great example of what I mean.
There are three levels of Select program available:
- Select 1: allows the choice of targets, but at a -2 to hit at all.
- Select 2: allows the choice of targets, but at a -1 to hit at all.
- Select 3: allows the choice of targets with no penalty to hit.
And Then, as if that weren't bad enough, it doesn't always work. Even on a successful hit at these reduced odds, there is still only a 1 in 3 chance that the Select program will hit where you want it to. Otherwise you roll the dice and take your chances. With S1, then, your odds of hitting what you want to hit are:
0.17 X 0.33, or 0.0561. That's 51/2% probability of getting to choose where your hit lands. You might still get lucky and hit 'that spot' but at least you hit somewhere.
The cheapest of these programs is 500,000 credits. The 'good' one costs 1,000,00 credits. Why would a group of PCs in their Type S or Type A want to spend the coin on these programs?
|Turret Two is Cleared and Hot. Engage Bogey Four!|
Because of the BIG tactical flexibility this give them. If you are being chased by pirates, don't stop and fight, run for the Jump Limit while targeting their M-drive. Get a few hits in a row, and the pirates lose the contest of acceleration. Do you want to strand someone in this system for a while? Target the fuel tanks or the Jump drive. Want to take the ship without Megacreds of damage? Target the computer & knock it out.
The Select program brings another element of role-playing into the combat. Instead of combat as a simple smash-job, what is the purpose of the encounter? What do the players want to get out of it? Pick the right tool for the job, they say. Pick the right tactical option in the fight to get you the outcome you want. The Select programs are among the easier ones to write, or have someone write for you.
Starting now, all military ships of the Talaveran Empire will come with Select-3 loaded. As a High-Tech navy, they have the computing power to spare.
By the way, have you read Michael Thompson's Big Computers No Problem post yet? A great defense of Traveller's much maligned computer rules and why they take up so much space. The Traveller Adventures Blog is listed in my perma-links to the right. Read his stuff!