Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Athletics Skill in Cepheus Light

Here's a fun optional rule that can liven up your CL game.

At Athletics-3, characters gain the ability to use Parkour for movement around urban areas or aboard ships.

[From Wikipedia] Parkour (French) is a training discipline using movement that developed from military obstacle course training. Practitioners . . . aim to get from one point to another in a complex environment, without assistive equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, quadrupedal movement (crawling) and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation (not to be confused with freerunning). Parkour's development from military training gives it some aspects of a non-combative martial art.

Parkour is an activity that can be practiced alone or with others and is usually carried out in urban spaces, though it can be done anywhere. Parkour involves seeing one's environment in a new way, and imagining the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features.

A practitioner of Parkour is called a traceur (M) or a traceuse (F).

Some examples of common movements are:
  • Vaulting over obstacles.
  • "Precision" Jumping and landing accurately with the feet on small or narrow obstacles.
  • "Arm Jumps" Jumping and landing feet-first on a vertical surface, catching the horizontal top with the hands.
  • Using a rolling motion to help absorb impacts from larger drops.
  • Running towards a high wall and then jumping and pushing off the wall with a foot to reach the top of the wall.
  • Moving from a position hanging from a wall-top or ledge, to standing on the top or over to the other side.

Game Mechanics of Parkour in Cepheus Light
Normal movement is 9m per action. Traceurs can move 12m per action. The Charging action is now extended to 30m.

A traceur can move through crowded areas, or areas with vertical obstacles (fences, tables, railings) as if it were a clear area using Parkour movement. Other characters will be slowed/impeded by the obstacles.

Other characters must throw Athletics for each obstacle as it is encountered. Clearing each obstacle is one Action. Obstacles include things like:
  • jumping down from one flight of stairs to the one below
  • climbing up the side of a staircase instead of the steps
  • clearing fences, railings or walls
  • dodging through a crowded starport concourse
  • traversing a restaurant kitchen or dining room while running
  • crossing roadways through heavy traffic
  • moving through dense underbrush or jungle ground cover
The Referee gets to determine the difficulty of the obstacle. A six foot wide couch is not the same obstacle as a 10 foot high plank fence.

A traceuse being pursued can choose paths that are blocked by obstacles to force the pursuer into making more Athletics rolls.

A failed Athletics throw may result in an injury, and will result in the moving character losing distance. On any failed throw the character moves only one half of the normal movement allowance for that round. If the Effect is -1 or -2, take 1D-2 damage (minimum 0). If the Effect is -3, take 1D damage. If the Effect is -4 or worse, take 2D damage.

Athletics skill in Classic Traveller
While I do not favor adding in narrowly-defined skills into CT because of the problem of skill bloat, I think this one will work. It can be easily incorporated without having to alter any of the career skill tables.

Now would be a bad time to throw snake-eyes.
During character generation, any time a +1 physical characteristic is rolled, the player may choose instead to take one level of Athletics skill. This gives the player control and a choice. +1 STR means more damage resistance, while the Athletics skill will provide a boost to a variety of physical non-combat throws. 

Remember in CT, the Referee determines at what level a characteristic provides a bonus to any given task throw. CT does not have standardized DMs.

Under the Experience rules, if a player chooses the Physical Fitness route, a four-year program produces a +1 level of Athletics, provided the PC has Athletics-1 already. To gain the first level, use the standard skill development rules. A second 4-year program of Athletics makes the skill raise permanent.

In play, the Athletics skill can supply a DM to any throw for a physical activity. This supplements any DMs for having a high physical characteristic. Example:

To run along a narrow ledge: 10+, DM +Athletics, +1 if DEX is 9+

If your PC has a story of Athletic prowess to brag about, share it in the comments.

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