Friday, October 28, 2022

The Big CT Skill list and Book 1 Characters

One of the popular features of the “Advanced Character Generation” systems in books 4-7 was the introduction of new skills. Along with this came the controversy over ‘skill bloat’, which I have addressed elsewhere. I have nothing more to add here; I’m interested in the skills as skills.

Not all of these advanced skills are equally useful, but many of them are clearly beneficial. I got to thinking about how to work them back into Book 1 character creation. I have two ideas to present. Both result in the players having access to a wider array of potential skills, without the skill bloat.

The first is to derive the 'advanced book' skills with the skill set from Book 1, then allow players to choose: if you roll Skill X, you can take it, or substitute one of the derived skills attached to it.If you're not familiar with what a skill does, the Traveller Wiki is a good resource to explain. (Find the link under "Check out Other Traveller Sites" in the sidebar)

The second is compiling an 'alternate' Service Skills table – or a Table 5, whichever you prefer – for each of the original six services.

It would not be wise, I think, to throw open the gates and let a character in any service take any skill from the full list. That would invalidate the concept of services being distinct organizations doing specific things.

Method One: New skills as alternatives to existing skill tables

Book 1 Skill Derived skill(s) New skills available to:
    +1 Physical Athletics Any
    Administration Broker, Legal Merchants
    Bribery Trader Merchants, Other
    Computer Robotics, Communications Any
    Electronics Gravitics Any
    Engineering Naval Architect Navy, Scouts
    Gun Combat Hv. Weapons, Field Artillery Army, Marines
    Gunnery Hv. Weapons, Field Artillery Army, Marines
    Leader Instruction, Recruiting Army, Marines
    Mechanical Demolitions Army
    Pilot Ship's Boat Navy, Scouts, Marines
    Steward Carousing, Liaison Merchants
    Streetwise Carousing, Liaison Merchants, Other
    Tactics Cbt Engineering Army, Marines
    Tactics Ship or Fleet Tactics Navy, Marines
    Vacc Suit Battle Dress, Zero-G Cbt Marines, Scouts
    Vehicle Equestrian Any

There are several skills introduced in later books that don't correlate well to my mind with the Book 1 list.  These include:

     Skill                       Introduced

    Hunting                   Scouts

    Interrogation           Navy

    Prospecting             Beltstrike

    Reconnaissance      Army, Marines

    Survey                    Scouts

    Survival                  Army, Marines

    Athletics                 Cepheus Engine

Method Two: a Table 5 for Each Service


1.    Combat Engineering

2.    Field Artillery

3.    Heavy Weapons

4.    Reconnaissance

5.    Survival

6.    Instruction


1.    Survival

2.    Hunting

3.    Survey

4.    Communications

5.    Prospecting

6.    Liaison


1.    Liaison

2.    Carousing

3.    Prospecting

4.    Ship's Boat

5.    Survival

6.    Legal


1.    Legal

2.    Broker

3.    Ship Tactics

4.    Survey

5.    Survival

6.    Forgery


1.    Forward Observer

2.    Liaison

3.    Survival

4.    Ship/Fleet Tactics

5.    Naval Architect

6.    Carousing


1.    Survival

2.    Cbt Engineering

3.    Reconnaissance

4.    Field Artillery

5.    Ship’s Boat

6.    Hv Weapons

What skills do you think the Original Six should have access to?  Discuss in the comments.

Endnote/footnote: Some time ago, I acquired a .pdf called the CT Big Skill List. I want to attribute it properly, but all I can recall is that it probably came from the COTI boards. The document properties list “mcginnis” as the author. If the compiler of the document will identify himself, I will give more complete credit.

Photo credit: Pixabay

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