Thursday, June 25, 2020

Raise Shields!

Traveller has, from time to time, taken a little gentle ribbing over the fact that it has rules for spears and swords. This is a game of science fiction adventure in the far future. Well, so what if it does? Sci-fi classics from The Time Machine to The Dumarest Saga and King David's Spaceship had characters use swords and other melee weapons.

So there should also be rules for the use of that natural companion of the sword, the shield.

Shields are the oldest defensive technology of mankind. A shield is a portable barrier, often strapped to the arm or carried by one hand. It protects the bearer against attacks from the front.

Normally you use a shield with a one-handed weapon (blade, club, handgun). If the bearer wishes, he can fit his shield with a weapon rest so that the shield supports long arms (spears, long guns). All attacks with these weapons are at DM -2.  Very high-tech shields may incorporate stabilization and anti-grav to negate this penalty. Imagine heavy weapons carried behind a gun shield!

Friday, June 5, 2020

Unskilled Weapon Users

Can you find the Unskilled fighter in this group?

I read recently a post on anther blog about the differences in fighting capability in classic D&D. A 'normal man' has less damage resistance. His to-hit numbers are higher than the PC's, and his saving throw numbers are higher as well. The post made the case for the clear superiority of the dungeon-delving adventurer. Can the same be said for Travellers?

Well, yes!

I refer to TTB, page 37.

Any character using a weapon in which he or she has no training is subject to a penalty of -5 when attacking and +3 when defending. All player characters automatically have an expertise of zero . . . in all weapons shown in this book. [I call this the Weapon Mastery advantage] This zero value is sufficient to avoid the no-expertise penalty, but it is not enough to provide a positive DM. Payer characters selecting their weapons should consider the potential benefits of their strength and dexterity levels and any DMs that might be available for those characteristics.”

The PC's Weapon Mastery advantage means a PC will never get caught at a loss owing to unfamiliar weapons. Any PC can take on ANY opponent on reasonably equal ground. A knife fight in an alley to a formal duel in the Duke's courtyard with laser pistols to open field battle. How many of us could say that?

Speaking of Weapon Master, here's one example of what it looks like. Note the way Shiu Lien's attacks change as she goes through a variety of weapons.

She uses:

  • a sword, including dual-wielding
  • a spear
  • sword-breaker hooked swords
  • a huge pole-arm (and an example of not meeting the Required Strength)
  • a massive bronze cudgel
  • a broadsword
all without breaking stride. That's Weapon Mastery.

It makes your two-term Other character seem a little more awesome, doesn't it? Fighting in a training hall, your PC could do the same.