In this series of posts on skills, I have assumed that the given skill descriptions were suggestive, not restrictive. ‘Generally, the skill works for this, but other uses may occur to players’.
In Traveller, a PC’s skills are the primary tools for interacting with the universe. They are the first measure of a character’s power. The skill list in CT is not large, so it is only sensible for skills to have broad, not narrow, application. You don’t need a big list of skills to be a worthwhile character.
Sometimes, though, skills seem to overlap. This is one of those cases.
Streetwise and Carousing: Close but not Quite the Same
Streetwise: The individual is acquainted with the ways of local subcultures (which tend to be the same everywhere in human society), and thus is capable of dealing with strangers without alienating them. This skill is not the same as alien contact experience. Close-knit subcultures (such as some portions of the lower classes, trade groups such as workers, and the underworld) generally reject contact with strangers or unknown elements. Streetwise expertise allows contact for the purposes of obtaining information, hiring persons, purchasing or selling contraband or stolen goods, and other shady or borderline activities.
Referee: After establishing throws for various activities desired by the characters, allow streetwise as a DM. If streetwise is not used, impose a DM of -5.
I have often looked at this skill as “how to crime”. Note the underlined phrase above. Now I think of it as also being “I know a guy” and “figure out who's who”. Streetwise is the more familiar skill, coming from Book 1. Carousing was introduced in Book 5. For the most part, I’m talking today about Carousing.