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Supplement Four December 16th, 2017 11:45 AM

The Draft in the Third Imperium
I wish I had bookmarked the post. Right here on this forum Marc Miller, in talking about Classic Traveller's world creation system, described how he enjoyed looking at the results of his dice rolls and then trying to reason out how the world developed into what was indicated by the dice.

I enjoy that, too. Immensely.

Classic Traveller is replete with that sort of thing. Interpolation. LKW touches on it in his famous JTAS advice on creating new weapons for CT (where, in the article, LKW creates a laser pistol by interpolating from what is already provided in the game).

What can we surmise from the roll indicated to revive a character from low berth? The throw is 5+. You get a +1 DM if you have Medical 2+. You get a -1 DM if the character has END 6-.

What does this say? A few things.

First, it says that Low Berth technology is not that high. It's a risky business, and one would wonder why it is legal at all. But, it is legal. So, that says something about interstellar law in the Third Imperium.

Second, it says that these low berths do not require special training to operate. Anybody can do it. This is indicated by the 5+ throw that any character can make. He doesn't need any special expertise. There's no EDU bonus, so higher education makes no difference on this throw. That says to me: The process to revive a character from low berth is pretty much automated. The controls must be clearly marked. Roll 5+, and you succeed.

In fact, Medical know-how doesn't really help--another indicated that the process is automated. There might just be a big blue button that says, "Push This To Revive Person." If you've got Medical-1, which is probably about the equivalent of a nurse or an EMT, your knowledge and experience doesn't improve your chance anymore than the grease-monkey mechanic who knows nothing about medicine.

Medical-2, which I would guess is equivalent expertise to a senior critical care nurse, a physician's assistant, or a full blown doctor who has not finished his residency, does give you a significant pop to the 5+ throw. The difference in throwing 5+ and 4+ is somewhere around 9%.

What does that say? It says that a senior medical health-giver can do something to the automated controls to improve the low berther's odds of revival. But, an other Medical expertise does not provide any more benefit. A top notch brain surgeon doesn't get any more benefit by his vast Medical expertise than does the emergency room nurse.

What we can interpolate is that the low berth is (A.) mostly automated, (B.) but does have some sort of fine tuning mechanism that requires extensive medical training to use successfully.

So, now we have a big blue button, with the words, "Press This to Revive," above it. And, there is a sealed cover over some fine-tuning controls that can be accessed and used by a person with serious, Medical-2, expertise.

And, finally, we can say that a (C.) person's physical condition should be at least human average, with END 7+, in order to withstand the strain the body must go through in being lowered into suspended animation and then revived.

Plus, even with all factors of maximum benefit, the process of entering cold sleep and being revived is still quite dangerous. With a healthy low berther (END 7+) and a qualified medical technician (Medical-2), the chances of survival are 3+, or 97%.

97% sounds high, but the character is gambling with his life. Flipping the chance, it's a 3% chance of death.

Still a risky proposition.

mike wightman December 16th, 2017 11:48 AM

Daft question - where is the discussion about the draft in the Third Imperium... ;) :devil:

Have you read the facebook posts MWM made?


And by the way, I wrote the first Traveller rules with the three D&D books in front of me... to help focus on what I thought people needed to play an RPG.

I wanted Traveller to be a GURPS-ish universal; role-playing system capable of handling ANY SF, but I soon found I needed to create structures and institutions to flesh things out. I needed to create an interstellar empire to govern, and to have a Navy. Traveller sort of grew from there.
IMHO this is why CT is much more of a setting creation system than later versions would become. This is why the referee is granted the freedom to make stuff up as explicitely stated several times in LBB1-3. This is why event resolution is saving throw based and freeform.

Supplement Four December 16th, 2017 12:06 PM

That came out a little longer than I originally thought it would, because what I'm leading to is The Draft.

What does The Draft say about the Third Imperium?

There are two basic character generation systems in Classic Traveller that come in Book 1: Characters and Combat, and in Supplement 4: Citizens of the Imperium. I'm not discussing the advanced chargen methods in Book 4 and beyond, but we can add that to the discussion below, if you want.

Under Book 1, a player may attempt one, and only one, career for his character. If the character fails that enlistment throw, then the character must submit to the draft.

And--this is important for what it says about The Draft--characters are not eligible for the draft after age 18. Only 18 year-olds are drafted.

Under Supplement 4, The Draft rule is not in effect. If a player fails the enlistment throw for his first career choice, then that career is blocked. The character cannot follow that career. But, the player can then proceed to attempt another career (and although it's not implicitly stated, I take it that it is inferred that the player must choose from the other careers in Supplement 4 and not go to Book 1). I think I would allow a player, though, who failed a Supplement 4 career enlistment throw, to go to a career in Book 1 but also be subject to The Draft rule at that point.

It's obvious that the Book 1 careers are designed to create characters of that special class of people, the Travellers--those who spend their lives travelling among the stars instead of being planet-bound like most people.

With Supplement 4, it is inferred that those characters are less likely to be Travellers. Even from the first paragraph of the book, it states that this book is meant to help the Ref create NPCs and such. Though, I can think of no reason why a player couldn't use one of the Supplement 4 careers to become a Traveller. It would be harder, but not impossible, to create a Traveller-class character from a Sailor or a Barbarian. But, it'd be easy to create one from a Pirate or a Belter.

So, what does all this say about the Third Imperium?

It says that many of those who find their way among the Traveller class are people who have been drafted.

It says that most Traveller class people have military backgrounds or are merchants. A few (because enlistment is average but chance of death is high) are Scouts.

What else do you read into this?

Anything about the Imperium's policy for The Draft?

Supplement Four December 16th, 2017 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by mike wightman (Post 578721)
Daft question - where is the discussion about the draft in the Third Imperium... ;) :devil:

I was writing the second part while you were posting.


Have you read the facebook posts MWM made?
No, I hadn't read that, but I don't think it pertains to this discussion.

I'm not talking about the author's intention here. I'm talking about interpreting the dice and the systems in Classic Traveller.

Some of the interpretations could very well be un-intentional by MWM & Co.

For example, do I think they put the thought into what the rules says about the low berth above? I doubt it. But, who knows. Maybe.

mike wightman December 16th, 2017 01:27 PM

I think a lot of people interpret the draft rules as something that actually happens in the setting. In my opinion it is just an artifact of character generation in order to give players and referees another hook to find the character inside the numbers.

Does the Third Imperium have conscription or a troop levy for member worlds? Only if the referee wants it.

If a character fails to enlist in a service do they really get conscripted or does the draft just represent the drifting into a career that an awful lot of people go through (I know I drifted into the teaching profession and have now been doing it for over a quarter of a century).

You do raise an interesting point that CotI careers are not subject to a draft rule, and enlistment is just a convenient term. If CotI is used alongside LBB1 perhaps the draft should be ignored - and perhaps the Other career should be removed as an option.

(I allow CotI and all six LBB1-3 careers).

GypsyComet December 16th, 2017 01:51 PM

The Draft of CT can be viewed as an organized process, as we see in one of its inspirations (Andre Norton's first Solar Queen book, Sargasso of Space), or as representing a more diffuse set of actions taken when Plan A doesn't work out.

Getting drafted into the service you failed to enlist in? The washout scene in the movie version of Starship Troopers is just one scenario...

kilemall December 16th, 2017 02:08 PM

The thing that always threw me was the concept of being drafted into the Others, given it's clearly scurrilous civvy puke nature.

mike wightman December 16th, 2017 02:13 PM

How are you drafted into a civilian career?

If you squint you can make a case for the IISS to be paramilitary, and the big merchant lines could be considered IN auxiliaries and thus subject to the draft - does that make Other what's left if you can not get in the rest?

Or could Other also be an Imperial organisation - agents, megacorp factors, ministry of colonisation or ministry of conservation...

Supplement Four December 16th, 2017 02:22 PM


Originally Posted by kilemall (Post 578726)
The thing that always threw me was the concept of being drafted into the Others, given it's clearly scurrilous civvy puke nature.

I'd say that you weren't drafted, per se, but fell into that lot in life. It wasn't your goal, but that's where you ended up.

Again, interpolating. :)

Supplement Four December 16th, 2017 02:24 PM

The other thing about The Draft...

It's not always Imperial. If you are drafted into the Army, it's more likely the world army and not the small Imperial Army.

Navy - Yes, Imperial.

Marines - Yes, Imperial.

Scouts - different department.

Merchants - Kinda like the Other fall into this and not officially drafted.

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