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In My Traveller Universe Detail what parts of Traveller you do (or don't) use in your campaign.

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Old March 23rd, 2019, 09:56 PM
Diveguy Diveguy is offline
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Default What about the Navy?

In the spirit of my post on the Marine character path in Classic Traveller, I thought I’d take a similar look at the Navy. For purposes of discussion, I’m using LBB 1 Characters and Combat (1981 edition) only for this analysis. No High Guard, or other advanced/alternate character creation methods are part of *this* discussion. Merely seeing what conclusions someone might draw from the old material.

Let’s start with a look at the initial numbers. An Enlistment roll of 8+ with mods for high Intelligence and Education puts them at the second-hardest in game (if not tied for hardest with Marines, as the +2 for EDU is only for a 9+ stat). Survival in the Navy isn’t particularly hard however, equaling most paths at a 5+, and with an average INT getting you a +2 on that roll. Commission and Promotion we get interesting. 10+ for Commission is the highest in the game, and Social Status of 9 or better for a positive DM is again a pretty high bar. Once commissioned promotion is a little harder than average - again, EDU is a useful stat. Finally, reenlistment is relatively average - no surprises coming there.

Once we look at Skills things start to become more interesting. Personal Development is straight down the line for statistics - no combat skills or role play hints coming there. Service skills are a logical distribution of ship’s crew skills, with the only two personal combat skills (Blade and Gun) potentially showing here. Both Advanced Education tables reflect more of the same - slightly more technical skills, but also repeats of Vacc Suit, Gunnery, and Engineering showing up. Surprisingly, the automatic rank and service skills for Navy don’t even show up until Ranks 5 and 6 - and aren’t skills at all, but merely a +1 to Social Status at each level.

Finally, we have the Benefits and Cash table. Nothing particularly unusual, although skill distributions here remain focused on the INT/EDU/SOC side and not the physical. The only possible weapon roll is for a Blade. Cash is a rather similar distribution as that of most careers - there is an entry for a roll of “7”, possible only with Gambling skill, but as the 50kcr amount matches that of a roll of “6” the fact Navy characters can’t get Gambling is irrelevant.

So - now where does this put us?

The Navy is hard to get into, and even harder to advance in, unless you’re educated and well-connected. Based on these rolls the majority of Navy personnel are going to be rank 0 “crewmembers”, with no particular benefits beyond the normal skill rolls. These skills tend to be focused appropriately on the technical needs of shipboard life and combat. Interestingly, Navy characters can get Forward Observer as a skill, whereas Marine characters do not - does this imply Navy personnel are attached to Marine units for Ortillery operations? There is a shortage of personal combat skills as discussed, as well as a complete lack of any of the social/underworld skills such as Gambling, Carousing or Streetwise.

Rank and the Benefits table both reflect the other major aspect of a successful Naval career - increased Social Standing. In fact, when combined these show far more likelihood for a Navy character to move into the Nobility or similar ranks than any other career path. Cash is comparable to the other paths, so nothing stands out here.

This paints in my mind a great example of the Navy - it’s *the* military path for those of *proper* breeding to prove themselves and move ahead. Picture the British Navy of years gone by. Officers are men and women of stature and importance, and don’t sully themselves with battle beyond the occasional duel. Intelligence, Knowledge and the right family are far more important than athletic prowess. We can even extrapolate that the upper ranks would look out for each other (and promising up comers), making sure promotions and choice assignments go to the “right” candidates.

The other element this portrays is that the Navy really doesn’t “fight” much. Out of 36 possible skill results, 2 are for Gunnery, and 1 each are for Blade Combat, Gun Combat or Forward Observer. Surprisingly, Tactics isn’t even a result. So, instead of the grand space armadas battling it out motif we so often default to, we can see this Navy differently. Now perhaps we see them as primarily a transport force, providing supply and gunnery support for ground operations. Ship to ship battle still occur, but with the distances and requirements of space involved, it’s more cost-effective to focus on the nodes planets provide in order to project power.

As always, curious to hear what others think of this, and letting that shape further interpretations.
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