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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 November 19th, 2020, 03:20 AM
Clone95 Clone95 is offline
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Default Ranks & Rates of the Stellar Navy

I've been doing a lot of reading recently on the old-school Royal Navy in an effort to make sense of how that might translate into a non-military Alternate Traveller Universe, or even just to use with the Imperials of Traveller proper

Though based on CE's general ship crew requirements, which themselves are derived from MgT in a lot of ways, you can generally see the same crews in any ship. Without further adieu: the crew of the average exploratory ship.

Every ship has a Commander (Captain or Commander), Executive Officer (Lieutenant), and three Admin staff for vessels above a certain dTonnage. These administrative staffers are the Starmaster (akin to the 1700s Sailing Masters), the Actuary (akin to the 1700s Purser), and the Counselor (inspired by Troi of TNG fame and Chaplains of RN ships). These are the top men and women of the starship - and while they are part of three separate hierarchies aboard, they are never the less equal in the wardroom under the ship's commander.

The Commander and Lieutenant represent the top of a long line of command-track officers. To jib with the concept of 'Officer of the Deck' and with the idea that young sailors command old ones as officers and gentlemen, the command trackers are colliqually called Flight Crew and are the only people trained to 'Fly the Ship'. They interestingly do not fight the ship, though are trained in tactical maneuver. Starting out in Midshipman's School, all Flight Crew are trained aviators before they go to Astronaut Training, and by the end have a basic competence in ship maintenance, flight, navigation, and leadership skills. They almost immediately are sent to the fleet, becoming responsible for their 'First Command' - a Smallcraft, usually a Fighter, Launch, or Ship's Boat. Training to become proficient in its use and maintenance with the support of onboard robots and the Deckhands, the initial Flightcrewman learns leadership, individual initiative, and competence before being transferred up the ladder to the Bridge.

Upon the bridge, Officers of the Deck are trained in stages: starting with learning the ins and outs of navigating a ship in sublight, they begin as Helmsmen, then become Navigators managing FTL travel and also beginning their first shipboard command duties, organizing the vessel's refueling and travel across systems to complete the vessel's overall mission under the tutelage of the Starmaster and Actuary.

Once finished on their track as Navigator, each Midshipman becomes a Sensor Operator. Assisted by the ship's computer and the Lieutenant, the Flightcrewman learns how to operate spatial sensors, classify objects, and has a secondary duty of writing the ship's log at the CO's discretion. Having learned how to scan, classify, and even blueprint ships and planets, they then take their leave to a most important part of the ship: the Engineering Section.

Each ship has a certain number of Engineers per tons of drive - so each ship has a varying compliment of Engineers. On most ships they are classed in up to 3 categories, generally corresponding with the Ship's Mechanic, Ship's Programmer, and finally the Ship's Engineer. As their names suggest, the Engineer initially concerns themselves with Life Support, General Maintenance, and the various pieces of the vessel most commonly used, but least complex overall. They then transition into repairing the onboard computer systems and managing the ship's computer. Finally, they are trained in maintenance of the reactor, maneuver drive, and jump drive. These are inexact roles and often some are blended, but all are taught by the Starmaster (who is ultimately responsible for the Spaceworthiness of the ship, like the Boatswains or Sailing Masters of old).

After completing their careers as junior officers, the sailor is rated Starmaster, and therefore eligible for command examination. Once examined, if passed, they become a Lieutenant and are eligible for transfer to become the XO, and eventually CO, of a Starship. Starmasters train the rookie members of the Flight Crew and fill in where they are needed, further mastering their spacecraft.

Lieutenants and Commanders are the least changed. They are the commanders of the Starship, responsible for ensuring the completion of its mission. The differential is in the ranks of Commander and Captain - Captains are senior COs of Starships, given wide latitude in their activities and steerage of their vessels, often sent on multi-year missions. Some are given the vaunted rank of Commodore, and able to command flotillas of starships independently in the pursuit of strategic goals.

These Flight Department crewmen are but one third of a ship, though. There are many others that are part of the ship, inexorable from it and highly important in its service.

The Deck and Payload Departments are no less important. The Deck Department, headed by the Counselor, is responsible for the good order and function of the ship. In charge of the ship's medics, stewards, and scientists, the Councilor is a trained diplomat, therapist, and advisor responsible for the wellbeing of the crew - and her medical staff (headed by a Surgeon) ensure the crew's health and survival during the arduous journeys between stars. Stewards, often retained on ships of some size, work as supporting staff that ease the passage with operation of ship's galleys, cleanliness of working spaces, and often manage entertainment for the crew as well. On vessels with an integral science component, the scientists report to the Counselor and convey their needs and service to the Captain through them, or through the Sensor Operator if appropriate to the mission.

The Payload Department, headed by the Actuary, is a segregated department responsible for all cargo and payload aboard. This includes the Marines, lead by a Lieutenant of Marines or Sergeant of Marines, as well as the Gunnery department, lead by a Master Gunner, Senior Screener, and the Mates. The Mates are non-flight rated crewmen who crew the guns of a ship and screens during combat situations, but as in most warships combat is actually rather rare, Mates are not explicitly just gunmen.

Mates are a large body of utility crewmen, working in service of the ship both in battle and in peace. In combat situations they manage their weapon or hand it off to the computer, serving as emergency damage control, boarding repelling, or any number of associate tasks. While listed as 'Gunners', they are trained military spacemen, and cannot be forgotten as the main body of crewmen aboard a starship.

Just a little analytics of how crew are organized, based on the CE/MgT military crew requirements, almost in the vein of Star Trek. Officers in Trek seem ungodly experienced, capable of operating almost any station in an emergency. The Captain, Lieutenant, and Starmaster are these Trek-style super officers, extensively trained in all major positions aboard. Likewise, it accounts for that 'Ensign on the Bridge' situation seen so often, where junior officers are running many of the major positions on the bridge of a large starship.

Just some thoughts I thought I'd share with you all. Hope you enjoy!
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Old November 19th, 2020, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Clone95 View Post
These administrative staffers are the Starmaster (akin to the 1700s Sailing Masters),
Sailing Masters were not Administrative staff. They were the senior Warrant Officer and most experienced person on board in Navigation and handling the ship.
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Old November 19th, 2020, 12:07 PM
Condottiere Condottiere is offline
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It's the half way point between the amalgamation of the technical crew, with the combat company.
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Old November 19th, 2020, 06:20 PM
Clone95 Clone95 is offline
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Sailing Masters were not Administrative staff. They were the senior Warrant Officer and most experienced person on board in Navigation and handling the ship.
Masters did become Commissioned in the 1800s alongside Surgeons. They were afaik eligible for Lieutenant’s exams, and often came up as Midshipmen. In this rating system they’re more of a Second Officer or Ops Officer, sharing the traditional role of a Chief of the Boat with the Counselor.
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Old November 19th, 2020, 06:32 PM
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Masters did become Commissioned in the 1800s alongside Surgeons. They were afaik eligible for Lieutenant’s exams, and often came up as Midshipmen.
Still were not admin staff even then. Curious why you would list them as such. Did you think their duties administrative in nature?
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Old November 20th, 2020, 05:11 AM
Clone95 Clone95 is offline
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Still were not admin staff even then. Curious why you would list them as such. Did you think their duties administrative in nature?
Indeed.

From Wikipedia: “The master was responsible for fitting out the ship, and making sure they had all the sailing supplies necessary for the voyage. The master also was in charge of stowing the hold and ensuring the ship was not too weighted down to sail effectively. The master, through his subordinates, hoisted and lowered the anchor, docked and undocked the ship, and inspected the ship daily for problems with the anchors, sails, masts, ropes, or pulleys. Issues were brought to the attention of the master, who would notify the captain. The master was in charge of the entry of parts of the official log such as weather, position, and expenditures.”

In other words, they were the Managers, or Administrators, of the Seaworthiness and Sailing of the ship. Masters, even. They command the simple day to day operations of the ship at sail, and in port ensure the ship’s preparation to sale. They were indeed navigators, but were certainly not ‘Merely’ Navigators.
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Old November 20th, 2020, 11:29 AM
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From Wikipedia: “The master was responsible for fitting out the ship, and making sure they had all the sailing supplies necessary for the voyage. The master also was in charge of stowing the hold and ensuring the ship was not too weighted down to sail effectively. The master, through his subordinates, hoisted and lowered the anchor, docked and undocked the ship, and inspected the ship daily for problems with the anchors, sails, masts, ropes, or pulleys. Issues were brought to the attention of the master, who would notify the captain. The master was in charge of the entry of parts of the official log such as weather, position, and expenditures.”
In the "Master and Commander" movie, it's not entirely obvious to me which character is the Master. The Commander is obvious, but not the Master.

Mind, it probably doesn't help that the two main characters are the Commander and the Doctor.

Beside all that, however, it's a great movie. Shame they didn't do another.
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Old November 20th, 2020, 01:07 PM
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"Master and Commander" is a single post held by one person on this class of ship.
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Old November 20th, 2020, 03:22 PM
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Mentioned in The Mote in God's Eye.
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Old November 20th, 2020, 04:45 PM
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Indeed.

From Wikipedia: "SNIP"
That's your problem right there. Wiki is n't a primary source and is a really poor one for this subject for some reason. Refer instead to PRIMARY documentation from the Royal Navy. E.g. Captain Cook was originally a Sailing Master and you can read some of his writings. The Sailing master's PRIMARY job was Navigating the ship and the correct sailing of it. His assistants were the Petty Officers and Midshipmen
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