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Traveller 5 Discussion of the Fifth edition of Traveller, released Spring 2013.

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Old August 19th, 2013, 01:42 PM
esampson esampson is offline
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Default Control Ergonomics

So it seems like the formula for Ergonomics is in error and not entirely complete.

The basic formula is listed as E = (F/C) - 5 with F being the number of 'squares' (half tons) assigned to the consoles and C being the number of consoles.

So first off there's an obvious contradiction. On page 327 it says that if there is a bridge on the ship then you add 2 to ergonomics. On page 348 it says that if there is no bridge then you subtract 2. I suppose this isn't literally a contradiction but if both rules are correct that would mean a bridge is actually a 4 point modifier. This one is fairly easy to HR though and just say that a bridge adds 2 and a lack of bridge is no modifier.

The part that seems incomplete is that you roll Flux + E every day and if the result is less than 0 then every console has to roll a quality check. However it isn't clear to me what happens if this roll is failed. Do the players take a wound? Does the durability of the console decrease (which is my guess, but I'm not sure). Does the ship explode? Does the ref have to come up with a mini-adventure on the spot to deal with the player pushing the wrong button?

Lastly there seems to be a less obvious error. If I have 'spacious' controls and a bridge I end up with an ergonomics of 1. That means a mishap occurs on a flux roll of -2 or less, which is about 28% of the time. Given that you roll every single day that means you can expect just under 2 mishaps on every jump. Either mishaps are rather trivial in severity (at which point why are we worrying about it?) or people are monumentally careless in space.

Now obviously ergonomics could be increased past 1 by giving each console more than 2 tons, but at 2 tons each console is already occupying a volume of 3m x 3m or roughly the size of a fairly nice office. The fact that this isn't enough space for a pilot seems odd to say the least. The fact that a pilot can do a better job if his controls are even further spaced out seems almost bizarre.

So does anyone have any insights to this? It seems to me like 2 tons per control should give an ergonomics of 3 (modified to 5 with a bridge). Just decrease ergonomics by 1 for each class down the chart? That would seem to be E = (F/C) - 1, which is the same 'slope' as the original formula but with results that seem more reasonable (cramped controls with a bridge gives an ergonomics of 2 which is a mishap of 17% or about 1 per trip).
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