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Old March 12th, 2019, 03:08 PM
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Saracenus Saracenus is offline
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Default Talked to Marc Miller about JOT @ GaryCon

Hey all,

So after killing 1 out of 3 characters in CharGen with Marc Miller at GaryCon XI he was gracious in taking questions from those of us at the table. My main question was about the perennial argument about how does Jack of All Trades (JOT) work in Classic Traveller (CT).

I asked what his conception of the skill was and this was the response (paraphrased, sorry I didn't turn my phone recorder as I wasn't interviewing him):

1) JOT was meant to gap fill any skills not present in the Traveller party. If there is a Scout with Pilot skill, you were not needed. If said Scout gets eaten on the planet and no one else has expertise in Pilot then you fill in with JOT. Which leads to...

2) When resolving the above Pilot throw, you have Pilot-0 so you don't get hit with any mod penalties for not being "trained" but you get the mod bonus of your JOT when making the throw (JOT-1 = +1, JOT = +2, ect.). If you get more than a +1 mod per level of expertise with a different throw, then JOT gives you +2 per skill level, +3 per skill level, etc.

3) I asked what the term "Standing" meant (as it is not defined for skills anywhere else) and that got me a great story about the process of writing the 1977 three black books. The basic answer to the question is that JOT will never allow you to get hired as if you had a skill (Pilot, Steward, etc.) See below...

How It Was Made...
Ever wonder why the original three black books were all one font size with no bold or italics? Simple, they were using old IBM ball typewriters with IBM magnetic memory cards. Each card (and card reader) were about the size of a chair. Each memory card could hold a single page.

You had to type in blind (touch type) each page. Then you would hit a button and it would print out a page. If an error appeared on the typed page, you hit another button to stop it, then back over it, make the correction to the memory card and go forward again.

If you wanted a different font, font size, bold or italic the typewriter would stop, you would have change the ball (and remember which one was supposed to be on there) let it type, then change it back or use another ball for the next thing, gawds help you if you wanted bold-italic together...

Suffice to say there where only so many editing passes you were mentally capable of making... I cannot imagine trying to write a book like this.

Thank you to Marc Miller for being so gracious in answering all of our questions and for a wonderful seminar two days later (Traveller 201).

Bryan "Saracenus" Blumklotz
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