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Material Conditions

How many of you have run a Traveller campaign wherein the PC's were still in their respective services?

When generating the character, just start the game (for that character) during the term when the die roll declares that the character would be forced to muster out.

How do think it would affect game play and enjoyment to know that your players (f'rinstance) were all junior officers on a cruiser in the Imperial Navy?
Here's a piece of an article I'm working on for running a Traveller game wherein the characters are still in the Imperial Navy:


STANDARD MATERIAL CONDITIONS: Conditions that affect the use of closures; such as hatches, airtight doors, watertight valves, flappers, etc., under normal operation.

MATERIAL CONDITION X-RAY - Fittings or marked with an 'X' must be closed. This condition is used only when grounded at a secure Downport, as it provides the least protection, and is set when the ship is in no danger of attack. A black X is placed on all fittings which must be closed at all times and when not in actual operation.

MATERIAL CONDITION YOKE - Closures marked 'X' and 'Y' must be kept closed. This is the normal underway material condition, and represents a minimal condition of airtight integrity; set and maintained while underway (including liftoff and landing) and in any port during wartime. For peacetime cruising, YOKE may be modified during regular working hours. A black Y is placed on all fittings which must be closed for wartime cruising conditions.

MATERIAL CONDITION ZEBRA - All fittings and closures marked 'X', 'Y', and 'Z' must be closed for maximum airtight integrity. "Set Condition Zebra" is the command to close all airlock doors, airtight hatches, and fittings throughout the ship. Usually follows the call to General Quarters; provides the maximum protection for ship and personnel for battle and emergency situations; such as fire, collision, or General Quarters; and is set when entering or leaving port during wartime. A red Z is placed on all fittings which must be closed for battle or emergency conditions.

SPECIAL MATERIAL CONDITIONS AND FITTINGS: Conditions that affect the use of closures, such as airtight hatches, watertight doors, valves, flappers, electrical and electronic equipment, etc., under abnormal operation.

WILLIAM - WILLIAM fittings are marked with a black W. These fittings are kept open during all material conditions. WILLIAM fittings are secured only as necessary to control damage or CBR contamination and to make repairs to the equipment served. You will find this classification on fire pumps and spaces that are manned during conditions XRAY, YOKE, and ZEBRA.

MATERIAL CONDITION CIRCLE WILLIAM - A material condition involving ventilation fittings and machinery marked with a 'W' inside a circle, which must be secured to control the spread of smoke in a fire, in preparation for an CBR attack, when at least one compartment will soon undergo a sudden decompression, when air pressure drops below a certain level, or when a compartment has undergone an unscheduled or explosive decompression.

CIRCLE WILLIAM - Vital valves that if secured would impair the mobility and fire protection of the ship. CIRCLE WILLIAM fittings are marked with a black W inside a black circle. These fittings are normally kept open, as is the case with WILLIAM fittings. They must, however, be secured to prevent the spread of damage and as a defense measure when a CBR attack is imminent. You will find this classification on doors and hatches to the Pilot House, Flag Bridge, and S
Signal Shelter (Radio Room).

CIRCLE X-RAY and CIRCLE YOKE are indicated by a black letter within a black circle. These classifications indicate that the fittings may be opened without special permission by personnel proceeding to battle stations or as required during routine security and inspection checks. The fittings must be secured immediately after use.

CIRCLE ZEBRA - Indicated by a red ‘Z’ within a red circle. This classification indicates that the fitting may be opened with permission from the Commanding Officer for health and comfort of the crew during prolonged periods of General Quarters (such as when distributing MRE's or during 'Comfort Breaks'). However, they must be guarded for immediate closure if necessary.

DOG ZEBRA - Indicated by a red Z inside a black D. These modified fittings are secured during condition ZEBRA and darken ship conditions. You must have proper authorization to open fittings with this classification when the ship is at either condition ZEBRA or darken ship. You will find this classification on all openings to the external hull, such as airlocks and portholes, excluding those classified XRAY or YOKE that do not have a darken ship switch or a darken ship curtain. DOG ZEBRA fittings are also secured when rigging the ship for SILENT RUNNING.

SILENT RUNNING - Occurs when the ship must remain undetected. During this condition, DOG ZEBRA fittings are secured, all non-essential systems are shut down, and essential systems are run at the minimum necessary to maintain the lives of the crew. Systems to shut down include: Propulsion (the ship coasts under its own momentum), active radar, transmitters, external lighting, IFF beacons, personal electronic devices, and anything else that may reveal the ship to hostile forces. Systems to reduce to minimum include life support, lighting, and artificial gravity. Personnel movement is also kept at a minimum, except to allow passage of written messages, for necessary bodily functions, or to maintain or repair essential ship’s equipment. MRE’s are issued after 24 hours of SILENT RUNNING.

RUNNING FLATLINE - Occurs when the threat of psionic detection is imminent. “SILENT RUNNING FLATLINE” is called, and special precautions are undertaken to reduce the risk of psionic detection, such as issuance of psionic shields, confinement of personnel to a psionically-shielded compartment, activation of a ship-wide psionic shield, or mandatory sedation of all non-essential personnel.
I've always wanted to run an active service campaign.

The one I did the most work on was one where the characters were to be officers aboard an Oberlindes Lines trader.

Oberlindes is an old company operating primarily in Regina subsector in the Marches.

I had worked out the pay grades, incentives and a number of other details for the company to keep the players interested in maintaining the value of their shares and stocks as employees, among other things. Then real life split up our merry band and we never played it out.

A couple other ideas I'd had were:

1 - An active Navy service campaign with the characters as the prime players aboard a Patrol Cruiser tasked with anti-piracy duty.

2 - A virus era quarantine patrol posting, where they were to end up suspected of contamination and banished to the other side of the line.

I think you'd have to have them all in the same or related services. Probably easiest to add some gro-po's or Marines to a Navy ship so you could have a Navy/Army/Marine mix. That reminds me, I had also wanted to do an "Above and Beyond" style campaign at one time. Make the characters a bunch of misfit Marine Pilot types (a career man, an academy brat, an enforced enlistee, a volunteer, etc.) in the middle of one of the big wars (FFW likely).

The problems you might face will depend on the maturity and role playing skills of your players. Operating in a military service with rank and orders could be hard for some to play. And making them all the same rank and under the command of an NPC might be too contrived. Putting them all on a small ship with a loose command structure might work.

Not sure that helps a lot but I wish you the best with your project. I at least would be interested in the highs and lows if you play it out.
1) A starliner is hijacked by terrorists masquerading as regular passengers. Most of the terrorists and all of the bridge crew have been killed. There are several coursairs waiting for the starliner when it precipitates from jump. A pitched battle ensues when an Imperial Cruiser arrives and engages the pirates. Only the starliner remains spaceworthy, so all survivors board the starliner just before an even larger disaster threatens everyone. The starliner makes an emergency jump - a misjump, really. Now they have to make their way back home, picking up and dropping off people and cargo along the way. (ST: Voyager meets Battlestar Gallactica meets Metamorphosis Alpha)

2) An Imperial Cruiser, with a marine detachment on board (100 - 200 people), is at the farthest reaches of the Empire when the Virus hits. Should they carry on as representatives of Emperor Strephon as the last vestiges of the 3rd Imperium disintegrate, or should they carve out their own empire?

3) A starliner is refitted to accomodate a multi-generational crew of mixed services - 500 to 5000 people in all. Their mission is to establish a fall-back point for humaniti somewhere far away from any known civilizations. Most of the low berths are occupied by farm animals or political exiles.

These are off the top of my head, and are obvious rip-offs of common themes.

I was in the US Navy, and served with sailors, soldiers, and Marines. I also dealt with Coast Guard, Air Force, and MIB personel (actually, NIS & FBI). It could get interesting, or I could over-play and ruin it.

This may be for higher minds than mine.

In the old "Star Trek" RGP from FASA, I ran a campaign based on the "1st Provisional Squadron," a group of starships set up to be the "fire brigade" for the Federation. Each player had a character on each ship, plus the Squadron Staff, Intelligence team, and the embarked Marine unit. Players were not allowed to play the same job on different ships, so you'd be the Captain on one ship and the Helmsman on another.

When the squadron was together each player ran his Captain. If the adventure involved just one ship or unit, everyone ran their character from that unit. All other characters served as NPCs when not actually being played.

This format could be used for a TRAVELLER-based campaign. I'd mix things up a bit by having at least one of the ships in the squadron be a "colonial navy" ship that has an attitude problem with the "regulars," and I'd change the Tug into a civilian auxiliary, with a mostly civilian crew who've been called up for duty.

So you might have:

One Azhanti High Lightning class cruiser as the flagship.

A small destroyer as an escort (Sloan, Fer-de-lance, Chrysanthemum).

A colonial corvette/cruiser (a Kinunir would do well here).

A fleet courier or a high jump scout.

A merchant ship (Far Trader?) with a crew made up of Intelligence officers.

Another larger merchant ship (Subsidized Liner?) with crew mostly of mobilized civilians.

The Marines live on the AHL and the Kinunir. You could even have characters as fighter pilots on the AHL and do a "Space Above and Beyond" kind of adventure from time to time.

These ships serve as a "fire brigade" for the sector duke or local government, and so get sent to all the fun places. One adventure I had my "Star Trek" group do was handle running a Federation "Babel Conference" of all Federation members, onboard their ships (the Tug picked up a Starliner pod to help carry everyone). Lots of political intrigue and skullduggery, plus fanatics of all stripes. I had fun, the players were pulling their hair out.
My current campaign has the players still in their last term as scouts, and still working for the IISS in the build up, and execution of, a war.
I've run several Traveller "In Service" campaigns... mostly marines, occasional huscarles.

Whay I do it, well, I create a TO&E, have players roll for picking order, then once they get their pick, generate the character until it meets that requirement; reenlistment rolls are not made. Players desiring a more experienced character may OPT to take one extra term, no chance of promotion... but must make a renlistment roll to do so.

Benefits are NOT rolled normally!

All characters recieve a roll of 1d3 on the cash table for available cash.

All characters recieve cash payroll monthly... I use Cr200 per term for enlisted monthly pay. Officers 100 per rank + 200 per term. Special duty pay is available for certain types of action:
Bonus pay is in units of Cr100 per elligible bonus... per month.
Pay Duty is the Deputy Commander, an officer by rotation, and an NCO by rotation... plus armed guards.