Let's Read “Traveller: Core Rulebook - Vehicles”

Plains, Trains, and Automobiles

By on ::          

This chapter’s for the non-spaceship vehicles of Traveller.

Movement

Traveller provides a table for Speed Bands. Each named band represents a range of speeds. Idle is 1-20 kph , Very Slow is 20-50 kph, and so forth. The rules provides details about acceleration and deceleration.

As you would expect, controlling a ground vehicle on rough terrain is more difficult and you can’t go as fast.

Airborne vehicles can only fly on worlds with Size and Atmosphere types close to their place of origin; However its harder to fly in their non-native-like environments. Aircraft can’t fly in a vacuum.

And Grav vehicles can move on any world.

Schematic

Traveller provides a card layout for each vehicle. Something that would fit on an index card. Each card has the following:

  • Tech Level - lowest availability
  • Skill - skill used to maneuver
  • Agility - DM to control checks
  • Speed (Cruise) - max speed / cruise speed
  • Range (Cruise) - maximum distance without refuelling
  • Crew - required number of crew to operate
  • Passengers - additional passengers
  • Cargo - available cargo tonnage
  • Hull - total sustainable damage
  • Shipping - space (in tonnage) required to transport on spacecraft
  • Cost - how much to purchase new
  • Armour - weapon damage reduction
  • Equipment and Traits - equipment or special rules
  • Rendering - some art

Combat

I can’t think of anytime I’ve ran non-starship vehicular combat. Yet for some reason, I’ve never been all that interested in vehicular combat. Starship combat, oh yeah. But jet fighters? Not really. Or tanks? No.

Travellers driving a vehicle must spend a minor action controlling the vehicle. Vehicles restrict firing arcs and provide cover.

We get some rules for dogfights, evasive action, manoeuvring, stunts, and weaving. Truth be told, I’m skimming this section. Much of this is about positioning for a clear shot or avoiding getting shot at.

Vehicular weapons follow much the same rules, but with some adjustments. Note to self, don’t internalize these rules, but remember they exist. If it comes up, they seem solid enough. But truth be told, you haven’t done much in the way of vehicular combat.

As we move into vehicular damage, Traveller introduces Critical Hits. When an attack has an Effect of 6 or higher and punches through armor, you score a critical hit on a random system.

As with all good critical hit systems, Traveller provides a table to consult for critical effect. It’s no Dungeon Crawl Classics nor Rolemaster, each with their robust critical hit tables.

You can repair hull damage with mechanic’s checks. Critical hits increase the difficulty of the repair checks.

Vehicular weapons pack a lot of punch (heavy damage, blasts, auto-fire, or armor piercing). The higher the tech level, the more dangerous.

Vehical Equipment

In Traveller, characters might engage in exploration. And the environments may be quite hostile. Vehicles provide shelter from the environment. As such each vehicle needs some options to deal with the environment: life support, sensors, navigation, communication, autopilot, etc.

Example Vehicles

Traveller’s Core Rulebook provides 7 example vehicles from Tech Level 8 down up to Tech Level 15.

Conclusion

This chapter took a bit to get through. It’s always hard to do a detail read of rules that you’ve rarely read. That’s not to say these aren’t good rules, I found them concise and not overly complicated.

Up next, I’ll be reading through Spacecraft Operation.