Learn about the skills required for pilots and astrogators, as well as the consequences of misjumps in jump space travel. Discover the importance of astrogation and piloting skills for successful and safe space travel.
(Part 7 of the 11-part series, "The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller RPG")
Mongoose Traveller is a science fiction role-playing game that takes place in the far future. Players create characters and travel by starship from star system to star system as they explore the galaxy and go on adventures where they experience all the excitement and danger that space travel has to offer.
Space travel is a key aspect of the Traveller game, and characters must use a combination of their skills and knowledge of their ship’s capabilities to get from one place to another. This article will examine the different types of space travel in the Mongoose Traveller RPG. We will also discuss the skills required for each type of travel, how sensors can aid in Piloting, and how characters can enhance their ship’s capabilities to ensure a safe and successful journey to their destination.
In Mongoose Traveller, different types of space travel require different skills. These skills include Pilot, Astrogation, and Engineering. Additional skills such as Sensors can also be helpful in certain circumstances.
For long-distance travel, characters will rely on Astrogation skills. When jumping from star system to star system, characters will typically rely on Astrogation to plot a course through Jumpspace as well as Engineering (J-Drives). For short-range travel, characters will typically use their Pilot skill supplemented with Sensor skill for precise piloting.
Traveling Through Normal Space
Characters in a Traveller game will spend much time traveling from place to place in normal space. Normal space refers to the space around a solar system, as well as in interstellar space.
The job of the Pilot is to fly the ship and ensure its safe navigation from Point A to Point B. To be an effective pilot in Mongoose Traveller, characters must possess the Pilot skill, which includes the ability to control the ship’s speed, direction, and attitude. The pilot’s DEX modifier plays a critical role in determining the success of Pilot skill checks.
Some examples of instances when pilots might need to depend on their Piloting skills:
- Avoiding obstacles
- Navigating asteroid fields or nebulae
- Landing and taking off
- Flying from one place to another
- Docking with other ships or space stations
- Engaging in combat
- Mitigating damage during crash landings
Pilots must use their skills and reflexes to react quickly and make split-second decisions to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew. In addition, the Pilot’s Sensors skill can play an important role in traversing normal space by providing the Pilot with crucial information about the ship’s surroundings, including the location, speed, and direction of nearby ships and objects. The effective use of sensors can greatly aid the Pilot in navigating through normal space, avoiding danger, precisely positioning the ship, and reaching their destination safely.
Traveling Through Jump Space
Jump space travel is the primary form of faster-than-light travel in the Traveller universe. This type of travel allows characters to traverse the vastness of space and explore new worlds, participate in interstellar commerce and trade, and meet new civilizations on the edges of charted space.
It is the job of the Astrogator to calculate the Jump solution, ensuring that the ship arrives at its destination safely. To carry out their duties, Astrogators must possess knowledge of jump drives and jump space, the laws of physics, and the ability to read and interpret star charts. In Mongoose Traveller, the EDU modifier is used to augment a character’s astrogation skill. A higher EDU score increases the chances of plotting a successful jump.
Examples of some tasks performed by astrogators involving jump space travel include the following:
- Plotting courses through jump space
- Determining optimal jump entry and exit points
- Monitoring jump drive performance
- Plotting courses to distant locations in normal space
The Astrogator can coordinate with the Pilot to ensure the ship gets to its in-system destination.
The role of the Engineer in jump space travel is to initiate the jump into jump space by activating the jump drives at the proper time. The astrogator can help this by rolling well on their Astrogation skill check and passing any bonus modifiers they can generate to the Engineer for a successful jump.
Misjumps are an unfortunate consequence of jump space travel and are caused by a variety of factors, including technical malfunctions, navigation errors, using unrefined fuel, poorly maintained jump drives, and interference from other ships and celestial bodies.
The consequences of misjumps can range from minor inconveniences, such as arriving late or slightly off course, to more serious outcomes, such as permanent damage to the ship or its jump drives, or even sending the ship wildly off course by many parsecs.
Enhancing Normal Space and Jump Space Travel
There are a variety of things Engineers can do to help enhance trips through space and make them safer and quicker, with the approval of your Referee.
- Increasing the efficiency of the maneuver drives, increasing the maximum Gs the maneuver drive can output, and getting the ship to its destination that much faster
- Increasing the efficiency of jump drives, allowing the Astrogator to trim time off the trip, or hit the destination more accurately
- Increasing the range and resolution of sensors, giving the pilot a better, more accurate view of the environment outside and allowing more accurate piloting of the ship
With some creativity and imagination, players can come up with interesting ways to upgrade or trick out their ships by using ingenuity and without splurging on expensive hardware upgrades for the ship.
Fly Free, Traveller
Mongoose Traveller RPG has a rich history of providing players with a rich and detailed setting to explore, and space travel is a critical aspect of the setting. Whether it be travel through normal space or jump space, having the right skills is essential to ensuring a successful and safe journey. From the role of the Pilot in normal space to the role of the Astrogator in navigating safely through jump space, each skill plays an important part in making sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible.
Keep in mind that the use of sensors and the application of engineering skills can help enhance your travel experience, increasing speed, efficiency, and overall success on your voyage.
The importance of having the right skills for space travel cannot be overstated, as it can mean the difference between a smooth and successful journey and a dangerous and failed one. The space travel aspect of Mongoose Traveller RPG is both exciting and challenging, and players are encouraged to invest time into developing their skills to ensure their travels through the stars are as successful as possible.
Your Turn. What Do You Do?
What steps do you think a pilot should take to ensure a safe and successful journey through normal space?
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