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Mongoose Traveller Character Creation - Espionage and Stealth Skills-title

Stealth and Deception: A Guide to Espionage and Stealth Skills in Traveller RPG

Mongoose Traveller RPG characters use espionage and stealth to gather information and achieve objectives while avoiding legal repercussions in a dangerous, futuristic world.

(Part 10 of the 11-part series, "The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller RPG")

In the Mongoose Traveller RPG, espionage and stealth are vital skills for characters who operate outside of the law or who work in covert operations.  Espionage involves gathering information, while stealth involves moving undetected.  In Traveller, these skills are used in a variety of ways to achieve different objectives.

Espionage Skills

There are several espionage-related skills in Mongoose Traveller, including

  • Carouse
  • Deception
  • Investigate
  • Persuade
  • Recon
  • Stealth
  • Streetwise

These skills are used to gather information from various sources, including individuals, organizations, and even planets.  Successful use of espionage skills can reveal necessary information about enemy positions, trade routes, and potential allies.

Carousing is the art of socializing and can be used to gather information or rumors from individuals through casual conversation. A well-placed conversation could reveal important information about enemy operations, the location of ancient artifacts, or the status of political alliances. Additionally, the Carousing skill can help Travellers to build connections and gain access to places or people they wouldn't normally be able to reach.

Deception is an important skill for characters involved in espionage and covert operations. This skill allows a character to lie convincingly, perform sleight-of-hand tricks, and disguise themselves to fool onlookers. Deception is often used in underhanded ways to cheat and deceive.  Deception is useful in many scenarios in Traveller, such as convincing a guard to let a character pass without proper identification, palming a credit chit, or even disguising oneself as a wealthy noble to fool a client. These tasks require a Deception check, with varying degrees of difficulty depending on the situation.

Investigate allows characters to gather, analyze and interpret the information they need to complete their mission. This includes gathering evidence from a target's residence or analyzing surveillance footage, interrogating NPCs, and using technological and cybernetic enhancements to gain insight into a target's movements and plans. Investigate allows characters to track a target's movements through public data sources and surveillance cameras. The Investigate skill is an invaluable tool for spies and other characters involved in espionage in Traveller, as it allows them to acquire the knowledge and intelligence they need to be successful in their missions.

Persuade skill is essential for espionage in Traveller, as it allows characters to use convincing arguments and tactics to get their targets to divulge information they may not want to share.  This includes convincing NPCs to talk about their activities and plans, as well as convincing them to reveal the identities of their associates and contacts.  Persuade skill covers using bribery to influence people’s behavior through the exchange of money, goods, or status.  Persuade also allows characters to manipulate their targets into taking actions that may benefit the characters and their mission.  

Recon skill is an invaluable tool for spies and other characters involved in espionage in Traveller, as it allows characters to locate and assess targets, spot and evaluate threats, and plan and execute missions. This includes surveying a target's residence for evidence, and scouting out possible routes for infiltration and escape. Recon also allows characters to track a target's movements and plan for contingencies in case the mission goes wrong.  Recon is also used for noticing if people or things are out of place or off schedule.

Stealth is a useful skill for espionage and stealth missions because it allows characters to move undetected and avoid being seen by enemies. This can be helpful when trying to hide from enemy patrols or to sneak past security measures. It can also be used to impersonate officials or to gain access to restricted areas.

Streetwise skill is essential for espionage in Traveller, as it allows characters to blend in with the local population and to move around unnoticed. This includes gathering intelligence from locals about a target's activities and associates and using contacts to gain access to restricted information. Streetwise also allows characters to navigate the seedy underbelly of society, purchase illegal items and services, and gain access to places off-limits to most. In summary, the Streetwise skill is an invaluable tool for spies and other characters involved in espionage in Traveller, as it allows them to acquire the resources they need to be successful.

Other Useful Skills

Espionage and stealth skills are also paired with combat or other skills.  For example, a successful stealth mission to infiltrate an enemy stronghold may require combat skills to take out guards plus engineering skills to disable security systems.  In addition, espionage skills may be used in conjunction with communication skills to negotiate alliances with potential allies.  Knowing what to do if you get caught is also important, that's why Advocate skills might come in handy as well.


Keep in mind that when using espionage and stealth skills in Mongoose Traveller RPG, those actions have consequences.  If a character is caught spying or breaking into a restricted area there may be legal repercussions that can affect the entire party.  The Referee and players should weigh the consequences of getting caught versus the benefits of completing the mission.  Consider the Tech Level, Law Level, and Government Level of the setting, as some planets and organizations may have strict laws regarding espionage.

Sneak Away!

Espionage and stealth skills are important for Mongoose Traveller characters that want to work as agents, spies, or work outside the law.  These skills can be used in a variety of ways to achieve objectives even in non-espionage adventures.  Gathering information, infiltrating restricted areas, impersonating important people, bribing people to look the other way, and moving around undetected are all skills that can come in handy.  In the end, players must always be aware of the legal situation they put themselves in within the context of the game when they engage in clandestine activities.

Your Turn.  What Do You Do?

What are your favorite stealth and espionage skills for Mongoose Traveller?

Please share with us in the Comments section below.

Want More?

Enjoyed these insights on stealth and espionage? Discover more advanced techniques and in-depth advice in our booklet 'Beyond the Horizon: The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mongoose Traveller'.

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