Common Engineering Problems for Traveller Spaceships Part 1

Posted by Christopher Korczak on

By Brooks Hester

The other day I was sitting at the gaming table and I was trying to come up with some techniques to slow down my Travellers in their current campaign. Usually they reach jump speed and I have to say, “Okay, two days have passed and you emerge from jump space only two thousand miles from the orbit of the gas giant, Bovas - Delanium, with no difficulty.” I wanted them to have to do something between and during jumps from planet to planet.

In the campaign I run I have stressed to my gamers that there are two generic maintenance robots on the ship that they are crewing and that those bots can handle many routine issues. The problem arises when they need some guidance from time to time in the form of the character with the engineering skills (as well as mechanical and electronics skills). And this also includes the coder character who has sufficient computer skills to reprogram the maintenance robots.

With that in mind, I came up with twelve common engineering issues for space faring craft to enliven the travel time between star ports. Instead of rolling two six-sided die I made two separate lists which could result from further problems or provide a back up to the original list should it be needed. I typically roll once per jump (the ship they are crewing is eighty years old) and the base roll is the engineering skill of the appropriate character.

1) Astral Bearings
2) Thruster Synchronization
3) Antimatter Ionization
4) Inertial Drive Limiter
5) Shield Capacitor Damage
6) Fuel Bleed/Leakage Indication

1) Overload Chamber Fault
2) Plasma Exhaust Systems
3) Life Support Sensor Errors
4) Ionic Chain Misfire
5) Cohesive Start Interrupt
6) Hybridization Failure

After diagnosing the problem the engineer must roll against his skill to rectify the issue. With a failed roll there is the option to increase the severity of the problem or create another, offshoot problem. And since this is science fiction in the far future the characters will never know that errant Thruster Synchronization typically results in Ionic Chain Misfire. Or not.

Concluded in next installment.

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