Hyphen's Combat Rules

Last Updated 8 March 2001.

These are the combat rules I am using in my personal Traveller campaign.

  1. The Basics
    1. Hit Points
    2. The Combat Pools
    3. The Task Roll
    4. Unified Range Table
    5. Weapons Tables
  2. The Combat Procedure
    1. Surprise
    2. Initiative
    3. Resolution
  3. Penetration vs Armour

1. The Basics

A. Hit Points

Calculate Life Force = STR + DEX + END.

Look up the Life Force Table to determine Hit Points:

Life Force Table
Life Force Hit Dice Hit Points   Life Force Hit Dice Hit Points
3+ 2/1 8/4   27+ 10/6 40/24
6+ 3/1 12/4   30+ 11/7 44/28
9+ 4/2 16/8   33+ 12/7 48/28
12+ 5/3 20/12   36+ 13/8 52/32
15+ 6/3 24/12   39+ 14/9 56/36
18+ 7/4 28/16   42+ 15/9 60/36
21+ 8/5 32/20   45+ 16/10 64/40
24+ 9/5 36/20  

The number before the slash is the amount of Hit Points required to render the target out of action (unconcious or inoperative); the number after the slash is the additional amount it takes to kill or destroy the target - unless they are PC's.

PC's (and selected NPC's) reduced to below zero Hit Points are not quite dead, but will continue to lose 1 HP per round until they reach a total of negative their END in Hit Points, or -10 HP, whichever is lower. They are only dead once their Hit Points reach this target number, and even then they may be revived if placed immediately into a low berth or autodoc.

Any successful first aid will halt the Hit Point loss.

B. The Combat Pools

Tactics Pool
Prior to combat commencing, add up all the Tactics skill levels from among the participants on each side. This total is the tactics pool.

Tactical points form a special "roving DM" on any combat task roll. That is, the points can be spent by any member of the group on any task. An individual must specify the number of tactics points they intend to use as a DM before making the task roll. Once a point is expended, it is used up for the combat round.

The tactics pool is received anew each combat round. Any unused tactics points at the end of a round are lost, and may not be carried over to the next round.

The maximum tactics points that can be applied to a single task roll is equal to the highest individual Tactics skill in the group.

An individual can only draw on the tactics pool if they are in communication with the rest of the group. Similarly, an individual can only contribute their Tactics skill to the pool if they are in communication with the rest of the group. A special Communication task roll may be required to simulate the instructions given to the character by their party.

Characters can hoard their personal Tactics points.

If the referee feels the tactics pool is being abused, they may impose this optional rule: the size of the tactics pool cannot be greater than the highest Leader skill in the group.

Note that character's Tactics skill levels do not actually change as a result of contributing to the tactics pool. Their skill levels remain the same, and may be used if the referee calls for specific Tactics task rolls during the encounter.

Offensive Pool
A high STR can increase the amount of damage inflicted by a hand-to-hand strike. For each STR point a character posesses, they can re-roll one damage die in their attack, using the new value instead of the old, until they have done this a number of times equal to their STR in one encounter. Each die of damage can be re-rolled any number of times. This use of STR is called a character's offensive pool.

Defensive Pool
DEX can be used to help a character avoid close attacks. For each point of DEX a character posesses, they may add one point to an opponent's Difficulty Roll against them, after the roll has been made. Once the character has spent a number of points equal to his DEX in one encounter, they cannot adjust Difficulty Rolls in this manner any longer. This use of DEX is called a character's defensive pool.

Fatigue Pool
Close combat is tiring, and characters with a high END are better able to last through protracted combat without fatigue. This is represented by the fatigue pool.

The fatigue pool operates differently to the other pools. Instead of spending points from the pool, the pool begins at zero and the character adds one point to it each time they make a hand-to-hand strike. Once the number of fatigue points equals the character's END, they suffer a +1 DM to their Difficulty Rolls for the rest of combat. If the number of fatigue points rises to twice their END, they suffer a +2 DM; when it is three times their END, they suffer -3 DM, and so on.

Surprise blows and swings do not count towards the fatigue pool. As long as the attacking character retains the element of surprise, they may make surprise blows and swings without limit in that encounter (although this is normally only one per combat round).

Special blows and swings are allowed in situations where STR and END would not be a factor, such as attacks against an unconcious target. These atacks typically require no task roll to succeed. If the referee calls for a task roll, the attack is made as a normal strike, but without adding to the fatigue pool.

C. The Task Roll

We will be using The KB3 Traveller Task System. This is a task system written by Kenneth Bearden, and uses a unique system of variable difficulty rolls.

D. Unified Range Table

Unified Range Table

Weapons Tables

E. Weapons Tables

2. The Combat Procedure

A. Surprise

Surprise is determined only once per combat encounter. Surprise is possible for either party, the element of surprise giving an advantage both in attacking and avoiding the enemy.

Surprise is determined by a Task Roll by the party that makes the first hostile move. (etc)

B. Initiative

Each round, both sides roll 1D + their tactics pool. The side with the higher number has the initiative, and selects which side goes first.

C. Resolution

Once a side has been selected, one unit from that side may take its turn. The unit may move and make an attack, and the effects take place immediately.
i. Penetration vs Armour
If Penetration >= 2 x Armour Value ==> full damage.
If Penetration >= Armour Value ==> ½ damage.
If Penetration <= Armour Value ==> 1 point per die (vs non-rigid armour), else no damage.
If Penetration <= ½ x Armour Value ==> no damage.

Here are some examples:
Actual Dmg
Weapon Pen/
Dmg Armour AV Medium Range Long Range
Revolver (9mm) 2/2 3 Cloth 5 Pen 2 < ½ x 5: no dmg Pen 1 < ½ x 5: no dmg
Snub Pistol
6/- 4 Cloth 5 Pen 6 > 5 but < 2 x 5: 2D dmg Cannot hit at this range
10/4 4 Cloth 5 Pen 10 = 2 x 5: 4D dmg Pen 10 = 2 x 5: 4D dmg
(NB: ½ dmg @ VLong)
VRF Gauss
21/4 10 B/dress 18 Pen 21 > AV 18 but not 2 x 18: 5D dmg (av. 17½ HP) Pen 21 > AV 18 but not 2 x 18: 5D dmg
FGMP-15 34/2 15 B/dress 18 Pen 34 > AV 18 but not 2 x 18: 7D dmg (av. 24½ HP) Pen 17 < AV 18 (rigid): no dmg!
An average human has a Life Force of 2D * 3 stats = 21, which gives them 32/20 HP.

10. References

The following works were used as references when creating this rule set:
  1. MILLER, Marc, Traveller Book 1: Characters and Combat, Second Edition, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1977, 1981.
  2. Author unknown, Traveller Referee Screen, Judges Guild, USA, copyright © circa 1981.
  3. CHADWICK, Frank, Striker boxed set, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1981.
  4. CHADWICK, Frank, "Archaic Missile Weapons", Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #11, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1981, pp 44-45.
  5. AOKI, Paul, "Assault Rocket Launcher", Journal of the Travellers' Aid Society #17, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1983, pp 14-15.
  6. MILLER, Marc W., ed. by FUGATE, Joe D. and THOMAS, Gary L., MegaTraveller Players' Manual, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1987.
  7. NILSEN, Dave and CHADWICK, Frank, Traveller: The New Era, Game Designer's Workshop, Bloomington, IL, USA, copyright © 1993.
  8. MILLER, Marc, Marc Miller's Traveller, Imperium Games, Lake Geneva, WI, USA, copyright © 1996.
  9. PORTER, Greg, Emperor's Arsenal (aka Marc Miller's Traveller, Book 7), Imperium Games, Lake Geneva, WI, USA, copyright © 1997.
  10. BEARDEN, Kenneth (ed. JAQUES-WATSON, David), The KB3 Traveller Task System, Beowulf Down <http://www.tip.net.au/~davidjw>, Canberra, ACT, Australia, copyright © 2001.

Filk - "The Day We Went To Boughene"

"Didn't we have a luverly time,
The day we jumped to Boughene?
Stopped at Roup for a day,
Saw Fe-ri on the way,
And all for under 10K, ya know!
And on the way back
Our ship copped some flak
As a pirate pulled in alongside her,
But we were a "Q"
So we shot right back too,
Now their craft is downed!"

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