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Wooden Ships and Iron Men—A Wet Navy Career for Classic Traveller

Editor’s Note: In our August 2011 issue, we announced a contest for a low-technology Wet Navy career, in connection with a Freelance Traveller project that we are removing from the back burner. For more information on this project, please see the article on page 30 of the downloadable magazine, or on Freelance Traveller's website. This career definition was part of the winning entry; for the Mongoose Traveller version of this career, also part of the winning entry, see the magazine article or this page on the website.

This article was originally published in the October 2011 issue, and reprinted in the March/April 2024 issue.

This career is presented for Classic Traveller, and requires an appropriate set of core rules. Unless otherwise noted, it should be assumed that all guns, whether personal or crew-served, are black-powder muzzle-loaders. In most cases, skill differences from the standard rules will be noted; where not otherwise indicated, any skill which might depend on the technology base available should be assumed to be at the TL3-TL4 level.

Wet Navy

Enlistment Automatic
Survival 7+
DM +2 if DEX 6+
Commission 9+
DM +2 if SOC 9+
Promotion 7+
Re-enlistment 3+

On Commission jump to Rank 3 but cannot be promoted to Captain before 4th term.


Acquired Skills
  Personal Development Service Skills Education Advanced Education
(only for EDU 8+)
1 +1 STR Large Ship Large Ship Medical
2 +1 DEX Gunnery Gunnery Ship Tactics
3 +1 END Recon Navigation Liaison
4 Brawling Ship’s Boat Communications Admin
5 Gambling Blade Cbt Survival Trader
6 Blade Cbt Gun Cbt Jack-of-all-Trades Instruction


Rank and Service Skills
Upon attaining the rank of Acquire this skill
Sailor Large Ship
Captain +1 SOC
Admiral +1 SOC or Fleet Tactics


Ranks and Benefits
  Rank Mustering-Out Benefits
    Material Cash
1 Sailor Low Psg 2 Months’ Wages
2 Able Seaman +1 STR 4 Months’ Wages
3 Midshipman +2 DEX 6 Months’ Wages
4 Lieutenant Blade 1 Year’s Wages
5 Captain Gun 3 Years’ Wages
6 Admiral High Passage 5 Years’ Wages
7   +2 SOC 10 Years’ Wages

Skills (where different from Classic Traveller)

Blade Combat: Character must immediately select Dagger, Blade, Sword or Cutlass.

Communications: The individual is skilled in using flags and semaphore to communicate with other vessels.

Gun Combat: Character must immediately select Musket or Pistol. Both are muzzle loading.

Gunnery: The individual is skilled in the operation of muzzle loading cannon in various weights.

Large Ship: The individual is skilled in sailing large ‘Age of Sail’ vessels.

Recon: The individual is regarded as having sharp eyesight to keep lookout watches aboard a sailing ship.

Ship’s Boat: The individual is skilled in manning an oar in a long boat.

Other skills are similar to those listed in Book 1 or subsequent books, but are limited to TL3 or less.