The Ship’s Locker: Limiting Without Specifying
This article originally appeared in the October 2013 issue.
The standard ship’s locker has always been a problem in Traveller. Between the players and the referee there has been a constant tug of war as to the contents of the locker and how to quantify the items contained within it. Other than listing every item, the common method is to make a roll to see if the item is in the locker. In reality, most players and referees have no clue what a far future starship needs in the way of equipment and spare parts or the necessities of deep space flight. This system offers a method to limit the contents of the Ship’s Locker in a realistic manner, while not fully specifying the contents, nor having unavailable knowledge to do so.
Defining the Locker
The Ship’s Locker generally seems to be treated as a catch-all for miscellaneous ‘stuff’ that might come in handy. That model tends to presume that maintenance and repairs can be done without actually gaming them out, and costs are subsumed into the routine operating costs of the ship (if the campaign insists on ‘proper accounting’). Failures on repair tasks typically don’t end up imposing costs on the PCs.
Instead, this system imposes limits on the availability of tools, parts, etc., but relieves the players and referee of the need to fully define the contents of the locker, substituting instead an arbitrary measure of value, the “point”. While no specific value in currency is specified for the point, the number of points available in the locker is calculated on a per-MegaCredit-of-construction-cost basis as described below. We divide the Ship’s Locker and its points into three areas, representing different types of materials, parts, tools, etc., that may be used for maintenance or repair tasks:
- The General section should list various common items: Medical supplies, vacc-suits, weapons/ammo, and bulk items. A new ship will also contain 1 general use point per 3MCr of construction cost, but never less than 10 points. Older ships will have 1D-3 points per 10MCr remaining.
- The Utility section will contain cleaning supplies, office supplies, brick-a-brack and assorted sundries. A new ship will have 1 point per 1MCr of construction cost. Older ships will have 1D points per 10MCr remaining.
- The Repair section contains mission-critical spare parts, routine maintenance parts (lubricants, spare bulbs, filters, minor parts). A new ship will have 2 points per 1MCr of construction cost. Older ships will have 1D points per 5MCr remaining.
Space for the Ship’s Locker should be allocated in the design. Assume 1 dTon per 100 points, allocated from the ‘common’ area of the ship. Additional space (and points) may be allocated (see Optional Additional Ship’s Lockers, below); if this is done, the additional allocation should be deducted from the cargo space.
Using the Ship’s Locker
Whenever the players need to roll a repair or maintenance task, the referee should determine the difficulty of the task, and the base number of Ship’s Locker points used by the task from the table below.
|Repair DMs and Parts Costs|
|Difficulty||DM||Parts Cost||Difficulty||DM||Parts Cost|
|Light Battle Damage||+1D||parts|
|Heavy Battle Damage||+3D||parts|
|Machine Shop||+2||to Engineering Skill|
|Repair Shop||+2||to Mechanical Skill|
|Test Stand||+2||to Electrical Skill|
|Wilderness Repairs||-2||to Task DM|
|Free Space Repairs||-4||to Task DM|
To use this system, the referee will indicate the task difficulty for the action, the referee will then determine the points needed for the task from the list below, then the player will roll for task completion. The referee may indicate to the Player the estimated point cost of the action.
If the task is primarily repairing an item or system, all points used should be deducted from the Repair section of the Ship’s Locker.
If the task is primarily maintaining an item or system, at least half of the points should be deducted from the Repair section of the Ship’s Locker, and at most 1D of the remainder may be deducted from the Utility section; the exact allocation is determined by agreement between the player and referee. Performing scheduled maintenance reduces the chance of failure of the item or system when used.
If the task is an attempt to “upgrade” an item or system (trying to make it work beyond its expected limits), the points may be deducted in any combination from all three sections of the Ship’s Locker, but at least one point must be deducted from each section. The exact allocation should be determined by agreement between the player and referee.
Any other task is a “general” task, and points should be deducted first from the General section of the Ship’s Locker, then from the Utility section.
In all cases, points are deducted regardless of success or failure of the task. The point cost is doubled if the player fails the task roll by 4 or more.
Example: Bo needs to fix the inoperative fresher. He has Mechanical-1 as the relevant skill; the referee determines that the repair is only routine (DM +2). There are 33 points in the Repair section of the Ship’s Locker. The referee rolls 4 on 1D-1 for the parts cost. Bo rolls 3 on 2D for the task (target 8+), +1 (for the skill DM), +2 (for the task DM), total of 6. Bo fails to repair the fresher. The 4 points are deducted from the Repair section of the Ship’s Locker anyway, leaving 29 points. Had the referee ruled that the task was Average instead of Routine, Bo’s roll of 3, +1 for skill, +0 for the task DM, would have resulted in a failure by 4 (Bo’s total: 4; task target: 8), and the cost in parts would have doubled to 8, leaving 25 points in the Repair section of the Ship’s Locker.
Replenishing the Ship’s Locker: The General and Utility sections of the Ship’s Locker can be replenished at any starport of Class C or better, on success at a Difficult task at a Class D starport, or on success at a Formidable task at a Class E or worse starport. The cost for each point will be 400Cr+100Cr per stateroom. The Repair section may be replenished at any starport of Class C or better, with each point costing (1000×(TL of the item/system))Cr. The basic ship’s locker may be refilled to 125% of “new” capacity (round fractional points down).
Optional Additional Ship’s Lockers: The ships locker shown above is the standard locker installed on all ships. Additional lockers can be installed in a ship or specific purpose lockers can be designated. These additional lockers may be installed anywhere in a ship, but their volume should be deducted from the ship’s cargo space.
In addition to the Ship’s Lockers, expanded Repair shops can be fitted to a ship, and provide favorable DMs on repair tasks fitting their designated shop type. Only one shop of a given type may be fitted to a ship, and the benefit is halved for any ship over 2000 dTons. Shops also have Repair point values that are used and replenished normally.
|Additional Ship’s Lockers and Repair Shops|
|Type||Volume||Points||Cost to install|
|Hope Chest*||1 m3||50||100,000Cr|
|Machine Shop||2 dTons||100**||1000Cr×Total Engineering dTons|
|Repair Shop||1 dTon||50**||1000Cr×Total Engineering dTons|
|Test Stand||1 dTon||50**||2000Cr×Total Electronics dTons|
|* The Hope Chest contains miscellaneous unusual
items, parts, tools, etc., and can only be used by a character
with Jack-of-all-Trades skill. Its points are treated as any
type of point needed for a task, but the point cost for using it
is one task difficulty level higher than normal, and the item or
system has a progressively increasing chance of failure.
** These points are Repair points only.