Robert Weaver follows up this terrific post at Den of the Lizard King about Traveller skills with one of his own over at Ancient Faith in the Far Future.
In Traveller power comes from player ingenuity, and an understanding of how the Traveller universe works. Traveller does not provide the power fantasy of easily overcoming enormous obstacles and defeating large & powerful enemies.
Let’s face it. When you compare a ‘competent’ Traveller character to a character from most other RPGs, especially D&D in its later editions, the Traveller comes off looking, well, lame.
Yes, we know that my 4-term Marine with UPP 9998A8 and Cbt. Rifleman-3 is a tough hombre in a fight, but even so he can still get capped by a thug with an auto-pistol. A Barsoomian White Ape will make dinner out of him quickly, unless the PC is lucky and the player is smart…
What is to be done about this? I say: Nothing. Nothing at all. Let Classic Traveller be what it is.
Acknowledge up front that Traveller is not a video game, or an adolescent power fantasy. What it might be is an adult power fantasy. Let me explain…
Read the rest! It’s good! I like where he lands.
Robert’s view echoes my own. I believe Traveller characters are straight-forward and simple, like the conservative technology they carry into the distant worlds at the edge of civilization, in order to showcase the wonders the Referee brings to bear.
If everyone is already a superhero, then the Players have little to respond to in terms of awe when they meet something extraordinary. But if the Player Characters encounter aliens and technology that are beyond their understanding, then the creations of the Referee are puzzles and wonders to sort out. If the aliens and technology present dangers that are true threat to the Player Characters then the Players will have to work hard in clever ways to keep their characters alive.