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System 1123: A Task System for Traveller

[Editor's Note: The author indicates that this is a development of the task system formerly called KB3. KB3 has been withdrawn from Freelance Traveller at the author's request, and replaced with this article.]


I am a Classic TRAVELLER fan from an age past. The CT universe captured me over two decades ago. As I write this today, I marvel at how the game still makes me wonder at possibilities I might not otherwise consider.

TRAVELLER began as a generic set of rules--allowing people to experience what life may be like in the far future. It was designed as a means for people to share any science fiction genre or universe with friends and comrade gamers. TRAVELLER, now, is defined by its own living, breathing, dynamic universe...but the game still inspires...still provokes thoughts...ideas...customization of concepts found in popular science fiction novels, movies, and television programs.

TRAVELLER is, and always has been, a springboard for creativity.

I was ecstatic seeing the re-issue of Classic TRAVELLER to the gaming community. It feels like being reacquainted with an old friend. And the resurgence of interest in CT has nudged me to consider what the game would be like if it were modernized and outfitted with a task system--something that is so helpful to a GameMaster when running his game.

I wrestled with this thought over the last year and a half. Ideas would come to me at odd times--when my mind was idle in the shower...or driving to work. I found myself writing notes, then putting them away--then intermittently returning to my scribblings. TRAVELLER, always, would continue to beckon, pulling on my creativity, just like the addictive game always had.

The culmination of my tinkering is something I call:

SYSTEM 1123 - a game system designed for use with Classic TRAVELLER.

S1123 is a dynamic task system--one where a TRAVELLER character's skills and characteristics are more important than ever. Skills are used to define a character's success on a task roll. A character's characteristic values are used to measure his success and failure on that roll. Under S1123, both are highly important to the success of a throw--but you won't find situations were a fresh out of med-school character with EDU 11 and Medical-3 will have a higher probability of success than an experienced doctor with EDU 8 and Medical-5.

S1123 is also role-playing-focussed. It's not a blow and go--fire and forget--system. Players are pulled into the world of their characters by having to make decisions--just like their characters have to.

What I mean is, S1123 is not system where a player will say, "My character's got this skill and this stat, so I roll this." It's a method of TRAVELLER gaming where a player will look at his character's sheet and say, "I've got this skill and this stat to work with. How can I best put my character's ability to use?"

Players make choices under S1123. Like kinetic energy, S1123 gaming creates situations where too much effort is wasted, and not enough effort heralds failure.

Although S1123 is designed specifically as a task system for Classic TRAVELLER, the system is completely compatible with other CT based games: MegaTRAVELLER; Marc Miller's TRAVELLER; and home grown games based on CT.

If you like SYSTEM 1123, and you want to incorporate it into your game, then all you have to do is replace your existing task system with S1123 and continue using all of your usual mechanics normally.

I'm not comfortable with my knowledge of the TRAVELLER: THE NEW ERA game mechanics, and I've never looked at GURPS TRAVELLER or the upcoming D20 TRAVELLER. But, my guess is that SYSTEM 1123 will probably work with those systems, as long as you're willing to do a little conversion.

I've also found that S1123 is a wonderful method of combining rules from TRAVELLER supplements of different TRAVELLER versions. Using S1123 in my game has opened an entire plethora of choice from the various TRAVELLER materials that have been published.

This article explains all you need to know about S1123. If you like what you see, I encourage you to make it your own. Customize it to fit your style of play.

If you're a CT gamemaster, you may want to use S1123 only as a governing system to cover tasks not typically expressed in the CT rules. Then again, you may want to change CT combat to a S1123 task based system--like what I've done in my game.

This is TRAVELLER. Be creative.

For anyone intrigued with the notion of S1123, I will follow this article with future writings on the system: SYSTEM 1123 Personal Combat; SYSTEM 1123 Experience & Character Growth; and SYSTEM 1123 Space Combat.


Each of these characters listed here were created using a CT based character generation system. Some of the characters were created using the CT/MT standard "4 year" character generation method. With some, the CT/MT advanced "1 year" character generation method was used. And on others, the "4 year" T4 method was used.

I use these characters in the examples below. Refer to this section when you want to review a character's stats or skills. You'll probably recognize a couple of these TRAVELLER personalities.

Some definitions: When I say "skill", I'm referring to a character's skill level. When I say "stat", I'm referring to a character's characteristic value (DEX, STR, EDU, etc.).

Gvoudzon 788766 Age 38 5 terms
Infighting-1, Gunnery-2, Liason-2, Ship's Boat-1, Rifle-1, Vacc Suit-0.

Merchant Captain Alexander Jamison 779C99 Age 38 5 terms
Dagger-1, Cutlass-1, Vacc Suit-1, Pilot-2, Body Pistol-1, Submachinegun-1, Electronics-3.

Dev Landrel 6B88B6 Age 38 5 terms
Leader-1, JOT-2, Computer-1, Body Pistol-1

Frank Fornne 6A766B Age 39 5 terms
Dagger-1, Artisan-1, Combat Rifleman-3, Electronics-1, High Energy Weapons-1, Heavy Weapons-1, Gunnery-1, Swimming-1, Large Watercraft-1, Mechanics-1, Tactics-1, Intrusion-1, Pilot-1, Brawling-2, Pistol-1, Perception-2.

Daeus Jacks 88A9F3 Age 35 4 terms
Pilot-4, High G Environment-1, Grav Vehicle-1, Handgun-1, Artisan-1, Robotics-1, Computer-2, Vacc Suit-3, Rifleman-2, Mechanics-1, Zero G Environment-1, Tactics-2, Brawling-1, Engineering-1.

Too Neimerani 2C589B Age 29 3 terms
Computer-1, Ship's Boat-1, Hunting-1, Medical-5, Grav Vehicle-1, Research-1, Pistol-1, Pathology-1.

Gyr Lurkhurdaadaagige B75C57 Age 38 5 terms
Stealth-1, Auto Pistol-1, Wheeled Vehicle-1, Combat Rifleman-3, Recon-1, Ship's Boat-2, Gunnery-3, First Aid-1, Carousing-1.

Baron Vaan Praygor 555A8C Age 31 3 terms
Electronics-1, Stealth-1, Computer-1, Wheeled Vehicle-1, Laser Weapons-2, Large Blade-1, Ship's Boat-1, Engineering-1, Disguise-1, Leadership-1, Carousing-1, Vacc Suit-1, Bribery-1.


S1123 is more than a standard "pass/fail" task system because more information than simple success or failure is provided from a single S1123 throw. The result of a player's roll will show if a character succeeded or failed the task attempt, but the roll will also reveal how well the character succeeded on the task...or how badly the attempt failed.

And, under S1123, player choice influences the outcome of a roll through the decisions a player makes when applying his character's ability to a problem.

When Alexander Jamison uses his Electronics skill to fix a busted communicator, achieving the best possible quality of success may be most important to the player. If so, the player will use Alexander's Electronics skill in a way that will skew the probability that Greater Success results from the throw.

"Let's get it fixed right so we don't have to worry about it breaking again."

On the other hand, any type of success--even Marginal Success--may be paramount to the player. If this is true, the player will use Alexander's skill in a way that affords the best possible chance of success on a roll, regardless of the quality of the outcome.

"Let's just get this busted thing working so we can call for help!"

SYSTEM 1123 brings player choice to dicing for tasks, and this concept is combined with an opposed roll game mechanic.

A player will make a roll for his character when that character attempts to do something in the game (fire a shot at an enemy, open a stuck hatch door, operate the ship sensors, etc.). Once this roll is made, the GM will make an opposing roll--a roll that represents how difficult it is for the character to complete his action.

If the character's roll totals higher than the roll for difficulty, the character is successful in his attempt at the task. If the difficulty roll is higher, the task attempt fails.

This system is like a standard TRAVELLER task system in that a player must make a roll to determine his character's success in attempting a task. The difference is, under S1123, the difficulty number is not static - it's a variable number.

Players do not roll against specified target numbers. They roll against another roll. This is "rolling for higher dice".

Here are some SYSTEM 1123 definitions: A throw made to represent a character's effort to succeed in a task attempt is called a Task Throw; An opposing throw made representing difficulty that must be overcome if the task throw is to be successful is called a Difficulty Throw.

The opposing roll mechanic, simple at its heart, is the basis of SYSTEM 1123. One side dices for success. The other dices to keep that success from happening.

I found that this type of play injected a new dimension into my game. Instead of rolling versus a static number that is known by all, a new dynamic is felt across the gaming table. It is the unknown...as a player dices for his character's success, holding his breath, biting his tongue, waiting for the result of the GM's difficulty dice as they come to rest.

This back and forth dicing pumps energy into a game. It raises the excitement level. If this concept intrigues you, S1123 may do the same in your game.


When a task is thrown, dice are rolled, and under SYSTEM 1123, every Task Throw and every Difficulty Throw includes an E-Die.

The E-Die is the Event Die...the Explosion Die. It's the die that can explode your total...or implode it.

This die represents the quirkiness of life. It represents fate. The E-Die represents all of the untold factors that come into play when a character attempts an action.

Gvoudzon may have an uncontrollable nerve jerking in his right eye lid when he squeezes off a shot from his autopistol. Sweat may be stinging Alexander Jamison's eyes as he works on the busted radio. A stag may dart behind a tree and through a stream, influencing the outcome of Too Neimerani's Hunting roll. Glue may be visible on Vaan Praygor's fake mustache when he tries to pull off a Disguise attempt.

All of these types of things are represented in the Task Throw and Difficulty Throw through use of the E-Die, and the E-Die is counted normally, along with other dice in the throw, unless the E-Die results in either a "6" or a "1".

 A "6" on the E-Die means all even-numbered dice in the throw are doubled.

SPEED-PLAY TIP: Count all even-numbered dice on the throw, double that amount, then add odd-numbered dice.

A "1" on the E-Die means you remove all odd-numbered dice from the throw.

SPEED-PLAY TIP: Don't waste time with subtraction! Simply remove all odd-numbered dice from the throw, then count even numbered dice normally.

The E-Die should be differentiated from any other dice used in a throw. The E-Die could be of a different color or size, for example. In my game, I use a die with regular numbers on it (1, 2, 3, ...etc.) for the E-Die, and any other dice used in the throw are typical six-siders with "pips".


Expertise in a skill is required for any S1123 Task Throw made for a character, and every character has a number of skills not listed on his sheet.

Classic TRAVELLER allows characters Default Skills, and in SYSTEM 1123, the definition of Default Skills is expanded to include any activity the character has expertise in that does not require specialized training. All weapons listed in the Traveller Book, for instance, are considered Default Skills--every character is considered as having every weapon skill listed in the book at level 0. Under S1123, any skill a character should automatically know are also included as Default Skills.

Most characters automatically know how to climb, so Climbing-0 is a Default Skill. Any character can attempt to bribe somebody, so Bribery-0 is a Default Skill. Forging a document is a task that any character can attempt so every character is considered to have Forgery-0.

Default Skills are always Level-0 Skills.

In addition to Default Skills, S1123 brings a new type of skill to the game: Implied Skills. Whenever a character attempts a task that relies solely on natural ability (the character's stats), the character is considered to be using his Implied Skills.

When Gvoudzon drags his fallen comrade through a corridor, he's using his STR Implied Skill. When Praygor is using his status as a noble to influence a guard, he's using his SOC Implied Skill. When Dev Landrel is balancing on a beam that runs across the ceiling of a warehouse, and the GM calls for a Task Throw to determine if Dev keeps his balance, Dev will use his DEX Implied Skill.

Implied Skills have levels corresponding to the character's stats.

Refer to the chart below. Bonus Skill Options are discussed in the next section.

Bonus Skill Option
Stat Skill Options
1 0 0
2 0 1
3 0 2
4 1 0
5 1 1
6 2 0
7 2 1
8 2 2
9 3 0
10 3 1
11 4 0
12 4 1
13 4 2
14 5 0
15 6 0

Skills listed on a character's sheet are either Default Skills that have been improved above Level-0 or skills that require specialized training.

Praygor has improved his default Carousing skill above Level-0, so Carousing is written on his character sheet. A person must learn how to swim before he can swim (specialized training), so Frank Fornne has Swimming-1 on his sheet. Gvoudzon has received basic training in the operation of a vacuum suit, so Vacc Suit-0 is written on his sheet. Etc.

It is not necessary to write Implied Skills on a character's sheet. All that need be done is compare the character's stat with the chart above, then perform the Task Throw as if the character were using a skill of that level.

Some skills (especially if you use skill definitions from both T4 and MT, like I do) provide expertise in other skills. On my home grown SYSTEM 1123 character sheets, I provide a space next to each skill for notes. In that area, I will write if a skill "serves as" another skill.

In my game, having Navigation (or Astrogation) skill is the same as having the Sensor Ops (or Sensors) skill. In the notes blank for a character's Navigation skill, I will write "Sensor Ops". Likewise, if a character has the Pilot skill, I will write "Ship's Boat-M1" in the notes section for that skill, denoting that the character's Pilot skill serves as the Ship's Boat skill at one level lower (M1 stands for "minus one").

Again, skills are required when a Task Throw is made for a character, but a character can draw on expertise from a number of skills--skills both recorded and not recorded on the character's sheet. Between Default Skills, Implied Skills, the skills a character gained through character generation and skill improvement, and the various "serves as" skills that are associated with the skills the character already has, Classic TRAVELLER characters have an entire body of expertise to draw upon in order to make a Task Throw under the S1123 game system.

When the skill used is Level-0, just the E-Die is thrown. But when a skill is Level-1 or higher, a player must make choices in how best to apply his character's ability to the problem the player is dicing to overcome.

What choices are available to the player are covered in the next section.


Skills ranked at Level-1 or above provide players with choice--choice in how best to influence the outcome of a Task Throw by applying the character's expertise to the situation. Increased experience in a skill provides a player with more options on a task...higher skill level provides a player with more choice.

  1. Increase Task Throw Dice.
  2. Increase Task Governor.
  3. Reduce Difficulty Throw.
  4. Mixed Option.

SO1 allows players to throw an extra die for every level of skill the character has.

When Too Neimerani makes a Medical roll, Too's player can throw up to 6D if he chooses (1D per all 5 levels of Medical skill plus the E-Die). When Gyr attempts to sneak down a corridor, his player can make a Stealth Task Roll using a maximum of 2D (Skill-1 plus the E-Die).

SO2 allows players to increase Task Governors.

A Task Governor is a character's stat, used to measure the quality of a Task Throw. Task Governors are described in a later section of this article, but it is important to know here that a character's skill level can be used to increase a Task Governor, making it more likely that Greater Success will be thrown on the Task Throw.

SO3 allows players to use skill levels as DMs that reduce the Difficulty Throw.

When Gyr fires his gauss rifle, his player may decide to only roll the E-Die on the Task Throw and apply a -3 DM (Gyr's skill level) to the Difficulty Throw being made to bar the success of his shot.

SO4 allows players to mix and match the first three options.

When Daeus Jacks makes a piloting attempt governed by his EDU, his player may decide to use one skill point to reduce the Difficulty Throw, another skill point to increase Daeus' Task Governor, and the remaining 2 points to increase the number of dice rolled on the Task Throw. The end result would be a 3D Task Throw (E-Die plus two skill points), governed by EDU 16 (EDU F plus on skill point), against a Difficulty Throw using a -1 DM (the remaining point of Pilot skill).

Note that the E-Die is always thrown on a Task Throw, even if all skill points are used on options other than SO1.

In the previous section, you saw a listing for bonus Options used with Implied Skills. Bonus Options are bonus Skill Options, barring SO1. So, when Dev Landrel uses his Implied DEX Skill to maintain balance on a warehouse rafter, he does so as if he were using a Level-4 skill (DEX B equates to Skill-4). All Skill Options are open to Dev's player on this Task Throw.

But if Too Neimerani were right behind Dev on that rafter, Too would also make the roll to balance himself on the beam using his Level-4 Implied DEX Skill--but Too's player is allowed a bonus Skill Option, and this option can be used as any Skill Option except SO1.

Too's player may decide that it is real important for Too to stay on that beam, so he uses all skill points for extra dice on the Task Throw (under option SO1). That will afford him 5D on the throw (4 points of skill plus the E-Die). But the bonus Option cannot be used to add dice to the throw, so Too's player uses the bonus point to imposed a -1 DM on the Difficulty Throw. Too's final Task Throw will be 4D vs. the Difficulty Throw handicapped by a -1 DM.


SYSTEM 1123 uses opposed throws. Task Throws are made vs. a Difficulty Throw. The Difficulty Throw is made by either throwing dice indicated on the Difficulty Table--or the Difficulty Throw is determined by the skill of an opposing character.

Dice Difficulty Static Roll
1D Easy 3
2D Average 7
3D Difficult 11
4D Formidable 15
5D Staggering 19
6D Impossible 23

If Daeus is going to make a Difficult Computer roll, his player will pick Computer Skill Options to throw against 3D. If the GM says that Gvoudzon can steer himself across a vacuum plain using an Easy Vacc Suit roll, then the roll will be 1D vs. 1D (since Gvoudzon has no Skill Options with a skill of Vacc Suit-0).

I've included static difficulty numbers in the table above because there are a few instances in a S1123 game where you might want to use them. But let me urge you, though, to keep the use of static numbers to a minimum when using SYSTEM 1123.

Static target numbers rob the system of most of its charm. The dynamics of the system are hindered. The E-Die is factored out of the Difficulty Throw. And, when you use the static target numbers with players, everyone at the table knows what exact number must be hit--which allows players to make consistent superior choices of Skill Options, certainly removing the excitement and mystery of the system.

Think of static target numbers as pre-packaged, standardized, regurgitated, pre-rolled and averaged Difficulty Throws--which is, basically, what they are--that suck the life out of the dynamic S1123 game system.

Note that the static target numbers ARE the exact ones used in the MegaTRAVELLER game. This is both by design and statistically sound (for all practical purposes).

When you use static target numbers in your game, simply use the static number in place of a result from a Difficulty Throw.

If the GM rules that, in order for Praygor to climb over a pile of bricks without slipping, a success must be achieved on an Easy DEX roll, then Praygor's player will throw a Task Throw using Praygor's Level-1 Implied DEX Skill against a total of 3. Note that the difficulty number of 3 can be reduced through the use of Skill Options, just like a Difficulty Throw.

I wouldn't use static numbers in the Praygor example I just described. It's a situation that would be better suited to standard S1123 opposed rolls.

But, I will give you an example of when you might want to use static numbers in your game. I would almost never use static numbers with the players, but I would use statics when I have to roll against myself as a GM making throws behind the scenes. This is a situation where rolling two sets of dice is simply too much work for little gain.

Let's say that Frank and Too (PCs) are sitting at a starport bar, having a drink. Dev (an NPC run by the GM) is sitting close to them, eavesdropping on their conversation.

Frank flips out his comm and contacts Gvoudzon, who's still in the hangar, inviting the Vargr to come join them at the bar.

Dev is trying to get his hands on Gvoudzon's brooch, and Dev is working with Alexander Jamison. When Dev overhears Frank's message to Gvoudzon to come to the bar, Dev flips out his own comm, contacts Alexander, and tells the merchant Captain to be on the look out for the Vargr as Gvoudzon makes his way to the bar.

Gvoudzon passes Alexander outside in the crowded street. The GM decides that there is a chance that Jamison missed sighting the Vargr among all the people. He decides to give his NPC an Average INT roll to to pick the Vargr out of the crowd.

Jamison's INT provides a Level-4 Implied INT Skill. The GM will pick Skill Options and roll vs. a difficulty total of 7. The GM may decide to use one or more of his skill points to reduce the difficulty total lower than 7.

Static difficulties are played the same way as normal Difficulty Throws--except the Difficulty Throw is already thrown.

I'm going to give you one more example of when a static target number might be appropriate in a S1123 game, but keep in mind that static target numbers should be used sparingly.

In this next example, notice how "perception" and "recognize" skill throws are devised. This will give you a good idea of the dynamics of SYSTEM 1123 and show you how to manipulate the system to best effect in your game.

Frank, Gvoudzon, and Too walk into an alien construction on a planet. The construction is ancient and made out of stone blocks. It contains a symbol, carved in the stone near the construction's ceiling. The GM knows that the characters may recognize the symbol if they happen to notice it. But, the symbol is covered with vines of vegetation. There is a good chance the characters will not automatically see the carving when they enter the construction's front door.

Because of this, the GM decides to give each character a Difficult perception check. If this check is successful, the GM will state that the character (who made the check) notices the carving on the ceiling behind the vines of vegetation, and, having made the perception check, will be allowed a chance to recognize the symbol by throwing a recognition check.

The GM decides that the perception check will be made by averaging a character's DEX and INT stats, and that score will be the character's "perception"--an Implied Skill.

As the characters enter the construction, the GM calls for blanket perception throws. The GM could roll the difficulty of the throw now behind his screen. This is what I would do. But, static target numbers could also be used.

All the players make their rolls, and those that are successful against the difficulty total (whether arrived at from a GM Difficulty Throw or a static number) are allowed to throw for recognition of the symbol they see.

A "recognition" roll, the GM decides, is thrown using an EDU Implied Skill.

To recap, Difficulty Throws are made by either throwing dice corresponding to a difficulty level on the Difficulty Chart, or by using a static difficulty number.

A third way that Difficulty Throws are generated is by using a skill throw made for an opposing character. If Frank draws Gvoudzon into a fist fight, Frank will make his Task Throw to hit Gvoudzon using his Brawling skill while Gvoudzon will defend himself using his Infighting skill.

Skill Option 1 is the only skill option allowed when skills are used as Difficulty Throws.

So, in that fist fight between Frank and Gvoudzon, Gvoudzon's player (or the GM if Gvoudzon is an NPC) can only throw 2D when he defends himself from Frank's Brawling attack (that's Gvoudzon's Infighting-1 plus the E-Die). Frank's player, on the other hand, can use any of the four Skill Options when making his attack.

When Gvoudzon gets his turn, things will be switched. Gvoudzon's player will have a choice of Skill Options when making his Infighting attack throw, and it will be mandatory that Frank's player throw 3D when dicing Frank's defending Difficulty Throw.

A last point to make about Difficulty Throws: DMs (Die Modifiers) applied to any task are ALWAYS applied to the Difficulty Throw--never the Task Throw.

Beneficial DMs will reduce the Difficulty Throw. Handicapping DMs will increase the Difficulty Throw.

So, if Gvoudzon decides he will use his snout to sniff the air to detect the smell of recent gunfire in an area, the GM may allow a beneficial -2 DM on the throw because of the Vargr's heightened sense. The GM decides this is a Difficult INT roll, so Gvoudzon's player will make an INT Implied Skill roll vs. 3D -2.

All DMs are always applied to the Difficulty, not the Task roll. Always. Always.


Task Governors bring a character's stats into play. Stats are used to measure the quality of a roll, and in this capacity, stats are referred to as Task Governors.

A Task Governor determines how well a Task Throw succeeds, or how badly the attempt fails.

When a Task Throw is made, a Task Governor is chosen. The Task Governor on a particular throw is the most appropriate stat, deemed by the GM, to govern a given activity. Skills are not always governed by the same Task Governor--it depends on what type of activity the task is being used for.

If Gyr is firing his gauss rifle at an enemy, Gyr's DEX is his appropriate Task Governor. But, if Gyr is making a Task Throw to evaluate the condition of a weapon found buried in an abandoned mine shaft, then a throw using Gyr's Combat Rifleman skill is thrown, this time governed by Gyr's EDU.

Likewise, when Daeus typically makes a piloting roll, Daeus' EDU is used as the Task Governor. But, when a deft hand is needed at the joystick--when Daeus is performing a docking maneuver with a derelict vessel--Daeus' DEX is used to govern the roll.

When a Task Throw is made, the total of the roll is compared to the Task Governor. The closer the roll is to the Task Governor, the better the outcome of the roll.

A Task Throw succeeds when the task total is higher than the Difficulty Throw.

Successful Task Throws result in:

GREATER SUCCESS occurs on a Task Throw when the result of a successful roll is less than or equal to the Task Governor. regular SUCCESS occurs on a Task Throw when the result of a successful roll is less than or equal to twice the Task Governor. MARGINAL SUCCESS occurs on a Task Throw when the result of a successful roll is more than twice the Task Governor.

Continuing the examples above: If Gyr fires his gauss rifle at an enemy, he will hit his target if the result of the attack Task Throw is greater than the Difficulty Throw. If this roll is successful, Gyr will obtain GS if his throw is 7 or less. He will obtain rS if his throw results in a number between 8 and 14. And, Gyr will achieve MS if his throw is 15 or higher.

Greater Success indicates that the result of the Task Throw is somehow "greater than normal". The GM should decide what this in-game effect is. In my game, I typically give players a choice: an extra die of damage; a move made on the S1123 hit location chart; or randomly applied damaged on the target's stats.

In a non-combat situation, Greater Success means that some other beneficial perk came out of the task attempt. Maybe the task took half as long to do, if time is important. Maybe an important piece of information is obtained when speaking with an NPC (GMs can use this method to steer characters along with the plot).

And, I typically allow my players to get creative with GS effects (which really keeps the game fun)--I temper their choices by reminding them I will respond in kind when their characters roll Greater Failure.

regular Success is a normal result of a Task Throw. RS does not change the quality of a typical action.

Marginal Success means that the character "barely" succeeded in his attempted action. In a combat situation, this could mean that their attack--although it hit the target--hit a more heavily armored area, reducing damage by one die.

In a non-combat situation, Marginal Success could mean that the time to do the task is doubled even though the task is successful (when time is important to the PC's). MS might mean that an alarm was tripped even though the lock was picked--or that the GM may withhold information an NPC is giving them, relating only about half of what a Regular Success would give them.

A Task Throw fails when it is equal to or less than the Difficulty Throw.

Task Throws that are failures result in:

MARGINAL FAILURE occurs when an unsuccessful Task Throw exactly equals the Difficulty Throw. regular FAILURE occurs when an unsuccessful Task Throw is greater than or equal to the Difficulty Throw minus the Task Governor. GREATER FAILURE occurs when an unsuccessful Task Throw is less than the Difficulty Throw minus the Task Governor.

Continuing the Gyr example: When Gyr examines the rifle he found in the abandoned mine, the GM calls for an Average Combat Rifleman throw governed by EDU. The GM throws 2D for difficulty, getting a total of 10.

If Gyr's throw is exactly 10, Gyr would have thrown MF. If Gyr's roll is less than 10 but at least 5, Gyr would have thrown rF. And, if Gyr's throw is less than 5, he will have thrown GF.

The Marginal Failure result is not typically used in my games. It's a rare occurrence when a MF result shows up anyway. You may want to benefit the player in some small way if a MF is rolled--maybe by allowing him a free re-try of a skill roll that he would normally only get one crack at.

regular Failure is just plain old failure. Like regular Success, it doesn't change the quality of a result.

Greater Failure indicates that not only did the character fail at the task, but he failed in such a way that it handicapped him more than normal. Maybe the character's weapon jammed while firing it. Maybe the lock he was picking sent a silent alarm to the 50-man cadre of troops down the hall. Maybe the character stripped the threads of a screw on a plate that allows access to the broken drive.

Note: With any of these "results", let your imagination run wild at the outcome. It's a ROLE-PLAYING GAME! Have fun with it!

Two other categories of success and failure are used in the SYSTEM 1123 game: Automatic Success and Automatic Failure.

AUTOMATIC SUCCESS occurs when the Difficulty Throw results in 0 or less (maybe due to the E-Die; maybe due to modifiers), and the Task Throw results in a total of 1 or better.

Note that if the Difficulty Throw results in 0 due to the effect of the E-Die, all Difficulty Throw modifiers are ignored (DMs cannot turn an Automatic Success into any other result).

AUTOMATIC FAILURE occurs when the result of the Task Throw is 0 or less--which can happen with the E-Die in play.

When Implied Skills are used, typically the same stat is used as the Task Governor. But, this is another area where the S1123 game system is flexible.

If Gvoudzon is attempting to drag his fallen shipmate down a corridor, then a Task Throw using Gvoudzon's Implied STR Skill may be appropriate, governed by STR.

But, if Gvoudzon is attempting to drag his fallen shipmate into a narrow access way between two scalding boilers, then a Task Throw using Gvoudzon's Implied STR Skill governed by DEX may be more appropriate.


If you've read through this article this far, you've probably realized that S1123 is not a "higher is better" or "lower is better" game system. It's what I call a "sweet spot" system, where not enough is too little and too much is overkill.

The object of every Task Throw is to roll a result that is both higher than the Difficulty Throw but as close to the Task Governor as possible. As the result of the Task Throw strays from the Task Governor, the quality of the task attempt weakens.

On very difficult tasks, Greater Success may not even be possible. On very easy tasks, not rolling Greater Success may be the exception.

Characters with high stats will throw Greater Success more often...and characters with low stats will obtain Marginal Success regularly.

It is in these ways that SYSTEM 1123 rewards characters with high skill/stats and penalizes characters with low skill/stats.

Gauging Success

Probability of Success Number of Dice Relative to Opposing Roll
50% Even Dice
70% 1D Advantage
80% 2D Advantage
90% 3D Advantage

I stated in this article's introduction that SYSTEM 1123 is akin to kinetic energy. What I am referring to is the fact that bullets fired from slug throwers have a tendency to "punch through" their targets, wasting extra energy. I'm talking about a point of diminishing returns--that there is a threshold where effort is less beneficial, even wasted.

S1123 embraces this idea. Players must allocate their character's resources--implementing their character's best ability--to achieve superior Task Throws. This concept is expressed mathematically on the table above.

The Gauging Success table shows the advantage gained on a Task Throw when more dice are thrown. A 3D vs. 2D set of throws--or a 6D vs. 5D set of throws--provides the side of higher dice with a 70% chance of success. If Daeus uses his Computer skill against an Average task (and Daeus only uses Skill Option 1), then Daeus has an 80% chance of success on the throw.

Note that, the higher the dice advantage, the lower the increase in probability. This is the "wasted effort" concept at work.

I have provided the table to provide players with information they can use when choosing Skill Options for their Task Throws.


Phil Kitching has analyzed SYSTEM 1123 probabilities...for those of you who like to look at the numbers.

These probability tables do include the effect of the E-Die, but it would take pages of data to analyze every variation of Skill Option. These probabilities assume Skill Option 1.

Table of S1123 Probabilities against static target numbers.

Task Difficulty Skill Level
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Easy 66.7% 88.9% 93.1% 95.8% 97.6% 98.6% 99.2% 99.6% 99.8%
Average 16.7% 55.6% 81.5% 89.1% 92.5% 94.9% 96.7% 97.9% 98.7%
Difficult 16.7% 19.4% 50.5% 76.0% 86.0% 90.0% 92.5% 94.5% 96.1%
Formidable 0.0% 13.9% 20.8% 46.3% 70.7% 82.8% 87.6% 90.3% 92.4%
Staggering 0.0% 5.6% 13.0% 21.5% 43.0% 66.2% 79.6% 85.5% 88.4%
Impossible 0.0% 2.8% 8.3% 13.6% 21.6% 40.5% 62.2% 76.6% 83.5%

So, as you can see, Alexander Jamison's skill with a submachinegun gives him: a 93.1% chance of success on static Easy tasks; a 81.5% chance on static Average task; a 50.5% chance on Difficult shots; a 20.8% chance on Formidable attacks; a 13% chance on Staggering tasks; and an 8.3% chance on Impossible tasks.

Table of S1123 probabilities against random target numbers.

Task Difficulty Skill Level
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Easy 58.3% 76.9% 85.4% 92.2% 95.7% 97.3% 98.2% 98.8% 99.2%
Average 28.2% 54.1% 72.1% 81.6% 87.7% 91.8% 94.6% 96.3% 97.4%
Difficult 18.1% 33.0% 53.0% 68.9% 78.5% 84.4% 88.7% 91.9% 94.3%
Formidable 10.3% 21.5% 35.6% 52.5% 66.7% 75.9% 81.8% 86.0% 89.4%
Staggering 5.8% 14.5% 24.4% 37.3% 52.2% 65.0% 73.9% 79.7% 83.8%
Impossible 3.7% 9.8% 17.6% 26.8% 38.7% 52.0% 63.7% 72.1% 77.8%

And on this table, you can see that Daeus Jacks has: a 95.7% chance of succeeding Easy Piloting rolls; an 87.7% chance of succeeding Average Piloting rolls; a 78.5% chance of making Difficult Piloting rolls; a 66.7% chance of achieving success on Formidable throws; a 52.2% chance of making a Staggering skill roll; and a 38.7% chance of tackling an Impossible skill roll.


One question that arises with this system of random Difficulty Throws, is whether the player should be told what the Difficulty Level is.

This is a decision I will leave up to the GM, but I will say, in my game, if a character can reasonably gauge the difficulty of a task ("How hard does it look to climb that cliff?"), I will tell the player what the Difficulty Level is--Easy, Average, Difficult, etc.

If the character cannot gauge the difficulty ("I wonder what kind of defense that guy over there would put up if I hit him in the face?"), then I will refuse to give the player any indication of difficulty.

He'll have to learn the hard way.


Many CT GMs have adopted the CT method of dicing for mishaps (it's MT's method of incorporating fumbles into the MT game system). If a fumble table is something you like to use in your game, I am providing this extended MT Mishap table, slightly modified for use with SYSTEM 1123.

2D Roll Mishap Quality
2 Reroll
3-6 Superficial: Apply 1D damage to device, vehicle, or character.
7-10 Minor: Apply 2D damage to device, vehicle, or character.
11-14 Major: Apply 3D damage to device, vehicle, or character.
15-18 Destroyed: Apply 4D damage to device, vehicle, or character.
19-22 Disintegrated: Apply 5D damage to device, vehicle, or character.
23+ Obliterated: Apply 6D damage to device, vehicle, or character.

You may want to stipulate that any Greater Failure, or any Automatic Failure, is a fumble, and a Mishap must be rolled to determine results.


Expertise in the Jack-o-Trades skill allows a character use of any skill at Level-0. Additional JOT levels allow the player to use Skill Options on JOT rolls, just like any other skill--except that Skill Option 1 is barred from use with the JOT skill.


This is an example of gaming using SYSTEM 1123. I'm going to actually roll dice as I write. You'll see the game session unfold as I run through the scenario.

When I list individual die results below, I will always list the E-Die first so that you know which result appeared on it. So, when you see:

PLAYER rolls 3D: 5-6-1

You will know that a "5" appeared on the E-Die, and the other two dice were "6" and "1".

Also note that I'm using a S1123 Personal Combat system (that will be detailed in a later article). If you're using S1123 in your game, you may want to use a task-based combat system like this for your CT game.

But, if you like CT combat just the way it is, you can keep the CT "8+ throw with modifiers" system of combat and just use S1123 to cover the other tasks that your characters do.

There are two main concepts I am trying to illustrate with this extended example of S1123 play.

(1) I want you to see how the system flows in a real-game situation. I want you to get a feel of the exciting action, dicing back and forth. And, I want you to see how quickly a round can be played--and how fun this system can be!

I have found that my players have become addicted to the way they can change what their characters roll. They feel like they have more control over their character's fate. They feel like they are living in their character's shoes.

(2) Also, note how S1123 is flexible. There are several situations included below where the GM has to come up with a roll on the fly. This is what S1123 was designed to facilitate. Stats are not tied to any specific skill--the most appropriate Task Governor is chosen to fit a given situation.

And, I've made an effort to show you all types of S1123 throws. You'll see regular skill rolls...the use of Skill Options...throws using Implied Skills...throws using Default Skills...throws against static difficulty...throws against normal Difficulty Throws....and character's skill rolls used as Difficulty Throws. You'll see the effects of success too.

Customizing rolls for specific situations is a snap using SYSTEM 1123. If SYSTEM 1123 tugs on your curiosity, make it work for you. Customize it for your game.

and now...GVOUDZON'S RUN...

GAMEMASTER: We pick up tonight's session right were we left off. The MARCH HARRIER has been hailed by another ship. Scans revealed that the ship outguns the HARRIER, and the Captain of the other ship has called for you to heave-to and prepare for borders.

The umbilical is attached, and the seal on the airlock has just been broken.

PLAYER: Gvoudzon's going to make haste from the bridge and open the floor hatch to see if he can get a look at the boarders from above.

GM: OK. Gvoudzon moves. He swings the hatch open. Too late--it took him some time to get up out of the Nav seat, transverse the bridge, and get the hatch open. As he peers down into the entry area on the lower deck, he can see that the hatch to the cargo deck has just sealed.

While you were moving to the floor hatch on the bridge, the boarder moved through the outer airlock hatch, across the short distance to the inner cargo hatch, and into the cargo deck. As you peered down, he was closing the door.

P: I need my gun! Daeus! Throw me that autorifle behind your chair!

GM: Normally you wouldn't need to roll for that, but Gvoudzon is under time pressure. He trying to grab the weapon and scoot on down the ladder after the intruders. Daeus tosses the weapon in your direction, but you're going to have to make a throw to catch it and keep on truckin'.

I'm going to need you to make an Average DEX throw.

P: Gvoudzon has a Level-2 Implied DEX skill, and he gets two bonus options. I'm rolling against 2D. I'm going to roll 2D and use the rest of my Skill Options to reduce difficulty. That should give me a big enough advantage and still allow me maximum opportunity to throw Greater Success. I really need this to go right so that I can get down to the hold.

The roll is 2D vs. 2D -3

PLAYER throws 2D: 1-3

Uh oh. I rolled a "1" on my E-Die. That wipes out my entire roll. I've got Automatic Failure unless you wipe out of all your dice too with the E-Die.

GM throws 2D: 6-6

GM: A 24! Gvoudzon has rolled Greater Failure! The weapon tumbled toward you long-ways. You couldn't catch it. It smacked you then clanged down the open hatch at your feet, landing on the lower deck. If you ever had any hope of stealth, it's gone now.

P: I've got to get down there!

GM: A couple of breaths, and you're down.

P: I pick up the autorifle. Is it OK? The barrel's not bent or anything, right?

GM: Well, it looks fine upon quick inspection--just a few scrapes. Nothing obvious. If you take a round to look it over better, I'll give you an Easy Rifle roll governed by EDU to inspect it.

P: I'll do it. I don't need any surprises in a firefight. Gvoudzon's skill is Rifle-3. That means I could have 4D on the throw, but that's over kill for a 1D difficulty. I'll throw two dice and use the Skill Option of reducing my difficulty number.

The roll is 2D vs. 1D -2

PLAYER rolls 2D: 6-1

A six on the E-Die! My total is 13, and you've got a -2 on the difficulty throw!

GM rolls 1D: 5

GM: The difficulty is 5 reduced to 3 with your Skill Option. What's your EDU? There's a possibility that E-Die hurt you, pushing you up into the Marginal Success bracket.

P: Gvoudzon's stat is EDU 6. Damn. I rolled over by 10 points. That does put me in the Marginal Success bracket.

GM: As Gvoudzon inspected the weapon, he saw the action level was bent. You took another round to work the action and make sure it is OK. The weapon is fine, but you spent two rounds checking it out instead of one. What do you want to do now?

P: I'm going to cycle the airlock, protect myself on the edge of the door with cover, and peer out into the hold.

GM: OK, you do that. The lock is open. You see nothing but the opposite air lock hatch on the other side of the ship. Cargo crates pile to your right, in the normal fashion that you and the crew stacks them, and to the left is the air/raft, secured to the deck. You know the layout of the cargo deck. Two rows of double stacked cargo containers line the hull with a 1.5 meter "hallway" row down the center.

P: I'm going to use my Vargr sense of smell to see if that can tell me anything more. Do I smell anything?

GM: That's another Implied Skill roll. Give me an INT throw. I'll also give you a -2 DM bonus for Gvoudzon's heightened sense of smell, but I'm not going to give you any idea of difficulty. Gvoudzon's has no idea where the intruders went, so he has no idea how hard it would be to "smell them out". Roll your bones.

P: Gvoudzon's INT is 7, so I've got a Level-2 INT skill, and I get a bonus Skill Option. I want to make this, so I'm going to throw all 2 skill points into giving me extra dice to roll. I'm going to use the bonus Skill Option to raise my Task Governor, so now Gvoudzon's INT is considered 8. And, that -2 DM to the Difficulty Throw should help me out.

The roll is 3D vs. Difficulty -2.

PLAYER rolls 3D: 3-1-1

I've got a total of 4. Damn. But, there still may be a pretty good chance that this is an OK roll, depending on what you throw.

GM: I've got to roll behind my GM's screen. I don't want to give you any idea of where the intruder is based on the difficulty of the throw.

The GM decides that smelling someone out like this would be tremendously hard for a human, and he's already given Gvoudzon's player a bonus for Vargr sense of smell. So, the GM decides to make this a Difficult throw.

GM throws 3D: 5-1-3

The GM's total is 9. The -2 DM reduces this to 7. Gvoudzon failed the roll, but it's just a regular Failure. Since Gvoudzon's Task Governor is an 8, Greater Failure is not even an option on this roll.

P: Did I smell anything?

G: No. You took a big, deep breath, but your nostrils told you nothing.

P: Alright-ey, then. Gvoudzon will move, autorifle at the ready, with his back against the cargo crates that are to his right. He'll keep his eyes shifting from the 1.5 meter corridor betwixt the two rows of cargo containers, in an arc across the hatch to the far airlock, to the air/raft and back.

I don't think anybody's had time yet to get up on top of the containers, but I'm worried about that damn air/raft. Somebody could be hunched down in it. Gvoudzon will keep the rifle pointed more towards the cargo corridor, but at least half of his attention of every second is on that air/raft.

Right before he moves out from behind the cover afforded by the airlock he's in, he'll check to see the weapon is on semi-automatic. I've only got the one clip on me, and I don't need to be wasting ammo.

GM: Sounds good. Gvoudzon is moving cautiously. He's close with his back to the containers, directing his attention as you said, but he doesn't "slide" is back on the crates--there's about an inch or two between him and them. He's trying to be quiet as well.

You're at the corner now. Do you want to peek around? You've seen nothing suspicious yet at the air/raft.

P: I'm not going to peek. If there is someone in the air/raft, he's keeping his head down, and he doesn't know exactly where I am.

I'm going to jump around the corner, completely into the corridor, weapon ready, in complete battle stance.

GM: Ballsy! Gvoudzon swings around the container, autorifle held high, but not against his shoulder. He's pretty good with weapons and knows about the recoil.

The GM knows that there's an intruder in the direction Gvoudzon is about to look. It's Merchant Captain Alexander Jamison, come to pirate the HARRIER's cargo.

The GM decides this is a typical surprise situation, so he rolls surprise for Gvoudzon and Jamison, giving appropriate modifiers. The surprise rule is used as written, straight out of the Traveller Book. It's straight CT rules.

Jamison is alert and looking for enemies as he pokes around the HARRIER's cargo hold, but he's also way down at the other end of the bay from Gvoudzon. Alexander may not have heard Gvoudzon coming.

The GM uses appropriate modifiers, rolls surprise, and finds that Jamison is surprised.

As soon as Gvoudzon jumps around, you see a human at the far end, close to the hatches to the M-Drive. The stamp of your feet as you swung around catches his attention. His back is to you, but he's swinging around to face you, bringing his weapon to bear.

He's so far down, he had no idea you were there. You've got surprise. You can have one action, then we'll roll initiative, going into regular rounds.

P: I'll shoot that sucker!

GM: Let's see. It's 20 meters down there. That puts him in Short range. It's a Difficult shot. Roll your dice!

P: OK, I know that a difficulty of Difficult is 3D. Gvoudzon's got Rifle-1. That means, if I only use Skill Option 1, I can throw a maximum of 2D.

I'm going to have to do it. I'm at a disadvantage here. The chance is 70% against. I'm throwing both bones.

The throw is 2D vs. 3D.

PLAYER throws 2D: 6-6

Yeah, baby! That's a total of 24! What'd you get?

GM rolls 3D: 4-6-2.

GM: Your difficulty is 12, but that damn E-Die hurt you again. The E-Die can swing both ways, no matter if a "1" or a "6" is rolled. Like Lady Fate, sometimes the E-Die is your friend, and sometimes it's your enemy.

You've scored a success, but your DEX is 8. That's puts you in the Marginal Success bracket. Subtract a die from damage.

The guy's not wearing anything but a spacer's jumpsuit, so there's no armor to figure.

P: My autorifle does 3D, so I'll roll two dice.

PLAYER rolls 2D damage: 1-5.

The GM sees that Alexander's 779. He reduces these to 674.

GM: All right. The surprise round is over. We're going into regular rounds. Let's roll initiative.

PLAYER and GM roll initiative for the two characters. Use your favorite system. (SYSTEM 1123 Initiative will be discussed in the upcoming Personal Combat article, if you're interested in that.)

The results of initiative are that the PLAYER has a choice of taking Gvoudzon's move first or last. The PLAYER decides to act first in the hopes of downing Jamison.

GM: all right. You've got initiative. Do you want to move first, or do you want the intruder to move before you do?

P: I'm going to take my shot! I've got to take that dude out before he shoots me!

I'll roll again using my autorifle. Same roll.

The roll, again, is 2D vs. 3D.

PLAYER rolls 2D: 6-3

P: I've got a 15! Let's see if I hit!

GM rolls 3D: 5-5-6

GM: A 16!

P: Damn! I missed by 1!

G: Well, at least it was just a regular Failure!

Secretly, behind his GM's screen, the GM plots to have the second intruder--the one Gvoudzon hasn't seen yet--ease out of the air/raft and sneak up behind Gvoudzon for a hand to hand attack.

This second NPC is Frank Fornne, Alexander's accomplice.

Frank has a weapon too, but the GM knows what the player does not--that the real reason the ship was stopped was not piracy or some other reason. These men were paid to capture Gvoudzon and drag him back to the Vemene base. These NPC's are working for Tukera!

So, the GM will throw a roll behind his screen. The PLAYER has no idea what the GM is doing. For this roll, the GM is dicing to see if Frank can move up behind Gvoudzon using Stealth.

Frank does not have the Stealth skill, but anyone can try to move with stealth, so Stealth is a Default Skill. Franks is considered as having Stealth-0.

Since the GM is throwing against himself, he decides that he'll throw Frank's Stealth against a static target number. It will keep the game moving and make for less confusion on the GM's side of the table.

Under the circumstances of the firefight, the GM decides it is an Average task for Frank to sneak up on Gvoudzon--the Vargr's attention is on the other man trying to kill him.

Frank's Stealth roll normally would be 1D vs. 2D. But, with the static target number, the roll is--

1D vs. 7

The GM rolls 1D: 6

Frank's Stealth total is 12. Frank has DEX 10, so that's a regular Success. The GM knows that Frank has been successful sneaking up on Gvoudzon this round, and Frank will strike at the Vargr--with his hands, trying to knock Gvoudzon out--next round.

P: Next round?

GM: Not yet. The guy at you are shooting has hasn't taken his turn this round. You just shot at him. But, the guy is not returning fire. For his move, he will begin moving closer to you. His movement takes the whole round, but he's getting close.

You notice that, even though Gvoudzon is firing a weapon at him, this guy is doing his best to rush up to you. He hasn't fired back at you yet.

The GM knows that, while Gvoudzon is focussing on Alexander moving closer up the "hallway" created by the cargo crates, Frank is now sneaking up behind the Vargr.

OK. Now, it is next round.

Initiative is rolled again. Gvoudzon wins initiative. Followed by Frank, followed by Alexander.

The guy coming up the corridor made by the cargo crates is getting real close.

P: I'm going to shoot at him again!

GM: The intruder closed 10 meters last round. Gvoudzon is now at 10 meters from him, and range is Very Short.

P: Well, I know that's a 2D difficulty. I'm going to keep rolling my 2D. That'll give me a 50-50 chance of hitting him.

The roll is 2D vs. 2D.

PLAYER rolls 2D: 6-6

I scored 24!

GM rolls 2D difficulty: 5-6

GM: I scored 11. Gvoudzon's DEX Task Governor is 8. Your shot is a success, but it's a Marginal Success. You hit, but subtract one die from damage.

PLAYER rolls 2D damage: 3-1

The GM reduces Alexander's stats further. Jamison's physical stats are now 373.

Gvoudzon's action for the round is over. Now it's time for Frank to go. He has snuck up behind Gvoudzon, and the GM springs this information on the player.

There's movement behind Gvoudzon!

P: What! Oh no!

GM: You see another human there. He's wearing a jump suit as well, and he's got a weapon draped across him. From Gvoudzon's quick look, it looks to be the same type of weapon the other intruder has.

But, this guy is attacking you with his fists.

Brawling attacks under SYSTEM 1123 are opposed rolls between combatants. The GM will roll Frank's Brawling skill to attack. The player will throw Gvoudzon's Infighting skill to defend the Vargr.

Frank has Brawling-2, and the GM decides to use one skill point to increase the amount of dice thrown and the other to increase Frank's Task Governor. In this case, Frank's Brawling Task Governor is Frank's STR.

Since the PLAYER can only use Skill Option 1 when Gvoudzon is using his Infighting as a Difficulty throw, the PLAYER has no choice but to roll 3D.

The roll is 2D vs. 3D.

The GM rolls 2D: 6-2.

That's a total of 14 on his Brawling attack.

P: Damn! I need some help down here! Where are Gvoudzon's crewmates!?

The PLAYER rolls 3D: 1-4-1.

I rolled a 4. Hopefully he rolled Marginal Success.

The GM sees that Frank's STR Task Governor is 6, increased to a 7 by the Skill Option he used.

GM: Yes, this new intruder did hit, but it is a Marginal Success. And, the MS result did help you. Hands do only 1D damage, so removing 1D of damage leaves him with no damage to roll.

He hit you, but it didn't hurt.

Now, it's time for the first intruder to move (Alexander). He continues his movement, closing that last 10 meters to Gvoudzon. At the beginning of the next round, Gvoudzon will be fighting both of them in hand-to-hand combat.

Let's roll initiative.

Initiative is thrown. Gvoudzon wins again, followed by Frank, followed by Alexander.

Gvoudzon is now facing the second intruder (Frank), having just seen this second intruder take a swipe at him. The Vargr's back is to the first intruder (Alexander), but Gvoudzon knows that this first intruder has moved right up behind him last round.

Gvoudzon is sandwiched between the two. What do you want Gvoudzon to do?

P: Gvoudzon's going to swing around and shove the tip of his weapon barrel right up against the first intruder's chest (Alexander) and blow him away!

He's already taken damage. Hopefully I can down this first intruder and be left only having to deal with one of them.

GM: All right. The intruder (Alexander) is not just going to stand there and let you do that. He'll try to bat your weapon away with his weapon. This is an opposed roll. Gvoudzon's weapon skill vs. the intruder's Brawling skill (since Alexander is using his rifle like a club).

Range is point blank, but the intruder will use his skill to knock the barrel of your weapon away so that he's not shot.

Gvoudzon is making a Rifle roll governed by DEX. Alexander is making a Brawling roll used as a Difficulty Throw. Alexander does not have the Brawling skill, but Brawling is a Default Skill. So, Alexander is considered as having Brawling-0.

P: I'll use Gvoudzon's skill point to increase dice. I really want to hit this guy, even if it means Marginal Success.

The roll is 2D vs. 1D.

The PLAYER rolls 2D: 4-4.

The GM rolls 1D: 3.

GM. You rolled an 8. I rolled a 3. It's a hit, and it may be a Greater Success.

P: Gvoudzon's DEX Task Governor is 8! It is a Greater Success!

GM: All right. Do you want to do an extra die of damage, or do you want to apply damage randomly to the intruder's stats? Or, is there some other special effect you'd like your GS to achieve?

P: I want the damage applied randomly! Since I've hit him a couple of times, I know his stats must be getting low. I need to get one of his stats to 0, so that he'll fall unconscious. Then, I'll only have to deal with the one intruder.

GM: OK, then. Roll damage.

P: Gvoudzon's autorifle does 3D.

The PLAYER rolls 3D damage: 4-2-4.

That's decent.

The GM applies the three damage dice randomly to Alexander's stats. One of the intruder's stats goes below 0. Alexander is knocked down unconscious by the wound.

GM: The intruder tries to block the end of your rifle as you shove it up against his chest, but he moved too slow. You shot him in the chest. He goes down.

P: That's AWESOME! That's exactly what I needed! Now, I only have to deal with the second intruder.

GM: And, it's time for that second intruder to go. He's making another Brawling attack against your back. Here's the roll.

The GM decides to use all of Frank's Brawling skill for extra dice this time. Frank just saw his buddy get blown away, and he's desperate to land a blow on the Vargr.

Gvoudzon will be defending using his Infighting skill.

Since Gvoudzon is faced in another direction, I'm going to allow this intruder a -2 DM bonus to his attack throw.

P: That's fair.

The roll is 3D vs. 2D -2.

The GM rolls 3D: 6-2-3.

The PLAYER rolls 2D: 6-6.

My defense is 22 to your 19. Wow, that was close!

GM: Yep. The guy missed, but it's only a regular Failure.

Next round....

I'm going to leave you here, with this cliffhanger--two TRAVELLER characters battling it out in the hold of a starship. You've seen enough now to see how the system works.