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Ahmad Romanov March 6th, 2018 09:31 AM

Newbie Questions
 
I am new to Traveller and had a few questions...

1) I looked into the various editions and I think MegaTraveller may be the best fit, but just to be certain, could you tell me what you like best about MegaTraveller?

2) I heard combat is deadly. That is fine, but I like to have combat in my game (maybe a single fight every session, give or take). Is this a bad fit for Traveller? Is there a way to run it so players can heal and recover from combat in a fairly timely manner (a few days rest, for instance, or maybe a week's bedrest) so it doesn't slow down the adventure too much? The healing rules were a little hard for me to understand, but it seems like you heal about 1 point per characteristic per day, so if the average stat is 7, that would mean minor and superficial wounds should typically be healed in about a week or less, right?

3) Also, how do you assign damage? The books says that damage dice are applied to "one" of the three characteristics, but it just gives guidelines about whether or not to reduce any stat to zero. Does the player get to choose where he takes damage, thus trying to make sure his wounds are superficial or minor? It also seems that if the player can spread out the damage among all three physical characteristics, then he will also heal much faster (since all characteristics heal simultaneously).

4) Also, where are the enemy stats? I couldn't find anything like a "monster manual"... how do I figure out the stats of a pirate or a mercenary or a K'kree warrior? Let's say the players get the jump on a squad of 6 imperial soldiers... do they each have different stats, or are they all identical? Would something like this be appropriate?

Soldier - Hits 3/5, Relevant Skills: Combat Rifleman-1, Bayonet-0, Equipment: ACR 7mm, Mesh

Corporal - Hits 4/5, Relevant Skills: Leader-2, Tactics-1, Submachinegun-1, SMG, Mesh

5) Along the same lines, what is the minimum number of scores I need to describe an enemy for combat? Is the above (hits, skills and weapons/armour) sufficient for a game, and how is it commonly transcribed?

Ahmad Romanov March 6th, 2018 01:13 PM

And I thought of another one...

6) What is the difference between these three skills?

Rifle (Weapon)
Rifleman (includes Rifle)
Gun Combat (cascade, Rifleman)
Combat Rifleman (includes Rifle)

What would it mean for a character to have a combination of the above skills, or any one of them? Also, while we're on the topic, what really is the difference between Combat Rifleman and Rifleman? The former is described as "use of modern combat rifles" and the latter is described as "use standard infantry weapons." I'm guessing it's a difference of tech level, but both of them include bolt-action, semi-automatic and fully automatic weapons, so I find it odd that you might have the Combat Rifleman skill and not know how to use an auto rifle...

McPerth March 6th, 2018 02:21 PM

First of all, welcome to the board.

This said,wWell, many question you make here...

I'll try to answer to the best of my capacity (and opinion):

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583713)
1) I looked into the various editions and I think MegaTraveller may be the best fit, but just to be certain, could you tell me what you like best about MegaTraveller?

I personally also find it is one of the best versions (maybe because it was the current one when I could afford to buy it), but see that most the reasons I'll give you are also the main criticisms for other people, being mostly a matter of taste.

I like the Chargen system, giving some more skills than CT, and allowing you to choose quite often among the several ones in a cascade skill

I like the unified craft design system, despite many flaws on it (e.g. the fuel needs) and the errata needed for it to really work, but I concede it's quite complex.

I like the possibility to even design ultra-high TL craft, and so play a Blake's 7 like campaign.

I like in combat the discrimination among pen capability and damage capability.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583713)
2) I heard combat is deadly. That is fine, but I like to have combat in my game (maybe a single fight every session, give or take). Is this a bad fit for Traveller? Is there a way to run it so players can heal and recover from combat in a fairly timely manner (a few days rest, for instance, or maybe a week's bedrest) so it doesn't slow down the adventure too much? The healing rules were a little hard for me to understand, but it seems like you heal about 1 point per characteristic per day, so if the average stat is 7, that would mean minor and superficial wounds should typically be healed in about a week or less, right?

Yes, combat can be quite deadly, and IMHO the better option is to avoid it. About healing, it depends on the seriously of the wounds. WHile light ones heal quite quickly, more serious ones do not, and it can take a while to recover (with is fine for me, as that makes players more prudent when their characters may be out of play for a while without dying).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583713)
1) 3) Also, how do you assign damage? The books says that damage dice are applied to "one" of the three characteristics, but it just gives guidelines about whether or not to reduce any stat to zero. Does the player get to choose where he takes damage, thus trying to make sure his wounds are superficial or minor? It also seems that if the player can spread out the damage among all three physical characteristics, then he will also heal much faster (since all characteristics heal simultaneously).

IIRC the damage is assigned by dice (one each for each damage point). So, if you assing a die to your end, you risk up to 6 points of it, not lalowing you to really avoid always the serious wounds (one or more stats at 0) by just assinging the points to avoid it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583713)
4) Also, where are the enemy stats? I couldn't find anything like a "monster manual"...

There's not. The Referee assings the stats and skills to posible enemies (but hat happens also to other RPGs id you confront other people wich are also carácter class individuals.

See that in Traveller there is not sucha a thing as a carácter class as being different from comon people except in training and morivation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583713)
5) Along the same lines, what is the minimum number of scores I need to describe an enemy for combat? Is the above (hits, skills and weapons/armour) sufficient for a game, and how is it commonly transcribed?

Just stats, skills weaponry and armor, as any characters.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583741)
And I thought of another one...

6) What is the difference between these three skills?

Rifle (Weapon)
Rifleman (includes Rifle)
Gun Combat (cascade, Rifleman)
Combat Rifleman (includes Rifle)

Just the broadness of them. Except for Gun Combat, that is a cascade skill that allow you to choose among several other ones, the rest are just the same one but more specialized:

Rifle: allows you to use the skill jsut on rifles, but not carabines, shotguns, automatic weapons, etc... I see it as what you could learn in a sporting club, where you just learn one wepon

Rifleman: includes carabines and autorifles. It's a mroe broad skill, as you could learn in a milita (or non ground forces) military unit.

Combat Rifleman: includes most long slug throwing individual weapons. That's what you could learn in crack military units. (see that it is included in Special combat cascade, not in gun combat).

Hope that helps...

Ahmad Romanov March 6th, 2018 06:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 583747)
Yes, combat can be quite deadly, and IMHO the better option is to avoid it. About healing, it depends on the seriously of the wounds. WHile light ones heal quite quickly, more serious ones do not, and it can take a while to recover (with is fine for me, as that makes players more prudent when their characters may be out of play for a while without dying).

IIRC the damage is assigned by dice (one each for each damage point). So, if you assing a die to your end, you risk up to 6 points of it, not lalowing you to really avoid always the serious wounds (one or more stats at 0) by just assinging the points to avoid it.

Ah that's interesting and makes a lot more sense. So you assign the damage points first and THEN roll to see how much it reduces the characteristic. Do you tend to assign all the damage points at once and then roll for all of them, or do you assign one point, roll for it, assign the second point, roll for that and so on? Who decides where the damage goes, the referee or the player? Or is it randomly assigned (rolling a die or something similar)?

Also, do you find serious wounds are fairly common or uncommon? If the players get to decide what characteristic is damaged, I suppose they would be a lot less common, since players would just assign damage to their higher score characteristics.

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 583747)
There's not. The Referee assings the stats and skills to posible enemies (but hat happens also to other RPGs id you confront other people wich are also carácter class individuals.

Are there any guidelines on this front? I mean 1/1 to 5/8 hits seems to be the range for humans, but would it raise eyebrows to have a bunch of thugs with 4/7 hits?

And another question...

7) Is Battle Dress really impervious to everything except high-end energy weapons and explosives? If I am understanding this correctly, the only way to damage someone in Battle Dress with regular small arms would be to get an exceptional hit, and even then it does a fairly small amount of damage. I understand Battle Dress is tough in every edition, but I thought it was a little less invulnerable in other editions of Traveller?

jcrocker March 6th, 2018 08:48 PM

Battle Dress isn't impervious, but it is hard to get past with a slugthrower. It is designed to be that way, after all.

Some of the bigger ones stood a chance, as I recall - but you had to get a good roll, and it had to be something like a 13mm hunting rifle. 13mm is about .50 cal.

What I would suggest is, set up the characters with weapons of their choice and run a 'practice session' of combat, say that it's example purposes only, just to get a feel for it. Figure out how long each PC would have been in the hospital for, and they can see the lethality. Make sure the PCs get hit - it's just a dry run, so no one gets killed right off the hop.

I still remember the surprised reaction from the most Rambo player when his character went down from what he considered a 'popgun'. The level of caution went waaay up after the dry run.

Ahmad Romanov March 6th, 2018 11:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jcrocker (Post 583766)
Battle Dress isn't impervious, but it is hard to get past with a slugthrower. It is designed to be that way, after all.

Some of the bigger ones stood a chance, as I recall - but you had to get a good roll, and it had to be something like a 13mm hunting rifle. 13mm is about .50 cal.

Unless I am misunderstanding the rules, the 13mm rifle doesn't come close... in fact, an assault rocket launcher firing a high explosive armour piercing rocket barely, barely cuts the threshold for a "low pen" result.

Now that I look at it, cloth armour pretty much protects you from all small arms as well. I assume cloth armour is not all-encasing, but even then, a ballistic cloth vest would pretty much mean that almost every small arm would need a +2 difficulty to do any damage to you (assuming a normal skirmish between 6 meters and 50 meters, that means a base difficult of 13+ to hit and damage).

If I am understanding that all correctly, then combat doesn't seem that deadly after all (if proper armour is worn)?

McPerth March 7th, 2018 07:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583758)
Ah that's interesting and makes a lot more sense. So you assign the damage points first and THEN roll to see how much it reduces the characteristic. Do you tend to assign all the damage points at once and then roll for all of them, or do you assign one point, roll for it, assign the second point, roll for that and so on? Who decides where the damage goes, the referee or the player? Or is it randomly assigned (rolling a die or something similar)?

Also, do you find serious wounds are fairly common or uncommon? If the players get to decide what characteristic is damaged, I suppose they would be a lot less common, since players would just assign damage to their higher score characteristics.

In fact, rules are not clear on it, IIRC. I assigned them by random, each point rolling one die: 1-2: STR, 3-4: DEX, 5-6: END.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583758)
Are there any guidelines on this front? I mean 1/1 to 5/8 hits seems to be the range for humans, but would it raise eyebrows to have a bunch of thugs with 4/7 hits?

Not really that I know, but you can asume the usual people to be 3/5 on hits. You can roll they quickly in page 43 RM. About skills, it depends on how much trained you want them. Level 0 is no training (gang boy), level 1 is newbe trained (soldier recruit), 2 profesional, 3+ advanced.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ahmad Romanov (Post 583758)
And another question...

7) Is Battle Dress really impervious to everything except high-end energy weapons and explosives? If I am understanding this correctly, the only way to damage someone in Battle Dress with regular small arms would be to get an exceptional hit, and even then it does a fairly small amount of damage. I understand Battle Dress is tough in every edition, but I thought it was a little less invulnerable in other editions of Traveller?

Well, Battledress is armor 18. If you look at penetration of several weapons (at short distance):
  • Slug throwers: You can at best expect a zero penetration value, so, as you say, only the damage due to exceptional success.
  • Lasers: in this case see that the Laser Rifle TL13+ (so at the TL the Battledress appears) has pen 20, so can achieve low penetration rsult (50% damages), and by using pinpoint fire, the laser carabine TL 13+ can achieve it too, while the Laser rifle can achieve full penetration.
  • Hi-Energy weapons: they are in the same situation as Laser rifle at short distances, but produce quite more damage.

So, a laser rifle hts a battledress with a roll 4 higher than needed, will produce 3 modified to 50% (low pen hit) and to 400%, so 6 hits. Enough to put anyone down...

Ahmad Romanov March 7th, 2018 09:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McPerth (Post 583775)
In fact, rules are not clear on it, IIRC. I assigned them by random, each point rolling one die: 1-2: STR, 3-4: DEX, 5-6: END.



Not really that I know, but you can asume the usual people to be 3/5 on hits. You can roll they quickly in page 43 RM. About skills, it depends on how much trained you want them. Level 0 is no training (gang boy), level 1 is newbe trained (soldier recruit), 2 profesional, 3+ advanced.



Well, Battledress is armor 18. If you look at penetration of several weapons (at short distance):
  • Slug throwers: You can at best expect a zero penetration value, so, as you say, only the damage due to exceptional success.
  • Lasers: in this case see that the Laser Rifle TL13+ (so at the TL the Battledress appears) has pen 20, so can achieve low penetration rsult (50% damages), and by using pinpoint fire, the laser carabine TL 13+ can achieve it too, while the Laser rifle can achieve full penetration.
  • Hi-Energy weapons: they are in the same situation as Laser rifle at short distances, but produce quite more damage.

So, a laser rifle hts a battledress with a roll 4 higher than needed, will produce 3 modified to 50% (low pen hit) and to 400%, so 6 hits. Enough to put anyone down...

Ah, ok, but if you don't have the high end energy weapons, you should probably just run when you see an enemy in Battle Dress?

That brings up another question...

8) It seems like pinpoint fire is basically a "freebie", since there is no downside to declaring it. If you beat the difficulty by two or more pips, then you automatically halve their armour. If you don't and you make the roll by 0-1 points, then it's just a normal hit. What's stopping your players from just automatically declaring pinpoint fire on every attack?

Also,

9) I was looking at the skill advancement rules, and they are really not all that bad. Granted, it will be tough to gain a level-0 skill unless you can repeatedly observe someone else doing it, but for other skills it is pretty generous. You can gain up to two AT's per year, plus an average intelligence bonus of +1, and you can be rolling every session for boxcars to upgrade your skill. Only a 1 in 36 chance, admittedly, but after six sessions you could have advancement checks for three skills each session (the rules don't seem to explicitly disallow this... they only limit you to one check per skill each session). Three advancement checks means you have a 1 in 12 chance of something improving each session. Six checks and you have a 1 in 6 chance... not too bad, considering how benefitial each skill level is. Do I have that all correct?

Ahmad Romanov March 7th, 2018 09:50 AM

Also, has anyone played around with the difficulty scale at all? I like the default system, but +4 seems a big leap and the 3/7/11/15/19 scale comes up wirh some weird results... for one, simple is too simple, as any character with a 0-level skill and a basic 5 or better characteristic is going to automatically pass a 3+ roll. At the other end, it seems like the difficulty is too high... you need a +7 to even get a sliver of a chance (less than 3%) at making an impossible roll... who has a modifier that high? If you had a A+ characteristic and a 5+ skill you could do it, but tests that require two characteristics and no skills don't even work with impossible difficulty.

I was thinking something like this instead...

Simple (5+)
Routine (8+)
Difficult (11+)
Formidable (14+)
Impossible (17+)

That would mean a 0-skill character with a poor (4 or less) characteristic would have a 1 in 6 chance of messing up a simple task (which feels right to me... it's still going to be rare, but not that rare), whereas the task is only automatic for someone with an average +1 for a characteristic and a 2-level skill. Everyone less experienced will have a remote chance of failure.

On the other end, an impossible task could now be performed by a character with two very high characteristics (at least one at max E level, and another in the letter range). This would be like lifting a chunk of starship off a fallen comrade who is pinned under the flaming wreckage.

aramis March 7th, 2018 10:31 AM

Ahmed,

The MT labels are built on "For a guy of stat 5-9, with a skill of 1"...

3+ is trivially simple for a guy with a +2. Even unskilled can do this most of the time without having to take their time.

7+ is routine for a guy with a +2... if he takes his time, it's automatic. if not, 5/6 of the time he succeeds.

11+ is difficult for a guy with a +2. He can take his time to get 5/6 chance, or just shy of 1/3 if he doesn't

15+ is formidable for a +2 guy- he HAS to take his time, and even then, he fails almost 2/3 of the time.

19+ is Impossible for a +2 guy. Even with extra time, he's got no chance.

Keep in mind, best odds on Impossible is DM+8 and extra time for effective+12, which still needs a natural 7+ to succeed.

Adding half-levels between works rather well, IMO..
3+ Simple
5+ Very routine
7+ Routine
9+ Moderate
11+ Difficult
13+ Very difficult
15+ Formidable
17+ Very formidable
19+ Impossible
21+ Absurd
23+ Ridiculous
25+ Plaid


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