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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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Old January 19th, 2018, 01:32 PM
sulu244 sulu244 is offline
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Default New Ref, with very trigger happy players.

So, I'm a fairly new Ref, I've run a few games in a few different systems, but Traveller seems to be the one which has stuck (Much to my enjoyment). I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing, but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in. On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D. I've houseruled that instead of simply not learning anything after 8 weeks if they fail their check, they just have to try again next week. Does this sound reasonable? For reference we are playing Mongoose Second Edition.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
So, I'm a fairly new Ref, I've run a few games in a few different systems, but Traveller seems to be the one which has stuck (Much to my enjoyment). I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing,
Welcome then

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but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in.
Maybe a time in prison could help to see them there's a law overwatching and things get dangerous. Of course, this could be exchanged for som jobs for the IN or other agency (jobs that need discretion, or negotiation, not firepower if you want them to learn)...


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On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D.
THat's a very common problem, mostly if the previous experience is on level-determined games (D&D, RM, etc).

The main reward should be fun times and learning more about the game and its setting (whatever it be).

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I've houseruled that instead of simply not learning anything after 8 weeks if they fail their check, they just have to try again next week. Does this sound reasonable? For reference we are playing Mongoose Second Edition.
Just beware they don't have skill levels inflation. It's too easy to make them too powerful.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 02:12 PM
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Run an adventure where their characters are downloaded via a personality overlay machine into clone bodies or even a computer sim slaved to robot bodies. Make sure the players know this is happening because otherwise after what happens next they may all quit the game.
The patron wants them to occupy the clone bodies because they are adapted to the world, base, spaceship the PCs have to go do stuff on.

Then run some encounters where the NPCs have similar armour and weapons and are just as smart and devious as a group of PCs. Once they have all been killed a few times they may realise they have to take things carefully with their 'real' characters or get used to the character generation system...
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Old January 19th, 2018, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
So, I'm a fairly new Ref, I've run a few games in a few different systems, but Traveller seems to be the one which has stuck (Much to my enjoyment). I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing, but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in.
If you have the opportunity to arrange a non-shooting route to their objective (with cunning use of streetwise, hacking, bribery etc) with an alternative shooty route tough enough to force them to reconsider, you might be able to point out the benefit of not blasting everything in sight. You might need to show them what they've missed by going gun-happy (e.g. extra loot that they can only find by not killing someone, that shows up on the tri-V news after their mission).

If you absolutely can't wean the group away from the see-it shoot-it mentality, perhaps the thing to do is to get them to sign up for a tour in a mercenary company. That way they can do all the shooting they want. You could mix things up with the occasional Kelly's Heroes/Three Kings style caper. They are unlikely to enjoy the game if they're not having fun and doing at least some of the things they enjoy (such as blasting everything in sight).

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Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D. I've houseruled that instead of simply not learning anything after 8 weeks if they fail their check, they just have to try again next week. Does this sound reasonable? For reference we are playing Mongoose Second Edition.
On the progression front, I'd be inclined to keep to the published rules on skill improvement. It's been my experience that characters progress by acquiring better/more stuff (e.g. better equipment, a longer-range ship, better trade opportunities thanks to their recently acquired pile of cash). Ridiculous skill levels either reduces the challenge or requires that you up the ante by putting more or stronger bad guys in their way.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys! I appreciate it.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 02:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
So, I'm a fairly new Ref, I've run a few games in a few different systems, but Traveller seems to be the one which has stuck (Much to my enjoyment). I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing, but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in. On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D.
I do a quick combat scene with new players before starting a Traveller game with players wanting to do scorched Earth games. Players see first hand what combat is like real quick. Especially, because I run such scenes in real-time to get the learning over with and the players can make a decision right then if rampaging in Traveller is a good thing or not.

For players wanting to level up their Traveller characters, they would have to make the case for why their characters would need leveling up. So far, no player has been able to. Usually, a light goes on above their head, and the cases are dropped. And then characters can begin to get created.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 02:52 PM
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I've run into this type of thing in the past, with a different game. What I did was set up a simple fight among NPCs (in this case, the PCs were betting on the outcome in a gladiatorial ring, but you can set up all sorts of scenarios--maybe they see a bank heist or something). Then, I let the players play the NPCs.

It was a good way to let the players get a feel for the combat system, and it showed them that the game system was deadly and not what they've been used to in the past.

It doesn't matter if the NPCs win the fight or not. In fact, it's probably better if they lose--to give the players more of a respect for the system.
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Old January 19th, 2018, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
So, I'm a fairly new Ref, I've run a few games in a few different systems, but Traveller seems to be the one which has stuck (Much to my enjoyment). I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing, but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in. On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D. I've houseruled that instead of simply not learning anything after 8 weeks if they fail their check, they just have to try again next week. Does this sound reasonable? For reference we are playing Mongoose Second Edition.
With characters like that, I would be a bit cold-blooded, and let them kill themselves a few times. Hopefully, then it will dawn on them that this is NOT D&D. If that still does not get the idea across, then go back to D&D, or find yourself a new batch of players. By the way, how old is this crew, on the average?
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Old January 19th, 2018, 03:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
I've got a fairly good group of players, but they're still stuck in the D&D/Pathfinder "I see it I shoot it" mentality. I've tried to tell them that getting shot in Traveller is considered a Very Bad Thing, but I'm looking for advice on how to demonstrate this to them, so that they don't get the entire crew killed 3 sessions in.
I do a quick combat scene with new players before starting a Traveller game with players wanting to do scorched Earth games. Players see first hand what combat is like real quick. Especially, because I run such scenes in real-time to get the learning over with and the players can make a decision right then if rampaging in Traveller is a good thing or not.
This would be my suggestion as well. Run a quick "This doesn't actually count for anything" type of session to let them get the feel for how things work. In fact, for the "demo" session, go ahead and give them pistols, rifles, or even Fusion Guns if you want to, (along with minimal, light, or heavy armor) just so they get the chance to see and understand how things work and the results. Since death won't count for anything in this session (and they don't get to keep anything that you give them during the demo) they can get a good grasp of the system before they actually begin "real" play with their characters (and will likewise get a good feel for their characters and abilities just as if they had been playing them for a while).

(BTW, this is also a good way to test out new house-rules in a group as well, in order to see and understand ramifications before introducing them to a "live" gaming session).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
On a somewhat tangential note, they're also struggling with Travellers lack of character progression ala D&D. I've houseruled that instead of simply not learning anything after 8 weeks if they fail their check, they just have to try again next week. Does this sound reasonable? For reference we are playing Mongoose Second Edition.
For players wanting to level up their Traveller characters, they would have to make the case for why their characters would need leveling up. So far, no player has been able to. Usually, a light goes on above their head, and the cases are dropped. And then characters can begin to get created.
I would explain to them that the Character Generation system (i.e. "Prior Career") is where you are doing all of your "leveling up" (in other words, you are rolling up 5th, 8th, or 12th level character equivalents to start with based on the number of terms you spend in Character Generation). You do not start "green" as a 1st level character - you are already experienced). The trade off is that you have to deal with aging the longer you stay in your Prior Career(s).

"Advancement" comes thru setting and achieving your own goals, and acquiring money, items, and influence, as well as knowledge of the gaming Universe that you can potentially use to your advantage. I actually prefer this to level-based systems such as D&D, as the combination of "leveling up" (and consequently getting more personally powerful) combined with gaining powerful "magic items" at the same time always tends to quickly unbalance a campaign (requiring ever greater obstacles just in order to maintain parity).
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Old January 19th, 2018, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by sulu244 View Post
Thanks for the tips guys! I appreciate it.
Then there is always the rolled up newspaper to the nose. Have one of them, typically the most trigger happy, hit with a projectile weapon big enough to put one or two of his physical stats to zero. A near death experience.

Make this shooting a rare "wow! they actually shot back!" to drive the point home. (You no kill my NPCs all the time, I don't have the bad guys up gun to kill you. )

Just my 2 CR
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