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Old March 12th, 2019, 04:08 PM
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Default Talked to Marc Miller about JOT @ GaryCon

Hey all,

So after killing 1 out of 3 characters in CharGen with Marc Miller at GaryCon XI he was gracious in taking questions from those of us at the table. My main question was about the perennial argument about how does Jack of All Trades (JOT) work in Classic Traveller (CT).

I asked what his conception of the skill was and this was the response (paraphrased, sorry I didn't turn my phone recorder as I wasn't interviewing him):

1) JOT was meant to gap fill any skills not present in the Traveller party. If there is a Scout with Pilot skill, you were not needed. If said Scout gets eaten on the planet and no one else has expertise in Pilot then you fill in with JOT. Which leads to...

2) When resolving the above Pilot throw, you have Pilot-0 so you don't get hit with any mod penalties for not being "trained" but you get the mod bonus of your JOT when making the throw (JOT-1 = +1, JOT = +2, ect.). If you get more than a +1 mod per level of expertise with a different throw, then JOT gives you +2 per skill level, +3 per skill level, etc.

3) I asked what the term "Standing" meant (as it is not defined for skills anywhere else) and that got me a great story about the process of writing the 1977 three black books. The basic answer to the question is that JOT will never allow you to get hired as if you had a skill (Pilot, Steward, etc.) See below...

How It Was Made...
Ever wonder why the original three black books were all one font size with no bold or italics? Simple, they were using old IBM ball typewriters with IBM magnetic memory cards. Each card (and card reader) were about the size of a chair. Each memory card could hold a single page.

You had to type in blind (touch type) each page. Then you would hit a button and it would print out a page. If an error appeared on the typed page, you hit another button to stop it, then back over it, make the correction to the memory card and go forward again.

If you wanted a different font, font size, bold or italic the typewriter would stop, you would have change the ball (and remember which one was supposed to be on there) let it type, then change it back or use another ball for the next thing, gawds help you if you wanted bold-italic together...

Suffice to say there where only so many editing passes you were mentally capable of making... I cannot imagine trying to write a book like this.

Thank you to Marc Miller for being so gracious in answering all of our questions and for a wonderful seminar two days later (Traveller 201).

Bryan "Saracenus" Blumklotz
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Old March 12th, 2019, 04:32 PM
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Any videos, podcasts or transcripts about this even?
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Old March 12th, 2019, 04:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike wightman View Post
Any videos, podcasts or transcripts about this even?
I believe both the Traveller 101 and 201 seminars were taped. I have no info on when/if they will go up on YouTube (that is in Luke Gygax's hands). I am interested because I was a panelist on a World of Greyhawk seminar and I would like to see my own work as well.

When I get some info I will post back up.

Bryan
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Old March 12th, 2019, 04:54 PM
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Thank you for sharing!
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Old March 13th, 2019, 02:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saracenus View Post
How It Was Made...
Ever wonder why the original three black books were all one font size with no bold or italics? Simple, they were using old IBM ball typewriters with IBM magnetic memory cards. Each card (and card reader) were about the size of a chair. Each memory card could hold a single page.

You had to type in blind (touch type) each page. Then you would hit a button and it would print out a page. If an error appeared on the typed page, you hit another button to stop it, then back over it, make the correction to the memory card and go forward again.

If you wanted a different font, font size, bold or italic the typewriter would stop, you would have change the ball (and remember which one was supposed to be on there) let it type, then change it back or use another ball for the next thing, gawds help you if you wanted bold-italic together...

Suffice to say there where only so many editing passes you were mentally capable of making... I cannot imagine trying to write a book like this.
I used a Xerox that was around at that time. Yep, you're basically typing blind until you save and then print to see the result. Hard to design char sheets with.

Last edited by ShawnDriscoll; June 4th, 2019 at 04:17 PM..
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Old June 4th, 2019, 06:02 AM
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Would love to see those videos - no news on when they might be up?
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Old June 4th, 2019, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Saracenus View Post
2) When resolving the above Pilot throw, you have Pilot-0 so you don't get hit with any mod penalties for not being "trained" but you get the mod bonus of your JOT when making the throw (JOT-1 = +1, JOT = +2, ect.). If you get more than a +1 mod per level of expertise with a different throw, then JOT gives you +2 per skill level, +3 per skill level, etc.
Hmm, from my read of the CT JOT description, the first part makes sense. But the second seems to me at odds with the text (Starter Traveller, page 15):

Quote:
Jack of all trades can be considered to confer skill level-0 in every other skill (but never level-1).
My read of that is that although you can avoid negative DMs (or attempt a task without the appropriate skill when required), you can never get a positive DM when using JOT. This does mean any skill level beyond -1 has no benefit.

Curious how others approach JOT in CT - is the skill level of JOT applied as a DM?
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Old June 4th, 2019, 11:51 AM
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Sorry, I know itís a CT thread but I really like how Mongoose handles this - each level of JOT provides DM+1

BUT

the net effect of JOT can never be a positive DM, it only decreases negative DMs.

Feels very similar to the Starter Trav rule mentioned above.

In MgT, the Unskilled penalty is always DM-3 so JOT is chipping away at that as opposed to providing Skill-0 in everything. Until you get JOT-3 that is, which is the max in the RAW.
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Old June 4th, 2019, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orffen View Post
Hmm, from my read of the CT JOT description, the first part makes sense. But the second seems to me at odds with the text (Starter Traveller, page 15):



My read of that is that although you can avoid negative DMs (or attempt a task without the appropriate skill when required), you can never get a positive DM when using JOT. This does mean any skill level beyond -1 has no benefit.

Curious how others approach JOT in CT - is the skill level of JOT applied as a DM?

Shocking really to see that's what they intended- I think by the early 80s we got the actual RAW because of the overpowering bit of the original skill.


My current take is that it's Skill-0 in everything and the JoaT skill level is how many times you can try to do/recover. So JoaT or JOT-4 is still an awesome sophont, just not godlike.
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Old June 4th, 2019, 04:26 PM
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Read the '77 rules if you want to just role-play Jack-o-T.
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