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Traveller 5 Discussion of the Fifth edition of Traveller, released Spring 2013.

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Old December 1st, 2013, 11:15 AM
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Default T5 Sensors

Was looking over the Sensors chapter, and I've begun a love/hate relationship with it.

The chapter tells you the process for using sensors (love), but the sensor task is needlessly convoluted with all the parts necessary for the T5 task system (hate).

Difficulty is based on range to the target, and the target number begins with the TL of the sensor used. Modifiers are either INT or EDU plus Sensor skill level; a modifier made up of Object Size minus Range; and any other mods that may apply.

In addition, it is suggested that the task be performed as an Uncertain Task, where the Ref and the player both roll some dice.

What I hate about this is how complicated and slow the process must be to operate sensors! It's really all because of the task system. The T5 task system continues to be a poor choice for the game, and this a good example expressing that opinion.

Look at how crazy this is:

First, you've got a big handful of dice because we're talking about Space ranges. And, I am talking about a HUGE handful of dice. Orbit to ground sensing is done with 8D. Far Oribt to world is 9D.

Here's another convoluted complication: The scale changes depending on what you are trying to detect. For example, walking around on a planet's surface, using a Mass Detector at Very Distant range (50 km), is a 7D task. But, also, if a ship uses a Grav Sensor out to Attack Range of 2 light seconds, that's also a 7D task.

You've got to refer to the Sensor Charts, cross reference the sensor and the range, to find the difficulty. The charts max out at 12D, corresponding to Deep Space, or 30 light minutes.

(More confusion. Isn't distance measured in km? The chart shows light seconds and light minutes--which means the Ref will need to convert when figuring travel time.)

Next, if you are rolling a huge handful of dice like this, then your target number has got to be high, too, right? Well, your target number is created by the TL of the sensor being used plus the sensor operator's INT or EDU plus his Sensor skill. If you've got a TL 13 sensor and EDU-7, with Skill-4, your target number is 24.

You modify the target number by taking the Size of the object you are trying to detect and subtracting Range from it. The result is a modifier on the sensing task.

And, of course, you would add any other non-standard mods.

Now, I ask you: Would you rather use all of that in a game? Or, would you just like to roll 2D, plus skill and other mods, for a hidden target that only the Ref knows? You throw. He tells you what your sensors report, based on the quality of your throw. Which is easier? Which is more fun?

I used a roll low mechanic for my CT Sensor Rules (see my sig), and even with that, the roll is very simple: Roll Ship's Computer # or less on 1D, 2D, or 3D. The amount of dice you use, 1D-3D, is based on range. The operator's skill is used as a modifier. Pretty simple.

Last edited by Supplement Four; December 1st, 2013 at 11:27 AM..
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