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T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller Discussion of T4 - Marc Miller's Traveller from Imperium Games and the Milieu 0 setting.

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Old October 10th, 2018, 12:06 PM
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Default T4 Experience Points -- raising characteristics and skills

As I'm gearing up to start a new T4 campaign, I've been giving some thought to the experience points system. I understand this is not a particularly popular topic within Traveller. But I think at least some sort of quantitative system should be in place for a character's self-improvement.

I also understand Traveller, over its incarnations, has been somewhat conservative in allowing characters to grow in this manner, and certainly isn't interested in characters rocketing through skill levels like they do in D&D. But perhaps I have had a couple of ideas that would strike a happy medium between complete stagnation and sending the character's rolls through the roof.

In the T4 rulebook, it talks about typically a Referee awarding a single experience point for succeeding though an adventure. And, perhaps, the Referee might award a second experience point to a particular player for outstanding role-playing and contributions during the game.

From there the rulebook talks about spending an experience point, and rolling a dice to see if your skill level improves. I'd like to suggest an alternate idea.

To raise a skill level, or characteristic, a character must already possess the previous skill level, or characteristic, and spend a number of experience points equal to the level they are trying to achieve.

For example, to raise the skill Pilot-2 to Pilot-3, the character must already possess Pilot-2, and must spend 3 experience points to raise it to Pilot-3. (Thus would probably have to succeed in three gaming adventures, before doing so.) To raise her skill level to Pilot-4, she would have to already possess Pilot-3, and spend an additional 4 experience points. Thus to raise her skill level from Pilot-2 to Pilot-4, it would take a total of 7 experience points, and have to been active in seven adventures.

The same would apply with characteristics. To raise a Dex-7 to Dex-9, a character would have to spend 8 experience to get her dexterity to Dex-8, then an additional 9 experience points to get it to Dex-9, for a total of 17 experience points, or 17 gaming sessions.

To raise her social standing from a Lady, (Soc-B,) to a Countess, (Soc-D,) it would take 12 experience points to rise to the level of a Baroness (Soc-C,) and 13 more experience points to rise to the level of a Countess (Soc-D,) for a total of 25 experience points.

What do you think? Is this a happy medium? After twenty-five adventures, is this enough to get the Moot's attention, and for them, and the Emperor, to act accordingly?

I personally am pretty satisfied with the rules as they are written about obtaining "everyman" skills. I'm still mulling around the idea of how to obtain a new skill the character doesn't already possess that requires a little more "technical expertise."
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Old October 10th, 2018, 01:41 PM
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My only rule for any Traveller experience system for any version:

no experience system should allow a character to improve their characteristics and skills by more than can be achieved during a character generation term.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 02:29 PM
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This is a T4 question, CT, and other edition answers are off topic, and will be considered edition warring if continued, as they do not answer the original posters question, nor do they add to the conversation as they have been presented so far. T4 only please.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 02:46 PM
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I have tried that, ManOfGray. It resulted in rather rapid rise in skill levels.

I found it VERY unsatisfactory.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 02:48 PM
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I have used a similar system, and found it to be adequate for the game, so long as you do not award more than the 1 or 2 points of xp per session.

I would also suggest that you ONLY allow a skill to be raised if it was used in the session immediately prior to the last xp gain. (No dumping everything into a skill that they haven't been using)

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Old October 10th, 2018, 03:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManOfGrey View Post
. . . To raise a skill level, or characteristic, a character must already possess the previous skill level, or characteristic, and spend a number of experience points equal to the level they are trying to achieve.

For example, to raise the skill Pilot-2 to Pilot-3, the character must already possess Pilot-2, and must spend 3 experience points to raise it to Pilot-3. (Thus would probably have to succeed in three gaming adventures, before doing so.) To raise her skill level to Pilot-4, she would have to already possess Pilot-3, and spend an additional 4 experience points. Thus to raise her skill level from Pilot-2 to Pilot-4, it would take a total of 7 experience points, and have to been active in seven adventures.

The same would apply with characteristics. To raise a Dex-7 to Dex-9, a character would have to spend 8 experience to get her dexterity to Dex-8, then an additional 9 experience points to get it to Dex-9, for a total of 17 experience points, or 17 gaming sessions.

To raise her social standing from a Lady, (Soc-B,) to a Countess, (Soc-D,) it would take 12 experience points to rise to the level of a Baroness (Soc-C,) and 13 more experience points to rise to the level of a Countess (Soc-D,) for a total of 25 experience points. . . .
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Originally Posted by aramis View Post
I have tried that, ManOfGray. It resulted in rather rapid rise in skill levels.

I found it VERY unsatisfactory.

Suppose I pull in an idea from Runequest skill-increases and modify it slightly for your T4 application above.

In RQ, you have the opportunity to increase a skill after a session when you have used a skill successfully during that session (you put a check-mark by the skill as a reminder). Whereas regular skill checks during play are normally roll-under skill-level on a d100, when checking for a skill increase after a session, you try to roll over the skill-percentage on d100 (i.e. low-skills are hard to get a check-mark in the first place, but fairly easy to get an increase when you do; high skills are easy to get a check-mark during play, but difficult to get an increase afterward).

For T4, suppose you award your experience "point" as you note above, but make it simply a "chance" to get a skill increase. Perhaps when someone wants to try for a skill increase, they try to roll over their current skill level on 2D-7 (this is the same as a "FLUX" roll in T5, generating a value between -5 and +5 on a normal distribution, with "0" as the mean value). This would slow down the rate of skill increase that Aramis mentions.

So, to recap:
  1. Spend the points as you note above
  2. Try to roll above current skill on 2D-7
  3. If successful, increase skill by one point
  4. If not successful, no skill increase

In either case, the skill experience points are lost after the attempt is made.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 03:24 PM
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There's a plethora of point based systems to inspire. Your simple "1 pt for Skill 1, 2 point for Skill 2, etc." is a geometric system.

I'm not familiar with the dice base T4 system. Those systems can be useful, or very frustrating if they don't have some kind of bad luck protection.

Perhaps, a moving target number (higher difficulty) for each higher skill level, but a +1 DM each year you try. Helps model (perhaps poorly) how someone takes to it quickly but then struggles, but also those "aha" moments where everything just clicks.

It can be "unfair" competitively (in the short run), but should all rinse out in the wash.

In the end, addressing the Kill X Vargr idea, it IS a game mechanic, and mechanics have numbers and thresholds and levels that CAN be reduced to "one more Vargr and I get to [level, roll, pick, whatever]". But part of the play experience is to weave the mechanics in to the narrative.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 03:45 PM
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Default So how do we learn?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whipsnade View Post
What you're failing to understand is that experience isn't automatic. You only gain from an experience when you make the effort to learn from that experience. The die rolls in the T4 system model a PC's ability to make that effort to learn.
Here is where I think you've hit the nail on the head. And this is a point I think you and I are just going to have to agree to disagree.

Because I believe learning from experience is "automatic."

If you go drive a truck everyday, you're going to get good at it. If you play the violin everyday, you're going to get good at it. If you fly a plane everyday, you're going to get good at it. Real-life astronauts don't get in a simulator for hours upon untold hours to learn to fly spaceships, and might get better at it. They do!

Now, if you're suggesting the random dice roll is to simulate a "light-bulb" moment, the moment when sudden realization makes something clear, I can see your point. However, having experienced at least one or two "light-bulb" moments myself, I'm not sure I agree. I believe the "light-bulb" moments I experienced were the accumulation of hard work in trying to understand a problem. I don't know about anyone else, but a lot of trial and error goes into my "light-bulb" moments.

Which, I suppose, is at the heart of our disagreement. Did my "light-bulb" moment occur because I rolled a high number on a dice? Or was it inevitable? As long as I continued to put the work and effort into trying to solve a problem, I would eventually arrive at an answer? (It's just that harder problems require more experience points.)

Where I believe we do agree... is that no work, and no effort, is worth no experience points.

But I believe extra hard work and effort is worth more experience points. I believe the T4 experience point rules already take that into account. The Referee is encouraged to give extra experience to players with particularly good role-playing, and who contribute extra to the story. But I don't see how a random event simulates this. The rules, as presented in the T4 rulebook, don't allow for extra rolls for extra experience.
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Old October 10th, 2018, 04:07 PM
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I don’t know the mechanics of T4 but what you’re proposing sounds reasonable to me. I use the same basic structure in my Mongoose game (ie, 1 XP per level desired, no skipping levels).

However I do not award 1 XP per session, we use the Effect mechanic to generate the check marks. You could probably find a similar mechanic within T4. This means the skills the PCs use most are advancing but the ones they don’t languish.

HOUSE RULES:Any modified roll that exceeds the target number by 6+ generates check marks in that skill or stat. When you’ve accumulated enough check marks it requires 1 week per level of study, costs of 1D KCr per week and a successful Average check against the current level.

So your Lady would need to roll SOC tasks with Target+6 or better at least 12 times during play, then spend 12 weeks training and studying then spend Cr12000 - Cr72000 for the study materials/mentor/etc and THEN make an Avg (8+) roll with SOC to gain the increase.

When I spell it all out like this, seems rather stingy
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Old October 10th, 2018, 04:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whartung View Post
There's a plethora of point based systems to inspire. Your simple "1 pt for Skill 1, 2 point for Skill 2, etc." is a geometric system.

I'm not familiar with the dice base T4 system. Those systems can be useful, or very frustrating if they don't have some kind of bad luck protection.
T4 is 1d to 6d vs Att+Skill; in T4.1, if skill < dice, +1d (non recursive).
Skills are 1 per year +1 per commission, promotion, or special duty rolled.

Advancement on skills of level 1+: is spend 1XP on each skill used since last award, then roll 1d (6 open ends as 6+1d6) for > skill.
Attributes require the attribute have been worked upon for level months, and are one roll per month thereafter, but otherwise are just like skills, noting that they can open end twice or even thrice, to allow up to racial maximum.

Essentially, T5 prototype.
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