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  #21  
Old May 16th, 2008, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
If you're arrangeing stats to taste, that's a form of min/maxing.
I don't think I'd go quite that far. I find that "min-maxing" tends to be one of those highly subjective terms that seems to mean whatever the user wants it to mean.

In any case, it is true that a rational player would probably prefer to put a "2" on SOC rather than DEX. But this is merely because most campaigns reward a high DEX more than a high SOC (mine certainly does). If you think that this is a problem, the solution lies (IMHO) with the referee, not necessarily the character generation system.

IMHO, the best solution is not (IMHO) to deprive the player of the power to define the kind of character he prefers to play. Rather, it is for the Referee to design a campaign that would make SOC (or whatever) valuable enough to give a player an incentive to apply a scarce resource (a high attribute) to it.

A campaign that values certain attributes highly does not correct that "problem" by requiring random character generation. It merely prevents players from exercising rational choices and allocating resources efficiently. The result is that the campaign rewards luck (by rolling high on valuable attributes) rather than rewarding a player's intentional design choices. Reasonable folks can disagree as to how much they like rewarding luck vs. skill. But I don't think that there's a strong case that random character generation is inherently superior.

FWIW, I prefer to let my players design the kinds of characters they want to play. I am quite happy to let players take the random path as well, and will modestly reward such courage.

My campaign style is well known to my players and I can't object if they optimize their characters accordingly. If I want more variety, then *I* have incentivize my players so that they will choose a variety of character types. As a practical matter, I am willing to reward non-optimised characters with a few more skills. Because let's face it...the ideal character in my combat intensive campaigns is probably campaign is a former Marine/Army commando. If I want a doctor or bureaucrat, it is my obligation to make those characters attractive enough for my players to choose them.
  #22  
Old May 16th, 2008, 02:48 PM
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If I read you correctly, one of the muster out options is to get a ship share. A ship share is worth 1% of a ship.

So, you reduce the cost of the ship by 1% per share?

I'm not quite clear on how this works. Can you provide a more detailed example?

Can the ship shares be traded for cash, like a High Passage?
IMHO, the ship shares rule is a pointless gloss that addresses a non-existent problem.

At the end of the day, someone who can't keep up with how much equity he has in a starship (a) won't be helped much by shares, which merely replace a fixed amount with a fraction (that is inconsistently valued from ship to ship, making it a hassle); and (b) probably isn't smart enough to play Traveller in the first place.

Also, the shares make calculating things like payments unreasonably complex. Finally, they are patently absurd. As any owner of a closely held business can confirm, interests in privately held ventures (or property) are *not* fungible. Like almost everything that is not fungible, they are illiquid; very hard to sell and whatever markets exist for them are extremely limited. There is nothing in the Traveller future to explain why this wouldn't be the case going forward.

The most straightforward approach would simply be to provide characters with X credits of equity in a starship.

Things like starship payments are easy to handle -- use one of the 5 million online mortage payment calculators. This is far easier than wasting time with ship shares IMHO.

(This is based on the playtest rules, since I STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVED MY COPY OF MGT).
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Old May 16th, 2008, 03:12 PM
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Actually, what out group has found is that ship shares encourage troupe-style play. That is, we've found that a viable campaign can be based around building an entire community of Travellers who all have an investment in a single ship. Each player rolls up not one, but 2-3 characters each (of varying levels of experience) and they all pool the shipshares together. This way, individual characters pay much less on their monthly payments.

Not all characters will be used for each encounter/story obviously, but rather, a party will be made up from the pool of characters available to deal with a particular problem (or opportunity). Yet, collectively, it's the ship's community that is at the centre of the overall campaign.

And Ship Shares can't be traded for cash, or anything else, by the way. They are supposedly an accumulation of 'favours' or a credit rating to reduce payments.
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  #24  
Old May 16th, 2008, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
The most straightforward approach would simply be to provide characters with X credits of equity in a starship.
Ship shares date back to CT (if we're talking about the same thing in MGT). The Traveller Adventure speaks of crewers owning shares in the vessel (related to the ship's profits). That adventure also spoke of the "Shadow Fund". It wasn't hard to figure or keep track of.

If MGT is detailing the same thing, then I think its interesting. If its more to what you describe, then, you're right--it's gloss that should be eliminated (and an example of more bad game design).

It all depends on how the ship shares are used in the game (which is why I posed the questions).






Side Note

An interesting idea for Traveller (something I'd expect to see in a magazine article) would be the description of a "market" that exists for Ship Owners.

Shares in vessels would be traded like stocks into today's real world market. Value would move up and down. Ship payments would be used to pay dividends to share holders. Share holders would be unseen multiple people on various worlds.

There's always a question about how a character is supposed to come up with the 10% down payment to buy this multi-million-credit vessels in the first place. The answer to that could be--the ISSM (Imperial Ship Shares Market).

"Hey, what's the 'issum' doing today? Is it up or down?"

Characters could even dabble in the market with their extra funds.

Large shipping lines, like Tukera, would be your steady growth shares. They'd be expensive, but, like T-Bills or a CD, they're almost guarranteed to pay you a small profit over a period of time. These would be akin to "grade A" stocks.

This would be a good way for a GM to tie up some extra money the players have made from speculative trade and such. The players can't touch the money for, like, a game year, or they pay a healthy penalty. But, if they leave it in, they'll get a small percentage return on their money.

A campaign goal could be to garner enough profit from speculative trade to buy enough of these types of shares in the ISSM market so that the dividend pays the ship's annual overhaul every year.

Investment in shares for the one-off tramp freighters (player-style vessels) would be quite risky. These would be akin to junk bonds or penny stocks. But, if you hit with one of them, your return is likely to be astronomical--big return on a small investment.

Like the lottery, people on several worlds in the subsector would invest in these things since they're cheap. They're likely to lose money, but the investment is small. And, if you hit--you hit big.

All sorts of interesting angles come to the GM's fingertips with this. If the players decide not to pay their ship payment (which is used to pay dividends and returns on shares in the ISSM), then the GM can have agents from a government enforcement agency come after them (kinda the FBI meets the SEC).

How about that for an idea to "grow" the Traveller universe.

A word of caution. If you use this idea in your game, keep it simple. See how simple ship payments are in CT? In the real world, they'd be a lot more messy. Keep it fairly simple and easy to keep track of.

The ISSM market should be a simple mechanic to add to the game too.

Whaddya think? I think it's neat.
  #25  
Old May 16th, 2008, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Echo View Post
Actually, what out group has found is that ship shares encourage troupe-style play. That is, we've found that a viable campaign can be based around building an entire community of Travellers who all have an investment in a single ship. Each player rolls up not one, but 2-3 characters each (of varying levels of experience) and they all pool the shipshares together. This way, individual characters pay much less on their monthly payments.

Not all characters will be used for each encounter/story obviously, but rather, a party will be made up from the pool of characters available to deal with a particular problem (or opportunity). Yet, collectively, it's the ship's community that is at the centre of the overall campaign.

And Ship Shares can't be traded for cash, or anything else by the way.
We don't see eye-to-eye very much at all on MGT, Echo, but I will say that what you mention above is an exceptional idea that bleeds role playing opportunities.

Good job.
  #26  
Old May 16th, 2008, 03:23 PM
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I don't think I'd go quite that far. I find that "min-maxing" tends to be one of those highly subjective terms that seems to mean whatever the user wants it to mean.
Maybe so. What it means to me is anytime a player has control over the elements of an rpg and can allocate resources to his statistical advantage--not necessarily to the credit of his role playing ability. Many times, role playing and min/maxing are at odds with each other, usually to the deteriment of role playing ability.

But, not all min/maxing is "bad". As I said before, it depends on the game and the players. D&D begs for min/maxing. It's about Big Damn Heroes. Same thing with Star Wars. Or, the James Bond RPG.

Traveller, imo, is not a game where the default should be min/maxing. Traveller, to me, is about real people caught up in extraordinary events.

CT has some min/maxing of its own. After the first blood rule is used, any damage that follows is up to the defender to allocate at his discretion. He's min/maxing the damage, (really, minimizing it) to keep his character alive.

I've got no problem with that sort of min/maxing at all.

I'd have no problem with MGT min/maxing stats if it were an optional rule, like the point based system. I do believe, though, that the designer should have not made the default system a min/max, arrange to taste system.

Again, I think it speaks to his design choices in other areas of the game as well.
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Old May 16th, 2008, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
The ship shares have arched my eyebrow. I'm interested in those.
This is how they work: you either have "X ships shares" (X being 1 or 2 in most cases) as a benefit or "Free Trader" (or whatever ship) as a benefit (granting you 5 shares towards the purchase of that ship or 2 shares towards the purchase of any other ship). For example, if you've rolled Free Trader three times and 1 Ship Share once, you either have 16% (5%+5%+5%+1%) shares for a free trader or 7% (2%+2%+2%+1%) in any ship you want. You could add the shares of all people in the group and then significantly reduce the remaining payments to be made on the ship's mortgage.

Don't like it? No problem - ignore the shares, and treat Free Trader (or Yacht or Corsair or Science Ship) benefits the same way you do in CT (i.e. give a ship outright except for the free trader, for which you have to pay 120% of the listed cost to the bank over the next 40 years). Then treat "1 share" as mid or low passage and "2 shares" as high passage.

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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
It seems to me, that the contacts come naturally from chargen. They don't need to be forced on a character. For example, in CT, a character could be fresh from his homeworld, having never travelled anywhere before (and therefore, all of his contacts would likely be on his homeworld and not ever "seen" in the game).
Contacts are received in an abstract way: in most cases, the benefit reads "contact" or "ally" or the event includes a "gain a contact/rival/ally/enemy". The contact is an NPC with game-relevant use for the player (e.g. information source, fence, arms dealer and so on). The player is free to choose who the contact is (with the referee's permission, of course). The player could have many other relevant NPCs, including family members, love interests and friends, but those don't need to use any rules as long as they don't have concrete game effects.

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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
To Explain: MGT has the "arrange to taste" stats. Let's all be happy! Where as CT has the "you get what you roll" stats. MGT has "fail survival? no prob! We'll fix it!" Where as CT has "fail survival? You're dead."
MGT has the "Iron Man" optional rule which has exactly this "fail survival? You're dead."
  #28  
Old May 16th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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This is how they work: you either have "X ships shares" (X being 1 or 2 in most cases) as a benefit or "Free Trader" (or whatever ship) as a benefit (granting you 5 shares towards the purchase of that ship or 2 shares towards the purchase of any other ship). For example, if you've rolled Free Trader three times and 1 Ship Share once, you either have 16% (5%+5%+5%+1%) shares for a free trader or 7% (2%+2%+2%+1%) in any ship you want. You could add the shares of all people in the group and then significantly reduce the remaining payments to be made on the ship's mortgage.

Don't like it? No problem - ignore the shares...
Actually, I think this is the first thing about MGT that I do like.

So...if I follow you correctly...

I roll up a Merchant. On the Muster Out table, I roll Free Trader three times (and I hope that's just for an example...it's not that easy to roll it three times, is it? I mean, it's, at most, a 1-in-6 chance of getting it, right? Maybe a roll of "7", needing a +1DM to get it?) and Ship Shares once. So, I have 16% Ship Shares.

I don't know what it is in MGT, but in CT, a Free Trader is MCr37.08.

What you're saying is that my Merchant character won't be financing a 37 million credit ship. He's got 16% equity, right? So, that means we dicount the ship by 16%, reducing it by MCr5.9, and we end up financing MCr31.1?

Is that right?

Or...does it mean that we still finance the full MCr37.08, but the character is entitled to 16% of the profits that the vessel nets during its voyages (as the ship shares in The Traveller Adventure work).

Which of those two ways is correct, according to MGT?

Or, do I have it all wrong?



And...what if a player rolls those 16 ship shares but says, "Hey, I'm really not interested in the hassel associated with a ship. I want to turn them in for cash. Can't I sell them, maybe at a discount, as I can a High Passage?"

So...can the ship shares be sold to give the character more starting cash?

(I know I can rule this as a GM...I want to know if there's a rule for it in the MGT book, though, giving me a guideline as to what 1 Ship Share can be sold for.)
  #29  
Old May 16th, 2008, 03:53 PM
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P.9 says (under Advancement): "if your result is equal or less than the number of terms spent in this career, then you cannot continue in this career after this term".
Thanks - I missed that part - I kept using the Enlist roll for continuation in a given career (keeping it from being automatic, but essentially leaving it unlimited).
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Old May 16th, 2008, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
What you're saying is that my Merchant character won't be financing a 37 million credit ship. He's got 16% equity, right? So, that means we dicount the ship by 16%, reducing it by MCr5.9, and we end up financing MCr31.1?

Is that right?
Yes - they also include a mechanic for getting a "Used" or less than pristine ship which can provide up to 10 additional ship shares. In exchange, you end up with a ship whose systems aren't quite as good as new (basically a -1DM to a task type, such as sensors).

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And...what if a player rolls those 16 ship shares but says, "Hey, I'm really not interested in the hassel associated with a ship. I want to turn them in for cash. Can't I sell them, maybe at a discount, as I can a High Passage?"

So...can the ship shares be sold to give the character more starting cash?

(I know I can rule this as a GM...I want to know if there's a rule for it in the MGT book, though, giving me a guideline as to what 1 Ship Share can be sold for.)
I don't see any guidelines for cashing in Ship-shares. My guess is that they figured EVERY group will need a ship, and so took a page from TNE to get the PC's to all chip in toward one. In the playtest, instead of a ship share being 1%, they were each worth 1MCr with the description that this wasn't cash itself, but rather connections, scrounged parts, and yes, some savings. Again, I don't think there ever was any intent to allow PC's to cash in Ship Shares.
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