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Old August 2nd, 2017, 10:29 AM
nogoodnames01 nogoodnames01 is offline
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Default Using tweaked Cepheus advancement rules in CT

Hi everyone - this is mostly me talking out a potential house rule, but I'm interested in your opinions! I almost certainly missed something.

I've been running a CT game with a small group for a few months now, inspired in large part by the Out of the Box blog series and other notes on proto-Traveller. I'm mostly just using my pdf's of the original three LBB's, supplemented by the Cepheus vehicle design rules and (through a kludged spreadsheet generator) the star system generation rules in CT: Scouts, the JTAS medicine and first aid rules, and a touch of Rule 68A (posted here on the forums) for my side of the screen. We've had a great time playing more or less RAW.

All that to say! One sticking point we have run into is that picking up skills in CT is simultaneously too easy and way too hard. Immediately (or in the very short term) being able to pick up a boost to a skill just through practice feels incredibly strong, but requiring practice for four years to make that increase permanent is, well, punishing. Combine this with the inability to develop new skills, and it doesn't feel satisfying to me.

It has had some interesting effects on play. My group has been willing to hire on guards and porters, but once the full impact of the skill system became apparent they also became very interested in hiring a ships doctor (none of them have the medic skill above 1) and a ships steward (ditto steward).

What I'm eying is the Cepheus rules for advancement, which in contrast to CT, are pretty simple. Add up a characters total skills - to gain or improve a skill, add the level you're improving to to that total, and that generates the number of weeks needed to train. I'd tack on that a trainer (in graduating levels of intensity) is required - for skill 1, a small reference library and study schedule will do, but higher levels almost certainly require an actual tutor.

I see a few benefits here. First, picking up a working knowledge of a new skill is something I think any working professional as depicted in Traveller should be able to do - I'm a biologist by trade, but I've picked up Watercraft-1 and Medic-1 through training in boating and first aid certifications over the past few year. It also gives lower skill characters - like a friends PC who mustered out with bribery-1 at age 22 - a bit of a niche, where they start out with no specialization and instead quickly develop one in play. It's also, frankly, quite a bit less book keeping than timing eight years worth of practice.

My concern is that it will lead to immediate skill bloat that will deform the PC's skills away from the norm of a typical trav skillset and make them individually far superior to NPC's (which I usually just snag from 1001 characters/COTI). I also worry that it could lead to relatively low skill PC's becoming doctors over a very short period of time - for example, a quick dry run with a skill total 3 guy has him going from Medic-0 to Medic 3 in about a semesters worth of dedicated study. That isn't what I want.

So I'm thinking of using the following ruleset to replace the rules in book 2:
-Total of all a characters skills generates the base training time.
-A new skill is gained at 0, and must be improved from there.
-Learning a new skill or improving a skill takes the BTT+the new skill level (0 for new), and requires training materials appropriate to the level of skill, likely requiring a purchase or hiring a tutor.
-The same skill cannot be improved consecutively. Further, a skill must be actively used in stressful real life situations before it can be improved again.
-I'll probably tack on picking up languages using this system, with 0 being base competency, 1 being accented-fluent, 2 being fully fluent, etc.

So looking at our BTT 3 guy again, now he starts at paramedic school and spends 3 weeks getting Medic-0, another 3 weeks picking up admin-0, then after a harrowing exam involving the simulated treatment of an accident victim he spends another 4 weeks picking up Medic-1. This feels a lot more like a natural development cycle to me.

Anyhow! What do y'all think? I'm not saying this is perfect (I think I'll actually sort of miss the incentive to hire people the old system gave), but I think it'll be serviceable, at least!
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