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Referee's Lounge Discussion of how to (and not to) Referee Traveller and Cepheus Engine games. No edition warring allowed.

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  #11  
Old June 23rd, 2019, 09:15 PM
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"777777 is the targeted final result"

well, if the ruleset wants a targeted result and penalizes other results, them might as well just run the target. "777777" it is. though I don't think such a person would qualify for flight school or marine graduation. "we're looking for a few average men."
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  #12  
Old June 24th, 2019, 12:34 AM
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Default Getting into Flight School.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
"777777 is the targeted final result"

well, if the ruleset wants a targeted result and penalizes other results, them might as well just run the target. "777777" it is. though I don't think such a person would qualify for flight school or marine graduation. "we're looking for a few average men."
Perfect example! Let's look at that.

In T4, to get into Flight School, it's required a candidate must either attend college, or better yet, the Naval Academy.

To get into the Naval Academy, you must have a Social Standing of 6+.
You get bonuses for Admission for an Education 9+, and Social Standing A+
You get bonuses for Perseverance if Endurance is 9+, and Intelligence is 9+.
You get bonuses for Honors if Intelligence is 9+, and Endurance is B+.

Flight School gives bonuses for Admission if Dexterity is 9+.
You get bonuses Perseverance if Endurance is 9+, and Intelligence is 9+.

So how can you tailor your character to give you some good odds? How can your character prepare himself for Flight School?

I might go at it like this:
Social Standing of 6+ is required. Intelligence of 9+ comes up a lot. And looking at the chart, if he misses being an honers graduate from the Naval Academy, he's probably going to need that Dexterity of 9+.

A Social Standing of 6 costs 6 points.
An Intelligence of 9 costs 6+7+8+9 = 30 points.
A Dexterity of 9 costs 6+7+8+9 = 30 points.

Thats 66 points out of 80, with 14 points left over.

So far, we have a UPP of 595956. With the remaining points left over, you could either bring two of the 5s up to 6s, or one of the 5s to a 7. Just in this example I'll say I bring up Strength and Endurance to 6s.

Final UPP: 696956 (with 2 points left over for later.)

You're not perfect, granted. And you don't get everything. But you have a shot. And probably just as good a shot if you rolled dice and left it to random chance instead. Isn't that better than leaving it to the whim of the dice and dumb luck?

Should I grab some dice and see how far I get?

Admission to the Naval Academy: 4 or less, (which stinks no matter who you are.) DM +1, if Edu 9+, DM +2 if Soc A+. For this character, the roll is 4 or less. Come on dice, treat me right... I rolled a 9. I would have failed no matter what my stats are.

Let's try college. Prerequisite: Edu 4+
Admission: 5 or less, DM +1 if Int 8+, DM +1 if Soc 9+, DM +2 if Edu 9+. For this character, the roll is 6 or less. I rolled an 8. With this roll, I would have had to have above average stats to succeed. An Edu of 9+ and either an Int of 8+, or Soc 9+.

I don't remember this being too much different in any of the versions of Traveller I've played.

(What if I just enlisted in the Navy? Enlistment 6 or less, DM +1 if Int 8+, DM +2 if Edu 9+. For this character the roll is 7 or less. HA! I rolled a 6. I'm in!)
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  #13  
Old June 24th, 2019, 02:12 AM
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It's worth noting that the sum of attributes of the average generated PC by experienced players are going to be well above 42 total points. In my campaigns, typical was closer to 60.

This is a side effect of the task system valuing skill and attribute the same, but attributes applying far more widely.
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  #14  
Old June 24th, 2019, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManOfGrey View Post
Perfect example! Let's look at that.

In T4, to get into Flight School, it's required a candidate must either attend college, or better yet, the Naval Academy.

To get into the Naval Academy, you must have a Social Standing of 6+.
You get bonuses for Admission for an Education 9+, and Social Standing A+
You get bonuses for Perseverance if Endurance is 9+, and Intelligence is 9+.
You get bonuses for Honors if Intelligence is 9+, and Endurance is B+.

Flight School gives bonuses for Admission if Dexterity is 9+.
You get bonuses Perseverance if Endurance is 9+, and Intelligence is 9+.

So how can you tailor your character to give you some good odds? How can your character prepare himself for Flight School?

I might go at it like this:
Social Standing of 6+ is required. Intelligence of 9+ comes up a lot. And looking at the chart, if he misses being an honers graduate from the Naval Academy, he's probably going to need that Dexterity of 9+.

A Social Standing of 6 costs 6 points.
An Intelligence of 9 costs 6+7+8+9 = 30 points.
A Dexterity of 9 costs 6+7+8+9 = 30 points.

Thats 66 points out of 80, with 14 points left over.

So far, we have a UPP of 595956. With the remaining points left over, you could either bring two of the 5s up to 6s, or one of the 5s to a 7. Just in this example I'll say I bring up Strength and Endurance to 6s.

Final UPP: 696956 (with 2 points left over for later.)

You're not perfect, granted. And you don't get everything. But you have a shot. And probably just as good a shot if you rolled dice and left it to random chance instead. Isn't that better than leaving it to the whim of the dice and dumb luck?

Should I grab some dice and see how far I get?

Admission to the Naval Academy: 4 or less, (which stinks no matter who you are.) DM +1, if Edu 9+, DM +2 if Soc A+. For this character, the roll is 4 or less. Come on dice, treat me right... I rolled a 9. I would have failed no matter what my stats are.

Let's try college. Prerequisite: Edu 4+
Admission: 5 or less, DM +1 if Int 8+, DM +1 if Soc 9+, DM +2 if Edu 9+. For this character, the roll is 6 or less. I rolled an 8. With this roll, I would have had to have above average stats to succeed. An Edu of 9+ and either an Int of 8+, or Soc 9+.

I don't remember this being too much different in any of the versions of Traveller I've played.

(What if I just enlisted in the Navy? Enlistment 6 or less, DM +1 if Int 8+, DM +2 if Edu 9+. For this character the roll is 7 or less. HA! I rolled a 6. I'm in!)
Better to invest your points in INT 8 and SOC 9 (total 51 points, leaving you 29 more of other stats (hint: don't use any in EDU)).

This would make College admission 7- (so over 50% probablilty ot enter it), and if he's sucessful on it, He will raise his education by 4 (so becoming EDU 9), aside from earning 4 skill levels (1/6 of wich wil lbe JOT). Even if he fails, he'll spend 1d3 years on it, earing so many EDU + skill levels...

If he is also successful in NOTC, the will earn 2 more skill levels. If he's successful at honors (7-, so again over 50%), he'll earn +1 more to EDU and can apply for Medical School, where, if successful, he'd earn +6 to edu (1 per year on academic career, as per page 19 , +2 specifically for the Medical School), 4 more skills (if they don't reach Medic 3, as many more as to have it), and if honors is achieved 2 more ones, aside from Rank 3 in the Navy...

So, any character finishing the Medical school will have EDU 13+ (as he would have earned +11 to edu in the process), at least 8 skil llevels (and as many as 15, if he's lucky) and Rank 3 in two terms...

And as stats are the decisive factor in T4, he will be outstanding in any EDU based task, even if he has a tiny skill level 1.

Time ago, I already made a similar comparative (more detailed , and comparing it with MT too) about the enourmous benefit College is in T4 in this old post.
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  #15  
Old June 24th, 2019, 07:32 AM
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Default That's the spirit!

Quote:
Originally Posted by McPerth View Post
Better to invest your points in INT 8 and SOC 9 (total 51 points, leaving you 29 more of other stats (hint: don't use any in EDU)).
Wonderful! That's the point. You have another idea on how to tackle your character's statistics? Great! A system like this allows for variations.
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  #16  
Old June 24th, 2019, 11:13 AM
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Default A choice of evils...

As I sit here at the computer, I am trying to put into words the thoughts that are going through my head regarding the character generation system, and task system, of T4. Quite a few people on this web-site have said the system could stand improvement. And, frankly, I agree. As I said before, "no plan survives contact with the enemy." And similarly, no RPG system survives contact with players.

I see a few ways one can try to "fix" the system.

The first solution is simple: Everyone is assigned a perfect set of characteristics, UPP FFFFFF, and has every skill in the book. Whenever anyone needs to make a task roll, don't bother to roll dice, just assume they are successful. If this is how people want to play Traveller, then more power to them. But I, personally, don't think that like sounds fun. Success is meaningless if there is no chance of failure.

The second solution that is often bantered about is to increase the odds of success to pander to monster characters with perfect stats, usually by increasing the number of dice, or doing away with the half dice, and substituting a whole dice in its place. But this creates a world where monster characters are the norm. Everyone must have perfect stats in order to have even a chance of success.

Another popular solution is to do away with task rolls based on the character's characteristics, and just assign some number to roll against, which increases with difficultly. But this means if two characters have Computer-1, both have the same chance to hack into a computer, even if one of them is a grade A moron with an Intelligence of 2, or a super-genius with an Intelligence of F. Shouldn't the super-genius have a better chance of succeeding at an Intelligence based task than the moron? Shouldn't a stronger character have a better chance of success at a Strength check than a weaker one?

The little talked-about solution is the one I present here. Find a way in character creation to limit the characteristics, and skills, to more average rolls. Frankly, Dungeons & Dragons suffered from this same problem. (Back in the day, I personally saw a lot of characters with an 18/00 Strength.) Now, in Dungeons & Dragons fifth edition, they've implemented a system of "buying" characteristics not too different than this one. It too requires a player, if they want to have an unusually good characteristic, give up something else in return. You don't get perfect stats. You have to accept a poor stat in order to get a good one.

Ironically, I just had a Dungeons & Dragons player choose to roll dice instead of using this point buy system to determine his characteristics... and the next day ask if he could use the point buy system because the dice were unkind.

It is my opinion you do not need perfect stats to enjoy Dungeons & Dragons... or even unusually high ones. And I believe the same holds for Traveller as well.

Last edited by ManOfGrey; June 24th, 2019 at 11:41 AM..
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Old June 24th, 2019, 01:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aramis View Post
3) roll low is less satisfying than roll high for the majority of peopleč
It's funny. As a general theme I agree with this. Boxcars is always more exciting that snake-eyes.

But that seems to only happen on sums of dices, vs individual dice.

With individual dice, it didn't much matter -- whether it was a handful of dice representing a salvo of Photon torpedoes rolling up a bunch of 1's and 2's or that stubborn, last, RISK army that seems to roll nothing but 6's.

Both of those are satisfying.

But add them up, and I was never fond of rolling low to hit in Squad leader. If I punch a hole in a tank and make it catch fire, it's more fun with a 12 than a 2.


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Originally Posted by ManOfGrey View Post
As I said before, "no plan survives contact with the enemy." And similarly, no RPG system survives contact with players.
That's why it's called play testing - it's supposed to have been through a few rounds with actual players before it goes to print, particularly those not familiar with it.
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Old June 24th, 2019, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManOfGrey View Post
Wonderful! That's the point. You have another idea on how to tackle your character's statistics? Great! A system like this allows for variations.
I hope you're ironic here, as othrewise I'd failed miserably in shwoing my point of view...

I don't believe there's a way to make T4 to be my cup of tea. That deos not mean it's no good, of course, just it does not match my tastes (but then, I don't like any seafood, despite being seen as delicacies for most people, so it may just be a matter of my tastes).

The main problem I have with it (and extendible to T5) is the (IMHO) too high importance given to sats. I agree with your latter post that they should have some importance, but not as much. The stats DMs used in MT or MgT are good for me, but 1 skill level should, again IMHO, be stronger than 1 stat point, and in T4 (or T5) a stat point is quite more important, as it affects as much as a skill level, but to many more tasks (and the effect of academic terms in EDU makes any so educated person far too outstanding in any EDU based task for my taste).

Quote:
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3) roll low is less satisfying than roll high for the majority of people
Then I'm sorry for them, as they will never enjoy SL/ASL...
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  #19  
Old June 24th, 2019, 03:00 PM
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Then I'm sorry for them, as they will never enjoy SL/ASL...
It's the least of the issues with SL & ASL. That ASL's rulebook needs multiple binders has as much to do with it.
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Old June 24th, 2019, 09:09 PM
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... oh. don't know t4, had no idea stats were so prominent. sounds like edu is effectively jack-of-all-trades. can't see it, no amount of education is going to cover all the details necessary to be successful at a tasking. and having a high stat necessarily requiring a low stat elsewhere is unrealistic - would a physically fit marine necessarily be poorly educated and/or of low social standing? that's kind of like saying your character can have a right hand or a left, but not both.
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