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Old November 22nd, 2007, 01:23 PM
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Default Underwhelmed

Just read through version 1.0 of the playtest rules and was underwhelmed. Comments:

1. Random character generation is adequate, though no particular improvement over book 1 in my opinion. The survival probabilities in particular seem poorly considered. For instance, a Marine character who chooses Ground Assault as his specialty will survive on an 8+. This gives him a 7% chance of making it through 4 terms. A Marine in Support, OTOH, survives on a 4+, which gives him a 77% chance of making it through 4 terms. The problem is that both specialties offer essentially the same set of skills! The Ground Assault Marine can access Battle Dress and Flyer while the support Marine can access Comms, Drive and Mechanic. So a prudent player who wants to maximize his skills would choose Support over Ground Assault. Understand, I have no problem with Ground Assault being risky per se. Rather, I object to the fact that the higher risk translates into no significant benefit. I'm also not enthusiastic about a system that encourages multiple careers among player characters. I don't mind the option being there, but I hate the idea of encouraging it.

2. The skills list seems about right, size-wise.

3. Kudos to someone for figuring out that the 2d6 system will not support as many modifiers as previous versions of Traveller have had.

4. The TTSF (Traveller Task System Fetish [tm]) continues unabated. I find the Effect and Time dice to be especially annoying. To its credit, Mongoose gives us a simple binary "roll 8+ on 2d to succeed" system that will handle the vast majority of game issues. Unfortunately, the combat system requires use of the advanced system.

5. The combat sequence of play manages to combine the fussiness and pointless detail of GURPS-like systems with the vagueness and lack of substance of abstract combat systems. While I suppose I could design a less satisfying system, I would have to try pretty hard. Ick. Can't evaluate the damage system until stats for guns and armor are produced.

6. The point based character generation system is unsatisfactory but could be fixed pretty easily. Characters buy skills and attributes from the same points pool. The problem is that the attribute task roll modifiers are pretty coarse. So there's little reason to (say) take an INT of 8 rather than 6 -- the modifier is the same. This allows munchkinism to run rampant. In fact, just to exploit the system, I created a 40 point (4 term) character with a UPP of 777333. He has 17 skill levels and 6 skills at level 0. Jack of all trades costs the same as any other skill, so he has Level 3 in JoT of course. So he's dumb as a bucket of rocks and has a 3rd grade education, but is an amazing surgeon (Medic-5) and Engineer (Engineering-5). The fix is simple -- require (say) at least 40% points to be applied to attributes and 40% to skills or somesuch. And make JoT unavailable (or very expensive) for point-generated characters. Even better, completely separate attributes and skills.

I realize that this is a playtest document. But there are serious systemic flaws that should have been noticed IMHO before the playtest doc was created. The failure to do so does not fill me with confidence...
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 02:03 PM
gbooth gbooth is offline
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Default Time and Effect dice

[QUOTE=tbeard1999;242277]Just read through version 1.0 of the playtest rules and was underwhelmed. Comments:



4. The TTSF (Traveller Task System Fetish [tm]) continues unabated. I find the Effect and Time dice to be especially annoying. To its credit, Mongoose gives us a simple binary "roll 8+ on 2d to succeed" system that will handle the vast majority of game issues. Unfortunately, the combat system requires use of the advanced system.

QUOTE]

I find myself wary of the Effect and Time dice. My explicit objection to the time and effect dice is that in cases where a high number must be rolled to succeed, both dice will show high numbers for all successes. So, given a task where my skill is inadequate and/or the conditions are adverse such that I must roll a 12 to succeed, then if I do succeed I will do so splendidly and will take a very short time to do so.

Tom
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 02:14 PM
far-trader far-trader is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
...

6. The point based character generation system is unsatisfactory but could be fixed pretty easily. Characters buy skills and attributes from the same points pool. The problem is that the attribute task roll modifiers are pretty coarse. So there's little reason to (say) take an INT of 8 rather than 6 -- the modifier is the same. This allows munchkinism to run rampant. In fact, just to exploit the system, I created a 40 point (4 term) character with a UPP of 777333. He has 17 skill levels and 6 skills at level 0. Jack of all trades costs the same as any other skill, so he has Level 3 in JoT of course. So he's dumb as a bucket of rocks and has a 3rd grade education, but is an amazing surgeon (Medic-5) and Engineer (Engineering-5). The fix is simple -- require (say) at least 40% points to be applied to attributes and 40% to skills or somesuch. And make JoT unavailable (or very expensive) for point-generated characters. Even better, completely separate attributes and skills.
Haven't had time to check it out but are you saying there is no (oh so simply Classic) a fix for this particular muchkin problem as the old Skill Levels limited to total of Int+Edu?

And I've always figured (old house rule) there should be a skill level max associated as well (no more than the controlling attribute/3). So the max skill level for your Medical and Engineering in the above would be 1 (limited by the Edu 3/3) for example imtu, ymmv.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbooth View Post
I find myself wary of the Effect and Time dice. My explicit objection to the time and effect dice is that in cases where a high number must be rolled to succeed, both dice will show high numbers for all successes. So, given a task where my skill is inadequate and/or the conditions are adverse such that I must roll a 12 to succeed, then if I do succeed I will do so splendidly and will take a very short time to do so.

Tom
IIRC, DMs apply to the result on the Effect Die, so if you need a 12 to succeed (DM-4) you'll be limited to an effect result of 2.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 08:59 PM
Allensh Allensh is offline
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[QUOTE=gbooth;242279]
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Just read through version 1.0 of the playtest rules and was underwhelmed. Comments:



4. The TTSF (Traveller Task System Fetish [tm]) continues unabated. I find the Effect and Time dice to be especially annoying. To its credit, Mongoose gives us a simple binary "roll 8+ on 2d to succeed" system that will handle the vast majority of game issues. Unfortunately, the combat system requires use of the advanced system.

QUOTE]

I find myself wary of the Effect and Time dice. My explicit objection to the time and effect dice is that in cases where a high number must be rolled to succeed, both dice will show high numbers for all successes. So, given a task where my skill is inadequate and/or the conditions are adverse such that I must roll a 12 to succeed, then if I do succeed I will do so splendidly and will take a very short time to do so.

Tom
All modifiers that apply to the task roll also are subtracted from the effect die. So even if you roll high, your Effect number may be 1 or 2 (or even 0).

Allen
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:04 PM
Allensh Allensh is offline
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Here's an actual incident that occured in a playtest game I ran.

Power Plant failure imminent! The characters were trying to land on a world and they needed to keep their plant going. They were four hours out from the mainworld. The character fixing the plant had Engineer (Power)-1. He rolled..a 6 and a 1. Fortunatley for him it was an Average task but they needed that plant fixed quick..because an enemy ship was bearing down on them. He chose the 1 as his Effect die. He made the roll because of his skill (his stat mod was +0) but because he chose speed over efficiency...the plant gave up the ghost permanently, cutting off the manuever drive, just as they were making their landing approach at the starport...and much fun ensued.

I like the Effect/Timing thing.

Allen
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:08 PM
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[QUOTE=gbooth;242279]
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Just read through version 1.0 of the playtest rules and was underwhelmed. Comments:



4. The TTSF (Traveller Task System Fetish [tm]) continues unabated. I find the Effect and Time dice to be especially annoying. To its credit, Mongoose gives us a simple binary "roll 8+ on 2d to succeed" system that will handle the vast majority of game issues. Unfortunately, the combat system requires use of the advanced system.

QUOTE]

I find myself wary of the Effect and Time dice. My explicit objection to the time and effect dice is that in cases where a high number must be rolled to succeed, both dice will show high numbers for all successes. So, given a task where my skill is inadequate and/or the conditions are adverse such that I must roll a 12 to succeed, then if I do succeed I will do so splendidly and will take a very short time to do so.

Tom
I hadn't considered that, but you're right. It's also a fussy and vexatious mechanic that adds very little to the game, but does manage to take time and energy.

--Ty
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 09:11 PM
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Suggestions for the Combat system if you don't use the Effect/Timing system:

1. Roll 1d6 and add it to the weapon damage and other appropriate DMs.

2. Use a fixed amount (say, 3) rather than the Effect die.

Allen
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 10:52 PM
gbooth gbooth is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sablewyvern View Post
IIRC, DMs apply to the result on the Effect Die, so if you need a 12 to succeed (DM-4) you'll be limited to an effect result of 2.

Oh, that's different.
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Old November 22nd, 2007, 11:01 PM
gbooth gbooth is offline
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[QUOTE=tbeard1999;242310]
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbooth View Post

I hadn't considered that, but you're right. It's also a fussy and vexatious mechanic that adds very little to the game, but does manage to take time and energy.

--Ty
It appears that I was not right. But one could judge how well or quickly a task is completed based upon the margin of sucess.

Tom
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