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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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Old December 21st, 2018, 03:26 PM
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Default Rules as written, and Reffing the game

Making my way through the Traveller Companion ( MgT2 ) and I bumped up against this bit of wisdom for Refs:

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Occasionally a rule-as-written will result in a situation that seems less than plausible; the referee should make a call and keep the game moving along. Hours spent in pointless rules-lawyering are hours of your life wasted. It is worth looking up a critical rule if it makes a difference between a Traveller being dead or just mangled, but lengthy discussions about exactly what the game designers meant by a particular piece of phrasing are futile. -MJD
In my head there seems to be a difference between approaching Traveller as a gamer/ref, and from a non-gaming, intellectual perspective. Certainly there’s overlap, but a differing level of sway the concept of RAW might have is interesting to me.

Wanna play all Scouts? Or all Psions? Or all Bwap Scout psions? Let’s talk about it and if it sounds fun, we’ll make it work. This is my point of view.

Another perspective is that the framework provided by a strict interpretation of the rules ( whichever set, subset, or amalgam you choose ) in itself provides part of the intrinsic, fundamental enjoyment.

One of the things I love about Traveller is its depth. I don’t mean complexity, but maybe more the “reach” it seems to have. This distinction between Gaming Traveller and Intellectual Traveller might just be in my head, but I love the fact that Traveller feels big enough to be different things to us.

As a Ref or player, how do you feel about the above quote?
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Old December 21st, 2018, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spenser TR View Post
As a Ref or player, how do you feel about the above quote?
I think that some newer players might have a problem with that quote. But, while I'm not really an MGT player, I think the quote is spot on. Old school. Strong Referee. Make a rule and go.

If you have to, make a note, and fix it between games. Next time, maybe you've got a more thought out, better rule. Maybe you understand the rule as written better. But, you didn't bog down the game with such stuff. Leave that pondering for your Monday morning commute.

I always explain something to that effect to new players who join my group. They usually understand and agree.

I tend to default to RAW, too. I'm more likely to say, "Let's go with what's written, and I'll flag this as something to investigate between games."
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Old December 21st, 2018, 04:13 PM
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Game players these days can really over-think rules. I've had more time spent nit-picking over the whys and wherefores of rule bits and I want to remember, and current gamers also don't seem to like the ref having the final say in how his game and world works. Now always but often enough it is a big difference from the old days of when the ref was always right and you just rolled with it.

Games have also gone from less rules to more detailed (sometimes insanely so) rules, so players might be used to that nowadays. Also, the emphasis is less of a shared imaginary space that is run and moderated by the ref to rules that seem to make the ref just another player.

There is the recent trend towards "old school rules", though, and Traveller is now part of that, so there is hope.
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Old December 21st, 2018, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by sabredog View Post
Also, the emphasis is less of a shared imaginary space that is run and moderated by the ref to rules that seem to make the ref just another player.
I've noticed this. Like with Modiphius' 2d20 system. Those rules seem to me to limit the Ref to promote stuff I already do with regular systems.
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Old December 21st, 2018, 06:32 PM
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This part of why I've stuck with Classic Traveller all these decades. It basically provided a set of combat results tables, ship and vehicle tables, and chargen/world design tables. There is a lot of empty space in between those frames to hang whatever I wanted.

I had to make up everything else in my universe. It was mine alone, and no rules set outside my game would tell players how to game the system or if I was doing it wrong. I had ultimate control. It was just the way it was done back then in all the genres, and was not only encouraged but a huge reason for the interest in the RPG's. Every rules set always emphasized that the referee had ultimate fiat in anything in the game regardless of what the rulebook said.

Players accepted that, either because we all sort of started playing at the same time and didn't know any other way, or because the rules emphasized that aspect of the game. Maybe both.

I blame the rules metastization that came in the 90's and the trends towards softer, less structured gaming.

This last group I played with was the first in a long time that didn't constantly try to wave rules at me and argue over their implementation. If we started debating it one would always pipe up with, "The DM says no." And we'd move on. But, they were also the oldest gamers I've had in a long time and played a lot of older game systems.

Others floated in and out of this core group and tended to be younger. They would always have some pretty odd ideas about how to run a character, overemphasizing odd characters and goofy actions, and were difficult if you didn't let them be and do anything they wanted regardless of the structure of the game or rules. I dunno, maybe I'm finally too old for all this stuff.
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Old December 21st, 2018, 06:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supplement Four View Post
I've noticed this. Like with Modiphius' 2d20 system. Those rules seem to me to limit the Ref to promote stuff I already do with regular systems.
Doesn't that company have all the Vampire and Werewolf "theater"-type games? Yeah, I can see how that gaming culture would want the ref to be more stage director than really in charge of the whole production. You set up the props and then get out of the way for the players to take over, stepping in only to settle some obscure dispute, but you don't really "run" the game.
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Old December 21st, 2018, 07:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spenser TR View Post
As a Ref or player, how do you feel about the above quote?
I feel like when I was learnig for my drive licence and saw a sentence in the Code that said that traffic situation overruled this same code. The typical example given was that if there was a girdlock in the highway, no one can blame (and less so accuse) you for driving slower than the 60 kph minimum allowed.
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Old December 21st, 2018, 09:21 PM
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Spot on. The game is about everyone having fun.

To quote a great Vilani prophet: "the rules were made for man, not man for the rules."
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Last edited by robject; December 24th, 2018 at 10:12 AM.. Reason: There, playing nice.
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Old December 22nd, 2018, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spenser TR View Post
As a Ref or player, how do you feel about the above quote?
I tell players to wait until after a game session to discuss issues they have with rules. The game books are rarely mentioned in my games.
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Old December 22nd, 2018, 01:03 AM
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RAW is for tabletop wargaming, where there is a clear incentive to misinterpret or misrepresent rules in real time.

Roleplaying has plenty of room for flexibility; just be consistent in rulings.

Vehicle design sequence should be RAW, unless they make no sense.
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