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  #51  
Old March 19th, 2008, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew Boulton View Post
Please do. Or we'll start moderating with a big stick.
Sorry; made my reply before I saw this.
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  #52  
Old March 19th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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What do you think that an Open Game License (OGL) will mean for Traveller?
Will a more CT compatible set of rules as an OGL create new Traveller fan opportunities than were available under the T20 OGL?
Could this improve the GURPS, T20/d20, Mongoose Traveller product crossover?
I think that a lot will depend on how good the OGL system is. D20, which could count on a massive "installed user base" of D&D players, only had to be competently designed, which it was IMHO. I don't think that MGT has that kind of advantage (although I imagine they'll get a significant number of "nostalgia buyers").

If the OGL system is crap, I don't think it will create many new fans. I mean, it's not like we don't have plenty of crappy games -- even crappy Traveller games.

OTOH, if the OGL system is "good" -- however the majority of gamers define that term -- then I think it will create new Traveller converts.

However, I'm not convinced that MGT is all that compatible with CT at least systemically. It does use the same stats, but the average number of skills is significantly higher, judging from the preview posted at the Mongoose website. (I guess I missed that in the playtest; I thought that the average skill levels were comparable to Book 1 and Supp 4). Alexander Jamison has 17 skill levels, along with 4 skills at level 0, in 6 terms. This is far more than would be generated with the Book 1 systems. By contrast, Jamison in Book 1 has 10 skill levels and no skills at level 0. (And he's above average in skills for Book 1, given survival, reinlistment and promotion percentages).

So MGT characters will generally be over-skilled compared to Book 1 characters (and some, but not all Book 4+ characters) and vice versa.

That said, if MGT contains the same reinlistment and survival numbers as the last playtest version, many characters will have short careers.
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  #53  
Old March 19th, 2008, 06:59 PM
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Originally Posted by tbeard1999 View Post
Alexander Jamison has 17 skill levels, along with 4 skills at level 0, in 6 terms. This is far more than would be generated with the Book 1 systems. By contrast, Jamison in Book 1 has 10 skill levels and no skills at level 0. (And he's above average in skills for Book 1, given survival, reinlistment and promotion percentages).

So MGT characters will generally be over-skilled compared to Book 1 characters (and some, but not all Book 4+ characters) and vice versa.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I remember book 1 characters as averaging about 2 skills per term. MGT and B4+ characters seem to average about 3 skills per term.

A simple translation might be possible by multiplying character skills by 2/3 or 1.5 (depending on the direction). In any event, MGT characters in CT will be no more broken than a B4+ character (which isn't saying much).

I wonder about some of the other parts - like starship design. Any one mismatched game statistic can be worked around (like adjusting skill levels) but too many mismatches and it quickly stops being worth the effort.

Some T20 products (like vehicles) often have CT compatibility built in. It would be nice to see the same thing in a MGT product and might allow portage between MGT and T20. That would allow a new Traveller product to be compatible with T20 AND MGT - and a bigger market is probably a good thing for a publisher.

The alternative is another GURPS-like system where everything from characters to TLs needs to be changed to use it in another system. At THAT point I find it is easier to start from scratch.

Just some thoughts.
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  #54  
Old March 19th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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Can't see T20 stats happening. Isn't one of the stated aims to consolidate the rules into 2 systems MGT/T5 and GURPS?
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  #55  
Old March 19th, 2008, 08:59 PM
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Originally Posted by atpollard View Post
Correct me if I am wrong, but I remember book 1 characters as averaging about 2 skills per term. MGT and B4+ characters seem to average about 3 skills per term.
I ran a whole slew of calculations on Book 1 characters and found that in general, a 4 term character would wind up with 6-7 skills. The chance of making it through 4 terms (survival and reenlistment) varied significantly, with Merchants having about a 70% chance of making it through 4 terms and other careers lower.

To get 2 skills per term (after the first term), a character will have to roll a promotion. Otherwise, the character gets only 1 skill.

MGT characters have significantly more skill levels, especially when level-0 skills are taken into account. Direct translation will be challenging IMHO, though not impossible.

EDIT--A private discussion turned up this observation. 0-level skills are arguably worth about 0.7 skill levels, based on comparative success chances at basic tasks. A level-1 skill yields a 58% chance of success (average task, no mods), while a level-0 skill yields a 42% chance of success.

If this is a reasonable valuation of level-0 skills, then the MGT version of Jamison gets 19.8 skills versus 10 for CT. MGT may actually be worse than Books 4+ when it comes to skills bloat. I can't believe I missed that <shrug>. No doubt, I was blinded by my enchantment with the rest of the system

Last edited by tbeard1999; March 19th, 2008 at 10:33 PM..
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  #56  
Old March 19th, 2008, 09:34 PM
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I wonder about some of the other parts - like starship design. Any one mismatched game statistic can be worked around (like adjusting skill levels) but too many mismatches and it quickly stops being worth the effort.
Believe it or not, I actually said nice things about the starship design system in MGT.

I could easily see using it more or less intact for CT.

It was pointed out to me later that the MGT playtest starship design system was virtually identical to the system MM has proposed for T5. And the things that I did complain about turned out (inevitably, it seems) to have been added by the designers of MGT. C'est la vie

BUT...the starship combat system may be one of the most poorly-conceived, sloppily-executed, half-arsed attempts to duplicate Star Fleet Battles that I've ever seen. And that's just the (alleged) power management system. When wedded to the completely inappropriate initiative sequence, the results invoke laughter and pity. Starships--especially ones without intertialess drives--simply don't move the way that system would have them move. At the absolute minimum, this kludge (if it makes the final cut into the printed product) competes with Avalon Hill's Luftwaffe as my personal choice for the worst designed game system ever.

I can't think of any other parts of MGT that would be worth adding to another game.

Breathless praise notwithstanding, I found the MGT character generation system to be workmanlike, but nothing to write home about. Honestly, I am perplexed by the adoration it receives. While it's adequate, I don't think it's noticeably superior to CT Book 1. OTOH, it isn't noticeably inferior to CT Book 1 (other than survival rolls being too high for some careers), though. And that's a boast that most of the MGT systems can't make IMHO. But unfortunately, the MGT system may break the basic 2d6 task system by yielding too many skills on average.

The combat sequence, even if you like fiddly, unintuitive, and obtuse systems, does nothing that Snapshot or Azhanti High Lightning don't do better. And those games actually produce reasonable outcomes. EDIT--Mongoose has made a vague statement that the timing will be dropped and effect "redefined"--whatever that means. While eliminating the timing roll (and presumably replacing it with a fixed cost in initiative pips) will modestly improve the system, it's still not a very good model of skirmish combat, nor will it be useful for actions involving lots of folks. So it seems to me that a lot more than "redefining" effect and eliminating timing would be required.

I have no idea if EDG's quioxitic attempt to remake the world generation sequence was accepted. If so, it might be worth a look for those who dislike the existing CT system. Since I generally detail my worlds as I need them, I haven't found the CT mainworld generation system to be a problem. YMMV.

The less said about the damage and armor system the better. Mongoose claims that this has been changed...we'll see.

The timing and effect system's flaws have been examined in detail. Hard to see why anyone would use that task system over MT's system, for instance. Or, for that matter, any number of house rule task systems. And it's unclear just how extensively Mongoose has overhauled the timing/effect system. I'd ditch it completely, of course. But if the loss of face is too great, making it truly optional would achieve the same result in my opinion.

The playtest starship economic system was badly defective; I am not optimistic that this got magically fixed in the month after playtesting ended.

Animal encounters are handled adequately by CT; hard to see any significant room for improvement there.

Weapons lists are useless for other versions of Traveller unless conversion guidelines are offered. And idunno...does Traveller really need more weapons lists? (And I ask this as a firepower-heavy Referee...)

MGT might have some new gadgets, but I'll be shocked if there's anything significant and new. And poorly considered gadgets can dramatically change canon, so I'm not filled with optimism on this point. That said, I did not pay much attention to gear in the playtest rules, so I could be wrong.

So I think that the rules themselves are likely to yield little that is useful, other than the starship design system. And you can get that in T5, so it's hard to rationalize buying MGT just for that.

Adventures, of course, are a different matter. Even if CT (or MT or T4 or TNE) stats are not provided, most competent referees can handle the job. Of course, including CT stats would be most appreciated and (I believe) a good marketing move. Betcha Mongoose doesn't do it...

Supplements, same as adventures in my thinking.

But what if the MGT adventures and supplements make dramatic changes to established Traveller canon? Will these be greeted enthusiastically by many CT fans? I dunno, but I doubt it.

My USD$0.02...

Last edited by tbeard1999; March 19th, 2008 at 10:57 PM..
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