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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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  #21  
Old July 21st, 2017, 09:38 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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Originally Posted by LeperColony View Post
In my opinion, it's dangerous to make pronouncements about what players want. Even statements that seem universal, like "players want choices" actually are not.
True . . . to a point. Note that none of the four "Wants" were declared as valid for ALL players (never infer more than what was explicitly stated). Nor is an entire group of gamers interested solely in just one of these "Wants". Players are neither monolithic nor homogeneous; and, if you've cast your group as a director casts a play, you will have players with a variety of "Wants" in varying degrees and priorities.
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There's an entire class of passive player who is happy to be along for the ride, and not only isn't interested in choices, but would actively prefer to make as few as necessary.
Slackers, eh? Not exactly my first choice of player. Passive players, in my experience, are more interested in being entertained by the group than in participating in group entertainment - their characters may as well be NPCs (a.k.a., "Cannon Fodder"). I encourage involvement. Those who will not make choices for themselves will have choices made for them, and usually by consensus of the other players . . .

"Hey, Bob! You haven't done much tonight. Why don't you have your character follow that trail of corrosive organic fluid while the rest of us wait over here?"

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For me, understanding expectations about the kind of game people want is the first step. At the same time, I believe it is almost axiomatic that GMs run the kinds of games they would have most liked to play, and there may be a tension between those two elements.
Understanding expectations goes both ways. If players want a story read to them, then they've come to the wrong house. If, instead, they want to share in the creative process, then my game is the one to choose.

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For instance, there may be players who are new to the setting, or who perhaps are indifferent to the setting. But the GM may love the universe and want to explore it in detail.
Newbie players are one thing; indifferent house-guests are another. If you want to play, then play; but if you want to watch, then step away from the table and let someone else play - someone who gets involved, and not just watches.

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Personally, I feel the more the players and the GM are in tune with the sort of game it should be, the better experience for everyone
Agreed. The better experience is had by all when everyone is involved to a more-or-less equal degree. Few things kill the buzz more than the one person who let's other people make all of the decisions.
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  #22  
Old July 21st, 2017, 09:51 PM
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The better experience is had by all when everyone is involved to a more-or-less equal degree. Few things kill the buzz more than the one person who let's other people make all of the decisions.
do player character engineers have a role in your games?
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  #23  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 02:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Keklas Rekobah View Post
Agreed. The better experience is had by all when everyone is involved to a more-or-less equal degree. Few things kill the buzz more than the one person who let's other people make all of the decisions.
Again, this sort of universal pronouncement is painfully inaccurate. Many people do enjoy agency and activity and focus. There's nothing wrong with wanting players who fill that mold. I personally would prefer players with that intention as well.

But the fact remains, despite your describing them as "slackers," that there are players who are perfectly happy to assume a secondary role, who aren't looking for the limelight, and who are, out of preference, more passive. These aren't bad players. They're just different players. If they wouldn't be welcome at your table, that's your prerogative. But I know of no objective standard that can prove they are somehow inherently inferior.

I run a lot of games in environments where I can't pick my players. For instance, at convention events. I've gotten used to a range of players who are more active or more passive, and who are more assertive or more deferential (which is not the same thing as active/passive, though it can work out that way in some circumstances), and who have stronger or weaker convictions regarding their preferences.

What's more, even if I weren't "forced" into a certain roster (such as at a convention), I wouldn't evict someone from a home game just because they were more comfortable in the "supporting cast."

I get that you have a particular player you're looking for, and I think that's great. There's nothing wrong with that. I just don't really see much justification in maligning an entire playstyle that doesn't jive with the sort of game you want.
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Old July 22nd, 2017, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
do player character engineers have a role in your games?
Absolutely. My last campaign, in which the players had their own ship, had one of them play as the engineer. He was pretty essential when things went south a few times.

The role could be done by an NPC, but why do that when one of the players wants the job?
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  #25  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
do player character engineers have a role in your games?
The question has been answered. But I have to admit I didn't understand the context of the question. Could you tell me a bit about why you asked it?
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  #26  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 06:02 PM
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Absolutely. My last campaign, in which the players had their own ship, had one of them play as the engineer. He was pretty essential when things went south a few times.

The role could be done by an NPC, but why do that when one of the players wants the job?
well I was asking Keklas Rekobah, in response to his view that active players are more enjoyable, since engineer characters seem to have reduced scope as game action leaders.

the question may be taken generally. in games, are certain characters preferred for action, and are certain characters preferred for tag-alongs?
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Old July 22nd, 2017, 06:20 PM
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well I was asking Keklas Rekobah, in response to his view that active players are more enjoyable, since engineer characters seem to have reduced scope as game action leaders.
Are they?

I'm asking honestly. And this might come down to an issue of rules set, Refereeing style, or the assumptions or setup of setting or play.

I ask because any PC that has Engineering (and thus can serve as an engineer on a ship) will most likely have a weapon expertise some sort. (At the least, per the Classic Traveller rules, they will have an expertise of 0, making them much more capable than most people with firearms in combat situations.)

Moreover, they might well have other skills. They might also be quite bright or educated, and thus be able to sort out problems as needed.

And finally, and most importantly, they might have a lot of drive. If they really want that haul of Imperial credits left behind when some local officials bugged out of a capital under siege, he can really push things forward.

My own assumption is that the PCs are a group of adventurers working together, pooling resources and expertise. The hierarchy is somewhat equitable, with any engineer pulling his way in many situations, not simply handling problems in the engineering room.

Further (again, working from the Classic Traveller rules) the skills one has do not define or limit or provide the sum total of what a man or woman is capable of. Player Characters can still try to bluff their way into a building or steal a cargo van with the proper insignia order to drive back to the city or track down they man they need for the combination to the vault.

In other words, I don't see possessing Engineering expertise, or serving as Engineer, as any sort of limit on other things the character might be able to do. Nor is being the engineer on a ship that presumes the crew is essentially a free company of adventures any sort of detriment to having a say in what the crew is going to do.

But I might be misreading what you are going after? What are the limits you see?
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  #28  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 06:43 PM
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they might have a lot of drive.
"Engineers have Drive."
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  #29  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
"Engineers have Drive."
Precisely!
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  #30  
Old July 22nd, 2017, 07:27 PM
Keklas Rekobah Keklas Rekobah is offline
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An engineer is more than just some guy with an Edinburgh accent coaxing a few more joules out of the power plant. He is also likely to have other skills. Sure, when you're trying to outrun a revenue cutter, and you need those few extra joules to make the jump point, the engineer is essential. But when in jump or in port, the engineer's job becomes simpler, and mostly involves preventive maintenance checks (PMC) on life support, power distribution, air-tight fittings, and so forth - all of which can be handled by junior engineers or even people with level-1 skills in Computers, Electronics, or Mechanics. Just follow the instructions on the PMC card and report any discrepancies.

On one ship, the Cheng was the master of the pit during space operations, the Cargomaster in port, and the person who literally rode shotgun in the field. On another, by virtue of terms served and Piloting skills, the Cheng was the Captain. Every character had some skill in at least one other character's assigned duties, and could fill in or assist when necessary.

This reflects Real Life, by the way - on Navy ships and on the Space Shuttles, skill redundancy was rarely coincidental, it was mandatory. I carried much of my own Naval experience over into refereeing Traveller.
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