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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:34 PM
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Introduction


As the UGM is used in Traveller games, it's natural that people make suggestions and improvements are made. After the UGM was first developed and posted here on the CotI Forum, the UGM's revised version was released. Now, it's time to incorporate a few more tweaks, so I am presenting to you the "better than ever" edition.

What is the Universal Game Mechanic?

It's a task system for Classic Traveller. It's designed to be used with CT without changing official Classic Trav rules. Just pop this sucker into your game when you need a character to attempt a task.

As I was designing this task system, I benefitted greatly from the input of other Traveller gamers from both this forum and the TML. (See the threads on both this forum and the mailing list.)

The Universal Game Mechanic is a very simple task system that will be very familiar to Classic Traveller players. When a task is called for, the player simply rolls 2D, adds mods, for 8+.

Every UGM task roll succeeds if the throw totals 8+.

Besides that simplicity, what this task system will bring to your game is the influence of a character's natural ability (rarely referenced in official CT rules with respect to tasks). And, each and every level of a character's stat will provide a benefit (i.e. you won't have your Pilot-2 EDU-9 and Pilot-2 EDU-5 guys always making the same roll as you do with the DGP/MT task system).

The UGM is probably the most Classic-Traveller-centric, CT-intuitive task system I've ever designed.

I hope you find it useful in your games.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:35 PM
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The Universal Game Mechanic


TASK ROLL

2D + mods for 8+


--Roll 2D. Add or subtract modifiers. Tasks succeed when 8+ is thrown.--


Proceedure:
-1- Roll 2D.

-2- Check natural ability modifier.

-3- Add or subtract modifiers for difficulty, skill, etc.

-4- Task succeeds if total is 8+.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:37 PM
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Task Difficulty


DMs used to modify the UGM task roll with respect to the task's difficulty:

Code:
Difficulty    DM
----------    --
Easy          +4
Routine       +2
Standard      +0
Difficult     -2
Challenging   -4
Formidable    -6
Insane        -8
Impossible    -10
NOTE: These difficulty DMs are not meant to be definitive. These are guidelines for the GM meant to give him a rule of thumb only. The GM is encouraged to use these DMs as a starting point and then move the DM up or down a point, depending on the task situation.


Also NOTE: The UGM not only provides a simple, easy method for a GM to handle tasks on the fly during a game, but it is also designed to exactly replicate Classic Traveller throws found in Canon.

If a player wants his character to use extra tubing from the ship's fuel system to rig up a still for the PCs to drink some home brew, the GM can easily think a second and come up with a roll (maybe Mechanical skill and +1DM Difficulty?). But, if a GM sees the roll for avoiding loss of control in Zero-G (a roll of 10+ according to the Traveller Book), this can easily be exactly duplicated using the UGM as well (it'd be a -2DM Difficulty roll).

That's one of the beauties of the UGM that other CT task systems do not provide: The UGM can exactly replicate canon throws described in offical CT publications (as we see in the example below).








-------------------------------------------------
Example

A ship's medic is attempting to revive a low berth passenger. The GM decides this is a task of Routine difficulty, which means the ship's medic recieves a +2DM to his revival roll (not counting other DMs that may apply). But, since the ship's medic does this job all the time, every two weeks, on most worlds the ship travels to, with several passangers, on equipment the medic is very familiar with, the GM decides that the revival roll is a task of Routine difficulty with a +3DM instead of a +2DM (in effect, the task is "a little harder than EASY" and "a little easier than ROUTINE").

The medic's roll will be: 2D +3 for 8+.

(Other appropriate mods, such as Medical skill, not important to this example, would be used as well.

And, note on page 50 of the Traveller Book, the roll to revive Low Passengers from berth is a roll of 5+, plus mods, which is exactly what we're expressing in this example.)

Last edited by aramis; August 15th, 2008 at 11:50 PM..
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:38 PM
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Task Descriptors


UGM task descriptors can be written easily by including (1) the appropriate skill, (2) the appropriate governor attribute, and (3) the difficulty DM.

A task descriptor for the task used in the low berth revival example above might look like this:

Medical/EDU/+3

That's a short-hand way to say: It's a task roll using the character's Medical skill and Education attribute, and there is a +3DM on the roll.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:40 PM
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Natural Ability


Each task roll involves the use of a skill and the character's natural ability in the form of his attribute scores.

On every task, pick an appropriate skill to use and an appropriate stat to govern the task. (Consider the character at Skill-0 if the character does not have an appropriate skill.)

Immediately after the natural 2D roll is thrown, before any other modifiers are applied, check the natural roll against the character's natural ability.

When the throw is equal to or less than the governor stat, allow a +1DM on the task throw.


Note: The UGM Natural Ability check is ignored if a character's stat is referenced in any other way. For example, combat in CT references DEX (DMs are provided) for gun combat and STR for brawling combat. Therefore, the Natural Ability check is not made on UGM combat rolls since the task's governor stat is already referenced. On the other hand, most tasks listed in CT rule books do not reference a character's attribute, and in these cases, the UGM Natural Ability check is made.

The Zero Gravity throw (page 48 of the Traveller Book) references DEX. But, on page 22 of the Traveller Book, a throw is given for operating an Air/Raft, and that throw does not reference any of the character's stats. It would be appropriate for the UGM Natural Ability check to be performed when making the Air/Raft throw, but, in the case of the Zero G roll, the UGM Natural Ability check should be skipped.









-------------------------------------------------
Example

Dunci is attempting to bore out his AutoPistol, physically changing the weapon so that it can accept ammunition obtained locally of non-standard calibre. Dunci's stats are 784A86, and he has Mechanical-2 skill.

The GM decides this task is: Mechanical/DEX/-1

-The Task Roll-
1. Roll 2D: 2, 5

2. Check natural ability. 7 is less than Dunci's DEX-8, so Dunci receives a +1DM on the roll.

3. Add or subtract modifiers: +2 Mechanical, +1 Natural Ability. -1 Difficulty.

4. Tasks succeed if total is 8+. This task is successful as the total is 9.
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:42 PM
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High Natural Ability


Characters with attributes of 13+ are considered to have high natural ability, and tasks governed by these high-level attributes are elligible for an additional bonus.

All characters, when their governor attribute is 12+, receive an automatic +1DM for natural ability on task rolls referencing that stat. Characters who have high natural ability (attribute level 13, 14, or 15) can receive an additional +1DM (for a total +2DM) when the natural roll is equal to or less than the level of the attribute minus 10.


Quote:
Stat Natural Ability Bonus
---- ----------------------
13 +2DM when natural roll is 3-; otherwise +1DM
14 +2DM when natural roll is 4-; otherwise +1DM
15 +2DM when natural roll is 5-; otherwise +1DM
In essence, a character with a 13 attribute will always receive a +1DM on his UGM task rolls, but he will receive a +2DM when his natural roll totals 2 or 3.

A character with a level 14 attribute will always receive the +1 automatic Natural Ability modifier, and that Natural Ability modifier will be increased to +2 if the character's natural roll results in 2, 3, or 4.

And, a character with a Stat-15 will automatically received the +1 Natural Ability bonus, and the +2 Natural Ability bonus will kick in when the character rolls low at 2, 3, 4, or 5.

A character with high natural ability will draw on his natural ablility when he needs it most: when his natural roll is low.







-------------------------------------------------
Example

Trasc's stats are 7A9DA8, and he's attempting to understand the workings of an alien computer with is Computer-3 expertise.

The GM has decided this task is: Computer/INT/-3

-The Task Roll-
1. Roll 2D: 2, 1

2. Natural Ability Check: High Natural Ability passes.

3. Add/Subtract modifiers: +3 Computer, +1 automatic Natural Ability, +1 High Natural Ability, -3 difficulty.

4. Task succeeds on 8+. This task fails with a total of 5.

Last edited by Supplement Four; May 5th, 2010 at 10:04 PM..
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:43 PM
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UGM NATURAL ABILITY CHART


This chart reflects the effect a character's natural ability has on his dice roll.

The left column shows a natural 2D throw. Across the top, we see Classic Traveller attribute values ranging from 1 to 15.

In the body of the chart, you will see the adjusted throw once the character's natural ability has influenced his performance (the natural 2D throw has been modified by the Natural Ability modifier).

Note how the UGM provides differentation between each stat level (whereas other Traveller task systems tend to collect stats in "groups"...which makes a character with Stat-7 no different from Stat-6, but a Stat-6 is better to have than Stat-5, etc...)


Code:
Roll	Stat														
2D 	1	2	3	4	5	6	7	8	9	10	11	12	13	14	15
	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__	__
2	2	3	3	3	3	3	3	3	3	3	3	3	4	4	4
3	3	3	4	4	4	4	4	4	4	4	4	4	5	5	5
4	4	4	4	5	5	5	5	5	5	5	5	5	5	6	6
5	5	5	5	5	6	6	6	6	6	6	6	6	6	6	7
6	6	6	6	6	6	7	7	7	7	7	7	7	7	7	7
7	7	7	7	7	7	7	8	8	8	8	8	8	8	8	8
8	8	8	8	8	8	8	8	9	9	9	9	9	9	9	9
9	9	9	9	9	9	9	9	9	10	10	10	10	10	10	10
10	10	10	10	10	10	10	10	10	10	11	11	11	11	11	11
11	11	11	11	11	11	11	11	11	11	11	12	12	12	12	12
12	12	12	12	12	12	12	12	12	12	12	12	13	13	13	13

Last edited by aramis; August 15th, 2008 at 11:52 PM..
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:44 PM
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Critical Success / Critical Failure


When snake eyes (double 1's) are thrown on a UGM task, a Critical Failure may result.

When box cars (double 6's) are thrown on a UGM task, a Critical Success may result.


In either case, a check is called for.


UGM CRITICAL SUCCESS / FAILURE CHECK:

3D < or = Stat + Skill + Difficulty


Add the character's stat plus his skill level plus the difficulty modifier used on the task.

--Roll this amount or less on 3D to avoid a Critical Failure result.

--Roll this amount or less on 3D to achieve a Critical Success result.


Note that characters with higher natural ability (higher stats) and higher expertise (higher skill level) will be more likely to roll Critical Success and less likely to roll Critical Failure. The opposite is true for those characters with lower attributes and lower (or no) skill level--those characters will throw Critical Success less often and Critical Failure more often.

The UGM skews Critical Success or Failure results in accordance with a character's ability and expertise. Your "klutz" characters will be more likely to throw Critical Failures, and your characters who are highly skilled experts are more likely to throw Critical Successes.

Also note that the same is true for the difficulty of the task. On tasks of easier difficulty, it will be easier to avoid Critical Failures and easier to obtain Critical Successes. On more difficult tasks, it is harder to avoid Critical Failures and harder to achieve Critical Successes.

With the UGM, Critical Success and Critical Failure is not a blanket random chance equal among all character no matter their experience, natural ability, or the difficulty of the task being attempted. The UGM takes all these factors into account before a Critical Success or Critical Failure is indicated.

In the end, a Stat-10 Skill-5 character will always have a better chance of avoiding Critical Failures and achieveing Critical Success than a character with Stat-5 Skill-0. But, that Stat-10 Skill-5 character will have a harder time of avoding Critical Failures and obtaining Critical Successes as the difficulty of the task gets harder.









-------------------------------------------------
Example

Frenhe has just rolled boxcars on this task: Engineering/EDU/-1

Frenhe is the engineer (Engineering-1; EDU-6) on the far trader JOYSTON'S LUCK. The Jump Drive has been damaged (and he's rolling the standard CT Book 2 roll of 9+ to fix the drive).

With the double 6's on the roll, Frenhe may have rolled a Critical Success. He'll have to pass the check in order to achieve it, though.

UGM Critical Success Check: 3D for 6-.

The "6-" was obtained by adding Frenhe's Engineering-1 skill to his EDU-6 and his UGM difficulty -1DM. If Frenhe throws 6 or less on 3D, Frenhe has just thrown a Critical Success on the task. Otherwise, if the 3D roll is 7+, the task is completed normally.

Last edited by Supplement Four; May 5th, 2010 at 10:08 PM..
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:45 PM
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UGM EXAMPLE

The UGM used with an "official" CT throw.


Da Bien-Hua (9AA655) is involved in an Air/Raft chase, fleeing some Vargr pirates (in their own grav vehicle).

Da's skill is: Grav Vehicle-1

Looking at the Traveller Book, page 22, a throw is published for this situation, and the GM decides to use the UGM version of this task.

The Traveller Book says to roll 5+ with these DMs: +1 per level of skill and -1 if gunfire is involved in the chase.

The UGM version of this task is: Grav Vehicle/DEX/+3

And, the task includes a situational modifier of -1DM due to gunfire and the chase.


-The Task Roll-
1. Roll 2D: 3, 6

2. Natural Ability Check: Succeeds

3. Task DMs: +1 Natural Ability; +1 Grav Vehicle; -1 Situational DM (gunfire chase); +3 Difficulty.

4. Task succeeds on an 8+: This task succeeds with a total of 13!
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Old September 23rd, 2006, 01:46 PM
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UGM EXAMPLE

Skipping the Natural Ability Check


Sir Bromley Riieve (8889AB) has donned his Vacc Suit and is attempting to shove of from his own vessel towards a disabled craft in an asteroid belt.

Bromley's skill: Vacc Suit-1

According to BELTSTRIKE, a 10+ roll is needed to maintain control. DMs are: +2 for forward movement; -2 for making a free jump; +0 for moving at Speed 1; -6 for making a long range jump; +1 if DEX 9+; +2 if DEX 11+; +4 per level of Vacc Suit skill.

In UGM terms, this task is: Vacc Suit/DEX/-2

The various situational modifiers (above) apply. Note that Bromely does not meet the DEX requirement. Also note that, since DEX is referenced in the throw, the UGM Natural Ability check is skipped on this task.


-The Task Throw-
1. Roll 2D: 2, 3

2. Natural Ability Check: Skipped on this task throw.

3. DMs: +4 Vacc Suit; -2 Difficulty; +2 Situational DM (forward movement); -2 Situational DM (free jump); -6 Situational DM (long range jump).

4. Task succeeds on 8+: This task fails as Bromley's task totals only 1.


Bromely goes spinning out of control, free-falling in space, having missed his jump completely.
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