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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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  #11  
Old August 13th, 2017, 10:59 PM
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To me this is a subset question of 'should one railroad players' thread I posted a few weeks ago in this forum. The general consensus there and here seems to be 'don't, be an open-ended choice resolver not a movie scene storyboard/scenarist'.
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Old August 13th, 2017, 11:16 PM
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And it's like the minute they face one piece of heavy artillery, not even real laser gun but one cobbled from an industrial tool, they got yellow spines.
yeah, heavy artillery does that.

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I really couldn't figure it.
(laugh)
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  #13  
Old August 14th, 2017, 12:06 AM
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During junior year of high school we did a one off. I can't remember all the details of what happened, but a scout turret started to bear on us (I think we were fighting at a type-D starport .... on the tarmac, I can't remember exactly where, nor who was reffing that session). I think we were trying to retake a stolen scout ship, and we were closing when the turret started to traverse in our direction. And that's when one of our newer players said something like "Okay, that's it, I'm out ..." and then he said his character threw his arms up in the air or something. I think I was hunkered behind a crate with a laser rifle.

And I think the consensus at that point was to come to terms. I think I wasn't in the mood to play that night, so I went along with the "group-think" solution, and we let the pirates go in exchange for our lives and some other things.

In retrospect I think it was one of those scenarios where the group could have won, but only at the cost of losing some of the team through instant vaporization via a starship laser (none of us had Striker, so the ref winged the starship weapon in interpersonal combat rules). But it was telling ... and I can't remember whether that came before or after that session of Bright Face.

Interesting.

Yeah, come to think of it, had it been some years before the no one would have taken the game so seriously, and we would have lost a few people, but taken the ship (and rolled up some new characters at the end of the session).

I guess some people really get attached to their characters so much that they don't want to risk them.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 12:24 AM
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guess some people really get attached to their characters so much that they don't want to risk them.
does role-playing the character have anything to do with it?

ref: "the ship's laser, meant to punch through solid steel and damage a starship 2 ls distant, is pointed right at your character."

jane spacejockey: "uh ...."
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Old August 14th, 2017, 05:19 AM
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I don't understand the point you're trying to make.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue Ghost View Post
I don't understand the point you're trying to make.
I think it due to Traveller being very unforgiving when it comes to combat.

Other similiar games like Cyberpunk 2020, Old WoD campaigns, Call of Cuthulu, and even 1st ed D&D had a high lethality rate. Almost always you would find a batch of disposable pre-gen characters at the back of published modules because characters were expected to be replaceable. Great for one offs, but not so good for a longer campaign with recurring PC's. I think it was still due to RPG's still being heavily influenced by war gaming (we have reserves!).

Most modern RPG's (with heavy C-RPG influence) are fairly 'safe' compared to these older games. Respawning characters with magic or ultratech is fairly easy, and damage (if survived) can be fixed fairly quickly. Fell in a pit of lava? I'll just swim across to the other side, take 20d6 fire damage, chug a healing potion and continue on.

In Trav however, a single shot from a ordinary 9mm can splatter your brains over the wall with a lucky roll no matter how heroic you are, and heavy weapons would make even superman pause. If a group of 1st level D&D characters took on a dragon and got turned to ash despite being given a chance to run away, people would say they were idiots. Replace 'Dragon' with 'Heavy Mining Laser'...
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Old August 14th, 2017, 11:38 AM
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Cool Character v. Token.

As noted it comes down to Traveller characters are just that imagined people with wants and needs, not a Striker model or Imperium token which are abstract representations of people but with no personality or character invested in them.

Without BattleDress I too am seeking cover and retreating from Mining or Starship level weapons. Those are one hit, insta-death weapons and Traveller characters are hard enough to keep alive to play from CharGen, I have already invested to much into my PC to let them get nuked like that.

And I did play war games as a kid, but I have always felt that my PCs were too important to let die. To me there was always a distinction between the two. Characters are real, tokens or models are numbers.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 03:07 PM
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Originally Posted by flykiller View Post
does role-playing the character have anything to do with it?

ref: "the ship's laser, meant to punch through solid steel and damage a starship 2 ls distant, is pointed right at your character."

jane spacejockey: "uh ...."
As a player, here is my take.

A quick observation notes that it is a re purposed mining laser. As such, the computer controls are not designed to deal with rapidly dodging targets.

Therefore my team approaches in an alternate bounding-overwatch fashion. dodging in different directions and randomly. Our return fire is directed at the crew of the mining laser, specifically the controller and anyone who replaces the controller.

When within range, RAM grenade.

Yes, it is possible we will lose a couple characters, we might not, or we might lose everybody. But playing Traveller properly, you can lose wonderful characters in chargen. One of the things that the death in chargen is supposed to teach is to "not grasp these characters too tightly". Death in chargen should tell the players that death comes regularly and often.

As the saying goes: "Space is a harsh mistress".
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Old August 14th, 2017, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by pendragonman View Post
As a player, here is my take.

Yes, it is possible we will lose a couple characters, we might not, or we might lose everybody.
I don't disagree that your way is how some folks like to play. I will point out that Traveller has had as much time and some of the best brains in the industry and isn't even a minor player in the RPG market. My feeling is that "easy death" is one of the reasons for that.

As an early player for D&D/AD&D I don't recall the mortality folks feel it had. Yes, characters could die, but we were usually able to scale the challenge to the party. Players could play poorly and lose characters but the mortality rate for thoughtful players was probably less than that of CT Chargen.
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Old August 14th, 2017, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Leitz View Post
I don't disagree that your way is how some folks like to play. I will point out that Traveller has had as much time and some of the best brains in the industry and isn't even a minor player in the RPG market. My feeling is that "easy death" is one of the reasons for that.

As an early player for D&D/AD&D I don't recall the mortality folks feel it had. Yes, characters could die, but we were usually able to scale the challenge to the party. Players could play poorly and lose characters but the mortality rate for thoughtful players was probably less than that of CT Chargen.
I started playing D&D after the Avalon Hill gateway drugs, in 1976. Before Traveller (Yes Billy, the WAS a time before Traveller). There was always the more lethal levels below 5, with lethality getting lesser the higher you went (with the exception of the final boss fight of any adventure).

In my time playing RPGS there have been really only three types of GMs: those that run a dark, bloody campaign where players feel happy they lived and grateful for what treasure they find; those that run a Monte Hall campaign where players have no thought or chance of repercussions for doing overtly stupid things and complain if they don't get massive halls of treasure for removing a splinter from their foot; and those GMs that try to balance the two.

Any of the three types could tell a great story, but a great story does not (in the long run) keep players that aren't challenged or properly rewarded.

IMHO, if the players feel like there is no chance of repercussions then there is no thrill to the success of the operation/adventure and the experienced players will get bored and stop playing. If there is no chance of success at all then the players don't stay in your game.

As an early adopter of both D&D and Traveller, I can tell you why groups of players I have had for both games (same players, switching games for change of pace) didn't want to keep with Traveller on the long hall. NO SET METHOD OF PROGRESSION. In either game players can gather piles of cash, in both games players can garner piles of stuff, ownership of companies and noble titles.

In D&D there is a defined method of progression so as to be able to compare any two characters. Every experienced D&D player knows how powerful a 10th level wizard is (regardless of magic items) and can compare that to a 10th level fighter (regardless of magic items).

How do you compare a random 5 term Imperial Marine (regardless of stuff) and a random 5 term Scout (regardless of stuff), or a 5 term Other (regardless of stuff)?
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