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Skills & Task System

The hopeful explanation would be because MWM is updating them, correcting mistakes in the pdf and the like.

It's probably just a random glitch though...
Originally posted by Zakrol:
The file is there, it just isn't linked properly.

Try this: http://www.traveller5.com/playtest/tasks/Tasks.PDF
That hit the spot.
Emm, where have all the skills gone?
The copy I've got on my hard drive is skills and tasks - 46 pages worth.

And welcome aboard Zakrol - thanks for the link
Originally posted by Sigg Oddra:
Emm, where have all the skills gone?
The copy I've got on my hard drive is skills and tasks - 46 pages worth.

And welcome aboard Zakrol - thanks for the link
Thanks - been lurking for a bit and saw a chance to be useful...

What I found may be an older/newer version? There are other files there that look like skill lists (though I haven't looked in them). Try this: http://www.traveller5.com/playtest/tasks/ though they do look like old versions.

There are also some zip files in the parent directory http://www.traveller5.com/playtest/ that might include what you're after.
Thread Hijack

Maximum Number of Skills

What's the maximum number of skills a player should have? 10? 20? 30?

My opinions:

If the character can't fit on one page, with a few exceptions, there's too much stuff.

Too many skills tend to water down the character -- especially in Traveller, which has default skills that allow players to do lots of things that they don't have explicit "skill" for.

So, my uppermost max is probably 18 or less.

Can Life Pursuits be Automated?

Automating "life pursuits" can be done in conjunction with a maximum number of skills:

Let me assume the referee sets the skill max at 16. So:

* create a skill block and number each slot, say from 3 to 18.
* during career resolution, skills have a new step: first, roll 3d6 and consult the player's skill table.
* * If that slot is occupied, increment the skill level.
* * Otherwise, the character gains skill as usual. The player selects which slot to place this skill, or simply assigns it to the next available slot.

This means:

* after 16 skills are learned, only level improvement occurs: no new skills are learned.

* new skill acquisition becomes slower as the character picks up more skills, simulating aging effects of the brain.

* "Life Pursuits" are implicit, as skills grouped around the center of the skill list will tend to have higher levels.

* The player may still have control over Life Pursuits by assigning less desirable skills to the periphery (while slots remain available).

Variations on the rules can exist. For example, perhaps one skill per term may be 'bumped' from the skill list to make room for a new one. The bumped skill may be discarded or simply frozen at its current level.

Another Way to Automate Life Pursuits

How about a less contrived way to automate life pursuits?

Each term, two term skill levels goes to the current Life Pursuit.

For the first term, the first skill learned becomes the character's Life Pursuit.

Every term where the survival roll is 8+ is considered a turningpoint in the character's career. The next skill learned becomes the new Life Pursuit.
I would argue for a variable based max number of skills based upon a Int and/or Edu. My preference is for Int since Edu in a sense already represents a certain skill base.

I like your idea of slots. Can this idea be expanded/refined to provide more skill slots around the life pursuit? Part of my thinking is to not limit max number of skills so strongly by Int if they are more of a combative/athletic nature. The idea might be that if you have an Int of 7, you would have 7 skill slots for skills outside your life pursuit and 7 + (1/2) = 10 or 11 skill slots under your life pursuit. A total of 17 or 18 slots but 10 or 11 of them are grouped around highly related skills.

I may be misunderstanding life pursuit here. Also, depending on font size, one can get quite a number of skills on a page. ;)
1) When I print my sheets out from Excel, I can fit about half of the skills from the list (in CT, including cascades) on the first page. So, after I fill in skills I simply delete the cells with unused skills in them. I have yet to go over the 1/2way point on the page (in a single column, starting below the big stuff at the top) with even an advanced chargen character. (Arial, 10pt, BTW.)

2) I still don't understand what a Life Pursuit is?! :mad: It seemed to me (initially) to be similar to a "hobby" - a skill or two you could pick up outside your normal chargen tables. But it seems to have acquired a mandatory, random, hard-coded methodology to it. My idea is to have a table based on background (homeworld, or a table from one other career not Advanced Educ) which the player can elect to substitute during normal chargen. It just sounds too much like Life Pursuits (as I read from above) isn't something to allow flexibility, but something to add in mandatory oddity.

3) I still think max skills should a) separated from max skill levels, and b) based on splitting "trained" skills from "knowledge" skills. (Ptah hit that note, too.) One idea:

Max skills: Knowledge = avg Int + Educ
Training = avg Int + 1 Phys attribute
Max skill levels: Kn = Int + Educ
Trn = Int + Phys

4) Slots =
Its already a house rule for many people to massage the random skill assignment in CT (I allow rolling, then picking the table). The slots would force a character to be highly specialized, for another thing (no more Renaissance men :( ). And, the slots method would tend to reduce the number of skills you had, total, as you would tend to roll to increase the ones in the middle more than add new skills. The tables already (in CT/MT anyway) tend to give you repeat skills, by default.
BTW, I stand corrected: I have some advanced chargen characters that go slightly past midpage on the list of their skills. However, there are several lines above skills (name is an extra big line, rank & title, skill list headers, a couple of filler lines), and there are a few blank lines to separate out categories of skills.

If you've played T4, then you know The Problem With Skills: you get a bazillion skills at level 1. Since T5 assumes mastery at a relatively high level, this means that without intervention a character will be pretty wimpy at everything.

The way around it is to pick a skill the character already knows (or wants to know) and increment its level. Thus, a character can become an adept at a couple of skills the player or ref thinks are important. This is an informal house rule that I've used.

Life Pursuits is a formalization of that concept.

I don't know how else to explain it. It's an "official" way for players to specialize their characters in a deliberate way. It's purpose is to make the rules playable as-is, without requiring house rules.

And, regarding small point fonts, I guess my thing is that my T4 characters, and even some of my MT characters, had too many skills for me to get my head around. That's probably my style of gaming? I don't like clutter, and I don't like characters that all start to look alike.

Of course, that might say as much about my lack of creativity as the scope of chargen for MT and T4.
Well, I think the problem is too many skills because of the chargen method, then. (I think we have had this conversation before.) If Life Pursuits is just a way to plus up a few skills to playable levels, I think the chargen is broken.

My take: I would keep skill levels down around CT levels, and not do the whole Life Pursuits thing (at least as I now understand it). Skill levels reflect knowledge/training above "normal" ("normal" for some skills=0), while attributes above 7 reflect above "normal". So, the ranges are really about the same.

Obviously, if you are aiming for roll-under stat or attribute, a 6 skill level is mediocre. But, if you are doing roll+skill over a TN, skill levels of 11 will be ridiculous.

With MT chargen I've never had any trouble (given my house rule on skills mentioned above) getting a character with the level desired in a key skill. I don't mind "lots" of skills (I'm talking 8-11 with CT/MT basic and 20 for CT advanced) for my characters - and they have typically had one or two skills in the 3-5 range. (I have one doctor named Marcel Moreau, with a Medical of 8! He's supposed to be a scary guy investigating creation of a hybrid cybernetic race... Bwahahahahaha! But, he only has 3 0-level skills, and 8 level-1 skills.)

(And, BTW, no I haven't done any chargen for T4, yet.)
I've been arguing for a cleaned up MT Character Rules as the basis for T5 since T4 (and for T4 from announcement of T4 to announcement of the basis...).

If we take MT's skills and characters, simplify the combat and design (perhaps nabbing T20's), we wind up with a pretty darned good game, with all aspects already stabilized.

Not that the one skill per year is a bad idea, it just doesn't improve at all the actual capabilities of the characters, and actually reduces overall depth in skills for most characters by allowing specialists to become far more deeply skilled.

(Vilani in MT could easily get skills to level 7+... one to a character...)

I've done T4 CG; two types tended to creep up.
1) Narrow and Deep: only a few skills, at levels of 5 or 6, simply to make up for TIH rules
2) Massively generalist: Nothing above a 3, and loads of them, relyiing uppon high atts. Fewer since TIH was introduced in the T4.1 task system debates...
Everyone simply dumped into atts once their targeted skills were obtained, since a skill or att raise cost the same, and raising 1 att effectively raised 1/6th of all skills possessed under 4.0...
The same? I'd lean, tentatively, to a mixed answer; CT has a number of special definitions

Well, here's how I interpret it...

Level 0 is workable; essentially a trainee or inexperienced amateur.
Level 1 is employable in skilled fields. (Defined in rules; CT and MT match)
Level 3 is minimum professional (canonical example is Doctor is Medical-3, surgeon is Medical-3 and Dex 8+. In CT, this seems fairly likely to be post-residency; In MT, it's probably resident.).
Level 7 is maximum useful level for "Joe Normal" (See level 8 for why)
Level 8 is maximum useful skill, period, due to +8 DM limit on tasks. (At level 8, odds don't change due to fatigue!)

Realistically, under MT, Level 4 is mature professional; net DM is usually +5 or +6, and Formidable tasks are thus 9+ or 10+, and Impossible tasks require taking extra time to lower the difficulty... (or rolling a Nat12.)

You need a net +7 to hit an Impossible task without taking extra time. I've seen only one character who was NOT Vilani who had level 7+. I've seen plenty of Advanced CG Docs (Navy and Army) with skill 5-6; I've even had a couple of characters with dual level 4's or 5's. Usually Advanced CG Navy Pilots (Ship's Boat, Gunnery). I've seen a number of Broker 4 Trader 5 characters.

The Vilani rule is that you can trade 2 rolls for 1 level in your primary skill each term; this skill must be chosen from one of your first term skills. When choosing from a cascade, you pick a focus; either take a level in the focus, or take a level in the lowest skill in the cascade, excluding skills not available to your TL, for example, you can't take Neural Weapons unless your homeworld is TL17, so you don't have to count it. This can result in exceptionally high skills in Advanced CG. Due to the Vilani Aging Save bonuses, and the expectation of around 2.6 skills per term, Vilani who choose not to develop their focal career skill can wind up with a strong skill per cascade... It is very similar to Life pursuits in T5, but less universal.

The two-for-one keeps it quite limited. The Experience Limit is pushed FAR more often in MT than in CT; one can reasonably expect 1-2 extra skills over CT for Special Duty (Make by 4+ is common, especially with 4+ and 5+ special duty rolls.)

Since Commission/Position, Promotion, and Special Duty all can get bonus skills, this changes the rates drastically.
Term 1 (2 for non-ranked professions)
1st Term: 1-2 (second is from Rank and Service Skills)
Commission: 0-2 (0 if not made, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills)
Promotion 0-2 (0 if not made or not commissioned, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills)
Special Duty: 0 (not part of CT)
Term 1: 2-7
Later Terms: 1-5

Term 1 (2 for non-ranked professions)
1st Term: 1-2 (second is from Rank and Service Skills)
Commission: 0-3 (0 if not made, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills; 1 from Bonus Skill if roll made by 4+)
Promotion 0-3 (0 if not made or not commissioned, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills, possibly one from bonus skillls)
Special Duty: 0-2 (usually 1, often 2nd from bonus skill, rarely 0)
Term 1: 2-10; 3-6 if non-ranked
Later Terms: 1-8; 2-5 if non-ranked

Term: 4 (6 for some non-ranked professions; don't have handy to check if all)
1st Term: 1-2 (second is from Rank and Service Skills)
Commission: 0-2 (0 if not made, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills)
Promotion 0-2 (0 if not made or not commissioned, 1 for making it, possibly one for Rank & Service Skills)
Special Duty: 0-1
Term 1: 5-11; 7-9 for unranked
Later Terms: 4-9; 6-7 for unranked.

Typical CT basic characters run about 1.8 skill levels per term
Typical MT Basic characters run about 2.6 skill levels per term
Typical T4 characters run about 5.5 (never did the math in detail; estimating) levels per term.

So really, CT levels are worth about 50% more (2CT ≅3MT) than MT, and about 200% more than T4. (1CT ≅3 T4), based upon CG materials.

However, the levels of skill generated in MT are only about 1 level higher per skill, in general, due to more skills to spread them amongst, and the Experience cap (no more total levels of non-psionic skills than Int+Edu); careful picking of tables can break this in certain careers.

Note: MT Advanced CG is nearly identical to CT Advanced, and has about 20% more skills to spread amongst.

Note: MT makes far more extensive use of cascades; about 1 in 4 rolls hits a cascade in Basic or Advanced.

Of my last 5 CT characters I generated, 2 had a single skill of level 5 or 6, and several at level 1. All hit at least 5 terms; all were advanced characters; none were Vilani, one was a scout administrator, one was Marine commando acadamy grad, and the others were merchants. All had at least one skill at level 3.

(For me, CT is a solitare CG game only now... I've since adopted T20's T&C in lieu of CT's, and T20's ship design in lieu of MT's...)
Couple more questions, Aramis:
Where is this Vilani rule? What is "T&C"? (Tasks and Combat?) In advanced chargen, you got characters with only one skill at 3?

Of course, I usually roll pretty well.........
An MT skill 6 is roughly equivalent to a CT level 4 or 5...

But the definitions are the same from the text, even if the expected levels are about a level higher.