Author Topic: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback  (Read 1765 times)

Cull

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AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« on: 25 June 2023, 07:14:50 »
Hi,

I’m new to BattleTech, but I have decent experience with hex-and-counter TTRPGs and wargames. A big draw for me is the possibility of plugging systems into one another, namely Total Warfare and either MechWarrior: Destiny or A Time of War. My aspiration is to run a pulp campaign reminiscent of the 90’s X-Wing novels, with 60-80% of game time committed to adventures out of the cockpit GM’d remotely/hybrid, and in-person ‘mech skirmishes forming the capstone of each narrative episode. Plucky underdogs, mustache-twirling villains, mysterious forces working in the shadows, and all that.

Last week I got my boxed set of A Game of Armored Combat, and I’ve started getting reps in with those basic rules. Soon I’ll add Total Warfare. I’d like to know what insights/anecdotes people took from running MWD compared to AToW. Alternatively, if you’ve run either of them with TW in a campaign, I’d love to hear about the good, the bad, and the ugly of your experience. I’ve read several reviews of each product, but I’m really looking for feedback and recommendations specific to what I’m considering.

I don’t have a group assembled yet, but the pool of potential players I will be drawing from are experienced with Dark Heresy 1e, The Expanse RPG, Twilight: 2000 4e, and various editions of D&D.

Priorities for me:
  • Rules should be able to support complex and robust adventures out of the cockpit
  • Non-MechWarrior characters should be able to contribute meaningfully to adventures
  • “Plugging into” Total Warfare should be logical and straightforward
Thanks in advance.

Daryk

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #1 on: 25 June 2023, 09:42:04 »
I can only speak for AToW.  I think it's the best RPG rule set so far.  That said:

1) Many find the character creation rules daunting.  I created a spreadsheet to help, and do all the heavy lifting for my players.

2) I find the Life Module system creates characters organic to the universe, and routinely detail NPCs with that in mind.

3) Contributing to adventures is completely down to the scenario, but I'll say EVERY unit I create gets a Lawyer.

4) Plugging in to TW is relatively straightforward, though there are a few things to know.  Attribute modifiers don't transfer over to TW rolls, and bonus/penalty values are reversed from RPG scale to TW scale.  There's a whole chapter called "Tactical Combat Addendum" for converting.  The AToW Companion also has the procedure for converting weapons to TW scale (vice relying on the Tech Manual table).

5) In my sig block, you'll find a number of links to threads about AToW (including to my spreadsheet).

I hope that helps!

Cull

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #2 on: 25 June 2023, 10:52:57 »
Thanks for your response and for organizing all of those resources. From looking at the spreadsheet and instructions (without any other exposure to character creation in AToW) the process does seem daunting, but I'm also confident that myself and most members of any group I put together would enjoy the challenge and feel a sense of accomplishment after getting through it. My SOP includes a "Session Zero" specifically for character creation, and I remember when we did one for Dark Heresy it was a lot of fun even though it took more time than we budgeted. I've also run an adventure where I created characters complete with backstories for my players based on single-sentence summaries of who they wanted to play, and that was very well received, so the prospect of taking on that duty again in a crunchy system doesn't immediately scare me off.

In your opinion, is a character creation spreadsheet good to use when learning AToW, or is it better to learn the system with a pencil and paper, then speed things up with a spreadsheet later?

Daryk

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #3 on: 25 June 2023, 11:02:18 »
BiggRigg42 posted a YouTube video walking through the pen and paper method.  Optimization is where the spreadsheet comes in handy.  If you want to give it a go, it's not a bad idea, but I would hesitate to inflict it on the players.  Usually, I just ask my players what kind of character they want to play, rough out their idea on the spreadsheet, then negotiate details from there.

DericStrider

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #4 on: 09 August 2023, 19:52:10 »
I'd try and keep mech level resource management down to abstracts using war chest rules, personal weapons, and gear that can be purchased using the players' own resources from their salary and resources and the accountants and other admin deal with buying ammo and dealing with repairs/salvage.
If you do go full Cbill bean counting, there are tools such as megamek's MekHQ. For a Xwing 90s novel style game then i'd recommend Destiny as PCs are at a higher powerlevel than ATOW and can do more with fewer skills, sure ATOW PCs starting xp can be adjusted but it also requires a lot more homework for the players on skills as players get more choice to spend xp (its not a given a player can swim or read a map for example.) 




Daryk

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #5 on: 09 August 2023, 20:12:51 »
I'll repeat what I've said before: the AToW Life Path method gives you an organic character that fits in the universe right out of the creation process.  No mental gymnastics required to explain your skill choices... :)

Horsemen

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Re: AToW/MWD selection recs/feedback
« Reply #6 on: 13 August 2023, 19:22:37 »
I've run both and it really comes down to what level of detail you want to play at.

I prefer to use A Time of War because of the level of detail it gives. We played MW3/CBT RPG for years which is its predecessor and fairly close to what ATOW became. It is however a fair amount more work than MW:D.

The Life Paths work though I prefer to use them as a guideline especially with the Master Skill Fields listings to make sure even Point Builds have all the skills of their chosen field.

Build a couple of characters using the Life Paths then purely by point-buy doing the pen-and-paper method. This will give you a good feel for how it works but then run a prelude mission call it a Session 0-A that is a one-shot with the characters to get used to the mechanics. This will give everyone a better idea of how everything interacts including what skills may be missing or still too low. Everyone take notes then discuss it and allow revisions to the characters.

Once you've played this for awhile you can skip this as familiarity removes this step. Also consider the level of power you wish to play at and adjust the Points used accordingly even in the Life Path system.

Either system works for roleplaying. It's a matter of crunch and this also includes the level of work you want to put into running the PC unit. The Warchest system is far easier to work with if you want to keep your paperwork down but in an RPG we found it left something to be desired. But the other direction can become quite cumbersome over time if the unit grows above a reinforced company.

I don't have my notes handy for the one campaign using MW3/CBT RPG/BT campaign which ran 20+ years, the two ATOW/BT campaigns which ran a handful of years each, and the MW:D/BT which ran just over two.

Most of what I learned in that first campaign where I started as a player and became a co-GM I took into the other campaigns and the core component is understanding the style of campaign you want to run, the level of detail you want, and the work outside of each play session your players and you the GM want to do. It sounds like you are fine with work and getting into the crunch.

MW:D flows in a different way and I've found over covid it ran fairly well online over Discord though running 'Mech battles online using TTS requires more work while MegaMek works nicely in its own way, but it didn't quite capture the personal feeling one gets even using Tabletop Simulator (TTS).

I'll post more when I have the time and after reviewing my notes as it has been a bit since those campaigns ended.

 

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