BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => A Time of War => Topic started by: Voodoo on 11 March 2011, 23:55:50

Title: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 11 March 2011, 23:55:50
Before I buy this book, I'd like to hear from the masses.  Fasa always did one thing well, Battletech.  Simple, yet deep, and very user-friendly.  Unfortunately, their ventures into the true RPG realm always suffered from the "we have to be different form D&D.  This resulted in the horrorific rule system in Shadowrun, continued in Shadowrun 2nd edition, and Earthdawn.  Mechwarrior 2 at least was at least somewhat digestible, but like Taco bell, you still had to run for the bano on occasion. 

Mechwarrior 3 went the wrong direction, but at least incorporated the use of a D10.  My question is, IS a time for war less or more painful than the previous MW RPS's to learn and play?  Are character's easily converted to Battletech use?  Please, only answer if you have been playing the game since 3025.

I apologize for sounding condescending,  but before I drop another $40, I need to know.

P.S.  Shadowrun could have been mind-blowing with a D20 system.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: cray on 12 March 2011, 00:03:23
I really disliked MW3. The basic character creation system was awful, slow, painful, slow, and agonizing, and I disliked the lifepath system that dictated my characters' background. The combat system was slow and clumsy. The CBT:Companion (wrote fluff for it) did not adequately fix the character generation issues even with its point-based approach. I used Shadowrun 3rd Edition rules in lieu of MW3 for BT roleplaying.

A Time of War fixed those problems. Character generation is much faster, I'm no longer rammed into background dictated by random rolls, and combat is satisfactorily fast. (For the record: I only wrote fluff in the back, not the rules.) I'm sure people could point to better RPGs out there, but ATOW is satisfactory. I've dumped my SR3 hacks and use ATOW now for my BT roleplaying campaign.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: SteelRaven on 12 March 2011, 00:20:03
I tried the lifepath chart from the download section, liked the idea somewhat but feels like it's forced on you. Right now using something similar to the MW2/BESM system just because it's fast and simple though it lacks depth.

A Time of War sounds like the best option out of all of them 
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 12 March 2011, 00:20:39
Honestly, if you consider D20 to be the end all be all, this isn't the RPG for you.

Complexity-wise, this falls somewhere between Eden Studios D10 system and GURPS though the heavy simplization makes it closer to Eden on that continum.

As for meshing with BT, it does it fairly well.  Just take a skill's base target number and subtract out your skill level to get yur BT equivalent.  For most BT combat skills that's an 8 so if you have a MW with Piloting/Mech +3 and Gunnery/Mech +4, you know you have a 5/4 MW in BT.

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: massey on 12 March 2011, 00:50:41
Building a character takes forever.

Combat is much more lethal than in MW3.

It meshes okay with Battletech, but not as easily as MW2.

There are definite tricks that make min-maxing easier.

There are some pretty neat additions that let you do things you couldn't before (you can be a Duke as a starting character, though you'll suck at everything else).
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Akalabeth on 12 March 2011, 02:04:52
ATOW is okay, though I think the combat is a bit overly complex and to further that, the combat section is not laid out very well at all. Also the abilities of mechwarriors don't always mesh up that well with the board game, namely that characters in ATOW are much more likely to go unconscious than they ever would in the boardgame.

Also the way modifiers are applied is completely reversed so it's sort of confusing (the modifiers affect the die roll, not the target number. So a +2 is bonus rather than a penalty).

That being said, it's alright.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Ice_Trey on 12 March 2011, 02:15:18
Character Generation is slightly faster in AToW than it was in 3rd, but only slightly. It's still fiendishly slow, and could really use a program for making character sheets. I've run into a few people making Excel sheets for the job, but rarely do said excel sheets actually WORK. They're frequently WIPs.
Admittedly, though character building is slow the most time consuming part is deciding on equipment. If you have any less than 3+ TP, You only get access to the most rudimentary of gear, but once you get 3TP, you're suddenly overwhelmed by a plethora of choices. You go from only having access to basic slug-throwing pistols, double barreled shotguns, and hunting rifles, to being able to purchase Gyrojet Carbines and Pulse Laser Pistols in a very short period of time. The good part about AToW is that unlike 3rd, all that gear is compiled in one book instead of being scattered haphazardly in every scenario book since 1999. However, that blessing is also it's curse, meaning that if you've only got equipped 2, you're combing through the book saying "Alright, what can I take?".

But once chargen is said and done, AToW acts just how I think a Battletech RPG should. It's a very simple, rudimentary system, though it's incredibly deadly if left unmodified. Players can easily bleed out and die from the simplest of firearm wounds, and nothing short of the heaviest armor offers significant protection from firearms.
But like I was saying about simplicity, It's less realistic than 3e, but it eliminates the wounds system for a simple HP system, and eliminates the need for rolling damage after rolling the hit, as the success margins of the hit dictate the damage dealt.

Overall, the only qualm I have is that for whatever reason, Herb took all the Battletech mods and flipped them on their head, applying it to the die roll, rather than the target number we're used to. It's in essence the same system, but throws existing players off balance, seemingly with no reason other than the priorly stated "Because we can't just be the last game"

Long story short, while AToW isn't much faster for character construction, it's a simpler system that works excellently as a tandem product, going back to the 2D6 system to make the transition to Mech Combat all the easier, and not having so many rules as to overwhelm players who've never played Battletech before while they play both games in tandem.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Deadborder on 12 March 2011, 05:28:46
AToW has a mechanic that is far easier to uintegrate into Battletech - 2d6 vs 2d10. Character creation lacks the "lol random" stuff that can screw you over big-time and have one bum roll wreck your character concept. You're not flipping through a zillion sourcebooks for a zillion over-specialised lifepath tables. And, finally, it hasd the advantage of being current, supported and far more consistently written then MW3 ever was.

'course, personally, I thought that MW3 sucked donkey balls. But that's just my opinion. YMMV.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Mendou on 12 March 2011, 09:08:16
I can't say much about the actual mechanics of playing the games, as I've yet to be in a campaign for either system, but I have built numerous characters for both. AToW's point-build system does make it easier to tailor your character to your original idea, even when using the life-path system. However, sometimes it's fun to see how badly the MW3 life paths can mess up a character. There's a certain degree of risk-reward in MW3 which doesn't really exist in AToW; AToW misses out on the lowest of the lows, but also misses the highest of highs from MW3. AToW's limited points also preclude the possibility of starting with an ace MechWarrior--most starting characters end up at 21 years old with minimal 'Mech skills unless the player is severely min-maxing, and starting with an assault 'Mech is nigh-impossible, unlike MW3 where your fresh-from-the-life-path character can be a thirtysomething Sergeant Major with an assault 'Mech and way too much money for his own good.

I guess I'm still sitting on the fence for this one, as it occurs to me my examples could be seen as a positive for either system depending on one's biases ^_^;;
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Cannon_Fodder on 12 March 2011, 09:20:12
AToW is a better system except for the switch back to 2d6. 2d10 has a much better probability curve.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: cray on 12 March 2011, 09:32:45
AToW's limited points also preclude the possibility of starting with an ace MechWarrior--most starting characters end up at 21 years old with minimal 'Mech skills unless the player is severely min-maxing

Oh, yes, with severe min-maxing it's possible. I'm seeing it my current Solaris VII campaign. It was done by the best roleplayer in the group who's done a great job of bringing to life someone who can barely tie his shoelaces outside the 'Mech. :)

Character Generation is slightly faster in AToW than it was in 3rd, but only slightly.

I didn't have that problem after my first two or three (N)PCs, but I stuck to straight point buys. Are you using the life modules or the point-buy?

Quote
Overall, the only qualm I have is that for whatever reason, Herb took all the Battletech mods and flipped them on their head, applying it to the die roll, rather than the target number we're used to. It's in essence the same system, but throws existing players off balance, seemingly with no reason other than the priorly stated "Because we can't just be the last game"

It's a system used in a number of major games, including Shadowrun and World of Darkness (albeit those add and remove dice to your roll).
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Diamondshark on 12 March 2011, 10:54:32
Honestly, I can't figure out the character creation rules in AToW, is there going to ever be a program for a generator?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 12 March 2011, 11:07:11
So, I what I have gathered is that I should spend $10 and get Mechwarrior 2.  Is that the consensus?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Marwynn on 12 March 2011, 11:34:44
ATOW is worth the buy. I am, however, stuck somewhere between Stage 0 and Stage 1. But that's just me mulling my options and not nailing down the character concept. I have three in my mind and they're all melding together.

I should probably try the point-build system. My suggestion is grab both, but use ATOW. I bought MW2 a while back, mostly for reference.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 12 March 2011, 11:39:24
I find MW2 to be horribly limited as a RPG and not thoroughly playtested (natural aptitude is rather broken, IMO). I like AToW and I didn't write any of the rules, either, just the gear and fiction.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: shadow_walker on 12 March 2011, 11:49:42
The only thing I liked about the life path system that it would give me bases of a background if I didn't have one already worked up. If I already had a background worked up then I'll use the point system for generation.   
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Cannon_Fodder on 12 March 2011, 11:54:20
I have heard of players using D20, Gurps, Hero and several other RPG systems for BattleTech.


As for the canon RPG systems AToW is probably the best.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Grim_Reaper on 12 March 2011, 13:18:44
I find MW2 to be horribly limited as a RPG and not thoroughly playtested (natural aptitude is rather broken, IMO). I like AToW and I didn't write any of the rules, either, just the gear and fiction.
maybe fore a pure RP product but as a RP element addon for Battletech it works fine and was far more compatable than MW3 (which mostly wasnt) and was compatable with Battletroops as well to the point that you could use the Battletroops sheets for simple NPCs

AToW seems to be a step back towards that
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Kit deSummersville on 12 March 2011, 13:38:30
but as a RP element addon for Battletech it works fine

I find it does not.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Grim_Reaper on 12 March 2011, 13:59:50
well i disagree. i found it very compatable with Battletech and by comparison MW3 wasnt and was so unweildy that i found it unusable.

but them im approaching it from playing the Boardgame with the RP as addon element.
MW3 is probably better suited to a pure RP game with little or no interaction with the boardgame but as i said, i fould it unweildy and too complicated
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: greywolf79 on 12 March 2011, 15:58:47
So here is an off the wall question...

Is there a character generator to use for making a character and printing the character sheet out? I know for 2nd and 3rd edition of MW there are at least a few out there...

Also, what is the # and whole name of the RP book here?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: roosterboy on 12 March 2011, 16:02:23
Also, what is the # and whole name of the RP book here?

CAT35005 A Time of War (http://www.classicbattletech.com/index.php?action=products&mode=full&id=277)
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: greywolf79 on 12 March 2011, 16:25:02
Thank you roosterboy. I like to keep a "wishlist" or future buy list, and the item numbers help me keep track of them...
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Deadborder on 12 March 2011, 18:44:55
To me, MW2 didn't feel very "complete". it felt like an addo-on to Battletech that created very "bare-bones" characters with little life or personality to them. The lack of negative character traits was particularily odd, especially in light of how they've been a part of every other Mechwarrior/CBT RPG edition.

Also, I'm seconding (or thirding or whatevering) the use of the point-buy system in AToW. I find it to be almost elegant in its nature and ceertainy I would say that it's one of the better character generation systems I've ever used. If you skip the life modules, or use them jsut as a general guideline, it makes character creation relatively straightforward. There's no hard and fast rule saying you have to use the life module system for making a charactyer. Certainly under AToW I've been able to create more complete characters that I'm more satsfied with then any previous edition.

Even then, the life modules system is more straight forward then the terribad lifepath system; not only did the latter have you dumpster-diving between books to find what you wanted, but it also would throw seemingly completely random traits in your face, as well as having the chance to completely throw your concept to the wind.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: greywolf79 on 12 March 2011, 18:59:42
deadborder, I think that is what MW was meant to be... It came in after BT was made as a way to explain off the battlefield (and some little on the field) things... But now they seem to be making it MUCH more expansive to be its own. And I think that can be both good and bad. It is great to have the additional stuff, but it also can make difficulty adding it into the CBT tabletop part.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: SteelRaven on 12 March 2011, 21:42:59
Haven't played AToW yet but it sounds like a good system (As Cray out it, WoD with less dice)
Don't bother with MW2, it's BESM for the BTU.

A character generator would be a great idea
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 12 March 2011, 23:31:28
Even then, the life modules system is more straight forward then the terribad lifepath system; not only did the latter have you dumpster-diving between books to find what you wanted, but it also would throw seemingly completely random traits in your face, as well as having the chance to completely throw your concept to the wind.

:gets out old codger voice:

You young uns don't know how good you've got it.  You think rolling a "2" on a lifepath in MW 3rd ed. is bad?  Well siree, you ought to have played Traveller back in the day when you weren't even guaranteed that your chracter would make it out of char gen alive!
:puts away voice:

 :)  And yes, that's a true story.

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: SteelRaven on 12 March 2011, 23:39:33
:gets out old codger voice:

You young uns don't know how good you've got it.  You think rolling a "2" on a lifepath in MW 3rd ed. is bad?  Well siree, you ought to have played Traveller back in the day when you weren't even guaranteed that your chracter would make it out of char gen alive!
:puts away voice:

 :)  And yes, that's a true story.

-Jackmc
Wait, a char gen aborted your character!? ??? Brutal
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Mattlov on 12 March 2011, 23:49:47
So, I what I have gathered is that I should spend $10 and get Mechwarrior 2.  Is that the consensus?

Oh hell no.  MW2 is so basic an RPG, it can barely be called a game.  I've played a lot of RPGs in my day, and only Earthdawn is worse than MW2.  Al you had to do in MW2 was put your point sin to your Attributes.  Skills didn't matter at that point because you could almost default on everything successfully.    It was very easy to come out of Character creation in MW2 with a 1/1 or better pilot that still had other skills.  Might not have much cash, but you only needed a good pistol...
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: massey on 13 March 2011, 00:26:34
MW2 is a fine RPG.  The fact that you could create a character who was actually good at what he did was a welcome change from other games.  It's true that you wanted high stats, but that's the case with a lot of games.  I don't understand how a game is better because you fail more skill rolls and there are fewer things your character can do successfully.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: NightmareSteel on 13 March 2011, 01:33:38
Jackmc- I still play traveller.  1st ed.

Steelraven- In the old days of Traveller, SOP was to roll up right around a hundred characters, and use the one that was neither dead nor full of suck.  About 40% of characters died before having the opportunity to become useful, about 40% of characters never became useful, and about 20% of characters died after finally becoming useful.

Note that those add up to 100%.  That's because (assuming the dice gods hated you as much as me) less than .5% of characters were both not-suck and not-dead.

And that's just in character creation.  Before rolling for the possibility of psychic potential, which could also kill you, and usually just ended in more suck.

I have never played another game that hated players so perfectly, and was still fun.   {>{>
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: SteelRaven on 13 March 2011, 01:44:37
 [wildandcrazy] I'll stick with crazy GMs to make my games crazy stupid

true story during a custum game of Zombies!!!:
"You rolled snake eyes, you drop the can of Gasoline and it explodes..."
"...what?"
"...yeah, and now your out cold, covered in third degree burns and zombies hord thinks you smell like BBQ as they shamble towards you from all corners of the town..."
"...WHAT!?"
"...Yeah, lets see if your team mates are on fire."
"...  #P "

GMs make the game... for better or worst.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Kamov on 13 March 2011, 02:40:25
MW2 is a fine RPG.  The fact that you could create a character who was actually good at what he did was a welcome change from other games.  It's true that you wanted high stats, but that's the case with a lot of games.  I don't understand how a game is better because you fail more skill rolls and there are fewer things your character can do successfully.

You know, if that's a problem, you can just add more power to your characters.  I've played countless D&D games that didn't start the PCs at 1st level.  Point-buy systems make it even easier, since you just get allotted more points to spend.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Reaver on 13 March 2011, 02:44:53
MW3rd had three big problems:  the character rolls could hopelessly wreck your character if you already had an idea (I've had to completely restart characters after my planned mechwarrior lost his hearing and multiple limbs through a series of catastrophic rolls), power seep made characters from the Federated Suns and Lyran Alliance way way more powerful than characters from early FM's, and it took forever to increase anything that was not a skill ranked +3 or lower.

While each of these can be fixed, it makes the system difficult and unwieldy.  I've found, for instance, that the system works well with an intermediate "buy back" stage, where you simply pool up your earned advantages and traits, start deleting a bunch of them while at the same time writing out the inevitable lost limbs and transit disorientation syndrome you've picked up along the way, keeping only the traits you want to keep.  After years of practice, I can usually create well-fleshed regular or veteran pilots with a variety of different interests, which serves my rp needs.  That being said, the formulas used to scale point buys were just obscene, and resulted in it taking years of fighting once a week every week to get that veteran pilot to elite status, or for that matter raise his manual dexterity by one. 
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Ice_Trey on 13 March 2011, 04:03:00
I didn't have that problem after my first two or three (N)PCs, but I stuck to straight point buys. Are you using the life modules or the point-buy?

The module system

However, the book strictly says that the point buy system is recommended for the creation of NPCs. It's an add-on, rather than the main method.

...if you follow the modules, the main way, then character creation is slow. The main method, however slow, I'd still rather my players use. The largest portion of time is chewed up by picking starting inventory. If I'm making NPCs, I'm just pulling numbers out of my butt and/or basing things on what my PCs already have in terms of stats, as is recommended in the GM'ing guide.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: massey on 13 March 2011, 11:15:29
You know, if that's a problem, you can just add more power to your characters.  I've played countless D&D games that didn't start the PCs at 1st level.  Point-buy systems make it even easier, since you just get allotted more points to spend.

Or I can play MW2 and not worry about it. ;)

I like MW2.  The combat system works, and that's really all I need in an RPG.  Yes, it's easy to make every character an awesome pilot.  Reflexes and Intuition of 6 and you're set for most stuff.  But MW4 is easy to cheese too.  7 levels of gunnery/piloting is quite cheap, and makes you an effective 0/0 in Battletech.  Fact is you can start with 10 levels in each, and then buy natural aptitude (which works the same as it does in MW2), which is worse than anything you can do in MW2.  The rest of your stuff will suck, but you'll be a monster in the mech.

I can make powerful characters in MW4.  You just have to jump through so many hoops, that character creation takes forever.  The real way to power up in the game lies in the life modules.  Take modules that give you disads you can live with (enemy is great, glass jaw is bad), because you'll be keeping them.  Go for ones that give lots of disads, because it means you'll get lots of points in exchange for them.  Try to balance the points you gain in skills so that you don't quite reach the threshold of actually gaining a level in most of them (interest: arts?  screw that!)  That way when you optimize at the end, you just get those points back.

I built a starting character with a medium mech, 4/5 gunnery/piloting, stats that weren't atrocious, and had 10 levels each in title and landholdings.  It also took me about two hours to get his life modules correct.  MW2, on the other hand, I can build a decent character in about 5 minutes.  It's much easier, and my character doesn't die the first time he gets shot.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 13 March 2011, 13:16:02
The main method, however slow

This is a place where the burden really falls upon the GM and any assistant(s) he may have.  IF you become intimatley familair with the system, module-driven charac gen isn't all that slow.  True it's not goign to beat old school D&D's "6 dice rolls and you're done" method but it should run about average for point-buy systems.

You can help yourself become familiar with the system by using it to generate your NPC's.  On any given week, I generate 4-8 NPC's this way, and thus I've come to know what combination work best for a given character and perhaps more importantly know what choices will salvage a cahracter whose backstory takes them through mdules that are far less than optimal.

Also, if you have a little time you can shave a lot of the fustration of players building characters by redoing the life modules in an easier to read format in a larger font.


Quote
The largest portion of time is chewed up by picking starting inventory.

To be fair, any game that does't give totally prepackaged gear kits suffers from this and ATOW suffers less than most because you know what the standard issue gear is for almost every general character type.

Again this is another place a GM can speed up char gen by creating "cheat sheets" that list standard gear packages.


-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Dread Moores on 13 March 2011, 13:37:06
I'd definitely say AToW out of the available official BT RPGs. I personally found MW2 incredibly broken by being too simplistic, MW3 overcomplicated, and AToW still a bit more complicated but just about on target. Tastes will obviously vary though. One thing, don't treat point buy as optional for just NPCs. Point buy offers a great deal more flexibility for players (and is faster), and as a GM, I want the players to make the character they want to play. Then again, most of my players come from Shadowrun or White Wolf backgrounds, where point buy is always the preferred. (I realize some folks used priority system in SR 1-3, but I just can't imagine why.)
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Sartris on 13 March 2011, 17:37:24
MW3 made for some tragic (hilarious) character outcomes.

In one campaign, I ended up with a former Death Commando with ~30 skills.  My friend ended up with a one-armed backwoods illiterate whose only redeeming quality was that he could drive.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 14 March 2011, 01:26:42
AToW is easily the superior RPG for my money.  I have never had a problem with a mechwarrior going unconscious and since we use the reduced lethality rules for armor our group hasn't had too many problems in that regard either.

Character generation is a breeze compared the CBT:RPG/MW3ed.  I have yet to take more than half an hour to create a character unless I was stalling/goofing off for AToW.  CBT:RPG/MW3ed I was lucky to get a character done in under an hour unless I was making a very young character or was allowed to fiddle with the life paths outcomes as desired.

For all the complaints I see my group has had zero trouble with any of them and two members are pretty math adverse.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 14 March 2011, 11:13:29
MW3 made for some tragic (hilarious) character outcomes.

In one campaign, I ended up with a former Death Commando with ~30 skills.  My friend ended up with a one-armed backwoods illiterate whose only redeeming quality was that he could drive.

With just one arm?  What a heart-warming story.  [/The Cat]
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 14 March 2011, 22:23:59
Oh hell no.  MW2 is so basic an RPG, it can barely be called a game.  I've played a lot of RPGs in my day, and only Earthdawn is worse than MW2.  Al you had to do in MW2 was put your point sin to your Attributes.  Skills didn't matter at that point because you could almost default on everything successfully.    It was very easy to come out of Character creation in MW2 with a 1/1 or better pilot that still had other skills.  Might not have much cash, but you only needed a good pistol...


ABSOLUTELY Dead on the mark.   The Balance in MW2 was horrid.. it was ALL attributes, then Traits, Then skills..  buy as many attributes as you can, then buy more if you can find a way.  then get natural apt, and combat sense.


The game in 'theory' only had balance, and in character gen you could in theory build a decent character by doing something like putting skills and  traits first, and then attributes..    Yet every single sample character was build with either 30 or 27 points of attributes.  and if you tried to make someone off less than 27  the character sucked, would always suck, and their was no way around it.


Then there was the issue with advancement..  which was too fast.   


All you had to do was build an attributes monger, plunge all your exp into a few critical skills, and you went from good to godlike in no time at all.. (there was btw no 'zero' unless you built with less than 30 points of attributes.    Clan characters were just SICK and could easily end up with a base 'to hit' roll of -2 or more once some exp was spent on skills   on a 2D6 curve the difference between 4 and -2 is just sick..


Our group created something like 10-15 PAGES of house rules to try and re-balance and 'fix' the game, including about 3 or 4 pages with an alternative system for improving attributes after the fact if you'd started out with less than 30 points of attributes.


ATOW is not perfect, still suffers from the steep 2D6 curve and ability for characters to rapidly go from zero to hero (but not godlike thanks to caps on conversion, and not as fast as MW2).


The other issue I have with ATOW is that attributes don't matter enough.. (for proof of that review all characters posted by players to the boards here, and notice how many have straight 4's for all their attributes) 


Frankly, if you don't like FASA's attempts at RP, the use gurps, d20, or Hero system. 


I'd rather take advantage of the available materials etc, so we play AToW, but with some tweeks to make it attributes matter just a little more, and 2D10 based (and use 2D10 rolls to hit in bt side, but 2D6 for location, cluster charts etc.) which flattens out the skill progression just enough that it keeps things under control.

Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Nargrakhan on 15 March 2011, 13:59:25
The other issue I have with ATOW is that attributes don't matter enough.. (for proof of that review all characters posted by players to the boards here, and notice how many have straight 4's for all their attributes)

This. This. This. This.

It was brought up when the game was in "public beta" and comments against it were evidently ignored (or firmly defended). No offense: but a flaw is a flaw is a flaw. Now don't get me wrong, I like using AToW, but the attribute -/+ thing is poorly planned IMHO. Of course there was a way to have untrained characters do some pretty absurd things. In fact, it was better at first to create a character going off pure attributes, because he/she could do better than a trained character with "average" attributes. It was excused as "natural skill" of course... but having the natural skill to do successful brain surgery on the fly, when you've never touched a scalpel beforehand, obviously was insane.

The reason why you see 4 in attributes, is because you get no real gain with trained skills, having the associated attribute at 5 and 6. The bonus doesn't hit until 7 – which is 300 points above 4.  :o Cheaper to just max out the skill. Also the negative hits at 3 – so 4 is the sweet spot.

In my campaigns, I just house rule that 3 is the average attribute for normal people, because so many characters stay in the 3/4 range so they can have a mech and be at the appropriate military rank. 5 is when you start being exceptional... 7 is the inhuman mark. The -1 penalty hits at 2. Not exactly the best fix... but it's what my GM experience has been showing works best for my players, so they don't lack in diversification.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 15 March 2011, 15:04:24
I don't mind seeing a lot of 4s for attributes because it is described as what most people would equate to in AToW terms.  That said I'm not against the idea of having the positive modifiers start at 6 instead of 7.  Considering how many skills can become affected by such a change it is something I still have to toy around with.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 15 March 2011, 21:36:27
This. This. This. This.

It was brought up when the game was in "public beta" and comments against it were evidently ignored (or firmly defended). No offense: but a flaw is a flaw is a flaw. Now don't get me wrong, I like using AToW, but the attribute -/+ thing is poorly planned IMHO. Of course there was a way to have untrained characters do some pretty absurd things. In fact, it was better at first to create a character going off pure attributes, because he/she could do better than a trained character with "average" attributes. It was excused as "natural skill" of course... but having the natural skill to do successful brain surgery on the fly, when you've never touched a scalpel beforehand, obviously was insane.

The reason why you see 4 in attributes, is because you get no real gain with trained skills, having the associated attribute at 5 and 6. The bonus doesn't hit until 7 – which is 300 points above 4.  :o Cheaper to just max out the skill. Also the negative hits at 3 – so 4 is the sweet spot.

In my campaigns, I just house rule that 3 is the average attribute for normal people, because so many characters stay in the 3/4 range so they can have a mech and be at the appropriate military rank. 5 is when you start being exceptional... 7 is the inhuman mark. The -1 penalty hits at 2. Not exactly the best fix... but it's what my GM experience has been showing works best for my players, so they don't lack in diversification.


Agreed.   we use 2D10, and this is one of the reasons..  we were able to tweak the adjustments just a little and not have it affect things so much that it was back to 'all attributes all the time'    The broader range of the dice allowed us to decide that   4-5 is basically average 6-7 is +1, 8-9 is +2 and 10 is +3 (I think that's what we used, it's from memory)  and something a bit similar on the downside. 


A few of the things we do in mech combat depend on attributes also, (in part) so again a bit more balance (we hope)




The big issue for any BT rpg is that it has to be compatible (almost always) with BT.. which uses 2D6..  Once you accept that, you accept a lot of other limitations that go with it, including a very steep advancement curve.   The mechanics of the numbers are just to limiting and there's really nothing you can do about it no matter how creative you are.   And frankly you run into the SAME problem if you try to adapt any other RPG to bt, unless you run a campaign where nobody pilots a mech.   The only other option is change how you play BT, but that is an even greater form (to most here) of heresy.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 16 March 2011, 17:32:44
For those who don't remember MW 1 avancement was so slow (glacial) that a lot complained or had to award huge amounts of EXP to compensate. Earning EXP was not consistent for each player either.

MW2 strove to fix that and make things simpler and advancement moved faster (to fast it turned out). It was also a rip off of the current version of Shadow Run creation system.  The problem was attributes were to highly valued and post creation to expensive to raise creating a need to get 27-30 points of attributes at creation. MW2 also did not have enough skill diversity for the players to spend EXP on. The MW2 project Tempus mentions went a long way to fixing MW2 so much so I would not have moved to MW3 if we had not found and cannibalized some MW3 solaris rules.

MW3 Character creation was essentially a borrowed page from Cyber punk which is funny considering FASA made Shadown Run. Of the times I used the LP system only once did I have a character I would want to play when they came out the otherside of LP. The points only system was at a serious points disadvantage. Far to many concessions.

MW4 character creation has felt like doing my taxes even with the spread sheets found on the old boards. Its a lot better than MW3 and does not Nanny as much. But we have made quite a few changes to it as well to get it balanced. That and further smoothing of the MW3 Solaris rules combined with 2D10 and we have a very workable system. We have come about full circle from MW2 major edits to a MW4 that needed less edits.

As far as people mentioning how people could have X or Y gunnery or piloting abuses I have to ask where is your GM?

Final comments on the current state of Battletech and Mechwarrior it feels like they adopted just about every house rule they could find and incorporated into the game without enough play testing in an effort to make the game more widely appealing.






Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 19 March 2011, 20:05:28
I don't mind seeing a lot of 4s for attributes because it is described as what most people would equate to in AToW terms. 

Actually a 4 is above average, and a 3 imposes a penalty, so that puts the average at 3.5 (assuming a linear progression).

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Grim_Reaper on 19 March 2011, 20:28:58
The big issue for any BT rpg is that it has to be compatible (almost always) with BT.. which uses 2D6..
this is where MW2 rises above the rest. particulary when yousee how damage is recorded directly translates from/to BT's 'mechwarrior damage' on the BT Record Sheet.

personally i dont see what a big issue using 2D6 is but then i dont primarly roleplay. for me its the BT game first and any RP is just to flesh out the guys in the Mechs and MW2 works just fine for that
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 21 March 2011, 20:42:12
this is where MW2 rises above the rest. particulary when yousee how damage is recorded directly translates from/to BT's 'mechwarrior damage' on the BT Record Sheet.

personally i dont see what a big issue using 2D6 is but then i dont primarly roleplay. for me its the BT game first and any RP is just to flesh out the guys in the Mechs and MW2 works just fine for that


In the basic BT game  (correct me if I am wrong) for gunnery 5 was considered 'green', 4 was 'reg' (your average guy) 3 was 'vet' and 'elite' was a 2


In MW2 it was possible to build characters rather easily that would get to zero.


example (again from memory, don't have MW2 next to me right now)  gunnery was  18-(dex+ref)- skill level.   


So, make a top class guy, not 'exceptional' but the top of 'normal' range, with 6 for both dex and reflex.. when he gets to 6 skill, he's 2 stages better (target 0) [rockon]  than an 'elite' (target 2).
Give him a single exceptional attribute and  and suddenly he can get to  [notworthy]  'neg one'   


And really, especially if the character focuses their exp spending, it's pretty easy to advance from a starting point of +1 or +2 skill, up to a 5 or 6 and suddenly be down in the zero range.


Build a 'bloodname capable' clanner with like 7's for dex and reflex, and 'neg two' becomes easily possible. Make it an exceptional clanner, with like 8,7 for dex and reflex and with just a single level of skill the guy is a 2 out of the starting gate, and eventually negative three is possible.


Let me say that again for Emphasis  :o  Negative Three  :o


That means, this guy could be shooting you at long range, jumping, and his chances to hit would be just like a normal 'reg' guy  hitting you flat-footed standing still, at point-blank range.  Unless you've actually played with numbers like this, it's difficult to really truly comprehend what this does to the flavor of the game.  Lets just say zero to hero Demigod in no time flat


The basic problem is that the BT game was never designed for long term campaign along with character progression.  If it had been, it would have used larger number ranges, and dice with more sides to allow for a more linear progression of the character.  It was designed as pretty much a 'tactical' game, but then a bunch of RPG nuts like us said "we want to rpg in this universe"   and it pretty much went off the rails shortly after that..   ;)


If the BT creators had had massive demand for a great rpg game, and they wanted to address that, they would have perhaps changed the main BT game from 2D6 to D20 or 2D10.  Which would allow for a larger range of numbers and more gradual progression of your character.  But that would have massively ticked off the majority of 'tactical' players who don't give a rip about RP, and would not have liked having to change dice and learn all new numbers for stuff.   No big shakes if a majority of the players cared about RP in this universe, as you could have sold the benefits to us.  But unfortunately us RP folks are NOT a giant majority of the players, so the BT folks do the best they can to (with a virtual crowbar and a big mallot) try to fit in an RP game that integrates with the main BT game.  Which AToW does, within limits,do a pretty good job of.  The one big 'gotcha' is a cap on the core MW skills in terms of what numbers will translate over into the BT game.  This eliminates the MW2 neogod players with -2 target numbers), but also places a limit on MW character progression because pretty rapidly you will hit the cap (especially if you have a link bonus) and pretty soon there's no point buying those skills up any higher.   which means you are denied demigod status, but you can still get to 'hero' status pretty darned fast.

Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Grim_Reaper on 21 March 2011, 20:49:01
Quote
In MW2 it was possible to build characters rather easily that would get to zero.
maybe so but he is going to be completly useless at anything outside teh cockpit. i found you get teh same thing for making a LAM pilot with even just average skills

Quote
Build a 'bloodname capable' clanner with like 7's for dex and reflex, and 'neg two' becomes easily possible. Make it an exceptional clanner, with like 8,7 for dex and reflex and with just a single level of skill the guy is a 2 out of the starting gate, and eventually negative three is possible.


Let me say that again for Emphasis    Negative Three   

negative skills havent been allowed since the origional MW RPG and the only canon character to have any was Morgan Kell (-1 Gunnery)
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 21 March 2011, 21:56:55
maybe so but he is going to be completly useless at anything outside teh cockpit. i found you get teh same thing for making a LAM pilot with even just average skills


Not in my experience.. give them 30 points towards attributes, and make skills the second or third priority..  in MW2 with high attributes everything else was just 'easy'   I can dig out the characters to prove it if necessary, but really would prefer not to since I'd rather leave MW2 to just stay dead for the most part.


I'm part of a group that played MW2 pretty much since it came out till MW3 arrived.. we are INTIMATELY familiar with it's flaws in great detail.


Quote

negative skills havent been allowed since the origional MW RPG and the only canon character to have any was Morgan Kell (-1 Gunnery)


 which puts you right back into the land of 'can't progress due to artificial cap'   what's the point?  everyone else can learn up to skill level 6, getting better each time.   and the max I can go is level 3 or 4?  why?  (game balance, I know, but that's basically one step shy of 'author fiat' and has no logical consistent reason within the game universe itself.)
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 22 March 2011, 10:27:36
Of late, I've had a crazy idea of adapting the priority system to ATOW.  The 30 Attribute points would be split up amongst eight Attributes instead of six effective Attributes, and skill points would go toward purchasing ATOW-style skills and attendant bonuses. The Attribute maxima would be as per MW2, but with ATOW/MW3's style of affecting rolls.  Advantages would be replaced by a set number of points worth of Traits, and Vehicle would be its own separate trait.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 22 March 2011, 11:10:38
So, I what I have gathered is that I should spend $10 and get Mechwarrior 2.  Is that the consensus?

Definitely not a consensus, as you can probably tell at this point. MW2 does have some serious shortcomings, but it is still the closest anyone has come to a good battletech rpg. AToW is a train-wreck IMHO. It has something like 20 pages of life paths that do nothing different than the straight point-buy system, except to force you into ridiculous stereotypes like "all Capellans are xenophobes" and "all Kuritans know karate." It reverses the dice mechanic just to make things complicated when going back and forth from the RPG. It gives you attribute bonuses to skill rolls only when you reach the arbitrary score of 7 or higher meaning that attributes below 7 are functionally equivalent for the purpose of skills. The KO checks are completely out of line with the boardgame. It switched from 2d10 in MW3 to 2d6 but kept the +0 to +10 so that the scale of skill differences completely swamps the RNG. It claims to be Battletroops 2 but combat involves tracking a large number of fiddly bits. It has MW special abilities but the pre-reqs are so ridiculous that your characters will already be munchkins by the time they qualify for them.

I could go on, but I will leave it at that. AToW was a major disappointment for me as I really thought this RPG was going to be "the one." Instead, I have begun to make some significant house-rules to MW2 to address its shortcomings. I will probably be using that for battletech role-playing in the future.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 22 March 2011, 12:28:28
negative skills havent been allowed since the origional MW RPG and the only canon character to have any was Morgan Kell (-1 Gunnery)

They're possible now.  An ATOW character with skill 9+ (8+ with specialization) is in the negatives in BT.

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 22 March 2011, 12:52:46
They're possible now.  An ATOW character with skill 9+ (8+ with specialization) is in the negatives in BT.

-Jackmc

Or even lower if they have attribute bonuses. Of course, negative skills are an "optional rule" which means that there is no difference between someone with skill 9 and skill 10 in gunnery in vanilla AToW.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 22 March 2011, 12:54:26
If I'm working it out right the maximum one can obtain is -7 without specialization and -8 specializing before getting into Special Abilities.  Assuming it is allowed of course.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 22 March 2011, 14:05:16
They're possible now.  An ATOW character with skill 9+ (8+ with specialization) is in the negatives in BT.

-Jackmc

Nope, they get capped.  At least by the 'normal' means of translating a character to  BT.  The section on that specifically disallows values (for skill plus link)  over a given size (don't recall from memory, but think it was +5 or +6   If It's really needed I can look up the exact text. 

but yes, the problem with 2D6 for RNG and the range of skill levels swamping it remains.  Capping 'solves' it somewhat going to BT, but inside ATOW it's still busted.   


 That's why our group adapted things to 2D10.   It's fairly easy to do.

1)   targets go from 7,8,9   to 11,12,14
2)  Modifiers go from 1,2,3,4,5,6   to  1,3,5,6,8,10
3)  phase in link bonus a bit earlier at 6-7 = +1  8=9= +2  10= +3 11+ = +4    mirror for 3,2,1 being -1,-2,-3


  I need to spend some time getting all the house rules we have together and then will post them

The BT game changes rather a bit radically in some ways in terms of calculating the 'to hit' numbers but that's really the only major change and from weapon hit location onward is done ala the normal game.    The way we calculate your base 'to be hit' number is based off the MW3 era Solaris book's dueling rules, with a few tweeks.   

One of the things we like about it is that it makes a skilled pilot in a smaller mech a viable foe against larger mechs.  (and there's instances of that in the fluff and books all over the place, but under existing rules it's almost impossible to pull off).  What allows that to be the case is having 'hexes crossed' be a large part of your 'to be hit' value, and capping it at your piloting skill.  The larger number range of 2D10 makes this possible.  It makes a really good pilot in a speedy mech a harder target than a ponderous assault mech with an average pilot.

The other thing we think we've carried off is a fairly good balance between the effect of attributes and skills on how effective you are in combat.   It's not nearly as heavy on the attribute side as it was in MW2 (a HUGE flaw in that system IMHO), but it's not almost entirely resting on skill levels as stock ATOW is.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 22 March 2011, 14:24:24
The other thing we think we've carried off is a fairly good balance between the effect of attributes and skills on how effective you are in combat.   It's not nearly as heavy on the attribute side as it was in MW2 (a HUGE flaw in that system IMHO), but it's not almost entirely resting on skill levels as stock ATOW is.

The problem in MW2 wasn't that attributes mattered too much but that it was too easy to max out. It seems like reasonably good scaling that a 1-point increase in an attribute on a 6 point scale should be equivalent to a 1-point increase in a skill level on a 6 point scale.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 22 March 2011, 21:06:29
The problem in MW2 wasn't that attributes mattered too much but that it was too easy to max out. It seems like reasonably good scaling that a 1-point increase in an attribute on a 6 point scale should be equivalent to a 1-point increase in a skill level on a 6 point scale.


it seems reasonable yes, except when you consider that first of all even that range of 6 is 50% more than the range of skill presented in the original game for Green/reg/vet/elite.  And then consider that skill plus a single attribute combined basically equal the range of the random numbers..  AND that for many things, there were two attributes that factored in.   So it was effectively 2/3 attributes and 1/3 skill   each third with a range of 6  against a random range of 2D6.  Once you run some actual numbers you can see how it starts to just break down.


So take a guy with low attributes, say 2's  his gunnery base target is 14  it's impossible for him to succeed, ever, until he gets trained up to skill level 3  and at that he has a 1:36 chance.   Even trained up to 'master' level in skill, he's a base target of 8  with the absolute highest possible skill level


Now take a guy with high attributes, say 5's  His base target is 8  with no training at all, with one level of training it becomes 7  meaning a little less than a 60% chance of success.  ONE stinking level of skill and he's better than that other guy who is a master skill wise.


The problem is not just that it's too easy to MAX out, it's that it's too easy to MIN out also.   In theory the construction system allowed you to place a priority on attributes ranging from 0 to 4.  In reality if you didn't allocate at least 3, and better 4  to attributes, your character STANK.   Seriously a few of us tried it, and even with max priority to skills,  we were terrible, and we could only advance a little ways, at higher costs, before we maxed out.    If you go through MW2  or the Companion book, and look at every archtype character provided, you will find one thing..  Not a single one, not ONE of them is built with attributes at less than priority 3 (27 points), and quite a lot of them  are build with 30 points of attributes.


If FASA was unable to build even a single archtype character with less than 27 points in attributes, what does that tell you about how important attributes were in that system.


Another way to look at it is this, lets say you are a 'green' mechwarrior  that sounds to me like one or two levels of skill at the most.   So lets say he's an 'experienced' greenie, with skill +2  Now, to make him have a target of 5, which is normal for a 'green' in bt  you have to give him 11 total for dex and reflex..   ELEVEN out of a total range from 2-12 for two attributes added together.  you basically HAVE to come close to maxing his attributes out just to match the regular BT game.   Now, give him a few years and another 4 skill points and he's equal to a vet..  (and trust me, it won't take that many battles or that much exp to raise the skill that far, it can happen pretty fast).


How about someone with just slightly above average attributes?  call it 4's   you start out at skill 1 with a target of 9.. that's like a green at long range in BT terms..  To even GET to green, you need 5 skill  5 out of a total of 6.. JUST to get to be as good as a standard green..  Raise your skill to 6 and tada  at max skill you are a 'reg' and that's as good as it gets unless you bank massive amounts of exp to raise your attributes.


and that to me sums up MW2 in a nutshell.  2 HUGE fatal flaws
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Reaver on 23 March 2011, 01:48:19
Hrm.  I'm starting to wonder whether we could adapt something like Mutants and Masterminds to BT builds.  Obviously converting from d20 to 2d6/2d10 will have to happen, but that struck me as an extraordinarily flexible character creation system.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 23 March 2011, 11:20:10
So take a guy with low attributes, say 2's  his gunnery base target is 14  it's impossible for him to succeed, ever, until he gets trained up to skill level 3  and at that he has a 1:36 chance.   Even trained up to 'master' level in skill, he's a base target of 8  with the absolute highest possible skill level


Now take a guy with high attributes, say 5's  His base target is 8  with no training at all, with one level of training it becomes 7  meaning a little less than a 60% chance of success.  ONE stinking level of skill and he's better than that other guy who is a master skill wise.

See those numbers seem just about right to me. You have to keep in mind the scale. Going from 2 to 5 in an attribute on a 6-point scale is HUGE. If we were talking strength, its going from a slightly below-average strength character to a body builder. So the idea that the wimpy guy would have to reach skill mastery to match the skill of a "green" bodybuilder sounds perfectly reasonable. The basic point being that somebody with poor attributes in a skill area should be spending their skill points elsewhere.

In MW2, one point of difference, whether in skills or attributes, really mattered and that is precisely how it should be given that is how BT itself works.

I fully agree with the rest - the character creation system was completely messed up, but it could have been done right (http://taharqa.org/?p=238) with the existing scaling of skills and attributes.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 23 March 2011, 11:21:20
double post, arggh.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 23 March 2011, 18:01:38
Actually I made a similar point about MW3 not valuing Attributes. Steve Urkle vs. Bruce Lee.

In MW2 Steve has the target numbers Tempus mentions and he should. Most warrior training programs like most military programs will weed out the Steves. So you do not see the extreme low attribute super high skill green equal. In only rare cases would they even make it to high skill the battle field process of natural selection would cleanse the Steves.

The clans are breeding what they hope to be an army of Bruce Lee crossed with Chuck Norris (internet version Chuck Norris).
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Grognard on 23 March 2011, 19:30:35
But I will say that MW2 was a hcek of alot of fun for us RPGers who played equal amounts of in Mech and in person combat.
And for those who say that the GM needed to enforce the "no -# g/P characters"... ours did.
But my Urkel whose G/p was 1/2, solved that problem with Natural Aptitude Gunnery.
NA-G just pwns the world.  Yes, the Urkel couldnt get out of his Mech without minor injury, but once the steel started to fly...

 [notworthy] [notworthy]NA-G and MW2! [notworthy] [notworthy]
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: bytedruid on 24 March 2011, 00:20:06
  I need to spend some time getting all the house rules we have together and then will post them

Please do, I would seriously consider using them in my campaign.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: ATN082268 on 24 March 2011, 09:55:30
  Besides the fact the MW3 RPG tried to divorce itself from the Battletech game line, it seemed the game focused too much on trying to make every character average to start with and to virtually stay that way. Some house rules like not starting off with any skill better than a target number of 3 would solve most of the problems of the MW2 RPG.

-Andrew
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 24 March 2011, 10:37:41
My group has always done that limiting how good a starting character can be. In MW1-2 we limited it to 4's. In MW3 and 4 we have limited the starting skill level to +4 but now use a modified version of MW3 Solaris rules for all mech combat.

Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 24 March 2011, 10:51:17
  Besides the fact the MW3 RPG tried to divorce itself from the Battletech game line, it seemed the game focused too much on trying to make every character average to start with and to virtually stay that way. Some house rules like not starting off with any skill better than a target number of 3 would solve most of the problems of the MW2 RPG.

I think to fix MW2, at a minimum, you have to rebuild the chargen system from scratch. Two things need to be fixed. First, costs need to be adjusted so that higher level attributes/skills cost a lot more, preferably through an exponential scale (i.e. it costs you the same to get one six as it does to get two fives). Second, "average" for both skills and attributes needs to be re-scaled to allow for more room on the top end. Based on the sample characters the skill level for regular was 4, leaving you only two places to go upward but 3 levels of "green." Similarly 5s and 6s on attributes should be pretty rare (although it is important to remember that mechwarriors are more elite than professional athletes, so 5s in their core attributes are probably "average" for MWs at least). Both of these changes would require making some adjustments to the TN calculation.

Just to toot my own horn, I have been working on some house rules along these lines. Here is what I have developed so far for chargen (http://taharqa.org/?p=238). It makes the changes above, plus some additional changes (like 3 more attributes) to add some more diversity to generated characters.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 24 March 2011, 13:31:14
My group has always done that limiting how good a starting character can be. In MW1-2 we limited it to 4's.

Personally, since Herb bumped up the target numbers by 1, I'd put the limit at +5 for ATOW (if I were to go that route).  That allows a player to build a hook off a slightly above average but prevents starting characters from being elites.


-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 24 March 2011, 16:17:13
MW2 was simply MW1 values reduced to fit into the generic Shadowrun character creation formula. Having played both at the time the it was noted how similar they were. Funny thing was a 12 Body character in MW1 had the same number of health dots as a MW2 Bod 6.

MW 1 exp and advancement progress was very slow I played for years with our regular group and still had about half the EXP needed to make elite. Flip side as we all acknowledged MW2 was a bit to fast. I agree the starting attribute values should have been lower maybe 27 points should have been the cap. The problem was they were so expensive to raise that few would save the stock pile required so you needed to get them on the way in. MW1 it did not matter you could fix just about any flaws with EXP and your level up bumps.

Either way we have found our way past that and have a system that works great. While character creation is based on ATOW we upped the starting EXP to 5500 and ditched the exp for each year of age. You come in at the age you end life path.
The second thing was we are using a form of the old MW3 Solaris rules for all mech combat. The key thing here that swayed me from MW2 (i would have dug my heels in) was your piloting skill had something to do with how hard to hit you are. You have a base defensive number divided from your stats and skills into a Standing/Walking value and Running/Jumping value. If you move you get to add your piloting skill level up to hexes crossed.

Instead of a flat movement table that says your +5 if you move x hexes. In our game you need to have +5 in piloting skill and have crossed at least 5 hexes to be +5. If you moved 12 hexes your still limited by your piloting of 5. We use 10-12 and 20 sided dice so the GM and players all know how hard a target is to hit. You then add up the normal range LOS and movement mods minus your skill level and link if you have any to find the target # you need on 2D10 with a 10's re rolling.

This way you now have a reason for a veteran with some skill to pilot a lighter mech.

It also gives some value to attributes again which I like a lot.


Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 25 March 2011, 23:42:12
With all of these responses, it would seem that something is still amiss with A time of War.  I just ordered another copy of MW2.  Thank you all for your input.  Different topic, but when am I gonna get that 25th anniv. box set I pre-ordered?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 26 March 2011, 12:44:33
Clearly, after I read the below post in developer Q&A section, I will not be buying A Time of War.


Quote from: Akalabeth on 01 February 2011, 03:29:18

    1. Battle Armour
    1. Does the BAR rating of Battlearmour ever degrade? Or do the four BAR ratings remain constant until the integrity is reduced to zero?


As indicated in the first paragraph under Armor Degradation on p. 186, Battle Armor rates its armor degradation only through loss of tactical armor (TW-scale) points. The BAR values, as indicated in the first paragraph of Battle Armor and Exoskeletons (on the same page), are defined by the starting number of tactical armor points on the suit. These values do not change.

Quote

    2. Do personal weapons interact with Battlearmour in a manner similar to Personal armour? Or Tactical armour? The one example is of a support PPC, which I would argue is on the border of personal/tactical weaponry.


Personal weapons (including Support Weapons) vs. Battle Armor are resolved in the same fashion as said weapons versus tactical armor, when it comes to finding the damage done to the character within, but the armor itself will experience a loss in Tactical armor value equal to the weapon's damage, divided by the suit's BAR. (same page, under Tactical Armor (and Structure) Degradation.) Only if the suit will sustain tactical armor damage will the operator within then suffer damage, and said damage will equal . Otherwise, it is presumed that all damage was absorbed by the suit.

Quote

    For example, take a IS Battle armour with Tactical 4 and ratings of 6/6/6/5

    Let's say the Armour is hit by a Elephant Gun 5B/6. With normal personal armour, the damage would be reduced to 4B/5 and inflict 5 Standard damage upon the Battlearmour operator. The 5 damage would also degrade the armour to 5/5/5/4

    With Tactical armour, the 5 damage would equate to (5/6) = 0.83 damage rounded up 1. Reducing integrity points from 4 to 3 but otherwise leaving the armour at 6/6/6/5 and the user unharmed.


In this example, the Elephant Gun (assuming an MoS of 0 to 3) accomplishes the following vs. IS Tactical Armor 4 (BAR 6/6/6/5):

The BAR reduces the gun's damage from 6 to 5. This 5 points is then divided by 6 (the BAR versus the gun's ballistic damage type), and rounds normally to 1 point. Because the total damage is only 1 point, there's not enough Tactical Armor damage to penetrate the suit and harm the user. The suit is reduced to a Tactical armor level of 3, but retains its BAR of 6/6/6/5.

Quote

    And finally if the BAR does not degrade, once integrity points = 0 do all armour values also drop to 0?


Yes, once the suit is reduced to a Tactical armor value of 0, it is considered destroyed.

Quote

    2. Grapple Question

    Friends to the Grappler gain a +2 bonus versus the Grappled while the Grappled has no bonus versus these characters.

    But what about the Grappler? Do friends to the Grappled gain a +1 bonus vs the Grappler? Or do they attack normally? Since it's not mentioned I assume it's the latter but doesn't hurt to ask.


You seem to be asking if a friendly target can grapple the grappler, effectively turning against their own guy. In this case, what happens is this: Because the grappler is friendly, there are no modifiers that apply to attacking the grappler, who has control of the grappling situation. The grappled character gets a +1 to attack his grappler, and the grappler has a +2 to attack the grappled character. Friendlies of the grappler get a +2 to attack the grappled victim because they have a buddy holding him. Friendlies to the grappler attempting to attack the grappler are not likely to find him obliging, but would likely get a modifier for his surprise (he likely doesn't expect his own buddies to hit him!)

Hopefully, this helps.

Thank you,

- Herbert Beas
  BattleTech
  Catalyst Game Labs



WOW.  D-20 anyone?  Please, someone let me know when the overhaul happens.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Lost_Heretic on 26 March 2011, 15:21:50
WOW.  D-20 anyone?  Please, someone let me know when the overhaul happens.

The grappling seems logical, but I agree that the armor types could use streamlining.

I still plan on getting A Time of War, but I'll be cherry picking rules and simplifying others.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 26 March 2011, 20:36:23
My point is, NO action should EVER take that long to resolve.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: PurpleDragon on 26 March 2011, 21:05:13
I haven't been able to get a AToW book yet.  after making several dozen characters using the lifepath system from 3rd ed, I actually preferr it over point based systems.  we did, however change a couple of things during character creation.   we doubled the skill points and only the skill points given and taken during the generation.   we don't apply the -1 to the roll if takking the same path a second time.  You run out of edge you're gonna get the bad roll eventually anyway, unless your dice are loaded. 
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Cannon_Fodder on 26 March 2011, 22:17:49
AToW still has modules that are similar to Life Paths with one major difference, No random event rolls.

When we were using MW3 a large portion of our Clan characters kept washing out of training.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 26 March 2011, 23:16:12
The armor types are actually fairly streamlined so I'm not sure what the complaint is there.

The grappling question I honestly do not think Herb understood the intended scenario correctly in that thread and frankly grappling is faster and easier to resolve than D&D 3.5 but that's not saying much I admit.

AToW isn't perfect but it does have less to fix in my opinion than MW2.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: PurpleDragon on 27 March 2011, 00:08:33
I actually enjoy the random event rolls.  keeps me from falling into the cookie cutter history for characters. 
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: ghost dog on 27 March 2011, 01:21:10
I've been absent from these forums for a while, but now that I've had a chance to play AToW, I can sum up my opinion of the system in one word.

Meh.

Yeah, it meshes better with the board game, but the board game is a rather simplistic creature and I was never about playing an RPG adventure whose sole goal was to wind up in a mech's cockpit.  I'm not sure why the designers decided to try and mesh the two, but the shoehorning shows and results in a somewhat lackluster gaming experience.

The positives: game play is fast and lethal.

The negatives: character generation is a pain and granularity is much reduced do to the 2d6 system.

Otherwise, I wish they'd published this book in softback because you pay too much for what you get.  The art is middling, the fluff is the same old stuff, and all in all, MW3 was much better.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 27 March 2011, 01:28:39
I admit I do miss some element of randomness for character generation but the power creep of new Life Paths when they were added and how crippling or overpowering they could make a character was just too much in CBT:RPG/MW3ed in my opinion.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: ghost dog on 27 March 2011, 05:37:30
I agree that there was a bit of the "big guns syndrome" going on with some of the later life paths, but Battletech had been going that way ever since the designers decided to drop the Helm Core in the Inner Sphere's lap.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: monbvol on 27 March 2011, 11:03:50
My problem was more with how imbalanced the newer Life Paths got rather than their raw power, but I admit their raw power didn't help either.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 27 March 2011, 15:09:49
I agree that there was a bit of the "big guns syndrome" going on with some of the later life paths

There's actually an industry term for that, power creep/splat creep.  The second term comes from the fact that the power creep usually manifested itself in supplemental books which are known in the industry as splatbooks.

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 28 March 2011, 12:36:57
While I am liking our new group of characters and a further refinement of our combat system from the MW3 version we played. Character creation in MW1 and MW2 were fairly simple and a new player could be helped and setup to play fairly quickly. MW3 was a joke and MW4 feels like I am doing my taxes.
One big problem about MW2 was the lack of RPG gear resources that eventually came out later or for MW3. Another was the armor system was not very clear. Granted the new MW4 systems feel like they handle that better feel slightly cumbersome.

Of course the thing about MW2 was the critical nature of high attributes. As mentioned elsewhere in MW1 you could fix just about any characters problems with points and level up bumps. MW2 made raising attributes cost so high post creation and skills so low that you were crazy to not make attributes your 1st or 2nd pick. A balance point between starting skill cost and raising attributes post creation needed to be made. Raising skill costs and breaking out some skills to create more sub category skills for players to purchase was one way we addressed this. Our group also increased the cost to raise skills. 

If we had not stumbled on the MW3 Solaris rules we would not have switched. As far as how much work was involved to fix MW3 was slightly less work to fix than MW2. MW4 was slightly less work than MW3 but had the benefit of the Solaris 2D10 mech combat refit. Some of our guys pointing out things that ATOW beta never caught.



Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 28 March 2011, 13:28:25
Yeah, it meshes better with the board game, but the board game is a rather simplistic creature and I was never about playing an RPG adventure whose sole goal was to wind up in a mech's cockpit.  I'm not sure why the designers decided to try and mesh the two, but the shoehorning shows and results in a somewhat lackluster gaming experience.

AToW has lots of problems, but integration with the board game is not one of them. That has to be the first time I have ever heard Battletech called "simplistic."

Granularity is overrated. The RPG should provide a similar feel as the board game and that means that single unit increments in skills and attributes should produce big differences in outcomes. Doing it any other way just produces dissatisifaction in one direction or the other when moving between the boardgame and the RPG.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 29 March 2011, 03:26:59
Granularity is overrated.


right, because it makes for a good campaign for the players to be able to go from green to vet in a little over 4 months of once a week play, and elite in a bit over 6 months.   Yeah that makes for a realistic gaming experience, everyone loves being powerleveled.


no offense intended because I don't know you well enough to know if this is the case, but when I hear someone make a statement like that my knee-jerk reaction is to mentally characterize them as someone who wants instant gratification and is addicted to cheat-codes and powerleveling.   


IMHO smooth character progression is a very good thing to have in an rpg.   Just because the main BT game only had 4 levels of skill isn't a reason to have the rpg emulate that, especially since in the main BT game we rarely had on-going characters that progressed in skill (people doing that usually got the RPG versions)
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Gazman2505 on 29 March 2011, 10:02:05
The Lifers that I play the game with have all complained about the lack of opportunity to get a mech from using the lifepaths Event rolls. I have started to modify them and upgrade to AToW rules. Also they are over and above tyhe allocation of XP. If they get a crap role and want to spend edge XP to re-roll then it costs them 100XP.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to stop the entire party taking 41 year old pilots with loads of XP?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Paul on 29 March 2011, 10:32:01
Also they are over and above tyhe allocation of XP. If they get a crap role and want to spend edge XP to re-roll then it costs them 100XP.

Actually, in MW3, Edge use during chargen lowers the threshold, it doesn't actually drop the Edge attribute, which you still have to buy.
And you wouldn't buy them using XP, that's MW4/ATOW.


Quote
Does anyone have suggestions on how to stop the entire party taking 41 year old pilots with loads of XP?

MW3 has a limit about how many Lifepaths you can take. Additionally, each repeat inflicts a -1 on the Event Roll.

MW4, just tell em their maximum age. Or give them an XP allowance ceiling.

Paul
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tslammer on 29 March 2011, 11:06:19
The Lifers that I play the game with have all complained about the lack of opportunity to get a mech from using the lifepaths Event rolls. I have started to modify them and upgrade to AToW rules. Also they are over and above the allocation of XP. If they get a crap role and want to spend edge XP to re-roll then it costs them 100XP.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to stop the entire party taking 41 year old pilots with loads of XP?

Using the MW3 LP I am surprised to see they made it through the LP as a warrior let alone to any advanced age. I am assuming they are either Points builds or using aging to stack on piles of exp.
Paul just mentioned starting limits. Any good gaming group should have some preset limits on how good a starting character should be.  My group limits MW4 exp to 5500 no extra points from aging you are what ever age you are when you leave the LP system. We upped the starting XP from 5000 to 5500 because our version of the MW3 Solaris rules places more importance on Attributes than MW4 does. We further limit starting characters to a skill cap of +4.
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Taharqa on 29 March 2011, 11:54:30

right, because it makes for a good campaign for the players to be able to go from green to vet in a little over 4 months of once a week play, and elite in a bit over 6 months.   Yeah that makes for a realistic gaming experience, everyone loves being powerleveled.


no offense intended because I don't know you well enough to know if this is the case, but when I hear someone make a statement like that my knee-jerk reaction is to mentally characterize them as someone who wants instant gratification and is addicted to cheat-codes and powerleveling.   

You would be wrong. Granularity or lack of granularity has nothing to do with any of the things you just cited. You are assuming that someone is going to apply the leveling rate for a granular system to a non-granular system. That would be a mistake. When you have a less granular system, character progression needs to be slower because there is more difference between each skill level.  The kind of problems that you are talking about arise from poor game design not from a lack of granularity.

Or do you think that the battletech boardgame suffers from these problems as a result of its lack of granularity?
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: PurpleDragon on 29 March 2011, 12:51:12
The Lifers that I play the game with have all complained about the lack of opportunity to get a mech from using the lifepaths Event rolls.

that's what the vehicle traits are for.   we've gone to keeping the level assignments seperate then you get to combine them how you want to end up with whatever weight class you're trying for.  then we went to owns vehicle applies to all vehicle traits you get, whether you're combining to get heavier mechs or leaving them at multiples to get lighter mechs. 
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Jackmc on 29 March 2011, 13:24:22
MW3 has a limit about how many Lifepaths you can take. Additionally, each repeat inflicts a -1 on the Event Roll.

If you were intimately familiar with the LP's (thus maximizing skill points without ever repeating the same path) and were willing to spend your EDG thresh to upgrade your EVR's, you could come up with a frighteningly skilled character (assuming no really bad EVR's were rolled).

-Jackmc
Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Tempus on 29 March 2011, 18:20:15
The Lifers that I play the game with have all complained about the lack of opportunity to get a mech from using the lifepaths Event rolls. I have started to modify them and upgrade to AToW rules. Also they are over and above tyhe allocation of XP. If they get a crap role and want to spend edge XP to re-roll then it costs them 100XP.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to stop the entire party taking 41 year old pilots with loads of XP?


I can understand the restriction on using edge to alter the rolls during creation in MW3  We had a player who was ruthless in that regard and used it to great power-munchkin effect to skew the creation process. and maximize the exp his character was awarded via the rolls.


I think it's one of the reasons you will find that most of the folks here pretty much rejoiced at the idea of getting rid of the dammed random rolls.


if MW3 apply the limitations of repeating lifepaths etc. 


 If AToW, just set a baseline age that represents the exp that everyone starts with, regardless of what age they are at the end of character generation.


There's a very very critical phrase in that section of the rules that points to doing things this way.
 
Quote
"a character’s actual age may not conform to the XPs allotted to
his “baseline age”. This is perfectly legal, so long as the allotted
XPs are properly accounted for. After all, experience is more
than a measure of years."


You the GM set the 'baseline', that determines the exp.  use the normal base, or adjust it up or down depending on your campaign..  (heck you could do a scenario with a bunch of military school brats fighting back against invaders, and set the age at 17 and have them start with 4600 exp)  Point is they all start with the same exp.  Being older doesn't gain them anything other than a few aging effects, and they can't ALL be teachers or employees at the school.. )

Title: Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
Post by: Voodoo on 09 April 2011, 01:57:36
Thanks to all of you for your input.  My copy of Mechwarrior 2nd edition came in the mail a couple of days ago.  $12 and it looks brand new!  After reading the rules, this is the best way to go...and I saved $28.  Simple character creation, simple combat, and the MW Companion was only $8 extra.  Me happy.