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Author Topic: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3  (Read 23136 times)

Voodoo

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A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« 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.
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cray

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #1 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.
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SteelRaven

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #2 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 
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Jackmc

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #3 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.

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« Last Edit: 12 March 2011, 00:26:16 by Jackmc »


massey

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #4 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).

Akalabeth

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #5 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.

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #6 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.

Deadborder

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #7 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.
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Mendou

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #8 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 ^_^;;

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #9 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.

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #10 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).
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**"A man walks down the street in that hat, people know he's not afraid of anything." --Wash, Firefly.
**"Well, the first class name [for pocket WarShips]: 'Ship with delusions of grandeur that is going to evaporate 3.1 seconds after coming into NPPC range' tended to cause morale problems...." --Korzon77
**"Describe the Clans." "Imagine an entire civilization built out of 80’s Ric Flairs, Hulk Hogans, & Macho Man Randy Savages ruling over an entire labor force with Einstein Level Intelligence." --Jake Mikolaitis


Disclaimer: Anything stated in this post is unofficial and non-canon unless directly quoted from a published book. Random internet musings of a BattleTech writer are not canon.

Diamondshark

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #11 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?
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Voodoo

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #12 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?
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Marwynn

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #13 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.

Kit deSummersville

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #14 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.
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shadow_walker

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #15 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.   
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Cannon_Fodder

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #16 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.

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Grim_Reaper

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #17 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

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #18 on: 12 March 2011, 13:38:30 »
but as a RP element addon for Battletech it works fine

I find it does not.
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Grim_Reaper

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #19 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

greywolf79

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #20 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?
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #21 on: 12 March 2011, 16:02:23 »
Also, what is the # and whole name of the RP book here?

CAT35005 A Time of War

greywolf79

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #22 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...
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #23 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.
« Last Edit: 12 March 2011, 18:47:04 by Deadborder »
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #24 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.
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #25 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
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #26 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:

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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #27 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:

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Wait, a char gen aborted your character!? ??? Brutal
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #28 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...
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Re: A Time for War Vs. Mechwarrior 3
« Reply #29 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.