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Author Topic: Talk to me about A Time of War  (Read 7204 times)

abou

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Talk to me about A Time of War
« on: 01 August 2016, 17:03:22 »
I have been playing Pathfinder (D&D 3.5 with extras) for over a year now. I've taken bits and pieces of that with inspiration from our Dungeon Master into my group's Alpha Strike game. Now we are at this point where wanting to increase the depth of gameplay and developing players' characters into something more three dimensional is pulling me toward A Time of War.  As a GM, I have managed to work in some pretty awesome twists and turns, but I still don't feel as though I am consistently good at it. Ergo, I had a few questions for everyone here:

1. How well does A Time of War play compared to Pathfinder obvious differences aside (D6s v D20s)?

2. How quickly do new players pick it up?

3. How easy is it for someone to GM?

4. A Time of War has a lot of "monster" stats in the back of the handbooks. What about NPCs? Is there a good database for that similar to Pathfinder?

5. Overall thoughts of the system?

6. We are playing a late Succession Wars game just before the end of the 3rd SW. Any tips or advice that I should look out for?

7. Tips and tricks for a veteran player, but relatively novice GM are appreciated.

EDIT:

8. How do you choose to incorporate 'mech-scale combat? Total Warfare or Alpha Strike?
« Last Edit: 01 August 2016, 17:18:01 by abou »

ElectricPaladin

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #1 on: 01 August 2016, 17:12:27 »
I'm as ignorant as you, abou, but as roleplayer primarily, a wargamer second, and a new Battletech player...


abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #2 on: 01 August 2016, 17:31:09 »
I am saving that photo.

ElectricPaladin

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #3 on: 01 August 2016, 17:32:42 »
I am saving that photo.

Heh. Great!

Acolyte

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #4 on: 01 August 2016, 18:23:16 »
1. AToW plays quite differently than any of the DnD games. There are no levels for one and your hit points are based off one of your stats - so there is a hard limit. With the hit locations in the AToW Companion combat can be quite real - as real as games get, anyway.
The game mechanics are like battletech with the modifiers flipped. In battletech you apply all modifiers to the target number, then roll. In AToW you apply all modifiers to the roll itself and compare to a static target. Overall, it's about like Alphastike in it's complexity especially if you don't use hit locations.

2. If you play Battletech or Alphastrike, it shouldn't be that hard to pick up.

3. It's like any other game system to GM - you just need to familiarize yourself with the rules.

4. There are some generic type NPC stats in AToW and the Companion in addition to the pre-made characters that can also be used.

5. I really like the system. In fact I tend to use it for any sci-fi or post apocalyptic games I run, not just BT.

6. If you're using the lifepath system to make characters, you'll probably need to adjust them. Other than that there is a lot of equipment that isn't available to this time period. There are availabiliy stats listed with each piece of equipment, though, so sorting them out isn't hard.

7. If you don't have it, fudge it. You don't have to make up all the stats for everyone they meet. If it's, say, a security guard that they are in combat with, just assume 5 in stats a security guard would find important (STR, BODY) and a 4 elsewhere and give a generic skill of maybe 2 or 3 in the things a security guard needs. If they are more competent, up the stats. This gives you all the info you need. If you want to get more fancy, you can.
Also, have a list of 20 names. When they meet someone who is not a significant npc (like they approach the janitor and you weren't expecting it) just use one of those names. Replenish between games as needed.

8. We use Total Warfare for our 'Mech Combat. Each individual 'Mech is more important and is a significant part of the character. It's good to know when the arm gets blown off.

   - Shane
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Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #5 on: 01 August 2016, 19:56:44 »
I do like that pic as well.
Okay onto the advice!

Quote
1. How well does A Time of War play compared to Pathfinder obvious differences aside (D6s v D20s)?
In A Time of War, if you are in combat then either you messed up or are in a position to ambush someone.
Combat can be very lethal with it ending in one or two gun shots assuming the person's armor doesn't hold.
Which is why I've always seen it more for roleplaying than personal combat, but AToW Companion DOES have optional rules for "heroic mode". Meaning it buffs up the health points, makes healing easier, etc.

Perhaps a few tweaks with that will make it more run and gun.

Quote
2. How quickly do new players pick it up?
If the GM can tell a story, not too bad. My group played with the quick start rules a few times and we were okay with it.
A point of advice, use character point creation first instead of the life module.
That way people can get what they want without wondering if the life modules will provide in the end.

Quote
3. How easy is it for someone to GM?
Aside from Tactical Armor rules, or whatever they use for Battle Armor, the rest isn't too bad.
A good GM will make or break the session really.

Quote
4. A Time of War has a lot of "monster" stats in the back of the handbooks. What about NPCs? Is there a good database for that similar to Pathfinder?
AToW and the Companion have generic enough stats for skinning on what most games use.
The low level, the higher up guy, the big boss, etc.
Also don't forget Lance Dossiers and other electronic releases from CGL which actually offer character sheets.
Maybe if you like that person, you could use them (or kill them).

Quote
5. Overall thoughts of the system?
Aside from that whole "mods to the dice instead of the TN" thing, I don't have much gripes on it.

Quote
6. We are playing a late Succession Wars game just before the end of the 3rd SW. Any tips or advice that I should look out for?
You'll need to tweak it until something for that timeframe comes along. Personally I'd take the Era Report 3052 and tweak it a bit since that runs the 3039 - 3052 time frame, which is the closest based on existing releases.

Quote
7. Tips and tricks for a veteran player, but relatively novice GM are appreciated.
I'll 'borrow' from Acolyte's advice, but tweak it a bit. If you don't have stats, assume the value is a 6 for an attribute. That's the rule of thumb from the books last I read, or at least the Quick Start.
Sit down, have fun, don't worry about what's canon and just carve out your own stories for the group.

Quote
8. How do you choose to incorporate 'mech-scale combat? Total Warfare or Alpha Strike?
Duels: Total Warfare.
No way am I using the Tactical Combat ruling, unless someone REALLY wants that Solaris itch.

Normal fighting: Alpha Strike, where the Mech Unit's pilot gets "killed off for real" if I do a roll of under 10 or so. Something like that.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #6 on: 01 August 2016, 20:03:29 »
I echo Atlas3060's recommendation for Era Report 3052, and would also point you to one of the many character creation aids posted here (not just mine).  The bookkeeping can be intimidating for new players.

hive_angel

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #7 on: 02 August 2016, 12:15:04 »
1. How well does A Time of War play compared to Pathfinder obvious differences aside (D6s v D20s)?
I have two+ years experience with ATOW and 0 years experience with Pathfinder. ATOW requires less dice to roll as most rolls are conducted with 2D6 and sometimes 3D6. Combat is ultra deadly and if a GM is not cautious in designing enemies players can be easily killed off. Rerolling a character is not an easy affair in ATOW. I do a few things to tweak this.
1. Outlaw shotguns (They kill, nuff said).
2. player characters have issued concealed and non concealed armor both fir for FWL duties, this helps buff against being attacked in the open.
3. If a player dies in combat I instantly refund two bod points and adjust fat accordingly. This allows a character to be saved and use med skills.
4. I use a mix of low power, mid power goons and usually a high power boss.
4. Players and NPCs both benefit from a tweak.

2. How quickly do new players pick it up?
Very easily depending upon how fast a GM learns and retains rules. A GM can introduce everything in waves to make everything go smoother, character creation (long part), RP skill usage, RP combat (melee and ranged), etc.

3. How easy is it for someone to GM?
Easily as how good you are at story telling. In my opinion like all RPGs if you are good at story telling from a cannon perspective go with it and with a non-cannon perspective go with that. I go with non-cannon, but still follow basic fundamentals.
In my position it took much longer to blend RPG elements into Battletech before I took on out of mech combat. RPG was slow at first, but once a story got rolling I got better and so did the game sessions.

4. A Time of War has a lot of "monster" stats in the back of the handbooks. What about NPCs? Is there a good database for that similar to Pathfinder?
Very little usable NPCs in the book and they are mostly cookie cutter NPCs. Your best bet is to design NPCs yourself to use over time and for single usage. Example I have custom created NPCs to help players with skills they need and are teammates, with this they have come alive over time. I use custom NPCs for grunts, tools, and bosses.

5. Overall thoughts of the system?
For first RPG I like it and it truly shines with story telling so players have something to unfold and allow characters to grow over time.

6. We are playing a late Succession Wars game just before the end of the 3rd SW. Any tips or advice that I should look out for?
Avoid the mad max BS. Let your players use their stuff. However, due to the time frame (Post SSW) restrict rare stuff (Mostly star league equipment) when needed and even allow things that should be dead be alive. Example my players occasionally find a downgraded star league mechs on the field and rarely a star league mech on the field. Another example is allow players to feel the slow crawl of things failing and falling apart - my players mechs over time have suffered irreparable inner armor, irreplaceable outer armor, malfunctioning, self issues, etc.

7. Tips and tricks for a veteran player, but relatively novice GM are appreciated.
No samurais in space and avoid the rising sun - ask the squid and the one who wears a red shirt. Seriously though I think the trick is to blend battletech and ATOW together. In my first campaign for example I had a grand mix of RPG/Battletech sessions.

Here is a post of my completed first campaign. Might offer some tips or not and a fun read.

http://ststh.blogspot.com/2015/04/battletech-time-of-war-campaign-complete.html

8. How do you choose to incorporate 'mech-scale combat? Total Warfare or Alpha Strike?
Depends on one thing and one thing only SALVAGE. If your players depend on salvage - Battletech, if your players don't depend on salvage - Alpha strike. If you care not for small parts, but mostly mechs Alpha strike would most I believe as long as a mech is not destroyed. Battletech + Strategic Operations lets players get salvage and lets players and GM know what can and can not be salvaged. Example coring a mech in battletech rules means you can only salvage parts and not the mech.
Follow my blog for Battletech battle reports!

http://ststh.blogspot.com

Search for "Battle Report"

PurpleDragon

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #8 on: 02 August 2016, 12:32:34 »
What's been said pretty much covers everything to answer your questions.  The only thing I want to add to is the comment about random names.   My group used to keep a fairly thick phone book from the nearest large city we could get our hands on.  If we needed a name, we just rolled a d20 and a d8, add together, subtract 1 and re-roll if the result was 27.   That gave the 1st letter of the last name.  Repeat to get the first letter of the first name.  Then flip to random page with those results and point to with eyes closed to get the name. 

Since I started using MekHQ, which has a great name generator for the characters you hire, I have been using that instead for all of my other than fantasy based games. 
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abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #9 on: 03 August 2016, 17:04:03 »
Thanks for the tips. I am concerned by the complexity of the character creation. Whether that is real or perceived, let me know. The points-only system is straightforward, but you do need to reference a lot of pre-requisites. The module system is more daunting; yet, allows for a more natural character progression.

It is clear I will need to go over the rules a few more times and then carefully coach my players through creation.

guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #10 on: 03 August 2016, 18:17:50 »
Thanks for the tips. I am concerned by the complexity of the character creation. Whether that is real or perceived, let me know. The points-only system is straightforward, but you do need to reference a lot of pre-requisites. The module system is more daunting; yet, allows for a more natural character progression.

It is clear I will need to go over the rules a few more times and then carefully coach my players through creation.
for the GM I would actually recommend going through creating chars using modules until its pretty easy for you. this gives you a better feel for char creation and its not a waste, especially if you save the chars in a notebook or similar, because it gives you a bunch of potential NPC's to use in the games you run, even if you "strip them down" to the core parts needed for the encounter/game

I will say there are a bunch of chars that you will never need much such as "thug #1-10" or police officer whatever, and those can be as simple as a couple lines on a note card, but I guarantee you will have times when you need to help the players make and or tweek chars to fit better in a campaign.

as far as campaigns go in the ~3025 timeframe I come from the idea that letting a character or 2 have some "special" piece of rare or "lostech" can be an interesting plot hook.  like Letting a player have a SLDF Neural Helmet that has benefits but not all the suggested disadvantages, or having a pulse laser pistol (or rifle) that's over 200 years old so its grips are worn down enough that there is only 1 "right" way to hold it or something.

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #11 on: 03 August 2016, 19:55:08 »
Module build is very much just subtract module cost from XP pool then add XP to indicated Attribute, Trait, and Skills in specified amounts.  So complicated I do feel is the wrong word for it but I will certainly grant just how many numbers can get involved that daunting is a reasonable word to describe it.  That said it does proceed fairly straight forward.

Certainly running through it a few times will help and if you keep the number of modules limited in the build it can even go fairly fast.

Acolyte

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #12 on: 03 August 2016, 20:28:57 »
Module build is very much just subtract module cost from XP pool then add XP to indicated Attribute, Trait, and Skills in specified amounts.  So complicated I do feel is the wrong word for it but I will certainly grant just how many numbers can get involved that daunting is a reasonable word to describe it.  That said it does proceed fairly straight forward.

Certainly running through it a few times will help and if you keep the number of modules limited in the build it can even go fairly fast.

This +1. The math is easy - there's just a lot of it. Once you've done a few characters it get easy.

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Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #13 on: 04 August 2016, 10:05:09 »
Thanks for the tips. I am concerned by the complexity of the character creation. Whether that is real or perceived, let me know. The points-only system is straightforward, but you do need to reference a lot of pre-requisites. The module system is more daunting; yet, allows for a more natural character progression.

It is clear I will need to go over the rules a few more times and then carefully coach my players through creation.
Lately my position has been the following when it comes to character creation:

1. Super Easy mode: GM created sheets or just grab the archetypes from the books or Quick Start Rules
2. Easy Mode: Character Points ruling
3. Advanced Mode: Life modules

For some players, who are used to classes and such, Points is probably going to be the best bet. Yeah there's a bit of math, but once you get a few done the rules tend to stick in your head. This is probably the easier way of "just making a Mechwarrior". Okay there you go, purchase the requirements and dump your remaining points into things. Viola now go play.

Life Modules are better suited for the player who really wants an organic creation system, flaws and all. Min-Maxing can occur, but I feel isn't as powerful compared to how Points would do it. Here you might have a gregarious, unattractive, Aerospace pilot who takes up knitting as a past time and can't stop smoking cigars. How did that happen? Not totally sure but wow did the Modules allow for some strange stuff.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #14 on: 04 August 2016, 14:57:54 »
I'm glad to see that ER:3052 has some details for previous regions like the Tamar Pact.

What about the older Handbooks? Is what is in the Davion book compatible with A Time of War, because a quick glance makes me think it won't.

Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #15 on: 04 August 2016, 15:39:20 »
Handbook House Davion and some of the older ones work off the MW3RPG system.

Right off the bat, no they aren't completely compatible, but can they be inspiration for tweaks? Oh sure!

Any animals and weapons are useful, I think the stats for weapons aren't too different from one version to the other.
That's assuming said books or animals aren't already in AToW or the companion to it.
« Last Edit: 04 August 2016, 15:41:17 by Atlas3060 »
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #16 on: 04 August 2016, 15:41:34 »
Ah nuts, I thought A Time of War was just a rebranding of MW3 due to licensing issues with Microsoft.

Probably not that hard to convert though once I know the system, right?

Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #17 on: 04 August 2016, 16:04:39 »
MW3RPG (Also called CBTRPG) was the Third Edition RPG with the title of Mechwarrior on the cover.
Actually I think Mechwarrior was chosen way back before Microsoft.
Then they took it to distinguish themselves from Battletech.
Then CGL went with AToW for rebranding since now MW is associated with electronic stuff.
A fun ride really, if any of that is accurate.

One key difference between that and A Time War (basically the 4rth edition RPG for the Battletech franchise) is the fact it used D10s for actions.
There's also a crappy wound system, a horrible 'threshold' for attributes, bloated amount of skills and traits, etc.

Now as for converting things, this is where I strongly recommend AToW Companion.
It gives you advice on how to convert ALL the Mechwarrior edition characters to AToW.
Got a favorite from the 1st edition game? You can convert.
Want to play with the Archetypes from MW2? Convert them.
Third Edition character want to be imported over? Yes you can!

The systems themselves do have some measure of similarities. I can't really remember how much at the time of this posting.
I will say one big difference between AToW and MW3RPG for character creation is how their Life Modules are different.
There's no wacky rolling for events in AToW, at least the Core book.
The Companion does have a little rule dealing with people who want something like the event rolls and how it would work out for AToW.
I haven't played with that enough to compare to MW3's event rolls.

Personally I believe if you just kept the traits, attribute updates, and skills from whatever module you're using before doing a life module event roll, you'll be close to what AToW does with it's own modules.
« Last Edit: 04 August 2016, 16:07:20 by Atlas3060 »
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #18 on: 04 August 2016, 17:24:17 »
As for the AToW Companion's random events it is just roll 2d6 and add or subtract XP at each stage.  So rather boring really but contrasted to how unbalanced and concept breaking CBTRPG/MW3ED got with it's event rolls it is a fair improvement I think.

guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #19 on: 04 August 2016, 17:59:32 »
in a lot of ways ATOW is closer to a more fleshed out version of MechWarrior 2nd edition than it is to mw3rd edition IMO. 
The biggest difference is instead of having the priority step that determined how much you had available for advantages, resources, attibutes, skill points, etc.  its all rolled into xp, and "everything" comes from that 1 xp pool at various costs during character creation/development.

Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #20 on: 04 August 2016, 18:33:27 »
When I ran my game here (before the last board crash), I basically went with Atlas3060's method one.  I had the players tell me what they wanted in general terms, then I generated their characters, and gave them one or two opportunities to make tweaks (that I implemented).

Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #21 on: 05 August 2016, 10:07:53 »
in a lot of ways ATOW is closer to a more fleshed out version of MechWarrior 2nd edition than it is to mw3rd edition IMO. 
The biggest difference is instead of having the priority step that determined how much you had available for advantages, resources, attibutes, skill points, etc.  its all rolled into xp, and "everything" comes from that 1 xp pool at various costs during character creation/development.
That's always been my take away too.
I remember a thread where I had lengthy discussion with folks over the merits and flaws of MW2 versus AToW.
They saw MW2 as the best "campaign" book, to them how can they run a Mech Company.
Well now we have Campaign Operations for that kind of thing.

I always saw AToW as the RPG focused book MW2 failed to be.
You could spend countless sessions playing through entire star systems and not once touch a 'Mech control, but that's perfectly fine!
AToW really took the premise of what MW3 tried to be (RPG focus first), used the simplicity of MW2 (Got at the most 3D6? You can play!), and tied to together in a way I never expected to like.

My only problem is I don't have time to meet up with my table to play it.
Kerensky: Ahh! After 300 years I'm free! It's time to conquer Terra!

Blake: Toyama-5, Kerensky's escaped. Recruit 5 House Teens with attitudes.

GO GO COMSTAR RANGERS! *Guitar Riff*
--Intercepted transmissions from children's programming on Terra 3057

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #22 on: 05 August 2016, 10:20:05 »
Handbook House Davion and some of the older ones work off the MW3RPG system.

Right off the bat, no they aren't completely compatible, but can they be inspiration for tweaks? Oh sure!

Any animals and weapons are useful, I think the stats for weapons aren't too different from one version to the other.
That's assuming said books or animals aren't already in AToW or the companion to it.

The conversion between MW3/CTBRPG and AToW is typically quite easy, as Attributes, Skills, and Traits all generally swap on a 1:1 basis. Weapons and gear from all previous sourcebooks were included in A Time of War (something some of my colleagues thought we shouldn't have done, for some odd reason), with the general conversion being no more than changing damage values by simply dropping the "D6"s (thus a 1 * 4D6 weapon in MW3 becomes AP 1, BD 4 in AToW).

The same generally applies to animals as well, so most/all should convert with little fuss.

-

guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #23 on: 05 August 2016, 11:42:17 »
The conversion between MW3/CTBRPG and AToW is typically quite easy, as Attributes, Skills, and Traits all generally swap on a 1:1 basis. Weapons and gear from all previous sourcebooks were included in A Time of War (something some of my colleagues thought we shouldn't have done, for some odd reason), with the general conversion being no more than changing damage values by simply dropping the "D6"s (thus a 1 * 4D6 weapon in MW3 becomes AP 1, BD 4 in AToW).

The same generally applies to animals as well, so most/all should convert with little fuss.

-
there is one weapon that I really disliked the conversion of, and I use the old version from tro3026 (although I use the damage stats from ATOW) which is the Manpack PPC.
in 3026 it is listed as an ~40kg rifle, which no one will reasonably argue is so massive that its practically unusable as anything but an emplaced weapon for an unaugmented person.
TRO 3026 had the solution in the form of exo-skeletons that upgrade the strength to take the load off the wielder, OR the Waldo (which is effectively a 1 arm and partial torso exo) allowing the wielder to use the M-PPC like a giant rifle.
ATOW does not have the exos, or the waldo they only give you a "weapon sling" and thus restrict the M-PPC (and other support weapons) to being exclusively crew served weapons.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #24 on: 05 August 2016, 11:46:42 »
ATOW does not have the exos, or the waldo they only give you a "weapon sling" and thus restrict the M-PPC (and other support weapons) to being exclusively crew served weapons.

That's simply because exos had already been reclassified as battle armor, and were featured in TRO: Vehicle Annex.

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Panthros

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #25 on: 08 August 2016, 01:01:52 »
Save your time/money and play something else.  A Time of War is not properly supported by Catalyst.  0 modules/adventures have been released for the game!  Unless you want all of the work to create the everything lol.  Sorry, I have a family and a day job.  I want a RPG that is supported.  At least 1 module per quarter should not be asking too much even if community written.

Acolyte

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #26 on: 08 August 2016, 01:05:26 »
And yet there are a lot of other people who seem not to have a problem playing it. Try adding something constructive next time.

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bluedragon7

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #27 on: 08 August 2016, 02:23:56 »
0 modules/adventures have been released for the game!
thats an outright lie.
I can understand and share the wish for more frequent material but that statement is just not true. There are a couple of modules available. The main focus however seems to be to provide hooks and other source material instead of fully statted adventures.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #28 on: 08 August 2016, 03:02:38 »
Save your time/money and play something else.  A Time of War is not properly supported by Catalyst.  0 modules/adventures have been released for the game!  Unless you want all of the work to create the everything lol.  Sorry, I have a family and a day job.  I want a RPG that is supported.  At least 1 module per quarter should not be asking too much even if community written.
Necromo Nightmare, Empires Aflame, the Free RPG day downloads floating around the internet, the adventure seeds in the Touring the Stars releases, and the RPG hooks that the Handbooks provided.
These show signs of support, so the notion that "0 modules/adventures" is wrong.

Now do they provide-absolute-granular-level-30 grues will eat you on THIS part of the map? No, but then as always CGL has steered from that way in most of their products.
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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #29 on: 08 August 2016, 09:06:14 »
Herb, thanks for fighting to include a lot of those details in A Time of War. I'm glad to hear that they are there.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #30 on: 08 August 2016, 09:14:17 »
That is a major concern. I don't know why so many of you are jumping on Panthros.  Sure, his tone could have been better, but he does raise a good point.

Back in the land before time, TSR found out very quickly that Dungeon Masters as a whole wanted adventure modules and preferred them. Pointing out Necromo Nightmare and Empires Aflame -- one which is 3 years old and another that takes place in another universe -- doesn't do much to argue against Pantrhos' point. And as someone new to the system, having a bit more of a guiding hand than adventure seeds and hooks would be nice.

Conversely, I understand where Catalyst is. They have a small staff of mostly freelancers that go where the money is. That is a tough situation; and taking someone off of a book such as ilClan or a Historical could mean less profit. I don't envy either party.

Save your time/money and play something else.  A Time of War is not properly supported by Catalyst.  0 modules/adventures have been released for the game!  Unless you want all of the work to create the everything lol.  Sorry, I have a family and a day job.  I want a RPG that is supported.  At least 1 module per quarter should not be asking too much even if community written.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #31 on: 08 August 2016, 09:20:14 »
Necromo Nightmare, Empires Aflame, the Free RPG day downloads floating around the internet, the adventure seeds in the Touring the Stars releases, and the RPG hooks that the Handbooks provided.
These show signs of support, so the notion that "0 modules/adventures" is wrong.

Now do they provide-absolute-granular-level-30 grues will eat you on THIS part of the map? No, but then as always CGL has steered from that way in most of their products.

I think the issue is there is no canon adventures (in same universe or were not considered to be canon.) that don't have allow for the player to go on without having been removed/killed off from the universe. The GM can certainly house rule it, but aside from that. Their dead by the end of the adventure, they still are awesome scenarios for one-off adventures campaigns.

Touring the Stars are nice supplements that offer very couple of potential stories for ATOW and Total Wafare players to latch on and do and be able to say "Yay! It's not the no-win scenario!".

Hopefully there will be more adventures beyond touring the stars.  TtS can be great if your LosTech hunter which used to rein during the ye-olde late Succession Wars era.
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HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #32 on: 08 August 2016, 13:30:59 »
The Free RPG Day adventures are not one-way trips, like the Halloween offerings are all meant to be. Their function is to serve as a neat entry-level adventure for the players.

Now, it's worth noting that we HAVE been considering and working on adventure modules since...well, since a year or so after A Time of War came out. In fact, I know there are two full-length AToW adventures that were completely WRITTEN before my promotion to ex-Line Developer; the author of both would probably like to get paid for them sometime, but CGL contracts are based on publication dates.

The trouble, as always, is cost. By far, the majority of BattleTech's tabletop players favor the war game over role-playing, and RPG adventures by their very nature tend to have higher art needs than any BT product short of a TRO or core rulebook. We can only recycle so much, after all. As art tends to be one of the biggest costs in producing a BT product, well... it tends to be a deal-breaker. CGL is not a charity, and "love of the game" alone isn't enough to drive sales.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #33 on: 08 August 2016, 15:56:37 »
*nod*

It is a bit of a catch 22.  Catalyst has put out a few things here and there that do support AToW but as noted they are mostly seeds.  So stuff you do need to work on to make grow into something more.  I understand that this is can still be a lot of work to do for GMs and some people do need more detailed/developed adventures.  There are a couple of those as well but certainly not much.  So the frustration is understandable even if there are some unfair/overly negative accusations made.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #34 on: 08 August 2016, 17:40:59 »
*nod*

It is a bit of a catch 22.  Catalyst has put out a few things here and there that do support AToW but as noted they are mostly seeds.  So stuff you do need to work on to make grow into something more.  I understand that this is can still be a lot of work to do for GMs and some people do need more detailed/developed adventures.  There are a couple of those as well but certainly not much.  So the frustration is understandable even if there are some unfair/overly negative accusations made.

indeed.  Which is why I still try to keep hold of the scenario books I got back in the late 80s.  Most of them are not set up for RP, but the main character stats and the forces are written up.  so, easily modified to include some RP.
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Stallion12

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #35 on: 08 August 2016, 19:07:45 »
I c as nt find the free rpg day modules besides the one added to the quickstart rules.

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abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #37 on: 08 August 2016, 21:47:53 »
Herb, how integral is new art to these modules? Is this mostly side are for flavor or are they character portraits? If it is a PDF-only release, is it possible to skip most of the illustrations just so they can be published?

jackson123

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #38 on: 09 August 2016, 08:15:25 »
Have to say I am fan of older rules. But the age of war game is not bad.

Panthros

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #39 on: 10 August 2016, 00:53:54 »
The Free RPG Day adventures are not one-way trips, like the Halloween offerings are all meant to be. Their function is to serve as a neat entry-level adventure for the players.

Now, it's worth noting that we HAVE been considering and working on adventure modules since...well, since a year or so after A Time of War came out. In fact, I know there are two full-length AToW adventures that were completely WRITTEN before my promotion to ex-Line Developer; the author of both would probably like to get paid for them sometime, but CGL contracts are based on publication dates.

The trouble, as always, is cost. By far, the majority of BattleTech's tabletop players favor the war game over role-playing, and RPG adventures by their very nature tend to have higher art needs than any BT product short of a TRO or core rulebook. We can only recycle so much, after all. As art tends to be one of the biggest costs in producing a BT product, well... it tends to be a deal-breaker. CGL is not a charity, and "love of the game" alone isn't enough to drive sales.

-

Sorry for my tone earlier but I am extremely frustrated with ATOW.  I bought the two books and gm screen and they are sitting on my shelf collecting dust.  Yes I know there are hooks but I want adventures.  I had no interest in the zombie mechs or non canon modules.  The adventures in the quick start guides are extremely short.  I want ATOW to succeed.  The only way any RPG truly succeeds in my opinion is by having adventures for people to play.  I could care less about art work personally.  I want to spend an hour or two reading and preparing for an adventure, sit down with friends and spend 2-4 hours playing a RPG in the rich Battletech universe.  I and others I know work full time and do not have time to create adventures.  All you have to do is look at the DnD Adventure League for an example.  You can look at the free stuff Ash Law puts out for 13th Age by Pelegrane which is likely smaller than Catalyst.

That is great to hear two adventures are done.  Make them available to Battlecorp subscribers.  Put them in the Battlecorps pdf store for $9.95.  It would be interesting to know what the cost is to create one so the community can come together and financially help. Are we waiting on art?  Sometimes I think Catalyst is too worried about art.  I wonder how much smaller and even better the Total Warfare or Alpha Strike rules would be to offer a second trimmed down option with no art but that is a separate topic.  If Catalyst wants Battletech to succeed, they have to find other revenue streams and I think RPG could absolutely be one with some attention.

Catalys can get the help of the community content through a contest. Everyone submit theirs, the winners are announced and the top 3, top 5 winners not only get their content published through pdf but also the recognition that goes along with it.  I am sure there some budding game developers out there.  Perhaps you throw in a Battletech book or two that costs almost nothing for Catalyst to give out.  You could even tie the RPG adventures with the Harebrained game that will be released next year.  Set the timeline for 3025.

 
« Last Edit: 10 August 2016, 01:14:20 by Panthros »

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #40 on: 10 August 2016, 01:52:03 »
I find myself pondering how possible it would be for us fans with the time and some GM chops in terms of creating adventures to perhaps create adventure modules.  Obviously certain steps would have to be taken on our part to minimize potential IP issues but unless I'm missing something for IP rights if we do it should be possible in the same vein that we can write fluff for custom mech designs.

Obviously they'd have to go in the Fan Design forums but I think I might take a stab at this once I get some of my other writing projects finished up unless told it'd be just a little too much.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #41 on: 10 August 2016, 02:02:40 »
Sorry for my tone earlier but I am extremely frustrated with ATOW.  I bought the two books and gm screen and they are sitting on my shelf collecting dust.  Yes I know there are hooks but I want adventures.  I had no interest in the zombie mechs or non canon modules.  The adventures in the quick start guides are extremely short.  I want ATOW to succeed.  The only way any RPG truly succeeds in my opinion is by having adventures for people to play.  I could care less about art work personally.  I want to spend an hour or two reading and preparing for an adventure, sit down with friends and spend 2-4 hours playing a RPG in the rich Battletech universe.  I and others I know work full time and do not have time to create adventures.  All you have to do is look at the DnD Adventure League for an example.  You can look at the free stuff Ash Law puts out for 13th Age by Pelegrane which is likely smaller than Catalyst.

That is great to hear two adventures are done.  Make them available to Battlecorp subscribers.  Put them in the Battlecorps pdf store for $9.95.  It would be interesting to know what the cost is to create one so the community can come together and financially help. Are we waiting on art?  Sometimes I think Catalyst is too worried about art.  I wonder how much smaller and even better the Total Warfare or Alpha Strike rules would be to offer a second trimmed down option with no art but that is a separate topic.  If Catalyst wants Battletech to succeed, they have to find other revenue streams and I think RPG could absolutely be one with some attention.

Catalys can get the help of the community content through a contest. Everyone submit theirs, the winners are announced and the top 3, top 5 winners not only get their content published through pdf but also the recognition that goes along with it.  I am sure there some budding game developers out there.  Perhaps you throw in a Battletech book or two that costs almost nothing for Catalyst to give out.  You could even tie the RPG adventures with the Harebrained game that will be released next year.  Set the timeline for 3025.


These are all excellent points. I really like the idea of dovetailing with the new HBS game - Fantastic Idea!

I, too, do wish for more AToW support and was a little disappointed not to see any in the 1st SSW book (I'd have liked to see how the Life Path modules work in this era) but am thinking that they may not differ that much from the Star League. Hopefully the 2nd SSW book will have something in it.

A number of PDF adventures might be the way to go on this. They aren't free to produce, I know, but there's no printing to be done. AToW isn't the most popular way to play in the BT universe, so printing a bunch of books may be financially risky. I can do without much art, myself, and really don't mind recycled images if it gets more stuff out.

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Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #42 on: 10 August 2016, 03:06:05 »
I find myself pondering how possible it would be for us fans with the time and some GM chops in terms of creating adventures to perhaps create adventure modules.

I'd think it is no different than the alt universes people make, scenarios, designs, etc.
If you're a fan, not charging for anything, having fun, then I don't think there's a problem.
Then again I'm not one of the big beemers, but I know that trboturtle has a fan blog with AToW related stuff and he's not taken out back and shot....well for this he's not.  ;) http://thebattletechstate.blogspot.com/
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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #43 on: 10 August 2016, 22:12:49 »
I would love to see more ATOW material out there. If anyone would like to collaborate on a module or adventure path of modules I am happy to contribute to the amount of material out there.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #44 on: 10 August 2016, 23:36:02 »
I, too, do wish for more AToW support and was a little disappointed not to see any in the 1st SSW book (I'd have liked to see how the Life Path modules work in this era) but am thinking that they may not differ that much from the Star League. Hopefully the 2nd SSW book will have something in it.

Oooo! No! No new Life Modules, please! There's a reason the Life Modules were written as generically as they are; by the time MW3rd/CBTRPG ran its course, the Life Paths were scattered among dozens of books and suffered from serious power creep as new Path--ostensibly just specialized versions of standard paths--became bloated with ever more complicated modifications as the various authors tried their darndest to outdo each other or merely differentiate themselves. It was so bad that a player could create a character that was simply superior in every way from his fellow players by simply using the latest rulebook--regardless of faction or subject.  (Fun Fact: The time period covered by the MW3rd system's various Life Paths technically ranged from about 3060-3067, and yet a Steiner character made using just the Core Rulebook and the same number of life paths would almost certainly SUCK next to... a Periphery character made using the rules found in Field Manual: Periphery.)

The Era Books/Era Reports were the target product for any character creation expansions--and mostly then to deal with the changing nature of factions as measured across broader swaths of time. And THEN barely much more than making tweaks to the existing Affiliation rules, Economics, Equipment, and Vehicle tables. Because I didn't want to render the core rules useless.

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Acolyte

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #45 on: 10 August 2016, 23:56:26 »
Oooo! No! No new Life Modules, please! There's a reason the Life Modules were written as generically as they are; by the time MW3rd/CBTRPG ran its course, the Life Paths were scattered among dozens of books and suffered from serious power creep as new Path--ostensibly just specialized versions of standard paths--became bloated with ever more complicated modifications as the various authors tried their darndest to outdo each other or merely differentiate themselves. It was so bad that a player could create a character that was simply superior in every way from his fellow players by simply using the latest rulebook--regardless of faction or subject.  (Fun Fact: The time period covered by the MW3rd system's various Life Paths technically ranged from about 3060-3067, and yet a Steiner character made using just the Core Rulebook and the same number of life paths would almost certainly SUCK next to... a Periphery character made using the rules found in Field Manual: Periphery.)

The Era Books/Era Reports were the target product for any character creation expansions--and mostly then to deal with the changing nature of factions as measured across broader swaths of time. And THEN barely much more than making tweaks to the existing Affiliation rules, Economics, Equipment, and Vehicle tables. Because I didn't want to render the core rules useless.

-

NONONONnonono no new life modules! I agree with the bloat there! What I meant was the adjustments made to mainly the Affiliations - like you see in Era Report 3062, for example. Actually the bolded section is more in line with what I'd like. Maybe if there's another product for that time period?

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monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #46 on: 11 August 2016, 00:23:01 »
Well with the XP system of AToW where what you put in is what you get out(at least for the most part) it is a lot easier to keep things in check power wise in AToW for creating new modules then MW3ED/CBTRPG and the real imbalances I found were really in the random event tables.

Now don't get me wrong I don't think we need tons of new modules but yeah maybe a few to show some more faction flavor and how things change over the eras could be included as nice little highlights here or there.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #47 on: 11 August 2016, 03:20:36 »
You get the majority of your Faction flavor from the Stage 0 Life Modules (which cover Affiliation/Sub-Affiliation). These help guide players in what the core values and traditions of their factions are, including their native languages, and basic skills or traits that define dominant realm-wide cultural values and weaknesses (wealth over honor; survival over status, and so forth). But it's important to remember that, in the end, your character is still an individual, and that the broad-stroke descriptions of the factions are often only skin deep (Draconis Combine is not "space Japan" all the way through, any more than the Lyrans are "space Germany", or the Capellan Confederation is "space China"). This is where you, the player, make the call about what your character considers important.

It was a conscious decision we made to stop micromanaging our players when it came to their role-playing choices.

And, again, the books specifically identified as Era Reports or Era Digests cover just what you're after.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention something else: Although the Campaign Tracks featured in various products from the start of the Jihad to present are largely put together with the tactical war game in mind, they make no assumptions about the size and nature of the players' forces, and they very deliberately try to avoid anchoring any such details down. This was done so that clever players and GMs could use those Tracks as fodder for role-playing adventures as well as battlefield events.

A speedy, random example of this (seriously, I just flipped open the book and turned pages until I saw a Track): The Track "Scrap Iron" in Jihad: Final Reckoning, describes an attempt by the fledgling Republic of the Sphere to capture or destroy Precentor Berith, the new leader of the Manei Domini, before he can escape to parts unknown. At face value, the event can be played as a straight battlefield scenario, in which the player's force fields 150% of Berith's force in terms of numbers, with that additional 50% being supplemental spec ops troops of veteran quality sent to help out with the capture--one of whom is the enigmatic agent "Damocles". In the special rules for the Track, both Damocles and Berith are described briefly in terms of skills and capabilities, many of which would have no impact in a Mech battle at all (such as Damocles' +2 Skill modifier on all Action Checks related to Covert Ops and Intelligence on the worlds inside the Republic's nascent boundaries--aka the former Word of Blake Protectorate; as well as a full listing of Berith's implants and prosthetic augmentations). This entire event, although "historically" played out as a Mech battle in a field of rubble-strewn badlands, could be played out instead as a deadly game of cat and mouse by dismounted characters amid the ruins of a war-ravaged town.


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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #48 on: 11 August 2016, 03:41:48 »
That's an interesting idea.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #49 on: 11 August 2016, 05:27:29 »
So Era Report 2750 is what I'd be looking for when running a 1st SSW game? Makes a lot of sense. BTW, that's a really cool idea about the Track Scrap Iron.

Will there be something similar for the 2nd SSW or is that a little too niche?

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #50 on: 11 August 2016, 08:18:29 »
So Era Report 2750 is what I'd be looking for when running a 1st SSW game? Makes a lot of sense. BTW, that's a really cool idea about the Track Scrap Iron.

Will there be something similar for the 2nd SSW or is that a little too niche?

   - Shane
The First Succession (source book) came out, it has stuff in there you can use. Era Report: is more the "before the war" stuff.
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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #51 on: 11 August 2016, 10:29:56 »
So Era Report 2750 is what I'd be looking for when running a 1st SSW game? Makes a lot of sense. BTW, that's a really cool idea about the Track Scrap Iron.

Will there be something similar for the 2nd SSW or is that a little too niche?

Since the First War was fought basically on the heels of the Star League, ER:2750 should be suitable for the period. I mean, you'd even still have Terran Hegemony and Rim Worlds citizens running around through that entire period, people who remember the Star League days because they were born before it died.

Originally, I'd planned for a two-stage set of books covering the Succession Wars era. The first stage was to cover the First and Second Succession Wars in a single Historical, followed by an "Early Succession Wars" Era Report book. The second stage would have dealt with the Late Succession Wars (likely across two Historicals--one just for the Third War, and another for the Fourth War and War of 3039), followed by a Late Succession Wars Era Report.

But that was before my promotion to ex-Line Developer.

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monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #52 on: 11 August 2016, 15:19:21 »
You get the majority of your Faction flavor from the Stage 0 Life Modules (which cover Affiliation/Sub-Affiliation). These help guide players in what the core values and traditions of their factions are, including their native languages, and basic skills or traits that define dominant realm-wide cultural values and weaknesses (wealth over honor; survival over status, and so forth). But it's important to remember that, in the end, your character is still an individual, and that the broad-stroke descriptions of the factions are often only skin deep (Draconis Combine is not "space Japan" all the way through, any more than the Lyrans are "space Germany", or the Capellan Confederation is "space China"). This is where you, the player, make the call about what your character considers important.

It was a conscious decision we made to stop micromanaging our players when it came to their role-playing choices.

And, again, the books specifically identified as Era Reports or Era Digests cover just what you're after.

I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention something else: Although the Campaign Tracks featured in various products from the start of the Jihad to present are largely put together with the tactical war game in mind, they make no assumptions about the size and nature of the players' forces, and they very deliberately try to avoid anchoring any such details down. This was done so that clever players and GMs could use those Tracks as fodder for role-playing adventures as well as battlefield events.

A speedy, random example of this (seriously, I just flipped open the book and turned pages until I saw a Track): The Track "Scrap Iron" in Jihad: Final Reckoning, describes an attempt by the fledgling Republic of the Sphere to capture or destroy Precentor Berith, the new leader of the Manei Domini, before he can escape to parts unknown. At face value, the event can be played as a straight battlefield scenario, in which the player's force fields 150% of Berith's force in terms of numbers, with that additional 50% being supplemental spec ops troops of veteran quality sent to help out with the capture--one of whom is the enigmatic agent "Damocles". In the special rules for the Track, both Damocles and Berith are described briefly in terms of skills and capabilities, many of which would have no impact in a Mech battle at all (such as Damocles' +2 Skill modifier on all Action Checks related to Covert Ops and Intelligence on the worlds inside the Republic's nascent boundaries--aka the former Word of Blake Protectorate; as well as a full listing of Berith's implants and prosthetic augmentations). This entire event, although "historically" played out as a Mech battle in a field of rubble-strewn badlands, could be played out instead as a deadly game of cat and mouse by dismounted characters amid the ruins of a war-ravaged town.

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Mostly what I'd like to see is that there is a difference between the Neglering on Thrakad and the Davion Training Battalions and maybe see the Academies morph a bit as training programs become implemented and go away due to the gain and loss of unit types.

Even then I grant it could be easily done as a couple lines of existing module modifications so it's not like it is a huge sticking point for me.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #53 on: 11 August 2016, 17:23:02 »
They were the very first place where the bloating started, to be honest. But, hey, I hear talk that someone in CGL is considering a line of PDF-exclusive products that focus on academies, so maybe you'll get your wish. It's not my call to make any more.

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monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #54 on: 11 August 2016, 18:46:20 »
I do understand that you have to be careful about bloat but one of the things I like about AToW is to make a character better at something the XP still needs to be paid so it is a lot harder to get objectively better characters in comparison to older editions.  Which to me suggests it can tolerate the bloat a lot better.  I also take it as a sign that an RPG is doing well when it can get all those kinds of supplements though.

Of course I say this as my current writing project is to create new modules for my AU/House Rules.  The upside is it is giving me a lot of perspective that is helping me say "Yeah that's good enough, I don't need to monkey with it anymore or do a variation of this for every faction".

So it is not like I want a whole lot and I do realize even with AToW's safeguards the bloat could get out of hand.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #55 on: 11 August 2016, 19:46:45 »
Well, you DO have a point that the bloat can be contained in large part by the fact that the modules cost points that must be paid either way, so a "better" module would cost more XP.

But, again, the bottom line really comes down to: What does it add that a player can't do better on his own using his remaining XP?

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Acolyte

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #56 on: 12 August 2016, 03:02:06 »
The First Succession (source book) came out, it has stuff in there you can use. Era Report: is more the "before the war" stuff.

Granted and absolutely. I use the lore from all the books I have. What I was talking about was the nuts and bolts of character creation.

Well, you DO have a point that the bloat can be contained in large part by the fact that the modules cost points that must be paid either way, so a "better" module would cost more XP.

But, again, the bottom line really comes down to: What does it add that a player can't do better on his own using his remaining XP?

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I'm a big fan of the more generic, more GM control that AToW took over MW3rd. Just looking for the tweaks - mainly in the Affiliation Stage Life Path - that more reflect the time period. I'll have to see if I can still get a DT version of the Era Report 2750. I'll get the PDF in any case.

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guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #57 on: 12 August 2016, 11:25:45 »
Well, you DO have a point that the bloat can be contained in large part by the fact that the modules cost points that must be paid either way, so a "better" module would cost more XP.

But, again, the bottom line really comes down to: What does it add that a player can't do better on his own using his remaining XP?

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I am not even thinking it really needs much "tweaking" per say, possibly a list of adjustments to what is provided in the different "schools"

just as an example standard academy provides: basic and academy level skills, and has x negative, and y bonus traits.
the Davion training battalions are considered academy level education, however they have the following perks instead of the normal academy perks.

and a similar blurb that makes minor "optional" tweaks from other institutes.  not really any difference in the point costs, but some slight tweaks in how the points are allocated.  like an aerospace oriented academy might have a "LAM" track for mechwarriors where they get aerospace training instead of the standard tech training, or instead of one of the normal advantages they get an option to choose equivalent xp worth of other training.

things like that.

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #58 on: 12 August 2016, 12:33:03 »
*nod*

I did grant right off the bat that for me it would be a matter of maybe a few lines and maybe some minor tweaks to the modules to give me what I want.

If there is a full outright module that I feel is missing it would be a Stage 4 module that feels a bit more like the character is doing prison time.  None of the existing ones quite seem right.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #59 on: 12 August 2016, 17:01:19 »
If there is a full outright module that I feel is missing it would be a Stage 4 module that feels a bit more like the character is doing prison time.  None of the existing ones quite seem right.

You know, I think you actually HAVE something there!

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monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #60 on: 12 August 2016, 18:01:54 »
There goes my good idea ration... :D

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #61 on: 14 August 2016, 19:38:00 »
So next week I'm hoping to use the 2011 Free RPG day release. Wish me luck.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #62 on: 14 August 2016, 19:49:24 »
So next week I'm hoping to use the 2011 Free RPG day release. Wish me luck.

Luck!

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abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #63 on: 15 August 2016, 19:33:57 »
Quick question: I noticed that there are a few discrepancies between tables in the AToW book and the 2011 Free RPG Day release.

In the Basic Action Check Table, the TN for Attribute/Untrained single and double are 12 and 18 respectively in AToW. However, in the 2011 FRPGD offering those numbers are 14 and 21.

Misprint? Typo? Intentional?

Should I just ignore those numbers and stick with the tables from the AToW book?

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #64 on: 15 August 2016, 20:07:16 »
Use the ones from the core book. My guess is that the 2011 Free RPG was rolled out during the Beta phase and you may be the first one to have noticed and said anything about it.

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Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #65 on: 15 August 2016, 20:12:39 »
It almost sounds like the 2011 product may have been geared to 3rd Edition (with its 2d10 mechanic vice 2d6)...

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #66 on: 16 August 2016, 17:05:33 »
Oh, most certainly not! The very FIRST decision I made on A Time of War was the return to the D6 basis.

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #67 on: 16 August 2016, 18:49:47 »
Glad to hear I was wrong!  I argued vehemently in favor of going back to a 2d6 basis back in the day.  There were others on the forum back then who really liked the 2d10 mechanic for reasons I still find hard to understand.

HABeas2

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #68 on: 17 August 2016, 10:42:33 »
Well, waaaaaaay back when MW3rd/CBTRPG was conceived (very late FASA era), there were plans on the table to revise the entire game using a D10 mechanic, which might have made them compatible again. It was quite close to fruition when FASA closed its doors.

Though I should add: The D10 system, as it was implemented for MW3rd/CBTRPG, was basically just a means of widening the bell curve and giving a wider range of results to play with and apply modifiers to. It wasn't THAT much of a fundamental shift, but made the conversion between the war game and RPG needlessly difficult.

Other prime targets for change: The use of a "middle-man" system to convert personal damage to actual hit-point/wound level damage, and the reduction of Life Paths to a far more manageable (and more player-controlled) Life Module system.

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Daryk

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #69 on: 17 August 2016, 20:09:01 »
I can only imagine the hue and cry and that would have caused... yikes!  Simplifying damage conversion and going to Life Modules would probably have gone down comparatively well at the time, I think.

bluedragon7

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #70 on: 18 August 2016, 03:23:29 »
I liked the life path system for their inspirational events. I sometimes still use them for ATOW. But I have to admit the power creep was immense, especially if you used your edge threshold cleverly.

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #71 on: 18 August 2016, 13:33:29 »
Yeah it was more the random events that were problematic than the modules themselves.

I still remember a former gaming group member who tried to make an honest cop but because of event rolls came out with what he interpreted must have been a serial killer instead.

A current gaming group member who got a planet thanks to an event roll in one campaign.

As a concept they are not a bad idea and adding some more flavor to the event rolls versus what is in the Companion has been a rather large part of my current project.

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #72 on: 18 August 2016, 19:39:54 »
Question: when converting AToW stats to Total War or Alpha Strike, it mentioned that I should take the base TN and the skill rank to find out the conversion. For example a TN of 8 minus the skill of 4 would leave you with a gunnery skill of 4. Ergo, a regular mechwarrior. However, would you include the link modifiers in that to further improve the TW/AS stats?

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #73 on: 18 August 2016, 20:13:18 »
I asked about that some time ago in the rules forum, and the answer was that link modifiers were left off deliberately.

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #74 on: 18 August 2016, 20:24:58 »
Okay, cool.

Another question:

How exactly does the Perception skill work? What specific examples separate someone with the skill compared to those without? I am trying to not get too confused from what I know in regards to Pathfinder where everyone has the skill, but may have various modifiers and ranks that stack to improve the chance of perceiving something.

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #75 on: 18 August 2016, 20:56:02 »
Yes to a certain extent everyone does have some basic ability in Perception but as someone who has all too often failed to find an item no more than a couple feet away from where I was standing in relatively uncluttered areas it makes all too much sense to me that it is a skill.

So I'd say it's not just noticing things but recognizing patterns or an ability to pick out stuff from clutter.  Recognizing that what you're seeing/hearing is important.

Untrained skills are actually pretty easy to pull off as well if need be.  Roll the relevant attribute(s) as the appropriate attribute check against that target number(12 for singe, 16 for double).

Stallion12

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #76 on: 18 August 2016, 21:10:35 »
Isn't it 18 for double?

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #77 on: 18 August 2016, 21:16:12 »
What about the -4 penalty for untrained skill checks? That can be kind of brutal. Do you always apply that or are there certain GM-decided conditions where that is waved?

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #78 on: 18 August 2016, 23:46:35 »
Okay I don't do enough with double attribute checks and forgot it was 18 and because they don't mention the untrained skill check -4 modifier except in a table I keep forgetting about that too.

guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #79 on: 19 August 2016, 00:12:00 »
in general  everyone gets to make perception checks to notice something.  However if you don't have the perception skill.... then you are doing it as an unskilled check.

the modifiers are always at GM's discretion, including modifiers to make it easier...

you are walking along there is a cliff/dropoff in front of you, do you notice....

things like that.

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #80 on: 20 August 2016, 22:46:10 »
Thoughts on playing without a physical map? Do you guys think the basic idea of gameplay through descriptions are enough to get by without having to break out the dry erase markers and square grids?

monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #81 on: 21 August 2016, 00:13:04 »
It is no more difficult to do with AToW versus any other system so if your group already does various RPGs without maps it should be fine.

guardiandashi

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #82 on: 21 August 2016, 02:02:45 »
it is quite possible to play without a map...
it is likely to be easier to have a map both for the players and GM, but it can be done with just notes, but then its more likely to have things "drift" around.

one thing that can be done, is grab a map of a town or a city a long way away from where you are, and replace things with setting correct examples.

IE a junkyard today (for cars busses, trains, etc. ) in battletech/MechWarrior will have all of the above, plus junkyards for tanks, and mechs.

a pawn shop or gun store is likely to be more or less the same but with more "battletech" gear in it.

PurpleDragon

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #83 on: 22 August 2016, 00:32:09 »
I have gotten to where I have a hard time playing in a group that does not use maps; as the descriptions and/or consistency just do not mesh with what is happening in my mind.  Maps and minis, for the most part, do away with a lot of the discrepancies of descriptions given by GMs and Understood by players. 
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monbvol

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #84 on: 22 August 2016, 07:46:57 »
*nod*

Which is why I suggested if your group is already comfortable and does well in other RPGs without maps.

It really does depend more on the group than the system.

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #85 on: 24 August 2016, 08:48:31 »
So our first session on Sunday went well. I'm not actually sure how good of a job I did as a GM, but we had fun.

One of the things I noticed was that crunching numbers in combat did take me longer than I would have liked. My brain had to shift a bit to the Target Number concept. I am sure I made plenty of mistakes in calculating those values.

The role play aspect allowed for some different thought processes, however. For example, allowing the player in his captured 'mech to use his fist to cave in the head of a powered down 'mech with no pilot before escaping. He crushed the MoS, so I felt good not just giving it to him simply "because".

One player almost alerted the whole base to the group's presence by using a swift action to take a downed guard's cigarette rather than continue to fight the remaining guard. The gun shot probably should have alerted the rest of the base, but the combat was outside and I rolled a sort of perception check on it. Lucky them. Maybe RP-ing that compulsion trait a bit too hard there.

abou

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #86 on: 01 September 2016, 21:29:04 »
Question on the language skill:

Is that for a specific language that a character speaks or just secondary languages?

Atlas3060

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #87 on: 01 September 2016, 21:35:15 »
So our first session on Sunday went well. I'm not actually sure how good of a job I did as a GM, but we had fun.

If they had fun then your job as GM was well received. That's all which matters.

Question on the language skill:

Is that for a specific language that a character speaks or just secondary languages?
Language is literally whatever language they can speak.
Some folks can speak multiple languages, with various degrees of fluency.
Some folks don't talk good english like yous and me, so they have to get by some other how.  ;)

Honestly the concept of "second" language usually ends after life module character creation.
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Iracundus

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #88 on: 02 September 2016, 02:42:21 »
The way I see it is the Primary language is the language used by the interstellar government and/or even the local planetary government.  The secondary language however may be the language of daily life on a particular planet. 

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Re: Talk to me about A Time of War
« Reply #89 on: 02 September 2016, 14:48:26 »
The role play aspect allowed for some different thought processes, however. For example, allowing the player in his captured 'mech to use his fist to cave in the head of a powered down 'mech with no pilot before escaping. He crushed the MoS, so I felt good not just giving it to him simply "because".

You done good GM. This is an excellent example of GMing. You can say with an around average roll the fist may have just caved in the armor slightly, but a definite large MOS would explain the crushing effect. However be aware of consequences of failure. A slight failure might be a miss and nothing done, but a total failure could mean the attempt to crush resulted in a fall, ouch.

Another detail, if this was the sole idea of one player and it helped him or even his group escape, this can be an example of a personal achievement. This allows the GM to award minor background xp never explained when or why it was awarded to the player.

One player almost alerted the whole base to the group's presence by using a swift action to take a downed guard's cigarette rather than continue to fight the remaining guard. The gun shot probably should have alerted the rest of the base, but the combat was outside and I rolled a sort of perception check on it. Lucky them. Maybe RP-ing that compulsion trait a bit too hard there.

You done good GM. You Rped the compulsion perfectly. Compulsions can be difficult to master when and where they appear. However, if they are chosen with care and RPed with care they can add certain needed amount of flavor and character.
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