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Author Topic: The future of "A Time of War"  (Read 3930 times)

RunandFindOut

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #30 on: 28 September 2019, 17:54:57 »
Frankly ATOW character generation seems intentionally complex for the sake of complexity.  And the books are badly edited forcing you to go back and forth all over the place for rules that they've stashed across the book nowhere near the situations they apply to.  It's bad enough that I just don't use AToW for battletech RPG at all, instead I'll just use two separate systems.  Using TW for mapboard scale battlefield stuff, then switching to an entirely different system for personal scale.  Normally CP2020 or that modern variant of Exalted1e using heroic mortals only a fan created way back.
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Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #31 on: 28 September 2019, 19:14:40 »
RunandFindOut: I don't think it's complexity for complexity's sake.  I'm sure TPTB simply found themselves with a system as complex as it was after making a lot of small decisions based on narrow criteria that ended up with the overall result we have.

Victor_Shaw: I think we're narrowing down the scope here, in a good way...

Re: the perception of new players... I can't disagree that it may be intimidating at first glance.  Layout and presentation could go a long way to solving this problem.

As far as small amounts of XP thrown at Traits: if the player actually goes through the Optimization process as written, that's at least one more time they see that Trait before finalizing their points.  In that way, I think it works as intended.  I consider the amount of XP to be the proportion of the relevant population that has that Trait, not that any XP at all means "most" have it.  So for Fit: with only 15 XP thrown at it, I would see that as meaning 7.5% of the population with that module has the Fit Trait.

With regard to Fields, I suppose that really comes down to a formatting/presentation issue.  In that light, I don't think there's any daylight between us.

For Skills, it's not so much that the formula is different, as the base number you start with is different.  SB start with 7, SA and CB both start with 8, and CA start with 9.  Tiered skills simply switch from one class to another at level 4.

My point about the conversion rules was that 8 pages is much less than the 35 given to fiction.  I think the things we both want in the rule book could both be provided in the space between 8 and 35.

I'm more than willing to defer discussion of Advanced Tactical Combat to another thread, so we can close the loop on that one.

RifleMech

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #32 on: 29 September 2019, 08:25:12 »
I've gone over my issues with AToW many time, but here we go again.  :'(
AToW corebook
1. While not a terrible system (I've see a lot worst) the life path system:
a. Has more number crunching then it needs to be.
b. Is way to generic in the later paths to effectively cover the diversity of the setting.
c. Waste to many points on on under pointed traits/skills/etc. Why bother giving "Fit" 15 when it takes 200 points to get the trait?
d. Makes players calculate fields that could have easily had set point values.
2. The skill system has to many level of skills that all use different formulas.
3. The layout of the book is atrocious
4. The book waste to much page count on filler

AToW Companion
1. Eight pages of wasted space on conversions of all editions that could have been a PDF.
2. The book waste to much page count on filler.
3. The advance melee rules are great in the maneuvers presented, but the lack of setup Martial Arts packages make is seem incomplete and generic.
4. Twelve pages of rank tables, Really!
5. ADVANCED TACTICAL COMBAT is both to in dept and lacking important information.

Both
Same issues I have with most CGL products Charts/Character sheets (back of book) should be PDF and not taking up page count.


I agree with the lay out being a mess for all the core books. It is very frustrating having to not just flip pages but books to cover what I need.
I also agree with the filler. Stories are nice but not necessary.
I also agree on the number crunching.
I agree its detailed in some ways and lacking in others. This goes for ATOW and TW. (I can have knights and archers but not musketeers?)


I disagree on the conversions though. If there aren't conversions from one edition to another I usually don't buy the new one. I also don't want to have to hunt online for them. That's worse than having to flip through multiple books.

I also disagree on the blank sheets. They're a necessary part of the game. You can't play without them. They need to be included. And as above I shouldn't have to go hunting for them. That adds a completely unnecessary step.

The issues I'd love to see fixed besides those above are the abstraction in damage from personal to group. Damage goes down with more people shooting. You'd think it'd go up. The other thing that bugs me is that there are vehicles that I cannot build under TW rules.

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #33 on: 29 September 2019, 09:08:12 »
I've asked about the differing damage scale conversion formulas in the past... I don't recall ever receiving a satisfactory answer.  I think it will ultimately have to come down to something BAR related.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #34 on: 29 September 2019, 15:06:47 »

I agree with the lay out being a mess for all the core books. It is very frustrating having to not just flip pages but books to cover what I need.
I also agree with the filler. Stories are nice but not necessary.
I also agree on the number crunching.
I agree its detailed in some ways and lacking in others. This goes for ATOW and TW. (I can have knights and archers but not musketeers?)


I disagree on the conversions though. If there aren't conversions from one edition to another I usually don't buy the new one. I also don't want to have to hunt online for them. That's worse than having to flip through multiple books.

I also disagree on the blank sheets. They're a necessary part of the game. You can't play without them. They need to be included. And as above I shouldn't have to go hunting for them. That adds a completely unnecessary step.

The issues I'd love to see fixed besides those above are the abstraction in damage from personal to group. Damage goes down with more people shooting. You'd think it'd go up. The other thing that bugs me is that there are vehicles that I cannot build under TW rules.

On most of these we just have to agree to disagree.
But, on the conversions, while I can understand (in this case) 3rd to 4th conversion, have ones for each edition is going way overboard.

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #35 on: 29 September 2019, 15:18:36 »
For the conversion rules, 1st Edition got two pages (one of which was tables), 2nd got two and a quarter pages (one of which was tables), and 3rd got the rest (two and a bit which were tables).  Compared to the fiction, that wasn't much investment at all.

RifleMech

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #36 on: 30 September 2019, 11:49:46 »
On most of these we just have to agree to disagree.
But, on the conversions, while I can understand (in this case) 3rd to 4th conversion, have ones for each edition is going way overboard.

 :thumbsup:
On the other hand there's still players who play the earlier editions and including conversions could interest them into playing the newer editions.

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #37 on: 30 September 2019, 16:30:16 »
Given the poll results, I think the various editions got about what they each earned (even though the poll wasn't representative of anything but posters on this board).

Giorgio76

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #38 on: 07 February 2020, 07:39:50 »
I am just starting to read the ATOW core rulebook that a friend lent to me, as I couldn’t afford insane Ebay prices for a hardback copy and reading 300+ pages of a PDF is hard for me. Getting the core rulebook printed in a local print shop here in Florida got me price quotes in the $60-$90 range (B&W); a bit to high for me right now, and that makes the Ebay prices of $85-$150 (color) seem reasonable.

First Impressions:
-No POD option on Drivethrurpg is killing my ability to read the core rulebook, companion, and GM screen as a GM, and to recruit new players who want a physical copy of the core rulebook.

-The layout is confusing as hell with way too many rules scattered in different places, and to much page flipping to find information.

-The rules complexity is way to high for me, especially if I need both an excel spreadsheet AND 4+ Hours of You Tube tutorials (by BiggRigg42) just to understand what I am reading and to create NPC and PC characters.

-I like the MechWarrior Destiny rules that allows you to combine RPG and Tabletop combat, I wish there was something like this here.

-I contacted CGL via the Battletech Clan Invasion Kickstarter message system and got the following info: they would look into why ATOW is not available as a POD option on DTRPG. Haven’t got a reply back since last year.

-I contacted CGL via email and I got a response to the future of ATOW,  “paraphrasing” the response: “we will look into it after the KS is over and we see the feedback to MechWarrior Destiny; we will need to determine if there is enough demand to justify a revised edition (combining the core rules and companion into one book with a new layout)”. I would need to ask permission to get the exact quote directly from the source.

-I want to give ATOW a fair shake, but the core rulebook itself is giving me a hard time to read, understand, and put into the GM/Players hands. It is almost making me consider using a whole different ruleset to run an RPG campaign in the Battletech universe.

beachhead1985

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #39 on: 07 February 2020, 13:17:07 »


-The rules complexity is way to high for me, especially if I need both an excel spreadsheet AND 4+ Hours of You Tube tutorials (by BiggRigg42) just to understand what I am reading and to create NPC and PC characters.

You're not wrong. This is a huge barrier to entry for ATOW.
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Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #40 on: 07 February 2020, 17:13:51 »
It goes much easier face to face.

As far as table top integration, the "Tactical Combat Addendum" chapter is what you want (pages 200-225).  If there are specific character creation issues, if you send me what the players want, I can crank out finished characters pretty quickly.

Talen5000

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #41 on: 07 February 2020, 21:36:17 »
I would suggest it is dead.

IMO, AToW sets the right "tone" and "feel" for a BT based RPG, but it has enough serious flaws in the system that it needs a comprehensive revision, rewriting and streamlining.

Among these, the game needs (to one degree or snother)..

>>>>Better writing and layout...although, the problems with this in the current version are at least partially a result of other issues
>>>>Less reliance on math...the game is seen as too intimidating, especially during character creation and that can deter new players
>>>>Less emphasis on Mech combat and replicating the board game...we already have the board game and AS
>>>>A fleshed out vehicle combat system..which AToW doesn't have
>>>>A points based chargen system...to replace the wasteful and intimidating LifePath system
>>>>A reworked skill and attribute check system...in line with the goal of making the game seem familiar and welcoming
>>>>A streamlined combat system, including simplified AP mechanics...the current system is skewed by the current focus on Mechs but if a scale system is added, and a simple ArmourPiercing mechanic is added (weapon penetrates if AP is greater than or equal to armour) it can be reworked into something a little faster with fewer mods. Maybe even something a bit less lethal rather than relying upon the Hero rules in the Companion.
>>>>The introduction and expansion of Destiny's scale system to solve some issues of granularity...if you want to keep a 2D6, other mechanics need to be introduced and a scale system dividing weapons and armour into four of five differing levels of power is one such mechanism. Five groups...personal, support, heavy support, vehicular and Mech...each with AP/AV values of 1-10, with each unable to damage any higher rating would work. That still leaves Dropship and Capital scales
>>>>A refocus away from the MW stat generator and more focus on "PC on foot"
>>>>Enhanced integration with AGoAC, AS, TW, etc rather than the rules replacement it currently tries to be. Why have a universe over 30 years old with dozens of books...that you can't use?

And more. Some of these are more problematic than others though, bit others are, IMO, critical issues that need to be addressed

It would essentially be a new RPG system.

Alternatively, they could copy Shadowrun. Move to a simple percent based mechanic. Whatever.

But I don't see AToW being as successful as it should be without that level of revision. And I doubt Destiny is the right choice either. Hopefully, I'm wrong about that.

A pity in a way...Shrapnel would have been a nice way to get some RPG content out to support the game
« Last Edit: 11 February 2020, 05:48:16 by Talen5000 »
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Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #42 on: 07 February 2020, 21:44:54 »
Shrapnel is still a good way to get RPG content out for the game.  I doubt they'll do it, but it's still a vehicle.

And you already know I don't think it's dead.  It certainly could use some work, but it's no more dead than BattleTech.

Talen5000

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #43 on: 11 February 2020, 05:58:48 »
Shrapnel is still a good way to get RPG content out for the game.  I doubt they'll do it, but it's still a vehicle.


Yes - but the problem is that I don't think they will, or at least, not a lot.
Personally, I'd prefer Shrapnel to be a magazine less reliant on BT and more of an in house magazine, covering Shadowrun, Leviathans and other games by CGL. Of course, if Shrapnel is successful (fingers crossed) then there is a lot of material for BT that could be added, enough to fill several magazines - previews, house rules, hints, tips and strategy, stories, units and so on.

Quote
And you already know I don't think it's dead.  It certainly could use some work, but it's no more dead than BattleTech.

The rulebook is out of print, and being honest, the rules for the BT RPG have never been that great. I love the tone of the AToW, as it (well, MW3) was the first time it felt like they were making a serious effort at a BT RPG (MW2 being fun but, like MW1, was mainly a stat generator for the pilots) but the RPG rules need a major overhaul, revision, rewriting and the layout needs updating. AToW may not be dead, but I am aware of several groups that RP in the BTU - but use a different game system. That in itself isn't a major vote of confidence in the system and that CGL appears indifferent towards AToW is worrying. There isn't exactly a lot of support coming out beyond the bits and pieces in the Ere books.

Which is good, as in better than nothing, but there are no adventures, no expansions, no scenarios and the promised revised and updated version has been promised now for several years.

To me, that is as good as dead.

I hope that CGL will get round to addressing the issues, but they seem intent on Destiny instead. I would not expect any new BT RPG (revised, updated or otherwise) for several years and you have no idea how much I regret feeling that way.

« Last Edit: 11 February 2020, 20:12:40 by Talen5000 »
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Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #44 on: 11 February 2020, 19:29:53 »
I have some idea, but only because RL is that bad at the moment...

abou

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #45 on: 14 February 2020, 01:35:22 »
My thoughts are to start with a revised character creation system and then to work your way out from there with revisions elsewhere. So much of the AToW layout seems to be backwards with where to find things. It's just hard to describe, but it is clear many of us feel that way.

1. Reduce the amount of fiction in the rules books. Get one introductory story at the beginning and leave it at that.
2. Change the lifepath system.

Everything after that would probably flow easily. I would say for character creation, the player should start with what they want their character to be and then add flavor from there. This would be similar to character creation from D&D/Pathfinder, but it just makes the most sense -- at least to me. It gives you a framework that you can go off of and then add individuality from there rather than starting from birth and working your way up.

Do you want to be a 'mechwarrior? Great! Here are the basics that you need to be a serviceable 'mech jock. Now for your background: how did you get there? What state or region do you call home? Noble scion with inherited 'mech? Middle class or farm boy that got an education at an academy? Raised in a merc unit? Pick one: here are the pros and cons of each. Let's add in more background information and have you pick other skills and hobbies -- some might be available and others not. What are you good at and what are you bad at? Caffeine addiction? Great, me too!

I think the lifepath system is really neat in concept, but just torturous to get through. There should be room for variety so that characters are not generic or pigeonholed. But I think the irony is that the creation process is so detailed and exhausting that it overshadows one of the very first things said in the introduction: this is about ROLE playing and not ROLL playing.

 

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