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Author Topic: Alternate System for AToW?  (Read 538 times)

Sir Chaos

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Alternate System for AToW?
« on: 31 March 2020, 14:24:39 »
AToW is a pretty complex system. You can consider that an advantage or a drawback, or a mix of both, but I am sure you will all agree that it is complex.

I am sure you would also agree that there is a place for less complex systems - to speed things up, for example, or to make the franchise more accessible to newbies. Alpha Strike has its place next to BattleTech, after all.

So I wondered, what about a simpler system for roleplaying in the BattleTech universe?

I´m not sure which of you are already familiar with Traveller. For those who are not: It is an SF roleplaying system, almost as old as D&D, that has seen a number of derivatives over the decades. It is based on 2d6 rolls, just like BT and AToW, and it is considerably less complex than AToW. Its character creation is also based determining the character´s lifepath and using that to determine the character´s abilities and skills, although Traveller character generation has strong random elements - some consider it a (mini-)game in its own right. (I may or may not have spent some quiet, rainy afternoons in the past sitting at my desk and rolling up Traveller characters)

Is there any interest in exploring what a Traveller-based extralight version of AToW might look like?
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

BiggRigg42

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #1 on: 31 March 2020, 14:54:39 »
I saw some videos on Traveler, and I didn't like how its character creation looked. If I were to use a system other than AToW for BattleTech, that system would be WOIN. I backed the Judge Dredd RPG powered by WOIN and read through the rule book. While I haven't played the system, it looks solid.

worktroll

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #2 on: 31 March 2020, 17:57:40 »
I've actually considered using Classic Traveller for BT RPG, and I'm inclined to feel it's a great fit.

Some considerations:
- Use the COmmando/High Guard/Merchants/etc expanded chargen rules. You get more interesting skill spreads that way, and a potted character bio for free.
- the Imperium tends to more police actions than battles, so I'd swap the frequency for the more military Inner Sphere.  Garrisons are boring enough.
- Some skill fiddles needed. I'd break Engineering into 'Mech, vehicle, ASF, spacecraft, and Jump, for example. Likewise Vehicle into 'Mech, CV, conventional fighter, ASF, etc. Common sense applies.
- Either allow optional re-roll on the bladed weapon skills, or roll on MOS again. The BT world does not run on cutlasses ...
- Lighten up on the death rolls - failure means hospitalisation for the year (no skills, no promotion), and if you want an exact fail allows for a prosthetic (depending on year & tech level, and your player's preference).

One could very simply take the Traveller chargen as a template, and produce IS/Clan versions. Then the game system is entirely usable, and promotes well to integration with the tabletop. Assume the standard P5/G4 BT 'Mechwarrior has Vehicle (Mech)-1, and Gunnery (Mech)-1. V(M)-2 and G(M)-3 would be a P4/G2 'Mechwarrior, and so on.

Traveller is a 'loose' system - the GM has to allow some utility in interpreting skills, But that looseness translates (for me) into a smooth, low-drag system which can respond well to unexpected situations.
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Daryk

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #3 on: 31 March 2020, 18:02:39 »
To my mind, a "simpler AToW" looks an awful lot like 2nd Edition.  Maybe bolt on something a little more sophisticated than the priority system beloved of so many...

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #4 on: 01 April 2020, 11:02:13 »
I've actually considered using Classic Traveller for BT RPG, and I'm inclined to feel it's a great fit.

Some considerations:
- Use the COmmando/High Guard/Merchants/etc expanded chargen rules. You get more interesting skill spreads that way, and a potted character bio for free.
- the Imperium tends to more police actions than battles, so I'd swap the frequency for the more military Inner Sphere.  Garrisons are boring enough.
- Some skill fiddles needed. I'd break Engineering into 'Mech, vehicle, ASF, spacecraft, and Jump, for example. Likewise Vehicle into 'Mech, CV, conventional fighter, ASF, etc. Common sense applies.
- Either allow optional re-roll on the bladed weapon skills, or roll on MOS again. The BT world does not run on cutlasses ...

I am more familiar with the later editions of Traveller, specifically the Cepheus Engine, the open source version of Mongoose Travellers 1st Edition (essentially it is to MgT1 what d20 is to D&D 3E).

I was thinking of using the various AToW career options as career terms of various length, so instead of an Army or Marine or Mercenary career, you´d have a Tour of Duty career, which you can repeat as long as you don´t fail too badly.
I´d also say it´d be better to adapt the AToW skill list to Traveller rather than the other way around. And keep at least some of the traits, too.

Quote
- Lighten up on the death rolls - failure means hospitalisation for the year (no skills, no promotion), and if you want an exact fail allows for a prosthetic (depending on year & tech level, and your player's preference).

Death rolls aren´t really all that common beyond Classic Traveller. In most later editions, you´re just kicked out of the career if you fail a survival roll.

One idea I´ve had is, you make a survival roll for every year of the term, and tally the MoF of failed rolls and MoS of passed rolls separately. Then you get positive traits according to the total MoS and negative traits according to the total MoF, both chosen according to the career.
So for example on a Tour of Duty, you could cash in MoS for, say, Rank, Connections or Vehicle traits, and have to take Compulsion (such as substance use, or hatred for the people you fought against), Handicap (war injuries) or Dark Secret (you hope nobody finds out you were complicit in selling you unit´s supplies on the black market) for your MoF.
And maybe if you either have more than a certain total MoF, or more total MoF than MoS, that means you´re kicked out of your current career for some reason and have to find something else.

Quote
One could very simply take the Traveller chargen as a template, and produce IS/Clan versions. Then the game system is entirely usable, and promotes well to integration with the tabletop. Assume the standard P5/G4 BT 'Mechwarrior has Vehicle (Mech)-1, and Gunnery (Mech)-1. V(M)-2 and G(M)-3 would be a P4/G2 'Mechwarrior, and so on.

Most AToW skills - the Simple/Advanced and Complex/Basic ones - have an 8+ target number, just like Traveller skill rolls; that´s one thing which makes the transfer easier, I think. The ability score scale is different (going by the example characters in the AToW book, 4 is a "typical" PC ability score, and scores are 1-8 most of the time, whereas it´s 7, and 2-12, in Traveller)

Quote
Traveller is a 'loose' system - the GM has to allow some utility in interpreting skills, But that looseness translates (for me) into a smooth, low-drag system which can respond well to unexpected situations.

Precisely. Whereas AToW with its detailed rules is better at dealing with the expected (and is explicitly expecting a lot more than Traveller does). But as a GM I´ve found that players doing the unexpected is a far more frequent challenge than players doing the expected.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #5 on: 01 April 2020, 14:35:42 »
Some more thoughts...

Keep the AToW attributes, except Edge (which doesn´t have any skills based on it anyways), and add Traveller´s Education and Social Standing. Both fit the BT universe pretty well, especially the more pronounced neofeudalism and the crumbling knowledge base of the Succession Wars era. Turn Edge into a trait.

Keep the following traits:
Alternate ID, Bloodmark, Citizenship (but not Trueborn), Compulsion, Connections, Custom Vehicle, Dark Secret, Dependents, Enemy, Equipped, Extra Income, Handicap, Implant/Prosthetic, In For Life, Lost Limb, Poor Hearing/Vision, Property, Rank, Reputation, Title/Bloodname, Vehicle, Wealth
All of these, IMHO, lend themselves to being gain or lost through success and failure during the character´s career. You don´t get to buy rank by putting points into it, you have to earn it by rolling well during the character´s career.

Trueborn and Phenotype are no longer traits; instead the various kinds of trueborn are treated like separate races. Well, either that, or we throw them together with the other "inborn" AToW traits like Ambidexterity, Fast Learner and so on, and have players point-buy them during the first step of character creation.


The way Traveller handles languages - each rank in Languages lets the character speak one foreign language - could also be useful in other fields.
For example, the characters gets a Vehicles skills. Each rank allows them to handle one category of vehicles (´Mechs, ASF, wheeled/tracked, and so on); they´d then only have one Piloting and Gunnery (and maybe Sensor Operations) skill. With the right Vehicles category, they get to apply those skills without penalty; without it, they get a -3 penalty (same as the general penalty for using a skill you don´t have), and with no Vehicles skill, they can´t use vehicles at all.
Then there could be a Cultures skill, that serves as a "super-skill" for Protocol and Streetwise (and maybe Administration and Career) the way Vehicles does for Piloting and Gunnery. No separate subskills per culture/realm - you get to know your way around one culture/realm per Cultures skill rank, allowing you to apply your Protocol and Streetwise skills.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #6 on: 02 April 2020, 14:54:07 »
The way Traveller handles languages - each rank in Languages lets the character speak one foreign language - could also be useful in other fields.
For example, the characters gets a Vehicles skills. Each rank allows them to handle one category of vehicles (´Mechs, ASF, wheeled/tracked, and so on); they´d then only have one Piloting and Gunnery (and maybe Sensor Operations) skill. With the right Vehicles category, they get to apply those skills without penalty; without it, they get a -3 penalty (same as the general penalty for using a skill you don´t have), and with no Vehicles skill, they can´t use vehicles at all.
Then there could be a Cultures skill, that serves as a "super-skill" for Protocol and Streetwise (and maybe Administration and Career) the way Vehicles does for Piloting and Gunnery. No separate subskills per culture/realm - you get to know your way around one culture/realm per Cultures skill rank, allowing you to apply your Protocol and Streetwise skills.

On second thought, that idea probably makes it too easy to cross-train a character too widely.

An alternative would be to consider skills with subskills as something similar to cascade skills in Traveller - as long as you have one subskill of a particular skill, you can substitute it for any other subskill with a -3 unskilled penalty. So for example an elite ´MechWarrior would effectively also be a green vehicle driver and gunner, green ASF pilot, green BA trooper, and so on. They wouldn´t know too much about about the vehicle they are using at the moment, but they would be very familiar with the interface and the general technology (a medium laser on a tank has the same range and performance as one on a ´Mech, after all).
The same way, with more and more experience in, say, Protocol/Draconis Combine, you´d find it easier and easier to adapt to the protocol of other realms - there would still be a lot of similarities underneath the differences.

This way, you´d avoid a specialist´s skill set being too narrow, while at the same time offering more granularity than Traveller´s rule that at least one skill rank in any subskill equals rank 0 in all others.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

worktroll

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #7 on: 02 April 2020, 18:00:54 »
As a side-note, I'd still allow Jack-of-Trades. In our old games, it was useful to produce the immediate requirement - eg. plug the leaking spacesuit with gum, hot-wire the getaway car, or the like - but not as a long-term substitute (eg. the suit would fail after you got back to safety, if you stopped the car it wouldn't go again, etc)

But yes, I'd play A Time of Traveller ;)
* No, FASA wasn't big on errata - ColBosch
* The Housebook series is from the 80's and is the foundation of Btech, the 80's heart wrapped in heavy metal that beats to this day - Sigma
* To sum it up: FASAnomics: By Cthulhu, for Cthulhu - Moonsword
* Because Battletech is a conspiracy by Habsburg & Bourbon pretenders - MadCapellan
* The Hellbringer is cool, either way. It's not cool because it's bad, it's cool because it's bad with balls - Nightsky
* It was a glorious time for people who felt that we didn't have enough Marauder variants - HABeas2, re "Empires Aflame"

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #8 on: 03 April 2020, 08:36:11 »
As a side-note, I'd still allow Jack-of-Trades. In our old games, it was useful to produce the immediate requirement - eg. plug the leaking spacesuit with gum, hot-wire the getaway car, or the like - but not as a long-term substitute (eg. the suit would fail after you got back to safety, if you stopped the car it wouldn't go again, etc)

Didn´t 2nd edition MechWarrior (the one set in 3055-ish) have a Jury-Rig skill for just that sort of thing?

Since Jack-of-all-Trades is so different, mechanically speaking, from the other skills, and since relatively few careers have it on their skill lists and you can´t get it after character creation, maybe it would make more sense to turn it into a trait instead? Skills are rolled on a list, but traits are picked by the player, so it would actually be easier to get, at least for those careers that have it, as a trait than as a skill.

Quote
But yes, I'd play A Time of Traveller ;)

Since I´m basing this on the Cepheus Engine, and it´s a much lighter version of what already exists, I´m inclined towards calling this the "XL Engine".
« Last Edit: 03 April 2020, 10:09:59 by Sir Chaos »
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Major Headcase

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #9 on: 03 April 2020, 09:11:28 »
5 or 6 years ago I ran a Battletech  rpg/tabletop campaign  group that lasted for 3 years. At first we used Mechwarrior RPG 2nd edition, but it was too restrictive for me and my players needs, so I converted the setting and campaign to the Mekton rpg system. Mekton 2 first and then over to Mekton Zeta shortly after. Eventually even the smaller mech fights were played with the Mekton rolling mechanics instead of traditional Btech for added individual complexity and choice (although we toyed with using the Solaris expanded rules). We still used Btech record sheets and damage, heat, crit, and ammo rules, but swapped out the pilot-Gunnery mechanic for the D10 stat based Mekton rpg rolling mechanic. However, for the larger campaign fights we used unaltered Alpha Strike rules.
It was fun. We had a blast, but when we graduated from the university the group scattered to the wind and I've not found a new one to replace it... 😢

Dahmin_Toran

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #10 on: 03 April 2020, 11:16:31 »
Well there is Mechwarrior Destiny in the works.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #11 on: 03 April 2020, 14:19:20 »
So here´s how I envision CharGen…


Step 1: Ability Scores

You roll 2d6 nine times, and distribute the results among the abilities - STR, BOD, REF, DEX, INT, WIL, CHA, EDU and SOC. The characters always starts out with 1 Edge at this step.

Subtract the total of all abilities (and Edge) from 100. That is the number of Character Points (CP) available for the rest of the CharGen (With a mean total of 63 for all nine rolls, and 1 Edge, mean total CP is 36).


Step 1.5: Trueborn Phenotypes

If the character is a Trueborn, the player must pick a phenotype for them now. All phenotypes cost CP.

Aerospace Pilot (Cost: 2 CP):
Gain either +3 REF and +2 DEX, or +2 REF and +3 DEX
Lose -1 STR, -1 BOD, -1 EDU
Automatic inborn traits: G-Tolerance and Glass Jaw

Elemental (Cost: 5 CP):
Gain Either +3 STR and +2 BOD, or +2 STR and +3 BOD
Lose -1 DEX, -1 EDU
Automatic inborn trait: Toughness

MechWarrior (Cost: 4 CP):
Gain either +2 REF and +1 DEX, or +1 REF and +2 DEX
Lose -1 EDU


Step 2: Inborn Traits

In this stage, you can spend up to 20% of the remaining CP (rounded normally) on positive inborn traits; you may also give the character negative inborn traits to free up more CP for positive inborn traits. Each trait has a CP cost equal to its TP cost in AToW.

The following traits can be taken at this step:
Positive: Ambidextrous, Animal Empathy, Attractive, Citizenship (but not Trueborn), Good Hearing, Good Vision, Gregarious, Natural Aptitude, Pain Resistance, Patient, Poison Resistance, Tech Empathy, Thick-Skinned, Toughness
Negative: Animal Empathy, Glass Jaw, Gremlins, Handicap, Impatient, Introvert, Poor Hearing, Poor Vision, Thin-Skinned, TDS, Unattractive, Unlucky


Step 3: Early Life

This step combines Stages 0, 1 and 2 of AToW CharGen.

Pick one Affiliation, one Early Childhood and one Late Childhood module for the character, and pay the CP cost for each. The character must fulfill all prerequisites for every module chosen.

Each module offers one Background Skill, and a skill list. The character receives all three Background Skills, plus a number of skills from the skill lists equal to 3 plus their EDU modifier, all at Rank 0. The character may then raise one Rank 0 skill to Rank 1.
Many modules also modify (usually increase) the character´s abilities or Edge, or provide fixed or flexible TP (positive and/or negative).

Each Early Childhood and Late Childhood module also has a Survival Roll target number, either a flat 2d6 or tied an ability (such as REF 7+ meaning “roll 2d6 plus the REF modifier against a target number of 7+”). Make 1 Survival Roll for the Early Childhood module and 2 for the Late Childhood module; generally, any MoS of passed rolls provides extra positive trait points, and MoF from failed rolls provides extra negative trait points; some module may have additional or different consequences (such as potentially washing out of a Clan sibko).

(I´d split part of the Freeborn Sibko and Trueborn Sibko modules off into the next step so that these modules can be handled the same way as other Late Childhood modules; these two modules are the only ones with radically different cost (and benefits) in that stage of AToW CharGen.) 

At the end of this stage, the character is 16 years old.


Step 4: Career

This step combines Stages 3 and 4 of AToW CharGen.

Each Stage 3 and 4 module becomes the equivalent of a Traveller career - Stage 4 modules are repeatable (like Traveller careers) as long as you can pay the CP cost per term (and don´t screw up the Survival Roll too badly), while Stage 3 modules can each only be taken once. Since the total number of terms the character can spend in their career is limited by how many CP you have to spend, I don´t think there will be entry rolls or retention rolls as in Traveller - however there will be prerequisites (beside the CP cost), and failing survival rolls badly enough can eject the character from most careers.

Each career term lasts a number of years according to the career, as per AToW, rather than the fixed 4 years of Traveller.
In each career term, the character gains a certain number of skill ranks - probably the equivalent between 1 and 2 per year, with more demanding careers granting more skills relative to their length (but also costing more CP to take).
Skills would be rolled on one of three tables, the contents of which are unique to each career, as in Traveller - Personal, Career and Education. Personal contains mostly general “life” skills like Carousing as well as ability score increases, Career contains the core skills of that career (such as Piloting and Gunnery skills for military vehicle crews), and Education contains more advanced skills that might be picked up in that career - a Tour of Duty career might have Medical, Languages or Strategy on the Education table. Each roll increases the rank of the skill by 1, and in the first term of a career, you also get all skills in the Career table at rank 0 if you don´t have them already.
Some careers could also provide fixed benefits such a increasing Edge or an ability score, or fixed traits (say, automatically increasing Rank by 1 per term in a military career).

There´d be a number of Survival Rolls each term - either one per year, or a varied number depending on the risk or reward potential of the career. As with Early Life, the MoS of passed rolls provides positive trait points, the MoF from failed rolls provides negative trait points - with many, perhaps most careers including additional negative consequences for too much total MoF, or for having more MoF than MoS, or something like that. Each career would have a list of positive and negative traits the player can choose from.
Positive traits in AToW cover essentially anything that a Traveller character can gains through Benefit rolls, so this mechanic for gaining trait points can - IMHO - replace the Benefit rolls mechanic from Traveller completely.

Each career term would have a CP cost, based on how long the term is, how many skill ranks it provides, and how easy the Survival Rolls are to pass (I.e. how much more likely a character is to gain positive than negaitve traits). The character can continue taking additional career terms until their CP are spent; leftover CP could perhaps be used for final adjustments to the character´s traits.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #12 on: 05 April 2020, 09:58:10 »
CharGen Example (Part One)

Now let´s look at how this CharGen procedure would work out in practice. Keep in mind, though, that I´m making the modules up as I go along this time, so they´re basically placeholders for now.

Our sample character will be a Clan Jade Falcon freeborn MechWarrior.


Step One: Ability Scores

Rolling 2d6 nine times, I get 11, 10, 9, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 and 3. The sum of those scores is 70; subtracting this and 1 Edge from 100 gives up a budget of 29 CP for the rest of CharGen.

SInce MechWarriors need high REF and DEX, and the Clans can afford to be really picky with freeborn they accept into warrior training, the character will need high scores there - also WIL and BOD, to get through the gruelling training.

STR 7, BOD 9, REF 10, DEX 9, INT 8, WIL 11, CHA 5, EDU 6, SOC 3


Step Two: Inborn Traits

With 29 CP at this stage, our character can receive 6 CP´s worth of positive traits (29 divided by 5 equals 5.8, rounded to 6). Given the character´s abilities and the plan for their lifepath, Patient and Toughness seem the most appropriate, for a total cost of 4 CP - leaving us with 25 CP.


Step Three: Early Life

The character was born into Clan Jade Falcon, so that´s their affiliation. Given the ability scores, I think the Labor Caste is the most appropriate sub-affiliation. They´ll get the Farm module for early childhood, and Freeborn Sibko for late childhood.

Affiliation: Invading Clans
Cost: 1 CP
Background Skill: Protocol/Clans
Skill List: Interest/Clan Remembrance, Languages, Protocol/any Inner Sphere
Fixed Traits: Compulsion/Arrogance (-1), Compulsion/Distrust Inner Sphere (-1), Reputation/Clanner (1)

Subaffiliation: Clan Jade Falcon
Skill List: Acting, Survival/any
Fixed Traits: Compulsion/Hate Steel Vipers (-1), Compulsion/Jade Falcon Pride (-1)

Subaffiliation: Labor Caste
Gain +1 STR and +1 BOD, lose -1 INT or -1 CHA
Skill List: Career/any, Interest/any
Fixed Trait: lose Reputation/Clanner (1)

Early Childhood: Farm
Cost: 3 CP
Background Skill: Career/Agriculture
Skill List: Animal Handling, Tech/Mechanic, Interest/any
Survival Roll: WIL 6+
Positive Traits: Animal Empathy, Patient, Tech Empathy, Thick-Skinned
Negative Traits: Animal Antipathy, Gremlins, Handicap, Missing Limb

Late Childhood: Freeborn Sibko
Cost: 5 CP
Prerequisites: Clan affiliation, not Trueborn, REF 9+, DEX 9+, BOD 7+, WIL 7+
Gain +1 BOD or +1 WIL
Background Skill: Career/Soldier
Skill List: Melee/Unarmed,  Small Arms, Athletics, Perception
Survival Roll: BOD 8+, WIL 8+
Fixed Traits: Compulsion/Clan Honor (-1), Rank/Cadet (1)
Positive Traits: Combat Sense, Pain Resistance, Prosthetics, Toughness
Negative Traits: Combat Paralysis, Compulsion, Impatient, Lost Limb, Unattractive, Unlucky
Special: Gain 1 Edge
Special: Character washes out of sibko if both survival rolls are failed
Special: Unless washing out, character must take the appropriate Clan Warrior Training module next


The character´s Early Life stages cost 9 CP: 1 for the affiliation, 3 for the Early Childhood module, 5 for the Late Childhood module; we thus have 16 remaining CP.
The Affiliation and Late Childhood module change the character´s ability scores: in addition to automatic increases to STR and BOD, I choose to increase BOD during late childhood and decrease INT for the affiliation. New totals: STR 8, BOD 11, INT 7.

The character gains Reputation/Clanner for their Clan affiliation, but loses it for being born into the Laborer Caste. They also gain a number of Compulsion traits, each at -1 CP - Arrogance and Distrust Inner Sphere for being a Clanner, Hate Steel Vipers and Jade Falcon Pride for being a Jade Falcon, and Clan Honor for being part of a Freeborn Sibko. In addition, the character attains Rank 1 in the Clan rank structure, Cadet. Lastly, they gain 1 point of Edge during sibko training.

The character gains the Background Skill of all three modules, all at rank 0 - Protocol/Clan Jade Falcon, Career/Agriculture and Career/Soldier. With an EDU score of 6, and thus a modifier of -1, they can pick 2 skills from any of the skill lists; I pick Perception and Melee/Unarmed. One skill - for this character, Melee/Unarmed - is also increased to rank 1.

We need to make three Survival Rolls for the character - WIL 6+ for the Farm module, and BOD 8+ and WIL 8+ for the Freeborn Sibko module. I roll 7, 10 and 2, which including the respective ability score modifiers works out to 9, 12 and 4.
The character thus has a MoS of 3 for the Farm module, and a MoS of 4 and MoF of 4 for the Freeborn Sibko module.
Looking at the positive trait list for the Farm module, Tech Empathy sounds like the best fit for a freeborn dreaming of becoming a MechWarrior; its cost is 3 TP, just what we have available here.
For the Freeborn Sibko module, I think Combat Sense is the most fitting positive 4 TP pick. For negative traits, let´s spend -1 TP “buying off” Patient, -1 more for Impatient, and -2 TP for Compulsion/Hatred of Trueborn. Our character clearly excelled in combat training, but something - probably one of the countless deliberate cruelties inflicted by falconers on freeborn cadets - left them with a seething hatred of all Trueborn which they struggle to keep under control.

The character is now 16 years old, and looks like this:

STR 7, BOD 11, REF 10, DEX 9, INT 8, WIL 11, CHA 5, EDU 6, SOC 3, Edge 2
Skills: Melee/Unarmed 1, Protocol/Clan Jade Falcon 0, Career/Agriculture 0, Career/Soldier 0, Perception 0
Traits: Combat Sense, Tech Empathy, Toughness, Impatient, Compulsion/Arrogance (-1), /Distrust Inner Sphere (-1), Hate Steel Vipers (-1), Jade Falcon Pride (-1), Clan Honor (-1) and Hate Trueborn (-2), Rank/Cadet (1)
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #13 on: 05 April 2020, 09:59:14 »
CharGen Example (Part Two)



Step Three: Career

We now have 16 CP left, and must take the module representing the character´s MechWarrior training and initial Trial of Position.

Clan MechWarrior Training
Cost: 6 CP (Freeborn only) / 10 CP (Trueborn only)
Time: 2 years
Prerequisites: Freeborn Sibko or Trueborn Sibko late childhood module; not washed out
Survival Rolls: REF/DEX 8+, REF/DEX 10+, REF/DEX 12+
Fixed Skills: Piloting/Mech 1, Gunnery/Mech 1, Career/Soldier 1
Fixed Traits: Compulsion/Clan Honor (-1)
Positive Traits: Combat Sense, Custom Vehicle, Equipped, Prosthetics, Pain Resistance, Reputation, Thick-Skinned, Toughness, Vehicle
Negative Traits: Combat Paralysis, Compulsion, Enemy, Lost Limb, Reputation, Unattractive, Unlucky
Special: Upon failing a survival roll, do not take subsequent survival rolls
Special: After passing first survival roll, may choose not to take subsequent survival rolls
Special: Character washed out of warrior training if all survival rolls fail, loses any Rank trait and -2 SOC
Special: Gain +1 Rank and +1 SOC per passed survival roll; maximum SOC at this stage is 8 for Freeborn and 10 for Trueborn
Special: Unless washed out, character must take Tour of Duty module next

Skill Rolls: 5 (Freeborn only) / 8 (Trueborn only)
1d6   Personal   Career   Education
1   +1 STR   Piloting/Mech   Medical
2   +1 BOD   Piloting/Mech   Interest/Remembrance
3   +1 REF   Gunnery/Mech   Computers
4   +1 WIL   Gunnery/Mech   Sensor Ops
5   Carousing   Athletics   Tactics
6   Career/Soldier   Small Arms   +1 EDU

Paying 6 CP for this module, we have 10 CP left over.
Fixed skills and traits give the character one rank each in Piloting and Gunnery for ´Mechs, and raise Career/Soldier from rank 0 to rank 1 as well as Compulsion/Clan Honor from 1 to 2 points.
The survival roll is a combined REF and DEX roll, meaning the lower of the two modifiers applies; however for our character, both modifiers are +1.
The first roll is a 7, which the +1 modifier increases to 8 - just enough to pass, with no MoS. I could stop now, but the character would probably too driven and ambitious to just quit, so I roll again… a natural 12, increased to 13, and thus an MoS of 3. Bouyed by that success, I take the third roll… a roll of 11, or 12 with the modifier - again, just enough to pass.
Our heroic freeborn is thus not just a member of the warrior caste now - they have gain three ranks, and are now a Star Captain. This also increases their SOC by 3 points, to a total of 6.

Due to the total MoS of 3, I can pick 3 ranks´ worth of positive traits. With such a successful Trial of Position, a 3 point Reputation/Excellence trait seems appropriate. (Even trueborn would have to grudgingly respect that sort of achievement.)
The character receives any skills on the Career table they do not have yet at rank 0; for this character, that means only the Small Arms skill. As a freeborn, they also get 5 skill rolls; I make one roll on the Personal table, 3 on the Career table and 1 on the Education table.
I roll a 4 on the Personal table (+1 WIL, new total 12), 2, 6 and 4 on the Career table (+1 rank each for Piloting/Mech, Gunnery/Mech and Small Arms) and a 6 on the Education table (+1 EDU, new total 7).

The character is now 18 years old, and looks like this:

STR 7, BOD 11, REF 10, DEX 9, INT 8, WIL 12, CHA 5, EDU 7, SOC 6, Edge 2
Skills: Piloting/Mech 2, Gunnery/Mech 2, Small Arms 1, Melee/Unarmed 1, Career/Soldier 1, Protocol/Clan Jade Falcon 0, Career/Agriculture 0, Perception 0
Traits: Combat Sense, Tech Empathy, Toughness, Impatient, Compulsion/Arrogance (-1), /Distrust Inner Sphere (-1), Hate Steel Vipers (-1), Jade Falcon Pride (-1), Clan Honor (-2) and Hate Trueborn (-2), Reputation/Excellence (3), Rank/Star Captain (4)

The next step, as mandated by the module, is the Tour of Duty career.


Tour of Duty (Clans)
Cost: 10 CP
Time: 3 years
Prerequisite: any Clan warrior training, not washed out
Survival Rolls: BOD 6+, REF/DEX 7+, WIL 8+ (all characters), SOC/CHA 8+ (officers only)
Fixed Traits: 2 TP of positive traits, 1 TP of negative traits
Positive Traits: Combat Sense, Connections, Custom Vehicle, Equipped, Prosthetic, Pain Resistance, Patient, Rank, Reputation, Thick-Skinned, Toughness, Vehicle
Negative Traits: Combat Paralysis, Compulsion, Dark Secret, Enemy, Impatient, Lost Limb, Reputation, Thin-Skinned, Unattractive, Unlucky
Special: Must leave Warrior caste if total MoF exceeds total MoS by 8 or more
Special: Trueborn are eligible for Bloodname Trial module if total MoS exceeds total MoF by 8 or more

Skill Rolls: 6
1d6   Personal   Career (MechWarrior)   Education
1   +1 STR   Piloting/Mech      Medical
2   +1 BOD   Piloting/Mech      Interest/Remembrance
3   +1 REF   Gunnery/Mech      Computers
4   +1 WIL   Gunnery/Mech      Sensor Ops
5   Carousing   Leadership      Tactics
6   Career/Soldier   Small Arms      +1 EDU

Paying for this module takes all the remaining CP, meaning that CharGen is finished after taking this module.

For this module, the character receives 2 TP of positive traits and 1 TP of negative traits. I decide to give them 2 points of Vehicle and -1 point of Enemy/Trueborn Officer.

The character has to make 4 survival rolls during this module - BOD 6+, REF/DEX 7+, WIL 8 and SOC/CHA 8+. Taking into account the relevant ability scores, the modifiers for those rolls are +2, +1, +2 and -1 respectively.
I roll 7, 5, 5 and 4 - a less than stellar set of rolls. With the modifiers, that´s a 9, 6, 7 and 3, meaning the character passes the first survival roll with a MoS of 2, and fails the others with an MoF of 1, 1 and 5 respectively, for a total MoF of 7. That is not nearly enough to be forced to leave the Warrior caste, but after the spectacular Trial of Position, it is something of a letdown (for the character themselves as well, presumably).
Based on which rolls succeeded and which failed, I decide that the character, following lackluster performance during combat, had the blame for a failed trial laid at their feet by a superior officer - presumably the trueborn officer from their Enemy trait.
With 2 positive trait points and 7 negative trait points to distribute, I give the character 2 more points of Vehicle, increase the Enemy/Trueborn Officer trait by 3 points (to 4 points total), and give them 2 points each of Reputation/Insubordinate (spread by their trueborn superior) and Handicap (reflecting nerve damage to one hand as a consequence of combat injuries).

The character receives all skills on the Career table that they do not have yet - only Leadership - at rank 0.
That leaves the skill rolls to be determined - 6 rolls in total for this module. I decide that this time, I will make 2 rolls on each table.
I roll 5 and 6 (Carousing and Career/Soldier) on the Personal table, 2 and 3 (Piloting/Mech and Gunnery/Mech) on the Career table, and 3 and 4 (Computers and Sensor Ops) on the Education table.

At the end of CharGen, the character is 21 years old, and looks like this:

STR 7, BOD 11, REF 10, DEX 9, INT 8, WIL 12, CHA 5, EDU 7, SOC 6, Edge 2
Skills: Piloting/Mech 3, Gunnery/Mech 3, Career/Soldier 2, Small Arms 1, Melee/Unarmed 1, Carousing 1, Computers 1, Sensor Ops 1, Protocol/Clan Jade Falcon 0, Career/Agriculture 0, Perception 0, Leadership 0
Traits: Combat Sense, Tech Empathy, Toughness, Impatient, Compulsion/Arrogance (-1), /Distrust Inner Sphere (-1), Hate Steel Vipers (-1), Jade Falcon Pride (-1), Clan Honor (-2) and Hate Trueborn (-2), Reputation/Excellence (2), Reputation/Insubordinate (-2), Rank/Star Captain (4), Vehicle (4), Enemy/Trueborn Officer (-4), Handicap/Nerve Damage Left Hand (-2)


*****

So… what did I learn?

I think the CharGen rules work, overall. Plus, they are much faster than AToW CharGen rules. I´ve had to make the modules up as I go long, and summarize everything I do for this post, and by my estimate still took less time than AToW CharGen by modules. If all the modules already exist and I only take the notes I need for the CharGen itself, I can probably create an adventuring party in the time it takes to generate a single AToW character.

Two changes that I´d make to the previously established rules are:
Firstly, I´ll allow the purchase of “incomplete” traits - that is, spending fewer TP than the value of a trait with a fixed TP. A negative trait is in effect as soon as 1 TP is spent on it, while a positive trait only takes effect if the full TP value is spent. This makes it possible to buy more expensive positive traits like Sixth Sense bit by bit; it allow taking an “incomplete” negative trait as a potential sink for further negative TP incurred later on - if the character acquires, say, 1 TP of Gremlins early in their life, that´s a place to put further negative TP later on without having to take another negative TP.
Secondly, I´ll do away with explicit trait lists for modules, and let players choose positive and negative traits freely - with GM approval, of course. Some modules will still have one or more fixed traits, though - such as various Clan warrior caste modules, as seen above, giving the character fixed points of Compulsion/Clan Honor.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Col Toda

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #14 on: 09 April 2020, 03:05:35 »
Prefer Direct Point buy using ATOW Companion  .
Generally  5000-6000 poiints plus 100 for every year above 21 .  I just use the life path as guidelines on what skills they should have .  Tend to make  6,800 - 7000 point  characters .  It is easy to make a well rounded veteran mech warrior  .  You can make an elite  warrior  but then your charter sacrifices too much  . There is a balancing act . Rank , Protocol,  Connections,  and Negotiation . None of those help you in combat .  But it can put you in charge , get you a sweet contract so it is worth your character to risk his liife  .  Perception  and English language and protocol befitting your rank . Boot camp lvl 1 minimum for the list of skills you should have . I Take advantage of the free attibute adds of age and if I can afford it put enough XP into them so when the  character does go to the next age bracket he does not lose his bonus or worse gets a penalty  .  The timeline is long and unless you have tough , and Fast Learner to cancel out slow Learner and Glass Jaw at 61 no way you should be in the field anymore  .

As for an alternative system Cortex probably  . Taveller r too random in the dice rolls . GURPS and Hero not a great fit .

Using Cortex minimum  relevant stat d8 and d8 skill maps to a 5  : d10 a 4 : d 12 a 3 and a d 12+ a d2 for a 2 ,  bringing  minimum  Stat to a d10 gets you 1 and brining it to a 12 gets you a 0 . . Maps over very clean and well. 
« Last Edit: 09 April 2020, 03:24:34 by Col Toda »

monbvol

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #15 on: 09 April 2020, 15:02:47 »
*nod*

I've likewise grown very fond of pure point buy systems because it gives players the maximum amount of agency and avoids imbalance of event rolls, which was one of the biggest problems of 3rd Edition.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #16 on: 10 April 2020, 06:59:53 »
That´s matter of taste.

Some like the ability to fine-tune their character. Others prefer their character to look grown rather than created.

Just like some BT players like to build their force with a BV or C-Bill budget, while others like the challenge of rolling on a RAT and playing with what they get.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

monbvol

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #17 on: 10 April 2020, 11:11:27 »
I suppose I'd have to see what the consequences are to fully, fairly judge these survival rolls.  But anything that forces a fundamental change to a character concept or otherwise would force me to start over is a non-starter.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #18 on: 10 April 2020, 12:57:12 »
I suppose I'd have to see what the consequences are to fully, fairly judge these survival rolls.  But anything that forces a fundamental change to a character concept or otherwise would force me to start over is a non-starter.

Well, in vanilla Traveller, depending on the edition, failing a survival roll means your character is either dead, or is ejected from the career and might suffer further consequences (such as ability loss due to injury, jail time, or Social Standing loss).

The way I am planning it, in this ruleset, you´d have to either fail all survival rolls (there are multiple each career term), or fail badly enough without also succeeding elsewhere to offset the failure (i.e. have your total MoF for the term exceed the total MoS by a certain margin), in order to be ejected from the career. Death via character creation isn´t going to happen. Anything less than that, you´ll just be picking up negative traits - which you´re able to choose to fit your character concept.

I get your point about not wanting to have to change a fundamental character concept, or be forced to start over (because the character is dead or won´t fit the concept any more). I don´t like that very much either.
The one part of character generation where a single roll can break a character concept is the Trial of Position for Clan warriors - the survival rolls of the warrior training part in the example CharGen above. Your character can´t be a warrior in a frontline cluster if he fails his Trial of Position, after all.
Everywhere else, concept-breaking failures should be either pretty rare, especially if your character has the stats to go with the concept. For example, look at the Tour of Duty module in the sample CharGen above; the character would need unmodified rolls of 3 or less, 6 or less, 6 or less and 8 or less on four 2d6 rolls to fail all four survival rolls, and the chance of that happening is roughly 1 in 266. And even with the pretty sub-par rolls I got, the characters was still far from the knockout threshold of having total MoF exceed total MoS by 8 or more.

One way around having to scrap a character concept because of unlucky rolls would be an optional rule that the game master and players determine each character´s concept and their role in the party - and any roll during character creation that would break the concept can be "bought off" with additional negative traits.
Say the character is a Clan warrior who fails their first Trial of Position roll by 2 points. Under this optional rule, the roll would be fudged to exactly meet the target number, but the characters gains a 2 TP negative trait. Maybe they broke zellbrigen and get a bad Reputation for it? Maybe a powerful bloodnamed favoring the warrior they killed in the trial becomes their Enemy? Maybe they suffer a Handicap or Lost Limb?
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

monbvol

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #19 on: 10 April 2020, 14:19:54 »
Hmmm... That might not be terrible if it is an optional system to use and something you can avoid if you want to but each way having pros and cons.

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #20 on: 10 April 2020, 14:30:46 »
Hmmm... That might not be terrible if it is an optional system to use and something you can avoid if you want to but each way having pros and cons.

Of course. So with this, and AToW, you have something for whichever way you prefer.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #21 on: 11 April 2020, 09:13:59 »
From my current draft:

Disaster

When the conditions stated in a module´s Disaster section are met, something has gone disastrously wrong for the character during that section of their life path.
Disaster can strike for two reasons: Either the character fails all Survival Rolls for the current module, or the total Margin of Failure for all failed rolls exceeds the total Margin of Success for all passed rolls by a certain margin. Or, of course, both happens at once.
In addition to the negative trait points, they are ejected from their career and, if they do not start adventuring right away, must continue in a different walk of life.

Staving Off Disaster

If the player does not want their character to suffer the consequences of a Disaster, they can stave off the disaster by expending Character Points.
If the disaster happened because the character failed all Survival Rolls in a module, the cost in Character Points is equal to the Margin of Failure of the closest failed Survival Roll.
If the disaster happened because the total Margin of Failure of all failed Survival Rolls exceeded a certain threshold, the cost is equal to the difference between the actual total Margin of Failure and the highest total Margin of Failure that would have averted disaster.
If the disaster happened for both reasons, the player must pay Character Points according to both criteria.

Should the player not have sufficient Character Points left over for this, or should these points be needed for further modules according to the character´s overall concept, the Game Master can allow the player to stave off disaster by giving the character additional negative traits worth 1 Trait Point per Character Point saved.
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

Sir Chaos

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Re: Alternate System for AToW?
« Reply #22 on: 15 April 2020, 07:10:38 »
Still working on how to balance random ability scores during character creation. I see four possibilities:

1.) As above, roll 2d6 nine times, and get a bonus or penalty to starting CP depending on the sum of all ability scores - i.e. -1 CP per point above 63, +1 CP per point below 63.

2.) Roll 2d6 nine times, calculate the ability score modifier for each roll, and get a bonus or penalty to starting CP according to ability score bonuses - i.e. subtract the total of all modifiers from the starting CP score.

3.) The GM rolls 2d6 nine times, and then all players use the same set of nine scores for their characters´ abilities.

4.) Roll 2d6 four times. Generate four more scores by subtracting these four results from 14. The ninth score is always 7. That way, the total of ability scores is always 63.

Right now I´m leaning towards letting the GM or group choose between 2, 3 and 4.


Also I´ve been thinking of making ability score modifiers symmetrical around 7. Right now, modifiers are as follows:
1-2: -3
3-4: -2
5-6: -1
7-8: 0
9-10: +1
11-12: +2
13-14: +3
15: +4

As you can see, with 7 as the average score, it is easier to incur a penalty for lower scores than receiving a bonus for higher scores. This means that, with random 2d6 distribution of starting ability scores, you end up, on average, with a -0.25 penalty per ability, i.e. -2.25 total for all nine.

Therefore I would prefer a symmetrical distribution of modifiers, to match the symmetrical distribution of scores around 7:

1-2: -3
3-4: -2
5-6: -1
7: 0
8-9: +1
10-11: +2
12-13: +3
14-15: +4

Any thoughts on that one?
"Artillery adds dignity to what would otherwise be a vulgar brawl."
-Frederick the Great

"Ultima Ratio Regis" ("The Last Resort of the King")
- Inscription on cannon barrel, 18th century

 

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