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Author Topic: Vehicle and other traits in play  (Read 2467 times)

Bagpuss

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Vehicle and other traits in play
« on: 05 August 2011, 08:04:33 »
So of the traits seem a little odd to me, you end up paying XP for something that other players could acquire during play with spending any XP thus you end up with an significant XP deficit.

For example if the DM wants the campaign to be 'mech based and one player takes the Mechwarrior field and military academy route putting the package XP and free XP into getting himself a 'mech where as another instead, goes another route then uses his XP to support his character, and because the campaign ends up being 'mech based, gets a 'mech pretty soon into the start of the game through play.

The second character ends up with effectively a more skilled character.

Equipped and to a lesser degree Wealth suffer the same sort of issues.

Should you force a character to spend XP on the vehicle trait once the game has started if they acquire (or want to acquire) a 'mech?

Or give bonus XP back to a player that has the Vehicle trait after other members of the party acquire their vehicles in play?

dieffenbachj

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #1 on: 05 August 2011, 09:38:58 »
If people spend money on Wealth, that's their business; personally, I just let the life modules fall where they are and if that gives me a Wealth bonus, so be it.

With Vehicles, though, I have a rule:

  • When the campaign is 'Mech-based, we use the relevant 'Mech lance generation rules; it costs nobody XP to get a 'Mech, though they might end up with a Light when they wanted a Heavy. Usually the Mercenary generation rules from the Field Manual: Mercenaries series suffice.
  • When the campaign is not 'Mech-based, charge for Vehicle as normal. Because in a game with a spy, an infantryman, and a tax accountant, the MechWarrior in a Locust is going to win all fights. All of them. In that context, even Vehicle 2 is the most valuable combat skill in the game.

So yeah. Refund the XP if players all become MechWarriors or other vehicle pilots--make it an unofficial rule before generation: "If you all choose to be pilots with vehicles, we'll roll for what vehicles you get of your chosen category, rather than charge you XP for them; if even one of you chooses not to, the rest have to pay as normal" or something.

Maelwys

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #2 on: 05 August 2011, 13:30:17 »
This is one of the points where the GM needs to sit down with players and hash out how things are going to work. All the players need to be on the same page when it comes to creating characters, and its up to the GM to figure out how to do that. Either by stating outright that you need to spend points on a `Mech, or by letting all the players know that they'll be assigned a `Mech, and thus won't need to spend the points, to keep the playing field even.

Of course, if you do spend the points, you might get what you want when it comes to the Vehicle, while the person who relies on being assigned a vehicle might get what's leftover.

The traits that don't really translate well from Character generation to play (Vehicle, Equipped, Wealth to a lesser extent, Custom Vehicle, etc), really require the GM to take a look at what's happened during character generation and try not to make the person that spent the points on those traits feel like an idiot.

For example, if you spent points on Custom Vehicle just to change up the layout of your `Mech, and then in the first session suddenly everyone wants to have the unit techs modify all their designs, you're probably going to feel a bit miffed if the GM lets it happen without much thought.

Tslammer

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #3 on: 09 August 2011, 15:56:55 »
In our group we have some people who want a specific mech or want to make changes thus needing custom. Some have gone the route of tanking their mech trait costs. So they end up with what ever mech the company has in the weight class they paid for. Totally dispossessed have actually had to take mech's that were in poor condition. Usually we made up some light POS mech for them to play until a better option came along.

Anyone who paid for more trait has more clout in the unit and will get first pick of the units surplus mech's. So if your low man on vehicle Trait points anyone in the unit can essentially trump you for an unallocated mech they might want. In this way we have made the trait have more value and not something you can totally dodge.  Even with the high demand for more attributes in our 2D10 system only one has totally dumped his vehicle trait down to a non custom light mech and he will be playing whatever light mech the unit has at the time. Eventually they could work up to a bigger better mech but they will have to pay their dues first and not have anyone else covet that larger or custom mech. Later on they could get bumped if a higher trait person losses their ride.

nerd

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #4 on: 09 August 2011, 22:24:08 »
My house rule is you can choose any generic or faction 'Mech if your character is a 'MechWarrior.  Coordianate with me for customization, and I'll let it in for free, but a full up custom design will cost you points, as would a non-faction design.
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monbvol

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #5 on: 10 August 2011, 01:32:22 »
I handle it by letting my players know that if they have the vehicle trait then they have some expectation of getting their vehicle replaced.  If not they could spend large amounts of time dispossessed.

Custom is a trickier one.  It is something I have thought about revising in house rule form but have yet to come up with something that feels right.

Equipped I have become displeased with though because I can't really figure a good way to enforce it once play starts.

Wealth has always been one of those things it is nice to have a fair amount just so you can start with some decent gear without having to worry about picking it off a corpse before becoming a corpse yourself.

Maelwys

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #6 on: 10 August 2011, 01:47:34 »
You could maybe parlay Equipped into giving modifiers to legality and availability once in game I suppose (and maybe Black Market), but how exactly that could work I'm not sure.

guardiandashi

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #7 on: 10 August 2011, 05:06:27 »
you could use the equipped as the player has connections that will allow the char to (typically) legally obtain the item in question (if they meet the requirements) and or once they obtain the equipment noone really questions their posession of the item as they are possessing the "permits" to have the equipment regardless of how it came into their possession

monbvol

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #8 on: 10 August 2011, 13:12:38 »
Well that's my problem with Equipped once actual play has started.  There is just no good way to enforce it's drawbacks or justify it's perks without going to other traits.

Chris24601

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #9 on: 12 August 2011, 20:18:35 »
We pretty much ignored the Equipped and Custom Vehicle traits in our campaigns.

Instead we transferred any XP for "Equipped" from the life paths into "Wealth" and then used the Black Market Base Cost Table on page 257 for purchasing equipment.

The massive cost of low availability, highly restricted weapons like ClanTech assault rifles (a Mauser IIC would cost 360,000 C-Bills using this system) means that they'd still have to expend a LOT of points (Wealth +8 to afford the Mauser IIC) to get really spiffy starting gear without the need to actually track who can buy what because they have the Equipped trait once the game starts.

For Custom Vehicle we transfered any points in it from the life paths back into either Vehicle or Design Quirks and said +1 TP for Clan Tech Base (Inner Sphere is the default), +1 TP for design your own on the Vehicle table.

We also run with the idea that the Wealth or Vehicle traits are a PC's default level of equipment. If some misfortune should befall a character with these traits that leads to their loss, fate (i.e. the GM) will see fit to offer them opportunities to regain equipment and/or a vehicle of similar value during the course of the adventures. At the latest they'll have replacements by the start of the next plot-arc via some blue-booking by the PC to tell a story of how they regained what they'd lost (usually it involves the group's techs getting something that had been salvaged from the last mission/plot-arc up and running again during the downtime between missions).


Jackmc

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #10 on: 18 August 2011, 02:12:06 »
We also run with the idea that the Wealth or Vehicle traits are a PC's default level of equipment.

Just to clarify, that's not a house rule for the Vehicle trait, it's how the game works.

-Jackmc


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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #11 on: 18 August 2011, 05:31:08 »
I've always just gone with "If it's a mech based game and I've told you it's a mech game you should probably put some points in vehicle shouldn't you?"
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Maelwys

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #12 on: 18 August 2011, 12:26:31 »
Just to clarify, that's not a house rule for the Vehicle trait, it's how the game works.

-Jackmc

Oh? how do you figure? I'm looking at the Vehicle trait and it says nothing about applying once the game starts?

Khymerion

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #13 on: 18 August 2011, 21:59:33 »
But if you don't have the trait, you don't really actually own it... unless you are playing full on merc (occasionally fun).   If you are a faction aligned group, at any moment a higher up in the organization can just come in and steal away the big scary salvaged battlemech unless it was paid with the proper trait or purchased in game properly and through the right channels if a player went and REALLY put a good deal of points into property (which is like wealth but gives you more in the long run but can often cost more in points than the guy who owns a customize frontline clan omni assault mech.) and the right connections... because at least then they had to do the footwork to find, buy, ship, and then supply the thing without house support... all from their pocketbook.

Also I give the benefit of if they are a house aligned unit that the mechs they have paid points for get maintained by the house support staff for free or at very reduced costs.  Makes players really happy they actually invested the points in their rides instead of just spending cash on it.   If their ride gets shot out, they have a good chance (if they are in good standing with the house) of getting something of the same weight class after a short delay (up to a month wait for shipping to get one shipped forward).  The freebee acquired it without paying for it properly are going to be having to pay out of pocket for it all since it is a 'personal item'.

Surprising how fast players start dumping XP into traits to keep their precious new rides after the house lords start to take salvage from the unit to help support other units in the theater...  so in essence, no free lunch.  You pay the points, it's yours...  you try to be cheap... be prepared to have your ride stolen in a few adventures if those points are going to at least STARTING to own the ride.  Even the mercs, because their employer might pull a really low move and try to pull legal lingo mumbo jumbo to claim that brand new Marauder from under the conniving player.
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Jackmc

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #14 on: 19 August 2011, 00:08:24 »
Oh? how do you figure? I'm looking at the Vehicle trait and it says nothing about applying once the game starts?

Weird, you're right.  I know that was discussed during the beta and thought it was put in.

-Jackcm


monbvol

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #15 on: 19 August 2011, 00:35:36 »
I have noticed at least in the campaigns I've been a part of the traits that seem to fall flat on their face are Custom Vehicle, Equipped, Vehicle, and Wealth.

I can understand Wealth falling flat on it's face.  It is sort of meant to.  The rest I just can't think of a good way to apply them without drastically changing the trait or by the time I do wrap my head around it another trait would be a much better fit.

One of the things I've been working on for my AU/House Rules is that the Vehicle trait is more of an indicator of rarity than mass/type.  This does make Custom Vehicle a bit of a problem but my current train of thought is to link that to Strat Ops refit classes.  I still haven't worked it all out yet.

Chris24601

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #16 on: 19 August 2011, 09:11:25 »
This does make Custom Vehicle a bit of a problem but my current train of thought is to link that to Strat Ops refit classes.  I still haven't worked it all out yet.
Just dump it like we did and put any points for it generated by life paths into the Vehicle trait (which grants improved mass/rarity in your current house rules). As I said before, we dumped Equipped into Wealth as well and then use both Vehicle and Wealth as the default level of gear the PC has access to barring temporary losses.

If a PC captures a Heavy Mech when they only have enough Vehicle traits for a Medium and they don't start spending points towards keeping that Heavy then fate (i.e. the GM) is going to ensure you lose it fairly quickly.

Its most often removed thorugh the simple expedient of opposing forces targeting it a bit more than normal (i.e. two out of five shots going its way instead of one out of four). Fairly shortly the PC will find themselves back in a Medium Mech (or decide the TP investment is worth it) soon enough. Generally as long as a PC is putting at least half their earned XP into improving the Vehicle trait, the GM will not go out of their way to remove the overpowered machine.

Trenchknife

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Re: Vehicle and other traits in play
« Reply #17 on: 30 August 2011, 23:49:15 »
Mechcentric campaign...I completely ignore vehicle, own's vehicle, custom vehicle, etc...  I'm mean and I don't subscribe to the idea that new PCs get the coolest toys.

By way of example, newest group is built as a mercenary group, of which the PCs are not part of the command.  They are given random 'Mechs that were pregenerated for the company.  If they perform well, they keep riding.  If not they get fired and dispossessed.  If they defeat a really cool 'Mech and want to keep it....tough.  It's the company's property, we'll see how much we can afford to repair.  Also with the idea that 'Mechs are still rare and so will be ransomed, along with the captured pilot, to the former enemy.