BattleTech - The Board Game of Armored Combat

BattleTech Game Systems => A Time of War => Topic started by: victor_shaw on 23 November 2021, 12:34:27

Title: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 23 November 2021, 12:34:27
After some earlier discussions about the current condition of AToW I was curious about what others think needs to be corrected in a new revision of AToW.

Discussion Rules to avoid closing or move of this thread.
1. Just what you think needs to be change, we don't need a debate.
2. No rules, make all the suggestion you want, but outside of a suggestion avoid posting rule that get it kicked down to the fan rules section.
3. We all may want different changes, be respectful there is no bad ideas just ones you don't agree with. See rule 1.
Now on with the show.

Outside of the character creation rule and the vehicle integration rule I am happy with most of the general core rules.

Character creation. (Again just MHO)
1. The current Life Path system either needs to be divorced from the point buy system or just dropped altogether.
The current rules limit characters creation way to much in the name of staying within the point buy system.
2. If kept, the Life Path system needs some flavor added to it. The current Life paths (outside the faction section) is way to generic. It needs faction Academies and more specialized Covert/TOD paths.
3. Traits needs a compete overhaul. If you are going to use such high point totals (5,000) you are wasting it if you set traits to 100 point increments. Traits need to be more flexible to allow for wider range of modifiers.
4. Attributes like traits are way out of proportion in the name of the 5,000 point total. They also should start at a human norm, and be modified from their not start at close to disable and move up.
5. Field Skills need to have the cost added to the packages, it seems to be a waste of time to have the player do the calculations when they are always the same for each package.
6. Advanced Tier skills have this funny proficiency drop issues caused by the switch from one attribute to two. While it doesn't show up in character creation, during play if you jump over the level brake you can lose proficiency for a level or two braking immersion.

Those are my main ideas.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 23 November 2021, 13:01:07
I do tend to agree at the very least some modules do need some revision, especially so that repeating certain stage 4 modules are not so punishing.

Cost structuring adjustments I'm not entirely against either.  Most XP driven systems do accept the idea that the progression is not fully linear.  Does seem a little odd only skills are structured that way.

Traits are probably where I do have the most focus in my house rules so yeah quite a few do need some re-working for sure.  Especially for people new to the setting and no experienced GM to help fill in the blanks.

Skill fields I would re-arrange/re-organize at the very least.  That most are 5 skills, some 6, and a few 7 does seem a bit math for the sake of math.

Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: guardiandashi on 23 November 2021, 13:34:48
I wouldn't really change the lifepath system because IMO its actually better than the point buy version
I could see some expansion of the academy's/universities with faction specific notes, but I don't think its important enough to need to be in the core rulebook, an expansion book like the companion is good enough for me.

with that said the place I would say the lifepath system REALLY needs some work is in the layout and organization
I would likely put all the core portions together IE pick faction/subfaction, THEN the initial core xp, then stages 1,2,3,4 with call outs at the relavent points to refer to page x-y for the traits full descriptions etc
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Atlas3060 on 23 November 2021, 17:11:02
A Time of War suggestions if my opinions mattered:

1. Establish point buy as the "main" form of creating a character.
2. Divorce the idea of X amount of years equals Y amount of extra points past a certain age.
3. Though I like the idea of major academies being a part of Life Modules, I don't see them really needed in the grand scheme of things. Still if they are added in, just lines in the write up that player gets extra XP for a set of skills might work for me.
4. Remove Well Equipped trait.
5. Make Wealth not a starting amount but the Wealth check rule from Companion and allow people to use it for some things upon character creation.
6. Combat-wise make sure all the charts remind the players to do the 1/4 math to their STR for melee damage.
7. Cap the age on initial character creation. I don't care by how much, I'm just sick of consulting the Aging chart and hoping I don't have to muddle around with things even further.
8. Give out scenarios or adventure seeds which utilize the normal combat rules or the various "Hero Mode" tweaks. List it out so people can see why those modes are helpful, plus gives them ideas to run and gun or play things more "gritty".

Everything else I want is in the Companion so just throw that book into the next companion. They always have a companion, let's not say this wouldn't either.  ;)
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 23 November 2021, 17:26:21
A Time of War suggestions if my opinions mattered:

1. Establish point buy as the "main" form of creating a character.
2. Divorce the idea of X amount of years equals Y amount of extra points past a certain age.
3. Though I like the idea of major academies being a part of Life Modules, I don't see them really needed in the grand scheme of things. Still if they are added in, just lines in the write up that player gets extra XP for a set of skills might work for me.
4. Remove Well Equipped trait.
5. Make Wealth not a starting amount but the Wealth check rule from Companion and allow people to use it for some things upon character creation.
6. Combat-wise make sure all the charts remind the players to do the 1/4 math to their STR for melee damage.
7. Cap the age on initial character creation. I don't care by how much, I'm just sick of consulting the Aging chart and hoping I don't have to muddle around with things even further.
8. Give out scenarios or adventure seeds which utilize the normal combat rules or the various "Hero Mode" tweaks. List it out so people can see why those modes are helpful, plus gives them ideas to run and gun or play things more "gritty".

Everything else I want is in the Companion so just throw that book into the next companion. They always have a companion, let's not say this wouldn't either.  ;)

Almost forgot the whole aging thing.  Not everyone gains/loses attributes at the same rate/same age.  So yeah I'm not against scrapping that whole aging chart for something better.

You're also giving me ideas about how to better handle some of the math for the sake of math of combat.

A good compromise on the modules might be reasonably generic for the main book but in companion/alternate era sources maybe add more specific stuff there.  I think that would be a good way to go.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: idea weenie on 23 November 2021, 18:28:02
Remove the land area listing from the Land Grant.  Just give minimum income per noble rank, and make that income sufficient for that noble rank's obligations.

I.e. (all numbers are for example only) Assume the Knight rank Land Grant would receive 25,000 C-Bills per year and the Knight is supposed to have a Mech available for service.  However, according to the rules upkeep of the Mech would cost 3,000 C-Bills per month.  Since 3,000 C-Bills per month is more than 25,000 C-Bills per year, then either the Land Grant needs to be increased, the monthly maintenance cost for a Mech would need to be decreased, or the Knight's responsibilities need to be reduced.

We have historical evidence of a Duke's land area being flexible in size, from the original  MW2e physical book -> Titles & Nobility -> Landholdings -> Holdings (p156) -> 2nd paragraph, starting with the second sentence:
"Holdings vary in scope and value.  The Duke of Omaha directly controls only a few thousand square kilometers of Newbraska's northern continent, but those holdings include the capital of one of the most important grain-producing agricultural worlds in the Federated Suns.  The Duchy of Fenestere, on the other hand, includes five star systems with a total of 18 planets.  Only one of these - a tide-locked, thin-aired, Low-G, fire-and-ice expanse of desert and glaciers - is even marginally inhabitable."
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Atlas3060 on 23 November 2021, 18:29:54
A good compromise on the modules might be reasonably generic for the main book but in companion/alternate era sources maybe add more specific stuff there.  I think that would be a good way to go.
Basically yeah, each of the Field Manuals and Handbooks at one time from Merc to Marik and all in between had stuff for a certain version of the RPG that was current.
Same deal here, at least what I would like to see.
Heck if it's broken down into something like new Era digests you can even get more choices. Was there a difference in skills between a Sandhurst grad during the Star League and the Clan Invasion? Well now we'd know.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 24 November 2021, 14:16:42
More thing I would like to see.

7. A vehicle combat system thats action economy and turn resolution is totally based on the RPG, instead of being just a conversion to Battletech/Battletroop or just a brand new game that is a hybrid of both and takes twice as long. It's fine to have vehicle damage and weapon fire based on the board game, but having a boardgame as your core combat system in an RPG really destroys the flow of the game. While its cool to be able to play table top game with your PCs. The table top is not really geared for it causing small interactions to take way to long from a RPG standing, and the Hybrid version brings this time-sink up to eleven. The answer to this always seem to be just play Battletech, but again, standard Battletech takes way to long from a RPG perspective.

8. A list of Traits that are not needed or *could just modify other Traits IMHO; Alternate ID, Trueborn/Citizenship, Rank, Fast Learner, Slow Learner, Phenotype, *Extra Income, *Equipped, *Design Quirk *Custom Vehicle. Most of these are RPG things that can be handled between the players and the GM. Putting arbitrary cost to them interferes with the narrative and/or just weakens a PC (it is a point based system) to reach that narrative. The Phenotype trait should just be a small paragraph in the character creation chapter, why is it a Trait?

9. Totally agree that the Age Table needs to go. Its just more arithmetic that bogs down character creation.

10. Also agree that extra XP based on age needs to go. While I except that character get better with age, the idea put forth by the game that it is the sole reason they have the skills they do I don't agree with. See point 11.

11. Some form of randomness is needed, maybe not to the extent of MW3, but the system is dry and to attached to the you only have these many points because your this old stance. While MW3 was just as capable of creating a crippled, useless character. It was also capable of creating the next Kai, Aiden, Natasha. If Players are willing to gamble, there should be some way in the core game not just some option in the AToW companion, for them push the boundaries of the point system. People like to talk about how MW3s random charts could make crippled characters, but either forget or did not read the point that you can lower you edge threshold by one to reroll or move the result up or down one on the charts.

12. Attributes should be divorced from the point system like they were in ever version of MW after first, or like first, go up and down from a human norm starting point. The idea that if you want to be skilled and/or well-equipped you need to sacrifice attribute to the level of AToW is ludicrous. While the Priority system in MW2 did have you choose between high skill, lots of advantages, bigger mechs, or high attributes, even at their lowest level attributes where still at or around human norm. And MW3 just had them separate altogether.

13. expansion of point #1 (previous post): The Life Path system as it stands in just a light suggestion guide to the Point buy system at best, and a very badly put together creation system at worst if the former was not the point. If it is a suggestion guide the suggestion of Fit (+15) is a joke right? It's a 200 point Trait and your going to suggest 15 point. What is the point of that? If it is suppose to be a Character creation system in its own right it failed miserably at it. A character creation system should not create a light out line or about 40% of a character for you to fill in the rest after you clean up the mess it made of your point first.

Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 24 November 2021, 20:06:59
I'm a day late to this thread, but I have to ask why you didn't start it down in fan rules?  I can't see it not ending up down there eventually...

With regard to various points brought up so far:

- I took some of Victor Shaw's ideas about faction academies and translated them into AToW (link in my sig block).  He is due most of the credit for that effort.  :thumbsup:

- Now that I'm past 50, I absolutely agree with TPTB that older characters should have more experience.  I know FAR more now than I did when I was 22, to include combat/weapon skills.  Being an older Individual Augmentee can do that to you.

- I also think the Attribute changes as characters age are appropriate.  I'm in better shape now than I ever was before, but it took WORK.

- With regard to the randomness some want to introduce into character creation, I will say all my negative comments about that are based on burning through all of my possible edge and STILL ending up with a dead or non-viable character (more than once).  Sure, you can get lucky,  But it's NEVER fun to die in character creation.

- I also think the Attribute, Trait and Skill costs are scaled roughly right.  Attributes and Traits are things you ARE, where Skills are things you can LEARN.  The former SHOULD be significantly more expensive than the latter.  I'll grant some Traits can be characterized as things you have, but I think that's something that can be solved separately,

- As far as the idea that you're constrained by how much experience you have based on your age, I will say the 5,000 experience point base gives you a LOT of flexibility.  Yes, it doesn't really show until you get to the optimization stage, but it's definitely there.  Also, I view age as a result of character creation, not a going in assumption.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Cannon_Fodder on 01 December 2021, 03:43:12
My vote is going back to a 2D10 system. But I might be biased, lol.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: guardiandashi on 01 December 2021, 06:54:12
My vote is going back to a 2D10 system. But I might be biased, lol.
2d10 is a bad fit for battletech, if you aren't going to use 2d6 some multiple of D6 such as 2D12 would be better
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: idea weenie on 01 December 2021, 11:20:04
2d10 is a bad fit for battletech, if you aren't going to use 2d6 some multiple of D6 such as 2D12 would be better

2d10 gives a range of 19 possible options (2 - 20)
3d6 gives a range of 16 possible options (3 - 18)
4d6 gives a range of 21 possible options (4 - 24)

If you make it where each lifepath has the same number of options you can even have point-buy for the players.  If someone wants the option #20 in one lifepath, that means they need to get the extra 6 'points' from somewhere else.  If there are 4 stages that the GM will allow, and the players get 56 pts, then the GM expects a fairly average game (56/4 = 14, aka the midpoint of a 4d6 roll).  If the GM wants a heroic game, the GM can give more than 56 pts to the players to spend.  If the players want to be Wilson's Hussars (https://www.sarna.net/wiki/Wilson%27s_Hussars) v2, they get less than 56 pts to spend.

Here is a list of each of the possible results on 4d6, and how many times they occur on average over 1296 rolls:
Code: [Select]
4d6 total # occurring
4 1
5 4
6 10
7 20
8 35
9 56
10 80
11 104
12 125
13 140
14 146
15 140
16 125
17 104
18 80
19 56
20 35
21 20
22 10
23 4
24 1
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 01 December 2021, 20:00:17
And people complain about page count now...  ::)
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 02 December 2021, 06:45:46
And people complain about page count now...  ::)

The page count complaint was never about useful  pages. It was aways about wasted pages like tons of pics and 4-5 page stories in every chapter.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Kitsune413 on 02 December 2021, 09:51:59
Character creation is still a bear and is likely a barrier to entry to new players. The rules are very math heavy, I think most roleplaying game systems avoid division in damage calculations.

What the system did right was that it added tactical abilities to use in the board game.

If it's going to remain as complicated as it is, then it should work on being a better addition to the board game so that more people utilize it for that.

That being said, they introduced a rules light version so maybe this is working fine.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 02 December 2021, 10:07:53
Character creation is still a bear and is likely a barrier to entry to new players. The rules are very math heavy, I think most roleplaying game systems avoid division in damage calculations.

What the system did right was that it added tactical abilities to use in the board game.

If it's going to remain as complicated as it is, then it should work on being a better addition to the board game so that more people utilize it for that.

That being said, they introduced a rules light version so maybe this is working fine.

There are some big names in gaming that do have damage division/multiplication but yeah I tend to agree there is a fair bit of math that seems to be for the sake of math that could be eliminated for faster character creation and game play.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Cannon_Fodder on 03 December 2021, 02:47:42
2d10 is a bad fit for battletech, if you aren't going to use 2d6 some multiple of D6 such as 2D12 would be better

Actually, 2d10 BattleTech works extremely well. My group has been playing 2D10 BattleTech for over 10 years now and would never go back. We started with MW3rd/CBT:RPG 2D10 character rules and the 2D10 vehicle combat rules from MechWarrior's Guide: Solaris VII in our RPG game. But are now using AToW converted back to 2D10. We do company on company fights with a company of PCs vs a GM with NPCs.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 03 December 2021, 09:13:31
Actually, 2d10 BattleTech works extremely well. My group has been playing 2D10 BattleTech for over 10 years now and would never go back. We started with MW3rd/CBT:RPG 2D10 character rules and the 2D10 vehicle combat rules from MechWarrior's Guide: Solaris VII in our RPG game. But are now using AToW converted back to 2D10. We do company on company fights with a company of PCs vs a GM with NPCs.

And that is fine. I respect that your group likes using 2D10, personally I don't.
But as stated earlier in the thread this is not a debate.
This is a place to list what you would like to see in a new version of the game, it is not to convince everyone else that what you want is the right way to do it.
Again you are initialed to your opinion, but please don't turn it into a debate and get the thread closed or moved.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 03 December 2021, 09:16:16
There are some big names in gaming that do have damage division/multiplication but yeah I tend to agree there is a fair bit of math that seems to be for the sake of math that could be eliminated for faster character creation and game play.

Been saying this for years now.
And its not just in the RPG, this has been a trend for most of the games.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 04 December 2021, 20:37:45
- I am also not in favor of the Life Module chargen system as it is. From the stifling fixture of options to the baffling point values in the face of point optimization, I can't see myself ever using it while point buy exists. In fact, even if it didn't, I'd be tempted to just build a character in MW2 and convert them over rather than deal with life modules.
- Skills that are split into subskills in baffling fashion. Small Arms covers light slug-throwers, needlers, sonic stunners, lasers, and potentially plasma or a theoretical PPC pistol, but somehow you need to have knife-throwing and stone-throwing be two different skills?
- Faction-specific subskills. It seems like that would be better handled by a level of organization that doesn't produce yet more subskills.
- Social/mass influence mechanics are sorely needed. Administrative know-how, cutting journalism, and incisive barbs toward rivals in court - all staples of BT that could keep it from being PeaceTech even when there's no fighting going on, but the system is very light on that sort of thing.
- I'm not in favor of using Edge arbitrarily as a value in certain instances. If you're rolling to see if an armored suit is breached, why not use its armor rating instead of Edge? It just seems a very bizarre place to cut in with randomness when randomness is already factored in with the roll.
- Don't list the cost of a vehicle and then say that the real cost is two points higher, and that the point cost quoted is the "just assigned" cost. That's irritating.
- Some more guidelines on the effects of high or low gravity on trait costs could be in order.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 04 December 2021, 21:05:02
- I am also not in favor of the Life Module chargen system as it is. From the stifling fixture of options to the baffling point values in the face of point optimization, I can't see myself ever using it while point buy exists. In fact, even if it didn't, I'd be tempted to just build a character in MW2 and convert them over rather than deal with life modules.
- Skills that are split into subskills in baffling fashion. Small Arms covers light slug-throwers, needlers, sonic stunners, lasers, and potentially plasma or a theoretical PPC pistol, but somehow you need to have knife-throwing and stone-throwing be two different skills?
- Faction-specific subskills. It seems like that would be better handled by specialties.
- Social/mass influence mechanics are sorely needed. Administrative know-how, cutting journalism, and incisive barbs toward rivals in court - all staples of BT that could keep it from being PeaceTech even when there's no fighting going on, but the system is very light on that sort of thing.
- I'm not in favor of using Edge arbitrarily as a value in certain instances. If you're rolling to see if an armored suit is breached, why not use its armor rating instead of Edge? It just seems a very bizarre place to cut in with randomness when randomness is already factored in with the roll.
- Don't list the cost of a vehicle and then say that the real cost is two points higher, and that the point cost quoted is the "just assigned" cost. That's irritating.
- Some more guidelines on the effects of high or low gravity on trait costs could be in order.

The next to last item about Vehicle is a tough one to be sure.  I get the premise behind charging a character if they actually own it or the unit they are assigned to does, especially in certain eras.  For Solaris Stables and Merc Units it does have a heavy impact on what kind of dynamic there is between the PC and the unit/stable in question.  This becomes more pronounced in 3025 by adding House Formations to the list.  Especially for mechs where being Dispossessed was a pretty big deal.

But if the stable/unit is entirely PC owned/operated or the GM really just doesn't want to deal with that kind of minutia, which to be fair I would never blame any group for making such a decision, all of that can pretty much be tossed straight out the window for the sake of not getting bogged down in details.

So yeah I see both sides of the argument and both have merit.  I'll have to think on it a lot.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 05 December 2021, 07:37:09
The next to last item about Vehicle is a tough one to be sure.  I get the premise behind charging a character if they actually own it or the unit they are assigned to does, especially in certain eras.  For Solaris Stables and Merc Units it does have a heavy impact on what kind of dynamic there is between the PC and the unit/stable in question.  This becomes more pronounced in 3025 by adding House Formations to the list.  Especially for mechs where being Dispossessed was a pretty big deal.

But if the stable/unit is entirely PC owned/operated or the GM really just doesn't want to deal with that kind of minutia, which to be fair I would never blame any group for making such a decision, all of that can pretty much be tossed straight out the window for the sake of not getting bogged down in details.

So yeah I see both sides of the argument and both have merit.  I'll have to think on it a lot.

I'm just going off the standard in MW2, where vehicle selection assumed that you owned it. If you didn't, you didn't assign the priority. It also my be a bit too out of the feeling of most eras to have a cosmic "this character always gets an X class 'mech" sign appended to them.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Atlas3060 on 05 December 2021, 19:56:34
I'm not in favor of using Edge arbitrarily as a value in certain instances. If you're rolling to see if an armored suit is breached, why not use its armor rating instead of Edge? It just seems a very bizarre place to cut in with randomness when randomness is already factored in with the roll.
Every other one listed I can follow but this confused me.
Was there some sort of Edge rule in a book I forgot to look over?
I know that edge manipulates die rolls and there's the Edge Save optional from companion book, but checking for a breach?
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 07 December 2021, 01:09:39
Every other one listed I can follow but this confused me.
Was there some sort of Edge rule in a book I forgot to look over?
I know that edge manipulates die rolls and there's the Edge Save optional from companion book, but checking for a breach?

 None that I  remember.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 07 December 2021, 03:04:16
"Vacuum", page 238.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: StCptMara on 07 December 2021, 06:49:19
I liked the life modules, but felt that the whole issue was the math involved. I would love something like a Hero Lab character generator, just so I am not having to do the math on each PC when doing GM character approvals. Especially with players who do not use the worksheet.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Atlas3060 on 07 December 2021, 09:06:47
"Vacuum", page 238.
Ah thank you! I didn't play around in very extreme atmospheres. Thus explaining my brain fart on recalling this tidbit.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 07 December 2021, 10:44:26
I haven't really dealt with them, either. For some reason, possibly my animosity toward Edge as an Attribute, I just happened to fixate on that one point.

(Edge as an ATT has some terrible carryover anger from SR4 and on, I think)

I liked the life modules, but felt that the whole issue was the math involved. I would love something like a Hero Lab character generator, just so I am not having to do the math on each PC when doing GM character approvals. Especially with players who do not use the worksheet.

They would be a lot more palatable without the present approach of partial points that get shaved off anyway, but that still leaves the cookiecutter finish on a vast, potentially interstellar society that tends to be more hands off from the top, anyway.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 07 December 2021, 19:16:28
The purpose of the "partial" experience values is to suggest those skills/traits/attributes.  If you accrue enough suggestions, you gain the level.  Otherwise, you can choose to take it or not.  The choice is the point.  If something never occurs to you (e.g., under point buy), there's no choice.  If you're exposed to a skill or whatever in the optimization process, you may consider it again.  Optimization almost always makes me reconsider things when I'm building characters.  As evidence, I refer you to the two characters I've made so far for Cannonshop in his most recent fan fiction story.  Mike Hogarth in particular has a lot more "under the hood" than I expected.  I'm quite serious when I say the Life Module system adds more depth to characters than you'd expect.  The process is the point.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 08 December 2021, 01:21:15
The purpose of the "partial" experience values is to suggest those skills/traits/attributes.  If you accrue enough suggestions, you gain the level.  Otherwise, you can choose to take it or not.  The choice is the point.  If something never occurs to you (e.g., under point buy), there's no choice.  If you're exposed to a skill or whatever in the optimization process, you may consider it again.  Optimization almost always makes me reconsider things when I'm building characters.  As evidence, I refer you to the two characters I've made so far for Cannonshop in his most recent fan fiction story.  Mike Hogarth in particular has a lot more "under the hood" than I expected.  I'm quite serious when I say the Life Module system adds more depth to characters than you'd expect.  The process is the point.

Except that you almost never get enough suggestions to get over the threshold of a lot of them, so it's always a choice. Meanwhile, in point buy, I can just look at the list of traits and skills, review the character concept, and move on accordingly. Whatever quirks and hooks occur to me and look doable get in, and it doesn't take a 5+ step process with a narrow range of possible "get into trouble" options to do it.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 02:35:08
Except that you almost never get enough suggestions to get over the threshold of a lot of them, so it's always a choice. Meanwhile, in point buy, I can just look at the list of traits and skills, review the character concept, and move on accordingly. Whatever quirks and hooks occur to me and look doable get in, and it doesn't take a 5+ step process with a narrow range of possible "get into trouble" options to do it.

I have to agree.
That and the fact that the system punishes you for not varying your Real life paths but you can do just about the same thing with the point buy system without the lost points. its non intuitive and is just a holdover from 3rd edition that was fine there because you did not have point cost involved, but with AToW you are spending points for the paths so why would you need to have this in place?
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 08 December 2021, 04:17:36
The variation is a feature, not a bug I think.  And you can take as many Civilian Job modules as you want without penalty.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 06:00:10
The variation is a feature, not a bug I think.  And you can take as many Civilian Job modules as you want without penalty.

It's a bug not a feature. It's a relic of the previous systems protections against power-gaming. Since that system had no points assigned to the Life path system they used the No traits/No attributes threshold and -1 to event rolls limits to the stacking of multiple bonus. The problem is that AToW uses a modified point system that already has the traits/attributes total added to the cost of the path, so there is no need to keep these limits from the previous systems. So there is no way a unneeded penalty is a feature.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 06:24:03
The major issues with the life path system as presented in AToW is that it is not really a system at all. It is just the point buy system with added unnecessary penalties, pretending to be a separate system. When the system uses (on average) only 35-40% of the available points, then through optimization refunds another 25% of spent point it is doing nothing to help make a character except waste your time doing math.

If they truly wanted to create a template system to assist with more logical expenditure of points and provide suggestions, all they would have to do is list only points spent to fully reach the desired level for required skills/attributes/traits and then have a suggested skills/attributes/traits list for ones that are optional. They should also get rid of the penalties as you are already spending the point for them and not getting them for free as was the issue from the previous edition that led to the penalties in the first place.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 12:20:35
While I'm at it.

Another issues I have is with the Phenotype modifiers in all versions of the game (except 1st since it doesn't have them). While I am fine with the idea that they get a boost to the Attribute due to the enhanced genes, the concept that they can push the Attribute over human maximums seems wrong. While genetic manipulation could foreseeably allow for a higher % of olympic grade athletes, you are not going to create super soldiers with greater strength, reflexes, etc. then is possible at human maximums. while I can see an Elemental looking like a body builder, this is still an achievable level for a normal human and not some special thing only Elemental can achieve. If you are trying to tell me that Elemental are bugger then this, I fine that hard to believe as.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 16:38:43
The variation is a feature, not a bug I think.  And you can take as many Civilian Job modules as you want without penalty.

Only because it adds no Attributes or traits.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 08 December 2021, 21:11:31
That's... the point?  ???

A "normal" life only involves adding skills over time.  Only extraordinary risk yields extraordinary rewards.  I walked past a mortar crater (that wasn't there on my way home the previous night) on my way to work one day.  That round could have very easily hit my CHU instead.  And the night those SOBs shelled the base twice instead of the usual (up until then) once?  I had to tell my then five-year old daughter "I have to go... tell your mother I love her."

Those are experiences you really only learn from once.  I don't fault TPTB for that decision.  Does it complicate character building?  Sure, a bit.  But not that much, really.  Building a person SHOULD be complicated.  People are complicated.  Plots for a tabletop game's war machines?  Maybe not so much.  But if you want characters that are engaging in a personal way, it should be a little harder.  The optimization process increases the number of decisions that have to be made in a way that I think increases engagement.  It seems you disagree, and that's totally valid.  It comes down to a disagreement over ends, rather than means.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 08 December 2021, 21:29:12
As someone who's probably spent most of their adult 'real life' closer to ne'er-do-well than civilian job I do tend to agree at the very least the modules need some re-working so they're not so punishing to repeat.

Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 08 December 2021, 21:33:07
I think that's the conversation TPTB are looking for, honestly...
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 08 December 2021, 21:54:27
*nod*

And maybe seeing if there is a way to make character creation not so much of a chore without sacrificing too much of the investment/attachment too while we're all at it.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 08 December 2021, 21:56:00
The chore/investment balance is exactly the issue, I think.  Glad to be having this conversation with you!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 08 December 2021, 23:34:05
That's... the point?  ???

A "normal" life only involves adding skills over time.  Only extraordinary risk yields extraordinary rewards.  I walked past a mortar crater (that wasn't there on my way home the previous night) on my way to work one day.  That round could have very easily hit my CHU instead.  And the night those SOBs shelled the base twice instead of the usual (up until then) once?  I had to tell my then five-year old daughter "I have to go... tell your mother I love her."

Those are experiences you really only learn from once.  I don't fault TPTB for that decision.  Does it complicate character building?  Sure, a bit.  But not that much, really.  Building a person SHOULD be complicated.  People are complicated.  Plots for a tabletop game's war machines?  Maybe not so much.  But if you want characters that are engaging in a personal way, it should be a little harder.  The optimization process increases the number of decisions that have to be made in a way that I think increases engagement.  It seems you disagree, and that's totally valid.  It comes down to a disagreement over ends, rather than means.

I think you are misunderstanding me. I am fine with not getting the Attributes/Traits on multiple passes. I don't agree with having to pay for something you are not getting. An Added "Additional Passes Cost: XXX" Entry is all that is needed to fix this.

As for the rest, I don't think the system works because it does nothing that the pure point buy system can't due with just a suggested Traits/Attribute/Skill entry under each of the path names. Then there is the Issues that by the rules of Optimization all Negative traits have to be brought to the next lowest level. So why have a Glass Jaw (-50) in there. You need -300 to reach the only viable level and it is not an option to remove it by the Optimization rules so its not a suggestion as you stated.

Again the rules fall apart when you then have to take -250 points just to pay 300 points for Toughness just to cancel it out, when you could have just paid the 50 points to remove it.

Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Carbon Elasmobranch on 09 December 2021, 01:35:16
While I'm at it.

Another issues I have is with the Phenotype modifiers in all versions of the game (except 1st since it doesn't have them). While I am fine with the idea that they get a boost to the Attribute due to the enhanced genes, the concept that they can push the Attribute over human maximums seems wrong. While genetic manipulation could foreseeably allow for a higher % of olympic grade athletes, you are not going to create super soldiers with greater strength, reflexes, etc. then is possible at human maximums. while I can see an Elemental looking like a body builder

Quibble: They'd be closer to World's Strongest Human contenders. Body builder implies a considerable degree of starvation and dehydration to allow the muscles to pop out so prominently, and while they do have to keep their diet in check in order to avoid altering the suits so often, they probably eat and drink more than most body builders do.

Quote
this is still an achievable level for a normal human and not some special thing only Elemental can achieve. If you are trying to tell me that Elemental are bugger then this, I fine that hard to believe as.

They're commonly over 250 cm tall (at least if the sample characters of MW3 are to be believed), so the data for real world performance is likely rather sparse for comparisons.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 09 December 2021, 04:46:02
You don't need Toughness to buy off Glass Jaw last I checked.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 09 December 2021, 13:16:03
You don't need Toughness to buy off Glass Jaw last I checked.

Just check it last night again before I posted.
Since Optimization does not allow you to remove Negative Traits, only extend them to next level (EX. -50 Glass Jaw to -300 Glass Jaw) the only way to remove it is to buy the opposing Positive Trait Toughness.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 09 December 2021, 13:23:29
I'll admit that is a particularly obnoxious part of the optional optimization rules and I know I'd never enforce that extra step and be fine with just paying the 50 XP and being done with the Glass Jaw.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 09 December 2021, 13:47:04
I'll admit that is a particularly obnoxious part of the optional optimization rules and I know I'd never enforce that extra step and be fine with just paying the 50 XP and being done with the Glass Jaw.

And while I prescribe to the same handling of the situation as you do, it doesn't change the fact that it's part of the rules. If the plan is to fix the rules it needs to be brought-up to do this and not just house ruled.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Nodachi on 09 December 2021, 14:32:10
I like the life paths, but character creation could be more user friendly. And personal scale combat was fine, just have to remember that range is closer to real world at that scale.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: arachneo on 09 December 2021, 15:39:00
I'll admit that is a particularly obnoxious part of the optional optimization rules and I know I'd never enforce that extra step and be fine with just paying the 50 XP and being done with the Glass Jaw.

You only have to take next level on an achieved negative trait. In book words:
However, this
form of optimization is limited to attaining only the nearest
“activated” level of the Trait (the point where its negative XPs
round off the Trait to its next lowest level of game play eff ect)


So , you can pay 50 XP an dismiss - 50 Glass Jaw
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 09 December 2021, 15:57:38
You only have to take next level on an achieved negative trait. In book words:
However, this
form of optimization is limited to attaining only the nearest
“activated” level of the Trait (the point where its negative XPs
round off the Trait to its next lowest level of game play eff ect)


So , you can pay 50 XP an dismiss - 50 Glass Jaw

Glass jaw only has one level (-300)
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 09 December 2021, 16:03:17
While that is true the example text following that section does clearly indicate you do not have to activate a trait before getting rid of it.

So yeah I'm not sure how that got stuck in my head either unless an errata cleared that up at some point.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: arachneo on 09 December 2021, 16:43:00
Glass jaw only has one level (-300)
But you have not activated any level.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 09 December 2021, 17:35:08
But you have not activated any level.
Maybe it is covered elsewhere, but under Optimization Negative traits.

"When a character has a “partial” negative Trait at the time
he decides to optimize the character, the optimization process
adds XPs to the character’s XP Pool by adding negative XPs to
the Trait (as opposed to spending positive XP the character
may not have to “buy off ” a partial negative Trait)."

"However, this form of optimization is limited to attaining only the nearest
“activated” level of the Trait (the point where its negative XPs
round off the Trait to its next lowest level of game play effect).
For example, if the character has received –125 XP in Glass
Jaw—a 3 TP Trait that costs –300 XPs to activate—then it will
take an additional –175 points to optimize the Trait, adding
175 XPs to the character’s XP Pool in the process."

Again the real issues here is the conflicting descriptions and rules.
While I don't doubt that "just buy it off" is the intent. The rules as written tend to pull you in multiple directions on this with rule and example conflicting with each other and on some cases themselves.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: victor_shaw on 09 December 2021, 17:41:00
The rules under Optimization also state clearly that no points may be spent in Optimization, only recovered.
So this taken literally, forbids the spending of points to remove Negative traits.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: monbvol on 09 December 2021, 20:22:57
Yeah the wording is a little odd there and just so everyone sees what you're talking about for contradicting example:

Turning her attention to Traits next, Lisa notes that the
100 XPs in Natural Aptitude/Strategy are effectively useless
to her character now, as she no longer has the Strategy
Skill and 100 XPs are far from enough to activate the
Trait. The same can be said of the 40 XPs in her character’s
Connections Trait and the 15 XPs in Fit. She shaves away
those XPs as well. She also notices that the character’s
–50 XP Compulsion Trait is too high to activate. Wiping it
out, however, would cost 50 XPs
, so she instead decides
to subtract another 50 from the Trait, activating the
Compulsion at –1 TP


The highlighted part there does communicate a clear intent that you don't have to activate the trait before removing it.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 09 December 2021, 22:34:22
In general, I try to stick to the intent.  While that is subject to interpretation (as we are experiencing here), I think it makes more sense.  I will continue to hope I can straighten this out before the next edition is published.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: arachneo on 10 December 2021, 03:16:44
Yeah, interpretation of what "activated" level means. I always have read as two parts: one for variable-level traits and another for fixed points levels.
When variable you "must", when fixed you "may".
Returning to topic:

apart of clarification in some terms in next edition...

I'm ok with the revision of traits and attribute costs. But it is difficult to make a balanced adjustement of that without an increase in math work (I don't want a 86 point cost on an attribute level and 101 on another, you know  ???). Traits are another question, may be a differentiation in costs on creation traits (those than have no impact on later game) versus those with in-game impact.

About Life Modules: I like it! But I also think bad about the penalty on repetition. If I'm limited by the points is not very nice to pay for what I don't take. May be a different Traits/Attribute when you repeat or a lesser cost.
As an example: "Tour of Duty" (Inner Sphere version) 3 years you gain +50 Rank Trait. If you repeat you not are gaining more Rank? What about seniority?
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: BrianDavion on 13 December 2021, 02:18:13
gonna be honest here... I'd tear the entire system down and start anew, especially char gen. char gen is too confusing, I've played a lot of RPGs many of which manage to get the same level of depth and options as ATOW without being nearly as convoluted.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: StCptMara on 13 December 2021, 04:11:52
gonna be honest here... I'd tear the entire system down and start anew, especially char gen. char gen is too confusing, I've played a lot of RPGs many of which manage to get the same level of depth and options as ATOW without being nearly as convoluted.

I like CharGen for Destiny, but would like a little bit more specificity, and, honestly, I felt one of the biggest issues of ATOW is shared by Destiny: not enough variety in positive and negative(especially negative) traits.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: guardiandashi on 13 December 2021, 09:48:50
I like CharGen for Destiny, but would like a little bit more specificity, and, honestly, I felt one of the biggest issues of ATOW is shared by Destiny: not enough variety in positive and negative(especially negative) traits.
I always felt that the traits especially negative ones represent a much wider set of traits because they are generic.
like the addiction trait think of just how many things can be represented by just that, or the compulsion traits.
an addition doesn't HAVE to be purely drug or chemical, it can be an addition to: drugs, nicotine (cigarets) alcohol, fruit, reading a certain kind of music or others as long as it triggers addiction like symptoms if you don't get your "fix"

Compulsions can be a dislike (hatred) of a certain group, a need to talk/act a certain way and many other things, etc. 
this is both the advantage and disadvantage of the fact that a lot of things are pretty generic.  the advantage is it gives a lot more flexibility with minimal page space devoted to the topic, the real disadvantage, is that I think they really should have included some longer(more) lists of suggestions as to what they can represent.
Title: Re: AToW "2nd edition" or MechWarrior 6th edition.
Post by: Daryk on 13 December 2021, 11:10:44
gonna be honest here... I'd tear the entire system down and start anew, especially char gen. char gen is too confusing, I've played a lot of RPGs many of which manage to get the same level of depth and options as ATOW without being nearly as convoluted.
Please name a few, because I can't think of any.