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Author Topic: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?  (Read 708 times)

Giorgio76

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KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« on: 25 October 2020, 05:02:58 »
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/450703636/battletech-clan-invasion/posts/2996563
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/Quote:
This, then, brings us to the question of Interstellar Operations and A Time of War (since I know some of you will immediately have your hands raised on these two books). First, IO is still in print and has physical stock available. So if and when there is a vintage-cover reprint, where we perhaps split the book for better usage, we’ll simply see how that develops and make the call at that time.
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  For A Time of War, which is out-of-stock, we first want to give our new BattleTech RPG, MechWarrior: Destiny, some time to breath and find its legs in the community and on store shelves. Regardless, we’ve been thinking already on what can be done for a possible vintage-cover reprint that would give players the best experience of this RPG, based upon years of feedback and experience. Is there a place in the market for both a rules-light RPG, and the far more rules-crunchy A Time of War? Let us know, as you’ll help us make that call.
/Unquote
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I have a lot to say on this topic about a reprint of the ATOW RPG, I just wanted to check first if there is already an active thread about this already, I just got back to this forum after a long absence so I am not fully caught up in my readings.

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #1 on: 25 October 2020, 09:54:56 »
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https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/450703636/battletech-clan-invasion/posts/2996563
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/Quote:
This, then, brings us to the question of Interstellar Operations and A Time of War (since I know some of you will immediately have your hands raised on these two books). First, IO is still in print and has physical stock available. So if and when there is a vintage-cover reprint, where we perhaps split the book for better usage, we’ll simply see how that develops and make the call at that time.
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  For A Time of War, which is out-of-stock, we first want to give our new BattleTech RPG, MechWarrior: Destiny, some time to breath and find its legs in the community and on store shelves. Regardless, we’ve been thinking already on what can be done for a possible vintage-cover reprint that would give players the best experience of this RPG, based upon years of feedback and experience. Is there a place in the market for both a rules-light RPG, and the far more rules-crunchy A Time of War? Let us know, as you’ll help us make that call.
/Unquote
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I have a lot to say on this topic about a reprint of the ATOW RPG, I just wanted to check first if there is already an active thread about this already, I just got back to this forum after a long absence so I am not fully caught up in my readings.

This answer feels like a " It was a fun ride but we have Destiny now" post.
Which totally goes against their previous statements that AToW was being worked on, and they had no plans to replace it.
Which to me signifies the death of AToW.


Dahmin_Toran

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #2 on: 26 October 2020, 18:11:51 »
ATOW plus ATOW Companion is pretty complete as it is.

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #3 on: 26 October 2020, 19:13:19 »
ATOW plus ATOW Companion is pretty complete as it is.

Depends on what you mean by complete.
If you are remarking on it have the rules to role play a character in the BTU, then yes it is complete for the most part.
If you are you mean it doesn't need to be worked on or need a revision then I would have to totally disagree.

The problem with AToW is not that the core system is bad, in fact it woks pretty well. It's that;
1. It's missing some elements like completely integrated battlearmor rule, instead we get mini battletech rules for them.
2. It has a overly time consuming and to some players complex character creation system.
3. It spends to much space in both the main book and Companion on fluff and poor layout.
4. It has been out of print for a long time.

The game needs an overhaul (revision) before it is rereleased and from the way this was answered I doubt it is going to get it.
Best case, they throw it out as is some time in the distant future.
Worst case they drop the line altogether, and we're stuck with MW:Destiny.

Sartris

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #4 on: 27 October 2020, 00:52:27 »
This answer feels like a " It was a fun ride but we have Destiny now" post.
Which totally goes against their previous statements that AToW was being worked on, and they had no plans to replace it.
Which to me signifies the death of AToW.

i read it as more a combination of "we want to see if destiny and potentially any expansions sell well" and "we don't consider working on AToW a priority right now so we'll just ride it out and revisit at a later date"

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #5 on: 27 October 2020, 01:18:38 »
i read it as more a combination of "we want to see if destiny and potentially any expansions sell well" and "we don't consider working on AToW a priority right now so we'll just ride it out and revisit at a later date"

Not sure how you read that out of "Is there a place in the market for both a rules-light RPG, and the far more rules-crunchy A Time of War?"
"Not we feel there" is or "at this time"
So I see it as more "We don't think there is so you have to prove us wrong" and good luck with that.

Sartris

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #6 on: 27 October 2020, 01:29:08 »
"Is there a place in the market for both a rules-light RPG, and the far more rules-crunchy A Time of War? Let us know, as you’ll help us make that call."

and i suspect how we'll let them know is whether destiny performs at or above their expectations.

i don't think the odds are great AToW is going to make a comeback. letting it wallow for eight years without a 3rd printing and then coming over the top with Destiny isn't a great sign

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #7 on: 27 October 2020, 02:52:10 »
If destiny performs at or above their expectations, you can say good bye to any real RPG for battletech from now on.
If destiny performs below their expectations, you can bet they will take it as "we don't want an RPG".

So we're dammed if we do dammed if we don't at that point.

The sad thing is at its heart AToW is a good RPG, it's just hamstrung by a terrible character creation system that is neither quick (like MW2) nor engaging (like MW3).
I still hope that they decided to revise AToW, but that hope is dwindling. 

As for MW: Destiny, the game is trash, No one in my core group liked Cosmic Patrol or Shadowrun: Anarchy either.
The system is not rules light, its rules absent.

Insaniac99

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #8 on: 27 October 2020, 16:20:34 »
I want a Battlemech manual or Alpha Strike Commander's Edition equivalent to A Time of War.  A Time of War is a good system hamstrung by bad layout and convoluted instructions.  Character creation, for example, is explained horrible in the books but once you understand it, it's fine.


Dahmin_Toran

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #9 on: 29 October 2020, 16:44:26 »
Mechwarrior Destiny is not trash. And you seem to not talk about how crunchy ATOW is. You may disagree, but your core group does not represent the entire Battletech community. I for one will be rooting for Mechwarrior Destiny.

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #10 on: 29 October 2020, 19:01:48 »
Mechwarrior Destiny is not trash. And you seem to not talk about how crunchy ATOW is. You may disagree, but your core group does not represent the entire Battletech community. I for one will be rooting for Mechwarrior Destiny.

If you think that AToW is crunchy then you must not have much experience with crunchy system.
Never said my group represents the entire Battletech community.
Just to be clear my belief that Mechwarrior Destiny is trash has nothing to do with it verses AToW and every thing to do with it's quality as a RPG in general, which to me it false to qualify as to began with, its more like a LARP guide book.

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #11 on: 29 October 2020, 19:19:39 »
An idea I had for the character creation system that could fix it came out of doing conversions for MW2.
AToW is for al intent and purposes a fully point based system, so embrace that get rid of the "Lifepaths" and replace them with "Life/Career packs".
More like "Noble: gives these skills at 1-2 (20-30), and one or two traits fully, then add a suggested skills and traits section.
This would give the guidance on how to make characters that fit in the setting without all the Lifepath add subtract nonsense and still not be as "you have to know the setting" of the points only system.

Dahmin_Toran

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #12 on: 02 November 2020, 19:12:58 »
An idea I had for the character creation system that could fix it came out of doing conversions for MW2.
AToW is for al intent and purposes a fully point based system, so embrace that get rid of the "Lifepaths" and replace them with "Life/Career packs".
More like "Noble: gives these skills at 1-2 (20-30), and one or two traits fully, then add a suggested skills and traits section.
This would give the guidance on how to make characters that fit in the setting without all the Lifepath add subtract nonsense and still not be as "you have to know the setting" of the points only system.

That is what I was thinking about my first House-rule for Mechwarrior Destiny. Total up the Skills and Traits from the modules and that is the pool you pick from. Ignore the Characteristic mods.

Giorgio76

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #13 on: 05 November 2020, 16:36:44 »
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Following the replies (or lack thereof), will add my comments next Thursday 11/12/20. :)

DelevanGuardsCO

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #14 on: 06 November 2020, 16:30:02 »
ATOW is not intuitive but as I learn it better it's definitely not a bad RPG. I do hope to see continued support for it as we move on. 
"Away to Nahoni, to marsh and to mud
  before I yield to the Regents I'll shed my life's blood"

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #15 on: 06 November 2020, 18:53:14 »
I want a Battlemech manual or Alpha Strike Commander's Edition equivalent to A Time of War.  A Time of War is a good system hamstrung by bad layout and convoluted instructions.  Character creation, for example, is explained horrible in the books but once you understand it, it's fine.

The issues with character creation go deeper then just he layout.
1. It runs you through multiple, for lack of a better work, "pointless" calculations just to throw out quite a few of them during optimization.
2. The system is not intuitive at all.
3. The process for Field skills is idiotic. Why would you have the player spend full points on a field, hen have them figure out a discount, then have them add those points back into their leftover points. wouldn't it be better to just have the Fields listed at their discounted rate?
4. Life paths/Affiliations that provide ridiculously low Skills and Traits points are just pointless
5. Why they switch for TN modifiers to dice roll modifiers is a mystery to me.

I could go on but it would accomplish nothing

Giorgio76

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #16 on: 13 November 2020, 20:55:34 »
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Thanks to everyone who has participated in this conversation so far, I have not been able to deeply dive into my own thoughts as I have been very busy at work/taking care of my health.
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I will try to dedicate some time next weekend to take a good look at all the editions of the MW RPG, see what works and what doesn’t, and provide feedback on the subject of a ATOW reprint, or a new revised edition (and if there is an audience for either of those options).

victor_shaw

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #17 on: 20 November 2020, 10:45:34 »
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Thanks to everyone who has participated in this conversation so far, I have not been able to deeply dive into my own thoughts as I have been very busy at work/taking care of my health.
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I will try to dedicate some time next weekend to take a good look at all the editions of the MW RPG, see what works and what doesn’t, and provide feedback on the subject of a ATOW reprint, or a new revised edition (and if there is an audience for either of those options).

Having actually played in every version of Mechwarrior from 1st to AToW. I can say that they all had their pros and cons with none of them truly reaching the levels that were possible. A lot of the issues with Mechwarrior in all of its incarnations would have to be its origins as more of a expansion project then a companion to battletech so it never felt like a true RPG and come off as more of an optional pilot generator for Battletech.
Where games like D&D, Shadowrun, World of Darkness, Etc were focused on what they were, RPGs, Mechwarrior always came off as an expansion for Battletech. While this had some what been corrected by the time AToW came out, it seems that CGL jump right back into that perception with MW:Destiny.

Pros, Cons, and possible correction

Mechwarrior 1st Edition
Pros
Simple Character creation.
Good Integration with Battletech.
Cons
Lack of any real support, outside a few NPC from the unit books.
Lack of career options: Mech, Aerospace, ComStar HPG was about it.
Overly engineered damage system.
Corrections
Little to no chance of truly correcting the game into a full RPG.

Mechwarrior 2nd Edition
Pros
easy to learn system
Quick and clean character creation
Expanded players options for careers.
Large number of flexible skills to cover wider area of professions. (Career, Special Interest, Etc.)
One of the best vehicle combat/Battlearmor integration systems.
Intuitive combat and damage system.
Lots of supporting material.
Cons
While careers were expanded, their was still a high focus on combat PCs.
Could make highly skilled, sometimes ever Elite single focus PCs out of the gate.
The smaller number of perceivable skills (Career, Special interest where not explained well till later) lead to hyper focused characters.
Corrections
Most of the issues with careers can be fixed with broader MoS and FoS packages.
tweaking the Max skill rules for character creation can fix most Elite single focus PCs issues.
Some of these issues where fixed with the MechWarrior Companion for 2nd edition
Overall next to AToW one of the top two attempts at a RPG.

Mechwarrior 3rd Edition.
Pros
Well supported
Highly immersive Character creation system for players new to Battletech.
Lots of options for careers.
Fixed Elite single focus PCs issues.
Cons
Switch to 2d10 made combat integration a nightmare.
Same immersive Character creation system lead to near unplayable characters with some unlucky rolls.
The Fixes for the Elite single focus PCs issues lead to issues of underwhelming PCs that were subpar at their jobs
One of the worst character damage system in the editions.
game information spread over to many books (somewhat fixed with the MechWarrior Companion for 3rd edition ).
Corrections
As FASA and FANPRO went out of their way to try to fix this game and gave up I got nothing.

AToW
Pros
Simple and easy to use game and damage system that manages to take involved concepts like armor penetration and resolve them in a single role.
Good amount of in universe and game information provided in the two corebooks (AToW, AToW Companion)
Fixed issues with underpowered PCs without swinging the opposite direction to overpowered PCs.
Most career flexibility of any of the Editions.
Cons
The switch to dices modifiers from variable TNs is not intuitive to most Battletech players, the core demographic of the game.
Layout is horrible and the overabundance of fluffy and artwork reduces available pages count by way more then is needed.
The vehicle combat integration system is overly written and does just the opposite of what a RPG integration system should due by make combat take more time then the base game.
Battlearmor integration is lost to create a new unneeded tactic system, that breaks RPG immersion to start a new side game.
Lack of immersive Character creation system. Everything is way to generic, losing the one good part about the MW3 system.
Way to many pointless calculations in the Character creation system that are dropped and redistributed later. Examples being, Field Skills and ridiculously small gains in Skills and Traits.
Character point system is calibrated way to high for its own good. 5,000 CP is just going way overboard and could easily be trimmed down to a more manageable level.
An overall lack of support, and I don't mean "the gun of the week".
Corrections.
As with 2nd, the issues here can be corrected as most are not core to the games systems operation.
Lifepaths can be better focus to provide useful boosts to Skills and Traits.
With this trimming Lifepaths can be expanded to provide more flavor like unique academies, or jobs to get back some of the favor lost from 3rd.
Field Skills can be costed out tp provide the actual cost of the pack.
The vehicle combat system could be corrected to work with the Battletech system and not replace it.
Battlearmor could be better integrated into the RPG so it does not need it own system.
Overall AToW could be the best RPG system ever made for Battletech if the issues can be worked out.

« Last Edit: 20 November 2020, 10:52:42 by victor_shaw »

Insaniac99

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #18 on: 20 November 2020, 13:41:10 »
AToW
Pros
Simple and easy to use game and damage system that manages to take involved concepts like armor penetration and resolve them in a single role.
Good amount of in universe and game information provided in the two corebooks (AToW, AToW Companion)
Fixed issues with underpowered PCs without swinging the opposite direction to overpowered PCs.
Most career flexibility of any of the Editions.
Cons
The switch to dices modifiers from variable TNs is not intuitive to most Battletech players, the core demographic of the game.
Layout is horrible and the overabundance of fluffy and artwork reduces available pages count by way more then is needed.
The vehicle combat integration system is overly written and does just the opposite of what a RPG integration system should due by make combat take more time then the base game.
Battlearmor integration is lost to create a new unneeded tactic system, that breaks RPG immersion to start a new side game.
Lack of immersive Character creation system. Everything is way to generic, losing the one good part about the MW3 system.
Way to many pointless calculations in the Character creation system that are dropped and redistributed later. Examples being, Field Skills and ridiculously small gains in Skills and Traits.
Character point system is calibrated way to high for its own good. 5,000 CP is just going way overboard and could easily be trimmed down to a more manageable level.
An overall lack of support, and I don't mean "the gun of the week".
Corrections.
As with 2nd, the issues here can be corrected as most are not core to the games systems operation.
Lifepaths can be better focus to provide useful boosts to Skills and Traits.
With this trimming Lifepaths can be expanded to provide more flavor like unique academies, or jobs to get back some of the favor lost from 3rd.
Field Skills can be costed out tp provide the actual cost of the pack.
The vehicle combat system could be corrected to work with the Battletech system and not replace it.
Battlearmor could be better integrated into the RPG so it does not need it own system.
Overall AToW could be the best RPG system ever made for Battletech if the issues can be worked out.

This roughly alines with how I felt AToW felt and why I think a cleaned-up book -- call it the Mechwarrior Manual -- to the rules book and then some support is all the system needs to make it successful.  The system is fine, the presentation is bad, IMO.

abou

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Re: KS BT CI Update #127: ATOW RPG Reprint?
« Reply #19 on: Today at 17:40:45 »
Victor's breakdown of the pros and cons basically tracks with my experience of AToW. The skeleton is there for the system, but it needs tweaks. And those tweaks are probably pretty easy to make happen with the current system.

It's a shame we aren't seeing more for the system. The amorphous nature of Destiny was a turnoff for me, but I suppose it does have its potential with the right crowd. As long as the IP succeeds -- whether every product is geared towards me or not -- is good. But that does leave me wanting a better RPG system.

 

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