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Author Topic: The future of "A Time of War"  (Read 31884 times)

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #420 on: 01 July 2022, 22:53:56 »
Agreed!  :thumbsup:

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #421 on: 01 July 2022, 22:55:37 »
The funny thing here is that both Traveller: The New Era and Twilight 2000 (2.2) use a life path system that is 100% better then AToW and takes less then half as long to make characters in.

Example from Twilight 2000 (2.2):
ATTRIBUTES
Random Generation: In this method, each attribute is determined by rolling 2D6-2 (re-roll any roll that would result in a O attribute score). This gives a range of from 1 to 10 for each attribute.
Allocation: Players who choose the allocation method have a total of 32 points to be distributed among their attributes in any com-bination they wish. No attribute may have a value of O or more than-10.

Background Skills: Choose 4 skills at level 1
Secondary Activities: 2 per term see Term for levels

Undergraduate University
Entry Requirement: Education 5+
Skills: Total skill levels equal to character's Education attribute from any combination of the following, but no more than level 3 in any one skill:
•   Biology
•   Chemistry
•   Construction
•   Computer
•   Geology
•   Instruction
•   Language
•   Metallurgy
•   Meteorology
•   Excavation
•   Persuasion
Contacts: One, either academic or journalist.
Special: May elect to join ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corps), NROTC or AFROTR (the naval and air force equivalents). If so, add Leadership: 1 in place of any two skill levels above. The next career choice must include either entry into the appropriate branch of the regular armed forces or enrollment in the reserves in lieu of a second activity.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #422 on: 01 July 2022, 23:05:35 »
For my experience I will say there are those no matter the system that will need help of some sort or that the existence of computerized aides should not be counted against the system but there is without a doubt a point past where such help becomes a must have.

AToW I can admit is close to that line but from what I have observed with my group it is not past the point where it should count against the system if an aide exists or help is asked for when it comes to character creation.

Battletech at it's heart is a crunchy, number intensive game, and any RPG made to fit in with this is almost certainly going to be too.

Where I see AToW as way past that line.
As for the last comment, Just because a Table Top Game based on the setting is heavy on number crunching does not in and of its self excuse the RPG for the same setting for be so.

A great example of this is Renegade Legion (FASA Legionnaire).
That setting has some of the most number crunching Table Top Games FASA ever made (Prefect, Interceptor, Leviathan) but Legionnaire manages to keep a MW2 level of complexity and has a highly functional RPG based Vehicle combat system that both captures the feel of Interceptor and Centurion without taking the players out of the game or bogging down the session with having to take out the TTG if you don't want to.
Add to this that the system takes up just 5 pages of the book and includes PC damage.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #423 on: 02 July 2022, 00:54:57 »
I disagree, but you knew that already.  Most people I know (including me) had help making characters for D&D back in the day, at least the first time.

I'm going to say this response is way out in left field from the issues with AToW.
There is a major difference between a GM/DM helping a Player through character creation or using HeroLab then needed a spreadsheet just to make character creation doable without number crunching for over an hour. And then you realizing that all that work just got you to the point were you refund at least half of that to redistribute it again.
Not to mention the fact that keeps getting ignores: more then 2,400+ of the points you spend have to be on Attributes just to get you to human average. (So almost half)

5,000 points seems like a lot until you realize that just having
1. Human average attributes cost (2,400) points, and most of the careers require at least two of them to be over that amount for MechWarrior being DEX/RFL both at 4 so an extra 200 points. Cost: 2,600 points.
2. A medium Mech that you own (pretty much a requirement for Merc campaigns) cost: 600 points.
3. Having some rank other then lowly trooper cost: 300+ points.
4. Minimum acceptable skill as a MechWarrior: 4/4 and will say at least 3 levels in computer cost: 320 points
So you are looking at  just to meet minimums a cost  3,820 points or over 75% of the point total.
And the funny thing is this doesn't even make you good it just makes you average.

pokefan548

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #424 on: 02 July 2022, 01:39:43 »
And the funny thing is this doesn't even make you good it just makes you average.
It's almost like most people fall within a standard deviation of the average, with a small pool of more specialized skills and attributes.

Respectfully, if you want to play an exceptional MechWarrior right out of the gate, go play Destiny. To me, A Time of War, at least starting with 20-something year old no-bonuses starting characters, starts off about the people who will become exceptional MechWarriors. Where Destiny leans into the plot-armored pulp heroes of the BattleTech novels, A Time of War focuses on the oft-unsung poor bastards who are trying to make it in a universe that shows them no special favor.

Now, granted, there are a couple ways to get around this. For one, you could start with some bonus XP to help you bump your ratings. The other option is min-maxing, which AToW has in spades. I'm sure we've all seen our share of quadruple-amputee social butterflies with deep pockets and a lucrative passive income being carried around on an Elemental's back like C3PO being carried by Chewbaca.
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victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #425 on: 02 July 2022, 02:32:15 »
It's almost like most people fall within a standard deviation of the average, with a small pool of more specialized skills and attributes.

Respectfully, if you want to play an exceptional MechWarrior right out of the gate, go play Destiny. To me, A Time of War, at least starting with 20-something year old no-bonuses starting characters, starts off about the people who will become exceptional MechWarriors. Where Destiny leans into the plot-armored pulp heroes of the BattleTech novels, A Time of War focuses on the oft-unsung poor bastards who are trying to make it in a universe that shows them no special favor.

Now, granted, there are a couple ways to get around this. For one, you could start with some bonus XP to help you bump your ratings. The other option is min-maxing, which AToW has in spades. I'm sure we've all seen our share of quadruple-amputee social butterflies with deep pockets and a lucrative passive income being carried around on an Elemental's back like C3PO being carried by Chewbaca.

Why would anyone want to play joe average?
There is a reason almost every PC in most games are a step or two above the average joe.
The idea of Role-playing is to be the heroes of the story not the background characters that are never even named.
If you want to be joe average then why even have a Character Creation system, just have everyone pick a generic character template.
As for the "20-something year old no-bonuses starting characters" that you just spent up to 2 hours making, why would anyone want to play this or waste the time making it?
"A Time of War focuses on the oft-unsung poor bastards who are trying to make it in a universe that shows them no special favor." So a PC that is nothing more then the normal NPCs stat block found in the GM section in back of most RPG books?

By the way, Destiny is bad outside of a ok attempt at a RPG vehicle combat system.
« Last Edit: 02 July 2022, 02:34:52 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #426 on: 02 July 2022, 06:03:56 »
I'll disagree on the vehicle combat system for the game I can't name and stop there.

As for playing "Joe average" characters, it's the low fantasy vs. high fantasy thing.  I prefer the grittier end of the business, and seriously: there's a lot more to "Joe average" than people give him credit for.  THAT's the fun thing for me.

Dr. Banzai

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #427 on: 02 July 2022, 08:46:46 »
You are going through Stage 4 multiple times to build concrete characters, right? If you stop at twenty years old and expect a character like Kai Allard-Liao or Phelan Kell, you're going to be disappointed. Just like if you play D&D and expect your 1st level wizard to be just like Elminster, Raistlin, or Mordenkainen...

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #428 on: 02 July 2022, 10:34:12 »
I aboslutely do that for the older characters.  One does not command a merc unit right out of school anywhere other than a novel...

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #429 on: 02 July 2022, 16:33:32 »
You are going through Stage 4 multiple times to build concrete characters, right? If you stop at twenty years old and expect a character like Kai Allard-Liao or Phelan Kell, you're going to be disappointed. Just like if you play D&D and expect your 1st level wizard to be just like Elminster, Raistlin, or Mordenkainen...

There is a difference between generic MechWarrior #3 (Which is what the game tends to make) in a lance and the Lance commander. It's not a problem of not making Kai Allard-Liao the Champion of Solaris, it's the problem of not being able to make Kai Allard-Liao the new recruit. Its not about having superpowered uber experienced PCs out the gate even in D&D, it's about the PCs being a step or two above the average low level stat block in the back of the book which their not most of the time in a AToW.

As for the "going through Stage 4 multiple times", you do realize that every time you go through the "TOUR OF DUTY" Life path after the first you lose 275 points of the 800 points spent? The point I was trying to make is even if you use the straight Point Buy system you are hard pressed to make a better then average PC. Now the AToW companion fixes this issue somewhat with the generic random chart, but the core game leaves a lot to be desired in that aspect.
« Last Edit: 02 July 2022, 16:36:10 by victor_shaw »

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #430 on: 02 July 2022, 16:34:56 »
I aboslutely do that for the older characters.  One does not command a merc unit right out of school anywhere other than a novel...

See last post for this one.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #431 on: 02 July 2022, 16:46:36 »
I'll disagree on the vehicle combat system for the game I can't name and stop there.

I was in no way saying it's a good system, just that it was an attempt in the right direction for a RPG vehicle combat system.  :-\

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #432 on: 02 July 2022, 16:49:41 »
I try to avoid repeating Stage 4 modules (other than Civilian Job) for that very reason.

The classic generic stat block is a 4 gunner/5 pilot.  Right out of the gate, it's trivial to achieve 3/3, even with AToW.  If that's not sufficiently "above average", I don't know what yard stick you're using.

Glad we're at least somewhat aligned on the newer system.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #433 on: 02 July 2022, 17:49:09 »
I try to avoid repeating Stage 4 modules (other than Civilian Job) for that very reason.

The classic generic stat block is a 4 gunner/5 pilot.  Right out of the gate, it's trivial to achieve 3/3, even with AToW.  If that's not sufficiently "above average", I don't know what yard stick you're using.

Glad we're at least somewhat aligned on the newer system.

I would not say 3/3 is trivial to achieve right out of the gate with AToWs Lifepath system. It can be achieved with the point buy system fairly easily but at the cost of immersion.
The point I am trying to make is that the Lifepath system is just a thinly veiled outline to put over top of the Point Buy system that adds penalties for make a character that falls outside the lines and only uses about 45-50% of the points. The Lifepath system is not a Character creation system, it's an add-on to the Point Buy system nothing more and the penalties make it even less useful then the Point Buy system. If they want it to be an outline then we don't need all the bells and whistles, so just make suggestions and leave the points to the players. If they want it to be a Character creation system, beef-up the points it gives and use about 75-85% of the points. don't give use Fit +5 points when it takes 200 points.

My problem with the Point Buy system comes from the fact that they value everything using the same point pool and have this obsession for multiples of 100 with everything other then skills.  You can't "ever" convince me that having the Rank of "MechWarrior/Pilot: 500 points per pg. 124" is the same as having a "Medium Mech: 500 points per pg. 129" or that having a "Light Mech: 300 points per pg. 129" is the same as having "Fast Learner: 300 points per pg. 117".
Overall the point system it completely out of wack.
« Last Edit: 02 July 2022, 17:53:47 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #434 on: 02 July 2022, 19:01:07 »
That's down to taste, I think.  Your examples at least all make sense to me if the GM applies the setting in a certain way.  Rank only has meaning in certain situations.  'Mechs only have meaning in certain situations, and yes, Fast Learner only makes sense if you spend a lot on skills.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #435 on: 02 July 2022, 19:20:27 »
That's down to taste, I think.  Your examples at least all make sense to me if the GM applies the setting in a certain way.  Rank only has meaning in certain situations.  'Mechs only have meaning in certain situations, and yes, Fast Learner only makes sense if you spend a lot on skills.

"Rank only has meaning in certain situations". And yet, Rank is a requirement of the MechWarrior Field.
"Mechs only have meaning in certain situations". And yet, the most common PC group in the game requires them.
"Fast Learner only makes sense if you spend a lot on skills" And yet, it effects all skills in the game from start to finish.

Don't get me wrong on the last one as I am not a fan of "Fast Learner"
« Last Edit: 02 July 2022, 19:22:07 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #436 on: 02 July 2022, 19:49:19 »
I can't think of any combination of modules that forces you to take Fast Learner if you don't want it.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #437 on: 02 July 2022, 23:26:41 »
I can't think of any combination of modules that forces you to take Fast Learner if you don't want it.

What does that have to do with the cost?  ???

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #438 on: 03 July 2022, 04:34:39 »
It means you don't have to buy it if you don't like it.  I look at it this way: you can spend that 300 XP on having a wider variety of skills than most people, or you could spend it on an Attribute (raising it from 4 to 7) to be one better at a smaller variety of related skills.  Or you spend it on other things your GM requires (Rank, 'mech, etc.).

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #439 on: 03 July 2022, 06:21:01 »
It means you don't have to buy it if you don't like it.  I look at it this way: you can spend that 300 XP on having a wider variety of skills than most people, or you could spend it on an Attribute (raising it from 4 to 7) to be one better at a smaller variety of related skills.  Or you spend it on other things your GM requires (Rank, 'mech, etc.).

The point was not that it cost to much or not enough. The points are;
1. That Attributes, Traits, and Skill should not uses the same point pool as they are not even close to comparable and so could never truly be balanced with the set number tiers they want to use.
2. The Traits are nowhere near balanced for their point totals, and again the idea of 100 point tiers is a joke, I mean Traits that just add a situational +1 should cost no more then 30 points (the cost of a level 1 skill).
3. You shouldn't have to spend almost half (48%) of your total points just to have average human Attributes, Attributes should start at human average.
And many more issues but there is no point since the PTB are not going to put any effort into the game.
« Last Edit: 03 July 2022, 06:26:49 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #440 on: 03 July 2022, 06:44:06 »
They're doing a reprint this year, though.  I wouldn't call it dead yet...  ;)

And they've always had trouble with situational bonuses, across all their systems (Shadowrun et al. included).

Ultimately, even if you use a prioirity system, Attributes, Traits and Skills ARE in the same point pool.  AToW at least makes it explicit so you can see it more clearly.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #441 on: 03 July 2022, 08:08:31 »
They're doing a reprint this year, though.  I wouldn't call it dead yet...  ;)

And they've always had trouble with situational bonuses, across all their systems (Shadowrun et al. included).

Ultimately, even if you use a priority system, Attributes, Traits and Skills ARE in the same point pool.  AToW at least makes it explicit so you can see it more clearly.

I was not saying they were going to abandon it, I was saying they are just going to reprint it with maybe a few error fixes.

And the last comment I was expecting.
No, the priority system does not truly put the Attributes, Traits Advantages and Skills in the same point pool.
Make that statement show a lack of understanding of the priority system.

First, you can choose to have two level 4 priorities and either 1 level 2 or 2 level ones, which for humans gets you some pretty good stats. Flexible priorities Pg. 15 MechWarrior Corebook.

Second, assigning a level 0 priority to Vehicle is the same as assigning 200 to 800 points in Vehicle in AToW without spending the 200 points to own the vehicle. Character Vehicles Pg.11 MechWarrior Companion.

Third, the minimum attributes you can get by assigning level 0 priority to Attributes is already human norm.

Fourth, the tiers of the priority levels are balanced within the game not between categories. Priority Level 2 skills are not balanced with Priority Level 2 Attributes.
For example of what this would look like in AToW points:
Priority       Attribute    Skills     Advantages    BattleMech
   0              1,800         90               0                  0-200 
   1              2,100        100            100                400
   2              2,400        150            200                600
   3              2,700        190            300                800
   4              3,000        200            400               1,000

So as you can see taking Priority 4 in any of the categories is not the same. As said earlier the categories are balanced to the game not to some set point system
« Last Edit: 03 July 2022, 08:10:29 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #442 on: 03 July 2022, 08:14:10 »
My point is that a priority system just changes the arbitrage between the categories.  With AToW, the arbitrage is built into the relative costs.  It's all just accounting, no matter how you slice it.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #443 on: 03 July 2022, 08:26:12 »
My point is that a priority system just changes the arbitrage between the categories.  With AToW, the arbitrage is built into the relative costs.  It's all just accounting, no matter how you slice it.

But for that to be true the categories would have to come to equal outcome and they don't.
For your example to work, If I choose one grouping of priority or another the total gains should be the same but again their not.
That is my point. As they are balanced to themselves based on the restrictions of the game, not some arbitrary point value the PTB decided on.
« Last Edit: 03 July 2022, 08:27:54 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #444 on: 03 July 2022, 09:01:38 »
That's the arbitrage I'm talking about.  A certain number of Attribute points translate into a different number of skill points, etc.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #445 on: 03 July 2022, 09:03:05 »
The major point here is that the priorities for the different categories are different because "Skills" are not the same as "Attributes" which are not the same as "Advantages" which are not the same as "Vehicles" which are not the same as "Race"

And no, AToW doesn't show this as all points come from the same total and are spend from the same pool. it take 100 points to get one at Attribute level, Vehicle are rolled into Traits which again take 100 points to achieve one level an either. The fact that skills use a different leveling system does not change the fact that they are still coming from that pool and draining the pool at a far greater rate then just changing one priority level.
« Last Edit: 03 July 2022, 09:08:52 by victor_shaw »

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #446 on: 03 July 2022, 09:13:50 »
That's the arbitrage I'm talking about.  A certain number of Attribute points translate into a different number of skill points, etc.

But they don't, believe me from experience with the MW2 optional rule.
The variation per level follows no real pattern. 

0=2.75
1=1.75
2=1.2
3=1.35
4=1.25
« Last Edit: 03 July 2022, 09:16:11 by victor_shaw »

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #447 on: 03 July 2022, 09:23:27 »
I didn't say there was a pattern, just that trades are trades.

victor_shaw

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #448 on: 03 July 2022, 09:37:02 »
I didn't say there was a pattern, just that trades are trades.

To translate their has to be a pattern. You can't as you put it "translate" one category to another category if their is not pattern or fixed denominator.
That would be like translating English to Gibberish.
As for Arbitrage the items have to be similar financial instruments in different markets or in different forms.
So there has to be some relation or it just two different items in two different markets, so it's not arbitrage.

Daryk

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Re: The future of "A Time of War"
« Reply #449 on: 03 July 2022, 09:56:13 »
Except that with a priority system, you're trading points of one for points of another.  Yes the values are different, but they're still trades.

 

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