Lots of Dice and a little Cepheus Engine, too

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby rust2 » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:27 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote: You got to do some crazy math to convert decimal into a result by rolling 2d6s ...
... Or you can use one of the many tables, like the one from page 49 of the Mongoose Traveller rulebook. 8)

Seriously, I have converted Traveller material to d100 games and d100 material to Traveller without any significant problem and without doing any math at all.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Thu Jul 07, 2016 10:49 pm

Tom Kalbfus wrote:What so great about using 2d6 as your main selling point? Why not do a science fiction game that uses d4s, d6s, d8s, d10s, d12s, and d20s? What is the big deal about using only d6s? Dungeons and Dragons has enough market saturation that just about anybody can get those dice, its not like you have to break open your Yahtzee set to get those d6s to play 2d6 games. I don't think I would want to play a game just so I could roll six-sided dice. Having only six-sided dice is a bit of a handicap one needs to work around. Most people think in the decimal system, so what do you do if you want to assign a probability of 2% and you need to roll only d6s to represent that probability? You got to do some crazy math to convert decimal into a result by rolling 2d6s, 3d6s or 4d6s. With the D&D dice set, you have some more flexibility.
You do realise that Traveller has almost always used six-sided dice for calculating probabilities, right? I think TNE was the only exception to that. So complaining about how it's a handicap on a board devoted to the game seems a bit... odd.

Also, using all the polyhedral dice would just make calculating probabilities even more fiddly. As others have pointed out though, you rarely need the probabilities that exact in practice - a 2% chance would be roughly equivalent to rolling a two 1s or two 6s on 2d6 (2.77%) - that's close enough. There are plenty of tables showing 2d6 probabilities around, it's not very hard to become comfortable with - e.g. http://www.travellercentral.com/rules/dice.html

If you want a 1% probability then you'd have to do something like "you need to roll 12 on 2d6, and then you succeed if you roll another 1d6 and get a result of 1 or 2 on that roll", which would be a probability of about 0.93%, which is close enough to 1%. But in practice that's usually just too fiddly to bother with.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Thu Jul 07, 2016 11:46 pm

FreeTrav wrote:On the other hand, while paying for a set of polydice isn't exactly likely to break anyone's bank, if I'm first getting into PP/TTRPGs at all [and let's not get into the argument over the appropriation of "RPG" by the FPS crowd], it's likely that I can get started sooner with d6-only rules, whether it's 2d6 or some-other-number-of-d6 - because I can download my core rules - whether they're Cepheus Engine, the Traveller 1e SRD, the UGM 2d6 SRD, the PDF of the Traveller 1e or 2e Core Rules, or whatever - and then I can break into my Yahtzee set, or my Monopoly set, or my Shut the Box set, or any number of other board games that I may have around that use the extremely common - perhaps 'ubiquitous' is a good word to use here - d6. And get started in a couple of hours, instead of having to wait until I can get to FLGS and buy polydice - because I'm not going to find polydice at my local Target or B&N, as D&D doesn't seem to come in boxed sets with a set of polydice any more.
This sort of argument gets used a lot, and while it seems sensible on the surface, let’s take a more serious look at it.

How many people can we actually count who avoid playing “Dungeons & Dragons” as their first RPG specifically because it uses unusual dice? I have a feeling that genre or mechanics reasons are going to be much more frequent reasons for avoiding D&D at first. At which point, the correct choice of dice for an RPG system should be purely distribution & mechanics driven.

Which begs the following questions:
What is better about the 2d6 distribution, that would make the use of different dice, or greater or fewer dice, worse choices?
What is better about mechanics using 2d6, that would make the use of different dice, or greater or fewer dice, worse choices?
Are these the best choices for a Traveller game? Would 2d8, with the dice having faces 0-7, be better, or worse? What about 3d6 having faces numbered 0-5? Or maybe even a flat d12?

I don’t think the price of dice is a serious consideration here. It would be better if Traveller used the polyhedral set as a basis of what is available, and used the genuinely most appropriate dice from those available polyhedrons. Gameplay should trump financial reasons over which dice to use. Period.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Fri Jul 08, 2016 12:28 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:I don’t think the price of dice is a serious consideration here. It would be better if Traveller used the polyhedral set as a basis of what is available, and used the genuinely most appropriate dice from those available polyhedrons. Gameplay should trump financial reasons over which dice to use. Period.
If this is what you got from my posting, you missed my point. It wasn't about cost, it was about convenience and simplicity. Simplicity suggests that not using polydice (and worrying about which polydie is the right one) gives faster gameplay, more focused on the story (and "Old School" gaming, with the de-emphasis of lotsaskills, focusses even more on Story and Drama). Convenience suggests that having d6 around is more likely than having polydice, if you haven't had the chance to go out and buy the latter. It wasn't about cost at all; I'm sure it's just as easy to find and download free or low-cost core rules for polydice systems - but I'm far more likely to just have a bunch of d6 lying around than I am a set of polydice. Can I back that up with fiddly numbers from reputable surveys? Hell no. This is strictly at the intuitive-makes-sense-to-me-seems-to-be-backed-up-by-experience-at-cons-and gaming-clubs level.

As far as "the genuinely most appropriate" polydice, how do you decide? Is this where fiddly percentages come in? How do you quantify them, objectively? You seem to be assuming that high granularity is appropriate; that's an assumption that I tend to disagree with - and so, apparently, did Marc Miller and company, since they eschewed the polydice of their most popular competitor in favor of a simpler 2d6. And expected you to pull them out of your Monopoly set or Yahtzee set in the first release; the boxed set with the included 2d6 didn't come until later...

Look, if fiddling with exact percentages and fine-tuning things is your Thing, grab your polydice and have at. I'm more in favor, as I've said, of keeping it simple, and concentrating on Story and Drama. I don't want to spend playtime scrambling for tables in a big stack of rules, and spending time figuring out whether you shot the badguy; I want to move the Story along, and dramatize the Drama. That's how I think you hold the players' interest, not by turning Drama into Dramamine because I'm not Cdr. Data with the perfect memory of infinite datacap.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:22 am

You’re assuming too much about what I said, instead of taking it at face-value.

Dice with different sides are neither more convenient nor more simple. Plenty of people have played board games that relied on custom dice. The niche that the d6 has occupied as “the ubiquitous one”, or “the cheapest one in bulk” is largely gone. Aside from board-game pack-ins, roleplaying games are the reason that dice are sold. Board game makers will think nothing of throwing in custom dice, particularly if it means their game is less copyable that way. Instead of focusing on d6es for no reason at all, we should take a good hard look at Traveller and what we expect out of it, and make it the best game that does those things with a reasonable number of dice, regardless of what sides and faces are best for that purpose.

How people do the “role” side of things has nothing to do with what dice to use, and as such, has no bearing on which dice a game system should use; that’s strictly a matter of whether or not to roll dice.

And just to make clear I wasn’t inherently shooting for more granularity, my statements do not exclude 2d4s as a somehow superior option, if someone cares to make a case for it. And that would be less granular, wouldn’t it?
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Fri Jul 08, 2016 2:37 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:You’re assuming too much about what I said, instead of taking it at face-value.

Dice with different sides are neither more convenient nor more simple. Plenty of people have played board games that relied on custom dice. The niche that the d6 has occupied as “the ubiquitous one”, or “the cheapest one in bulk” is largely gone. Aside from board-game pack-ins, roleplaying games are the reason that dice are sold. Board game makers will think nothing of throwing in custom dice, particularly if it means their game is less copyable that way. Instead of focusing on d6es for no reason at all, we should take a good hard look at Traveller and what we expect out of it, and make it the best game that does those things with a reasonable number of dice, regardless of what sides and faces are best for that purpose.

How people do the “role” side of things has nothing to do with what dice to use, and as such, has no bearing on which dice a game system should use; that’s strictly a matter of whether or not to roll dice.

And just to make clear I wasn’t inherently shooting for more granularity, my statements do not exclude 2d4s as a somehow superior option, if someone cares to make a case for it. And that would be less granular, wouldn’t it?
Most of the "custom" dice I see in anything but polydice sets for roleplaying are still d6, albeit with nonstandard markings (consider Cosmic Wimpout, for example). There's got to be a reason for that... and with few exceptions, it's not difficult to map between the "special" dice and straight-up d6.

I've also pointed out that Traveller - or its OGL cousins (half-siblings?) - rely on essentially one rule during play: 2d6 for 8+, apply DMs at referee discretion to adjust for difficulty. You can't get much simpler than that, no matter what dice you end up using. Anything else, other than simply changing the universal number of dice and the universal number of sides, is going to necessarily be more complicated. Ultimately, I don't actually give a flying ... whether you use 2d6 or 3d12 or ... but as soon as you start saying "2d6 for a sword attack, 2d4 for bare fists, 3d12 for evading in a high-speed chase", you've lost simplicity, and now I have to worry about which dice and how many to tell the player to roll, not just whether he should roll. And that's the essence of Traveller - all of the various task systems simply amounted to attempts to codify the DMs that would be granted under various general circumstances - but they didn't actually make the game more complicated; rather, they were attempts to simplify the process of determining the DMs to apply.

I accept that you're an advocate for polydice in Traveller, and I've said that if it flips your switch, have at. But I disagree, and the author of Cepheus Engine apparently disagrees, and Marc Miller apparently started out disagreeing (and, apparently, more or less still does, since his latest Traveller - T5 - still relies on d6, albeit with an occasional "half die" (d3) tossed in).

Rather than trying to argue with me in this thread, if you feel that strongly about it, perhaps you should start a new thread with some specific ideas about how you think a polydice Traveller should work, and why. While you are unlikely to change my mind, for reasons I've given previously, I'm sure that there are people here who would be interested (I can include myself in that group, in terms of academic interest), and might even be on the fence with respect to the question of "d6 or polydice?" (I'm not in this group, however.) Make your case; don't just repeatedly say that I'm wrong.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jul 08, 2016 3:19 am

Again, I’m not advocating for anything, other than the best, by whatever mutually agreeable metric. I’m simply stating that an argument based on availability has no real merit.

Suppose, for instance, the d6es were each labeled -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2; that would eliminate that pesky -8, wouldn’t it? Does that have value? Or not? Is one step of streamlining worth it to you, or not? Or would you prefer no change at all, even if it were better for other people?

All I’m saying is, a game should use the dice best suited for it, whatever they may be. But maybe you disagree with that.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:36 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Again, I’m not advocating for anything, other than the best, by whatever mutually agreeable metric. I’m simply stating that an argument based on availability has no real merit.

Suppose, for instance, the d6es were each labeled -3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2; that would eliminate that pesky -8, wouldn’t it? Does that have value? Or not? Is one step of streamlining worth it to you, or not? Or would you prefer no change at all, even if it were better for other people?

All I’m saying is, a game should use the dice best suited for it, whatever they may be. But maybe you disagree with that.
... and you still haven't made a case for polydice in Traveller, or a case for why the current d6-centric rules are inadequate or suboptimal. You also don't show why your remarked d6 "eliminate" a "pesky" anything, much less a "-8" that hasn't appeared anywhere in this thread.

If you're that dead set against the current d6 rules, MAKE YOUR CASE. Don't just say "it should be different". If it should be different, make your case. I agree; whatever is best is what should be used. I'm not about to gainsay the current rules, which have a long history of being considered the best (otherwise they'd have been changed), unless I have a case to make - and then I will make it.

In case you're not clear on the concept, "house rules" are all about making it different and better - in your opinion. And in a house rule environment, you don't have to make your case, except maybe to your players. But if you're going to publicly challenge the accepted wisdom of the designers and the community-at-large, it comes right back to MAKE YOUR CASE.

I've made mine for sticking with what's currently the rule. You clearly disagree. Whether you choose to believe it or not, the simplicity and convenience arguments do have merit - and until you show that they don't, all you're doing is trolling.

I will no longer feed a troll. Either make your case, or take a personal action which, if I spelled it out, would likely get me infracted or banned.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FallingPhoenix » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:44 pm

You're right that he hasn't made a case for a change to the dice used for Traveller. In fact, he's specifically said that he's not advocating for a specific change to the dice used. I admit that I'm not sure what his purpose is in continuing in the vein he has been, but...

in this thread he's been quite reasonable from what I can see. I'd hardly call that "trolling".
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:15 pm

What I am specifically advocating for is for Traveller to use the best dice possible, regardless of sides or facings, and that ubiquity is no longer a reasonable measure by which to choose one type of die over another one; we are rapidly approaching an age in which people will be easily able to print their own dice, if necessary; already lots of examples on Thingiverse. “Because I have some in my closet” is no longer a valid argument for which dice to use; modern people have all sorts of custom dice in their board game closet. The choice of dice should be solely a function of distribution and enabling of rules; at which point, it’s back upon you to make the case that d6es are the best option by those metrics alone.

Every time we roll a skill, we subtract -8 at the end of that roll. Why not just bake it into the dice, if it’s always there? Is that somehow not an improvement to you?
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Fri Jul 08, 2016 5:40 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Every time we roll a skill, we subtract -8 at the end of that roll. Why not just bake it into the dice, if it’s always there? Is that somehow not an improvement to you?
it's really not that taxing to subtract a number from a roll (plus it's good mental arithmetic practice). Making custom dice for specific tasks seems a bit silly to me.

I think what really matters in a game is that the designers are aware of how probabilities work and that they use dice to reflect that. Traveller's largely built around the 2d6 roll, so we can expect most results to be around 6-8 and the fewest results at 2 and 12. On a 1d20 system the probability distribution is flat (5% for all numbers) and so the design of the game has to be different to reflect that, and so on. I don't think more dice types should be used than what the designers feel is necessary for the game though.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Fri Jul 08, 2016 6:01 pm

I’m not advocating for “more than necessary”; I’m advocating for “what is necessary, even if that means not using 2d6”.

It may not be all that significant of an additional step, but, strictly speaking, it’s still one more than necessary. It also proves the point that changing the dice can result in an improvement, albeit, in this case, a small one that may not be particularly significant.

Why is 2d6 better for Traveller than 2d8s numbered 0-7, 2d4s numbered 2-5, or even 3d6es numbered 0-5? In a world where all dice are equally available, what makes 2d6 the best choice for games of Traveller? Or, for those that disagree with that premise... What dice should Traveller be using, if all dice were equally available, and we are limiting ourselves to a reasonably finite number of dice? What dice would make Traveller a better game, regardless of “economics and convenience”?
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FallingPhoenix » Fri Jul 08, 2016 7:25 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:What dice would make Traveller a better game, regardless of “economics and convenience”?
A well-stated question. The first answer that comes to my mind is for backwards compatibility with MgT 1e material. Then again, that may fall under the "economics and convenience" umbrella. As far as probability, I actually prefer a system with more numerical granularity than 2d6 (d100 being my favorite), but I don't have any evidence to back that up.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Fri Jul 08, 2016 9:57 pm

FallingPhoenix wrote:
Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:What dice would make Traveller a better game, regardless of “economics and convenience”?
A well-stated question. The first answer that comes to my mind is for backwards compatibility with MgT 1e material. Then again, that may fall under the "economics and convenience" umbrella. As far as probability, I actually prefer a system with more numerical granularity than 2d6 (d100 being my favorite), but I don't have any evidence to back that up.
Regrettably, "backward compatibility" does fall under "economics and convenience". And it can be a major bugaboo in some cases; I cite Microsoft's decision to simply not support older 16-bit software on Windows 7 - because maintaining that support would outright defeat some aims that they had for answering some of the - validated - charges against Windows over security. It nevertheless caused a bit of a ruckus because people were still using 16-bit software for mission-critical functionality. (This has bitten my own organization at «day job»; recently, a decision was made to punt all Windows XP workstations off our ActiveDirectory network - and then we discovered that a couple of divisions were reliant on some 16-bitware, and needed time to acquire or have developed a Windows-7-compatible version of that LOB functionality.)

The problem I have with TT's continued questioning of the long-established 2d6 isn't the questioning itself, but that he has been advocating polydice - or "not-2d6" - without even providing the groundwork of a case. I can assert that the current 2d6 makes Traveller the best game it can be, on the basis of people with more knowledge of game design having chosen it over the contemporary polydice system - but I still don't know what basis they chose it on, even if it was economics and convenience.

I don't know what criteria TT is using for "best possible game". I don't know what he considers "better" v. "worse". He has steadfastly refrained from posting anything other than "consider polydice". No reasons, no evidence; at most the argument that he himself has discredited, of polydice being the most popular. That kind of posting, no matter how reasonably phrased, is not honest debate; it is trolling.

For what it's worth, there was, in fact, a version of Traveller that explicitly wasn't 2d6, and in fact used polydice, with compatibility with an OGL version of that most popular competitor. It didn't go over very well; the polydice system used "offended" long-term Traveller players, and it didn't really succeed in drawing in new players from the experienced polydice crowd. The problem (as I see it) was that Traveller and Dungeons & Dragons/D20 developed completely different styles of play, and those styles were more-or-less embedded in the rules - Traveller assumed pre-development of characters (the whole Prior Career thing) and little or no in-game advancement, while Dungeons & Dragons assumed more-or-less raw material tossed into the deep end at the beginning of the game, and in-game advancement was assumed and more-or-less inevitable. Traveller didn't assume comparatively large rewards, or equate reward with character advancement; Dungeons & Dragons... pretty much did. Traveller ... mostly ... wasn't about setting up enemies for the PCs to knock down and grab their Stuff; Dungeons & Dragons ... mostly ... was. Trying to reconcile the two was going to be the next best thing to impossible, and what is admirable about Traveller20 isn't that it succeeded, it's that it didn't crash and burn abjectly (just crashed and burned).

So, yeah, polydice Traveller has been tried. It wasn't the only possibility for polydice, but it was the most likely one to be looked at, and the memory is going to make the old hands a bit leery of anything like it. That's why, if you want to advocate anything off the fundamental 2d6 of Traveller's history, you've got to make your case.

I've said before that I don't have a problem with the idea of universally replacing 2d6 with 2d8 or 3d12 or whatever, since all that does is change the granularity without changing the fundamental mechanic. But even there, if you want to advocate a change, you've got to make your case - because if you're not actually changing the fundamental mechanic, why bother changing the detail of which dice to use?

A well-made case here (on the forums, whether or not it's in this particular thread) for using different dice with Traveller would be welcomed - and would probably generate a request from me for the author to expand on it, into an article long enough for Freelance Traveller - not because I'd agree with it, but because it would have been a well-made case, showing why it's compatible with the established Traveller "mores" and "ethos". That's the sort of thing I live for, when wearing my hat as Editor of Freelance Traveller. If you haven't seen that sort of thing previously, well... I can't print what I don't get sent.

But I won't play with trolls. Make your case, or quit trolling.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby rust2 » Fri Jul 08, 2016 10:39 pm

FreeTrav wrote: So, yeah, polydice Traveller has been tried. It wasn't the only possibility for polydice, but it was the most likely one to be looked at, and the memory is going to make the old hands a bit leery of anything like it.
I have to admit that I doubt that the epic fail of Traveller 20 has much to do with the use of the d20, I suspect that it was more the fact that it was just another Traveller edition which did more or less only copy the earlier editions without contributing anything truly new and useful.

As for the "dice question", I have played Traveller with its traditional 2d6 system, with the 3d6 system of GURPS Traveller, with the d20 system of Traveller 20 and converted into my own version of a d100 system. I prefer a d100 system, but this is almost certainly just a matter of familiarity (my first roleplaying games used d100 systems) and personal taste, although I feel that a high granularity can be useful for some settings and also that a percentile system is easier to comprehend for many players because the probability of an event is intuitively obvious with an information like "you have a 65% chance". However, I am well aware that other players dislike a d100 system for reasons which are just as good as my reasons are to like it.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FreeTrav » Fri Jul 08, 2016 11:31 pm

rust2 wrote:
FreeTrav wrote: So, yeah, polydice Traveller has been tried. It wasn't the only possibility for polydice, but it was the most likely one to be looked at, and the memory is going to make the old hands a bit leery of anything like it.
I have to admit that I doubt that the epic fail of Traveller 20 has much to do with the use of the d20, I suspect that it was more the fact that it was just another Traveller edition which did more or less only copy the earlier editions without contributing anything truly new and useful.
Oh, I don't think that it was specifically polydice that killed it, either; I tend toward it being the differing philosophies behind the two rulesets, as I outlined. The complexity of the polydice rules certainly didn't help, but I'd put them down near the bottom of the Great Why List Of T20's Failure.

A bad ruleset can kill a game. A mismatch between a ruleset and a setting "ethos" can kill that particular setting with that game, or that particular ruleset with that setting. T20's failure wasn't because D20 is bad rules, it was because the Traveller "ethos" was a mismatch with D20. Contrast that with GURPS Traveller, whose death was more due to lack of ongoing, positive support from SJG than it was any failure of the GURPS system, or any mismatch of the Traveller "ethos" to the GURPS system. I, personally, think that GURPS is more complex than a game system needs to be, but it supports Traveller well enough, and I'm not opposed to playing GURPS Traveller the way I am to playing T20.

But even so, there was more than a little debate over whether GURPS Traveller should or shouldn't be. Ultimately, though, a case was made, and even those opposed to it felt that the case was made well enough to wait and see. And the market looked upon it, and saw that it was good. Which was not what the market did with T20.

So, there's another example of not-2d6 Traveller. Now there's one in each column, success vs failure. But it's still 2d6 that has proven to have the staying power. Again, just make the case for a favorite not-2d6. Don't just tell me "not 2d6!".
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby fusor » Sat Jul 09, 2016 12:57 am

I think T20 failed more because it was simply a bad implementation of d20 rules with Traveller - possibly because it came out rather early in the d20 era, before D20 Modern was released, and it was trying to fit D&D-style rules into Traveller when it could have been a lot more original about it (as later games that came out for the OGL d20 rules were). That and the fact that its main architect was incapable of running his company and couldn't be bothered to pay his authors or fulfil his other obligations.

TNE also was based around a d20 system, I might add.

GURPS Traveller is one of the best implementations of Traveller ever IMO, in terms of the quality of work and the thought put into it. Unfortunately the old guard were mostly offended by its system changes (using GURPS TLs etc) so they largely either ignored it or spent a lot of time slagging it off.

I think it'd be rather oversimplistic to put any edition's success or failure down to what kind of dice they used.
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby Tenacious-Techhunter » Sat Jul 09, 2016 4:00 am

Jeff, maybe you haven’t noticed, but I actually have been making my case; you just never bothered to read; that, or maybe you just don’t know your dice distributions.

2d6: Triangular Distribution averaging around 7, values between 2 and 12
2d6, each marked -3 through 2: Triangular Distribution averaging around -1, values between -6 and 4; eliminates a “phantom subtraction” not tied to any particular stat, and has to be remembered by rote
1d12: Flat Distribution, averaging around 6.5, values between 1 and 12; flattens the distribution
1d12, marked -7 through 4: Flat Distribution, averaging around -1.5, values between -7 and 4; flattens the distribution; eliminates a “phantom subtraction” not tied to any particular stat, and has to be remembered by rote
2d8, each marked 0-7: Triangular Distribution, averaging around 7, values between 0 and 14; broadens the range of values, with potentially greater successes and potentially greater failures
3d4: Normal-like Distribution (like GURPS), averaging around 7.5, values between 3 and 12; normalizes the distribution, tightens the range of values, with potentially greater successes and potentially greater failures; minimum value shifs up a little, may need to start subtracting a larger number
3d6, each marked 0-5: Normal-like Distribution (like GURPS), averaging around 7.5, values between 0 and 15; normalizes the distribution, broadens the range of values, with potentially greater successes and potentially greater failures
5 Fudge Dice (each marked -1, 0, 1): Normal-like Distribution (like GURPS), averaging around 0, with values between -5 and 5; normalizes the distribution, same range of values; eliminates a “phantom subtraction” not tied to any particular stat, and has to be remembered by rote
6 Fudge Dice (each marked -1, 0, 1): Normal-like Distribution (like GURPS), averaging around 0, with values between -6 and 6; normalizes the distribution, broadens the range of values, with potentially greater successes and potentially greater failures; eliminates a “phantom subtraction” not tied to any particular stat, and has to be remembered by rote


Any dice bigger than those would require drastic changes to the rules, and be a bit out-of-bounds without some canonists weighing in on what would be appropriate.

I’m not advocating for any specific change. But my assertion is, the expectation that people would be more comfortable with one type of dice or another is just plain not validated by any serious numbers posted anywhere, and when availability becomes “anything that can be printed”, designers of game systems like Traveller should either reconsider whether 2d6 is the most appropriate dice to be rolled for a game of Traveller, and build the next version of Traveller around those results, or should be prepared with some serious answers as to why, out of all the dice available, 2d6 with those particular faces are the best solution to what dice should be rolled for a Traveller game.

I mean, in theory, we could be assigning different sided dice to different races, or to each stat for those races, or even come up with completely custom dice, complete with custom faces, per race. The options are literally endless now. Dice companies have built business models around buying dice blanks and laser cutting the faces with whatever a customer wants. So hell yeah, I think a little introspection is called for on what is best for Traveller as a game, and not merely as a set of published material.

If you want to call that Trolling, well, I feel bad for you for not recognizing the age we live in, and the state of the industry.
theodis
Weasel
Posts: 42
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby theodis » Sat Jul 09, 2016 10:03 am

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote: If you want to call that Trolling, well, I feel bad for you for not recognizing the age we live in, and the state of the industry.
TT, do you have an intimate knowledge of the industry and especially the state it is in? Not here to be lecturing anyone, but over here in Germany, I do. I'm close friends with some of the people over at Pegasus Press (German publisher for Shadowrun and CoC) and acquainted with the author of Midgard (oldest German RPG) and some of the guys and gals from Splittermond and DSA (yes, we are tight-knit here).

Actually, Jeff made _the_ only point that mattes in this question - taking the state of the industry into account: "But it's still 2d6 that has proven to have the staying power."

There is a slim chance that you might draw a small number of new customers into the game with a new mechanic, but a very good chance of aggravating a large number of long time customers. This is what made the authors of Midgard and DSA thinking twice about changing the clunky mechanics they use for their new versions (they didn't). The author of Midgard especially stated that for his game the D100 mechanics used would better be replaced by a D20, but every gamer he has talked to would immediately stop buying new stuff and probably visit his house with torches and pitchforks. Same for DSA. 3D20 rolled in succession just sucks. But it's this ugly mechanic that makes the game stand apart and the die-hard fans loathe anything else. Again, in an industry where it is next to impossible to recruit _new_ folks, that one is a biggy.

Foilks over at Pegasus weren't especially enthusiastic with new CoC 7th, because - you guessed it - it changes the mechanic. They were sceptical for the same reasons I outlined above.

So there you are. This thread we're writing in only exists because Mongoose made a new version of MgT, with some changes to the mechanics and a license that is hard or impossible to swallow for many people, especially publishers.

The "state of the industry" is that it is a mostly part-time or hobby-driven, tight-knit and for all practical purposes closed community of old-timers with tons of old stuff and without the ability (and will) to draw in new folks.

In such an environment, "backward compatibility" and "economics and convenience" are '800-pound-gorilla' arguments.

kind regards,
Stephan
FallingPhoenix
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 348
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Re: Cepheus Engine

Postby FallingPhoenix » Sat Jul 09, 2016 5:22 pm

Tenacious-Techhunter wrote:Jeff, maybe you haven’t noticed, but I actually have been making my case; you just never bothered to read; that, or maybe you just don’t know your dice distributions.
For whatever it's worth, I missed your point before this post as well and I'd thought I was reading fairly carefully.

Then again, I'm not the most educated guy on the block when it comes to involved discussion.
"We can disagree without being disagreeable." - Gordon B. Hinckley

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