Armor with on-board computer

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
mac40k
Shrew
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:04 am

Armor with on-board computer

Postby mac40k » Mon Mar 05, 2018 3:40 pm

Battle Dress in the core book says it has an on-board Computer/2 giving tactical advice and updates. The Central Supply Catalog lists several other types of armors with computers. Computers are rated by their processing score and software by its bandwidth requirements. However, I don't see anything in the software section of either book that addresses the type of capabilities that Battle Dress supposedly has. The closest I can get is an Intelligent Interface/1 paired with an Expert/1. My problem is that the description of Expert says it provides the ability to use a single skill (at bandwidth -1) or provides a DM+1 if the character already has the skill. The appropriate skill could be Tactics for a commander, Recon for a scout, and either Gun Combat or Heavy Weapons for a grunt.

What I'm trying to figure out is how this translates into "tactical advice" that the player can use. Per the rules a scout's player can decide he wants his PC to check the surrounding area for threats before signalling the rest of the force forward and then use his on-board computer to help him do that. However, that still leaves it up to the player to decide to take the specific action. When I read "gives tactical advice and updates" I think more of the situation where the on-board computer is using the suits other systems, such as sensors to proactively perform Recon on the characters behalf, which implies that the GM has determined that there is info that could benefit the character/player and can use the on-board computer to supply it. It breaks immersion to simply call for a Recon check that may fail, leaving the player with the meta-knowledge that there must be something worth noting, even though his character remains clueless. I suppose this might be a case where the GM decides that simply having the appropriate Expert software is all that is required for the character to obtain the info, possibly with just some basic info while withholding more detailed info until the player decides to act on the intel provided by the computer by asking if they can make a skill check to gain more detail. In either case, this implies the GM knowing what PC skill and/or Expert software a character has that may be applicable to the current location/situation and leveraging that knowledge for the PC/player's benefit.

I'm new to MongTrav2, so this may be something that is obvious to long time players, but I'm struggling with how to portray the fiction of giving tactical advice and updates with the mechanics of the rules.
BigDogsRunning
Mongoose
Posts: 125
Joined: Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:54 pm

Re: Armor with on-board computer

Postby BigDogsRunning » Tue Mar 06, 2018 12:29 am

I usually keep a little matrix with appropriate information handy behind my screen (or on my computer) so I know what characters capabilities are. This lets me make rolls to determine basic passive information that they might have, that might prompt an check to actively look, or make use of sensors, etc.

You can use this for more that just tactics/recon/etc. I generally keep track of most of the players skills, so, if a group is exposed to something to see or hear, I can make one roll and compare to everyone's mods to determine who all sees/hears something. I also do it to track what other information people might be passively gathering based on their characters skills. An engineer might notice, in passing, something out of place that a non-skilled character wouldn't. If I determine a roll is necessary, I roll, if not, I just tell them what they have noticed and they can choose to investigate or not. This seems to help maintain immersion, and moves the story along. I'm not a big fan of having people make lots of rolls for routine things. Nor, making everything heavily consequential and requiring skill rolls for every little thing.

It depends heavily on what kind of game you want to run. If you are running a story based game, then generally the routine things are just that, routine. Let the pilot land the ship without requiring a roll, unless their is some circumstance, known or unknown, that will both impact the performance of the task, and provide a consequence.

"If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don't put it there." - Anton Chekhov

The rules are there merely to help abstract the game-world and help you adjudicate things. Use what you need.
baithammer
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 647
Joined: Wed May 31, 2017 2:21 am

Re: Armor with on-board computer

Postby baithammer » Tue Mar 06, 2018 2:53 am

The effect is from what you described with intellect and expert program.
steve98052
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 776
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Armor with on-board computer

Postby steve98052 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:19 pm

One way to handle passive checks is to have players roll them in advance. For example: "Everyone roll for Recon and write down your degree of success or failure. Then when the passive check comes around, peek at the rolls to see whether anyone notices.

You can do that with all sorts of checks. For example, suppose that used laser rifle has a flaky power pack that the buyer didn't notice when it was purchased. Have the new owner roll for the weapon skill. On a success, next time everyone readies weapons for a possible sticky situation, you can say, "The power indicator reads 40 percent, so count your shots." If the player replies, "I just said that I recharged it as soon as I bought it; look, I marked it on the item sheet," you can reply, "Yes you did, but it says 40 percent now." Then it's up to the player to puzzle over whether someone shot targets without permission or it's on the blink.
Varulv
Weasel
Posts: 32
Joined: Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:16 pm

Re: Armor with on-board computer

Postby Varulv » Wed Mar 07, 2018 9:04 pm

There was a post in the Traveller RPG group on Facebook with a short novel about a marine in dire straits who uses the capabilities of the battle-dress computer in ways that my player’s would never come close to figure out (neither would I if I had been a player).

I don’t know if the author is a member on this forum or not but I hope he doesn’t mind if I share his link: The Frozen Watch.

I really enjoyed reading it and I can highly recommend it, well worth the time! :-)
mac40k
Shrew
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 12:04 am

Re: Armor with on-board computer

Postby mac40k » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:40 pm

Unfortunately, that's a closed group on FB and I'm not interested in joining just to see a single post. Thanks though!

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