untested house rule

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings

House rule: unskilled penalty equals character's highest skill rank.

I like it, and would use it myself.
0
No votes
I could live with it, but wouldn't push it.
3
33%
Table-flipping time.
5
56%
Special snowflake, see comments.
1
11%
 
Total votes: 9
Saladman
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Location: Southern Oregon

untested house rule

Postby Saladman » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:56 am

House rule: unskilled penalty is the negative of a character's highest single skill rank, instead of a flat -3.

Idea is to level the field between lucky and unlucky character generation, and between retired admirals and shorter term characters.

Critiques? Is this something you would like as a player? Tolerate? Reject?
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: untested house rule

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:33 am

Defiles the laws of fizziks, I think.
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: untested house rule

Postby Reynard » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:08 pm

The universe normally doesn't give everyone a trophy. That's why we have bell curves.
phavoc
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Re: untested house rule

Postby phavoc » Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:51 pm

It would really depend on whether or not they had any sort of related skill to apply. Otherwise an Admiral with 40yrs service is going to be as clueless as an 18yr old when it comes to birthing triplets or some other non-related task. The most educated and skilled character might lose their lunch at the thought of a baby while a youngster with no clue can pull it together and at least not puke.

There's sometimes a tendency to give more deference to longer-serving characters (experience in life, etc), but that's not always a fair assumption. As a rule of thumb the existing rule seems ok. But as the GM, as long as you know where you are going with giving them a better roll, that's ok too. Sometimes you need to bend the story line to get where you need to be.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: untested house rule

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:23 pm

It's kind of like "the higher they are, the farther they fall", rather than "everyone falls the same distance no matter what their height."
Saladman
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Location: Southern Oregon

Re: untested house rule

Postby Saladman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:20 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 7:33 am
Defiles the laws of fizziks, I think.
Reynard wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:08 pm
The universe normally doesn't give everyone a trophy. That's why we have bell curves.
ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:23 pm
It's kind of like "the higher they are, the farther they fall", rather than "everyone falls the same distance no matter what their height."
Well, it's not simulationist/realist, it's game balancing/meta. A way to let characters of different terms and rolls hang in the same party. It could be stated differently as "after connections gain Jack of all Trades at 4 minus highest skill rank" if the expression was the only problem (though I gather it's not).

My most frustrating experience with Traveller was a Classic game where I went Scouts, failed the first term survival roll, then found out the GM treated a failed survival roll as mustering out and entering play. Meanwhile someone else was rolling in the corner chortling to themselves, and came up with the stereotypical retired admiral. "That's realistic, of course the Admiral has more skills than the one term Scout!" Yeah, but realism wasn't my problem, nor was my problem that we weren't perfectly balanced, my problem was I was worse at literally everything, including my two skills, than the admiral was.

Nevertheless, this answers my question. It raises a separate question, though. Do you guys balance player characters against each other in any way? Limit on the number of terms, rolling a second character if you're not happy, something else? If one player gets the short end of the stick somehow, is that just their fault for not nudging the dice and you assume they're playing what they want to, or no?
ShawnDriscoll
Cosmic Mongoose
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Re: untested house rule

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:58 am

I don't balance anything for my games. Players either want to role-play the character they have, or they make a new one they might like better. Task checks are not binary pass-fail-only in my games. Any character will work in my games.
DickTurpin
Banded Mongoose
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Re: untested house rule

Postby DickTurpin » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:44 am

It seems the problem was a GM that forced you to begin play too early. The way to counter a disliked house rule is to use the character generation rules as they are written, not make up even more house rules. That way madness lies.

Character balance is a bit of an issue in Traveller. Many other games try to force balance among different player, with debatable success; while Traveller takes a more realistic "the universe doesn't care if you're not the best" stance. There are a few ways a GM can address an extreme imbalance however. Re-rolling low stats, or granting one of more boon dice to really low characteristics are possible. Choosing skills rather than random rolls, term limits to avoid "ten-term terrors", and/or a complete redo on chargen can also be used.
Reynard
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Re: untested house rule

Postby Reynard » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:58 am

I learned after many trials to balance a game for the players not write a game for the more experienced characters. Everyone gets to participate and feel useful. Not every task must be Difficult, which I personally experienced. Traveller especially should encourage role playing rather than just die rolling. Sometimes the player with the less experienced character can come up with brilliant stuff to move the game along.

When all else fails then balance the team by making character generation have a mandatory number of terms to meet and survival failures are just a mishap.
Sigtrygg
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Re: untested house rule

Postby Sigtrygg » Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:09 pm

I don't balance the player characters ever, if someone generates a three term other, another generates a seven term army vet and yet another has a single term scout that is what they make the party out of.

Life is not balanced or fair.
Condottiere
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Re: untested house rule

Postby Condottiere » Thu Jan 17, 2019 10:30 am

It tends to be a question of what the players feel comfortable with.

Withina specific career path, Traveller's character generation is meant to be random, and Mongoose has tweaked it by adding skill packs for particular adventure parties, to ensure required skillsets are available.

If you take the GURPS model, it isn't necessary that every player have their characters take the maximum number of points if they don't want to, though the temptation to do so tends to be overwhelming.
dragoner
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Re: untested house rule

Postby dragoner » Thu Jan 17, 2019 3:59 pm

Saladman wrote:
Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:20 am
Well, it's not simulationist/realist, it's game balancing/meta. A way to let characters of different terms and rolls hang in the same party. It could be stated differently as "after connections gain Jack of all Trades at 4 minus highest skill rank" if the expression was the only problem (though I gather it's not).

My most frustrating experience with Traveller was a Classic game where I went Scouts, failed the first term survival roll, then found out the GM treated a failed survival roll as mustering out and entering play. Meanwhile someone else was rolling in the corner chortling to themselves, and came up with the stereotypical retired admiral. "That's realistic, of course the Admiral has more skills than the one term Scout!" Yeah, but realism wasn't my problem, nor was my problem that we weren't perfectly balanced, my problem was I was worse at literally everything, including my two skills, than the admiral was.

Nevertheless, this answers my question. It raises a separate question, though. Do you guys balance player characters against each other in any way? Limit on the number of terms, rolling a second character if you're not happy, something else? If one player gets the short end of the stick somehow, is that just their fault for not nudging the dice and you assume they're playing what they want to, or no?
I don't go for that house rule. Per the Admiral and the Scout, I also don't like Admirals in games, vs someone having a Scout, I'd have let you roll another, or go for another career. I used to have a player who was pretty ruthless on calling out players with Generals and Admirals, tease them with the "Pirates of Penzance" - "I am the version of a modern major general ..." song. So yes, I guess I do balance some, by putting a cutoff, often in term limits; except I give back in skill packages and connection skills. Nevertheless, the player playing the character they want is most important, and I put parameters on the game, usually such as gritty hard SF, no psi, etc.. That way people know what they are getting into.
HeadlessGunner
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Re: untested house rule

Postby HeadlessGunner » Fri Jan 18, 2019 6:47 am

It is your universe. If a given skill is needed, make sure one of the characters attend community college or trade school to pick up the basic level 0 skill. The other choice is to make sure there is more than one way
to resolve the challenge. If you are not sure, ask yourself what Captain Kirk would do?
My house rule accentuates the Fiction part of SciFi. My players want to play HEROs, not malnurished, uneducated, refugees. The character stats are 7 thru 12, assigned as they wish. I coach the noobs to make sure
they can make the survival rolls needed to stay in their professions.
Linwood
Banded Mongoose
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Re: untested house rule

Postby Linwood » Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:17 pm

In a campaign you can create training and experience rules that balance things a bit. Setting things up so that the 2-term ex-Scout learns new skills faster than the 7-term ex-Admiral can make less-experienced characters more fun for some players.

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