If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

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Moppy
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If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Moppy » Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:42 pm

Expert programs on a hand computer can give a low ranked INT/EDU skill. Wafer-jacks are essentially implanted computers.

Assuming a high tech planet, or a high tech institution like imperial navy, why would anyone learn an INT or EDU skill to low level? Wouldn't everyone be either no rank, or "better than computer" rank?

Do skill wafers actually work properly? Are there long term consequences? Do they have gaps in their knowledge?

Do they still have job specialists or can you use unskilled labor + a skill wafer?
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Old School » Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:55 pm

You have to learn it to a low level before getting to a high level. And not everyone focuses their training / career enough to get to the high levels. And even with a lower level skill, the expert package adds a +1 to the skill you have, instead of using the computer skill level -1. that's a big deal when trying to complete a difficult task. And although its never come up, I'd consider a house rule around certain skills that you can't make a rushed attempt with the computer if you don't have the skill yourself. Expert programs are also very expensive.

Particular to the Navy, I would expect a culture of people knowing how to get things done when the tech isn't working. Doesn't mean they don't take advantage of the tech, but that they expert people not to be reliant upon it.

The wafer jack is an interesting question that I'm sure has been extensively explored somewhere in the traveller-verse. In Agent of the Imperium, wafer jacks were fairly common (i.e. there was always at least one junior officer with a jack so the agent could be uploaded), but most didn't have one. Are they common? Is there a stigma against them? What are the risks of having one? I remember reading somewhere that in most of known space cybernetics is frowned upon except for injury replacement, and even then a visible cybernetic implant would attract stares (they way a prosthetic limb would today). Wafer jacks are fairly discreet but may be viewed the same way in some cultures.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Moppy » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:06 pm

Old School wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:55 pm
Particular to the Navy, I would expect a culture of people knowing how to get things done when the tech isn't working. Doesn't mean they don't take advantage of the tech, but that they expert people not to be reliant upon it.
I mostly agree except for this. If this were true, there would be many more pilots on a (modern) carrier. When you look at the cost, in time and salary, to train specialists to a useful level, it doesn't make sense to give everyone basic education in everything.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Old School » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:19 pm

I think we're on the same page. I'm not saying that everyone would be trained at a low level on everything. That's way too much investment. I'm saying that the imperium navy expects an engineer assigned to the power plant to be able to maintain and repair said power plant even if her iPhone has been fried somewhere along the way.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Condottiere » Sat Jan 26, 2019 5:49 pm

In Sector General, male surgeons have the minds of famous and talented medical practitioners imprinted, being able to juggle temporarily a small cabal before having it erased afterwards; apparently, female minds are unable to psychologically deal with this.

In ShadowRun, you can implant biological and electronic wires and boosters that can practically take over your body and perform that skill autonomously, as demonstrated in the movie Upgrade.

Optimally, I think it works better if you have some knowledge and hands on experience, and the wires and software boost reaction times and physical coordination.

For purely cerebral stuff, as the joke goes, while having a library of law books could be the equivalent of a lawyer's knowledge and education, the lawyer knows for which book, page and probably paragraph to look at.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Galadrion » Sun Jan 27, 2019 5:40 am

I think it's unlikely that unskilled workers with wafer jacks will become the workforce of the future, at least with Traveller economics structured as they currently are. Consider - the wafer jack hardware, alone, amounts to a year or more of the living expenses for the typical low-income worker, and it's not the sort of equipment that the company can readily take back. (That doesn't even include the cost(s) of whatever skills get issued.) It's just too expensive an item to be standard-issue kit for low-level personnel. And as for higher-level people (say, junior officers and such), unless you have some particular need for "modular personnel", I don't believe it would be regarded as cost-effective. You'd probably have some junior-to-mid-level officers/managers who were issued this type of equipment experimentally (in the vein of Geordie LaForge), but overall it's not going to pay off.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:54 am

There are different tiers of wafer.

The basic level has only one skill, the next has several complementary skills and the upper end has the complete skills, memories and personality of the donor.

At high TLs you don't even need a wafer jack implant, there are wearable interfaces.

The downside:
1 - you have no memory of the skill once you stop using the wafer and can gain no expertise in that skill
2 - the 'skill' degrades by one level per day until it has gone (T5 skill level so to convert to CT/MgT it would be five days to lose one skill level)
3 - psychosis risk, dig out your sanity system of choice
4 - there is a risk the wafer can be permanent
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby DickTurpin » Fri Feb 01, 2019 11:50 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 8:54 am
There are different tiers of wafer.

The basic level has only one skill, the next has several complementary skills and the upper end has the complete skills, memories and personality of the donor.

At high TLs you don't even need a wafer jack implant, there are wearable interfaces.

The downside:
1 - you have no memory of the skill once you stop using the wafer and can gain no expertise in that skill
2 - the 'skill' degrades by one level per day until it has gone (T5 skill level so to convert to CT/MgT it would be five days to lose one skill level)
3 - psychosis risk, dig out your sanity system of choice
4 - there is a risk the wafer can be permanent
Since this os the Mongoose Publishign Traveller forum, I think answers should be based on their rules system. T5 has some interesting options available but they are strictly houserule additions when playing using the Mongoose rules. The T5 version is really more of a personality overlay than a skill knowledge base and is handled completely differently.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:50 am

MgT has to obey T5 for OTU compliance, so it is perfectly acceptable if not necessary to adapt T5 to MgT if T5 has rules for OTU stuff that MgT does not.

If you want MgT to publish rules for wafers that are not compliant with T5 than they are not applicable to the OTU.

See the book Agent of the Imperium for the holy writ on the subject...
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Old School » Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:48 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:50 am
so it is perfectly acceptable if not necessary to adapt T5 to MgT if T5 has rules for OTU stuff that MgT does not.
Lol. The reason we use the Mongoose rules is because we don’t want to deal with the hot mess that is T5. Of course its “acceptable”. Any rule you want to implement in your game is acceptable. As for “neccesary”, that’s absurd. If someone wants to tell me my Pirates of Drinax Campaign is not “compliant” with the OTU because of something in T5 (or any reason for thst matter), that’s their burden, not mine.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:09 pm

Old School wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:48 pm
Lol. The reason we use the Mongoose rules is because we don’t want to deal with the hot mess that is T5.
I don't disagree with that sentiment. As a rpg rule system T5 is a completely unplayable mess, but its supporting elements that describe the setting are current canon for the OTU especially MWM's novel Agent of the Imperium.
As for “neccesary”, that’s absurd. If someone wants to tell me my Pirates of Drinax Campaign is not “compliant” with the OTU because of something in T5 (or any reason for thst matter), that’s their burden, not mine.
I disagree, if you want to include Pirates in the Third Imperium OTU then it has to comply with the setting canon. If you want it to be an ATU then it and you can do what you like with it. At my table I pick and choose what I want for the various settings I referee, and as soon as I, or any referee, diverge from 'canon' it becomes MTU.

If you don't like the T5 wafer rules don't use them, but they are how wafer tech works in the universe of the Third Imperium OTU.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Old School » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:47 pm

By that logic there probably hasn’t been a single game set in the OTU in at least 30 years, and certainly not since T5 was released, because inherent contrdictions in both rule system and setting force any referee to choose what to use and what not to, and to make the decisions necesary to actually make it playable. Not much different from any long lived RPG, although the various editions of Traveller have a more convuloted history than most.

Which raises the point that questioning whether a campaign is OTU or not is nonsense. By your standard, It can’t be. Because you can’t actually play the game if it were. But again, that’s your burden, not mine.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby paltrysum » Sat Feb 02, 2019 6:54 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 8:50 am
MgT has to obey T5 for OTU compliance, so it is perfectly acceptable if not necessary to adapt T5 to MgT if T5 has rules for OTU stuff that MgT does not.

If you want MgT to publish rules for wafers that are not compliant with T5 than they are not applicable to the OTU.

See the book Agent of the Imperium for the holy writ on the subject...
Neither T5 nor Agent of the Imperium are required reading for MgT2. You may optionally incorporate them if you want to, but it makes sense for the purpose of this forum to assume the perspective of refs/players who only refer to the MgT2 rules.
Sigtrygg wrote:
Sat Feb 02, 2019 3:09 pm
If you don't like the T5 wafer rules don't use them, but they are how wafer tech works in the universe of the Third Imperium OTU.
I don't think this is another canon debate. I think folks are trying to determine how to play expert programs/wafer jacks as written in the MgT2 rules.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:00 pm

If you want to play/use them within the OTU setting then you adapt the T5 rules.

If you just want generic rules for a generic sci fi setting then you can cast your net wider and rip off other stuff.

The OP mentions the Imperial Navy so I assumed he was asking about the OTU.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Old School » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:19 pm

I’m pretty sure the Imperial Navy is also mentioned in Mongoose rules and supplements. I’m equally sure that this debate is pointless, so I’ll stop here.
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Re: If skill wafers and expert programs work, what's the value of low-ranked int/edu skills?

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:22 pm

There is a generic Imperial Navy in MgT? Really?

I thought the Imperial Navy references always referred to the navy of the Imperium of the Third Imperium setting within MgT books - you live and learn.

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