New Adventure Start: Flatlined

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PsiTraveller
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New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby PsiTraveller » Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:27 pm

So I started a group of players on Flatlined last night. We spent the evening making players and connecting their stories together. The rolls they made will alter the adventure on a few fronts.
I am posting this to ask advice and to just share the fun we are having.

A few oddities:
1: Amazing rolls: A player who has never played Traveller before arrives a little later than the rest of the group. They have already rolled stats. He sits down and asks what to do. I give him 2d6 and say roll 6 times then you place them any way you want for the 6 stats on the sheet. If you roll low you can start again if you want to. The other players had done this because they rolled 3 numbers lower than 5. So the new player rolls a few times and gets a couple of low stats and announces he will roll a new set of numbers.
6 rolls: 3 11's and 3 12's.

We just sat there and stared at him. I announced that Mommy and Daddy had clearly spent some time in the genetics lab and he had more splices in him than a film convention.

2: Combat implants: Another oddity in rolling. Another player played an Army infantry ground pounder. 3 combat implants for benefits. So he has some nice implants with the option of stacking. Subdermal armour and something else.

3: The careers make for an interesting group.
1: Agent /Infantry operative: 6 terms: Military Academy, 3 terms Army, 2 terms Agent (Corporate espionage based). Has TAS membership
2: The Ubermench: 5 terms Went into university for 2 terms and got 4 disciplines: Science robotics, Profession construction (focused on robotics), medic 1 and Engineering: Power Plants. Starting EDU was 11, with graduation bonuses his EDU should end up at 17. Yikes. Went into the Marines as an officer for 3 terms. Finsihed Rank 4 Lt. Colonel in the Marines. Has 5 Allies and an Enemy from Event rolls (Event 6 in University gave him 3 with 1 roll). Has TAS membership
3: Scholar Archaeologist: Based on Renee Belloq from Indianna Jones. University and 3 terms as researcher into alien ruins and technology. He's going to be the morally suspect one I think. No TAS membership, but has 4 ship shares.

A fourth player will be joining next week.

Fun with Connections: The last term for alll the players ended up with a great storyline. The researcher was involved in a clandestine research project, the Agent was involved in uncovering a plot within a secretive research facility. The Uber man rolled a Life Event and got 12 for an odd event, then 1 for Psionic roll. (He failed the roll thankfully). But this let the following story be built.
The Scholar was involved in researching and maintaining the database at a project site that was investigating alien tech that involved psionic power. The Uber player was drafted into the project as a research patient due to his stellar attributes. The experiment was unsuccessful on him, but he met the Scholar and formed a Conenction. The Agent uncovered a plot within the facility and met the other 2. (He had already me the scholar in a previous term, but getting everyone in one spot made the next step easy).

So the plot was uncovered, reports and debriefing followed. The base was tucked away in a backwater system. No TAS facilities for transport. The group remembers a medical checkup before transport back to Tobia and the comforts of high tech life. They remember being given innoculations for Customs inspection, then waking up in a low berth with water up to their ankles. No memory of how they came to be there.


And that is where we left it. Next session I will have the other player make up a character and either put them in a pod next to the others.
Old School
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Old School » Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:23 pm

I’m not sure I’d let the uber player keep those stats. They are overpowering. They also usually result in many more skills, since promotion, survival, and event rolls are passed more easily. But cool that he rolled them up.

The connections are a really cool way to involve players in creating a backstory for the team. That’s my favorite part of Mongoose’s creation system i really like some of the alternatives methods in the Traveller Companion, but when using them I’d really miss the connections part.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Sep 14, 2019 6:23 pm

So far, so good.
Moppy
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Moppy » Sat Sep 14, 2019 7:41 pm

Old School wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 4:23 pm
I’m not sure I’d let the uber player keep those stats. They are overpowering. They also usually result in many more skills, since promotion, survival, and event rolls are passed more easily. But cool that he rolled them up.
If a player legit rolled that in front of the other players using fair dice, it's unfair to ban that character. I suppose you could justify it if you also forced players to re-roll very low scores. This is just one of the things with random generation.
Old School
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Old School » Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:51 pm

It’s unfair that the referee takes away their memories and their shoes and never even gave them a chance to avoid whatever catastrophe has already befallen their ship at the start of the adventure, but that’s the way it goes.
ShawnDriscoll
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat Sep 14, 2019 9:04 pm

Hand of God play will upset some players. With adventure modules, Referees should ask players if the splash page intro sounds interesting enough to start a game from.
PsiTraveller
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby PsiTraveller » Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:11 pm

I am spinning it into a kidnapping/removal of the folks that uncovered the plot from their shared event. They want the players gone. Somebody in the cabal mesedup and got too cute and figured they could sell the group of highly skilled people to the Skill jacking ring and make some extra cash while removing a problem.

So the campaign will now change to a hunt for the kidnappers and revenge on those people. This can work. Everyone has skills that can work to solve the puzzle.
Moppy
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Moppy » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:19 am

Old School wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 8:51 pm
It’s unfair that the referee takes away their memories and their shoes and never even gave them a chance to avoid whatever catastrophe has already befallen their ship at the start of the adventure, but that’s the way it goes.
I don't see the logical connection between the adventure plot and rejecting high character generation dice rolls. You might as well well be saying the game is inherently unequal because one participant has to be the GM.
paltrysum
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby paltrysum » Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:54 pm

The characteristics and skills of the characters are—quite frankly—a bit difficult to manage. With expert programs, augments, most of the armor types available, and dangerous combat rules, a player’s die rolls are not that big of a deal.

Traveller is a game in which the role playing is more important than the die rolling. Sure, you can fail an occasional task roll, but for the most part you’re able to do what you want to do in the game. It’s more about making smart decisions and good plans than having a super character or an average character.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
PsiTraveller
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby PsiTraveller » Mon Sep 16, 2019 1:36 am

That is what I discovered in my Pirates of Drinax campaign. One player went wafer jack and spent thousands on a library of skills. They added a bost to his own skills. Overall it did not make that much of an impact on the game. If I want to raise a challenge it is about storyline and drama, not the result of a roll. The player may get a +1 or +2 on rolls, even a plus 3 on EDU based things, but if I want drama and conflict I have it as plot and not as a failed roll. Failed rolls add the humour and frenzied outbursts at the table as all sorts of unimaginable pratfalls are described after a failed Dex check while trying to do something heroic.


Got the 4th player today. Fighter pilot Naval veteran with questionable life choices in his past. His benefit roll is a small ship, as well as ship shares. So all property will be stored somewhere unsafe with growing storage fees while he tries to figure out why he is standing in water up to ankles next to a malfunctioning low berth. :twisted:
bklokis
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby bklokis » Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:37 pm

PsiTraveller wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:27 pm
A few oddities:
1: Amazing rolls: A player who has never played Traveller before arrives a little later than the rest of the group. They have already rolled stats. He sits down and asks what to do. I give him 2d6 and say roll 6 times then you place them any way you want for the 6 stats on the sheet. If you roll low you can start again if you want to. The other players had done this because they rolled 3 numbers lower than 5. So the new player rolls a few times and gets a couple of low stats and announces he will roll a new set of numbers.
6 rolls: 3 11's and 3 12's.

Are you playing with JMISBEST??
"Every RPG character worth his salt has daddy issues" - Ambrosius Quayle
JMISBEST
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby JMISBEST » Mon Sep 16, 2019 4:00 pm

bklokis wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 3:37 pm
PsiTraveller wrote:
Sat Sep 14, 2019 12:27 pm
A few oddities:
1: Amazing rolls: A player who has never played Traveller before arrives a little later than the rest of the group. They have already rolled stats. He sits down and asks what to do. I give him 2d6 and say roll 6 times then you place them any way you want for the 6 stats on the sheet. If you roll low you can start again if you want to. The other players had done this because they rolled 3 numbers lower than 5. So the new player rolls a few times and gets a couple of low stats and announces he will roll a new set of numbers.
6 rolls: 3 11's and 3 12's.

Are you playing with JMISBEST??
I'm JMISBEST and he's not. Not to mention that most of my seemingly impossible posts are actually true, mainly due to the super-human level of dice related luck that I've been infamous for, to be exact for just over 28.14 of my just under 35.93 years of life, whilst his sound impossible and may well be
Saladman
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Saladman » Mon Sep 16, 2019 6:32 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Sun Sep 15, 2019 11:54 pm
The characteristics and skills of the characters are—quite frankly—a bit difficult to manage. With expert programs, augments, most of the armor types available, and dangerous combat rules, a player’s die rolls are not that big of a deal.

Traveller is a game in which the role playing is more important than the die rolling. Sure, you can fail an occasional task roll, but for the most part you’re able to do what you want to do in the game. It’s more about making smart decisions and good plans than having a super character or an average character.
Having started on the player side, I disagree fundamentally. Rolling a low-powered character honestly and playing alongside one godlike character was extremely frustrating at times. And, yes, I did bring my A-game on thinking of things I could do in character that often did work out, but when you get down to combat or skill checks the fact that I was flatly outclassed was always on the table. In discussions afterward, my GM considered me the most active/clever player at the table, and appreciated that - but never did catch on or care that the power disparity actually did matter to me, or to one player who fell in the middle.

And as a GM now, there's a breakpoint to the game when you get to skill 4 and stat +2 - you simply can't fail an unmodified roll. So the GM starts assigning penalties to difficult skill checks, but that carries over to other characters and shifts their competence level down from what it would be naturally. It's cleaner for me to just not use generation methods that create high powered characters in the first place.
Old School
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Old School » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:15 pm

I agree with saladman. Player balance may not matter to GMs, but it matters to many players. My Drinax Campaign involves very high level characters, which is fine, but a different experience than playing with "by the book" characters. Doesn't matter which way you get there of whether your travellers are average joes or super heros, but if they aren't relatively close in level it makes the game less likely to be enjoyable to everyone.
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby paltrysum » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:49 pm

Good topic of conversation. I think it's also in the interest of referees to have player balance, but unfortunately, Traveller isn't designed to promote it. Rolling 2D six times is going to produce wildly disparate results. You're going to have some weak characters, some middling characters, and some strong ones. Far be it from me to advocate how people run their games, but the RAW produce a pretty big mix. If you prefer a more even starting point, by all means go to point buy or some other method, but I cannot imagine having the conversation with the guy who rolled three 11s and three 12s:

Referee: "Uh, your character is too strong. We need to tamp him down a bit."
Player: "But I rolled him fair and square!"
Referee: "Well, the others are going to feel outclassed."
Player: "How is that my fault? This guy is awesome!"

I think most games have house rules and we do, too. If the character comes out horrifically weak, we typically allow a full reroll. If he's bad in just a few spots, we might allow one characteristic reroll. I just can't imagine asking someone who rolled up a super character to give him up. It's kind of a holy grail in this game.

Traveller as written does not promote—in any way, shape, or form—equality among players. Hence my statement that it doesn't matter. If you play RAW, or any semblance thereof, it can't be allowed to matter.
My published Traveller adventures on DriveThruRPG:
https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse.php ... %20Griffen
Old School
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Old School » Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:39 pm

One of several reasons that no one plays RAW.

You’re right that its not fair to take the great stats away from the player, but if you’re starting a campaign with that character and three other average travellers, you’ve put yourself behind the eight ball right from the beginning.

That traveller will, in all likelihood, come through character creation with 4+ additional skill levels as well due to the greater odds of passing survival, promotion, and event rolls. It is a rare player who is stuck with Joe Schmo in this scenario who’s enthusiasm for your campaign isn’t dampened immediately.

Balance can work both ways. You can allow for rerolls to fix deficiencies. You can also limit the max ability scores as well. Obviously this expectation should be set before rolling the dice.

Heck, I’d even consider allow the uber traveller to trade a couple of characteristic scores with his less fortunate partners, so everyone wins.
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Garran » Tue Sep 17, 2019 2:36 am

One character being stronger overall can still work out as long as every character has some specific area(s) of strength that are relevant to the game, though the wider the spread in numbers, the more difficult this gets. I'm of the feeling that nonrandom methods make for much better games overall, but Traveller is one of those ones where the weight of tradition makes it difficult to change.

That said, if someone has a good enough skill/stat in something that they won't fail a basic roll... then they shouldn't fail a basic roll. Arbitrarily increasing the difficulties in a case like that is not only problematic for game balance, but shifting goal posts like that is liable to antagonize the players.
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:08 am

Old School wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:39 pm
One of several reasons that no one plays RAW.

You’re right that its not fair to take the great stats away from the player, but if you’re starting a campaign with that character and three other average travellers, you’ve put yourself behind the eight ball right from the beginning.

That traveller will, in all likelihood, come through character creation with 4+ additional skill levels as well due to the greater odds of passing survival, promotion, and event rolls. It is a rare player who is stuck with Joe Schmo in this scenario who’s enthusiasm for your campaign isn’t dampened immediately.

Balance can work both ways. You can allow for rerolls to fix deficiencies. You can also limit the max ability scores as well. Obviously this expectation should be set before rolling the dice.

Heck, I’d even consider allow the uber traveller to trade a couple of characteristic scores with his less fortunate partners, so everyone wins.
I totally disagree with all of the above.
Old School
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Old School » Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:31 am

ShawnDriscoll wrote:
Tue Sep 17, 2019 3:08 am
Old School wrote:
Mon Sep 16, 2019 9:39 pm
One of several reasons that no one plays RAW.

You’re right that its not fair to take the great stats away from the player, but if you’re starting a campaign with that character and three other average travellers, you’ve put yourself behind the eight ball right from the beginning.

That traveller will, in all likelihood, come through character creation with 4+ additional skill levels as well due to the greater odds of passing survival, promotion, and event rolls. It is a rare player who is stuck with Joe Schmo in this scenario who’s enthusiasm for your campaign isn’t dampened immediately.

Balance can work both ways. You can allow for rerolls to fix deficiencies. You can also limit the max ability scores as well. Obviously this expectation should be set before rolling the dice.

Heck, I’d even consider allow the uber traveller to trade a couple of characteristic scores with his less fortunate partners, so everyone wins.
I totally disagree with all of the above.
I know.
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Re: New Adventure Start: Flatlined

Postby Linwood » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:55 am

Even one gifted character can’t be everywhere at once. Providing challenges that require the party to do different things in different places at the same time can give the other characters more opportunities to be the heroes of the scene and/or do really cool things. After all, the gifted character might be the one stuck arguing with starport authorities for half a day over exorbitant docking fees (because they’re the best at it and there’s a lot of money involved) while the other players do more interesting things....

Even a gifted character is unlikely to have more than a couple of careers in their background. Consider situational bonuses based on character backgrounds to balance things out a bit. Maybe it’s the ex-Merchant who knows the “grey” business community on a certain world better than anyone else, or the party is visiting a poor belter community that only trusts other belters, or there’s drifter ex-Marine involved who knows something valuable but hates officers.

You could also rule that SOC bonuses are penalties in dealings with the underworld or with poor/desperate communities. That makes the high-ranking noble a burden rather than an asset.

Take advantage of contacts and allies of the other players so their personal relationships help drive the story. That can give them more agency that’s not dependent on the dice.

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