High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

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MongooseMatt
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High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby MongooseMatt » Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:12 am

Good morning, fellow Travellers!

This will be a little way down the road yet, but we are looking at doing an update on the current High Guard. So, we come to you for comments!

You have been using High Guard for a few years now, so we would like to hear any thoughts you have with regards to anything that has irked you, anything that needs changing, or anything that absolutely must not be changed. This is not a new edition but it will be a thorough update.

Thus far, we already have:

* New expanded rules for sensor operations.
* Expansion on crew roles.
* Combine spacecraft and space station construction rules.
* Update ships stats - no more unarmoured warships for a start...
* Yes, everything will have 2D deck plans :)
* Belt mining will be coming out (and getting its own book in the future).
* Capital ship battles will be changed with an easier fleet battles system.

Let us hear what you think!
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OrdosMalleus
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby OrdosMalleus » Tue Aug 03, 2021 11:39 am

Expanded boarding actions rules (including if the PCs are involved). Including rules for things like why a cutlass is a good choice for on-board fighting and an assault rifle is not.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Sigtrygg » Tue Aug 03, 2021 12:11 pm

More clarification over which tech is Third Imperium compliant and which isn't.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby cunningrat » Tue Aug 03, 2021 3:30 pm

"Expansion on crew roles" -- Please consider including more actions each role can take. I have 6 players: 2 of them sit there and twiddle their thumbs during starship combat, and 2 more are limited to a single yes/no decision. This is not optimal for keeping players engaged.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby adzling » Tue Aug 03, 2021 4:10 pm

- task chains for common spaceship operations and situations (i.e. using a nearby planet's gravity for acceleration/ braking, using a nearby asteroid to hind behind, etc).

- more uses for the Comms specialization

- a few "how to" sections for common stuff (how to break into a spaceship, how to tail a ship, how to catch another ship, how to lose another ship, etc).
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Condottiere » Tue Aug 03, 2021 8:50 pm

This is easily mounted on a ship by adding an additional reaction drive. Ship architects should note that a reaction drive used as a high burn thruster is likely to require far less fuel than a ship that relies on a reaction drive alone for thrust.


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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Aug 04, 2021 1:21 pm

MongooseMatt wrote: * New expanded rules for sensor operations.
Balanced sensor DMs to make Stealth possible even against warships, at least at extended range?
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby AnotherDilbert » Wed Aug 04, 2021 1:23 pm

Sigtrygg wrote: More clarification over which tech is Third Imperium compliant and which isn't.
Seconded.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:13 pm

AnotherDilbert wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 1:21 pm


Balanced sensor DMs to make Stealth possible even against warships, at least at extended range?
Unless you have some sort of magic technology there is no stealth in space. So the requirement is to once and for all settle a long unanswered question - in a Third Imperium setting where does all the waste heat go?
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Sigtrygg » Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:14 pm

Which brings me to my pet bugbear-

a sidebar or extended section on 'realistic' vs cartoon cinematic ship combat and how to dial between the two.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby paltrysum » Wed Aug 04, 2021 6:54 pm

Sigtrygg wrote:
Wed Aug 04, 2021 2:14 pm
Which brings me to my pet bugbear-

a sidebar or extended section on 'realistic' vs cartoon cinematic ship combat and how to dial between the two.
Not a bad idea at all. So are you referring to vector-based combat or just something more general to say how realistic combat is more “Run Silent, Run Deep” than “Star Wars”?
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Condottiere » Wed Aug 04, 2021 7:58 pm

More importantly, examples of how the game mechanics actually work.

As they do in GURPS.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Geir » Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:56 am

The Naval Campaign rules sort of belong in a generic High Guard Book, or box, in addition to their current home in the Element cruiser set. It least it would make sense and provide a bigger audience for naval adventures. Related rules around morale bonuses based on the quality and size of accommodations would be helpful as well, so an architect can look at the tradeoff of cramming people in barracks or offering everyone a full stateroom, adequate common space, and a biosphere or two. Gaming space is an odd-hang-on that should just go.

As for vector-based movement. I would be in favor of it, but the question of how much realism to implement remains. Never mind 3D, but even in 2D, "true" vector movement would only allow half the distance of the movement generated a turn of thrust to be plotted in that turn and then the whole effect to be felt in subsequent rounds, so some sort of compromise system might be needed - or a record-keeping method. And perhaps a finer scale than 1 square (hex?) = 1250km - or else poor Beowulf's movement couldn't be accurately plotted.

One good thing about a vector based movement scheme is that it would eliminate most dogfights - except at low velocities around worlds or installations, or in some sort of stern chase situation. In most encounters, those fighters would need to spend a lot of time trying to match vectors , or else the dogfight would in effect become single round strafing runs with a many round turn-around - which would be more accurate and tactically interesting, in my opinion.

I second the crew role clarity with the comment that crew staffing also need to be reviewed - especially for military ships. There is no requirement for sensor operators and it seems odd that the single most important absolutely necessary position on a starship - the astrogator - wouldn't have some redundancy built in. The hard line of crew reduction at 5000 tons needs to be smoothed out. (for that matter, going back to version one ship construction times needs to be considered - or is that a Trillion credit squadron thing that - hey, that belongs in a Highguard box set, too!). Morale and efficiency rules for large ship crews should also be related to staffing. The automation rules added in the Companion should be in as well (and that reminds me: the Cannonade needs to have a defined mass).

Clarity on range limitations would help. it is my assumption, RAW, that A) missiles launched from firmpoints do not suffer from firmpoint range limitations (therefore missile-armed fighters could engage from very long range) and B) fixed mounts never need gunners (so a fixed mount on a ship could mount hold missile racks at 12 missiles each per 100 tons with no need for a gunner at all. Not sure if that is actually the intent, in either case. And my favorite bugbear: how many airlocks do you really get for 'free'?

I'm sure there's more... this was only going to be a short response, but then I started thinking (ranting?) Yeah, well. Maybe I can help fix it.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Geir » Thu Aug 05, 2021 3:15 am

A haiku on Large bays:

They take up much space
But hardly get a bonus
Except for missiles

(yes, I should examine the label on my meds, but really, large bays = 1/7th the size of a spinal mount, but at best (fusion) only 1/50th the damage potential (okay, slightly more because of the +1, but still - that's a medium range weapon) (and another aside: can Advanced and Primitive weapon option be applied to spinal mounts, in addition to, or in place of, TL advantages, because I really want a Very Long range spinal - particle beams (except spinal) are Very Long by default, and you'd think with a bigger diameter tube you would get more range) (maybe I should number my asides for clarity. Here's another: why no laser bays? (Except those odd High Tech ones that make no sense since you can't squeeze a photon out of a neutron (okay not strictly true as 1/1000 decays spits out a gamma ray, but that seems inefficient)))

I think I got the parentheses right there, but then again my FORTRAN programs rarely ever compiled in Computer 101 c.1984... (no, not punch cards: VT220s to a CDC mainframe - though I could log on from the basement of my dorm with a 300 baud acoustical coupler - checking the label on the pill bottle now...)
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby GamingGlen » Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:44 am

Geir wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:56 am
One good thing about a vector based movement scheme is that it would eliminate most dogfights - except at low velocities around worlds or installations, or in some sort of stern chase situation. In most encounters, those fighters would need to spend a lot of time trying to match vectors , or else the dogfight would in effect become single round strafing runs with a many round turn-around - which would be more accurate and tactically interesting, in my opinion.
It's actually quite boring. I've been playing either Full Thrust or Starmada, we use the cinematic movement, but I've tried the zoom and boom attack method. It's pretty much 4-7 turns of boring movement with 1 turn of attack dice rolling.

I've played with the Full Thrust vector movement system a little, it works well, but I cannot get others to try it. It is more cumbersome to play. If a simpler version of Mayday could be made that might work better, if it can be made simpler.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby GamingGlen » Thu Aug 05, 2021 8:02 am

Something I've wanted to do is to modify Traveller's weapons' paradigm into a more Star Trek style: less pew-pew lasers and instead larger main weapons. I suppose it would involve not bothering with turreted weapons, they cannot do enough damage to penetrate Star Trek-style shields, and using only bay weapons. I always figure Star Trek is more TL 18+, but I'd like to see it in the TL12+ range.

This would probably be something for an "alternate universes" chapter, which could include other alternate universes, with the names scrubbed off of course. ;)
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Geir » Thu Aug 05, 2021 4:41 pm

GamingGlen wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:44 am
Geir wrote:
Thu Aug 05, 2021 2:56 am
One good thing about a vector based movement scheme is that it would eliminate most dogfights - except at low velocities around worlds or installations, or in some sort of stern chase situation. In most encounters, those fighters would need to spend a lot of time trying to match vectors , or else the dogfight would in effect become single round strafing runs with a many round turn-around - which would be more accurate and tactically interesting, in my opinion.
It's actually quite boring. I've been playing either Full Thrust or Starmada, we use the cinematic movement, but I've tried the zoom and boom attack method. It's pretty much 4-7 turns of boring movement with 1 turn of attack dice rolling.

I've played with the Full Thrust vector movement system a little, it works well, but I cannot get others to try it. It is more cumbersome to play. If a simpler version of Mayday could be made that might work better, if it can be made simpler.
There are definitely pros and cons to a vector-based movement system. I like the 'realism', but yes, it can be boring and frustrating. What gets lost in the vector based thing is the character's Tactics(naval) skill, as the positioning of ships is going to be based on the player and referee's ability to maneuver the ships. Ideally, there could be multiple modes to consider. The capital ship battles system in current High Guard (which I've never actually tried) could be a good basis for the 'abstract' maneuver system - though I would like break it into smaller "thrust unit" hexes, but I haven't thought that through to see if it is practical, though.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby paltrysum » Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:02 pm

Going vector-based really isn't in the cards for MgT2 space combat. They've gone for a more action-oriented, theatrical approach, and I think that's the right move given that more people want playable games that pay homage to physics than they do actual, detailed, blow-for-blow realistic mechanics that take ten times as long to execute. That said, vectors need to be brought into play in some fashion, if only to at least point out that that's how things work.

One situation that we've run into with Traveller space combat is that is presupposes that both participants in a space battle want to fight each other. What about when one of them just wants to run like hell for jump point? Do you employ vectors in that instance? For example, is your manoeuvre-1 Beowulf crossing one hex in the first turn, two in the second, three in the third, etc., thereby hastening its arrival at 100 diameters? Allowing this then adds complexity to combat sessions when players want to employ some aspect of those vector rules when it suits them – but still fight their opponent – which the current rules really do not support.

Having played Brilliant Lances some years ago, I do think vector-based games are cool, but they take an exorbitant amount of time and take away from what Traveller purports to be: a TTRPG, not a strategy game.
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Sigtrygg » Thu Aug 05, 2021 6:53 pm

So basically all you are after is a cartoon physics cinematic system - no thanks.

It is perfectly possible to base an rpg ship combat resolution system on 'real' physics that emphasizes player actions
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Re: High Guard Update - Comments Needed!

Postby Geir » Thu Aug 05, 2021 7:52 pm

Even without vectors (which I think should still be there as an optional system - like capital ship battles), a 'one dimensional' grid based on the thrust needed to change ranges should be included. I've seen some home-brewed versions of this, and it could be used for vectors as well with one-on-one combats. Missile 'trails' added to this sort of system would also help clarify when a 6/10/15 g missile actually hits the target.

It does come down to gaming style: 'Table top' means different things to different people. It could be as detailed as Mayday or Brilliant Lances (I have the boxes for both, but never actually played the latter), or it could be as simple as keeping distances in your head and rolling two dice and saying, 'Yep, that hit'. It's a style thing - different for every playing group, and it would be good to have some parameters that cover the spectrum of table top styles. Or else, as an extreme, it becomes a computer-based game with three dimensional vectors, and as cool as that would be, it would be Traveller-derived, not Traveller as a RPG in which space combat may sometimes occur. The same thing holds true for just plain ground combat - I'm a fan of the old (and still current) TFT system based on the original Melee and Wizard, from back when it was Metagaming and they came in little plastic pouches - a table top (there's that term again) combat system that evolved into an RPG.
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