Additional Characteristics - White Wolf style

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Gee4orce
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:01 am
Location: Terra/Sol (Solomani Rim 1827)

Additional Characteristics - White Wolf style

Postby Gee4orce » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:05 pm

I think Traveller seems a little but unbalanced in it's PC characteristics - at least compared to more modern games. Characters are adequately detailed in their physical capabilities, fairly well covered in terms of the mental stats, but very rough as far as social characteristics are concerned.

It seems though that it should be relatively easy to patch in new characteristics in order to fill the gaps. I'm a real fan of the matrix that White Wolf uses for it's Storyteller system, and it seems that this could be applied to Traveller quite easily.

If you're not familiar with the system, it splits stats into three groups of three: Mental, Social and Physical stats, each of which has an 'Power', 'Finesse' and 'Resistance' characteristic.

Applying this to Traveller is actually quite easy, you have :

STR = Physical Power stat.
DEX = Physical Finesse Stat
END = Physical Resistance stat.

So far, that's identical to the Storyteller system..

INT = probably best represents Mental Finesse
EDU = Mental Power fits best
SOC = this is probably best as a measure of Social Power

so it's clear that Traveller is really missing three stats: Mental Resistance (Willpower ?), Social Finesse (Charisma ?) and Social Resistance (this is a bit harder to name - WW uses 'Composure', 'COM').

Clearly, Charisma is already mentioned in Traveller, as the Vargr replacement for SOC. Here, we'd use it in parallel - which means that Vargr would also get a social standing and humans would have Charisma. The distinction is that Vargr clearly base their social strata around CHA rather than SOC, and vice versa for humans. Droyne's and K'kree's Caste is functionally the same as SOC, so I'd treat is as a straight re-naming.

The way I'd handle character advancement is whenever a +1 SOC is awarded, the player can choose which Social stat to place this in. Same for Mental stats when a +1 EDU or INT is received.

So, what's the advantage of this stat design ? Well, it means that you now have a characteristic that directly determines a characters self-control and resistance to manipulation or interrogation (WIL), their infallibility and self-composure (COM). It means that a Vargr character has a better basis for interacting with humans (both share a CHA stat). It also means that you can stat up an arrogant noble (High SOC, low CHA) or a charming drifter (high CHA, low SOC).

Note also that CHA doesn't necessarily mean 'charming'. I'm sure Darth Vader has high CHA - but it's coloured as domineering and overpowering, rather than suave and subtle.

I've not tried this in practise, but in principle I can't see any major problems with it. It doesn't change the physical stats at all, so there's no impact on damage and injury. The only possible side effect is a watering down of SOC as bonuses in character generation could be split between three stats - however, I don't think that's a bad thing as high SOC characters tend to crop up too frequently for my liking anyway.

Thoughts ?
kristof65
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:04 am

Postby kristof65 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:29 pm

I like Traveller's stats the way they are, myself, particularly Eduction and Social Standing vs the D&D staples of Wisdom and Charisma.

Education is just that - an indicator of how much education a PC has received. It does't try to imply whether or not the PC applies it wisely, nor how they use it at all.

Social Standing is that as well - how connected to society the PC is. Again, it doesn't imply whether they are charming & good looking or ugly & crude, or some other combination.


That, in my opinion, leaves the PCs more open to an actual background and roleplaying, vs playing to the stats I witness a lot in other games.
Gee4orce
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 258
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2004 10:01 am
Location: Terra/Sol (Solomani Rim 1827)

Postby Gee4orce » Fri Feb 13, 2009 4:58 pm

Well, my point wasn't really about changing the stats that Traveller does currently have - I'm fine with them. It was more about placing those stats on a matrix and spotting 'holes' in the coverage, and implementing stats to fill in the gaps.

The way it works currently, Int and Edu are called on for a lot of things where they don't really feel appropriate. Edu for me is about book learning, studying and practical experience, Int about raw mental capability and creativity. But neither of those things indicate if a person is any good at chat-up lines, or whether or not they have a forceful personality, or if they'd crack under pressure....

I totally agree with what you say about Social Standing - it doesn't tell you anything about what kind of a person they are, just what their status is. But I think there's room for a stat or two that DOES tell you what kind of person someone is.
Rikki Tikki Traveller
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3432
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2007 3:20 pm
Location: Arlington, TX USA

Postby Rikki Tikki Traveller » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:06 pm

I have often used the PSI roll as a "Willpower" roll.

Charisma is one stat that I thought Traveller needed.

Persuade skill checks are a perfect example of the need for Charisma.
My friends call me Richard.
You can call me Sir.
kristof65
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 696
Joined: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:04 am

Postby kristof65 » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:09 pm

Gee4orce wrote:But I think there's room for a stat or two that DOES tell you what kind of person someone is.
Sure, if you want. But what I was trying to say is that I like the fact that Traveller's stats don't really tell you what kind of a person a PC is, beyond if they are smart, well-educated and/or of a high social position.
User avatar
alex_greene
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3795
Joined: Sun Dec 21, 2008 11:29 pm
Location: UK
Contact:

Postby alex_greene » Fri Feb 13, 2009 5:59 pm

Good point.

A character can be dumb, socially inept and clumsy, but honourable and compassionate - in stark contrast to the smart, urbane, educated socialite with a surgeon's hands who'd snap your neck in a heartbeat if you got in the way of his plans.

I suppose one could treat Psionic Strength as the equivalent of the Gnosis trait of mages, in that it permits the character to wield an ever-increasing amount of Psi points, and also to wield more Psi in a given combat round as Gnosis goes up, but perhaps at a cost - an increasing DM on the roll to be recognised as a Psionist by one's unworldly air when using Psi powers.

Still, I do like the current system as it stands so far. WW has its systems, and so does Traveller, and ne'er the twain should meet.

But it's a nice idea, and you might consider it for YTU.
Board moderator. Product List [DriveThruRPG]: Blood Path [Legend]; Cosmopolite [Traveller]; Castrobancla [Traveller]
phild
Mongoose
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:28 pm
Location: London, Ingerland

Postby phild » Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:53 pm

It's an interesting idea, but I personally felt that - to some extent - the WW system was an elegant game mechanical idea that was built more on the desire to be symmetrical than a genuine game-play need.

In the Social area, for example, Charisma and Manipulation are largely duplicative, describing a method rather than an effect. Do you want to charm your target or trick him into revealing information. Either way, you get the information, and game mechanically there's little or no distinction. Indeed, in the Scion rulebook I have in front of me, Charisma is linked to "inspiring" while Manipulation is linked to "leadership" - to me, the phrase that comes to mind is "inspirational leadership", a clear demonstration of the massive overlap in conception here. Similarly, when you bolt on Appearance, again, it accomplishes the same results but through physical appearance rather than words. So, once again, game mechanically there is no difference.

In any case, I think the Acting / Opposing / Resisting idea that WW uses for its physical stats, and which I believe originated with Mayfair's DC Heroes game system, is only true for the physical stats and not the others: Appearance does not resist social interaction.

I've often thought that a diplomacy-based game might be fun which basically had a "combat" system for social or mental tasks. Under those circumstances, a symmetry would make more sense, but for a light-touch, general purpose RPG like Traveller I just can't see the point. You want to charm - Persuade or Diplomacy. You want to be quick Witted - Intelligence. You want to be brainy - Education. You want to be perceptive - Recon. Admittedly, it's not perfect, but it keeps things simple!
Kilgs
Stoat
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2007 11:18 pm

Postby Kilgs » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:19 pm

I added Charisma and Perception. Although I toyed with the same idea you had (although I was planning on using Storyteller system).

This was what I came up with:

STR
DEX
END

INT
PERCEPTION
WILLPOWER

CHARISMA
EDUCATION
SOCIAL
AKAramis
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1440
Joined: Fri Aug 25, 2006 5:57 am
Location: Eagle River, Alaska, USA
Contact:

Postby AKAramis » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:33 pm

Kilgs wrote:I added Charisma and Perception. Although I toyed with the same idea you had (although I was planning on using Storyteller system).

This was what I came up with:

STR
DEX
END

INT
PERCEPTION
WILLPOWER

CHARISMA
EDUCATION
SOCIAL
Having used storyteller... http://aramis.hostman.us/trav/WOD_Trav.html
I stuck with the standard 9 storyteller atts.

Strength
Dexterity
Endurance

Intelligence
Perception
Wits

Charisma
Manipulation
Appearance
-AKAramis
==================================================
Never catch a tiger by the tail...
... unless it is sedated or dead.
==================================================
http://aramis.hostman.us
rust
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5941
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:17 pm
Location: Sonthofen / Germany

Postby rust » Fri Feb 13, 2009 11:43 pm

We use modified BRP characteristics:

Strength
Dexterity
Constitution
(plus Size / Body Mass)

Intelligence
Education
Appearance

Power (for "Personality", but also "Luck")

Status / Influence
lurker
Stoat
Posts: 90
Joined: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:22 am
Location: DE, USA

Postby lurker » Sat Feb 14, 2009 12:35 am

I have not created additional characteristics to better define social or mental abilities but I have a list of tendancies that players should decide where their character fits for roleplaying purposes. Examples Introvert/Extrovert, Calm/Excitable, Cheerful/Grumpy, Lawfull/Rebellious, Leader/Follower and so on.

I have added to physical characteristics. Hearing. I would also consider eyesight, smell, and so on if I had a reacuring need for such.
phild
Mongoose
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2008 9:28 pm
Location: London, Ingerland

Postby phild » Sat Feb 14, 2009 10:47 am

Something I *was* considering was adding an additional EDU characteristic, a bit like the PGP add-on for the UWP. At the moment, EDU feels at times to make a slightly clumsy middle ground between representing "Educational Attainment", "Learned Knowledge" and "Ability to Learn / Memory". I was considering separating out the Educational attainment portion from this.

Having said, this is really an issue where access to career paths was EDU-limited (eg to go to Graduate School you need EDU of X), and so far I won't be implementing this idea in MGT.

This is also what I'd be inclined to do with Social Standing and Charisma. In appearance, you'd have the regular UPP, but with 2 hyphened additions: 777777-A7 representing someone who's been through the education system but has come out no smarter than average, 77777A-77 being someone with good social skills but average social standing, and so on. This also allows the bolt on of Alien social characteristics without tampering with the "core" UPP.

Which has got me thinking about the UPP, so I'll post a new thread on that...
Klaus Kipling
Lesser Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 594
Joined: Sat Sep 08, 2007 6:13 pm

Postby Klaus Kipling » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:47 pm

I might add attributes like Perception and Influence. I might even derogate the definition of Social to Social Ability rather than Standing, and then have a Class attribute to cover that other stuff.

I did once come up with a further 6 scores for recording the personality traits of NPC's, which could then be used for calculating Task targets depending on what the characters say and do. I think they were something like:

Caution / Aggression / Honesty / Guile / Lust / Courage

So whether a thug would run or fight when intimidated would be Aggression+Courage-Caution, or whether a 'filly' would give in to a seduction attempt Guile+Caution-Lust, or whether a bureaucrat would take a bribe was Caution+Honesty-Guile. The mean would be 7 in all cases, but the individual variation would be large.

In practice it became a little unwieldy but it would be useful if it was automated in some kind of application
In the end, we're all dead.
rust
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5941
Joined: Sun Feb 17, 2008 10:17 pm
Location: Sonthofen / Germany

Postby rust » Sat Feb 14, 2009 1:58 pm

Klaus Kipling wrote: I did once come up with a further 6 scores for recording the personality traits of NPC's ...
For a short while we used the personality traits system of BRP (basically
the same as in Pendragon), but it proved to be a lot of effort without im-
proving the game in a significant way.

Now we use only single traits (e.g. Impulsive, Lazy, Unreliable ...) for so-
me important NPCs, with a die roll on d20 to determine whether the trait
does have consequences in a specific situation (e.g.: Did the Lazy / 11
mechanic repair the ATV while the player characters were away ?).

Players can also choose to give their characters a small number of traits,
but this is only used as a roleplaying aide, without any influence on the
task system.
User avatar
zorlak21
Stoat
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jan 30, 2009 9:58 pm
Location: Dawsonvelli,GA
Contact:

Postby zorlak21 » Sat Feb 14, 2009 9:59 pm

ok good to no :)
Your The Man now Dog!!!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Greysword, Majestic-12 [Bot] and 17 guests