Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

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Putraack
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Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Putraack » Mon Dec 16, 2013 7:10 pm

I'm starting a new group; they are all new to Traveller, and I am sorta new-- ran one game last year. The good news is that most of them enjoyed character rollups, and also that they embraced the concept that high-tech gear can provide the same kinds of edges that magic will in fantasy games.

We've hit a snag. Two of them have hardly any combat skills, but they do have money to buy doo-dads for their weapons, and understanding the computer and intelligent weapon rules is hitting us hard.

Say we have a character with NO Gun Combat skill, and all the money he needs to buy a tricked-out gun. What will he be rolling against to hit anything? If an Expert program can only boost Int- or Edu-based skill checks, is there such a thing as an Expert (Gun Combat) program? If so, can it help him shoot at all?

Without skills, I understand that he'll have a -3 DM (assuming no Dex modifier). Beyond that, I am lost.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Dave Chase » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:33 pm

Available today (which means they should be available in the future))

http://tracking-point.com/

So, there should be no reason that something like that in a smaller package work for pistols too.

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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby CosmicGamer » Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:46 pm

It's a role playing game.

Should a character with absolutely no combat skill or even target shooting experience be planning out the details of how best to fight, know what weapons are best in what situations, the best way to customize them, optimal ranges, and so on? Sounds like a good role playing experience. Perhaps the players character interacting with a gun merchant.

Merchant "You'll need this, and this, and this, and everybody uses one of these."
Selling the newbie every possible gizmo they can.

But as far as the players go, it is 100% understandable that you want and may need to know the details.

The example on page 102 (of my core rulebook) talks about the intelligent weapon allowing the gun to fire itself. It also mentions giving the character a +1DM to their attacks.

Game mechanics are just game mechanics. I'm always trying to put things into role playing perspective. Does accuracy increase if someone accounts for distance, wind speed, atmospheric density and so on? Yes. Is this dexterity? No. Would an Intelligent add on that can assist even an experienced shooter with gathering the data and doing the calculations, perhaps even automatically adjusting the sights be using a dex skill?

The way I rule it, so that both the rules and realistic role playing are both satisfied for me, is that you are not adding a computer to the weapon, you are adding Intelligent Weapon. The Intelligent Weapon has sensors, a computer, and other components. The Intellegent Weapon gives the +DM bonus to the character if appropriate software is loaded. It's more like a +DM because you have a piece of equipment, like a scope, rather than a DM based on the software by itself.

Does any of that make sense?

Do any of the books have a mechanized tripod mount for an Intelligent weapon so that it has better "dex" when firing sans character?
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:31 pm

Putraack wrote:Say we have a character with NO Gun Combat skill, and all the money he needs to buy a tricked-out gun. What will he be rolling against to hit anything? If an Expert program can only boost Int- or Edu-based skill checks, is there such a thing as an Expert (Gun Combat) program? If so, can it help him shoot at all?

Without skills, I understand that he'll have a -3 DM (assuming no Dex modifier). Beyond that, I am lost.
I'm trying to imagine a character who knew nothing about guns that would be a gun nut.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Putraack » Mon Dec 16, 2013 11:20 pm

CosmicGamer wrote:It's a role playing game.

Should a character with absolutely no combat skill or even target shooting experience be planning out the details of how best to fight, know what weapons are best in what situations, the best way to customize them, optimal ranges, and so on? Sounds like a good role playing experience. Perhaps the players character interacting with a gun merchant.

Merchant "You'll need this, and this, and this, and everybody uses one of these."
Selling the newbie every possible gizmo they can.
Yeah, something like that's probably going to happen....
But as far as the players go, it is 100% understandable that you want and may need to know the details.

The example on page 102 (of my core rulebook) talks about the intelligent weapon allowing the gun to fire itself. It also mentions giving the character a +1DM to their attacks.
Unfortunately, other rules say other things, too, and I can't figure out which is what.

The way I rule it, so that both the rules and realistic role playing are both satisfied for me, is that you are not adding a computer to the weapon, you are adding Intelligent Weapon. The Intelligent Weapon has sensors, a computer, and other components. The Intelligent Weapon gives the +DM bonus to the character if appropriate software is loaded.
Ah, but which software is appropriate? I can have the merchant mentioned above sell him Agent, Intellect, and Expert programs, but as a GM, I need to know which ones are which. (I'm certain the desktop I'm writing from has lots of things loaded on it that do nothing for me.) But if this PC has enough Computer skill to know the difference, I've got to be able to answer the same question.
ShawnDriscoll wrote: I'm trying to imagine a character who knew nothing about guns that would be a gun nut.
That would be any of my 15-year-old son's friends, who know a lot of guns from playing computer games, but have never shot, or know the historical/technical details of the firearms.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Dec 17, 2013 3:12 am

Gun Combat - (as opposed to Gun Combat 0) gives a target number of 11+, modified by DEX, equipment, and circumstances.

If he really wants to play the clueless noob with a huge, overloaded, "fancy gun", rule that he is only earning weeks of training time when he actually uses it in combat. If he wants to get past that stage, start training (to a zero) normally as soon as play starts. That much enthusiasm will eventually be good for something.

Also, make him take a straight-up roll of 8+ the first time he actually puts someone in the sights and has his finger on the trigger (UNLESS he has other weapon skills already) just to pull the trigger. The abstract thought of shooting someone and the actual reality of that first combat shot can be jarring psychologically.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby darue » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:01 am

some of that software is really for Ships more than a gun. I don't think many guns are envisioned running Intellect.

Now, why not have him be a drone nut instead. There are little flying combat drones he could command, and tinker with and modify etc... He'd have a little control interface and hide, while using the drone sensors to designate targets, move the drones around, etc.

beyond that, just have it that he "takes a class" and next session play starts up say 60 days gametime later and he now has GunCombat-1 and some good number of credits poorer.

and depending on how you feel about skill advancement, another character with Instruction skill could get him to level 0 fairly quickly.

(of course, a character with an intelligent talking gun is a somewhat interesting concept. Just as long as it doesn't eat souls to regen him too :wink: and what if the gun doesn't want to fire one time? Will it someday give birth to baby pistols?)
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby AdrianH » Tue Dec 17, 2013 10:42 am

So the character has a nice new intelligent gun. Unfortunately it was made by Sirius Cybernetics. :twisted:
"I don't want to shoot that target. That one is so much more interesting!"
"Hey, it's exactly one year since you bought me! What? You forgot? Just for that, I'm not even going to load until you buy me a present."
"I'm getting bored, can we shoot someone?" (And half a dozen security guards in the bank you're visiting suddenly take an interest.)

Suggestion for a new Career book: AI weapon. If there's an AI gun available, I don't want to buy it, I want to play it. :twisted:
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby GypsyComet » Tue Dec 17, 2013 12:02 pm

darue wrote: Now, why not have him be a drone nut instead. There are little flying combat drones he could command, and tinker with and modify etc... He'd have a little control interface and hide, while using the drone sensors to designate targets, move the drones around, etc.
There a good skill for that? TNE had RCV (Remote Control Vehicle) Ops, but I think it was the only one.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Putraack » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:27 pm

I seem to have miscommunicated. My questions are not about roleplaying the character at all, it's about the game's rules for an intelligent weapon, the game's rules for computers and programs, and especially the game's rules that indicate one might buy a gun that can shoot itself, but which contradict that possibility.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby alex_greene » Tue Dec 17, 2013 1:52 pm

GypsyComet wrote:There a good skill for that? TNE had RCV (Remote Control Vehicle) Ops, but I think it was the only one.
Traveller Core Rulebook, p. 57, the Remote Operations skill.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby alex_greene » Tue Dec 17, 2013 2:07 pm

Putraack wrote:I seem to have miscommunicated. My questions are not about roleplaying the character at all, it's about the game's rules for an intelligent weapon, the game's rules for computers and programs, and especially the game's rules that indicate one might buy a gun that can shoot itself, but which contradict that possibility.
This is where your Referee may have to decide to make rulings.

Already, sights and scopes on guns are becoming terrifyingly smart, and it shouldn't be too hard to envisage guns equipped with targeting sensors that compute angles and distances to target, recognising faces and computing optimum solutions to compensate for ambient conditions such as dim lighting, operator shake and target movements. I mean, they already have that kind of technology with commercial cameras.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby DickTurpin » Tue Dec 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Putraack wrote:I'm starting a new group; they are all new to Traveller, and I am sorta new-- ran one game last year. The good news is that most of them enjoyed character rollups, and also that they embraced the concept that high-tech gear can provide the same kinds of edges that magic will in fantasy games.

We've hit a snag. Two of them have hardly any combat skills, but they do have money to buy doo-dads for their weapons, and understanding the computer and intelligent weapon rules is hitting us hard.

Say we have a character with NO Gun Combat skill, and all the money he needs to buy a tricked-out gun. What will he be rolling against to hit anything? If an Expert program can only boost Int- or Edu-based skill checks, is there such a thing as an Expert (Gun Combat) program? If so, can it help him shoot at all?

Without skills, I understand that he'll have a -3 DM (assuming no Dex modifier). Beyond that, I am lost.
First thing, have you already used one of the Skill Packages (Core Rule Book, p. 37/38)? Many of those options include Gun Combat, so at least one of the characters can get the skill for free.

In any case, a character without the Gun Combat skill will have a few choices to make:

The easiest thing to do is to start training Gun Combat immediately, in a few weeks it will no longer be a problem. No trainer is needed to pick up this skill, just time and effort.

He could also use a weapon with the Intelligent Weapon upgrade (CRB, p. 102). That upgrade, and the example "Erik's Custom Gun" below it, violate the rule on page 92 that Expert programs can only be used with Int or Edu based skills. The rules in Book 9: Robot seem to do away with that restriction for robots and drones so perhaps the rule only applies to biological beings for some reason. Whether you allow the gun to shoot on its own or take the non-proficient penalty, he is looking at a -2 DM unless you also trick the gun out with top of the line sights.

Another solution would be for the character to get a Neural Link, or better yet, a Neurojack (both Supplement 4: Central Supply Catalogue, p. 186). Either implant will allow skills linked to physical attributes (such as Gun Combat) to be used although the Neural Link also requires a connection to a computer to actually run the program. The computer connection could be wireless, but the transmission range is extremely limited.

None of these choices excludes the others; eventually, a character could take advantage of all three and become a very proficient gunfighter. The implants are in no way limited to combat skills, they allow the character to spend money, instead of time, to aquire any skills they choose.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:18 pm

Putraack wrote:
CosmicGamer wrote:The way I rule it, so that both the rules and realistic role playing are both satisfied for me, is that you are not adding a computer to the weapon, you are adding Intelligent Weapon. The Intelligent Weapon has sensors, a computer, and other components. The Intelligent Weapon gives the +DM bonus to the character if appropriate software is loaded.
Ah, but which software is appropriate? I can have the merchant mentioned above sell him Agent, Intellect, and Expert programs, but as a GM, I need to know which ones are which. (I'm certain the desktop I'm writing from has lots of things loaded on it that do nothing for me.) But if this PC has enough Computer skill to know the difference, I've got to be able to answer the same question.
For aiding the character, I rule that the Intelligent weapon need only have
1) specialised computer modification with Expert Gun Combat
For the default TL 11 Intelligent Weapon with Computer/0, this would be a Expert 1 program for the specific Gun Combat specialization that corresponds to the weapon it is being put on. So it could be Gun Combat (Energy Rifle) or Gun Combat (Slug Pistol) or whatever. The TL 13 version with Expert 2 would still only give a shooter a +1 DM.
2) Interface 0

As for a weapon shooting itself, I wouldn't allow it without some sort of mount to hold the weapon. I am not aware of any motorized mounts in the rules for allowing a smart weapon to acquire targets. Second to that would be some kind of stationary mount for something like setting up a weapon to guard a doorway but the target would have to wander right into the crosshairs and most of that would be up to roleplaying and the GM. As for what software would be needed, the Erik’s Custom Gun example on page 102 mostly covers it. I guess you could use an agent program instead of Intellect (I believe the only option for the TL 11 version of Intelligent Weapon), perhaps it might be able to differentiate between a person or the cleaning robot. But Intellect lets you configure targeting options so that you are not shooting crew members, star port security or your pet cat.

As always, this is just my interpretation of the rules so that it fits my way of doing things and others can do there own thing.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Pyromancer » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:41 pm

Putraack wrote: Say we have a character with NO Gun Combat skill, and all the money he needs to buy a tricked-out gun.
The simple solution is to not buy a gun, but to hire a few bodyguards who do all the shooting.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby CosmicGamer » Tue Dec 17, 2013 5:45 pm

DickTurpin wrote:That upgrade, and the example "Erik's Custom Gun" below it, violate the rule on page 92 that Expert programs can only be used with Int or Edu based skills. The rules in Book 9: Robot seem to do away with that restriction for robots and drones so perhaps the rule only applies to biological beings for some reason.
Exactly. There is no violation because page 92 does say "A character using an expert system". (*1)

My interpretation is that the computer and software are part of a robot, or device like the Intelligent Weapon option. Thus it can precisely direct what the device or robot physically does. As you mention, there are certain enhancements that can help make this connection between software and a person.

(*1) I haven't delved into the robots book. I believe you can have a robot character which could be an exception.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby mr31337 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:07 am

CosmicGamer wrote:Exactly. There is no violation because page 92 does say "A character using an expert system". (*1)

My interpretation is that the computer and software are part of a robot, or device like the Intelligent Weapon option. Thus it can precisely direct what the device or robot physically does. As you mention, there are certain enhancements that can help make this connection between software and a person.
If you look further down on p92 under the "Effect" for Intellect it gives an example of a robot using medic skill at one skill level under the level of expert program. So clearly the line "A character using an expert system" also refers to robots. If that sentence applies to robots (& AI's) then the immediately following sentence applies just as much.

Thus robots/AI's, regardless of being characters or not, have the same rules applied to them as characters in regard of expert programs and therefore may only make use of Int & Edu based checks. DickTurpin is therefore correct to say an intelligent gun violates the RAW.

Rules lawyering aside, Book 9 robot rules are a superior and a more logical rewrite of expert programs (skill packages), agent programs (command algorithms) and intellect (personality programs). They do not have the distinction of types of checks allowed and most programs default to using INT checks anyway, so it isn't really a problem any longer. Using Book 9 rules Erik's Custom Gun can once again fire itself.... if its personality program feels like it. :wink:
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Jacqual » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:13 am

I would say for a character that knows nothing about gun's and gun combat wanting a tricked out super handgun. I would ask how good is his computer skill for doing searches on popular weapon modifications that make the weapon more accurate and safer to use. And I would have him take a course to at least get him to gun combat -0 if not to gun combat -1 with that type of weapon. Does your group use the skill packages for rounding out a group of characters as listed in the main book. If you are not using them take a look at them, might be an available weapon skill for a character or two. just to round out a party it helps.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby Putraack » Wed Dec 18, 2013 5:23 pm

Thanks for the effort, folks.

Rules: From what I understand above:
- "Intelligent Weapon" remains in contradiction to the Computer rules.
- Book 9 and/or Supplement 4 have additional rules and items that could clear up the contradiction.

Character:
- There's already a Skill Package in use and I didn't think more than one was allowed or recommended.
- Training won't be an option before the first several fights that the PCs might get into.
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Re: Intelligent weapon, now I'm lost?

Postby DickTurpin » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:31 pm

Putraack wrote:Thanks for the effort, folks.
Character:
- There's already a Skill Package in use and I didn't think more than one was allowed or recommended.
- Training won't be an option before the first several fights that the PCs might get into.
If the unskilled characters absolutely have to get into a gun fight, I strongly suggest that they buy the best sights they can afford, find the best cover they can and spend at least a full turn aiming between shots to counter that -3 penalty. The only other option, other than hiring a bodyguard or two, is to quickly close to melee range if they have any melee skills at all.

Good luck, it ought to at least be an interesting experience.

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