Evasive Action, Skill?


Emperor Mongoose
Core said:
Evasive Action (Pilot)
The pilot of a spacecraft may dodge incoming attacks, so long as the spacecraft has unspent Thrust after movement and combat manoeuvring.
Each point of unspent Thrust will allow the spacecraft to attempt to dodge one attack. The attack suffers a negative DM equal to the pilots skill.
What value is used for dodging? E.g. I have a character with Pilot-2 and DEX+1, do I use 2 = skill level or 3 = skill level + DEX DM?
Only the Skill level, no dex is involved. Basically skill below level 1 means the pilot can't effectively evade.
As the person who championed this change and articulated it during closed beta - I can say it is the full "skill value" - not "skill ranks". I actually pushed forward this change and was satisfied when it was clarified (or so I thought). Here was my reasoning:

a) Your skill is not just how well you're trained in something. Your inherent ability (Characteristic DM) and augmentations (Skill wire, bio-augments, etc) and situational modifiers are all key factors in how well you do something. This applies to both offensive (Gunnery) and defensive (Piloting) skills. Doesn't make any sense to have Dex apply to Gunnery but not Piloting.

b) Consistency and Balance. As per the above, it is generally a bad design approach to have character aspects unevenly affect both sides of a balancing equation. Some games handle this by having opposed rolls (but that is time consuming), and the aim with many newer games (like MGT2E) is to build in that "opposition" into the single roll. Therefore, the full skill value (all modifiers) apply.

c) RPGs generally do not go out of their way to tell you explicitly all mods that apply/dont apply. For example, when describing an attack roll, Mongoose does not indicate Characteristic DM + Skill Rank + Situational modifiers + Skillwire/other augmentation bonus. When RPGs do this, it is an exception (see below).

d) General Balance and MGT1E problems - too much of a focus on always hitting diminishes the value of player skill/tactics if the dice dont back up your skill/actions. If we underplay defense, it becomes optimal to just completely ignore it because "you'll simply hit anyways". This was really pronounced in MGT1 and really removed an entire dimension (the ability to avoid fire) from the game. It was just bang away at each others' hull and armour.

e) EVASION, Page 160: "The attack suffers a negative DM equal to the pilots skill."
DODGING, Page 72: A Traveller who is dodging will inflict a penalty equal to his DEX DM or Athletics (dexterity), whichever is higher, to his attacker’s attack roll.

Distinction between when skill "ranks" apply vs when the the overall skill applies.

Obviously, how you choose to play it is completely up to you and feel free to house rule it (one way or the other depending on your understanding). Just letting you know the mathematics and reasoning behind this change,the intended outcome, as well as the play-testing done was with the entire "skill modifiers" applying.

In conclusion - it can stay as is without having to delve too deeply into theory behind this. IF you choose to read it as just "skill ranks", be aware that it seems odd (and some players may raise an eyebrow) as to why your natural ability, Piloting Reflexes Augmentation (upcoming in Central Supply Catalogue), Dexterity Augmentation, and Skill Wire (Piloting/smallcraft) somehow has ZERO effect on my ability to evade fire with my craft...

Cheers :)
I agree that it would be good to include the DEX DM, I fail to see that the rules allow that. A skill augmentation directly improves your skill, so should be included, I assume.

On pp56-57 characteristic DM is only included in Checks (rolls), not in static skill. I have not found any other reference to this in the rules. Perhaps you can enlighten me?
AnotherDilbert said:
On pp56-57 characteristic DM is only included in Checks (rolls), not in static skill. I have not found any other reference to this in the rules. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

We dont have a section/text box/whatever delineating how to calculate a static skill. As you know, evasion (and other modified rolls) are just a Skill Check with a DM applied. It happens to be that the DM is equal to the skill-check total modifier of the opposing character/ship/whatever. However, you will note that one of the examples is an opposed check (even though it doesn't state that - it is clear). This is the stealth example. In opposed checks, both sides' modifiers fully apply.

The intent of evasion being a modifier to the roll was obviously to reduce to the # of rolls.. so that for each attack, you wouldnt be rolling to hit, then doing an opposed dodge-check. To accomplish this mechanically, while maintaining mathematical accuracy, you simply apply the "opposed check modifier" to the 1 roll.

The fact that we did not add a section/textbox to describe this is because we dont shy away from opposed rolls in MOST scenarios - so really, the mechanics of the evasion roll are the exception rather than the norm. But good point to bring that up, perhaps in MgT-3e, we can further solidify this time saving but accurate mechanic :)
I guess I will have to accept that this is the way it is supposed to work, without having any way to read that in the rules. Note that I was not alone to have a problem with this.
Yes, I was oblivious as well. But, even in this edition, a simple clarification can fix all that. "Pilot ranks + dex dm"
Plus situation modifiers plus augmentation plus whatever else :) Therefore all "modifiers". Hence why no spelling them out!