But can we convince Mathew?
Let me ask you something first.
Traveller Rule Zero. What is your take on that, as it is written in the beta rules?
Ok Shawn, I'll take the bait right after I say this; The fact I can ignore anything I want or change what ever I want should NEVER be used as an excuse not to build the best rule set you can and to offer clear and clean rules with examples that make sure the original intent is understood.
For me, the ability to house rule is a powerful tool. I can destroy a game with the wrong changes and ruin the fun at the table for all. Or I can help bring the experience to a greater level by tailoring things to my players and to the type of game we desire. But in order to know for sure, I need to have a good understanding of the rules and why they are what they are. They often interlink. For example a change to how skills are learned and you could devalue the level 2 or 3 skills. This devaluation then drives a need for greater change to bring back that "awe" level of skill. Or it could break the task system if now everyone has level three skills. But be that as it may, on to the question.
Ok, "Traveller Rule Zero. What is your take on that, as it is written in the beta rules"? I think it is half awesome and half BS. It is awesome in that it does acknowledge the role a GM must play and that at times they have to make choices for the good of their table over the written word. I think it is BS in that it creates an obligation without regard for the skill level or experience of the person acting as GM. Many players and GMs do not know enough about game design to understand what will happen when they pull on particular strings. Of course we all think we do, but the fact is, game design is hard. Those who do it well are not as common as Rule Zero suggests. So I call BS on that level.
Now, back to the subject at hand, I believe the game is served by having an ability to help drive a character towards a particular type/path. How does this impact the rules, I am not sure to be honest. I know I am not as good at game design as I wish I was. But I do know how it impacts the play. I believe that the hard line "roll six an live with it" also has an impact, a potential negative one. And that I have seen in play. Players end up with a character they can't use to play even close to what they were thinking about. They can't get to the vision they had at the start.
A Scholar with an INT of 3 and an EDU of 4. Or a Marine with a DEX of 3 and a END of 5. Could you use them? Of course you could. Given the rules could I play a Character that was 333333? Of course. It just would not be fun. And what is the point of playing a game? To do drudgery and work? No, it is to have fun.
I do not care if it is Traveller or D&D or Pathfinder or Morrow Project, if a player does not care about their Character, the game suffers. And often that first step toward loving your character is the attributes. Right or wrong, they begin to develop the vision of the character.
Shawn, you and I have already agreed that we both enjoy the fun of the total random attribute generation. We don't mind developing a vision for the character after those six numbers are rolled. Maybe even not until the first three terms are rolled out. But based on my experience we are not the norm. We are far from the norm. Most of the players I have ran games for or played with had visions in mind before Character generation started. They want to plan an old Navy vet pilot etc. Giving them a running start by allowing them to arrange the attribute numbers they rolled, as used in the First Edition Mongoose Traveller, just does not seem that bad to me.