Rules Clarification: Expert Package DM's and Required Software (Core22 p111 and CSC23 p70)

Yenaldlooshi

Banded Mongoose
I am reading both Core22 and CSC23 and am trying to figure out the Expert Software packages. Here are my questions:

It states in CSC23 p70:
"If a user already has at least level 0 of a skill, then any level Expert package grants DM+1 to their skill check. Expert software requires Intelligent Interface (Bandwidth 1), or Digital Friend (Bandwidth 2) to run, unless installed on a specialised computer."

Then goes on to say:
"A user without the specified skill can use an Expert package with Intellect (Bandwidth 1+) software to make a skill check as if they had the skill at the Expert software’s Bandwidth -1."

Does this mean if you If you do not have any level in a skill offered by a given expert package, you must have BOTH Intelligent Interface AND Intellect or do you just need Intellect INSTEAD of Intelligent Interface (ie. the Intellect software is an upgraded version of Intelligent Interface)?

Also, as written, I understand that regardless of level of Expert, a character that already has the skill gets just a DM+1, but a fully unskilled character gets DM +Expert Level -1.
My understanding of this means that if using an Admin Level 3 Expert Program, the character who already has the skill at 0 gets a DM+1 giving a skill at Admin-1, but the character who has no skill (not even a 0 level) would have the skill at Admin-2, 1 higher than zero. The character with Admin-1 already would only get a DM+1 to give Admin-2, same as the character with no skill at all.

Am I reading this right? It seems to read that from skill 0-1, you are either better off without having any skill at all using the software or you just break even. (ie. it is better to use an Expert/3 program having no skill at all which will give you Skill-2 than it would be to have a little skill at Skill-0 which would only give you Skill-1)
 
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Does this mean if you If you do not have any level in a skill offered by a given expert package, you must have BOTH Intelligent Interface AND Intellect or do you just need Intellect INSTEAD of Intelligent Interface (ie. the Intellect software is an upgraded version of Intelligent Interface)?
Instead.

CSC23, p68, text box:
INTERFACES AND INTELLECTS
Choosing the right software package to use on your computer is important and depends on what you are trying to do:
  • If using the computer for general tasks, a basic Interface package is needed.
  • If using the computer to access an Expert program, Intelligent Interface is necessary to gain DM+1 to a skill you have at skill level 0 or above.
  • If unskilled, Expert packages must be run with an Intellect program.

They are different things: Intellect does the work for you (unskilled use), Intelligent Interface helps you do the work (DM+1).
 
Am I reading this right? It seems to read that from skill 0-1, you are either better off without having any skill at all using the software or you just break even. (ie. it is better to use an Expert/3 program having no skill at all which will give you Skill-2 than it would be to have a little skill at Skill-0 which would only give you Skill-1)
Yes, depending on situation. You might not have the right computer handy.

Note that help from expert software gives DM+1 on the task, not skill+1. This might matter if the Referee is petty enough, such as "You need skill-1 to do...".
 
This is from my cheat sheet, hth:

#/ computers with expert programs, CSC, p.70, INT and EDU only

*) requires Intelligent Interface, Intellect or Digital Friend

*) if already have the skill, use Intelligent Interface or Digital Friend, and get +1 to skill checks

*) if don't have the skill, then need Intellect, and get skill level at Expert software's Bandwidth -1
 
I think I have a handle on what the limiter is that creates balance. Sure a PC can get intellect to run expert for skills they have <0 skill in but this means they need the Intellect program which is basically the one doing the work at much higher costs and with capped difficulty limits. I just noticed that Intelligent Interface is only Cr100 and can be had at only TL11. Intellect STARTS at 2000 and TL12, Caps how difficult a task that can be done, and costs as much as Cr200,000 on the high end of that, chewing up bandwidth the higher you go.
With Intelligent Interface and your own native skill you do not really have a difficulty cap, but if your native skill is low enough, then you are not as good as an expensive Intellect program with the expert package.

I guess I would add clarification that a skilled player with the Intellect program and the Expert Program can voluntarily let the Intellect program do all the work, but then the player is treated as unskilled for the purpose of these rules. Thus if I have Admin-0 personally, I would let my computer with Expert/Admin3 plus intellect, take over and do the work as if I had Admin-2, rather than use my native Admin-0, and DM+1 (assuming I had intelligent interface).

Can Intellect be dialed down to accept input and generate output as if it was just a regular Intelligent Interface? (thus one does not need to actually purchase both programs if swapping between Expert skill softs they have skill in and those they do not) (It would only save Cr100 but in some cases a precious bandwidth point).
 
I think I have a handle on what the limiter is that creates balance. Sure a PC can get intellect to run expert for skills they have <0 skill in but this means they need the Intellect program which is basically the one doing the work at much higher costs and with capped difficulty limits.
Capped difficulty is tied to the Expert software, not the controlling software, so applies equally to both use cases.

Core22, p113:
EXPERT SKILLS
Having a tool or weapon with the appropriate Expert program and an Intelligent Interface can grant a Traveller DM+1 to relevant checks. However, the program can only help if the difficulty of the task is less than a certain value. In combat, add up any negative DMs to determine the effective difficulty of the attack or action.


Can Intellect be dialed down to accept input and generate output as if it was just a regular Intelligent Interface? (thus one does not need to actually purchase both programs if swapping between Expert skill softs they have skill in and those they do not) (It would only save Cr100 but in some cases a precious bandwidth point).
They are different software packages.

BW is only consumed when running the software, storage is usually unlimited.
Core22, p110:
Note that the storage capacity of computers is not used in Traveller as, beyond TL8, the capacity of even a modest computer is effectively unlimited.
 
Following up on this, the way Intellect interface is defined is unclear. It says:
INTELLECT
An Intellect software package is similar to the more primitive Agent, with more advanced intelligence, able to communicate normally with a Traveller and run an assigned Expert package. It can simultaneously run any Expert package and a number of Expert packages equal to the Bandwidth remaining after subtracting that required for Intellect. Intellect is required for unskilled Travellers to use an Expert package.
Software Bandwidth TL Cost
Intellect/1 1 12 Cr2000
Intellect/2 2 13 Cr50000
Intellect/3 3 14 Cr200000
And that is all great, but... "It can simultaneously run any Expert package and ..." leads me to think a TL 12 Computer/1, running the TL 12 Intellect/1 can also run ANY expert package -- like a TL 12 Electronics/3 package -- despite not having available bandwidth left to run anything. Maybe this is one of the unstated benefits of the Intellect interface; any single (the first) Expert package does not require additional bandwidth -- although I am assuming that a computer still cannot run software of a higher tech level.

Then it goes on to say: "... and a number of Expert packages equal to the Bandwidth remaining after subtracting that required for Intellect." So can a Computer/3 which is running Intellect run only one additional Expert/3... or three? Is it really 'bandwidth = number of packages', or simply 'this much bandwidth is available to fill with Expert packages'?
 
Then it goes on to say: "... and a number of Expert packages equal to the Bandwidth remaining after subtracting that required for Intellect." So can a Computer/3 which is running Intellect run only one additional Expert/3... or three? Is it really 'bandwidth = number of packages', or simply 'this much bandwidth is available to fill with Expert packages'?
Total BW is still a limit, and restricts how many and how large instances of Expert that can be run simultaneously.
 
Total BW is still a limit, and restricts how many and how large instances of Expert that can be run simultaneously.
So, you are saying 'this much bandwidth is available to fill with Expert packages'. That makes sense, and how I would be inclined to run it -- but the other interpretation gets a little traction out of the first part of that sentence. It looks like a Computer/3 can run one Intellect/1 (and any single Expert package, including BW 3 packages, for no extra bandwidth) plus an additional three bandwidth of any Expert packages. In contrast, it only has two bandwidth available to run non-Expert software.
 
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