Intercept 3.5.1

Posted in Design system, Intercept, Rules, Traveller on June 17, 2020 by Anders Backman

Mayday

In consequence of inventing machines, man will be consumed by them – Jules Verne

So, once again there is a new version of Intercept; the rulebook, the design system and all of its ready made designs. So what has changed then one may wonder? Too many changes to count but let’s just briefly mention a few.

Traveller skills

All task rolls are now assumed to be used with Traveller skills as DM. This means that all target numbers have been changed to match, the game plays as before, just easier to integrate with the Traveller rpg. I am assuming Mongoose version of Traveller here which means that it will also work with Classic Traveller, Megatraveller and TNE, Cepheus engine will of course also work. I assume a skill level for a task is 2 for civilians and 3 for Scouts and Navy, wary as you see fit.

Pilot rolls are still made against the ships Size and the Pilot default table still uses the ships Size but modified with the skill of the Pilot.

Pilot default 352

Armor

Ships Armor was too high for high TL designs because of a bug I had missed in the design system. All armor values have been updated for all designs, the SDB Dragon class is still built like a tank but a little bit easier to kill for example.

Missile to hit and damage

Missiles are now more affected by their relative vector, their attack vector as it is called. Their to hit chances vary more and their PEN and DAM vary more by attack vector, you have been warned. I have also extended the max relative vector out to 10+ squares per turn for very hard to hit (and defend against) and a truly devastating damage.

Missile attack vector 351

Well, that is all folks, until next time. I’m thinking about maybe writing a thing on custom missiles, lots of interesting things to do there, to surprise your opponents. Keep the solar wind to your back side.

 

Small update to Social class and tasks

Posted in Intercept on April 14, 2020 by Anders Backman

If God was perfect when he created everything the first time around, why did he have to wipe out nearly everything by the flood?

The version uploaded yesterday had an ugly text spillover that I had missed. Download the current version to have one less page and better looking document, sorry about that.

Also, after studying the statistics of the LBB Supplement 1001 Characters I realized that a normal skill level is closer to 2 than 3 so the default task difficulties will be

  • 5+ for Easy tasks
  • 8+ for normal tasks
  • 11+ for hard tasks

This also matches the Mongoose system and the Classic Traveller system perfectly, read more here. Thanks to the guy on the Facebook Traveller RPG group for pointing this out to me.

Now, back to watching court room documentaries on NetFlix while writing my Crime & Punishment rules system for Traveller.

Maintenence of Social class in Traveller

Posted in Rules, Traveller on April 13, 2020 by Anders Backman

firefly-shindig

“The hedonic-treadmill theory says every time you achieve a goal, you set your sights on the next one,” says Art Markman, a University of Texas psychologist and Psychology Today blogger. “If your main goal is high status, you won’t enjoy it once you’re there.”

I have posted my rules for social class, NPC motivations, reactions and how to influence NPCs using their motivations here.

Tasks

Whenever a task roll is mentioned rules to determine the target number, what skill and modifiers to use will be given, as well as what the degrees of success or failure are noted. See my page on Traveller tasks here for details here.

Maintenance

Every quarter of a year (13 weeks) characters adjust their SOC by various factors, this can lead to one or more increases or decreases in their SOC. There are 5 modifiers to check; Family, Upkeep, Wealth, Socializing and Punishment, each will give a Social Modifier (SM) that can be either positive or negative. You add them all up, taking their sign into account of course, and that is your final SM score. Roll a D6 against this SM score and if you rolled equal or lower you raised your SOC by 1 if the SM is positive or lowered by one of the SM is negative, if you succeeded you may roll another D6, add it to the first and if the sun is still equal or lower you gain or lose another SOC, keep rolling until you fail. Say your final SM is +3. Your first D6 is 1, so you get +1 SOC and can roll again. Your second D6 is a 3, 1 + 3 is four which is higher than the SM of 3 so you stop, with SOC + 1 for this quarter.

Note that if your SOC is the same as your Family SOC, you pay normal upkeep for your SOC, your wealth is equal to or below your SOC, you don’t socialize publicly and you haven’t been convicted of any crimes your total SM will be 0 so your SOC cannot change.

Family SM

Family SOC is usually what SOC you started with but if the referee wants to track the rise and fall of a family this may change during play as well. If your parents are unknown your Family SOC is 5. Family SM is calculated like this:

  • +2 if Family SOC is 3+ higher than your SOC
  • +1 if Family SOC is 1-2 higher than your SOC
  • 0 if Family SOC is equal to your SOC
  • -1 if Family SOC is 1-2 lower than your SOC
  • -2 if Family SOC is 3+ lower than your SOC

Upkeep SM

You must pay upkeep every quarter (13 weeks) to pay for food, clothes, beer etc. This also simplify play as you don’t need to keep track of small expanses like this during actual play. Look at the Upkeep column of the table below to determine what Upkeep cost at each SOC. If buying 1 to 2 levels above your SOC gain you a +1 SM and buying 3 or more above your SOC gain you a +2 SM, buying lower than your SOC works similarly. If you do buy some fashion item during play and the referee deem you must pay for it you must find an item at the given Art Class (AC) which might be tricky, or treat Upkeep as that of the bought AC if lower. Ignore Upkeep while in prison, use the Punishment SMs instead.

  • +2 if Upkeep-SOC 3+ higher than SOC
  • +1 if Upkeep-SOC 1-2 higher than SOC
  • -1 if Upkeep-SOC 1-2 lower than SOC
  • -2 if Upkeep-SOC 3+ lower than SOC

Social class-2

Art class

Art Class (AC) is a multiplier to price for fashionable items. AC 0 is the normal level that is most common and whenever nothing specific is said the item is AC 0. Higher AC items may or may not be of higher quality as well, AC -1 or -2 are always of lower quality and whenever there are rules for breakage take these modifiers into account.

High class skill let you judge the actual AC up to your skill level, anything above will only be known as higher but not its exact value. Let’s say some merchant is selling you a dinner dress at x30 the normal price indicating that it is AC 3. If your character has High class skill 1 you know it is above AC 1 but may not be more than AC 2. If your character or your valet has High class 3 she can certify that the dress is indeed AC 3 and thus worth the x30 price tag. Note that it is only when seen in public situations that AC matter, nobody cares if you were sweat pants and ugly v necked t-shirts at home.

Wealth SM

Wealth is based on the amount of visible money (house, ship, stocks etc) you have from the table. There is no negative SM from having too low wealth. Use the table to determine what your level of wealth corresponds to as a SOC. Ships are valued by age:

  • 10 years or more old 70%
  • 20 years or more old 50%
  • 50 years or more old 17%

or you can use this formula for ships at least ten years old:
Value = Base value x 0.7^(age / 10)

  • +2 if Wealth-SOC 3+ higher than SOC
  • +1 if Wealth-SOC 1-2 higher than SOC

Socializing SM

Socializing means being seen in the company of others in public. Keep track of both the highest and lowest SOC your are seen with and note that if you are 3 or more SOC below the ones you hang with they will lose status for being seen in the company of you. Those you hang with discreetly or secretly won’t affect this SM in any way.

  • +2 if the highest SOC you socialize with is 3+ higher than your own SOC
  • 0 if the highest SOC you socialize with is equal to your own SOC
  • +1 if the highest SOC you socialize with is 1-2 higher than your own SOC
  • -1 if the lowest SOC you socialize with is 3+ lower than your own SOC

Punishment SM

If you are convicted of a crime you will suffer an SM at least once but also every 13 weeks if the punishment last long enough. Note that for very low SOC punishments can sometimes give positive SMs. Punishment Levels (PL) will be explained in much more detail in an upcoming post and rulebook pdf called Crime and Punishment.

Social class-3

Well, that should be enough for you to all start climbing up the greasy pole. The Social class pdf available here for download detail rules on reactions, NPC motivations and how to influence them based on their motivations, there is even a little guide on how to determine what reaction is required for a particular favor, also based on NPC motivations. Next I will post an article detailing how to use these motivations in a variety of ways, as an example I will list the primary and secondary motivations of all crew members aboard the Serenity.

What a vision you are, in your fine dress. It must have taken a dozen slaves a dozen days to get you into that get-up. ‘Course your daddy tells me it takes the space a school boy’s wink to get you out of it again. Forgive my rudeness. I cannot abide useless people.

Murphy – Firefly Shindig episode

Deterministic Pilot task

Posted in Intercept, Rules on March 5, 2020 by Anders Backman

John Boyd was dubbed “Forty Second Boyd” for his standing bet as an instructor pilot that beginning from a position of disadvantage, he could defeat any opposing pilot in air combat maneuvering in less than 40 seconds.

John Boyd said that a pilot going into aerial combat must know two things: the position of the enemy and the velocity of the enemy. Given the velocity of an enemy, a pilot is able to decide what the enemy is capable of doing. When a pilot knows what maneuvers the enemy can perform, he can then decide how to counter any of the other pilot’s actions. 

Deterministic rules

In order to capture the feel of space combat being a contest of wits between two veteran commanders, like a game of chess, I have added variants of the rules where no luck is involved at all. Movement, initiative, sensors, attack, defense and damage are all governed by deterministic rules. Pages 44-45 of the rulebook hold the various deterministic rules but this blog post will focus on one particular section; the Deterministic Pilot task and initiative determination.

The Pilot default table was discussed here and these rules are somewhat similar. You look up your ships Size on a table after having modified the row used by computer pool use, Pilot skill, damage etc. The table gives you the steps of turning allowed this turn if you didn’t turn at all the previous turn. The Usable steps of turning is the value from the table minus half the number of steps you used the last turn.

 

Usable steps of turning

Look up modified Size, subtract used steps from last turn / 2 (round up)
Highest number of Usable steps of turning win Initiative
A ship has a certain number of steps each turn, based on ship Size, Pilot skill
and Crew damage. Subtract the used number of steps / 2 from the previous turn
(rounded up). A good way to handle this is to write down the turn number / used steps of turn for each ship, so you don’t have to remember how many steps was used the last turn.

Deterministic Pilot task 1

Initiative

Untracked ships win Initiative over tracked ships as usual but higher Useable
steps of turning is used instead of the Pilot task or Pilot default.
Initiative is determined as follows (in order of priority):
1 Untracked ships have higher Initiative
2 Higher Useable steps of turning have higher Initiative
3 Higher Ship tactics have higher Initiative
4 Higher crew station have higher Initiative (Bridge > Full > Limited)
5 Break ties with player A wins on even, B on odd turns, note on DataCard.

Deterministic Pilot task 2

Pilot task result

Whenever the rules call for the Pilot task result (Very Good, Good, Fair, Miss, Bad or Very Bad) determine the degree of success or failure from the above chart. Pilot task results are used when Aerobraking, landing, ramming and docking. The Pilot task result is not used to determine initiative; for example two ships, one with 4 steps of turning to use and the other with 5  both have a Fair Pilot task result but the ship with 5 steps win over the one with 4.

The Deterministic usable steps of turning go very well together with the Deterministic hitlocation rules as these make maneuvering even more critical. Feel free to mix and match whatever Deterministic rules you like, as long as both players agree upon their use before the game starts. Although I have taken care to make them as balanced as possible there’s no guarantee that the balance will remain the same, you have been warned!

Pilot duel example

The next post will cover a mock duel between two trader captains using the deterministic pilot task presented above.

There’s only one course of action
Left for me to take
I’ve tried every switch selection
That might control this state
I think for my protection
I better make it straight
Into Ejection
Better tell Base
Ejection
That I think it’s a case
For Ejection
Explode into Space
Ejection
Protect my Face
Ejection

Ejection – Hawkwind