Star Trek Adventures: Now that the full rules are out, what do you think?

oneshot

Explorer
Oneshot is vehemently pro-2d20.

So, let's start off with this point. I'm in no way "vehemently pro-2d20." There are quite a few posts I made on this board, and many others on the Modiphius boards, where I point out things I don't like in the system or things other don't or wouldn't like. In fact, my first post in this very thread notes I think there are too many niche/fiddly options for some of the subsystems that make those systems too complicated. I'm hardly a sycophant for the game.

Also, the math thing is a complete red herring. You're avoiding the actual points I raised to harp on a few words for a minor point in the post, while ignoring the actual argument I made. I don't know how to code; I'm old and like formulae. I used a formula from my college stats book (that actually used two dice rolls as the example). Maybe I did bad arithmetic, but I can't tell from that code you posted.

But that's OK, let's use your number. A complication still only occurs 9.5% of the time on a normal task. So it's still less often than rolling a crit or a fumble in D&D, right? So still not that often, relatively speaking? I guess that depends on your personal definition of "often."

I'm actually glad you did this long post, however, because it highlights what I think the real issue here is and what explains our vastly different play experiences involving complications and threat:

I've had sessions where the rolls were bad. Very bad. The complications opening the threat range being story appropriate, resulting in 2-3 more complications generated per roll. I had a session, with 2p, end with 20 threat, the players both with threat ranges of 16-20, and 3 complications each as trait penalties... there was, at that point, not much more to do to them other than kill them outright. I've had multiple sessions end with 10+ threat, and a mission failure, and no shortage of complications imposed.

So here's perhaps the first disconnect. Players don't have "threat ranges," tasks do. "Some circumstances can make a Task uncertain, though not necessarily any more difficult. These factors increase the Complication Range of a Task, making it more likely that Complications will occur." P. 83. "You can also increase the Complication range of a Task, given the circumstances of the scene or the Task." P. 279, from the GM chapter. Emphasis of course mine.

If you're slapping complications on players that have them walk around with permanent increased chances to roll complications, of course they're snowballing into more complications! But that's not playing by the rules as written, at least as how I read them. Increasing the complication range, by my reading of the rules, is a fairly rare thing, but it appears you do it all the time.

Complications, per the rules, "may impede later activities, or they may simply be inconvenient, painful, or even embarrassing." P. 82 of the core rulebook. Complications don't automatically have to make life unbearably difficult for the players. Complications can also affect the other side, not just the PCs, and so can be an aggregate neutral. And they can be removed by a simple Task (p.78) or a spend of two momentum during a related task (p.85). Do your players never remove complications when they occur? Mine do all the time. Or do you make them so difficult to remove they just fail at it?

I use complications to create interesting wrinkles in the game or to cut off options without making it impossible for my players to still have success. The complications usually last only for the one scene or one task and are not permanent markers on the players that affect all of their tasks for the rest of the session going forward. It seems like you did the opposite at your table, and not based on anything written in the rules but on your own GMing style. So if it was a problem for your group and created a resulting play style that was more difficult and deadly than your players prefer, that's not a fault of the game design.

Most rolls I've seen are NOT on 2d20; typical is about 3. Yes, even if it means spending threat, my experience is players are going to roll at least as many d20's as the difficulty most of the time. Also, the adjustment for increasing threat range for extra help is retained... which prevents "Dogpile on the task" but also puts hard tasks more likely to generate massive piles of threat.

From an "Angry DM" mode, it's a great way to discourage players quickly.

How high do you set your difficulties? Base difficulty in the game is 1 or 2. P. 278. My PCs would roll 2d20 on the majority of rolls, because the majority of task difficulties they faced were 1 or 2. They definitely pumped them up when they needed to generate momentum for their pool or had a task with a higher difficulty, but that was a minority of the time. Which would actually jive with what you state about rolling at least as many dice as the difficulty. So if your players' typical pool is three, does that mean your typical difficulty is 3? Because that's significantly higher than the advice/guidance the game gives GMs.

It's obvious to me that those who don't see it as an issue are not terribly perceptive - because the way the adding hazards works, it only takes 5 threat to kill off a PC in fairly short order... if you have more than that left, you have OBVIOUSLY not used the threat to it's maximum, and have thus given any success straight over the table... and for the perceptive and mathematically competent, that's clearly "I didn't actually accomplish it." It makes it ring hollow.

Might be accurate to the show that way, but it's not good gaming.

Or, alternatively, you ran the game on the highest difficulty setting, and your group didn't like it. The fact that you feel there is some need to spend threat to its "maximum" effect tells me that you take an adversarial approach to GMing. Which is totally cool, if that's what you and your group like. But it's not the default the game assumes.

At my table, complications were relatively rare, probably because I set lower difficulties than you did and didn't increase the complication range on tasks very often. When they occurred, they made the game fun and interesting by providing unpredicted setbacks. Those setbacks never hamstrung the players or otherwise prevented them from succeeding in the mission, because I didn't design them to do that. Maybe that means I'm not engaging in "good gaming" in your opinion, but my players and I had a ton of fun. So I will take your bad gaming any day of the week.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad




oneshot

Explorer
1 in 20 is 5%.

Right. Rolling a 20 is 5%. Rolling a 1 is 5%. So rolling a 1 or a 20 is 10%. That's what I was trying to get at. Getting a complication at 9.5% means you're less likely to get a complication than you are rolling a crit OR automatic miss in D&D. (Right? I doubt my math skills now. It's a good thing I don't need math for my work.) In retrospect, I probably didn't phrase that as clearly as I did two pages back when I used the word "combined" to make the same point.

I picked that as an example because it's always a notable event when someone crits or automatically misses. It gets pointed out by the players. So it's a rare enough even that when it occurs, it generates notice, but common enough that it happens semi-regularly. That's all I was trying to say with any of it.
 

lyle.spade

Adventurer
Wow. I think you folks take this stuff way too seriously. It's all a game....right?

No system is perfect, and all this stuff is made up, anyway, so why worry about it so much?

I don't mind 2d20. It's different than d20, or FFG or other systems I've played lately, and it offers the possibility 'success with problems,' and enables group success and synergy to be shared, which are nice mechanics. I'm not going to sweat the stats of the thing, unless over time it really seems to produce outcomes that are predictable or don't fit the genre and story it's trying to help evoke.

I think they did a fine job with the fluff, although 70 pages of it was a bit much. I really like - more and more - what they've done with starships and mission profiles and refits...a ship has a lifepath now, pretty much. That's cool.

It feels a lot more like Star Trek at the table than did LUG or FASA, but both of them were good enough for a group that wanted to do Star Trek. At this point I am satisfied and looking forward to playing it more.

Focus on the positive, folks, and don't make it your mission to try and dissuade others from what they see as positives. It is possible to encounter a preference different from your own and say "oh, okay," and leave it at that.
 

It's obvious to me that those who don't see it as an issue are not terribly perceptive - because the way the adding hazards works, it only takes 5 threat to kill off a PC in fairly short order... if you have more than that left, you have OBVIOUSLY not used the threat to it's maximum, and have thus given any success straight over the table... and for the perceptive and mathematically competent, that's clearly "I didn't actually accomplish it." It makes it ring hollow.

Might be accurate to the show that way, but it's not good gaming.
This is alien to me.

The point of Threat isn't to try and kill the players. It's not even to really challenge. It's meant to be a tool for controlling drama and tension.
It's not D&D. There are no hard rules for building encounters. If the point is to kill the characters you can just throw overpowering encounters at the group. Dozens of borg cubes. Every task is Difficulty 4 with a Complication range of 17-20.
 

aramis erak

Legend
@ Longshot - I ran the rules as written. You never have. You're advocating for some lighter subset; that's not what's in the book.

as for 2d being a "normal roll" - Nope. It's a minimum effort roll... and most players I've seen aren't taking those. And, after a complication or two, which either prohibit a roll entirely, increase the difficulty, or increase the complication range (all per the rules), a 2d roll can quickly become autofail.

Oh, and as for imposing the increased threat range as a lasting complication?
STA p350 said:
Each character whose nerve has broken in this manner increases the Complication Range of all Tasks they attempt for the remainder of the adventure: now, any d20 that rolls a 19 or a 20 causes a Complication instead of just a 20.

Exactly like the playtest.

and
STA p 306 said:
These environmental Traits increase difficulty or make things possible or impossible where they wouldn’t otherwise, as well as increasing the complication range of certain Tasks.

Note the "as well as"...

Go bloody actually read the bloody rules. Take off your rose colored glasses and read what's actually there. Then do the actual math.

10% is twice as often as a crit. D&D doesn’t have fumbles.
While 5E doesn't, AD&D2E, D&D 3E, & D&D 3.5E do as optional rules. In 3.5E, DMG page 28. 2E, I can't cite the page, as I'm working from the Master Tools RTF files. (in the rendering
 

aramis erak

Legend
I don't mind 2d20. It's different than d20, or FFG or other systems I've played lately, and it offers the possibility 'success with problems,' and enables group success and synergy to be shared, which are nice mechanics. I'm not going to sweat the stats of the thing, unless over time it really seems to produce outcomes that are predictable or don't fit the genre and story it's trying to help evoke.

that's the thing... snowballing into failure IS a break from the genre (excepting JJ-Kirk), and I've had it happen repeatedly.

I got more TOS-like results from FASA-Trek or Prime Directive 1E, and more TNG-like ones from LUG-Trek...

The ship rules are nifty... but only for a certain style of play.
 

oneshot

Explorer
@ Longshot - I ran the rules as written. You never have. You're advocating for some lighter subset; that's not what's in the book.

as for 2d being a "normal roll" - Nope. It's a minimum effort roll... and most players I've seen aren't taking those. And, after a complication or two, which either prohibit a roll entirely, increase the difficulty, or increase the complication range (all per the rules), a 2d roll can quickly become autofail.

Oh, and as for imposing the increased threat range as a lasting complication?


Exactly like the playtest.

and


Note the "as well as"...

Go bloody actually read the bloody rules. Take off your rose colored glasses and read what's actually there. Then do the actual math.


While 5E doesn't, AD&D2E, D&D 3E, & D&D 3.5E do as optional rules. In 3.5E, DMG page 28. 2E, I can't cite the page, as I'm working from the Master Tools RTF files. (in the rendering


2d roll IS a normal roll. That's the default unless you choose to buy more dice. If most players you've seen choose to spend their limited resources to buy extra dice on nearly every roll, including rolls that are of little consequence and rolls that should be a fairly easy success anyway assuming you're using the difficulty guidelines from the book, then I don't know what to tell you. I think those players you've seen aren't being very tactical or intelligent in their use of resources, and they certainly behave nothing like my players who save their momentum or threat purchases only for the rolls when they need them.

OK, great, you quoted from the playtest adventure that Modiphius put in the book with minimal editing. That adventure was written using a version of the rules that predates even the first playtest rules set, and the version printed in the book still hasn't been fully updated to reflect the final rules. (You can add that to my list of quibbles.) Also, it was designed to test as many different subsystems as possible, so there are a lot of things in there that shouldn't come up every single session of the game. I can't help but notice the only actual rules segment you cite to is for a specific subsystem in planetary creation and says "certain Tasks," not every Task. How about citing to the main rules or disputing the quotes and cites I posted above?

RAW, increases in the complication range should be relatively rare. The fact that it appears once in a adventure written under an earlier rules draft doesn't change that, and based upon your last two posts, you clearly increased complication ranges a lot. RAW, difficulties are relatively low on purpose. RAW, you don't need to spend all the threat you gain or spend it for "maximum" effect. RAW, complications can be, but don't have to be, major problems for the PCs, and don't need to last all session. In fact, the specific guidance the game gives is that complications can be passing issues, like taking a small amount of damage (which would go away at the end of the scene assuming its just stress) or merely being embarrassed. RAW, complications are relatively easy to remove when they do occur. These things are backed up by the rules I quoted above.

More than once, you have shown in your posts that you read and apply the rules in vastly different ways from the rest of the playtesters. For example, you once argued on the Modiphius boards that values were also traits, so that's how you put it on your homemade character sheet. A number of people pointed out all the places in the rules (including the official character sheet) that made it clear values weren't traits. The only reason I bring that up at all is because you wrote in first post in this thread "values are no longer traits." But they never were, and the language in final rulebook is almost identical to the language used in the playtest documents. Unless, of course, all the other playtesters playing the game were wrong, and you alone were right. Doesn't it strike you as odd that your experience with the game is completely different than the majority of playtesters that found the game very playable?

Even if you followed the letter of the rules, you certainly didn't follow the spirit. You clearly ran the game at your table very, very differently than the rest of us. I ran a heck of a lot of sessions during the playtest period, and I never had anything like what you described above, and neither did a lot of the other playtest groups. I don't think the problem here has anything to do with the system. The vast majority of people who run 2d20 (STA or any of the other games) don't have any of the problems you describe. The system doesn't suit your GMing style or your players' game style. That's fine, not every game suits every person, but a game designed for a different playstyle than your own isn't broken; it's just different.
 

Remove ads

AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Remove ads

Upcoming Releases

Top