Thursday, June 6, 2013

Game Design - TDMS

As much as I like TDMs and actually look for examples of various TDMs in a skill, who has time to do that? I just ran a game in roll20 and remember how hard it is to Track the TDMs, and realize it may be something of a player element - if the player details why the activity is easier or harder.

I wrote about Acrobatics a while back, and pointed out there are key differences in how an acrobatics work. There are "rolls" and there "arials" and there are hand-assisted maneuvers. There are clearly TDMs becuase there are some that are way easy, that even a non-skilled acrobat has a good chance to do, while there are the feats we have come to "expect" from acrobats.

Roll soldier when performing EASY (+4 an above tasks) Task related to soldier profession in Combat Engineering, Electronics Comm, Navigation, Armoury, Etc... Now the major problem I have with this systems is that GMs Identifying what is Easy (+4 tasks) is something that not a lot of GURPS GMs can do - for one is that who has time to learn all the TDMS of every skill. Ex. Can you list down all the +4 TDM tasks for Navigation, Combat Engineering, Armoury, Etc...

I find this problem affects all other "Professional Skills" that are similar to soldier, a collection of various skill that have their own specialization.

Why not just allow Soldier to Default at -4 to perform these skills at their Challenging level and disallow soldiers to perform such tasks that are worse than unfavorable (-1 to -2)?

Imagine how typically a GM would go about both processes:
Original System -
Player - "I'm a soldier-12 (8cp) I want to do X regarding navigation"
GM - (GM has to consider if it is an "Easy" task;

  • if it its not easy then disallow it, 
  • if it is an easy task allow it at the soldier skill level (12) 
  • Consider now other than the GMs who played GURPS for 10years + years, how many GURPS GMs can name situations where it would be an "Easy" task?

Recommended System -
Player - I'm a soldier-12 (8cp) I want to do X regarding navigation.
GM - Roll -4 on Soldier, and apply any relevant modifiers.

Consider applying it to Professional Skill - Butler (after watching downton abbey). Buttler can do house keeping, some merchant, savoir fair, sewing, sometimes gardening, and some animal handling. Imagine having to be able to track all the tasks that are at "+4 TDMS" of all those skills or having to just use -4 to Professional Skill?

Abuse of such a system - It can be abused, but the rule of thumb that anything that requires a "Professional X" can be reflected by disallowing task that would impose a Hard Penalty for the skill. If a person who has the specialized does this task at -4 the Professional who knows enough to get by cannot do such.

Soldier-20 Veteran. About 40cp in soldier accumulated through years of campaigning. The soldier can perform Strategy and Tactics at Skill-14! This reflects the execution of standard practices and doctrine. But when it comes to Special "Called Shots" or Feats of Strategy the Soldier cannot go there, unless he himself has those skills.

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