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Author Topic: TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?  (Read 4317 times)

insubordinate polyhedral

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #30 on: May 03, 2020, 12:46:52 PM »
Quote from: Omega;1128709
1: earlier cars were probably safer due to the lower speeds. Over time we increased the speeds but with speed came an increasing lack of safety as its not the tech thats the problem. Its the driver. Ive been in two auto accidents, one I was too young to remember. In both cases it was some maniac running a red light. A costuming friend of mines fiance was for all intents and purposes murdered by a repeat drunk driver who ran them over as they were crossing the street. Sure, the tech can fail and fail spectacularly. But far more prevalent its the driver.


I guess my points weren't clear.

Point #1 is that an enormous amount of modern automotive safety mechanisms were introduced well after the car was commonplace: the seatbelt, head/neck support, air bags, side curtain air bags, crumple zones, energy dissipation and crash management, alternating windshield wipers, tire blowout detection, crash tests, automatic collision detection, firewalls/fire mitigation, how to protect the fuel tank, backup cameras, puncture resistant tires, traction control, etc. Only some of these are onboard computer related (e.g. collision detection), many of them are better modeling and better understanding of failure modes. This is with respect to Reckall's point that cultures with hyperspace tech would not let said tech be used until the safety corners were filed off. :D

Point #2 is exactly your point: the ability of people to fuck things up continues in spite of these safety developments. This was meant to support the idea that there's interesting risk space even with some amount of safety mechanisms in place, potentially even large ones. Or not. You know, do the right thing for the party/campaign/etc. But it could be interesting to toy around with.

Quote from: Omega;1128709
2: Theres a rather interesting youtube channel that documents air disasters and in a majority the problem was faulty maintenance. Not the actual tech itself. In one case this lead to a literal ghost plane flying along with everyone on board dead due to a poorly installed altimeter I believe that caused a cascade of disasters.

This is something you learn early on. Your equipment is only as good as the maintenance crew and one slip up can cause disaster. And due to the complexity of some tech now it can be thrown out of wack, sometimes disasterously by just one damn screw.


Yes, totally agreed. The majority of them are due to tragically simple mistakes or hubris, rather than unique and interesting failures of high tech systems. (The Concorde crash being caused by a part falling off of a Continental MD-80 comes to mind.) Still, there is also the potential of the fancy system going haywire, and what happens then: the AF 447 crash is one such example.

Quote from: Omega;1128709
Killing the whole party every d100th time they get in a train, car, or space ship, or just try to cross the street, might be "realistic" but its sure as heck not very fun in a game. Unless its the Wandering Damage Table...


Yeah, by no means do I intend to dictate to a GM that hyperspace travel needs the foibles of historical tech development projected onto it. But depending on the circumstances of the tech and campaign, it might be an interesting space to play with and take inspiration from real human history and mistakes. Or not! That was my intended suggestion. :D

lordmalachdrim

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2020, 02:32:53 PM »
Quote from: insubordinate polyhedral;1128712
Point #1 is that an enormous amount of modern automotive safety mechanisms were introduced well after the car was commonplace: the seatbelt, head/neck support, air bags, side curtain air bags, crumple zones, energy dissipation and crash management, alternating windshield wipers, tire blowout detection, crash tests, automatic collision detection, firewalls/fire mitigation, how to protect the fuel tank, backup cameras, puncture resistant tires, traction control, etc. Only some of these are onboard computer related (e.g. collision detection), many of them are better modeling and better understanding of failure modes. This is with respect to Reckall's point that cultures with hyperspace tech would not let said tech be used until the safety corners were filed off. :D

Point #2 is exactly your point: the ability of people to fuck things up continues in spite of these safety developments. This was meant to support the idea that there's interesting risk space even with some amount of safety mechanisms in place, potentially even large ones. Or not. You know, do the right thing for the party/campaign/etc. But it could be interesting to toy around with.

Don't forget, government fuel efficiency requirements have also reduced the safety of modern cars by forcing the manufactures to constantly cut down on anything that adds weight. Just think of how safe you would be in a car from the 50s with all of today's safety features added to it.

HappyDaze

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2020, 02:41:49 PM »
Quote from: insubordinate polyhedral;1128705

On the other hand, cars: when introduced, much faster than previous modes of transport. Hideously unsafe because we hadn't the damndest idea how to make them safe yet. ~90 years in, we're still improving the safety, and yet the driver of a car can still readily do the equivalent of a jump straight into a planetary body, killing all the occupants.

If we're still talking about a 1% chance of a catastrophic failure with each trip, then I disagree. I travel to/from work about 300 days/year. That's 600 trips. By raw numbers, I should have 6 catastrophic events per year, or roughly 1 per two months. So, no, a !% rate of catastrophic failure for routine space travel wouldn't be even remotely acceptable to a space-going society.

insubordinate polyhedral

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2020, 03:47:22 PM »
Quote from: HappyDaze;1128720
If we're still talking about a 1% chance of a catastrophic failure with each trip, then I disagree. I travel to/from work about 300 days/year. That's 600 trips. By raw numbers, I should have 6 catastrophic events per year, or roughly 1 per two months. So, no, a !% rate of catastrophic failure for routine space travel wouldn't be even remotely acceptable to a space-going society.

No, I'm just spitballing about the in-game state space for hyperspace travel to have catastrophic failure at some nonzero probability, vs. the idea of the society being so technologically advanced that catastrophe is ruled out at least in practice. I don't mean to be prescriptive about how dangerous (or not) it should be.

Spinachcat

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2020, 09:54:35 PM »
What if the 1% misjump rate was as good as it got?
What if "failsafe tech" was never developed...perhaps because jumpspace was just too alien.

There are always humans crazy, desperate or greedy enough to take those risks. Look at our own Age of Exploration. Only a lunatic would get aboard a wooden sailboat and decide to sail beyond the map. But there was the promise of gold, spices and fame...so they went and most died.

In my view of Traveller and the Imperium, they have accepted that misjumps happen. It's just part of the nature of space travel. Shit happens. That's why I gave a 1 in 36 chance each week of a rescue ship popping into the empty system. I assume subsector patrol ships do a tour of empty systems on their journeys because they know its possible for a misjumped ship to be needing rescue.

Ghostmaker

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #35 on: May 04, 2020, 09:40:22 AM »
Quote from: Reckall;1128702
A culture that develops an hyperspace engine that can cause TPK one every one-hundreds jumps will not use it until "failsafe tech" is also developed. Maybe a special sensor can "scan" the arrival point 1/1,000,000 secs before the spaceship emerges, judge if there is a danger, and instruct the on-board AI to either move accordingly the arrival point or to leave the ship in hyperspace and warn the crew about what is happening.

If the party wants to buy an old bucket of nails without failsafe tech, then it becomes their problem.


Someone is unfamiliar with the setting of Warhammer 40,000. :D

Omega

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2020, 02:41:22 PM »
The other factor may be tech thats in use but either not understood fully as it was gifted by others, or discovered derilect. Or some key knowledge may have been lost. Like in Battletech. Or even 40k.

Altheus

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #37 on: May 04, 2020, 03:42:11 PM »
I'd say don't make it a one bad roll and you're all dead situation, make it one bad roll and you're in a situation that has a chance of getting out with ships and selves more or less intact. I'd have jump accidents leave permanent scars on bodies, psyches and ships, killing pc's quickly is not the worst thing you can do to them. *evil chuckle*

Bedrockbrendan

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #38 on: May 04, 2020, 05:26:06 PM »
Quote from: Jamfke;1128357
Working up some rules for my OSR sci-fi game and writing up the entry for Astronavigation. Failure puts the ship off course by 1d10 lightyears. Failure with a roll of 95-99% puts the starship in imminent danger (comes out in an asteroid field, or just inside the atmosphere of a planet, etc). I've chosen to make a fail with 100% indicates that the starship comes out of hyper and collides with something, taking serious damage, or they phase back into real space within an object (an asteroid, another vessel, a planet, etc.), killing everyone inside.

Would this be too much for most gamers in the modern world? TPKs through combat with a superior force is one thing, but being due to the failure of a skill check by one player could be devastating for some folks, maybe. Thoughts?


I think the problem is your number. A 1 in 100 chance of a total party kill, seems rather high for navigation. My suggestion would be to keep the possibility bu but make some tiered tables so you can make the chance of that much more remote. Alternatively, have it trigger a series of choices the navigator needs to make in order to avert the TPK (so there is at least a sense that it is actually in the hands of the player and not in a random die roll). Not sure if there is an elegant way to work choices into it or not.

Omega

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #39 on: May 04, 2020, 06:13:27 PM »
Quote from: BedrockBrendan;1128813
I think the problem is your number. A 1 in 100 chance of a total party kill, seems rather high for navigation. My suggestion would be to keep the possibility bu but make some tiered tables so you can make the chance of that much more remote. Alternatively, have it trigger a series of choices the navigator needs to make in order to avert the TPK (so there is at least a sense that it is actually in the hands of the player and not in a random die roll). Not sure if there is an elegant way to work choices into it or not.

In Star Frontiers there is the factor of "risk jumping". This being attempting a trip without the required time taken to do all the calculations. The less time you take, the higher the chance of something going wrong.
Along charted routes and taking the required time, the chance is 100% of success. But if the route is not charted and/or less than the required time is taken, then the chance is lower.
If the astrogator takes the required time but its an unknown route then there is a 5% chance of misjump. If they take less than the required time then the chance of success drops, with a 100% chance of failure if takes less than 2 hours/ly plotting the course.

A misjump was not ever fatal. But if the crew jumped with low fuel then it could pose a serious problem if they were stranded someplace off the known routes. So bad things could happen of the players did things to make them more likely to happen.

On the other hand there was a 6% chance of a starliner having some sort of problem each trip. 8% for freighters, 18% for freighters with high risk cargo. Mostly external for either, like enemy ships, but a 2% chance of a delay due to engine trouble was possible.

Ghostmaker

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #40 on: May 05, 2020, 08:36:16 AM »
Quote from: Omega;1128798
The other factor may be tech thats in use but either not understood fully as it was gifted by others, or discovered derilect. Or some key knowledge may have been lost. Like in Battletech. Or even 40k.

Jokes aside, misjumps in BT are damned rare. Usually they're the result of:
(a) experimental technology (the Living Legends module)
(b) damage or interference with the K-F drive (Far Country, Fortress Republic)

I'm not even certain if BT has rules for if a misjump occurs. I need to ask.

crkrueger

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #41 on: May 05, 2020, 03:13:17 PM »
Quote from: Jamfke;1128357
Working up some rules for my OSR sci-fi game and writing up the entry for Astronavigation. Failure puts the ship off course by 1d10 lightyears. Failure with a roll of 95-99% puts the starship in imminent danger (comes out in an asteroid field, or just inside the atmosphere of a planet, etc). I've chosen to make a fail with 100% indicates that the starship comes out of hyper and collides with something, taking serious damage, or they phase back into real space within an object (an asteroid, another vessel, a planet, etc.), killing everyone inside.

Would this be too much for most gamers in the modern world? TPKs through combat with a superior force is one thing, but being due to the failure of a skill check by one player could be devastating for some folks, maybe. Thoughts?


The thing to ask yourself is, is a space-faring civilization even possible with one out of every hundred jumps ending in destruction?
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Omega

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #42 on: May 05, 2020, 03:21:35 PM »
Quote from: Ghostmaker;1128896
Jokes aside, misjumps in BT are damned rare. Usually they're the result of:
(a) experimental technology (the Living Legends module)
(b) damage or interference with the K-F drive (Far Country, Fortress Republic)

I'm not even certain if BT has rules for if a misjump occurs. I need to ask.

I have the books and far as I recall it is mentioned as happening more than a few times. But no actual rules for it. Essentially a background boogyman. At least one adventure and one book kicks off as the result of someone elses or their own misjump turning into a discovery.

Omega

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #43 on: May 05, 2020, 03:25:02 PM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;1128921
The thing to ask yourself is, is a space-faring civilization even possible with one out of every hundred jumps ending in destruction?

Well that depends on the roller. If its a player then the chance is actually 50%. And if its a program then the chance is 150%. :cool:
(no really. Im playing a PC game trying to craft an item with a 1% chance of success. I am at try number 141... :()

Spinachcat

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TPK for One Character's Mistake Too Much?
« Reply #44 on: May 05, 2020, 08:31:49 PM »
Quote from: CRKrueger;1128921
The thing to ask yourself is, is a space-faring civilization even possible with one out of every hundred jumps ending in destruction?

I wonder what the return rate for wooden ships was for the Age of Sail. And if the ship did return, what percentage of crew were alive?

Also, there's the issue of motivation.

If Earth is a dying, post-apocalyptic nightmare, and we find a fresh utopia world to destroy, I mean colonize, then many people would take the 1% risk. Even if the Earth wasn't dying, but just some form of dystopia, there would be people motivated enough to take crazy risks.

Its important to note that a Misjump in Classic Traveller isn't auto-death. Since the Imperium is heavily settled space, you have a good chance of simply misjumping into the WRONG system, possibly quite far from your original destination, but its still a system that probably has a gas giant or a planet with ice or water. In Traveller, a misjump has a possibility of death, but a larger possibility of inconvenience.