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The motivation of the characters is a tricky one.

The organization I'm modeling this on is as nefarious on it's recruitment policy as it is on it's missions. They find the most suitable candidates and then coerce them into participation through blackmail, deceit, whatever it takes.

So it's not always a case of believing in the cause. I think in our game it might have to be that though. Otherwise it gets tricky.

So I think I'll go with Alan Moore's League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen approach on this.

Nature once again proves itself to be a tricky hack. James thinks the human nature write up is spot on, Adrian doesn't.

What to do… I'm torn. Whilst as a summation of human nature I think the aspects are sound, whether they will play well is not so clear cut and I think that is what Adrian is getting at.

However, behaving in concert with those aspects would, in reality, render you a civilian. Acting against them might not in render you a 'native'. It depends on the native! Where IRIS members would work against human nature is the violent, anti-social aspects of their missions. The guilt associated with that might degenerate into a 'gone native' scenario. But I haven't looked closely enough at the other aspects of the nature mechanic yet.

Doug, great work, really exciting! You're as tenacious as a dwarf with a fake Scottish accent. Also good job fielding Luke Crane's doubts, he's a grand master of poo-poohing.

I repeat: don't go Human Nature, go either IRIS Nature or maybe Imperial Nature — something EXTREMELY specific. Anthropomorphic mice do not encompass the entire range of humanity, so your nature characteristic should not try to either.

I'm getting the idea that you don't want the players to be professional IRIS agents, or that IRIS doesn't really have pros (?), and so the players are more like operatives recruited to do IRIS-y things incognito. But they're doing it out of the idea that IRIS is doing necessary work? That is, they're not money or fear motivated, but are more like
a) Victorian Brits without official position who are serving the interests of the empire, which they believe is spreading decent civilized values
b) Indiana Jones as a cold warrior between Temple of Doom and Crystal Skull
c) Bogart in Casablanca stepping out of neutrality
d) Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now getting sent up the river to shut down Kurtz — an IRIS agent who's gone native
etc. ?

If that's so, maybe you can define some imperial values that the characters can embody, but also have to go against in order to do their work.
law and order?
military honor?
ummm I bet there's more — maybe just technical sophistication?

Anyway, I like the endpoints of your nature and I think you can keep them as written.

Very exciting project.

Also, the aspects of humanity look good in theory but do they work in practice. I've been posting this stuff on the MG hacks section of the burning wheel forums and I've had some negative feedback on it.

I wanted a question to pose for each aspect of human nature. I was missing something for creative and I also wanted one fun question (a proposed hack called Dwarf Guard posses the question : Would you like a beer?). Hence 'Do you have a name for your weapon of choice?'. This is an extension of another hack for MG using humans which poses the question 'Do you like to create things?' for this aspect. I didn't like that question. Too vague and boring.

Doug, that human nature thing looks pitch-perfect. Very, very nicely done.

But what's up with the weapon having a name?

New traits!

Brawler (replaces Sharp-tooth)
You are disposed to fighting hand-to-hand and are prepared to win by any means necessary. A fair fight is one I win! Always first to start a confrontation and usually first to finish it.

Core-born/bred (replaces Guard's Honour)
You were born, raised or educated within the core sector of the imperium. The imperium is a way of life to you. It is second nature. Your social standing is high in the imperium and you are entrusted with certain privileges because of this. You do, however, have less sympathy for the philistines who exist outside the core.

Grunt (replaces Big Paw)
You are a warrior and proud of it. A foot soldier who eschews the trappings of command. You are in the trenches fighting the good fight within sight of the whites of the enemies eyes. You have a healthy disrespect for authority.

Guilt (new)
You have seen things most people wouldn't believe and done things that would be viewed as criminal in normal imperial life. This weighs on your conscience. Do the means always justify the ends?

Messiah Complex (new)
You are the instrument of a higher power. You are the saviors of this confused bunch of savages. The imperium knows what is good for them. Better than they do.

Perceptive (replaces wolf's snout)
You see things before anyone else and sometimes they are gone before you can tell everyone. Your eyes are ever alert for the threat or the opportunity. Your peers sometimes think you are a little paranoid.

Psionic (replaces Long Tail - i.e an odd genetic trait that is leveraged by the character)
You have strange dreams. Sometimes deja-vu. You can make things happen by will alone. You must not tell anyone as it is both a gift and a curse.
Note: This is a tricky one. The player doesn't necessarily want to reveal this trait to his or her team. The general disposition to psionic abilities in the imperium is not good. A player may want to call in this trait to achieve his or her goal but at the risk of exposing their abilities to the team or their handlers. Maybe using this trait would tax their human nature?

Resistance (replaces defender)
You were born in a world under the heel of oppression and you fought against it. Street by street, field by field. You sympathize with the plight of the people you seek to liberate.

Techie (new)
You are at one with technology. 'If I can reroute the power coupling through the jump-drive inducer circuit then we might be able to achieve jump-3!'

Techno-fear (new)
Technology hates you. 'Every time I try to access the interlink I get a 400X error! Give me that book!'

Xenophobe (new)
Humaniti is prime! All other, so-called, sentients are a thorn in the Imperiums side. You see your work as assimilation.

Removed the following traits,

Deep ear,
Early riser,

This means we have the same number of total traits as MG.

Human nature for IRIS (read Special Circumstances) agents in the Third Imperium

The four aspects of a character's human nature are,

1. Adaptive
2. Inquisitive
3. Creative
4. Social

Human nature starts at 3.

Questions :
Have you overcome adversity in your past?
If you have overcome adversity, add 1 to your nature, increase your survival skill by 1 if you take it.
If you have not overcome adversity, subtract 1 from your nature.

Are you from the core?
If you are from the core, add core-born trait.
If you are not from the core, add 1 to your nature, you may not take the core-born trait.

Does your weapon of choice have a name?
If your weapon has a name, add 1 to your nature.

Are you a loner?
If you are a loner, subtract 1 from your nature.

Nature 0 : You have 'gone native'. You have assumed the characteristics of the subject of your mission. You are of no more use to IRIS and you don't want to be.
Nature 7 : Civilian. You have lost the will to to perform these acts in the name of the Imperium. You are of no more use to IRIS.

Yeah, I think part of the problem was positioning. In Mouseguard, every PC is one of the Mouseguard. It's a constraint on the universe of possible character types, and a very productive one because it tells you what the game is about and what types of situations will be faced.

If it turns out there's a 'character filter' everyone has to pass through, it's usually best to make that explicit, so you avoid guys like Scalpel - who IMO remains an interesting character but one unsuited to the campaign, and whose existence, I think, put a strain on everything.

Nature: Humanity is very easy to do using an espionage/sci-fi background, but it inevitably will lead to dark, troubled, morally ambiguous PC's. Because humanity isn't just a description, like mouse-ness: it's a prescription (because we're humans). If a mouse transcends his or her mouse-nature, well, I don't have strong moral views about mice. But if a character is obliged to act against human nature, you're inevitably going to run into moral dilemmas and inevitably do the 'wrong' thing eventually. And everyone needs to be okay with that, because it's going to happen sooner or later given the premise.

This isn't necessarily the end of the world: the point of these sorts of stories (when involving people, not mice) is that maybe our ideas about right and wrong, human and inhuman, are at best inadequate in edge cases and at worst delusional. I think this is a very satisfying emotional space, and a very rich space for certain kinds of games. But it would not always be a suitable place for the kind of fairly clean-cut heroism Doug may prefer.

Doug, a game of this sort would probably end up resembling something like The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Quiet American, maybe some episodes of The Shield in terms of the mood and emotional tenor. Looking at The Wire, it occasionally strays into that emotional territory, so maybe guys like Bunny Colvin (in Season 3), D'Angelo Barksdale, Omar, and Bubbles…

Much more important than us not cottoning:
We might not have been INTO that.

What do you think about having everyone be IRIS recruits from the start?

IRIS is technically canon to MegaTraveller as it appears below.

The original idea was that the first mission is a IRIS recruitment effort. You unknowingly sign up for an IRIS mission and if you pass the test you are in.

But you guys didn't cotton on to that.

Is IRIS canon? I've been trying to find info about it but the wiki just looks at me like I'm stupid.

If you want to lean heavily on IRIS, then all the PCs should BE IRIS AGENTS. That's very doable, and would cut to the chase a bit. Instead of travellers balking as they follow a secret agent around, there can be intra-agency drama.

Your humanity is in question when you spend your life doing the missions IRIS has in mind.

But your comments on 'not getting involved' as part of the nature of a character ring true.

I don't think humanity is at issue in the kind of traveller game you're planning. It's not really threatened, and the PCs aren't using it anymore than normals. How about Nature (traveller) with the actions having something to do with maintaining an uncommitted, just passing through, you give me the money I carry the cargo, hey it's not my planet attitude. Maybe Jury Rigging, Spacer (generic zero-g/vacc suit/ship ID), Bargaining for our Lives, Poking Around …. this is tough when not talking about mice! But if you get the gist, then it's not so hard to imagine situations where we choose NOT to rely on our ability to move on and instead commit to the situation at hand.

OK. As you may know I'm looking at retooling Mouse Guard for the traveller campaign.

A fundamental property of MG is nature. Ie what actions are in a mouse's nature. There are four in the rules,
Escaping, Climbing, Hiding and Foraging.

I see this property as becoming Humanity in our hack.
So what are the most important aspects of our humanity. What must we do to maintain it? I need four!

Also, the thing that makes the mouse guard stand apart from the rank and file is that they are have to act against their nature. Fighting for example. This taxes their nature. What taxes our humanity in Traveller?

E. I think the interplay you get from making characters as a group is cool strong stuff.

I haven't run Traveller since junior high school, and I never actually got a chance to play. I'm interested.


but presumably it doesn't hurt to have a mixture, right?

I vote b' — make more online, but don't use the random Mongoose tables. Instead, just pick reasonable stats and skills.

Do you want to

(a) Keep your character from the previous adventure
(b) Generate another via PBM
(c) Generate another offline
(d) Allow me to provide you with a pre-gen suitable for the upcoming campaign - I will allow your own embellishments of course
(e) Have a group session of char gen

VOTE ! Pregens or PBM gens by littleidiotlittleidiot, 08 Jan 2009 14:36
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