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Author Topic: Questions abour Master Components...  (Read 3261 times)
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« on: April 22, 2003, 05:56:21 AM »

So lets say I want to create a Master Component, Soldier.

Would it work like this:
Soldier - 1 Coin
Combat Training x 2 - 2 Coins
Disciplined - 1 Coin
Uses M-16 Machine Gun - 1 Coin
Determined - 1 Coin
----------------------------
Total Cost = 6 Coins

From now on I can bring in a generic soldier for 1 Coin that has access to all the dice that the above attributes would bring? Although his Importance will only be 1, he has a potential 6 dice to bring to bear in certain situations?

OK, what if I want to create a Master Component like the above Soldier, but have it be a Squad of 3?  What about a squad of 5?  10? 30?

On the other hand, if I do NOT create a Master Component for Squads, but only single Soldiers, then I have to pay 1 Coin to introduce each one, right?

How do I create a "rabble", like a bunch of townspeople? Or an "army"?

What if I want to take a soldier and give him a name, and other individualizing things?

So if the subComponent Soldier #4 gets the following traits (Named:Norm, trained in Gulf War, Marksman, Quick) what happens to the traits he got from being a subComponent?  Is his Importance 5 or 11?  What are the max dice he could bring to bear on a complication, 5 or 10?

Thanks.
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2003, 06:31:13 AM »

By the way, I will be running/playing Uni for the first time at a local gaming shop tonight.  Nervous and excited.  Hope to hear a response about master components before the game.
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-Sindyr
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2003, 06:45:26 AM »

Quote from: Sindyr
So lets say I want to create a Master Component, Soldier.

{snip example}

From now on I can bring in a generic soldier for 1 Coin that has access to all the dice that the above attributes would bring? Although his Importance will only be 1, he has a potential 6 dice to bring to bear in certain situations?

Yes. You don't want to pay for all the Traits on every damn Orc, do ya? And you don't want to have them be the pushovers they are in other games, do ya? This allows every Orc to be as thematically interesting as the one's that Frodo meets along the way (like the ones he meets in the tower), but for them to be essentially disposable at the same time.

Yes, if one is looking to abuse the game, this is a prime way to do it. Challenge inappropiate uses ruthlessly.

Quote
OK, what if I want to create a Master Component like the above Soldier, but have it be a Squad of 3?  What about a squad of 5?  10? 30?
There are a number of ways to do this. What I do is to create a "Squad" or whatever that's a member of the Master Class (sorry, slipping into OOP terms), and has a Trait like "Personnel".

When doing a "numbers" Trait like "Personnel", don't fall into the one for one trap. I'd call a Fire Team of five "Numbers". A Squad of ten Numbersx2. A platoon of forty, Numbersx3. A company of 200, Numbersx4. Etc. These things really only have to represent relative importance of the size. One could have Huge Army of Thousandsx2. These don't represent anything in the game other than the narrative importance of the particular Trait. So it's very possible that the number of men in a particular platoon is much more important than the size of the opposing army.

Sorry for the minirant; back to the regularly scheduled thread.

Quote
On the other hand, if I do NOT create a Master Component for Squads, but only single Soldiers, then I have to pay 1 Coin to introduce each one, right?
Nope. Just create the Squad, and pay for numbers again. The only difference is that you'll have to pay for all the other Traits every time you do this.

Quote
How do I create a "rabble", like a bunch of townspeople? Or an "army"?
Hopefull the above answers this?

Quote
What if I want to take a soldier and give him a name, and other individualizing things?
He's a new component. The Component that spawned him doesn't change, but is merely a narrative excuse for his appearance (he could just as easily "walk around the corner"). He may, or may not be a member of the Master Component at your discretion. A cool thing to do is to use the results of Complications of groups to produce individuals who the specific narration of the results then revolves around.

Quote
So if the subComponent Soldier #4 gets the following traits (Named:Norm, trained in Gulf War, Marksman, Quick) what happens to the traits he got from being a subComponent?  Is his Importance 5 or 11?  What are the max dice he could bring to bear on a complication, 5 or 10?
He gets one Importance fro being a "Soldier" subcomponent. And four more for his other Traits. So five in this example. If you want to make him more important one way is simply to buy him from scratch with all the same Traits.

This is important. Because if you do this, then the Master Component can be eliminated, but the character remain. If he's a subcomponent, and some player wants to eliminate the Master Component, they'll have to off the individual sub-component first.

So in deciding which to use, consider how thematically linked the character is to the Master Component. If he could exist without it as a protagonist, then don't make him a Sub. If he's intrinsically linked to the Master Component, then he should be a Sub.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2003, 07:12:10 AM »

Quote from: Sindyr

From now on I can bring in a generic soldier for 1 Coin that has access to all the dice that the above attributes would bring? Although his Importance will only be 1, he has a potential 6 dice to bring to bear in certain situations?


Correct.
Note the following important thing, however.  The number and power of the Traits you add to a master component should be consistant with the number and power of Traits added elsewhere.  For instance I have been in games where the above outline for a soldier would have made this guy the most incredible combat god powerhouse in the game.  Because in that game even the main characters had been given few traits beyond their name, role, and a particular special feature.

If this guy is meant to be the template for a mook/goon than 6 dice of combat nastiness should equate to a mook/goon level of effectiveness.  That is the protagonist...say Rambo...should be able to call on maybe 2 dozen combat Traits.  If Rambo has only 6 Combat Traits himself, than the above generic soldier template might better have only 2 Coins worth of nastiness.

This is one area I didn't make real clear in the rules.  In fact, my example of the Slytheran Shock Trooper is even a nastier badass than your soldier.  Written at a time when I assumed longer term play would be the norm and protagonist characters would wind up being measured in 10s of Coins just to start.  Given that actual play by most people seems to generate protagonists with far fewer Traits than I'd assumed, this example Component is a little misleading.

I shouldn't be too surprised by that, actually.  I created a system which intentionally allows the play group to only create and detail exactly what is necessary to move the story forward.  Why did I expect them to give a horde of extraneous detail to characters?  Beats me.  Instead characters are generally designed in a very minimalist fashion, which works quite well.  But in games where things are designed less minimalist and more "try to assign a Trait for every detail" the above soldier would probably work fine.  This is why the rules suggest that adjusting the number of Coins in play is necessary based on the group.


Also note that all traits used in a Master Component should be true for all typical representatives of that "class".  Is it accurate to say that all soldiers are "determined" in your game.  Would there be a noticeable number of soldier who aren't?  Does the game focus enough on soldiers that different personality traits like this should be left to the individual characters rather than the template?  If so, than this Trait might not be appropriate at the master level.


Quote

OK, what if I want to create a Master Component like the above Soldier, but have it be a Squad of 3?  What about a squad of 5?  10? 30?


Yup.  There's even an example of this in the rules.

Keep in mind that the Group Trait does not necessarily correspond 1:1 fashion with actual numbers (although for some reason it does in both of the play examples I used).  Group x1 can mean simply "more than 1".  Group x3 can mean "alot more than one". Group x5 can mean simply "a whole bunch".  If desired it is simple to propose a Rule Gimmick that equates each Group level to a specific size.  For a military based campaign Groupx1 might equal "Fire Team", x2 "squad", x3 "platoon", x4 "Company" or whatever.  However, such is not necessary.  The trait in the rules is just an abstract measure of "the advantage of numbers".


[group]On the other hand, if I do NOT create a Master Component for Squads, but only single Soldiers, then I have to pay 1 Coin to introduce each one, right?[/quote]

you don't need a master component to make a group.  You can assign a group trait to any individual component to make it represent more than 1 person  "Mob of Rioters x5" for instance.  If you want to introduce 3 soldiers but don't want to make a single component with a group trait, than yes, each would be introduced individually.

"How do I create a "rabble", like a bunch of townspeople?"

Role:  Rabble of Townsfolk -- 1 Coin
Group Trait:  Mob x3 -- 3 Coins
Armed with Torches and Pitchforks -- 1 or 2 Coins depending on how your group feels about such things.

Or whatever traits would be relavent.  No Master Component is required unless Mobs of Rabble are to be a frequent reoccuring feature.


Quote
What if I want to take a soldier and give him a name, and other individualizing things?

So if the subComponent Soldier #4 gets the following traits (Named:Norm, trained in Guld War, Marksman, Quick) what happens to the traits he got from being a subComponent?  Is his Importance 5 or 11?  What are the max dice he could bring to bear on a complication, 5 or 10?
Thanks.


Think of the Master-SubComponent thing as being a Character Class.  If you were using Universalis for a D&D style game you might create "Paladin" as a Master Component and add things like "Detect Evil", "Lay on Hands", and "Special Warhorse" as Traits of what it means to be a Palidan.  In this example you've done something similiar for "Soldier".

So now you create Norm.
you have:

Name: Norm --- 1 Coin
Role/Subcomponent:  Soldier --- 1 Coin
Trained in Guildwar --- 1 Coin
Marksman --- 1 Coin
Quick --- 1 Coin

Importance = 5.  He still has access to all of the Traits of Being a Soldier, because he is still a subcomponent of that Master.

You could also do a Master Component for veterans of the Guildwar:  "Mistrust of Corporate Bureaucracy", "Stealth Insertion Training", "Implanted with Core Tech tracking chip"...etc.

In this way you could use Master Components as "Profession Packages"
"Sniping School" becomes a Master Component with all of the Traits typical for a trained Sniper.  Etc.

Ordinarily you'd just treat "Sniper" as a role and assume it incorporates everything that a player can justify as being something a sniper would know and that isn't questionable enough for another player to Challenge him on.  But the game is really designed to let you get as detailed and crunchy as you want...explicitly listing out an explicit skill package for Snipers as a Master Component.

Just keep in mind that such things needs to be done consistantly to keep the relative importance of all characters and other Components in the story in parity.  If you give someone Demoskill x3 and Plastic Explosive x2 as traits you'd also better define that "Reinforced Concrete bunker" with more traits or else it will go down like paper mache in a Complication to blow it up.  The level of detail you want to bring to the game is a good thing to decide upon during the prep phase...as well as the number of Coins to give out.  This level of detail will require more Coins than minimalist play.
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Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2003, 07:14:55 AM »

Can I create SubComponents to SubComponents?

For example, Can I create an Army Master Component, which has a subcomponent of Squad, which in turn is the Master Component to the subcomponent Soldier?

Also, if I already have "Soldier" defined as a Master Component, and I want to bring a squad of three Soldiers into the story, which of the following will NOT work?

1)  Pay 3 Coins for 3 Soldiers. Cost = 3 Coins.

2)  Create A Master Component "Squad" that "contains" 3 Master Components "Soldiers".  Cost = 4 Coins? (Squad + Soldier * 3?)

3)  Create a Whole new and seperate Master Component "Squad"
Squad - 1 Coin
Numbers (3 people) - 1 Coin
Combat Training x 2 - 2 Coins
Disciplined - 1 Coin
Uses M-16 Machine Gun - 1 Coin
Determined - 1 Coin
Cost = 7 Coins?

Of the above choices, given that the Master Component "Soldier" exists as outlined above, it seems that choice #3 is a waste of coins.

#2 would be good, but I don't know if it is legal.

#1 would work, but seems inelegant - and what if I want a squad of 10?

I think I like #2 the best - is it "legal" without a rules gimmick or addon?
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Valamir
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2003, 07:30:12 AM »

Quote from: Sindyr
Can I create SubComponents to SubComponents?

For example, Can I create an Army Master Component, which has a subcomponent of Squad, which in turn is the Master Component to the subcomponent Soldier?


Yes...but.

This sort of thing works well.  IF (BIG if) it is consistantly and reasonably applied.  It can have ripple effects and repurcussions throughout the game, because you are adding a great deal of leverage to the game.  This will change the nature of buying Traits dramatically.  Certain Coins will buy ALOT of power apiece (those that purchase into a cascading Master Component series), while others buy comparitively little (buying an individual Trait directly).  

Master Components work well (and have been thoroughly tested) as a great way to generate cheap disposable mooks who are tough, but go down easy.

Master Components work well as a template system for bringing "Class" and "Race" concepts to the Game.  The "Elf" component grants "Infravision 60 feet" and "Long Sword" and "Bow" Traits for instance.  Also well tested.

There is no reason why what you are attempting to do wouldn't also work very well...but it is inherently more dangerous.  If you are going to try this (and frankly I'd love to see it)...I'd recommend starting with a straight up "world building" session where there are no characters or actual play going on.  Rather set up all of the Master Component classes and such that you intend to have in advance where they can be thought out individually without worrying if this is someone's sneaky way of getting an edge in a Complication.  I wouldn't try to create nested Master Components on the fly in game.  CERTAINLY not in a first game.

In fact, I'd recommend you keep your first game pretty devoid of these details until you've seen the engine in action.  Then you'll be better able to judge what does and doesn't work for you.


Quote

Also, if I already have "Soldier" defined as a Master Component, and I want to bring a squad of three Soldiers into the story, which of the following will NOT work?


Again.  Master Components and Groups are entirely seperate concepts you do NOT need a master component to make a group.  In my mind the best way to do this is not even on your list.

Role/SubComponent:  Soldier -- 1 Coin
Group:  Squad of 3 -- 1 Coin.

(note How many Coins "Squad of 3" should be in your game depends entirely on the scale you want the trait to represent. )

Alternatively you could make "Squad of 3" a trait of the Master Component, but then ALL Components linked to that Master MUST be squad's of three.  And the squad itself will have an Importance of only 1 instead of 2 as it does above.


Quote
1)  Pay 3 Coins for 3 Soldiers. Cost = 3 Coins.


sure



Quote
2)  Create A Master Component "Squad" that "contains" 3 Master Components "Soldiers".  Cost = 4 Coins? (Squad + Soldier * 3?)


No.  Heres why.  Soldier + Solder + Soldier = Soldier x3...which is a measure of how "skillful" or effective a Soldier is...Soldier x3 means this guy is a significantly better soldier than the guy with Soldier x1.  It does not mean there are 3 of him.

Quote

3)  Create a Whole new and seperate Master Component "Squad"
Squad - 1 Coin
Numbers (3 people) - 1 Coin
Combat Training x 2 - 2 Coins
Disciplined - 1 Coin
Uses M-16 Machine Gun - 1 Coin
Determined - 1 Coin
Cost = 7 Coins?


Legal.  But in my mind the better choice is as I described above.  Just leave the master as Soldier without the numbers trait and add the numbers trait to the sub.
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Sindyr
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2003, 07:36:59 AM »

Quote
2) Create A Master Component "Squad" that "contains" 3 Master Components "Soldiers". Cost = 4 Coins? (Squad + Soldier * 3?)


I think I phrased this in a confusing way, I meant:

2) Create A Master Component "Squad" that "contains" 3 Master Components "Soldiers". Cost = 4 Coins?
Squad = 1 Coin
Contains Soldier #1 - 1 Coin
Contains Soldier #2 - 1 Coin
Contains Soldier #3 - 1 Coin
Total = 4 Coins

Does this change the responses?

PS. (Added by edit upon re-evaluation)
Importance of an instance of this Squad?  Max Dice?
Maybe Importance = 4.
Maybe Max Dice = 6 per soldier, or 18?

OK, I guess that would get crazy fast - one would be rolling hundreds of dice for an army.

Maybe I should have said:
2) Create A Master Component "Squad" that "contains" 3 Master Components "Soldiers". Cost = 2 Coins?
Soldier = 1 Coin
Squad (3 units) = 1 Coin
Total = 2 Coins
Importance = 2 Coins, Max dice = 6 (from Soldier) + 1 (from Squad) = 7?

Is this way of doing the same as using a Group?
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2003, 07:39:55 AM »

Quote
Again. Master Components and Groups are entirely seperate concepts you do NOT need a master component to make a group. In my mind the best way to do this is not even on your list.

[Squad]
Role/SubComponent: Soldier -- 1 Coin
Group: Squad of 3 -- 1 Coin.


If the Squad were diefined as above, what is it's Importance and max dice?  Importance = 2 and Max Dice = 7? (6 dice from Soldier Master Component and one from "Group"?
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2003, 07:47:24 AM »

Yes, as Master Components and Subcomponents are Components, they are all subject to being Masters or Subs themselves. But this is very tricky, and ought to only be used in rare cases. Such cases usually only include games that you intend to have run for a long time. In fact, for a single session game, I recommend not doing any Master Components at all. The chances of them being used more than once is slim (in which case, the extra recordkeeping and complesity are useless). If you can't see the Component being used three times, don't do a Master. Which means that if you can't see a Master Master, and each "Sub-Master" being used three times each, separately (for a minimum of six uses, and probably more), then don't even think about it.

But you can't do the particular example you're trying. Because your subcomponent, Squad, doesn't have individuals as subcomponents. The last subcomponent in a chain has members that are "individual X" where X is the Master just above it. Thus you could have.

Soldier Master Component
Basic Training
Weapons

Squad (Subcomponent of Soldier, Master of individual Squads)
Member of Soldier Master Component
Numbersx2
Esprit de Corps

So what you'd create with your one Coin would be:

Squad (Member of the Squad Master Component [and hence member of the Soldier Master Component])
Basic Training
Weapons
Numbersx2
Esprit de Corps

All for one Coin.

Or you can just create an individual Soldier right from the Soldier Master Component. But he won't then have the Numbers or the Esprit de Corps.

See how that all hangs together? As Ralph points out, be careful to put only those traits that are intrinsic to the Component at that level in. For example, you could put Esprit de Corps in the Soldier Master, but that would indicate that the individuals of this army would feel that sense of Elan, even if they weren't with any of their compatriots. Would make sense for some armies, and not for others.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2003, 07:49:01 AM »

Quote from: Ralph
Heres why *I* wouldn't recommend trying this.

Same caveat goes, BTW, for nested Complications. In fact those are so potentially problematic that we didn't even put them in the main rules. But with a simple Gimmick, you can eliminate the restriction on starting Complications while others are going on, and then put in a rule for resolving them from the "inside out".

These are fun when used right, but extremely dangerous if allowed to run amok. Basically there are lots of ways to extend the use of the basic rules that are potentially empowering. But they can also lead to some terrible play, potentially (you find with nested Complications that it often requires a Challenge to get the nesting to stop). As such, only extend the rules with extreme care.

Basically the potential problem is that, with these extensions, the ramifications of the results can be hard to see from the outset. So, start small until you get some experience with the rules, and then use them more later.

When in doubt, remember that you can get everything that you want to do done with the basic rules, and that sometimes it's better for everything to just go that way.

Mike

Edit to note:  How in the hell did Mike manage to post as Me.  don't know.  But this was Mike's post...very odd.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2003, 07:54:57 AM »

Quote from: Sindyr
If the Squad were diefined as above, what is it's Importance and max dice?  Importance = 2 and Max Dice = 7? (6 dice from Soldier Master Component and one from "Group"?


Yes.

As opposed to writing up the squad as having the six Traits on it's own, and the Group Trait. Which would be Importance = 7, Max Dice = 7.

I'm a bit uncomfortable with this whole "max dice" idea. It smacks of the notion that every Trait should be activated for every Complication that the Component becomes engaged in. In a cake-baking Complication, the squad would have "Max Dice" in my book of zero (one if named). But, yes, theoretically the squad can produce seven dice in a Complication.

Mike
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Sindyr
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« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2003, 07:58:36 AM »

And more...

If Company is defined as 12 Soldiers, then as I understand it so far, there are at least two ways to do it:

A)
Create Component: Company.
Soldier Component - 1 Coin
Group - Numbers x 2 - 2 Coins
Total Cost = 3 Coins

So, each time you introduce a Company, it costs 3 Coins.

If instead, you create it *this* way:
B)
Create Master Component: Company.
Soldier Component - 1 Coin
Group - Numbers x 2 - 2 Coins
Total Cost = 3 Coins

It makes you spend 4 coins to introduce the first Company (3 for the MC and 1 for the instance) but only 1 Coin for every subsequent company.  This could be a savings if you will be introducing many companies.

Example A's way would have an Importance of 3 (I believe) and a Max Dice of 8 per squad.
Example B's way would have an Importance of 1 and a Max Dice of 8 per squad.

Does this sound right?
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-Sindyr
Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2003, 08:04:22 AM »

Mike Holmes wrote:
Quote
Yes, as Master Components and Subcomponents are Components, they are all subject to being Masters or Subs themselves. But this is very tricky, and ought to only be used in rare cases. Such cases usually only include games that you intend to have run for a long time.


I think eventually most of my games will be multisession - maybe one long story over many months, even years.

Quote
But you can't do the particular example you're trying. Because your subcomponent, Squad, doesn't have individuals as subcomponents. The last subcomponent in a chain has members that are "individual X" where X is the Master just above it. Thus you could have.

Soldier Master Component
Basic Training
Weapons

Squad (Subcomponent of Soldier, Master of individual Squads)
Member of Soldier Master Component
Numbersx2
Esprit de Corps


How can a "Squad" be a subcomponent of "Soldier"?  Shoudn't it be the other way around? First create "Soldier", and then define "Squad" as a collection of "Soldiers"?

Also, sorry if this gets confusing, guys.  Cross posting can be difficult. :)
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Sindyr
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« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2003, 08:07:10 AM »

Valamir said:
Quote
There aren't many standard guidelines for how you want to word Traits. If this makes sense to you great. But you are falling into what Mike above referred to as the 1:1 trap.

See what you have above is essentially the same as

Master Component: Squad --- 1 Coin
Subcomponent: Soldier --- 1 Coin (to give the squad access to the soldier traits).
Numbers: 3 soldiersx2 --- 2 Coins.

Key difference...you cannot use "Contains Soldiers" three times in order to draw upon the same set of Soldier Traits three times in the same component. Or perhaps more accurately I should say "should not" since that will get crazy fast.


Yeah, I just realized that.  The Trait "Numbers" is our friend :)  Nice for logarithmic math too.
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Sindyr
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Posts: 795


« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2003, 08:09:59 AM »

I only bring up Max Dice for 2 reasons:

1) A way to check that I am correct about the number and relationship of the traits of the subComponents.

2) For components designed with a single purpose, ie, Squads and Combat, it is reasonable to expect that most or all of their Traits will be utilized when employed in their area of function.
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