đź’€ Necro Anyone Still Playing Silhouette?

Doctor Guilty

Action Cartographer!
Validated User
#41
I think in some ways, the only way the TV system worked if you were using a roughly similar set of design assumptions. When you started doing things outside of that zone (comm ranges beyond the nominal design range; ridiculously long weapon ranges, etc) is when things often blew up.
This was my issue. Put AMRAAMs on an F-16 and watch the TV explode. :eek: It wasn’t bad if you assumed “tabletop game ranges” for lack of a better way to put it, but as I said above you could break it even then.
Once I stopped worrying about it, writeups got a lot more fun.
 

Samaritan

One of the good guys.
Validated User
#42
I remember printing the cybernetic stuff off years ago and being confused as hell because at the time I'd never seen/run Cyberpunk 2020. I lost most of my work in the collapse of Geocities. All my conversions of BattleTech were lost, and I lost 2 files from my work on statting out Macross mecha for Silhouette (for which I used Pierre's Vehicle Construction spreadsheet), the Spartan and the Serauhaug. The Monster came out with a TV of 40,000. The Valkyrie was the most work, figuring out a three-mode vehicle with Overlay Capable (and I never did finish doing the Armor, Super, and Strike overlays).
I may... *may*... have copies of the Battletech stat sheets saved on a drive somewhere. I may just have hardcopies. If I can find 'em, I'll send 'em over. :)
 

Doctor Guilty

Action Cartographer!
Validated User
#43
I may... *may*... have copies of the Battletech stat sheets saved on a drive somewhere. I may just have hardcopies. If I can find 'em, I'll send 'em over. :)
If you do find them, send me a PM. I am the Keeper of the Old Ways from the Long, Long Ago. :cool:
 
Last edited:

DarkMoc

Registered User
Validated User
#44
Totally understandable. I realize I didn't do a whole lot to make some of those subpages as useful as they could be - they assumed rather a lot of familiarity with CP2020. Even a simple paragraph preceding the tables explaining what the heck it all meant would have made quite a difference. Funny what 20 years of gaming hindsight gets you.

Interestingly, I'd gone through a bit of a conceptual realignment on how I felt "humanity loss" ought to be handled somewhere during this time period. On the one hand, I can totally understand the need to provide some form of game balance - having a concealed rocket launcher in your forearm (extreme example) probably does need to have a game-mechanical cost over a handheld rocket launcher.

Looking back at it now, I'd go with something very different; rather more "effects based". But that's rather a lot more thread drift...
Looking at it now, all of it makes perfect sense because I've read the fluff. As for humanity loss, I've always struggled with it a bit from an ableist perspective; I understand the game balance reasoning for it, but it's badly flawed at best once you start exploring the logical conclusions. I've tried readdressing it as there being something just a bit off about someone who'd remove a perfectly good arm or eye to enhance themselves, but even that can edge into problematic territory.

Threat Value was sometimes useful - it did work reasonably well (most of the time) to provide some relative values to compare different vehicles with. Sometimes the figures came out pretty well (the year the JC VCS came out, I "converted" the Ford Escort my wife and I owned, and the final cost was surprisingly close). But other times, you got really crazy results when certain design choices blew up the numbers (Commo ranges were one of the early infamous examples).

I think in some ways, the only way the TV system worked if you were using a roughly similar set of design assumptions. When you started doing things outside of that zone (comm ranges beyond the nominal design range; ridiculously long weapon ranges, etc) is when things often blew up.

It's interesting to look back and compare the Silhouette and Mekton (II or Zeta, depending on exactly when) design systems, and their working assumptions, and the "minigame" surrounding the design process...but looking at it from a game-design perspective. On the one hand, I spent a LOT of time back in the day making stuff with MektonZ+, and finding it quite fiddly (servos, spaces, kills, etc). Silhouette felt a little...slimmer, replacing the "component tetris" minigame with some hard math (which was vastly easier to automate).

Modifying mecha was far more effort in Silhouette, however. That is, if you cared about TV.

So yeah, I can easily understand throwing TV out the window.
I ran with it mostly because I think the program calculated it automatically, and I wanted to have it as a sanity check. If my Battlepods had higher TVs than the Valkyries, something was off. The Monster was inflated by having +1/40 comms, but it was still a tough bird for that universe, with base armor 35.

I may... *may*... have copies of the Battletech stat sheets saved on a drive somewhere. I may just have hardcopies. If I can find 'em, I'll send 'em over. :)
I would really appreciate that if they're out there. I lost the spreadsheets I was using years ago, but with the stat sheets I could rebuild them. I was able to find the page on the Wayback Machine, but the files themselves were never archived. It did let me recover the two new systems I had created to emulate Battletech systems:

"Jump Jets: Jump Jets act as a space movement system solely for the purpose of jumping in an atmosphere (see pages 98-99 of the Silhouette Core Rules). They have no effect outside of an atmosphere. They have a cost equal to 1 per 0.2 g they nullify."

"Limited Power Booster: This Perk simulates the effects of MASC and Triple Strength Myomer. It acts identically to the Power Booster Perk (see page 205 of the Silhouette Core Rules) except that it can be used only on systems designated in the Perk description. The cost of this Perk varies depending on how many systems it applies to, and how many uses the system has:
1 system: 1/4 (rating*rating)
2 systems: 1/2 (rating*rating)
3 systems: 3/4 (rating*rating)
There is no purpose to creating a Limited Power Booster that applies to 4 systems, as it has the same cost as the standard Power Booster."
 

Marchand

Registered User
Validated User
#45
It's knocking around my hard drive. I recall wanting to like it but I had 2 sticking points: limited differentiation of PCs through stat levels (as the numerical range is quite restricted) and how skill complexity was meant to work. I think the idea was, if you were Flying 5 Complexity 1, you were a genius flyer but could only handle biplanes and suchlike, whereas a Flying 1 Complexity 5 guy could fly jet fighters. Or maybe the space shuttle. I never understood how complexity mapped to tasks and equipment. But I never bought any of the setting books, so maybe it's fleshed out there?
 

Cloud Divider

Registered User
Validated User
#46
Statistical differentiation wasn't that big a deal to me, but I can see where you're coming from. There were basically a handful of stat "sets" you could get on the point budget - a bunch of +1s, a +2 and some +1s (and a -1?), a +3, and one or two +1s, and a -1 or two (and maybe a -2, if you were risk tolerant).

The gameplay value of the different stats wasn't very balanced - Agility was the best bang-for-buck, Perception and Knowledge were probably next, and Build and Psyche we're down at the bottom. I know my players tended to use Psy as the dump stat. And yeah, as a result you could usually guess half of the stat spread ("oh, another +2 Agi, -2 Psy ex-soldier-turned-edgerunner, sighhhh").

There was a little more differentiation in skills, but that usually showed up in the secondary skills. Almost everyone ended up with a Small Arms 2, Dodge 2, Combat Sense 2 at a minimum, unless they were trying to make a statement ("I'm a reporter, not a soldier!).

Complexity (in pre-SilCore) was an attempt at differentiating "hard" skills from "not as hard skills." Playing basketball (Athletics), Driving a car, shooting a handgun (Small Arms) were Simple skills. Piloting a 3-10m mecha, operating a tactical communications (Communications) or electronic warfare (EW) suite were Complex. I can't remember if First Aid (Simple) and Medical (Complex) were separate skills, but you can see sort of the distinction. Complex skills usually required lots of specialized experience or training, which was represented by the vastly higher Skill cost (double).

It also had an annoying side effect if you were running a mixed-group game of Pilots and non-Pilots. The infantry characters were these jack-of-all-trades with a vast array of different skills (because most of theirs were Simple), and could often by very skilled in a couple of key areas. So they were essentially Special Forces dudes. The Pilots, on the other hand, had a much narrower skillset - they had their mecha skill group (Piloting, Gunnery, Sensors, Comms, EW - ALL Complex), where they'd be able to afford a couple at 2, and the rest at 1, and maybe have some skills left over for their downtime hobbies, or for when they inevitably have to bail out and go on foot. It was worse if you had a starting character decide he wanted to be level 3 in something - he's a savant in his mech, but effectively crippled outside of it.

SilCore handled complexity very differently than prior editions. I'd contributed to the playtesting, and (new) Complexity had a lot of potentially interesting ideas, but really was never explained or implemented as well as it could have been.

The example I liked to use back then was with Melee weapons. A knife or a club (or most conventional weapons) are Complexity 1. A flail or nunchucks are Complexity 2 (your likelihood of self-injury is much higher). A seven-section-staff, chainsaw-sword, or a wacky video-gamey sword like what Soulcalibur's Ivy used is Complexity 3. The things down at the Complexity 4 and 5 would be things like light sabers, or monofilament whips and the like (again, because the risk of self-injury is high). Think of that as "Task Complexity."

Alternately, there was the idea of "Ability Complexity", where the character is just really good at doing things that are especially...tricky. A master swordsman with a high Melee Complexity might only use a simple CPX1 sword, but he can do all of these crazy techniques to exploit his opponent. Or he's the worlds best field surgeon, able to successfully perform an appendectomy while in a swamp using only loose thread from his shirt, his pocketknife, and a fifth of whiskey.

The problem, though, is that game mechanically, those two ideas sort of work against each other. If having excess available Complexity (Complexity 3 skill doing a CPX 1 task) grants me bonuses, you're better off "keeping it simple" - be Ninja Sifu Quan with CPX 5, but don't use the Seven Ivy Sword (CPX 3) to fight your enemies. Use a plain sword, or even a sturdy stick (CPX 1), and use your excess Complexity to curbstomp your opponent.

Task Complexity did, however, essentially give you a kind of interesting alternative method for setting Task Difficulties. You no longer needed to necessarily worry about specific modifiers for Shooting from the Back of a Speeding Truck, In Total Darkness, and Aiming At the Headlights, which may or may not have explicit modifiers in a table somewhere. You could basically just say "Wow, that's a pretty tricky thing you're trying to do, it's a CPX 3 task."

In that same vein, it potentially let you do some fairly clever things with Complexity Prerequisites. Driving a Motorcycle might be Complexity 1. Driving a hoverbike might be Complexity 2. If it could properly fly (even for short periods), you could opt that Drive 3 could do so in lieu of Pilot Aircraft/Flying.

Another downside - Task Complexity was just really expensive, since you essentially were having to buy your skills twice (once for skill level, once for Complexity), which brings us back to the Infantry vs Pilots problem again. The character concept who can get by on low Complexity ends up being vastly more competent (higher skill ceiling) and broadly competent (more skills to choose from) than the guy who invests in a lot of Complexity.

So yeah, it was an interesting idea, but not one that was implemented easily or well...
 
Last edited:

Heavy Josh

Car drives me!
Validated User
#47
Statistical differentiation wasn't that big a deal to me, but I can see where you're coming from. There were basically a handful of stat "sets" you could get on the point budget - a bunch of +1s, a +2 and some +1s (and a -1?), a +3, and one or two +1s, and a -1 or two (and maybe a -2, if you were risk tolerant).

The gameplay value of the different stats wasn't very balanced - Agility was the best bang-for-buck, Perception and Knowledge were probably next, and Build and Psyche we're down at the bottom. I know my players tended to use Psy as the dump stat. And yeah, as a result you could usually guess half of the stat spread ("oh, another +2 Agi, -2 Psy ex-soldier-turned-edgerunner, sighhhh").
I think we've all had this discussion before, on this very forum. :)

That being said...

I think the main fix to Silhouette's problems is threefold:

1. Reduce and change the attributes. Down to 8, even 6 if you really want to. Attributes like PSY (low or high) are better modeled by using character perks and flaws. Same with BUI. Make Agility not the attribute linked to both piloting, small arms, and dodging. It's way too powerful.

2. No Complex/Simple Skills. This addresses what you mention about how non-Gear pilots are much more skilled than their pilot counterparts. It requires reducing the number of skill points given out at character generation, but that's ok.

3. Absolutely no Complexity from SilCORE. It was an interesting idea, but it does not work in any implementation. It doesn't solve any problems, it just creates new ones.

As an aside:

My buddies have been playing Heavy Gear, using mainly 2e rules, but with the Attacks of Deception rule from SilCORE ratcheted in. It's actually a great way to really implement a real use for high-level skills: dropping one or two dice on an opposed roll, forcing the opponent to reduce the same number dice in their pool: usually to force them to roll Unskilled. Without that mechanic, it's almost meaningless to get a level 3 skill, and certainly not worth getting a level 4 or 5 skill (Complex or otherwise).

I'd also include a rule where 2 dice from a skill pool could be traded into a +1 attribute bonus to the roll.
 
Last edited:

DarkMoc

Registered User
Validated User
#50
I found a hard copy of the Psionics rules. Is that something that's missing from the archives that it would be helpful for me to scan?
 
Top Bottom