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Long story short; Twilight 2000 was recommended to me. I have the 2.2 version and I've been pitching it to my group, and it sounds like a game might finally materialize. I'm not running it because I'm busy with another campaign, but one of my players wants to run something without magic and sci-fi elements, and I want to brush up on the system, si nce I've never actually played it before. I've been going through character creation so I can guide the other players through it, and I've come away with some questions.

How does Promotion work?

At each stage of character creation, the character rolls for "Promotion" in their current profession. This is simply stated as a number like "6+, DM+1 if CON = 7+" or something along those lines. I believe that the way this is handled is that if the player rolls 1-6 (on a d10?) they are promoted, and then if they have the +1 bonus then they get promoted on 1-7, since that's the way the rest of the system works, but I honestly have no clue.

Am I correctly understanding how Promotion works?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Saw this at work and I really thought it would be a slam freaking dunk... turns out I had 2.0 at home, and when I bought 2.2 on DTRPG, it was still not as straightforward as I'd thought. That makes it a GREAT question!! \$\endgroup\$
    – Nanban Jim
    Sep 24, 2015 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ Does 2.0 say this explicitly? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 25, 2015 at 1:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ 2.0 either says it explicitly, or says it implicitly by way of this being the only way anything is rolled. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nanban Jim
    Sep 25, 2015 at 14:31

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For promotion, roll 1d10. If, after the listed modifiers to the roll, you roll equal to or greater than the number listed under Promotion, your character is promoted.

There's the answer, now let me walk you through it.

The easy part is to pin down what number we're trying to roll. Look at the wording: 6+, six plus. That's pretty clear that whatever you're rolling you want to roll a 6 or higher on it. Also note that a DM adds to your die roll, making it easier... so it would make no sense for a lawyer to get a +1 DM with if their EDU(cation) stat is 7+, if that only made it harder to get promoted? So we're obviously dealing with the promotion roll being the listed number or higher on whatever sided die we're using.

Note also that changing military branches imposes a -2 to your roll:

Changing Branches: Characters who are planning to change military branches on the following term must subtract 2 from their promotion die rolls. (p.30)

It is decidedly more difficult to get promoted from O2-O3 in the Navy if you just made O2 in the Army; you're busy learning how this Navy thing works, vs the O2 who's been Navy from day one who already knows that crap. So no, if the promotion roll is listed as "6+" as in your example, the goal is absolutely not to roll 1-6. The goal is to roll 6-10 or 6-20.

As some noted, let's take a look at 2.0:

In 2.0, which 2.2 is heavily copypasted from, the rule was thus:

Rank

Promotion: A players roll versus Intelligence for promotion at the end of each career term in the armed forces. Graduates of a military academy subtract one from their die roll. Characters wishing to change arms of service in their next term add two to their die roll. (p.20)

And for rolls themselves, it's all d10:

Rolling vs. (Against) an Attribute or Skill: To achieve success, the die roll must be less than or equal to the numerical falue of the attribute (unless otherwise speciifed). Die roll modifiers (if any) are to be made to the die roll before comparing the result with the attribute number. (p.16)

Note that military academy grads subtract 1 from their die roll, making it easier to roll their INT or less; note that changing arms of service (which includes branches) add 2 to their die roll, making it harder. These are both the inverse of the 2.2 rules. So we know beyond the shadow of a doubt that the 2.2 rule is to roll the listed number or above.

But what freaking die do we roll!?!?!?!?!?!

Well this is where we look at 2.0 vs 2.2 again.

In 2.0 you can randomly determine attributes by rolling 2d6-2, rerolling any results of 0. This means a 5 is average; however, players who choose to use point-based allocation get 32 points, making the average just over 5.

Therefore the promotion roll in 2.0 would be, on average, a 50/50 chance, since we know 2.0 uses d10 (it uses no other die, save d6 for damage).

All 22 of the Civilian careers have a 6+ or 7+ for promotion rolls, and average up to 6.5454... pretty even split between 50/50 odds (6+ means a 6 or higher, inclusive) and 60/40 odds against promotion if we're doing a d10. That matches 2.0, more or less.

Of the 34 Military careers, all have 6+ for promotion rolls except 1: SEAL Officer, which has a 7. Again, that's 50/50 odds if we're using a d10, and again that matches 2.0 almost perfectly.

Add Civilian and Military careers together and average them out and you've got an average 6.232... so, a 6+ for the roll, on average. And again if we're using a d10, that's 50/50 odds on average, matching 2.0.

There's nothing listed in 2.2 about massively altering the promotion tables--and there's even a place for this, "Designer's Notes," p.276. The closest it comes to addressing rank is noting the decreasing skills-per-term from Traveller... and no, that's not coming very close at all.

Therefore, I can only conclude that no change from 2.0's rank progression is expected: The designers didn't mention it, and the numbers line up almost perfectly, with a little adjustment which should be expected from a version update. A massive change of the odds from 50/50 for an average character to 25/75 would certainly be worth noting!

So in the end, the answer is:

For promotion, roll 1d10. If, after the listed modifiers to the roll, you roll equal to or greater than the number listed under Promotion, your character is promoted.

Yes, it's silly that this wasn't simply stated. There's no reason to have to go through this much effort to figure it out--I actually incurred an expense on this answer! (To be fair, I'd been looking for an excuse to buy 2.2 PDFs for years.) This really should have been stated on page 30. I'm going to assume everyone involved just understood how it was meant to work--something that's easy to do with this kind of update.

On a sidebar, for civilian promotions, we are specifically advised that they do not necessarily mean promotion:

Civilian Promotions: Civilian careers have no ranks. Characters in these careers roll normally for promotions, and receive the additional skill when they roll a success, but no rank or change in rank is recorded. Players should assume that some form of professional advancement or recognition was achieved with the roll, but nothing so easily recorded as a military rank. (p.30, emphasis mine)

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I believe you have it right.

The 2.2 rules state:

  • This game uses a 20-sided die (D20), a 10-sided die (D10) and one or more six-sided dice (D6). p.16
  • The abbreviation "DM" is usually used for die modifier, with plus or minus symbols show- ing whether the OM is added to or subtracted from the die roll. Thus DM+2 means that 2 is added to the die roll in question, and OM-3 means that 3 is subtracted from the final roll. p.132 So we definitely want to roll over the target number, because higher attribute values are rewarded with positive die modifiers.
  • For ease of calculation, backgrounds are lived through in four-year terms. p.19
  • Each career has a promotion number and OMs affecting that promotion roll. Generally, if a promotion is achieved, the character advances to the next higher rank in the service. A character is eligible for one promotion per term of service. p.30
  • (Infantry Officer) Promotion: 6+, DM +1 if INT 7+. p.37 - T2K has always been about military adventures first and foremost, and some of the designers at GDW had military experience. They were sticklers on the details.

US Army officers in the period when T2K was written were typically promoted from 2LT to 1LT after less than 2 years, from 1LT to CPT after around 6 years in service, and from CPT to MAJ after roughly 10 years in service.

D6 therefore doesn't make sense, because an average officer only gets promoted after 4 long, grueling years on a roll of 6, or 17% of the time.

D10 doesn't feel quite right either, because this same average officer only gets promoted on a roll of 6-10, or 50% of the time.

D20 might actually be more accurate, because now our average officer gets promoted on a roll of 6-20, or 75% of the time. But the +1 attribute-based modifiers don't feel right for a d20 roll. If you're smarter you only get an additional 5% chance of being promoted, which seems negligible. A 10% attributed-based modifier (which you get when using a d10) just feels more appropriate.

All of this said, d10 is used in the same roll over fashion for contacts during a term, and because the d20 is never used in anything but a roll under throughout the rest of the rules, I'd go with d10. That's what I've always used, primarily because roll under is the standard approach for d20 task resolution in the game and the only other roll over mechanic in the game uses a d10.

One last thought: While T2K started as a military-dominated game, there are many civilian backgrounds in v2.2. It seems entirely possible that a doctor or mechanic or lawyer wouldn't get promoted more than half the time after four years. So in that sense the d10 seems to be the best fit.

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I don't have a v2.2 rulebook to check specifics, but the roll notation you listed seems to say you need a 6 or higher, with a +1 for a high Con. So, anyone with Con less than 7 needs a 6 or higher, Con 7 needs 5 or higher.

Yes, I understand this is different to the normal roll-under die convention for the system. But Character Generation doesn't always use normal play mechanics.

Further info : I have the 2.0 rulebook, in which promotion was a normal roll vs Intelligence, with no DMs (actually, a bonus -1 if you were an academy graduate, but that's it). Looking at the first page of character gen in that rulebook, they mention the only dice in use are d10s and d6s. Presumably, the 2.2 rulebook would have the same sort of info somewhere. Also, you could check character generation examples.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this on a d10? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 20, 2015 at 23:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ No idea off the top of my head, will confirm when at home. \$\endgroup\$
    – YogoZuno
    Sep 21, 2015 at 4:20
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I got access to a "preview" copy online. It doesn't have all the pages, but I found the following bits:

In the character generation:

Promotions: In each term of service, characters roll to see if they are promoted ... Each career has a promotion number and DMs affecting that promotion roll.

In Skills and Task Resolution:

Die Roll Modifiers: Sometimes die results must be modified. ... The abbreviation "DM" is usually used for die modifier, with plus or minus symbols showing whether the DM is added to or subtracted from the die roll. Thus DM+2 means that 2 is added to the die roll in question, and DM-3 means that 3 is subtracted from the final roll.

Now, look at your example promotion: "6+, DM+1 if CON = 7+". The die modifier for having a high constitution is a plus. If a high constitution is good, then we would expect +1 to be a bonus, not a penalty. If DM+1 is a bonus, that means high rolls are better. Combined with the "6+" language for the target roll, it seems likely your promotion is on a roll of 6 or higher.

I can't find anything specific, but I found a quote from a message board saying v2.2 changed the promotion system from using just INT for the roll to the applicable skill. If you had access to a v2.0 book, that might give you the specifics of what die and confirm that it's a high-roll-is-better check. It's also possible there's something relevant on a page I don't have access to in the 2.2 book.

Given that v2.0 had promotions as INT checks, I would guess you'd roll whatever die is normally used for a regular ability check.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The regular ability check die would be a d20 in 2.2, but I believe in 2.0 it was d10 (I'm going off of old Classic Traveller experience here). Mind linking to that message board? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 21, 2015 at 3:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ Here is the thread I was reading. I lost it when my computer crashed midway through my answer, had to find it again. The first comment does mention the update from D10 to D20 for skill resolution, but I think that's different from ability checks (I guess that's attribute checks in this system). There's supposed to be a referee screen with information about the rolls (says the v2.2 core book), but I can't find an image of the screen to see if that includes character creation stuff. \$\endgroup\$
    – MichaelS
    Sep 21, 2015 at 4:38

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