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Expees
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What option do you prefer?
Remake with lower points
40%
 40%  [ 2 ]
Cap Attributes
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Change Mechanics
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Bigger Bad Guys
20%
 20%  [ 1 ]
Leave It Alone
0%
 0%  [ 0 ]
Total Votes : 5

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Savant



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 355
Location: Rangstadt, Allied Europe, Earth, NEC

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 4:34 am    Post subject: Expees Reply with quote

First a little anecdote. I was talking to my roomate Cory (Who happens to be the husband of the Admiral of the 8th which you all know and love) about the Heavy Gear game after last Thursday's game. I told him what I was planning on doing, and though I can't tell you much about that, I can tell you that he asked at one point why I was doing what I was doing. I replied that I don't really have a good way of challening most of the players in the game. His reply to that was "After a campaign, sometimes you just have to retire a character."

Let me dive right in. BT05 is suffering from a breakpoint in the system - it's too easy to inflate characters' abilities through high attributes and other mechanical bonuses. I've got characters running around with enormous attribute bonuses, to the point where I can't challenge you statistically. This is an issue. It's also complicated by the fact that not all characters are at this point - the new blood isn't nearly at that point yet.

I don't want to reboot the game, as I think we've got good characters, a good story, and a good future. But I *do* want to ensure that this good future continues to be that way instead of getting boring through simple lack of clear opposition. I can of course give you different and unique challenges, but there is little that violence won't solve, and that would get a little contrived after awhile anyway.

So I've made a poll with some options and listed them above. I'm not saying that I'm enacting any of this any time soon, I just want to know where you stand should I decide to rebalance the game. Here is a deeper explanation of a few options:

* Remake with lower points. Doesn't really solve any problems, and I know people don't like the idea - you've earned your points, after all, and I don't want to take them away without good reason. It is, however, the cleanest option.

* Cap attributes at a certain value. For example, the sum of no characters' attributes shall be greater than twelve. Just pulling a number out of the air to give you the idea of what I mean. The excluded experience could be distributed elsewhere at the players' discretion.

* Change the mechanics of attribute bonuses. My first thought was to have Attributes add dice to a roll instead of flat numerical bonuses. This makes Specializations and situational modifiers much, much more important, and inflates the number of dice you're rolling. Worth looking at. My second thought was to use D10s instead of D6's, as this will lower the impact of bonuses in general. Also worth looking at.

* Up the opposition. Really, this is what I'm already doing. I'm sure you've noticed that hte CEF's reaction time is getting better and better, and there may be some incongruous things going on. I'm trying to keep it interesting for you, and I can't do that with rank and file. Even hovertanks don't seem to challenge the stats that you have.

* Leave it alone. I can do this, too, but the road is going to get more and more smooth, at least statistically. The challenges will become a lot less about dice and a lot more about situations. I'm okay with this, but... well, this is a military game. I kinda figured you wanted to fight things Wink

Anyways, that's my piece, say what you will. I would like a bit of feedback.
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Brad



Joined: 27 Aug 2006
Posts: 26
Location: Flagstaff, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I make any other comments, I want to also touch on something we were just discussing in #lemos.

Advanced/important characters in the HG setting tend to look pretty weak compared to our 500+ point characters. Colin mentioned that the best pilot in BT01, in turn one of the best on the entire planet, is a 4/+2 gear pilot. We have a couple 4/+3 pilots, or will have them within a few months. I'm pointing this out because there's a loss of perspective to consider, too. If we think about where our characters should line up in the world of HG, have we gone a bit too far?

Rhetorical question, but just keep it in the back of your minds when thinking about the characters we have, with our +2s and +3s all over the place.
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Farrell



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 125
Location: Portland, ME, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 2:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You didn't expect to NOT see me reply, did you? Wink

I'm not much for re-doing characters with fewer points, not because it forces everyone to give up hard-earned points, but because it's a stopgap solution. If it seems like it's taken several years to get to this point, that's only because we've had breaks of a few months here and there.

I really think the problem is purely from the XP standpoint:

Arrow Cut way back on XP being awarded, whether it's through the game, through logs, etc. 4-5 XP lets me attribute tax AND spread points to 3-4 other skills. Fewer points makes you have to think your choices much more.

Arrow Eliminate "1st ED spent of the night on a skill roll goes into that skill as XP." God knows I've needed this heavily for my new characters to survive, but the "black hole" of ED sucking isn't large enough right now. Detro's gone through at least 30 ED since starting, which is enough to counter half of what I've stocked up in trying to get CRE +3.

Arrow If you did that, I'd also suggest eliminating the "can only roll ED up to your CPX in a skill" and go with "as many ED as you have" *AND* put a cap on the amount of ED you can have...

Arrow ...so that XP becomes "Use it or lose it." I know I had fallen into a "I'll get to my XP in a week or three" pattern. I say this because I think it's a major factor in being able to run the game -- it's hard to build your enemies to a challenging level for the players when the players are hanging onto 40+ XP that can level them up in seconds before the next game. Not to mention, Colin has to update the bot as well. So, either you use it or lose it. If you don't have an XP spend in by the next game -- and I don't mean 5 minutes before game time, I mean Tuesday or Wednesday evening -- then you forefeit any XP over the limit.

Arrow Define hard-stops on skills, attributes, number of specializations, XP retained as ED, etc. I totally respect that there should be limits, but they should be defined *before* points start getting thrown into things that break those limits.

Arrow More genre points, encourage their use, and maybe expand the selection of what's available. I'd be a big fan of this if we do points reductions, because I think the system is woefully underused as it is.
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Lykaeon



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
Posts: 54
Location: Edmonton, WFP

PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Farrell, I think its just a stop gap solution. At the same time, it does suck being so low on the spectrum compared to well Ardel and Tynes.

Don't get me wrong, Jester and Fraser (as well as others) earned those points and I don't believe they should have to give them up. I'm a late comer to the game and therefore it would be unjust, but maybe we can cap skills from now on? or max out Specializations.

It does take away from in game NPCs and frankly it sucks knowing that no matter how Karas feels about say Ardel, I'd be dead within 30 seconds of raising my fist.

I've just incorporated this into my game based on the assumption that Karas has a VERY healthy respect for his skills.

I think that the ultimate decision needs to reside with Savant.
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Birkin



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not quite sure where I stand on this. If it comes down to remake with lower atts, then I'll just ask that we wait till we get back to Terranova to do it and have Birkin get transfered to a different team and make a new character. I've grown to like him a lot in Cerberus with his atts, and it wouldn't feel the same to me.

I do agree that something needs to happen.
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Skritches



Joined: 02 Dec 2006
Posts: 18
Location: Thebes, Humanist Alliance (formerly)

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 2:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is also an in-game way of dealing with the situation, but as realistic as it is, players might not want to part with a character; that is being transferred out of BT05 (once we get back to TN). There are some hardcore veterans with a lot of knowledge and Black Talon Command would be loathe to lose that experience.
That being said, it still doesn't deal with the issue of points as it wouldn't be fair to ask players to make starting characters if the current character is transferred out of the unit.
I am not sure what the best solution to the problem is, and cutting back on XP as Dennis suggested is not a solution. The issue is that you've been playing for years now while some of the new blood have only been around for a few months. Cutting back on XP still leaves the new blood lagging far behind and it is sometimes frustrating to play when there is such a vast difference between character "levels".
Again, I'm not sure what the best solution is, but I do like the idea of capping total stats to no more than +10 (or whatever).
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JackCraig



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 25

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 7:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

we could take a GVE approach to XP, 2 for attendance 1 for logs? and not touch attributes till the end of an arc or after a certain period of time and then say 1 point in 1 attribute of your choice, of course being at levelling attribute beyond +1 costs 50 points it definetly will slow down the attribute building
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Jester



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 97
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I spent a lot of time thinking about this over the last 24 hours, and here's my initial thoughts.

Arrow First and foremost, let's deal with the basic realities of the situation: scope-wise, the situation that we're dealing with is realistic. This isn't a fantasy RPG or a LOT5R game or Magic: The Gathering where every player needs to be balanced. In a military organization, you have higher skilled personnel with higher ranks and 15 or 20 years experience, and you have buck privates who can mostly be counted on to point their weapons in the right direction. As several people brought up, the people with lots of points in the game (myself, Fraser, Farrell, Brad, Prescot, and Scotty) have been playing for years. I'm not sure it's fair to punish us for that.

Arrow Second and nearly as important, it's not like we're wasting or hoarding those points. And we're certainly not denying the reality of who is good in some situations and who is not. The senior people directly deal with the real dangers of the game much more than the new players. It's no accident that it was Scotty's character that got killed last night. It's no coincidence that the less experienced characters weren't on the front lines. That was a deliberate choice that kept our less experienced fighters out of major harm's way and kept it from being Delgado or Karas or Dimitri that was blown up real good. Assuming Scotty's allowed to keep his points, his new character will be expected to step right back out onto the front lines, and between the new characters and the bad guys until the new characters can hold their own in those situations. Per the above point, his new character will be given a rank commensurate with that.

Arrow Third and related to the above, the long-term characters are expected to be experienced in a wide range of fields. Savant occasionally accuses me of whining on this point, but it's a true statement that I'm not allowed to focus my points in a few key areas. I really do have to be the back-up to a half-dozen specialists. In the last year, Gabriel's had to be an experienced medic, an experienced front-line unmounted combatant, an experienced space pilot, an experienced Gear pilot, an experienced investigator, an experienced negotiator, an experienced interrogator, and... oh yeah... occasionally roll a Leadership roll, too. Wink Farrell, Prescot, Fraser, and Scotty, to a lesser extent (much lesser in a few cases ::looks at Fraser:: ) have had to do the same. If we all had 250 point characters, there'd be one person in each role, with no backups for anyone. Since everyone must be good at both mounted and dismounted combat, there wouldn't be enough points for backups in specialty roles.

Arrow And finally, fourth, the scope of RPGs is such that the bad guys are supposed to get more impressive every year. Suppose that we subtract 200 points from everyone with 500+ points. I would therefore expect that the scope of the bad guys would then be reduced to compensate. The fights, therefore, would have to go from fairly epic in scope to very minor skirmishes.

::shrugs:: I dunno. When the game was Junkman, Roland, Gotah, Craig, Jana, and Mem, and all of us had 200 to 250 points, we...
Arrow ...couldn't do any dismounted combat, because everyone but Roland sucked at it.
Arrow ...couldn't do any investigation missions, because we were ludicrously bad at them (does anyone besides Farrell and I remember summer 2005?).
Arrow ...couldn't really explore Liberati culture because none of us were really set up to learn the language or culture, or explore or influence it.
Arrow ...routinely got our butts saved by Gotah or Juno, because only they had a broad base of skills to work from.

In short, for about 24 months, all we did was vehicle combat because that's all that everyone could do as a team, together. All of us were specialists because once you put down the points to pay for the requirement for AGI +1, PER +1, Gear/Pilot 2, Gear/Gunnery 2, Combat Sense 2, Defense 2, Small Arms 2, Stealth 2, IW 2, and either Elec or Mech 2, there just weren't enough points for much more than one prime specialty and one backup specialty. And some of us even skimped on the requirements (JM didn't have Small Arms, Roland didn't and still doesn't have any mechanical or electrical skill) trying to scrape together enough points to have one skill at 3. Only in mid- to late 2006, when people started crossing 275 points or so, have we had enough points to start to think about spreading them out in enough areas to do some serious non-vehicle-combat missions.

OK, rant over. Now, let's assume I theoretically agreed for a moment that there's a problem. I've already suggested one way to fix it, and that's with the "reverse experience" solution, but I don't mind taking it a step farther:
Arrow Savant, pick a number of points that you feel like should be an upper limit for a BT05 player. Let's say it's 800.
Arrow As you approach that limit, assign multipliers to experience awards. Say for 200 points or less, the multiplier is 1.5x. For 200 to 300, 1.25x. For 300 to 400, 1x. For 400 to 500, 0.75x. For 500 to 600, 0.5x. For 600 to 800, 0.25x. For 800+, 0x.
Arrow Assign experience as normal each week.
Arrow Then each player pays their multiplier and rounds up to the next whole XP. If you assign 5 XP one week, Karas gets 8 XP for being a 200 point character, Gabriel gets 2 XP for being a 700 point character.

But honestly... I have to say that I don't agree that there's a major problem. Minor problem? Yes, I can see that. If attributes are an issue, then fine, limit them. But even here, be careful, because you risk creating dump stats. Take Roland and Gabriel as interesting contrasts. Gabriel has 0 +3s. Roland has 2 +3s. Gabriel has a total of +15 in attributes. Roland has +11. We've spent comparable number of points increasing our attributes. But Roland has two very obvious dump stats, whereas Gabriel's balanced across all 10 attributes. If you create a +12 limit, say, then you strongly influence me to give Gabriel a couple of dump stats too. I'd rather you limit the number of points that can be spent on attributes.

But as far as skills (and really, on attributes too), so far as I'm concerned, we're only now getting to the skill levels where the game becomes interesting. Only now can we afford some specialties, or high enough skills to drop dice, or buy a few of the combat specialties now in the wiki. To my mind, Savant, you're going in the wrong direction when you try to challenge us. Where is Roland's nemesis, the bounty hunter that's every bit as good (or better) than he is, who the CEF has trained for the last ten years to kidnap/capture TN special ops agents? The CEF won a world war on Earth, I thought. Where's their General Patton, their General Eisenhower, their Admiral Spurance, the dozens of battle-hardened Captains and Majors and Colonels that won that war for them? You're trying to challenge us by throwing dozens of skill 2 opponents at us, and when dozens doesn't work, you despair that you can't control hundreds. Wink Instead, why not go entirely the other direction? I don't think I've ever, in the last four years, heard you say "and you have to drop two dice for this defense, please." We've yet to see a single really terrifying Jan in action and if we've even met a SLEDGE yet, we can't confirm it. But beyond them, let's trot out Mason Farrell's superior officer! It's time to meet him, and take him on! And a big troop of his friends!

In short, I see where you're coming from. If you want to slow down some of the high XP people and give some of the lower XP people time to catch up, then I won't object to that too strenuously. If you want to limit spending on attributes to some upper limit, I won't object to that too much, either. But honestly, I think you're throwing a lot of false choices at us and trying to solve the wrong problem.
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Jester



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 97
Location: Connecticut, USA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2008 8:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

P.S. Oh, and I don't mind the idea of attributes adding dice, or changing the dice we roll from d6s to d10s, either. Both of those are also good ideas.
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Farrell



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 125
Location: Portland, ME, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As mentioned in the game last night, I'm voluntarily restricting Detro to an attribute maximum of +2, at least until some sort of decision is made on the matter.

I do disagree on the hoarding, only in that certain people need to spend XP more often. Smile
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Lykaeon



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
Posts: 54
Location: Edmonton, WFP

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I disagree...you can make wicked characters with 250 points. Hell I would kill to be there already.

250 points buys you a lot, but when you consider that a +3 attribute represents an olympic athlete who is probably 1 in a million and trains day and night to be that way, its a little hard to swallow someone with 2-3 stats that high.

Another issue is the size of the skills and complexity. A 3/2 science skill is indicative of a scientist with 20 years experience or a soldier who has been on his 3rd tour of duty. To have multiple 4/3s means you are close to demigodhood.

I've played more then one game using shilouette core, all of them with Colin, you don't need those massive stat blocks or att bonuses. Ya we might be only good at one thing, but name me one soldier who can snipe, pilot a vehicle with precision, carry on small talk, sword duel, hack a computer and if need be carry out an investigation. They don't exist outside of movies, because they aren't REAL. And I can point out at least 3 such characters on our team off the top of my head.

The game only seems tough because Colin has to ramp up the competition, but in some other games I've played with him we've my HIGHEST skill was a 3/3 and everything else was 2/2 and under. I still had wicked fun.

It would also reduce the stress (of multiple PCs) on Colin if he didn't have to throw 60 enemies at us at once. Like seriously, Ardel (I know he is designed for it) can kill an entire swarm with one volley? I have never had that happen in tactical, not once and I've even built a drone based army at one point.

I'm not going to sit here and preach about how this should go down, but you have to understand what Colin is getting at. I love shilouette, one of my starting systems, but you guys have to realize how far you've come. You guys can take on HT squadrons in the open and win.

Have you guys ever tried to calculate your Threat Value tactically? Take BT05's gears and multiply it by the Legendary or just the Elite TV modifier...you get close to the cost of a small landship.
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Farrell



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
Posts: 125
Location: Portland, ME, USA

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Re: Ross

Arrow I disagree with percentile-capping. Just doesn't seem right, under that "I fought hard for those XPs" type thing. What you're going to see is that players are going to start running critically short of ED, which is going to lead to some rather head-scratching moments when Roland gets killed off from shrapnel.

Arrow I do agree with Ross about counterparts. Mem has the webbled GRELs and had to deal with that CEF spy. Tynes is probably a match for Rasuul. But beyond that, there's not much individual challenge. When the enemy fumbles a dice roll, why don't they have ED? Where are the GREL who have their own advanced stats from heavy combat or lots of experience?

Arrow Regarding D10s... SilCore 3.1 does have rules for converting the system to D10. A basic summary is on the DP9 site (http://www.dp9.com/PDF/SilCOREdiceprob.pdf)

Arrow I also want to point out that SilCore's description of various levels is somewhat different from what I've heard. A skill level or complexity of 5 is considered Legendary, the "Very best". Attributes of +4 and up are only considered "outside Human norms", and +3 is just "Exceptional". (This is opposed to skills of +4 and attributes of +3 being "the extremes".) So by a strict interpretation of the rules, we DO have some wiggle room left.

Speaking from personal experience, I'm going to throw myself into the D10 camp. I've worked quite a bit in another RPG system that uses D10s exclusively, and I've found that it helps provide a more gradual pace to increasing your skills. It gives us breathing room, and given the amount of XP involved to REALLY get up there, avoids having to percentile-tax the high XP characters... slows down advancement enough (I'd hope).

As such, since I can't change my vote, consider me in the "Change Mechanics" camp.
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Lykaeon



Joined: 17 Sep 2007
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Location: Edmonton, WFP

PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My problem with going up to D10s...what about us mortal players? Very Happy

It might make it tougher for you guys, but I find the game hard enough rolling with maybe 2-3 dice and a +1 or +2 modifier. Going up to D10 puts me and the other noobs at a huge disadvantage.

I think the xp gap is whats compounding the issue.

Applying a change of game mechanics and/or modifying the system seems a little extreme for me, not only does it make things more complicated, but we are starting to do things to the system that it was never designed to do.

I'm not sure which way to swing my vote, but a redo seems to be more and more the only way out.

I do agree with Birkin, if a redo happens we should "retire" these characters and start a new team. If it has to stay the same then I vote for Jester's idea about a tax and I do like the idea of having a challenge in the form of a Hunter Killer team...a BT hunter killer seems plausible. Lord knows they probably have something already for Liberati.

Could be Karas' worst nightmare, having a bunch of nosy CIDs suddenly flag him for interrogation. Might have to drop pretenses and become full blown Ghazi (or Caliph in my case). We have yet to suffer a raid on our safehouse as well...not that I don't like having a safe home, but such things do happen.

I think the problem is that you want to challenge us, but can't for two reasons:

a) The noobs would take a beating (but as a side note...in ANY war the new recruits are always the first and most common casualities).

b) You want to challenge us without killing us, but I think Craig's death proves that we can take it. Sure it sucks if Karas the new guy dies, but when a war hero goes its epic! RP wise it was really cool.
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Farrell



Joined: 24 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 16, 2008 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Colin's being quite nice to the new "mortal" players by giving you extra XP each game. I see no reason to discontinue that.
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Birkin



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not sure I jive with the d10 idea. That could mean simply a lot higher numbers forcing Mouse to wrack his brain even harder to come up with enemies if Birkin gets a string of 10 or 9 + 2 on a MOS*20 weapon... After dropping two dice. On the flip-side if Morgana gets a 10 and we get a 2 then well, bad things happen.

I'm honestly not sure how well I'd take to a reset, for many reasons that Jester mentioned. We were told intitally that we had to take a primary role in the game beyond fighting in gears. Gear fighting was what we did for most of the time and it really showed in the first two years of the game. There is no way that we'd be running intricate plots with Corps in those first two years. I really enjoyed those years and we killed many a GREL and Firebase and had good times. I don't want to go back to that though. If thats one thing that I have come to love about BT is that we can be good at multiple things a lot faster than it seems you can be in GvE. Several of us are getting good at intrigue like this and to cut back on what we can do seems counter-intuitive.

I'd actually like to fight Valkyrie team again. The Exp percentage seems like a good idea if Colin wants to keep the game at a certain point. Reseting the game will only result in the same problem later on down the line, even if you force us to cap at +2 atts.
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