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Old 12-20-2014, 09:16 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Crewman

Crewman is a family of IQ/E occupational TL skills that provide the ability to serve as part of the crew on a large vehicle, with a separate skill for each vehicle type. There is no default between these skills, although there's a general IQ-4 default. They provide familiarity with life aboard, safety measures and damage control, such as patching holes. They also provide a basic knowledge of map reading, meteorology and law for the vehicle and its environment, although this always requires a skill roll, and let you operate the controls, on a DX-based skill roll. Crew quality on a vehicle is measured by average crewman skill, which can be rolled for success in entering and leaving port, difficult conditions and battles.

The Spaceships series has many examples of using Spacer skill, which generalise to other skills. DF4: Sages has manuals for Seamanship, among many other skills. Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers has some rules for the effects of magically altered environments on Crewman skills and Underground Adventures suggests how you might use Seamanship in place of some applications of Masonry.

The canonical Crewman skills are for airships, surface ships, spaceships and submarines. The existence and importance of these skills varies by TL: Seamanship dates back to TL1, Airshipman and Submariner to TL6 and Spacer to TL7. In complex and dangerous vehicles, such as TL6 submarines or TL7 spacecraft, knowing the relevant Crewman skill is a good idea merely for travelling on the vehicle, since it avoids you being a menace to the vehicle and crew.

Low-Tech adds another skill: Oarsman, for rowing or paddling large ships, defaulting to and from Seamanship at -2. There should arguably be Crewman skills for large aircraft, used by airliner cabin crews and bomber crewmen (this was in G:WWII, as Aviation), and for trains, used by railway conductors and brakemen. Gigantic mecha and land battleships might well have Crewman skills of their own.

The various Crewman skills appear in templates in Action, Banestorm, Abydos, Bio-Tech, Crusades, Dungeon Fantasy, Fantasy, Horror, Madness Dossier, Infinite Worlds, Britannica-6, Lands Out of Time, Martial Arts: FCCS, Psis, Reign of Steel: Will to Live, SEALS in Vietnam, Space, Tales of the Solar Patrol, Thaumatology: Alchemical Baroque, and Magical Styles. PU3: Talents and PU7: Wildcard Skills have plenty of examples that include Crewman skills.

The commonest Crewman skill in published templates is, by a long way, Seamanship. I've had characters with Seamanship, Spacer and Submariner, but not Airshipman, to date. They're enabling skills rather than ones with which spectacular feats are performed, but that doesn't make them useless.

What have you done with Crewman skills, or failed at through lack of them?
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airshipman, crewman, seamanship, skill of the week, submariner

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