Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-28-2015, 04:12 PM   #1
weevis
 
weevis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

I'm a GM and my GURPS-newb pilot has asked what techniques are available for his Piloting(High-Performance Spacecraft) skill. Sounds like a fun challenge. The techniques repository gives me:
Combat Piloting (GURPS Tactical Shooting, p. 43) -- interesting, but appears to be useful when and shooting a pistol out the cockpit window while using the tactical shooting rules, if you have a higher pistol skill than piloting skill. I can't see this coming up.

No-Landing Extraction (GURPS Basic Set, p. 233) -- that's more like it, but it seems like there must be more I can offer.
I thought I'd post my thought process here to see if anyone has better ideas. The number of techniques are infinite, but I'm looking for exciting or interesting techniques that can prompt gameplay.

Here I go: To begin, I don't think we'll actually use the GURPS Spaceships combat rules but I started with them for inspiration.

Perhaps it is possible to use a technique to buy off a handling penalty for a particular class of ship? SM+10 (10,000 ton) ships normally give a -2 Hnd penalty, but you could spend points to buy a "hard" technique: "Whale Jockey (SM+10)" and reduce that penalty? This parallels the motion picture photography example in the explanation of how techniques work in the Basic Set.

Perhaps it is possible to use a technique to buy off the multitasking penalty? On a small ship the pilot might be the entire bridge crew. Over time, it seems possible you could get better at multitasking. Since a pilot can only choose one piloting maneuver per turn, it seems like the multitasking penalty will often be -4, for two tasks of a different category. A few points in a multitasking "Cockpit Task-Juggling" technique could lower that. But maybe reducing all "piloting + (x)" multitasking penalties is too powerful or general? Also this is a little tricky, as it is a combination of two skills, not a technique based on one skill.

Alternately, it might be more fun if the specific multitasking combos are addressed. e.g., "Keep One Eye on the Scanner" for piloting after Electronics Operation(Sensors) multitasking, which seems likely to be useful. Or "One-Handed Repair" for piloting + (damage control skill) multitasking.

Beyond GURPS Spaceships, other inspirations could be piloting maneuvers that I see in movie planes and sci-fi spaceships. For instance, Serenity's version of the "Crazy Ivan" from the TV show Firefly.

Or how about a "Fly-by"? Going very fast, then passing very close to something without hitting it in order to be a jerk. (As in: "Maverick: Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a fly-by.") Good technique for Daredevils.

Wikipedia has some interesting "basic fighter maneuvers" (with diagrams!) that include things like "The Immelmann" but sadly many of these seem to only make sense in aerial combat with gravity and atmosphere.

In sci-fi pilots are always doing impressive "Slingshot Maneuvers" around suns. You could get particularly good at that.

Conserving fuel or trying to present a stealthier sensor profile by landing with minimal engines might require a "Glider Landing" technique on a spaceship with a lifting body.

Smugglers could practice a "Preserve Facing" technique that keeps the illegal stuff (or people) strapped to the outside of their hull facing away from the sensors that are scanning them. Ideally this technique would work in a natural way, so that it didn't appear that they are hiding something.

I was thinking the ability to drop cargo onto a planet in the right place would be very nice technique for our campaign (if the cargo has a parachute or something) but from the forums it appears this is not Piloting at all but the "Dropping" skill, or it is Artillery(Bombs) if they are guided or there is a bombsight. And there is no default to Piloting. So it doesn't exactly respond to my player's question.

It seems like there might be some sort of "Flying Blind" technique for spaceships. I see this means instrument flight with zero visibility in an aircraft (?). I have no idea what an equivalent would be in a spacecraft. I think of this scene from the movie Apollo 13. Or maybe there is something related to "Work by Touch" (p. B233), but I'm not sure why you would practice that. This needs work.

Anyone else want to join in? Correct my mistakes?
weevis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 04:22 PM   #2
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weevis View Post
Perhaps it is possible to use a technique to buy off a handling penalty for a particular class of ship? SM+10 (10,000 ton) ships normally give a -2 Hnd penalty, but you could spend points to buy a "hard" technique: "Whale Jockey (SM+10)" and reduce that penalty? This parallels the motion picture photography example in the explanation of how techniques work in the Basic Set.
Would not make any sense. Ships with negative handling have worse maneuverability. It's not that they maneuver differently and require alternate approaches, they just can't do the same things.

There's also nothing special about handling 0, so there's no logic to being able to buy off negative handling specifically.
__________________
I don't know any 3e, so there is no chance that I am talking about 3e rules by accident.
Ulzgoroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 04:37 PM   #3
Anaraxes
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weevis View Post
For instance, Serenity's version of the "Crazy Ivan" from the TV show Firefly.
Also, "No Midcourse Corrections", as when they stealthily approach to infiltrate Niska's station. Also perhaps when the Millenium Falcon drops off the Star Destroyer along with the garbage. Buys off the penalty for trying to hit a destination with only one initial impulse.

An analogy to what terrestrial pilots call "Nap of the Earth" might work in Star Wars-like games where you can dodge around and through asteroids and giant starship architecture.

Quote:
shooting a pistol out the cockpit window... I can't see this coming up.
Like WWI before planes were armed. Might translate it to a low (for space) tech game, or a demilitarized or pacifistic one. Open the airlock or shuttle doors and blast the enemy. Though it doesn't seem like it'd come up so often people are going to sink a lot of CP into the Technique.

Quote:
impressive "Slingshot Maneuvers" around suns
"This is basic rocket science, people!" -- Trainer, Ender's Game
Anaraxes is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 04:50 PM   #4
weevis
 
weevis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anaraxes View Post
Open the airlock or shuttle doors and blast the enemy...Might translate it to a low (for space) tech game, or a demilitarized or pacifistic one.
Actually this is great because my universe is peaceful and the ship's shuttles aren't armed. And my pilot is a smuggler. Very useful.

Not sure what to call it. The "Combat Piloting" technique is supposed to handle instances where the pilot is also shooting at the same time. It looks like it is meant to account for the fact that you are (sort of) aiming your ship and also a gun (or something else) at the same time. It is adapted from horse combat. So that's not really it.

What we want is some better phrase for: "Aiming your airlock at your enemy so that your door gunner can get a good shot at them, while still moving as fast as possible so that they can't easily hit you." Sort of turning to keep your airlock pointed at a fixed spot on the ground or an enemy on a parallel course. It seems like Huey pilots in Vietnam must have had a phrase for this technique!

I'm pretty sure I remember some "aiming guns out the airlocks" fighting in Serenity also, although maybe they just pointed guns at people to scare them while the ship hovered.
weevis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 04:57 PM   #5
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weevis View Post
Sort of turning to keep your airlock pointed at a fixed spot on the ground or an enemy on a parallel course. It seems like Huey pilots in Vietnam must have had a phrase for this technique!
I believe this is a "Pylon Turn". That's what C-130 gunships with sideways-firing armament call it IIRC. It's the kind of turn that is used in air racing to go round the pylons that mark the corners of the course.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 05:22 PM   #6
weevis
 
weevis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Would not make any sense. Ships with negative handling have worse maneuverability. It's not that they maneuver differently and require alternate approaches, they just can't do the same things.

There's also nothing special about handling 0, so there's no logic to being able to buy off negative handling specifically.
I really appreciate all replies and I'm not trying to be argumentative or difficult. But in game terms I think a negative modifier to handling is not implementing a rule that some ships "just can't do" some things. Indeed a negative modifier to handling is implementing a rule where you are welcome to try but you are less likely to succeed. (Seems like a good use for a technique.) Whether this is realistic for large spaceships is another question.

Maybe I'm misreading the rules, but the fact that something is or is not negative also doesn't seem to matter. It looks like I can even make techniques with positive modifiers to the original skills (that is, easy ones) within the existing techniques rules. A technique is just "a specific application of a skill."

Back to realism: It looks like you can apparently do aerial acrobatics in large passenger jetliners but it is foolish and difficult. There are a fair number of pilot discussions online about hypothetically doing aerial acrobatics with large passenger airliners (it's great that pilots are thinking about these things... I guess). These support both views: Some things may just be impossible, but many other things are "the skill of the pilot" in making a craft do something unwise that it was never designed for. In other words, realism appears to allow plenty of room for piloting techniques involving specific aircraft sizes.

But I'm no pilot!
weevis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 05:25 PM   #7
weevis
 
weevis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I believe this is a "Pylon Turn".
Thanks so much. This sounds great. And so much less wordy than my version.
weevis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 05:38 PM   #8
Mailanka
 
Mailanka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

GURPS Spaceships 4: Fighters, Mecha and Carriers have five new techniques: Aggressive Maneuvers, Defensive Maneuvers, Ambush, Reverse and Retreat (Or so I recall).
__________________
My Blog: Mailanka's Musing. Currently Playing: Psi-Wars, a step-by-step exploration of building your own Space Opera setting, inspired by Star Wars.
If you want to support me, check out my Patreon!
Mailanka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 06:01 PM   #9
weevis
 
weevis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: 3.165, -3.048, -0.0818
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
GURPS Spaceships 4: Fighters, Mecha and Carriers have five new techniques.
Ooh, I've got that book but I never noticed that. Thanks so much. It's p. 31:
  • Aggressive Maneuvering
  • Ambush Maneuver
  • Escape Maneuver
  • Evasive Maneuvering
  • Reversal Maneuver
Hmmm... These are all just specific maneuvers from the space combat system in Spaceships 1. This is the kind of rule I was looking for, but I find these techniques lack panache.

My particular player is much more interested in having cool-sounding things on his character sheet (and in getting to say them out loud) than he is interested in actually winning a fight with the Spaceships 1 combat rules. Or actually ever learning the Spaceships 1 combat rules. Or actually ever reading Spaceships 1. That may be why I find these techniques less than exciting. He'd prefer a Pylon Turn any day. Or a Nap of Earth: Death Star. Thanks for the heads-up though.
weevis is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-28-2015, 06:16 PM   #10
Peter Knutsen
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: [Spaceships] Interesting Piloting Techniques?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
Would not make any sense. Ships with negative handling have worse maneuverability. It's not that they maneuver differently and require alternate approaches, they just can't do the same things.

There's also nothing special about handling 0, so there's no logic to being able to buy off negative handling specifically.
No. The character has the choice between becoming better at piloting spaceships in general, or becoming better specifically at piloting spaceships of a certain size category. One costs 4 points per level, the other costs 1 point per level.

It makes no sense that the Technique has zero effect on neighbouring sizes, though. I think with the full Technique bought, both levels of it, it should also count as one level for SM+9 and SM+11 spaceships.
Peter Knutsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
piloting, sci-fi, spaceships, techniques

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:07 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.