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

Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-15-2015, 03:44 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

"If we can't get back to the submarine, we can ship ourselves home by container" -- Action/Reign of Steel PC

Freight Handling is the IQ/A skill of managing the loading and unloading of vehicles. A success cuts the time required for the work by 20%. If there is doubt about an item of cargo surviving the journey, roll against Freight Handling, with a success meaning that it got there. The only default is IQ-5, and no skills default to it. Freight Handling dates back to 3e, when it was just a note under Packing.

Freight Handling is clearly a Professional Skill. GURPS doesn't try to list all of them, but this one can be important for realistic adventuring reasonably often. Apart from simply making sure your stuff reaches the scene, being in charge of loading a vehicle clearly makes it far easier to arrange for an item (or a person) to be on board covertly, or to not be present although the paperwork and witnesses reckon they were. This has all kinds of uses for smuggling, sabotage, and spying. Freight Handling is also used with No-Landing Extraction (B233), which is always an adventure, presumably with a specific familiarity.

Freight Handling appears on templates for transport specialists, merchants and explorers. Action also uses it for Cleaners who transport the evidence elsewhere, and for loading vehicles inconspicuously, although you need Smuggling to conceal things on board. PU3 and PU7, as usual, have examples that include this skill. Spaceships has rules for the time required to load cargo, and the uses of Freight Handling in squeezing oversized loads through hatches; Spaceships 2 expands on them.

My spectacular use of Freight Handling was in our Action/Reign Of Steel campaign. We needed to stow away on a cargo ship to get from North America to Britain, and had sneaked into Boston Harbour's freight terminal. Of course, it was totally automated, but critical successes on Perception and default Freight Handling meant that it suddenly made sense, and we got on board without any fights. The quote at the top was from a subsequent adventure in Crimea.

Have you loaded the dice with Freight Handling?
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2015, 08:56 AM   #2
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

It comes up a bit in my current campaign Tapestry, which is set on a Bronze Age merchant ship.
Bill Stoddard

A human being should know how to live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse. Specialization is for insects.
whswhs is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2015, 11:17 AM   #3
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Medford, MA
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

Used it quite often in my Interstellar Wars campaign.
I generated excitement using its ability to reduce time to load by having a few situations where they needed to get off the planet right away, but they still needed to load up their cargo...could they get it all loaded before the danger (customs, assassins, whatever) arrived?
trooper6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2015, 03:44 PM   #4
Join Date: May 2007
Default Goodies . . . see 3rd Ed. Starports

GURPS Traveller Starports had extensive discussions of freight loading-handling. The author had some real-world experience with ports and it showed.

Note that mis-stowing of cargo can lead to serious consequences. The semi might roll on an exit ramp if the center of gravity is too high; the airliners might be unbalanced (and take-off is not the place to find out), the ship could have its cargo shift in a storm (and IIRC, that sinks about 2-4 ships a year . . . )

Also, if you could reprogram the freight-handling software that controls the cargobots you could have an important ship sink halfway in the North Atlantic -- and everyone thinks it a computer glitch . . .
fredtheobviouspseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2015, 03:56 PM   #5
The Colonel
The Colonel's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

The ability to use ConEx handlers is very useful if you need to make together an improvised barricade. If you have a handler and a park full of ConEx boxes you can build a human resistant and zombie-proof wall about eight feet high in minutes.

Plus useful if you give the PCs a FedEx quest with a really big McGuffin (say a sarcophagus).

...and for all of us that got the DLC for Human Revolution...
The Colonel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-16-2015, 04:49 PM   #6
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

Originally Posted by The Colonel View Post
The ability to use ConEx handlers is very useful ...
ConEx? Ah, ISO 20-foot and 40-foot containers. Yup, that could be handy. Containers were in flux during the TL7 period, but are standard at TL8.

You could reasonably take an Optional Specialisation in containers.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-17-2015, 09:19 AM   #7
RogerBW's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

Oddly, only one of the characters in my space traders game took this. Several of the Vacuum Cleaners in my Transhuman Space campaign had it, and it occasionally came up, but nothing like as seriously as that time John mentions in Reign of Steel.
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 08-18-2015, 04:41 AM   #8
Phil Masters
Phil Masters's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: U.K.
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Freight Handling

I think that the fanciest use I saw of the skill was in a Transhuman Space vacuum cleaners demo game, when an emergency blew up while the human crew was on a station. The ship's AI negotiated with the station AI for material needed to handle the problem while the meatbags ran for the airlock, undocked when the last of them was aboard, looped round the station - and then rolled a critical on Freight Handling to catch the supplies which the station system had just tossed out of a cargo airlock with the ship's work arms, stowing them while the ship went to full acceleration.
Phil Masters
Creator of The Small Folk - Wainscot Urban Fantasy Roleplaying.
Discworld Roleplaying Game author, Transhuman Space Line Editor.
My Home Page.
Phil Masters is offline   Reply With Quote

absic, freight handling, skill of the week

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 07:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.