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 03-20-2016, 03:57 AM   #11
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Are you confident you actually have skill in one of them? Default + familiarity in one, and default without familiarity in the other could plausibly look like this.
As I see it, defaults don't take familiarity penalties (they're already defaults, so you have no knowledge that might be inappropriate). I think I am about equally competent at both, which is not very, but better than default. So in game terms I have two Dabbler slots on the two sorts, but I propose that a single Dabbler slot with familiarities would make more sense.

Thanks, evileeyore! That's a pretty good template for the way I might aim to rework this set of skills. As for "repair the whole vehicle", that's where you want the Mechanic (Vehicle Type) specialisation.
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2016, 10:49 AM   #12
kabson
 
kabson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Somewhere outside London, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post

I'm distinctly unconvinced that Gasoline and Diesel engines are separate skills with -4 between them. Having done a bit of work on both, I think they're at least 80% common. Sure, treating one sort of plant exactly like the other will get you into trouble, but I think this is more like a familiarity penalty.
I have the impression a more appropriate skill would be 'Mechanic (ICE)'. Familiarity penalties between gas, diesel, bio-fuel, ethanol or whatever then make a bit more sense.
__________________
Hy twegen sceolon tæfle ymbsittan þenden him hyra torn toglide.
[Two should sit at a game together, until their troubles slip away - old English maxim]
kabson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-20-2016, 12:17 PM   #13
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

I think I might have just figured this out. I'm sufficiently sleepy that I'm not sure: see what you think of this?

Mechanic specialisations for a piece of static machinery or a power plant aren't a problem. The difficulty comes with the defaults between different vehicle type specialisations, and between those and power plant specialisations. Then I noticed the motive system specialisations, started trying to list some more, and had an insight into what the RAW might be trying to say:

There are two ways to build a vehicle mechanic. The first is to just take Mechanic (Vehicle Type) You're quite capable with that type, but that is all that you are good at. The second is to take the appropriate motive system and power plant specialisations, possibly plus supporting skills: Electronics Repair at TL6+, Carpentry if the vehicle is largely wooden, Machinist, and so on. The first kind of mechanic is easier to train, but less versatile. The second type needs much more training, but is valuable when you don't have a good supply of spare parts, or you have to modify something. Does that make sense?

Here's a revised list of specialisations, with familiarities in {}:


Machine Type
  • Micromachines
  • Nanomachines
  • Robotics
  • Optical Instruments
  • Musical Instruments
  • Millwork
  • Life-support
  • Mining equipment
  • Chemical plant {Refineries}
  • Conveyors
  • Pumping equipment
  • Power Tools
Propulsion system
  • Wheeled
  • Tracked
  • Legged
  • Rocket {solid, liquid, composite}
  • Reactionless Thrusters
  • Winged {propeller, jet} {wooden, metal, composite} {ekranoplan}
  • Helicopter
  • Air-cushion
Power Plant
Note that this includes some types that are invariably static. Also, some power plants require several specialisations: someone who was an expert mechanic for everything at a TL7 nuclear power plant would have (Fission Reactor), (Boiler, with familiarity with nuclear), and (Electric generator). Long-distance electric power transmission would presumably be a familiarity of Electrician.
  • Piston IC engine {gasoline, diesel}
  • Piston non-IC {steam}
  • Turbine engine {gas, steam, water -- hydroelectric}
  • Boiler {coal, oil, gas, nuclear-heated}
  • Clockwork
  • Muscle Engine
  • Fission Reactor
  • Fusion Reactor
  • Antimatter Reactor
  • Electric generator
  • Thermoelectric generator
  • Storage Battery {several types}
  • Fuel Cell {types}
  • Electric motor
Vehicle type
As per driving, piloting, etc.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 02:58 AM   #14
Peter Knutsen
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
There are two ways to build a vehicle mechanic. The first is to just take Mechanic (Vehicle Type) You're quite capable with that type, but that is all that you are good at. The second is to take the appropriate motive system and power plant specialisations, possibly plus supporting skills: Electronics Repair at TL6+, Carpentry if the vehicle is largely wooden, Machinist, and so on.
The problem with the first way is that there still needs to be some kind of improved default to other vehicle types and to other engine types.

Someone with Mechanic (Car/TL7) should have an at least slightly better chance at repairing (or sabotating) a TL7 tank, compared to someone who doesn't have Mechanic (Car), because the tank does use many of the same principles as the car (and so would a TL6 or TL8 tank, and to a more limited degree a TL9 tank).

I don't have any better suggestions, as of now. But some kind of defaulting or "crossovering" is necessary for realistic simulation... Unless you're proposing that car mechanics are trained monkeys who have learned everything by rote and therefore become supremely confused when faced with a machine even slightly different from what they're learned to work on. But first of all I don't think that's the case, and secondly if they were then they wouldn't have GURPS-type skils, but rather a series of Perks, including whatever the One-Task-Wonder Perk is called.
Peter Knutsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 03:22 AM   #15
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
The problem with the first way is that there still needs to be some kind of improved default to other vehicle types and to other engine types.
The general default of other Mechanic-4 would still apply. I intend to try to work up a more comprehensive default list, but wanted to see if the basic idea made sense first.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 03:28 AM   #16
Peter Knutsen
Banned
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Europe
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
The general default of other Mechanic-4 would still apply. I intend to try to work up a more comprehensive default list, but wanted to see if the basic idea made sense first.
I think it does make sense, but your Machine Type list looks like there's a risk of skill bloat.

One way to resolve that is via the broad-yet-not-unrealistic type of skill I proposed earlier. Pay an UB, lets you learn a VH skill. The skill bloated list is still there for more specialized characters, but you get the broad one so you get to ignore the set of more narrow skills.
Peter Knutsen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 05:20 AM   #17
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
I think it does make sense, but your Machine Type list looks like there's a risk of skill bloat.
Everything in it is from published 4e GURPS material, which I'm trying to be compatible with.
Quote:
One way to resolve that is via the broad-yet-not-unrealistic type of skill I proposed earlier.
Yup, it needs more thinking and typing than I can do right this minute.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-21-2016, 03:23 PM   #18
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Machine Type
I've created some broader specialisations which cover many specialisations from supplements, which make plausible optional specialisations.
  • Micromachines
  • Nanomachines
  • Robotics
  • Optical systems (Optical Instruments, lamps, etc).
  • Acoustic systems (Musical Instruments, soundproofing, etc.)
  • Solids processing (Mining, Conveyors, Power Tools, etc.)
  • Fluids processing (Life-support, pumping, chemical plant, refineries, etc.)
  • Electrical systems - this is Electrician.
  • Electronics - this is Electronics Repair.
  • Weapons - this is Armoury.
  • Tools - this is Machinist.
Propulsion system
  • Wheeled
  • Tracked
  • Legged
  • Rocket {solid, liquid, composite}
  • Reactionless Thrusters
  • Winged {propeller, jet} {wooden, metal, composite} {ekranoplan}
  • Helicopter
  • Air-cushion
Power Plant
Note that this includes some types that are invariably static. Also, some power plants require several specialisations: someone who was an expert mechanic for everything at a TL7 nuclear power plant would have (Fission Reactor), (Boiler, with familiarity with nuclear), and (Electric generator). Long-distance electric power transmission would presumably be a familiarity of Electrician.
  • Piston IC engine {gasoline, diesel}
  • Piston non-IC {steam}
  • Turbine engine {gas, steam, water -- hydroelectric}
  • Boiler {coal, oil, gas, nuclear-heated}
  • Clockwork
  • Muscle Engine
  • Fission Reactor
  • Fusion Reactor
  • Antimatter Reactor
  • Electric generator
  • Thermoelectric generator
  • Storage Battery {several types}
  • Fuel Cell {types}
  • Electric motor
Vehicle type
As per driving, piloting, etc.

All mechanic specialisations default to each other at -4 (but remember TL penalties). Vehicle type specialisations provide defaults to the propulsion system and power plant types used by the vehicle, and to the machine types of any systems that are part of the vehicle at -2. When applying these to a different type of vehicle, or an unfamiliar vehicle, you get+1 to work on the power plant if the power plant of the new vehicle is actually the same model as one in a vehicle you're familiar with, or +1 to work on the propulsion system if it uses exactly the same technology as a vehicle you're familiar with, or +1 to work on a system if it's the same model as one in a vehicle you're familiar with.

OK, let's try a few examples. Take Alf, a hurriedly trained British aircraft mechanic of the WWII period. He has Mechanic (Heavy aircraft)/TL6-12, and familiarity with the Avro Lancaster, which is what the base he works at flies and the Handley Page Hampden, which has been retired from service and gets used for ground training (which tends to use up aircraft). I've picked these examples because I know aircraft of the period moderately well.

Alf is confronted with a Vickers Wellington, EDT: which he's never worked on. For the engines, his default Mechanic (Piston IC Engine) is 10, and he gets +1 because it's actually the same engine as the Hampden he trained on, a Bristol Pegasus. He's at an effective -1, because the engines are installed differently, and their cockpit controls aren't quite the same. For the airframe, the technology is definitely different: fabric-covered geodetic construction, vs. metal stressed-skin. His effective Mechanic (Winged, Propeller) is 10, so he's at an effective -2 for work on the airframe, plus -2 for unfamiliarity for the first 8 hours. For work on the radios, his effective Electronics Repair (Communications) is 10, and he gets +1 if the radio is actually the same model as one he knows, or -2 for unfamiliarity.

Next, he's faced with a Spitfire. The engine is the same as in the Lancaster, so he's 11 with that, and the airframe technology is much the same, so he's probably 11 with that. But the radio is a short-distance VHF radio-telephone, quite different from the long-distance HF Morse-code sets in the bombers, so he's 10 with that, less -2 for unfamiliarity.

Now point him at a Gloucester Meteor, and he's in trouble. It's kind of TL7, not the TL6 he's used to. The airframe technology is metal stressed-skin, so he has 11 with that, -5 for TL7; a helpful GM could rule that the airframe is transitional and reduce the penalty. The engines are not a type he knows, though, so he's on the basic -4 default for a different specialisation of Mechanic, and he does get the full TL penalty on them. With an effective skill of 3, less unfamiliarity, he'll hopefully realise he should stay clear.

OK, this version of the skill is a bit complicated, but gives semi-plausible results for historical machines. It may be rather demanding of the GM for fictional machines, but they can always decide that the +1 for the same, or very close, don't apply.

Last edited by johndallman; 03-21-2016 at 04:04 PM. Reason: unfamiliarity
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-18-2017, 07:17 AM   #19
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Mechanic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantasm View Post
Mechanic is one skill that I usually just say, "pick a specialty or two, or raise it to an IQ/H skill that covers all specialties except microtechnology and nanotechnology."
An IQ/H for all specialties seems a bit good, but I've found a better way in negotiations with my GM. Broader categories as an IQ/H skill seems plausible. Examples so far:
  • Fixed-wing aircraft. This covers everything under Piloting (Glider, Heavy Airplane, High-Performance Airplane, Light Airplane, or Ultralight).
  • Road vehicles: ones that come under Bicycling and Driving (Motorcycle, Automobile or Heavy Wheeled).
  • Off-road vehicles: ones that come under Driving (Construction Equipment, Halftrack or Tracked).
Familiarity and TL modifiers still apply of course.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
basic, mechanic, 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 04:23 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.