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Old 06-24-2016, 03:54 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

Parachuting is the DX/E TL skill of making and surviving parachute jumps. The only default is DX-4, and no skills default to Parachuting. Failure does not mean a fall, although it may well land you somewhere embarrassing, or without your equipment. For critical failures, see Falling on B.431. Under difficult conditions, the GM may require a second roll for a safe, as opposed to survived, landing. To pack a parachute, make an IQ-based roll, which would likely be improvable as an Average technique, although it seems to be assumed that if parachutes are packed at leisure, they don't need a separate roll. Parachuting appeared at GURPS 1e.

The only listed modifier is -2 for your body weight plus encumbrance exceeding ten times your Basic Lift, creating a game reason for paratroops to be fit and strong. It's clearly possible to get substantial bonuses for good conditions, supervision, a static line to open the 'chute, and so on, given the number of people who make a successful jump after a day's instruction, presumably at the DX default.

A basic TL6 parachute is on B288, $1000, 30lb, and notes that the user will fall at least 80 yards before it opens, and then descend at 5 yards/second. A Fine-quality parachute could seem attractive to adventurers with money. High-Tech p62-63 and p232 have much more parachute-related equipment and some more rules details.

Parachuting skill is common on templates for high-tech soldiers, infiltrators and spies, although it's usually an option for everyone except professional paratroopers. It's wise to be good at Parachuting if you expect to actually do it in action. Action has plenty of templates and skill packages with Parachuting, and streamlined rules for equipment and group insertions. Fantasy-Tech has TL3-4 devices that use the skill, should anyone have it, and Gun-Fu suggests the Mounted Shooting technique for coming down firing. Power-Ups 3 and 7 have examples for Parachuting, and SEALS in Vietnam has a technique for buying off the penalties for HAHO/HALO methods. Supers has a mini-parachute, and Ultra-Tech a flying car with automatic parachute that's better than nothing, but with skill 11, there's likely to be a bumpy ride.

I've generally skipped Parachuting on military characters, unless it was compulsory, because being the only parachutist isn't much good unless you want to be off on your own. It was a vital survival skill in Crimson Skies, though, and I took it in the occult WWII campaign after a frightening experience when both pilots in a plane were temporarily blinded. From the GM's point of view, requiring characters to parachute into a scenario is a lot easier if you aren't nit-pickingly realistic about the way parachutists get scattered across the landscape.

What have you dropped yourself into?
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Old 06-24-2016, 04:28 PM   #2
Phil Masters
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

My two characters in the campaigns John mentions have both ended up dropping a point into the skill in the course of play, as I recall, because sooner or later in that sort of game in that sort of period, one winds up facing the need or nudged toward the training.

Not sure how often I've rolled it, but it's one of those "spend the point to persuade the GM not to insist on nuisance rolls at default" sort of skills.
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Old 06-26-2016, 10:39 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

Overheard at a LAN party while playing the Wake Island map for Battlefield 1942: "What's the key to open your parachute? …oh, never mind."

This sort of skill provides good examples of when not to use the system. If the scenario is about doing an infiltration, well, you can open with the team packing up and burying their chutes; you don't have to say "everyone roll, oh dear Bob crit-failed, he can go and get the pizza". If you're not prepared for something interesting to happen on that crit-fail, you shouldn't allow it to happen at all.

On the other hand, scattered characters and landing injuries are entirely in-genre and to be encouraged, especially if the PCs have a wide range of skill levels.

Ultra-Tech doesn't talk about high-tech parachutes, though I think one can probably assume they continue to get lighter, and less prone to fail to deploy. Its alternatives are actual flying vehicles, like the contragravity belt and nuclear jetpack, for which see Piloting.
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Old 06-26-2016, 02:31 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

I've had two campaigns where parachutes where used regularly, one was a cyberpunk type game with one of the characters (a robot) having a parachute and backup parachute as implanted components. (He miss counted jumps one day) It was used extensively for high rise entry/escape.

The second campaign was more "heist" oriented and included various base jumping/wing suit/zorb in the skill.
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Old 06-26-2016, 03:08 PM   #5
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
I...one of the characters (a robot) having a parachute and backup parachute as implanted components. (He miss counted jumps one day)
There's someone who needed to learn parachute packing.
Quote:
The second campaign was more "heist" oriented and included various base jumping/wing suit/zorb in the skill.
Well, base jumping and wingsuits are clearly parachuting, but I doubt zorbing is.
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Old 06-26-2016, 05:49 PM   #6
Žorkell
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

I've had the skill on a number of PCs. We do play military special ops short campaigns from time to time, though we never seem to use the same setting or characters. Can't recall a memorable incident with parachuting in those campaigns.
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Old 06-26-2016, 08:00 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Well, base jumping and wingsuits are clearly parachuting, but I doubt zorbing is.
Zorbing is probably acrobatics. But there are a couple of other edge cases that spring to mind.
- paragliding
- parasailing
- kite surfing
- zip lines/flying foxes (probably climbing or soldier for a military character)
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Old 06-27-2016, 01:20 AM   #8
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Parachuting

Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Zorbing is probably acrobatics.
Or a Sports skill; I suspect you could do it with either.
Quote:
- paragliding
I think that's Parachuting.
Quote:
- parasailing
Parachuting or a Sports skill.
Quote:
- kite surfing
- zip lines/flying foxes (probably climbing or soldier for a military character)
Sports skill(s).
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