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Old 11-13-2011, 09:48 AM   #181
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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Originally Posted by Gollum View Post
This is exactly why driving into town is an utterly trivial task with no success roll required... Unless an unexpected event occurs - in which the character would better have more than the mere default skill.
Unless additional pressure is applied, like a time limit, the a Fail is something like stuck in traffic and are late.
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:33 AM   #182
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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Unless additional pressure is applied, like a time limit, the a Fail is something like stuck in traffic and are late.
I fully do agree... But in an adventure, no player can know what the GM will invent... And there are a lot of enemy who can make your driving much less ordinary...
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Old 11-13-2011, 10:42 AM   #183
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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I fully do agree... But in an adventure, no player can know what the GM will invent... And there are a lot of enemy who can make your driving much less ordinary...
True but your Wheelman/Rigger just like race car drivers are not operating on default levels 8)

Nor would police offers trained in high speed persute (most on ones in the Blues brothers were not trained IMO;) )
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Old 11-13-2011, 11:17 AM   #184
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True but your Wheelman/Rigger just like race car drivers are not operating on default levels 8)

Nor would police offers trained in high speed persute (most on ones in the Blues brothers were not trained IMO;) )
Exactly! It even sounds like some seeds for a good adventure.
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Old 11-13-2011, 09:45 PM   #185
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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As a professional driver, I may be somewhat biased but am pretty firmly of the belief that the vast majority of people use Driving at default. Modern roadways are designed to provide a large TDM, but if you throw most people any kind of curveball, especially in wet conditions that impose a penalty, things get really ugly really fast. We had beautiful weather tonight, on a non-holiday Monday, and I witnessed two good crashes and a number of near-misses, one of which involved a successful vehicular Dodge on my part that all of my passengers didn't know was happening until it was over and insisted they would've failed.
Just out of curiosity - where did you witness these near accidents? I've noted that Drivers from Western New York tend to drive in "miserable" conditions that throw people from Virginia for a loop - all without thinking anything of the weather conditions in Virginia. How do I know this? We drove (my wife and I) from Buffalo New York to Charlotte North Carolina over the weekend to watch a Trent Thomlinson concert (long story short, Wife has been waiting for him to Release a new CD for over 3 years and he had finally announced that he was releasing a CD at that venue). Road conditions when we left were not nice, but not horrendous either. We drove all the way down to mid-western Pennsylvania in the middle of a snow storm. Left PA in weather we thought was normal for Buffalo, and had people think we were nuts. Then, when we finally arrived in North Carolina outside of Charlotte, we missed being squeezed/crunched by two trucks because one truck made a lane change without looking. Judicious use of the accelerator and cursing like our lives depended on it, we barely managed to avoid an accident.

So - was that near-miss a problem of "default" driving, or was it a matter of "inattention" to the road? Could it even have been something as simple as a failed perception check where the normal proceedure is to check mirrors and over your shoulder at the blind spot to avoid hitting someone by accident? One need only view videos of drivers in non-snow states dealing with icy roads for the first time, or of Drivers from snow states managing to avoid accidents that subsequent vehicles mess up and enter into a slide and crash.

In the end? I don't think that we're dealing with people driving at defaults. I HONESTLY don't. I do believe however, that if you have even one individual who is not paying attention to what they are doing - such as multi-tasking by means of applying makeup in the mirror whilest driving 55 mph down a freeway, is an example not of "default skill" driving, but of idiocy.

As for poor driving conditions, or dealing with unexpected circumstances? Some people do the wrong things out of sheer ignorance. Some people can drive their entire lives in California, never deal with icy roads, and make the mistake of doing the worst thing possible out of sheer panic when faced with such circumstances for the first time. That isn't a function of "default skill driving" so much as a not having learned the technique of driving under certain circumstances. I've hydroplaned before under semi-controlled circumstances. I've done a bootlegger reverse just ONCE to see if I could do it, and I could, but I wouldn't want to bet my life on being able to do it over and over again without fail and without accident (it should be noted I was driving a standard transmission and not an automatic when I pulled it - and I was moving in reverse first on snow, which made it easier to pull off). I've dealt with the "Dear God" moments when trying to stop on an off ramp that exceeds a drop of 30 feet over a span of about 200 feet in winter). I've also had a head on collision (thank god she was trying to stop even as I was trying to stop or I probably wouldn't be alive to write this). Turns out, the girl was parked facing north on a southbound lane, pulled to the curb to have a vehement argument with her boyfriend (at night while she was in a dark colored vehicle). Peeling rubber, she turned around, veered into the northbound lanes (it was a four lane highway with a center meridian) facing southbound, and intended to get back into southbound lane. Some accidents are just plain STUPID with people making bad decisions that they normally would not make otherwise.

So - Default skill, I don't think is remotely possible. There are too many "rules" of the road that people don't know unless they're exposed to it. There are too many instances where driving "safely" requires a sort of tactical aspect that back in the 1970's, used to be called "Defensive driving". Problem is? GURPS lumps all of those aspects into one skill and calls it a night. A person could have 90% of the correct knowledge to know what to do, but not have the experience where the correct action becomes instinctive. Last but not least, some drivers are essentially loaded guns waiting to go off simply because their "instinctive actions" are the WRONG instinctive actions to take.

So, that's my take on it. One can attempt to move a vehicle through default - but in a way, that default skill is really a matter of watching someone else drive in real life, or it is a function of exposure via movies. Take a kid from a third world nation who has never seen a car or knows how it works or is driven, and they will NOT be able to drive the vehicle by default, let alone drive on the roads with any reasonable safety.

So, just out of curiosity, what precisely are those things that go into the "driving skill" (ie are components of the skill driving)? Tactics of mistake (defensive driving)? Rules of the road (or how not to go against the stream of other drivers who depend on you to narrow down the variables so as to avoid accidents)? Special manuvers (such as how to get out of a spin on a slippery road)? Just as GURPS might go into Parries and call it a category of action, you don't see GURPS treating parries as a special subset of the weapon skill or permit the parry to be treated as a manuever of the skill in question right? Likewise, Driving is a composite of many subskills not worthy of a full Character point or a manuever subset.
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Old 11-14-2011, 06:15 AM   #186
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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So - was that near-miss a problem of "default" driving, or was it a matter of "inattention" to the road?
It is impossible to know... In GURPS, as in real life, everyone can make a mistake from time to time. Even the more skilled people... ("Oops! 18.") ... Champions sometimes failed miserably what they do too.

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In the end? I don't think that we're dealing with people driving at defaults. I HONESTLY don't. I do believe however, that if you have even one individual who is not paying attention to what they are doing - such as multi-tasking by means of applying makeup in the mirror whilest driving 55 mph down a freeway, is an example not of "default skill" driving, but of idiocy.
Idiocy exists, of course. But inexperience does too. As inattention, fatigue, etc. There is a lot of reasons which can make someone suddenly do something stupid.

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Some accidents are just plain STUPID with people making bad decisions that they normally would not make otherwise.
Exactly. And since everything can't be played in detail, role-playing games simplify all these possibilities by a die roll.

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So - Default skill, I don't think is remotely possible. There are too many "rules" of the road that people don't know unless they're exposed to it. There are too many instances where driving "safely" requires a sort of tactical aspect that back in the 1970's, used to be called "Defensive driving".
This is precisely what means the default skill: you think you know how to drive (use a gun, swing a sword, parry a punch), but as soon as you meet something a bit surprising, you suddenly realize that you didn't really know how to do.

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Problem is? GURPS lumps all of those aspects into one skill and calls it a night.
This is a mandatory for every role-playing game! Skilled have to be simplified. Without such a simplification, the skill list of a character would cover dozens of pages... Indeed, Driving could be separated in several skills. But Swimming, Cooking, Mathematics and every other skill could too...

But GURPS is a great role-playing game here. Because you can use the basic (and very generic) rules or detail them as you wish. With the Techniques, you can develop the Driving skill as much as you want. And it could be important for a campaign centered on car driving. Now, it will be a waste of time for an other kinds of campaign. That is why GURPS let you the choice.

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So, that's my take on it. One can attempt to move a vehicle through default - but in a way, that default skill is really a matter of watching someone else drive in real life, or it is a function of exposure via movies. Take a kid from a third world nation who has never seen a car or knows how it works or is driven, and they will NOT be able to drive the vehicle by default, let alone drive on the roads with any reasonable safety.
That is exactly what say GURPS rules: "Only individuals from a society where skill is known may attempt a default roll against that skill. For instance, the default for Scuba skill assumes you are from a world where scuba gear exists and where most people would have some idea - if only from TV - of how to use it." (GURPS Lite, page 13, Who Gets a Default?)

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So, just out of curiosity, what precisely are those things that go into the "driving skill" (ie are components of the skill driving)? Tactics of mistake (defensive driving)? Rules of the road (or how not to go against the stream of other drivers who depend on you to narrow down the variables so as to avoid accidents)? Special manuvers (such as how to get out of a spin on a slippery road)?
All that. Everything which helps you to go from point A to point B with a car, to avoid dangers, to take part in a car chase or race if you are skilled enough...

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Just as GURPS might go into Parries and call it a category of action, you don't see GURPS treating parries as a special subset of the weapon skill or permit the parry to be treated as a manuever of the skill in question right?
As soon as you take the Shortsword skill, for instance, you know how to use it to swing, thrust and parry. You can also make all-out attacks, feints, defense with retreat, etc. Brief, you know how to use a shortsword. This is the same thing for a car, with the driving skill.

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Likewise, Driving is a composite of many subskills not worthy of a full Character point or a manuever subset.
It is a simplification. Exactly as it is for the Shortsword skill. But exactly as it is for the shortword skill, you can detail your Driving skill with different Techniques.

And, as I noted it above, it could be very interesting in a campaign with a lot of actions on the road... A player who wants to detail his character's Driving skill while the others don't can even do it! Exactly as the warrior's player will have the possibility to detail his combat techniques, while the wizard's player will detail his spells, etc.

GURPS is great.

Last edited by Gollum; 11-14-2011 at 06:32 AM.
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Old 11-19-2011, 01:56 PM   #187
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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No-one has so far mentioned the +4 to skill roll for a routine task. I'd argue that most driving is a routine task, so that 10 skill becomes a roll of 14. This models accidents quite well which are often when the +4 for routine is lost, because you're driving in snow or fog or another vehicle does something stupid.
Really? No one mentioned it? In all twenty pages? Are you sure?

Because I could swear that the fact that Driving is used as the example skill for positive Task Difficulty Modifiers in the Basic Set was mentioned. In fact, I think that it was discussed at some length.
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:01 PM   #188
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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Just out of curiosity - where did you witness these near accidents? I've noted that Drivers from Western New York tend to drive in "miserable" conditions that throw people from Virginia for a loop - all without thinking anything of the weather conditions in Virginia. How do I know this? We drove (my wife and I) from Buffalo New York to Charlotte North Carolina over the weekend to watch a Trent Thomlinson concert (long story short, Wife has been waiting for him to Release a new CD for over 3 years and he had finally announced that he was releasing a CD at that venue). Road conditions when we left were not nice, but not horrendous either. We drove all the way down to mid-western Pennsylvania in the middle of a snow storm. Left PA in weather we thought was normal for Buffalo, and had people think we were nuts. Then, when we finally arrived in North Carolina outside of Charlotte, we missed being squeezed/crunched by two trucks because one truck made a lane change without looking. Judicious use of the accelerator and cursing like our lives depended on it, we barely managed to avoid an accident.
It was with some hilarity that many years ago in London I witnessed what happened to the city when it got a light dusting of perhaps no more than an inch of snow. The city came to a standstill, but more importantly the IQ (or at least the common sense) of drivers approached the delta level of differential calculus.

Just an anecdote, of course.
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Old 11-19-2011, 10:24 PM   #189
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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Here, the speed limit is almost always formally reduced on curves, twists, narrow lanes, curvy freeway offramps, etc. There's a sign warning of the curve/narrowing/whatever and a reduced speed limit attached. Here we sort of have the opposite problem - speeding is so habitual that it can actually be dangerous to respect the speed limit.
That brings me to another point about driving that I don't know if anyone's metnioned as yet...

When we as a civilization first started off, we had dirt roads for the most part, and cars which could barely hit 20 mph (first ticket in New York state is reputed issued for a speeding violation of exceeding 15 mph or so I've been told). Then, as roads began to be built, some of the engineers would determine optimal speeds for vehicles cornering a curve and signs would be posted to warn drivers of dangerous terrain, circumstances, etc. Some intersections have beyond their fair share of accidents simply because of poor design of the roads.

Long story short - it is entirely possible, that some of the reasons why people can drive at relatively lower skill levels (in terms of GURPS) is because of the following:

Safer road design
More road signs to aid in directing traffic flow
More signal lights to control flows of traffic outright
GPS travel guides (to help ease driver uncertainty at critical moments)

So in short, perhaps certain areas have safer driving statistics simply because an effort was made to safety proof the driving. Driving through curves, up and over hills at high speeds etc - is not exactly safe in the sense that the driver has time to react to the circumstances in front of him. And then there's the urban myth (at least I HOPE it is an urban myth) where some idiot turns off a road because the GPS mapping device tells him to turn. Stupidity is stupidity. Driving isn't JUST about eye-hand co-oridination, it is also about being alert (perception) and interactive (defensive driving requires that you pay attention to what everyone around you is doing, again, a perception issue).

I almost have to wonder...

Perhaps driving as a skill should be based on Observation or Perception, and when you fail that, THEN make a secondary saving roll against DX.
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:49 AM   #190
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Default Re: Driving Default: Yesterday I reality-checked it . . .

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That brings me to another point about driving that I don't know if anyone's metnioned as yet...
All what you wrote here is logical in my humble opinion. Yes, if I didn't drive on good roads, my skill would be reduce drastically... But it is already taken into account by the task difficulty modifier. The +4 is made for good roads, in a town with traffic signals and all what you need to drive safely... Commuting work through a jungle with mere paths, for instance, is at best an average task... Then, our average character with his skill level of 10-11 will certainly have some problems from time to time... And the young driver with his default skill of 5 won't be able to do it at all without an incredible luck.

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Safer road design
More road signs to aid in directing traffic flow
More signal lights to control flows of traffic outright
GPS travel guides (to help ease driver uncertainty at critical moments)
It makes me thing that there is another modifier. Indians, for example, drive very differently from us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSUA_o7pATQ

If I were there I would have problems... But if an indian driver came in France, he also would have a lot of problem because he would have to respect rules that he is not used to respect (and that sometimes slow down the traffic).

But here again, GURPS already take that into account, thanks to the cultural familiarity modifier. -3 if you are not used to the local habits.

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Perhaps driving as a skill should be based on Observation or Perception, and when you fail that, THEN make a secondary saving roll against DX.
DX also represents hand-eye coordination and reflexes. It is the ability to adapt your body and moves to the surrounding. So, the perception is already taken into account in it... As long as things are in plain sight!

If a hazard was hidden, or simply difficult to notice, then I would require a perception roll before making the ordinary driving roll to avoid it.
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