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Old 02-12-2024, 08:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
Greetings,

Okay I am still running a "Star Trek" campaign using GURPS 4/e and a question has come up.

When a Helmsman is on the bridge of a starship he or she is using the skill " Piloting/TL 12 Starship " - Correct?
No. The Helmsman is using the skill Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship. The point isn't as clear as it was in 3e, but Piloting/TL12 for spacecraft/starcraft, would be for small craft, either one-person, or a small crew like a bomber, where the biggest possible split is Pilot/Navigator, with the navigator charting position and course and the pilot actually steering that course. For any larger craft and certainly once one has crossed the divide between boat and ship, Shiphandling is the skill for actually maneuvering the vehicle. So the answer for your player is "Piloting is for small craft, such as shuttles and Shiphandling is for large vessels like starships."

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On the template for Starfleet Academy graduates on the GCA the skill "Shiphandling/TL 12 (Starship (Warp Powered) " also comes up as an automatic skill.

A player asked me what the main difference is between those two skills.

The discussion came about because of the idea of cross training bridge officers to help out at any station on the Bridge in a crisis.

- Ed C.
Shiphandling/TL12 (Starship (Warp Powered)) would be the same thing as Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship just a bit more refined in-universe. It would only matter if the Federation encounters a race that doesn't use Warp Power, for example a Jumpship or a Hyperspaceship, in which case there would be a question whether someone from the Federation could maneuver that starship at all.

On the other hand, a Federation crew could maneuver a Klingon or Romulan starship without too much trouble once they figure out which button or screen is which. There might be an unfamiliarity penalty if the Federation officer was trying to handle the vessel with its native crew due to checklist differences.

"Hey, that order comes later."
"What? He didn't give the order for ()" [optional on one checklist, mandatory on the other.]

The only other possible issue would be if there were two specialties for Shiphandling/TL12 Starships, either Warp Powered or Impulse Powered, but it seems that one skill covers both usages in-universe.
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Old 02-12-2024, 09:08 AM   #12
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Considering all the responses - I still Think " Piloting (Starship is the skill that Lt Sulu and Lt Orteges are using and that 'Shiphandling (Warp powered starship " is what someone is doing when they take over command of the bridge of a ship.

Also please, please stop mentioning 'Aerospace'.
In The GCA Helm and Navigation specialists autoimatically get Piloting /aerospace as part of their template.

At the Academy template everyone gets a choice of either Piloting Shuttlecraft or Piloting starship. Since we have seen in the various shows lots of crew and officers that know how to pilot a shuttlecraft I kind of give that one automatically to anyone who goes to the academy. Not as many characters appear to know how to be a Helm officer or pilot ("I Fly the Ship")

In the game I am running the player characters involved are the Ship's Captain, First Officer (Used to be the Chief Engineer), Chief Ciommunications Officer, and the Chief of Security/Tactical officer...with a whole bunch of NPCs to fill out the crew of 200.
In game story - One of the Helm department NPCs offered to teach ' Piloting Starship to the new First Officer.


- Ed C.
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Old 02-12-2024, 09:12 AM   #13
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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No. The Helmsman is using the skill Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship. .
No. The Helmsman is using Pilot. The Captain (and _only_ the Captain) is using Shiphandling to give orders to everyone else. Small craft don't need someone with Shiphandling.
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Old 02-12-2024, 09:17 AM   #14
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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No. The Helmsman is using the skill Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship. The point isn't as clear as it was in 3e, but Piloting/TL12 for spacecraft/starcraft, would be for small craft, either one-person, or a small crew like a bomber, where the biggest possible split is Pilot/Navigator, with the navigator charting position and course and the pilot actually steering that course. For any larger craft and certainly once one has crossed the divide between boat and ship, Shiphandling is the skill for actually maneuvering the vehicle. So the answer for your player is "Piloting is for small craft, such as shuttles and Shiphandling is for large vessels like starships."
Realistically, perhaps, but that's because in the real world once a vessel gets large enough directly controlling it (piloting) stops being an option. Sufficient automation, advanced control systems, etc may be able to allow a massive vessel to be directly piloted just like a smaller one. I'd imagine characters in Eve Online, for example, would be using Piloting, despite often being in control of absolutely massive ships, because they're able to do everything on their own (complements of automation and a neural interface). I think the specialist helmsmen in Star Trek are similar here, able to basically pilot the ship directly rather than needing to use Shiphandling.
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Old 02-12-2024, 09:32 AM   #15
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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...... I'd imagine characters in Eve Online, for example, would be using Piloting,......
But this thread and opening question are Not about "Eve online" or any other computer or video game.

This is just about the "Star Trek" setting adapted to GURPS 4/e.

- Ed C.

Yes, I did read the rest of the post and saw that Star Trek was mentioned...
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Old 02-12-2024, 10:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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But this thread and opening question are Not about "Even online" or any other computer or video game.

This is just about the "Star Trek" setting adapted to GURPS 4/e.

- Ed C.

Yes, I did read the rest of the post and saw that Star Trek was mentioned...
I referenced Eve Online as an example of a setting where Piloting is used even for absolutely massive ships to help refute the idea that Piloting has some sort of maximum size limit that applies across all settings. I find in many discussions that citing examples from other media can often get a point across better than limiting oneself to the specific setting in question, particularly when discussing GURPS (which is meant to be general and universal).
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Old 02-12-2024, 11:58 AM   #17
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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No. The Helmsman is using Pilot. The Captain (and _only_ the Captain) is using Shiphandling to give orders to everyone else. Small craft don't need someone with Shiphandling.
Not just the Captain. Whichever officer "has the bridge" at any given time is using Shiphandling. That might be an Ensign, it might be the Captain, or any bridge qualified officer at any point in time.
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Old 02-12-2024, 01:24 PM   #18
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Not just the Captain. Whichever officer "has the bridge" at any given time is using Shiphandling. That might be an Ensign, it might be the Captain, or any bridge qualified officer at any point in time.
II knew I should have put a "..or whoever else has the conn" in there to prevent this sort of quibble.
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Old 02-12-2024, 03:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Digging into Trek-lore, being "bridge qualified" or passing the Bridge Officer's Test is definitely Shiphandling skill vs. just Piloting (Whatever Vehicle You're Piloting).

Recall that there was a TNG episode ("Thine Own Self") where Deanna Troi was trying to get bridge-certified. The final test had nothing to do with piloting, but the willingness and ability to issue necessary, but unpleasant, orders to save the ship.

Being able to pilot a Starfleet starship is clearly related to being able to fly a shuttle, if only because Starfleet and the Federation try to use standardized user interfaces for all their spacecraft, but also obviously different.

Just like the U.S. Air Force Academy trains (most of) its cadets to first fly gliders or light, single engine planes and then trains selected cadets to fly progressively larger and more complex multi-engined aircraft, Starfleet Academy might train all its cadets to fly small, basic shuttles and then tap cadets from the Command track to receive more extensive flight training.

What's confusing in GURPS is that Shiphandling (Starship) only requires Spacer, Navigation and Leadership skills, but Star Trek makes it clear that their version of Shiphandling requires Piloting skill.

The difference is that, like the U.S. Air Force, Starfleet is very much a "pilots' union" where senior leaders are (usually) expected to be able to fly a starship as well as command one. It would be legitimate to require Piloting (High Performance Spaceship/Starship/Whatever) as a prerequisite for Shiphandling or allow it to substitute for Navigation or Spacer skill. This is particularly true since Shiphandling defaults to Piloting-5.

If you want to get into the weeds with details, liberally dispense Unfamiliarity Penalties if you're trying to fly an unfamiliar type of starship. Cultural Familiarity penalties and penalties for less than full Fluency with with the language the ship's instruments/computers use might also apply.
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Old 02-12-2024, 03:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

I give every Academy graduate at least 1 point in "Piloting (Shuttlecraft) " - but that is not what I was asking about.

The opening question is about " Piloting (starship) " - to me almost everyone in Starfleet knows how to pilot a shuttle. However piloting a big 'ol ship like a Saladin-class destroyer or a Constitution-class heavy cruiser requires " Pilotin Starship. The ships are just bigger and need more talent and training.

- Ed C.
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