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Old 02-12-2024, 03:25 PM   #21
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
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.
On a big ship, there might be people other than the captain using Shiphandling skill to keep track of systems that aren't utterly vital to flying or fighting the ship, such as the people at the Communications, Operations or Life Support consoles. Certain aspects of the Security/Tactical Officer's job on the bridge might also be covered by Shiphandling.

There might also be LTJG Usuallynotimportanttotheplot down in Auxiliary Control who has Shiphandling skill, but whose job is usually to just keep up with what's going on on the bridge.
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Old 02-12-2024, 04:07 PM   #22
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Surprised this has wandered so far.
Shiphandling is indeed about being in charge and directing the ship. Just read the first paragraph or two.
For Spaceships and Starships it also defaults to Piloting-5 so a pilot could attempt it.
Also look at the prerequisites for Shiphandling. They include Leadership, Spacer (being crew), and Navigation.


In some settings you might not even need a pilot, including certain applications of Star Trek. Piloting can be done by computer in routine situations and some minimally trained people (Wesley in TNG) can handle the job.
But for certain things we see the one at the helm replaced by someone with better piloting skills.

So the Captain of a large vessel should have Shiphandling and likely also has Piloting but there is someone at that role the captain or officer of the deck instructs.
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Old 02-12-2024, 11:09 PM   #23
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
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.

- Ed C.
If you're using the Prime Directive files for GCA which it sounds like you are there are some minor differences between how Prime Directive does things and how vanilla GURPS does things. Prime Directive still uses 16 tech levels (levels over 12 aren't supported in the official file). Engineering, Electronics Operation, Mechanic and a few other skills have a bunch of universe specific specialties. A characters exact rank is reflected in a complicated mix of Rank advantage, Reputation and a feature called Seniority rather than the Rank advantage reflecting actual authority which might differ from the official title a character had. Prime Directive is also a different animal than regular Star Trek having a licence that split off into it's own thing during the period between Star Trek Animated being canceled and anybody having a hint of an idea about a new series or movies. Some of the issues with the GCA file can be fixed with an unofficial file here ://www.motoslave.net/gcarepo/view.php?pkgid=105. It also fixes some changes between the original GURPS 4th ed book and the revised edition. Use them for vanilla Trek at your own risk though. Some things just don't fit quite right, like Klingons with several "Subject Races" on their ships. I would refer you to the Prime Directive core books for a basic rundown on some of the differences.

As to your main question: My understanding is piloting in GPD is used for shuttlecraft, fighters, and fast patrol ships (warp driven equivalent to WWII PT boats). Shiphandling is for bigger ships. Sure it includes skills like Leadership and so on as prerequisites because the man at the helm has to be sending commands to engineering on warp field configuration for tactical maneuvering or high speed, coordinating with sensors to see through the interference from the ships own warp feild, making sure communications can keep in contact with important navigational beacons and all sorts of other things that exist in the Star Fleet Universe that don't appear to exist in regular Trek because the game universe and the show have been going their own directions for over fourty-five years.
Treat the Prime Directive files like you got them from a Farengi if you're using them for anything outside the SFU.
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Old 02-13-2024, 08:46 AM   #24
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

I agree with Farmer's explanation in his posts on the first page.

Ship Handling is about what orders to give, who to give them to, and what to expect from those executing them.
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Old 02-13-2024, 11:01 AM   #25
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by rkbrown419 View Post
If you're using the Prime Directive files for GCA which it sounds like you are there are some minor differences between how Prime Directive does things...... and how vanilla GURPS does things. Prime Directive still uses 16 tech levels ....
Oy Vey!!
You may have become over-fixated on the phrase 'prime Directive'.

I am NOT and would nver use the"Prime Direcive"/SFB setting in any of my games. That is a whacked up version of the Star Trek universe.

It easier and quicker to make characters using the GCA. However, since the 'prime Directive' files are 'there' they have the proper Star Trek teminology in there - thats why I use it at all. Back 2009 to 2013 I had to hand type n and modify every darn character I made so the words 'phaser' 'tricorder', Warp Drive, Impulse, "transporters' would show up. Now I don't have to.


Its an ease of use thing for me - the GM.
(I would NEVER run the messed up Starfleet Battles universe)

Now, back to original question or debate

I wasc asking if " PIloting (starship) " best emulates the skill that Lieutenants Sulu and Ortegas are using when they fly or steer the ship.
Then what does "Shiphandling /Warp powered starship " cover?

For the recoord - I always run a 'canon' or prime timeline "Star Trek" universe.
That also means the group is currently in the early 2260s - before "TOS" had its first Kirk story. No "Next Gen" references are ever needed or relevant.

- Ed C.
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Old 02-13-2024, 12:12 PM   #26
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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<snip>

Now, back to original question or debate

I was asking if " PIloting (starship) " best emulates the skill that Lieutenants Sulu and Ortegas are using when they fly or steer the ship.
Then what does "Shiphandling /Warp powered starship " cover?
<snip>
- Ed C.
The problem that at least some of have is that we believe you are proceeding from a false assumption, that being that what Lts. Ortega and Sulu are doing is best emulated by the skill Piloting (Starship). Once you are dealing with a large enough vessel, and a ship rather than a boat is certainly large enough in that context, Piloting skill is no longer useful.

IIRC, Shiphandling first showed up as vehicle skill in Swashbucklers. Now in the Age of Sail, you still had someone who was physically at the ship's wheel, "steering" the ship, but you also had a crew that furled and unfurled the sails to help make the ship "go." When Shiphandling was being used for an oared galley you had a steersman at the tiller "steering" the ship's rudder and oarsmen making it go. Now it might be the captain or master using Shiphandling, or it might be the steersman, but Shiphandling is what "steered" the ship and made it "go" and Sailor as a species of Crewman is what everyone else was using to assist with the Shiphandling. Now the various crewmen may have Boating (Sail) or Boating (Rowing) as well as Sailor but that Boating skill has no more to do with making the ship "go" or "steer" than the man in the moon.

In the same vein, asking who's Piloting and who's Shiphandling on a starship seems just as misguided as asking who's Boating and who's Shiphandling on a naval ship. The skills aren't complementary, or used in tandem. Shiphandling completely supplants Piloting when dealing with large vessels.

Thus, Lts. Ortega and Sulu are either using Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power) directly themselves, or they are using Spacer or Crewman to implement the Bridge Officer's use of Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power. Piloting simply doesn't enter the picture.
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Old 02-13-2024, 12:33 PM   #27
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Oh C'mon ...


The Skill " Piloting (starship) " has to be used by somebody actively on a ship - if not the Helmsman - then who?

- Ed C.
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Old 02-13-2024, 12:56 PM   #28
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Oh C'mon ...


The Skill " Piloting (starship) " has to be used by somebody actively on a ship - if not the Helmsman - then who?

- Ed C.
Yeah, Sulu is using Piloting (Starship) and Kirk is using Shiphandling (Starship). That is what makes sense. Sulu only uses Shiphandling (Starship) when he's the one giving orders (because as noted, that's what Shiphandling is), not when he's the Helmsman, carrying them out.
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:07 PM   #29
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
The problem that at least some of have is that we believe you are proceeding from a false assumption, that being that what Lts. Ortega and Sulu are doing is best emulated by the skill Piloting (Starship). Once you are dealing with a large enough vessel, and a ship rather than a boat is certainly large enough in that context, Piloting skill is no longer useful.

IIRC, Shiphandling first showed up as vehicle skill in Swashbucklers. Now in the Age of Sail, you still had someone who was physically at the ship's wheel, "steering" the ship, but you also had a crew that furled and unfurled the sails to help make the ship "go." When Shiphandling was being used for an oared galley you had a steersman at the tiller "steering" the ship's rudder and oarsmen making it go. Now it might be the captain or master using Shiphandling, or it might be the steersman, but Shiphandling is what "steered" the ship and made it "go" and Sailor as a species of Crewman is what everyone else was using to assist with the Shiphandling. Now the various crewmen may have Boating (Sail) or Boating (Rowing) as well as Sailor but that Boating skill has no more to do with making the ship "go" or "steer" than the man in the moon.

In the same vein, asking who's Piloting and who's Shiphandling on a starship seems just as misguided as asking who's Boating and who's Shiphandling on a naval ship. The skills aren't complementary, or used in tandem. Shiphandling completely supplants Piloting when dealing with large vessels.

Thus, Lts. Ortega and Sulu are either using Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power) directly themselves, or they are using Spacer or Crewman to implement the Bridge Officer's use of Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power. Piloting simply doesn't enter the picture.
I disagree, here. The ships in Star Trek have sufficient automation that they can be controlled the same way as a shuttlecraft (a "boat"), although they'd probably handle sufficiently differently that at the very least a separate Familiarity, and probably a different Specialization, would be necessary. For such a ship, there should be two ways to control it. Shiphandling is indirect control - you direct a crewman (who in ST could potentially be the ship's computer, although I don't know if that would be an option in the 2260's - my somewhat-limited experience with the setting is more TNG and later) on where to steer, and they use the appropriate Crewman-type skill, such as Spacer. Piloting is direct control - you may take direction from the master of the ship (who uses Shiphandling), but you're using your own judgement on how to steer, how quickly to accelerate (although it would be the master who instructs engineering to divert power to the engines if you need more power; if you need to do that, say because the captain just got knocked out by an exploding terminal, you're probably using both Piloting and Shiphandling, likely at a penalty for multitasking), etc. You could control the ship on your own without anyone using Shiphandling at all, although things run more smoothly if you have an experienced shipmaster in command. Piloting/Helmsman specialists like Sulu would be using Piloting. At least, that's how I would run ST if inclined to run it.
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:27 PM   #30
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
I wasc asking if " PIloting (starship) " best emulates the skill that Lieutenants Sulu and Ortegas are using when they fly or steer the ship.
Then what does "Shiphandling /Warp powered starship " cover?
Shiphandling (Starship) is the skill we're talking about here. The skill does not distinguish between different types of faster-than-light travel, but it is different than Shiphandling (Spaceship), which is the slower-than-light version. If GCA's Prime Directive data file is using "Shiphandling (Warp-Powered Starship)," then this is a change from the basic rules.

Shiphandling in general is the skill of commanding a ship's crew. As it says in the Basic Set: "It involves directing the crew in the tasks necessary to control the vehicle's speed and direction. It also covers such duties as keeping the captain's log and inspecting the crew. Someone with Shiphandling skill (at better than default!) should stand watch at all times when the vessel is underway."

So Shiphandling is the job of whoever has the conn during a mission. Shiphandling is the skill rolled whenever encountering a hazard to determine if the ship sustains damage (particularly when the nature of the hazard and the encounter are kept fairly abstract).

Piloting is the skill used by the helmsman in making the ship go. Shiphandling is the skill used by the conn during normal operations. (In large, water-going ships, like the penteconter, cog, and tramp steamer of the Basic Set, Shiphandling (Ship) is the only skill for making the ship go, while Boating is used for smaller boats where the crew isn't doing the work for you. Spaceships and water ships work differently in the rules.)

If you don't have someone with Piloting available, you can use Shiphandling to command someone with Spacer to steer the ship.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
The problem that at least some of have is that we believe you are proceeding from a false assumption, that being that what Lts. Ortega and Sulu are doing is best emulated by the skill Piloting (Starship). Once you are dealing with a large enough vessel, and a ship rather than a boat is certainly large enough in that context, Piloting skill is no longer useful.
In the Star Trek universe, helmsmen can pilot ships all by themselves, without constant orders from the conn. What they're using is clearly Piloting, not Shiphandling. Shiphandling as the prime skill to make the ship go is used for large, water-going ships where the very act of steering is itself about the crew working in unison at various sub-tasks. This is not the case for Star Trek spaceships. You'll notice that in the Basic Set, the ships, including the SM+9 star freighter, use Piloting, not Shiphandling, as the skill used to make it go. All the warships in GURPS Spaceships 3 use Piloting, not Shiphandling, as the listed skill that makes them go.

Quote:
Thus, Lts. Ortega and Sulu are either using Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power) directly themselves, or they are using Spacer or Crewman to implement the Bridge Officer's use of Shiphandling/TL 12 Starship (Warp Power. Piloting simply doesn't enter the picture.
While it's possible for someone with Spacer to sit at the helm and take commands from someone with Shiphandling, that's clearly not what's happening most of the time in Star Trek. The Shiphandling/Spacer combo means that someone with Spacer couldn't successfully pilot the ship without the person with Shiphandling, and that's not how these characters behave. Particularly in the newer stuff, where the conn tells the helmsman to take over the maneuvers because the show's writers want a dramatic zoom-zoom of the ship rather than a slow Age of Sail–type engagement.

No, by both the rules of GURPS and the obvious implications of the writing of Star Trek, most people sitting at the helm of a starship have and are using at least Piloting (Starship) skill. And as much as Qoltar doesn't want to hear this answer, the rules of GURPS normally require that traveling at warp use the Piloting (Starship) skill, while traveling at impulse use the Piloting (High-Performance Spacecraft) skill, and traveling in an atmosphere use the Piloting (Aerospace) skill. As I said earlier, you can ignore this distinction if you want, and a by-the-book way to do that is to just use a wildcard Pilot! skill. A not-by-the-book way of handling it, but still reasonable, is to just ignore Piloting specializations altogether, just having a general Piloting skill that applies to everything.

PS: In GURPS Space, we're told that ships with warp drives require a new Piloting (FTL) skill. So the exact name of the skill differs depending on which source book you're taking it from.

Last edited by Stormcrow; 02-13-2024 at 01:39 PM.
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