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Old 02-13-2024, 01:31 PM   #31
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
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.
No, you come on.

Nobody has to be actively be using the skill Piloting on the ship. I just reread the entries for both Piloting and Shiphandling on Basic Set (p. 214 & p. 220 respectively). Not only does the wording for Piloting suggest that it is talking about small craft only, with comments about being in the cockpit rather than on the bridge when referring to its use for RPVs, and its more general references to takeoffs and landings as well as other hazardous situations, but in its enumerated list of specializations, there is not a single entry for starships (of any size), whereas Shiphandling does have Starship as an enumerated specialization. All of which to me suggests that Piloting is no more possible for Starships than Boating (Large Powerboat) is for an aircraft carrier.
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:36 PM   #32
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
Oy Vey!!

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.
I would say one uses Piloting and the other uses Navigation.
Its arguable that Piloting is not needed since they are not taking off or landing or doing difficult maneuvers. Explains why sometimes Docking is a separate thing or a big deal.
They have heavy automation.
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:50 PM   #33
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post
All of which to me suggests that Piloting is no more possible for Starships
See all of the GURPS Spaceships series, where every ship has some form of Piloting as the skill to operate it, not Shiphandling, regardless of its size, as well as introducing Piloting (Starship) for ships using warp drives for sublight travel.

See GURPS Space, which adds new specializations: Piloting (Hyperspace) for ships that travel faster than light in some kind of other space, and Piloting (FTL) for ships that travel faster than light while being able to interact with normal space.

These suggest to me, not that Shiphandling is the correct skill to make an FTL ship go, but that the Basic Set simply doesn't consider FTL piloting.

Backing that up, see the somewhat flippant note on page 465 of the Basic Set regarding the star freighter: "Star drives and force fields, if any, are up to the GM."
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Old 02-13-2024, 01:55 PM   #34
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
II knew I should have put a "..or whoever else has the conn" in there to prevent this sort of quibble.
It's not really a quibble, though. It goes to the original question and it's an important note that Shiphandling isn't just the preserve of Starship captains, but would be a requirement for anyone entering the command path at least.
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Old 02-13-2024, 02:05 PM   #35
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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?
There are a lot of answers in this thread, but the RAW is pretty straight forward and can help you reach an answer.

Yes, Piloting is what Ortegas and Sulu use at the helm.

Shiphandling is the skill used by whoever has the conn (be it the captain or some other officer who has the duty).

The fact that Star Trek starships have high levels of automation that allow them to "fly" without much direct control, doesn't change that. We don't see a captain just telling the computer what to do in the middle of combat - that's reserved for relatively basic things much like an autopilot might be if it took voice commands.

So I think you're entirely on the right path. Piloting to control the ship directly and Shiphandling to conn it.
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Old 02-13-2024, 03:03 PM   #36
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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The Skill " Piloting (starship) " has to be used by somebody actively on a ship - if not the Helmsman - then who?
In Star Trek, that's not always a straightforward question.

In theory, you've got one or two "Flight Control Officers" on the bridge acting as Navigator &/or Helmsman. As established, they've got trained Piloting (Starship) skill and probably an entire package of skills as part of their departmental qualifications.

You've also got the captain in the center chair with all their skills and maybe a few relief crew with Piloting (Starship) or just Spacer skill. The various other bridge officers will almost always also have Piloting (Starship) and Shiphandling because most of them will have Bridge Officer certification.

Some starships, at least in the late 24th century, can be manually flown from the captain's or first officer's seat. Per GURPS RAW and Star Trek canon, there's nothing to prevent duplicate helm controls.

By the 24th century, however, it's clear that you can use just about any control station to run any other control station aboard the same ship and possibly aboard different ships. With decreasing difficulty, you can also manage remote piloting with a 22nd (e.g., ENT: The Catwalk or 23rd century ship (TOS: numerous episodes) with proper modifications.

In that case, Computer Operations + Navigation + Piloting (Starship) allows you to fly the ship from someplace other than the flight controller's seat or bridge. You'll be flying "blind" however, unless you have access to the full suite of FTL sensors and communications which is normally tied into the bridge.

If you're inclined to trust the computers, presumably every starship includes an autopilot system with Expert Skill software. That allows someone piloting a shuttle alone to take bathroom breaks and naps. Aboard big ships, it reduces fatigue on the flight controllers since they can concentrate on tasks other than flying the ship. It presumably automates certain fussy maneuvers like docking (if parallel parking can be automated for 21st century cars, it should be possible for 22nd century or later spacecraft). If the system encounters something unusual or detects some hazard the system alerts the pilot that their attention is required.

That said, flying the ship is different from controlling it. Once you have to get teams of people to cooperate to keep the ship running, it's Shiphandling skill. Again, with massively interconnected AI computers, Computer Operations + Shiphandling might allow a single person to keep a big starship running happily. That isn't realistic until the 25th century or later, at least in most cases. You'll always need someone in the engine room and similar critical areas to do the sorts of maintenance and repairs that can't be entrusted to robots.

An expert system Shiphandling program and sufficient computing power and automated controls can automate the entire process, but despite Starfleet's repeated attempts to introduce entirely computer-controlled ships, that trick never works.

Last edited by Pursuivant; 02-13-2024 at 03:09 PM.
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Old 02-13-2024, 03:13 PM   #37
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Explains why sometimes Docking is a separate thing or a big deal.
They have heavy automation.
No, "they" don't - you're thinking of the 24th century era Shows "TNG', "DS9", VOY' and "Picard"

This game situation is set in the "SNW" and "TOS" era - when Ortegas or Sulu really had to have some Piloting skill. Heck, in one episode we see Erica Ortegas maneuvering in an asteroid field.

- Ed C.
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Old 02-13-2024, 07:36 PM   #38
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Here's where Kromm posted the intended distinctions between Spacer, Piloting, and Shiphandling.

Look at that! Qoltar was a participant in that thread.
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Old 02-13-2024, 07:39 PM   #39
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

Sulu and Mayweather (the only pre-TNG helmsmen I'm more than passingly familiar with) probably have Piloting or even Pilot! but Unnamed Crewman #3 can just use Spacer to operate the helm well enough to keep the ship on a selected heading and speed (assuming he knows the helm station's equipment, which is what the familiarity rules are for).

On the other hand, when you start dodging and weaving within a gas giant's rings or something, you might appreciate having a proper pilot on board, rather than merely someone qualified to operate the equipment.
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Old 02-13-2024, 08:18 PM   #40
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Default Re: Starship Piloting Skills, GURPS: Star Trekking

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Originally Posted by Qoltar View Post
No, "they" don't - you're thinking of the 24th century era Shows "TNG', "DS9", VOY' and "Picard"

This game situation is set in the "SNW" and "TOS" era - when Ortegas or Sulu really had to have some Piloting skill. Heck, in one episode we see Erica Ortegas maneuvering in an asteroid field.

- Ed C.
At least within your target century (i.e. The Search for Spock), the Command crew (minus Uhura) steals the Enterprise out of spacedock/mothballs) and takes it to another star system. A lot of automation seems obvious.

Even in TOS The Mark of Gideon when Kirk believes he is on the Enterprise alone he believes he is controlling the ship by himself (until it doesn't make the right subliminal noises).

In "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" the Enterprise is hijacked by the aliens manipulating the computer (and that's just the first time that such an event comes to my memory).
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