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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 11:46 am    Post subject: Pilot Reply with quote

I was wondering how common you think it is that characters are pilots in the Star Wars universe, and is there a difference between military and civilian pilots.



When I first saw ANH, it seemed the Luke Skywalker needed a justification for being able pilot a state-of-the-art military starfighter. I wondered how a farmboy from a backwater world could just jump into the seat of an X-Wing for the first time and fly it like he'd been born to it.

In the novelization of the movie, there is a justification. Luke has spent his entire life flying his Skyhopper on Tatooine, and the Skyhopper and the X-Wing are made by the same company. So, they have similar controls. Further, X-Wing was designed with simplified controls--which is one of the reasons the Alliance use the X-Wing. Because its easy to train new pilots.

And, we all know that a scene was cut out of the movie with Red Leader saying something about Luke and the gist of this.

So, this makes it seem like there is a different between a military pilot and a civilian pilot.





Then, as the prequels came and went, my mind was changed a little as it seemed that, in the Star Wars universe, piloting a craft was a lot like anyone today driving a car. Sure, a manual transmission may pose a problem for a person used to driving an automatic. And, big, 18-wheel trucks are different to drive than most cars. You can even start comparing military tanks and other vehicles.

But, for the most part, if you know how to drive one car, then you know how to drive any car.

And, that's the way I started thinking about Star Wars piloting. Young Anakin Skywalker jumped right into a Naboo starfighter, and with the help of R2 initially, flew it in battle.

That's where I first started thinking about this. Anakin was a pod-racer but no pilot. And, he picked up piloting pretty quick. Therefore, he was a speeder driver and that allowed him to be a pilot pretty easily.





Now, with the new films, I'm starting to sway back a bit to how I felt with ANH. The reason for this is Finn. He's no pilot. He needs one to escape the First Order. So, that's where Poe comes into play.

It could be that Finn is not a speeder driver, either. The First Order has had him since he was a child. Maybe he's never been trained to drive or pilot anything.

Or...maybe there is a bit of a difference in piloting civilian craft an piloting millitary vessels, just like a Cessna pilot would have a hard time piloting an F-15.




So, what are your thoughts? Can the common Joe jump into a starfighter and pilot it with no problems? That would be the swashbuckling, space opera answer.

Or, does a person need to be trained on military equipment in order to be able to use it?

Thoughts?
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The RAW answer is that they can absolutely attempt it, and how good they are at it depends on their inherent aptitude for piloting (the attribute). The difference between piloting different stuff is accounted for by the different skills for Space Transports and Starfighters and Airspeeders and so on.

It's reasonable to assume that Finn (being a stormtrooper, and apparently a novice one) never got any piloting training at all and knew that he wouldn't be capable of flying well enough to escape.

Now, any GM could decide to allow some use of (say) an Airspeeder skill to attempt Starfighter piloting (maybe at a higher Difficulty number) if they wanted to, and arguably that makes sense.

If you wanted to make certain kind of craft harder to fly than others, you could maybe assign a Difficulty number to figure out how to start up and fly the thing *at all*, and then get into the difficulty of actually flying it. Like, if TIE Fighters are meant to be hard to figure out then maybe it's a Moderate Difficulty to get one airborne at all, unless you have (depending on how the GM feels about things) either Starfighter Piloting, the TIE Piloting specialization, or TIE Piloting in your background somewhere.


e: to add - at minimum I personally would give my players plenty of advance warning if there were going to be tasks that they couldn't attempt without having the skill.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another question would be. According to GG1, Luke Skywalker, a 19 year old farmboy from Tatooine, who has never been off-world, has Starship Gunnery 6D, Starship Piloting 7D, and Starship Shields 5D.

Quote:
You bet I could! I'm not such a bad pilot myself!
-- Luke Skywalker


Where did he get these skills?

With Second Edition, should Starfighter Piloting and Space Transports be two different skills?
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
Another question would be. According to GG1, Luke Skywalker, a 19 year old farmboy from Tatooine, who has never been off-world, has Starship Gunnery 6D, Starship Piloting 7D, and Starship Shields 5D.

Quote:
You bet I could! I'm not such a bad pilot myself!
-- Luke Skywalker


Where did he get these skills?

With Second Edition, should Starfighter Piloting and Space Transports be two different skills?


Sim-training? Because of the story, take your pick
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah basically Luke's skills are 'because he's the protagonist'.

I guess you could argue he's got natural gifts for space-fightin' things or that it reflects the Force being strong with him, but really it's Because Main Character.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giant Tourtiere wrote:
Yeah basically Luke's skills are 'because he's the protagonist'.


This is, of course, the real reason. But, is there no in-universe reason also?

Above, someone mentioned simulators. And, remember, Luke wanted to go to the Academy. Maybe there's a testing lab--sim lab--in Anchorhead? Where local boys go, practice, with their results submitted along with their applications?

That would be one way the game rules could handle it, without having to change the game rules.
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since Luke is whining about transmitting his application to the Academy in ANH, some kind of simulator training is plausible IMO.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to the original question: How likely is it that a normal, Joe Bloe citizen of Palpaine's Empire, can fly an X-Wing, no problems?

Is it likely that most people can do it?

Or, are pilots a special breed?
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's obviously less of a rules question and more of a game setting question... my gut feeling would be that the proportion of people who can fly a starship is roughly the same as the proportion that can fly a plane in today's society. It's a common form of travel, but most people don't do it.

How much Joe Blow could handle a ship if you threw them in the deep end a la the classic 'we're gonna talk you through the landing' airliner disaster scenario is another question. RAW they can sure try. Ignoring the rules, I don't imagine it going very well, but that's (again) purely a gut feeling. Probably depends what they're trying to do, too. Changing course while flying in space is probably way, way easier than trying to land on a planet, for example.

Now, can someone who can fly a YT-1300 fly an X-Wing? Again my gut would be yes, albeit with a learning curve.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Giant Tourtiere wrote:
Now, can someone who can fly a YT-1300 fly an X-Wing? Again my gut would be yes, albeit with a learning curve.


I've wondered at the decision to break up the Starship Piloting skill from First Edition into Space Transports and Starfighter Piloting in Second Edition.

I would think that skills are pretty inter-related. So much so that we don't need a second skill, and if we do have a second skill, then there should be some overlap. Say, if you've got Space Transports, then you're considered to have Starfighter Piloting at 1D less. Or something like that.
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Pilot Reply with quote

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
I was wondering how common you think it is that characters are pilots in the Star Wars universe, and is there a difference between military and civilian pilots.


I would say a lot of that depends where you were raised and how. Look at Corran Horn, Corellian sector, worked for the cops. So he'd most likely know how to operate a # of vehicles.
Compare that to say someone raised on Ithor, since theres very little traffic there BUT at the spaceports, its easy imo, to see that person not knowing about piloting dick..
Vs a smuggler raised on ships, its easy to see him knowing how to operate damn near every ship out there. Though his skill on ground/hover or repulsor vehicles are more than likely going to be limited..

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
So, this makes it seem like there is a different between a military pilot and a civilian pilot.


There imo is. Just like IRL, where someone could grow up on the farm, fling their crop duster, but have issues getting behind the stick of an F15..

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:

But, for the most part, if you know how to drive one car, then you know how to drive any car.


True. Many people who train on small compact cars have some difficulty with big rigs or buses, but in general they can drive most cars. BUT asking them to operate a hovercraft, or a motorcycle is going to be harder..

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:

That's where I first started thinking about this. Anakin was a pod-racer but no pilot. And, he picked up piloting pretty quick. Therefore, he was a speeder driver and that allowed him to be a pilot pretty easily.


IMO he was good at what was needed for the script... no more, no less.

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:

Or, does a person need to be trained on military equipment in order to be able to use it?

Thoughts?


All that is generally taken care of by what template you have, and what skills you have listed under each attribute..

Giant Tourtiere wrote:
If you wanted to make certain kind of craft harder to fly than others, you could maybe assign a Difficulty number to figure out how to start up and fly the thing *at all*, and then get into the difficulty of actually flying it. Like, if TIE Fighters are meant to be hard to figure out then maybe it's a Moderate Difficulty to get one airborne at all, unless you have (depending on how the GM feels about things) either Starfighter Piloting, the TIE Piloting specialization, or TIE Piloting in your background somewhere.


Giant, that' something me and Crm have bartered over for a while. Should some craft Generally be more difficult to operate than others? IE should someone who has 2d Mechanical get the full 4d Maneuvering dice from an A-wing if its his first damn time behind the stick of that craft?

Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
With Second Edition, should Starfighter Piloting and Space Transports be two different skills?


They already are..
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Giant Tourtiere
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 8:18 am    Post subject: Re: Pilot Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:

Giant, that' something me and Crm have bartered over for a while. Should some craft Generally be more difficult to operate than others? IE should someone who has 2d Mechanical get the full 4d Maneuvering dice from an A-wing if its his first d*mn time behind the stick of that craft?
.


It's an interesting question, especially since 'maneuverable' doesn't necessarily mean 'easy to fly'. It's a far different context but apparently Sopwith Camels were crazy hard to learn to fly without dying, but once you did they were tremendous for dogfighting.

Especially if you were running a game with lots of piloting I think the idea of difficulties for different ships would be reasonable and add a lot of flavour. Not getting the Manuever dice would be a nice compromise between 'you can't fly it at all' and full operations, too.
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Pilot Reply with quote

Giant Tourtiere wrote:

It's an interesting question, especially since 'maneuverable' doesn't necessarily mean 'easy to fly'. It's a far different context but apparently Sopwith Camels were crazy hard to learn to fly without dying, but once you did they were tremendous for dogfighting.

Especially if you were running a game with lots of piloting I think the idea of difficulties for different ships would be reasonable and add a lot of flavour. Not getting the Manuever dice would be a nice compromise between 'you can't fly it at all' and full operations, too.


Talking it over with some of the SW players when i was at a convention last year, one made the suggestion that you can 'add' as many dice as maneuverability to your skill roll, AS the skill is higher than your attribute.

So if you were just using your base Mechanical (say 4d for the cocky pilot template), you couldn't add ANY maneuverability in. BUT if the skill had say been increased to 6d (2d above the attrib) you can add UP to 2d of the maneuverability..
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 5:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Pilot Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
Wajeb Deb Kaadeb wrote:
With Second Edition, should Starfighter Piloting and Space Transports be two different skills?


They already are..


Yes...but should they be?
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Pilot Reply with quote

Giant Tourtiere wrote:


It's an interesting question, especially since 'maneuverable' doesn't necessarily mean 'easy to fly'. It's a far different context but apparently Sopwith Camels were crazy hard to learn to fly without dying, but once you did they were tremendous for dogfighting.

Especially if you were running a game with lots of piloting I think the idea of difficulties for different ships would be reasonable and add a lot of flavour. Not getting the Manuever dice would be a nice compromise between 'you can't fly it at all' and full operations, too.


I think this is one of those areas where the minutia of the realities of what the universe would be like (if we really can speak of realities in a universe where a little rubber puppet was moving a spaceship with his mind) doesn't line up well with a roleplaying system that favors the cinematic, fly by the seat of your pants pace that we see in the movies. It would be easy to build a system where you have to perform checks to see if you are even capable of making sense of the controls, and then acclimate to them to get the most out of the fighter's capability. But instead, the game designers skipped ahead of the compentence and learning curve of the "realities" to find a system where a quick and easy dogfighting mechanic can make sense.

That is to say, the D6 system by nature oversimplifies certain dynamics. I know that there is a lot of virtual ink spilled in order to fix these problems. But I'm not convinced that they are problems per se. No, it's not particularly realistic to expect that one newbie pilot can jump into the cockpit of a z-95 and another equally newbie pilot can jump into an A-Wing, and the A-Wing pilot will have an easier time flying. But I'll take that trade off for quick and easy play style the D6 system trades off for the lack of realism. Though, of course, your mileage may vary.
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