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Copilots, Crew, Coordination and Skeleton Crew
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Whill
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 08, 2019 7:10 pm    Post subject: Copilots, Crew, Coordination and Skeleton Crew Reply with quote

On p.246-247, an author of R&E wrote:
Crew: The first listing is the total crew for the ship under normal conditions.(A listing for "can combine" is the number of people who can combine to perform an action. Each ship has one prime person responsible for keeping control, running sensors, calculating hyperspace jumps and the like. On smaller ships, one person may be responsible for all of these duties, while on larger ships, one person may be in charge of each of these functions. While there might be hundreds of support crew manning the machinery, whether the action succeeds comes down to one character's skill roll — hence the crew skill listing. The "can combine" is the number of extra crew members who may be able to assist, such as when Chewbacca acts as co-pilot for the Millennium Falcon. Use the "Combined Action" rules in the chapter on "The Rules.")

The second number is the number of gunners; gunners are listed in addition to the normal crew complement.

The final number is the "skeleton crew" listing: the first part of the listing is the absolute minimum number of crewmembers necessary to fly the ship, while the number behind the slash is the increase in difficulty for any actions with a skeleton crew. For example, if a listing is "skeleton: 130/+10," that indicates that there must be a minimum of 130 crew aboard to operate the vessel, and all crew must add+10 to the difficulty number for all maneuvering, movement and shielding actions. This modifier does not apply to gunnery difficulties.

Below are some example crew entries from R&E.

Quote:
X-wing
Crew: 1 and astromech droid (can coordinate)

Stock YT-1300 Transport
Crew: 1 (1 can coordinate), gunner: 1

Millennium Falcon
Crew: 2, gunners: 2, skeleton: 1/+5

I thought about this a bit when I was first statting out the MC-13v2 many months ago, and it came up again recently when garhkal questioned my choice of Crew stat, which in effect has the the same stat as the stock YT-1300. I know that the modified MC-13v2 I created for my campaign will definitely have the Crew of 1 with coordination possible because there sometimes won't be any copilot and I do not want the pilot penalized. I can update the stock version to require a copilot as garhkal suggested and think of the difference in the modified ship an automation upgrade. I have hardly ever used these rules because PCs in my game tend to divide up ship duties and without coordination, and there are hardly ever any ships operated with only skeleton crews (even NPC ships).

So on to my official rules questions...

Let's say 2 characters pilot a ship with Crew 2, and the pilot has the higher of the two space transport skills. What is the copilot doing game mechanically when assisting the pilot? Can the copilot do nothing but assist with whatever the pilot is doing? Or does that assistance just count as an action for MAP purposes, and the copilot can also be doing something else in the same round?

If the ship has auxiliary stations that allow optional additional crew members to perform some of the pilot/copilot actions, these station are not a part of the Crew stat. If the pilot is doing movement actions and the additional crew member is doing shields, is the copilot assisting with both actions because of the Crew 2 stat? Or does each crew member doing something need their own assistant to fulfill the Crew stat (and if not then suffer the skeleton penalty)?
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 09, 2019 4:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Let's say 2 characters pilot a ship with Crew 2, and the pilot has the higher of the two space transport skills. What is the copilot doing game mechanically when assisting the pilot? Can the copilot do nothing but assist with whatever the pilot is doing? Or does that assistance just count as an action for MAP purposes, and the copilot can also be doing something else in the same round?


ITS imo like a pilot and co-pilot in a 747. One's doing the maneuvering, the other (co-pilot) is doing the flaps, power up/down, and the like.

Quote:
If the ship has auxiliary stations that allow optional additional crew members to perform some of the pilot/copilot actions, these station are not a part of the Crew stat. If the pilot is doing movement actions and the additional crew member is doing shields, is the copilot assisting with both actions because of the Crew 2 stat? Or does each crew member doing something need their own assistant to fulfill the Crew stat (and if not then suffer the skeleton penalty)?


No. Shields/sensors, to ME, never need 'copilots. They are singular person tasks for Freighter/fighter size ships.. On cap ships though, that's a different subject.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

garhkal wrote:
On cap ships though, that's a different subject.

Yeah, I'm not as concerned about capital ships. There are always NPC bodies to crew NPC ships. Even PCs running most small capital ships will still need NPCs to fill out the crew. NPC crew aren't trying to do anything else at the same time.

garhkal wrote:
Shields/sensors, to ME, never need 'copilots. They are singular person tasks for Freighter/fighter size ships.

I appreciate hearing how experienced GMs run it, but it seems that according to RAW, the crew (full or skeleton with penalty) is needed for "all maneuvering, movement and shielding actions." So that must mean movement/terrain rolls, dodging attacks, and shields. RAW agrees with you on sensors.

garhkal wrote:
ITS imo like a pilot and co-pilot in a 747. One's doing the maneuvering, the other (co-pilot) is doing the flaps, power up/down, and the like.

Right. So this issue isn't totally explicit in RAW, but "all maneuvering, movement and shielding actions" require the crew stat # to do (skeleton with penalty). Of course the skill roll is made for one primary character and the rest of the crew are just assisting in a non-roll way. In most cases the non-rolling crew would not be doing anything else so my question wouldn't matter.

It seems that the intention of RAW is that for each maneuvering, movement and shielding action that the primary character does, the non-primary crew would be MAPped accordingly for the purposes of any other actions that they do from their station. It would seem that as long as there are a minimum # of crew assisting with each of those actions, it could be but wouldn't necessarily have to be the same crew members for each action.

In most ships in most campaigns, this probably wouldn't matter because there are usually only a pilot and copilot stations (and maybe a separate gunner) for a Crew 2 ship. So all piloting and shield rolls are going to be between those two with the other one assisting. But even then, one could be astrogating or shooting which is an individual action even if they are also assisting with piloting and/or shield rolls.

In my game, I like PCs ships to be modified to have stations for everyone to do something. But I always make those modified ships Crew 1 (if the stock ship wasn't) so no one is only assisting for crew minimum (but they can often coordinate with one other character).
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garhkal
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 4:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

garhkal wrote:
ITS imo like a pilot and co-pilot in a 747. One's doing the maneuvering, the other (co-pilot) is doing the flaps, power up/down, and the like.

Right. So this issue isn't totally explicit in RAW, but "all maneuvering, movement and shielding actions" require the crew stat # to do (skeleton with penalty). Of course the skill roll is made for one primary character and the rest of the crew are just assisting in a non-roll way. In most cases the non-rolling crew would not be doing anything else so my question wouldn't matter.


To my reading, pilot does the maneuvering/dodging, with the co-pilots assistance, the Co-pilot does shields... OR if the ship allows, that's its own station, so someone else mans that.

Whill wrote:

In my game, I like PCs ships to be modified to have stations for everyone to do something. But I always make those modified ships Crew 1 (if the stock ship wasn't) so no one is only assisting for crew minimum (but they can often coordinate with one other character).


Same here. Hell i've had one player, invest almost 40k into his freighter, modifying the cockpit to have 5 separate stations. pilot, copilot, navigator (astrogation), sensors, and shields.. BUT the pilot/copilot can do all of them if needed.. AND THE COCKPIT Seals up, and jettesons as an escape pod if needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, did anyone ever see Dai-Guard?

It's a giant robot anime, but one feature of the titular giant robot was that it required three people to operate... A pilot, a navigator, and a systems manager. Without all of those, the thing will literally shake itself apart or overtax its systems and shut down.

That's kind of how I view crew ratings... when you have a rating above 1, there are certain jobs that MUST be done, pretty much constantly, or your ship just won't function.

Quote:

Let's say 2 characters pilot a ship with Crew 2, and the pilot has the higher of the two space transport skills. What is the copilot doing game mechanically when assisting the pilot? Can the copilot do nothing but assist with whatever the pilot is doing? Or does that assistance just count as an action for MAP purposes, and the copilot can also be doing something else in the same round?

If the ship has auxiliary stations that allow optional additional crew members to perform some of the pilot/copilot actions, these station are not a part of the Crew stat. If the pilot is doing movement actions and the additional crew member is doing shields, is the copilot assisting with both actions because of the Crew 2 stat? Or does each crew member doing something need their own assistant to fulfill the Crew stat (and if not then suffer the skeleton penalty)?


Now, from my POV, in the situation stated, it does not require the co-pilot to make piloting checks... you have 1 pilot and they're the one doing those. However, the co-pilot has to be present to monitor certain systems and fiddle with power distribution and so on. IMO, this leaves the co-pilot free to do other things... he might run shields, or sensors, or weapons, or combine actions with the pilot to fly better... but they need to be present and engaged, not just a hunk of meat in a seat.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 11, 2019 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right.

garhkal wrote:
Same here. Hell i've had one player, invest almost 40k into his freighter, modifying the cockpit to have 5 separate stations. pilot, copilot, navigator (astrogation), sensors, and shields.. BUT the pilot/copilot can do all of them if needed..

Nice.

Quote:
AND THE COCKPIT Seals up, and jettesons as an escape pod if needed.

That's a very practical ship design. But what about the gunner? Is their station also an escape pod?

garhkal wrote:
To my reading, pilot does the maneuvering/dodging, with the co-pilots assistance, the Co-pilot does shields... OR if the ship allows, that's its own station, so someone else mans that.

Well we are talking about a Crew 2 ship (skeleton crew 1 has penalty). Per RAW it seems that all piloting and shields actions would require two people just for the normal difficulty. One roll, but they are 2-character single actions.

The RAW I found and shared does not break it down to pilot-piloting rolls and copilot-shield rolls. The same rules apply to Crew 2 ships, or bigger ships with higher Crew #s. Now with Crew 2 (pilot/copilot) ships, which character's skill gets rolled for piloting and shield rolls can be whichever is higher. I think it is very sensible in general to have the pilot focus on the piloting skill and the copilot to focus on shields, but I do not see any restriction in RAW for that. It seems that by RAW, for Crew 2 (pilot/copilot) ships, you could have the pilot roll for both piloting and shields rolls, with the copilot being just an assistant to fulfill the Crew stat #.

For a Crew 1 freighter, all piloting and shield rolls are single character actions, and the pilot and copilot could possibly even coordinate to get a bonuses to piloting and shield rolls. With the right additional station set-up, you could even have other characters coordinate with the pilot or copilot.
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 12, 2019 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:

Quote:
AND THE COCKPIT Seals up, and jettesons as an escape pod if needed.

That's a very practical ship design. But what about the gunner? Is their station also an escape pod?


He has to run down the gunwell, and into the cockpit, OR to the other escape pod...

Whill wrote:

Well we are talking about a Crew 2 ship (skeleton crew 1 has penalty). Per RAW it seems that all piloting and shields actions would require two people just for the normal difficulty. One roll, but they are 2-character single actions.

The RAW I found and shared does not break it down to pilot-piloting rolls and copilot-shield rolls. The same rules apply to Crew 2 ships, or bigger ships with higher Crew #s. Now with Crew 2 (pilot/copilot) ships, which character's skill gets rolled for piloting and shield rolls can be whichever is higher. I think it is very sensible in general to have the pilot focus on the piloting skill and the copilot to focus on shields, but I do not see any restriction in RAW for that. It seems that by RAW, for Crew 2 (pilot/copilot) ships, you could have the pilot roll for both piloting and shields rolls, with the copilot being just an assistant to fulfill the Crew stat #.


True, but either way, both would be taking MAPS. If the pilot does it, he's mapped for doing both the maneuvering and shields. if the Co-pilot does it he's mapped cause he's assisting the pilot..
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2022 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup.

In another thread this past year, crew rules came up that made me consider my interpretation of RAW discussed here again, so I brought up a tab of this thread with the intention of getting back to it sometime. When I finally got back to it this week, I had forgotten what the original thread was or what was even discussed. Since I didn't save that other thread (which would have been smart) I had to spend time searching for it last night and this morning. In the below thread which I found today, I referenced the crew rules and said, "This really reopens my original question of what do the non-roll assisters do. I'll have to think about this." So I'm guessing this was it. I've had this thread up in a tab since December of last year! D'oh!

Whill wrote:
Dr. Bidlo wrote:
Based on the RAW, it says the pilot can take no other actions when piloting at all-out. For a capital ship, the pilot extends to all the crew piloting the ship, but not the gunners or other crew.

I think I see what you are referring to...

The Author of R&E wrote:
Characters making "all-out" movement may not do anything else in the round, including dodge or parry!

In addition to that, you are referencing the Crew rules on R&E p.246-247...

I had originally come to the conclusion that "Crew" was involved in all piloting and shield rolls, but in rereading the clunkily written crew rules I realize that it never was explicit and I had just came to that conclusion based on the skeleton crew rules. All it actually says is if you don't have the full crew but at least have the skeleton crew, then piloting and shield rolls are the ones that are penalized.

However, Bidlo, I can see why a GM would come to your conclusion. That's a possible intention of RAW. For a big capital ship with a lot of crew, it wouldn't seem to be a logical ship design for the same crew to handle piloting and shields though. IMO there should be separate crews dedicated to piloting actions and shield actions. ISD 1s have a crew of 36,810 according to R&E. IMO, that ship going all-out shouldn't prevent angling the shields.
...
Honestly, I don't think I have ever had a capital ship do all-out speed so this hasn't come up for me. This really reopens my original question of what do the non-roll assisters do. I'll have to think about this.

However RAW is more clear for Crew 1 ships, when there are single separate characters doing piloting and shield actions. A pilot going all-out would prevent that character only from doing any other actions, but a separate shield operator could still move shields around because they aren't involved in the piloting action.

But now I am still wondering what I was doubting. I find that I am still at the place of non-rolling crew members being required for all piloting and shield angling rolls, and for each action they assist with in a round they are MAPped, but of course the MAPs only have an effect on other things they might be doing in the same round that require them to roll, which wouldn't really come into play on a capital ship full of NPC crew members. It might come into play on a freighter with a Crew stat above 1 where copilots are 'non-roll assisting' the pilot/shield operator with piloting and/or shield rolls, plus maybe doing something else like astrogation, sensors, or firing a weapon. In a Crew 2 ship you could have the pilot making the piloting roll and the copilot making the shield angling roll, so each have a -1D MAP to their respective rolls due to the non-roll assistance they are required to provide each other.

As I also pointed out in that thread, this is an extrapolation of RAW which doesn't quite come out and say this. The MAPs to bodies filling out the Crew stat's requirement in a non-roll assisting way for piloting and shield rolls was inferred from the fact that in RAW, those are the rolls that are penalized if you only meet the skeleton crew stat requirement. Does anyone else have any insights to this?

Of course, each GM should run it in their games however they see fit. I find that I have no strong objections to RAW's premise that the crew stat is concerned with piloting and shield angling actions, so I don't feel the need to alter that. The issue that this thread was concerned with is interpreting RAW and extrapolating from it for situations it doesn't mention, like how are non-roll assistants effected if they happen to do something else in the same round. This could definitely be relevant to PC ships with a handful of potential crew members.


Thinking about this also lead to a new thought that automation modifications to lower the crew stat number would almost certainly involve piloting droid brains being installed into the ship to take the place of a non-rolling crew members. I would think droid brains might even be needed just to reduce the skeleton crew penalty if not the number. Droid brains installing into ships can be a lot of fun as they can come with quirks.
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