Bad Skills

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
September 19, 2013 - 1:32pm
Like the Zeb's timeline, the more I look at the Knight Hawks rules the more I see I can never like them.

Let's take a look at two of the skill charts:

Pilot’s Level

Ship Types Qualified to Pilot

1 System Ships of all sizes

2 Starships of hull size 3 or smaller

3 Starships of hull size 6 or smaller

4 Starships of hull size 12 or smaller

5 Starships of hull size 15 or smaller

6 All starships

Engineer’s Level

Ship Qualified to Design

1 Shuttles of all types

2 System ships of all types

3 Starships of hull size 3 or smaller

4 Starships of hull size 6 or smaller

5 Starships of hull size 15 or smaller

6 Starships of all sizes


They seem innocent enough and a simple way to measure relative skill levels of PCs until you try and apply them to the rules.

Pilot first. There is no need to become a level 6 pilot. At level 5 you can pilot basically any ship the PCs are likely to encounter. Level 16 and above hulls are just not common enough that the PCs will encounter them and the extra piloting skill roll bonus isn't worth the EP to spend on it.

Next exactly what sense does putting the hulls in size order make? The first 2 skill levels imply a pilot can land a ship in on a planet. But how exactly is a system ship not smaller than a Hull size 3 ship. We are given no rules on system ships we have no idea what they can be. Besides the difference in system ships and star ships is jumping between stars which is an astrogation skill not a pilot skill. Maybe hull sizes make sense but levels 4-6 are just bigger volume ships that fly in EMPTY space. Really how much harder is it to dock a hull size 12 ship than a hull size 13 ship in space? Maybe but I think maybe not.

Engineers can be summed up more simply. The chart only goes by hull size ONLY. While the chart for ships uses hull size, engine size, and type of drive; chemical, ion and atomic. But supposedly you go up one skill level and learn about three entirely different types of engines while an astrogator learns only how to get more mass through the jump. Oh and the engine size chart and hull size charts do not line up either.

In the end if you are thinking of redoing the Knight Hawks then starting with the skills would be best.

Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?
Comments:

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 19, 2013 - 1:46pm
frankly piloting any size system ship in three dimensions with a vector is probably the same as piloting a star ship in the same space bet the controll are remarkably similar.

I believe most of us ignore this stuff at this point, only reverting to classic AD/KHs skills for one off convention games.

I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Jaxon's picture
Jaxon
September 19, 2013 - 2:57pm
Really how much harder is it to dock a hull size 12 ship than a hull size 13 ship in space? Maybe but I think maybe not.

Really, how much harder is it to drive a standard vs an automatic? I mean a car is a car. Sure, I can drive a semi-truck!

I think it is a little more than an astrogation issue. The rulebooks just do not discuss it, Ratt.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
September 19, 2013 - 4:39pm
I used to drive a standard 44 passenger bus and it wasn't much more difficult than an automatic bus. But the thinking here is you are in space and the only difference in your skill level in how big your ship is?

Thinking actual skills would be a better break down. Landing a spaceship is apparently the first thing everyone learns in a system ship but while shuttles are on the engineering table they are not on the piloting table. Docking and undocking at a station and with other ships, manuevering by thrusters and by main engines are different, basic maintenance of workstation, manuevering in open space, in space lanes, in hazard fields and more.

Sure you can drive a semi-truck but can you drive a tanker? Qualified on hazmat loads? Have a chauffer lisence? Can you tow a trailer and a second trailer? Handle an off road vehicle like ones used to haul tree trunks out of the woods? Handle an emergency vehicle ambulance or fire truck? Handle a flatbed, softside or container vehicle? Drive an 8 wheeled armored vehicle?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Malcadon's picture
Malcadon
September 20, 2013 - 2:28am
"In the end if you are thinking of redoing the Knight Hawks then starting with the skills would be best."

Hell, I would redo Star Frontiers from the ground-up! Better yet, make something better with a fan-made version of Alien Worlds.

jedion357's picture
jedion357
September 20, 2013 - 3:09am
I'm unsure whare rattraveller is headed, in a direction like Zebs guide (with the skills that is) and SF2000 fan rule (Which is Zebs to the extreme IMO) of toward "A Skilled Frontier"? If its a Zebs & SF2000 direction I would consider that a poor direction. New player dont want to wade through a Chinese menu of skills and pick between "Bypass Computer Security" and "Defeat Computer Security".
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 20, 2013 - 5:32pm
Quote:
There is no need to become a level 6 pilot. At level 5 you can pilot basically any ship the PCs are likely to encounter. Level 16 and above hulls are just not common enough that the PCs will encounter them and the extra piloting skill roll bonus isn't worth the EP to spend on it.

Strictly from the licensing table you posted, yes it doesn't make much sense to spend the XP on lvl-6 pilot.

But when you take into consideration that the lvl-6 pilot gets another +5% bonus to the forward firing guns, another +3% to the evasion roll, and another +10% at increasing the maneuver rating...well it makes perfect sense to increase your skill.

Remember, a level 6 pilot isn't restricted to dreadnaught duty. Few things are more deadly than a level 6 fighter pilot or assault scout pilot.
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
September 20, 2013 - 6:23pm
That's right you get all that big 5% and 3% and 10% bonuses for the low low cost of 50 EP yes only 50 EP. I mean you could waste those 50 EP getting an entire level 1-6 military or technical not primary skill (only up to level 5 biosocial) or any two primary skills (again only level 5 in biosocial).

Which again brings up the point, how does learning to steer an 18 wheel semi make you a better NASCAR driver?
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
September 20, 2013 - 11:39pm
You probably could get a 1-to-6 progression in PSA skills, but you can't get it in one day. Even if you could, it does nothing for the starship operation...unless you score enough subskills to start a new starship skill.

Pit a lv-6 assault scout pilot against a lv-3 frigate pilot and see what happens. Then switch ships just to confirm the result wasn't a mistake, the lv-6 pilot will win again.

Quote:
Which again brings up the point, how does learning to steer an 18 wheel semi make you a better NASCAR driver?

For starters, with the 18 wheeler you'll learn how to negotiate a right turn. Laughing
I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide...nor do I have any qualms stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

TerlObar's picture
TerlObar
September 21, 2013 - 7:21am
I'm going to side with rattraveller on this one.  His gripe is legitimate.  But you'll notice he's only griping on one small subskill of the the skills in question and he has a point, it is a little hokey.  His main gripe is that it's an unrealistic progression and he's right.  He doesn't really seem to have an issue with the subskills that provide a normal "as your skill increases, your chance to succeed goes up" benefit.  He's railing on the two "certification" subskills. 

What it really should have been for those was a base chance + bonus per level with modifiers for the type/size of ship.  Have a pilot skill, you can fly any ship in space: 100% (that's what the skill is about) +10% per skill level.  Want to dock at that station?  No problem, fairly standard procedure.  Wait, you want to dock a HS 20 super freighter that fills half the space and moves like a pig, -40% (or higher, I'm thinking along the lines of minus 2-4% per hull size).  You want to land on a planet?  -5% per hull size (or maybe even -10%).  And do it with ion drives? -50%  The basic aspect of flying ships should be at 100% + a bonus per skill level with negative modifiers based on the size (and possibly engine type) of the ship in question.  Thus your level 1 pilot could fly that super freighter in a pinch but he's probably not going to dock it at any station and he's not going to be able to crash land it on a planet in any survivable fashion.

The engineering one should have gone something like this:  Designing starships: 100% + 10% per level -5% per hull size.  And if you wanted to make the ion and atomic drive ships a little more complicated throw in a -5% if using ion drives and -10% if using atomic drives.  Failure means that there is some small or moderate issue with the ship design.  e.g. whoever designed the East Indiaman freighter failed their roll since the body of the ship blocks some of the weapon arc and there is a direction you can approach unopposed.
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rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
September 21, 2013 - 10:01am
Now you're talking.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?