Operating Machinery

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 1, 2014 - 9:07am
The Operating Machinery subskill of the Technician skill implies that only technicians can drive vehicles! What's the deal?

My best guess: the subskill is about driving a vehicle that doesn't belong to you WITHOUT TRAINING. If you take driving classes to learn to drive your aircar, you don't need to be a technician to drive it. If you've never sat behind the wheel of an aircar before, you have to be a technician to have a chance to drive it.

This, of course, leads to the problem of players insisting that NATURALLY they've trained in piloting a jetcopter...
Comments:

Abub's picture
Abub
December 1, 2014 - 9:44am
yeah I am assuming that subskill is about figuring out machinery that you are not trained on... like alien machinery or just completed machinery.
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Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
December 1, 2014 - 12:40pm
Well modern day American standards have already proven that you don't need an ounce of skill to drive.

Unfortunatley this has also proven that ideal doesn't work out very well.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 1, 2014 - 4:21pm
You forget that weapons are machines too so if only techs can use machines then only techs can use any weapon more complicated than a club.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

Abub's picture
Abub
December 1, 2014 - 5:44pm
Club confusing... I beat things with hands.
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jedion357's picture
jedion357
December 1, 2014 - 6:13pm
"A Skilled Frontier" (SFman #9) is a better system (not perfect but better).
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

Gullwind's picture
Gullwind
December 1, 2014 - 6:42pm
I came up with a Generic Skill, which has Operate Machinery, Operate Computer, Display Information, First Aid and a couple other basic skills that the average citizen in the Frontier should have. It can't be increased above level 1, but it at least allows a character to drive without needing to be a Technician, or to call up the map of the mall without being able to re-write the computer system as well.
"Rome didn't build an empire by having meetings. They did it by killing those who stood in their way."

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
December 1, 2014 - 7:15pm
You don't need a Generic skill. If you're supposed to know how to use a particular piece of technology, you get trained in its use and you can use it.

Computers, for instance, may be used by people without Computer skill. They can't Write Programs or Defeat Security, but they can use programs for what they were written for. Slingshot Simmons (p. 46) doesn't need Computer skill to use the Analysis, Commerce, and Information Storage programs on his business computer, but he DOES have to take some time to learn how to use them. Think of it as having to learn a whole new word processor on every new computer you buy.

rattraveller's picture
rattraveller
December 1, 2014 - 8:05pm

Think of it like the modern factory. People can not just be brought in off the street and put in an assembly line job with minimal training. It generally takes a one year apprenticeship to learn the machines in just one section of the factory before you can be considered qualified.

 

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

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
June 17, 2016 - 6:20am
I've been thinking about this, and I believe I have the answer. You do not need technician skill to operate machinery.

Consider the character Geeko-sur-Mang from "Crash on Volturnus." He/she (he from now on) is a "professor of geology" and a "recognized authority in geoophysics, specialist in planetary crust formation." His skills are computer level 4 and... that's it. He is not an environmentalist, even though environmentalists are trained in geology.

In some games there is a long list of skills, and if you don't have a skill you can't do that thing. To perform the skill you must be rated in that skill, even if that rating is "unskilled." In SF the skills do not preclude the ability to do perform a task without that skill. A skill is just a convenient package of things you can do, and it's never true that if you don't have the skill you can't do one of those things. The skills are not exclusive.

So while a technician has the ability to "operate machinery," which includes driving ordinary vehicles, that doesn't preclude anybody with the appropriate background from knowing how to drive skimmers or ground cars. If it makes sense that your character can drive a skimmer, he can drive a skimmer. It's all handled by the referee in the best Free Kriegsspiel tradition.

A mathematician doesn't need to be a computer specialist to use the analysis program in his computer. An astronomer doesn't need to be an environmentalist to plot planetary orbits. But PCs aren't assumed to be mathematicians or astronomers so there are no skills covering the things these kinds of people want to do. Even PCs can do things not granted by a skill, like driving a skimmer.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
June 17, 2016 - 6:35am
I dither back and forth as to how far to take it, but I like the idea of "civilian/amaeteur" level of skill vs "professional" level of skill. I assume that the characters have any skill they need to live their lives at the former level (driving, computer operation, etc). Checks are made as per the default rule. ie: 1/2 Attribute. Anything above that (where you get pluses towards success) represents advanced or "professional" level ability/training.

Example: driving/piloting. Under normal, non-critical conditions (no roll needed), any character may pilot a vehicle from A to B. If a critical condition arises (requires skill roll), they either roll a naked 1/2 Att check (with appropriate penalties) or they can't do it at all.  That's where the skill levels come in. (think normal driver/pilot vs one trained in Persuit and Evasion driving or Aerial Combat Maneuvers).

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
June 17, 2016 - 7:21am
Where does the ½ ability come from, except attack rolls? Normal ability checks are against the full ability score.

A geologist trying to answer a question about geology would roll against Logic. For a question the average geologist would find to be of average difficulty (roll against unmodified Logic), Geeko-sur-Mang would find easy to answer—with perhaps a +30 bonus to Logic. An environmentalist, with a little training in geology, might find this a difficult question, perhaps a ?10 penalty to Logic.

Any time a character wants to perform an action requiring training of some sort, the referee decides which ability handles that action and how difficult the action is, including factors such as the background training of the character.

Remember, they're called abilities, not attributes, for a reason!

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
June 17, 2016 - 7:29am
I use the "Skilled Frontier" rules, where default is  1/2 attribute, rather than full attribute.  otherwise unskilled characters could default with a higher chance of success than skilled ones.

Stormcrow's picture
Stormcrow
June 17, 2016 - 8:24am
Ah, interesting approach.

ChrisDonovan's picture
ChrisDonovan
June 17, 2016 - 9:00am
http://starfrontiers.us/node/6423

Shadow Shack's picture
Shadow Shack
June 17, 2016 - 9:56pm
My revised skill system that I belted out long ago (think of it as a pre-cursor to A Skilled Frontier as they share a similar DNA chain) has a Vehicle Operation skill as both a Military and Technical PSA skill. The Military versions actually cost more than the Technical & BIoSocial equivilents compared to other PSA expenditures, but the XP cost is still less than the double-nonPSA expenditure rates. I also have a tiered operation table listing what sort of vehicles can be operated depending on skill level.


And the coinciding KH Skills to boot.
No, I'm not overly fond of Zeb's Guide. Nor do I have any qualms in stating why. Tongue out

My SF website

jedion357's picture
jedion357
June 18, 2016 - 2:10am
Yes ability checks are full ability. When ASkilled Frontier came out it went with all skill checks arec1/2 ability plus 10%/level. The original AD resolutions were all over the map and this flat 1/2 ability + 10%/level simplified things. 

I had some concerns over it because there were some AD subskills that became much easier and others much harder to accomplish in the process. There are some AD subskills that are 100% chance but not automatic : diagnosis is 100% but should it be performed on an alien non core four species there is a -20% mod and of course a referee can add other modifications like -10% because the condition is hard to identify on his say so and etc. 

For this reason I wrote an article on task modifiers for SF which borrowed from HARP RPG. I'd have to look up which issue in the SFman.

I've been deeply in favor of all skill checks are 1/2 ability +10%/level (plus other modifiers that apply of course) for the simple reason of speed of play. Everyone at the table remembers it. Only the character sheet need be consulted. And gameplay moves along at a very past pace. Otherwise you will be looking up a quick reference sheet for every skill check. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!