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shosuro91

Pilot Skill

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Hi, guys! It's me again. In this post, I would like to ask you about the Pilot skill. There are a few things I don't fully understand about the way this skill works. My first question is, is Aircraft a Specialization itself? On one hand, the text makes me believe that it is, for example, in the first paragraph of the Pilot entry (p.71), Aircraft appears listed as an example of Specialization; in this instance the text reads: "An investigator might have several versions of this skill in the spaces on the investigator sheet (such as Pilot Aircraft, Pilot Dirigible, etc.)". Additionally, Aircraft also appears as a Specialization of Pilot on the example of Harvey Walters in p. 50. However, on the other hand, the text makes me think that Aircraft is not a Specialization per se but just a tag that covers a number of Specializations: "Each class of aircraft  counts as a different skill and should be listed independently, or as the Keeper sees fit. 1920s: Pilot Balloon/Dirigible/Civil Prop only. Present day: Pilot Civil Prop, Pilot Civil Jet, Pilot Airliner, Pilot Jet Fighter, Pilot Helicopter. Piloting skill may be transferred to an alternative form of aircraft , but the level of difficulty may be increased." 

My next question relates somehow to the previous one. Is Pilot (Boat) a Specialization or should I create my own Specializations within this tag? For example, would Pilot (Boat) apply to a character piloting a destroyer? Or should I create my own specializations, such as Pilot (Destroyer), Pilot (Submarine)...

One last question is about the meaning of this line: "Anyone with modest skill can sail or fly on a calm day with good visibility, although skill rolls are required for storms, navigation by instrument, low visibility, and other difficult situations." Does 'modest skill' refer to a minimum percentage of the Pilot skill? If so, what percentage do you recommend to be a right one?

Lastly, I would like to say thanks to all of you who are helping me every time I write one of these posts, in particular to the author, Mike Mason. I appreciate your help immensely 😊

Edited by shosuro91

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Okay, earlier editions of CoC say that Pilot (Aircraft) needs to be broken down into specializations, but Pilot (Boat) does not.

 

The rules do say that each general type of aircraft is a separate skill specialty, but leave it up to the Keeper as to how to handle it, so I'd say its up to you, and if you want to sub-divide boat into a few skills go right ahead.

Personally, I'd probably treat each pilot skill as a separate skill, but use the old related skill rule they had for similar weapons. That is you could use half your skill in a similar vehicle. The idea being that a master fighter pilot at 90% can probably fly and land an airliner a lot better than someone with no flying experience whatsoever. In CoC7 I'd just treat it as a difficult task. I know in all those old movies they always ask for someone with flying experience, not someone with experience in Pilot (Airliner).

 

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I'm very close to getting my pilot license, currently training on a single engine high wing Cessna.

I have no problem flying other single engine aircraft - I've also flown Pipers (low wing), some of the controls are a little different but not so different to cause a significant challenge.

Flying a twin engine plane - you have to do separate training for that, easy to get into trouble is what I've heard.

Flying a jumbo jet - the basic principles are the same, but there are substantial differences in how the controls respond. The jet is a lot faster, when it lands the cockpit is a lot higher off the ground, the controls are more complex, the engine doesn't respond the same as a piston engine.

I would have a lot more chance of flying and landing a jumbo jet with single engine training than someone who had never flown, people would probably survive if I had to land one, but there's a good chance the plane would be pretty banged up.

Flying a helicopter - one of the guys tried flying a helicopter, his pilot skill let him keep it in the air, but when he landed he instinctively tried to flair - to pull back - like a fixed wing plane. Not a good move if you are flying a helicopter.

I'd say a single pilot skill, but if someone has to fly something radically different to what they've trained in, you would deduct a significant penalty. So if myself with my single engine piston skill tried to fly a blackhawk, I better roll a critical.

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In classic setting 1920s or 30s, there'll be a lot less difference in planes. Single versus twin engine, as stated above, is a good distinction. In 1920s there'll possibly still be pullers verses pushers which might be another difference. But this level of granularity probably doesn't fit well with an RPG which is already a huge abstraction of the real world. I agree with EricW, the Keeper should use common sense and adjust the Pilot skill roll according to how atypical the aircraft is. Up the difficulty if it's a noticeable difference. Add a penalty die if it's a major difference.

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The problem here is that piloting an airplane is largely an additive skill. You master one aspect and then move on to more complex functions. CoC and most skill games don't do well with that concept. I'd look at the chart on p 54 about what various skill levels mean for inspiration. Someone with a basic private pilot license who's absolutely capable of safely flying for a lifetimes worth of recreation or a short vacations might only have a piloting skill of 15% or 20%. Maybe an advanced PPL with instrument rating and some time in small multiengine might be the 40% top of amateur. The problem is then GMs always seem to want to roll dice, so you've got your 40% and it's a bright beautiful day and you take off for a quick flight from Boston to Arkham, roll a 41 and everybody dies.

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That is an issue of BRP for some players. But the fact is that a skill roll is only needed in a stressful situation or a challenge of some sort. You don't need to roll Driving to go shopping, or in this case, Pilot to take off an airplane. There is a grey area that needs to be addressed... if a plane hits a turbulence zone... is a roll needed or not?

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Regarding skill rolls, one thing I've noticed is you have to be in peak condition to fly well - rested, relaxed, not suffering any illness. Flying skills deteriorate noticeably if anything is wrong.

Flying requires coordination of more controls than driving a car. That coordination is easily disturbed.

If say you had just seen something horrible, or were stressed by some unpleasantness, or even popped a sleeping pill the night before, this might affect your flying more than it would affect someone's driving.

Obviously this situation eases a little with improving skill - but old hands I've talked to are very conscientious about doing everything right.

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My understanding is that 50% represents a professional level of skill, so ideally a professional pilot has more than 40%. Also, you don't have to roll for routine job tasks A circus trapeze artist with 75% skill isn't going to die after a handful of shows.

I would treat the different plane types as different skills but would allow players to learn other pilot skills at a faster rate if they had one at a high level (iexample If your highest pilot skill is 40% or better, you get bonus skill gain in any pilot skill until it's rating is equal to or greater than half of your highest pilot skill)

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