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Skill for riding a motorcycle: Drive Auto or Ride?

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The rule of thumb that I have used is: If you sit astride it then you use Ride, if you sit inside it then you use Drive Auto.

So, horses, camels, bison, bicycles, motorcycles and hoverbikes use Ride, but cars, tractors, tanks and so on use Drive.

Elephants are an odd case, as you can sit in a howdah, but if I see any PCs on an elephant, I'll make a decision then.

Things like Skateboards, Snowboards, Surfboards and Hoverboards would use a Board skill that is, as yet, undefined. 

You could go as far as having different skills for Skis, Boards, Skates and so on, if you wanted, I suppose.

One thing is for sure, if you have listed all the modes of transport that you can think of and have assigned a skill to each, some player will come along and ask "What about such and such?" which you would not have thought about.

 

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3 hours ago, soltakss said:

The rule of thumb that I have used is: If you sit astride it then you use Ride, if you sit inside it then you use Drive Auto.

So, horses, camels, bison, bicycles, motorcycles and hoverbikes use Ride, but cars, tractors, tanks and so on use Drive.

Elephants are an odd case, as you can sit in a howdah, but if I see any PCs on an elephant, I'll make a decision then.

Things like Skateboards, Snowboards, Surfboards and Hoverboards would use a Board skill that is, as yet, undefined. 

You could go as far as having different skills for Skis, Boards, Skates and so on, if you wanted, I suppose.

One thing is for sure, if you have listed all the modes of transport that you can think of and have assigned a skill to each, some player will come along and ask "What about such and such?" which you would not have thought about.

 

So ride-on lawnmowers and quad-bikes are ride (although the skill to use them is totally unrelated to horses or animals)? Or are you breaking out your ride skill into Ride Animal and Ride Mechanical?

For unusual modes of transport my players were using a punt the other night to escape from thralls of Cthulhu (in my reskinned Still Waters on the Blackwater Estuary in Essex). They were not very good at it - and only managed to make it to the bank of the creek because one person was throwing books at the thralls and one was firing a shotgun.

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1 hour ago, andyl said:

So ride-on lawnmowers and quad-bikes are ride (although the skill to use them is totally unrelated to horses or animals)? Or are you breaking out your ride skill into Ride Animal and Ride Mechanical?

I just use Ride, otherwise you have to ask "Is riding a horse the same as riding a camel?" and have loads of variations of Ride.

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I know how to drive, ride a horse and have a motorcycle license. They're all three very, very different, and IMO should have separate skills.

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Instinctively: Ride

In game: whichever skill most players* had actually raised during character creation.

 

* as in players had raised the skill of their make-believe characters, I wouldn't be looking at RL driver's licences or cycling proficiency badges

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I have a scoot. It's totally different than driving. But I would include it as driving. All this "realism" stuff is great in theory, but if you divide this stuff too narrowly, it leaves us with a lot of skills that nobody takes, something that is already a problem in Call.

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There are some blank spaces on the PC Sheets - I get my players to use them in cases where skills don't fall neatly within the proverbial square. My approach in this case is to have the PC Sheet entry as Ride Auto (5%), just to acknowledge it is clearly a different skill to both Drive Auto and Ride, but the in-game rules are by and large as per Ride. The rule content for Ride can be translated so as to be more applicable to a 'mechanical mount' easily enough, with obviously Mechanical and Electrical Repair skills being more closely related than Animal Handling.

Edited by Son-of-the-Furies

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Ride for animals, drive for everything else. Keep it simple. Drive includes all the road knowledge too.

Starting a bike and a car has more in common than getting my horse to move. My horse doesnt have gears either.

Riding a motorbike has more in common with driving a car, than with riding a horse along a trail.

 

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On 11/25/2018 at 2:54 PM, Al. said:

Instinctively: Ride

In game: whichever skill most players* had actually raised during character creation.

 

* as in players had raised the skill of their make-believe characters, I wouldn't be looking at RL driver's licences or cycling proficiency badges

 

37 minutes ago, Iskallor said:

Ride for animals, drive for everything else. Keep it simple. Drive includes all the road knowledge too.

Starting a bike and a car has more in common than getting my horse to move. My horse doesnt have gears either.

Riding a motorbike has more in common with driving a car, than with riding a horse along a trail.

 

 

These. I completely believe everyone above that riding a motorcycle is very different from riding a horse or driving a car. That isn't really the point. Some amount of suspension of disbelief is needed for making skill checks in role-playing games. In my games, Drive Auto counts for driving any machine. Ride is for animals. I make that clear to players at character creation so that we don't enter passive-aggressive surprise skill situations that really disenfranchise people from games. Gary Gygax LOVED those situations, and maybe his players did too, but he was absolutely wrong. You can do whatever you want in your game, but having a separate motorcycle skill only makes sense, in my mind in two situations: 1) the character has it as part of their back story.  They are a daredevil or racer and they will be using that skill to do tricks or 2) if motorcycle riding is a pre-established theme of an adventure or campaign when it isn't part of a character back story. If, as a campaign player, I had separate skills for driving a car and riding a motorcycle and players weren't prepared, I would effectively be introducing needless artificial challenge into the game, and if a player didn't have the motorcycle skill, it would go like this:  "I make chase." "Motorcycle skill." "Don't have that, didn't know it was a thing" "You crash it. Your character dies. What a fun story! Yay!" That's an extreme example, but  I've experienced Keepers/GMs who don't communicate with their players and who are also so hung up on getting the game "realistic" that they hamstring their own efforts.  They simply haven't learned yet why that is a problem. Now, I'm a mechanics-light, story-first person. I understand that some people aren't that way. But honestly, if you want to be a better Keeper of any role-playing game, you need to seriously consider not nickel-and diming every test situation your players encounter.

Edited by klecser
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2 hours ago, Iskallor said:

Ride for animals, drive for everything else. Keep it simple. Drive includes all the road knowledge too.

Starting a bike and a car has more in common than getting my horse to move. My horse doesnt have gears either.

Riding a motorbike has more in common with driving a car, than with riding a horse along a trail.

 

I also agree with this and with what klecser said above. In a skill based system, grouping skills where it makes sense is a good idea. Sure, in real life there are differences, but is it necessary to go into such details in the game?

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When i got my driving licence many moons ago I could drive a car, a motorbike, a tractor and a large van/small truck with it. I only ever drove a car during my lessons/test, but have driven them all since. I have also driven armoured vehicles. All the same principle.

The horses and camels I have ridden were totally different. My ride skill includes their basic up keep too and how to look after their tack, feed them and keep them from kicking me to death. Just like my drive skill lets me know how to change a tire, change the oil and recognise its too icy to drive fast.

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fwiw: I'm think I'd likely use Ride to drive a stagecoach or mule train, and Drive to ride motorcycles, quads and trikes. Does this contradict the Rule-book anywhere? Anyone have 'Down Darker Trails'?

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Well, I can tell you from personal experience that driving an automobile is way different than riding a motorcyle or piloting a ship or aircraft.

What I would do is require different skills for Drive [any 4-wheeled vehicle], Drive Motorcyle, Pilot Heavier Than Air Craft, Pilot Lighter than Air Craft, Pilot Powered Small Boat, Pilot Powered Ship, and Sailing. The same would go for animal powered transport... Ride Horse and Drive Wagon.

Edited by svensson

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3 hours ago, Iskallor said:

When i got my driving licence many moons ago I could drive a car, a motorbike, a tractor and a large van/small truck with it. I only ever drove a car during my lessons/test, but have driven them all since. I have also driven armoured vehicles. All the same principle.

The horses and camels I have ridden were totally different. My ride skill includes their basic up keep too and how to look after their tack, feed them and keep them from kicking me to death. Just like my drive skill lets me know how to change a tire, change the oil and recognise its too icy to drive fast.

I'm an ex-tanker. TREADHEADS FOREVER :)

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43 minutes ago, svensson said:

Well, I can tell you from personal experience that driving an automobile is way different than riding a motorcyle or piloting a ship or aircraft.

What I would do is require different skills for Drive [any 4-wheeled vehicle], Drive Motorcyle, Pilot Heavier Than Air Craft, Pilot Lighter than Air Craft, Pilot Powered Small Boat, Pilot Powered Ship, and Sailing. The same would go for animal powered transport... Ride Horse and Drive Wagon.

It's all good, everyone sets its own degree of details in the skills. I understand you have personal knowledge of these skills, but I'm wondering if you extend those same levels of details in other skills? Sometimes our own knowledge of a specific skill blurs the line for that skill in regards to other skills. For instance, since you differentiate Motorcycle from 4-wheeled vehicles, do you also differentiate shotguns from rifles? Do you differentiate organic chemistry from biochemistry? Do you have Stealth/move silently from Stealth/hide in shadows? History by periods?

Just curious.

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1 hour ago, drablak said:

 Sometimes our own knowledge of a specific skill blurs the line for that skill in regards to other skills. For instance, since you differentiate Motorcycle from 4-wheeled vehicles, do you also differentiate shotguns from rifles? Do you differentiate organic chemistry from biochemistry? Do you have Stealth/move silently from Stealth/hide in shadows? History by periods?

Just curious.

It depends on the level of detail the players want.

If I have a table full of ex-military, I'll differentiate between Drive Tracked Vehicle and Drive Wheeled Vehicle and Rifle and Shotgun. At that same table, if the game is modern [post-Vietnam], Rifle will also cover SMG because of the advent of the assault rifle making handling autofire part of Basic Training. If the game is Great War or War Two, SMG is a separate skill. Why? Because at that table with that particular group they want that level of detail. If I'm sitting at a table of medical people, First Aid is going to be different than Medical: Trauma and Medical:Surgery.

At the end of the day, I certainly don't want to bleed skill points off of skills the players will need to survive the campaign just for the sake of character concept. But then again, a person who generated a Military NCO from a ranch in Texas had better have a real good story on how his character got Mythos Lore 45% at campaign start :D

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1 hour ago, drablak said:

I'm wondering if you extend those same levels of details in other skills?

Haha svensson, I was just in the middle of typing pretty much the same thing...  I agree...  One shoe does not fit all...!

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1 hour ago, svensson said:

It depends on the level of detail the players want.

If I have a table full of ex-military, I'll differentiate between Drive Tracked Vehicle and Drive Wheeled Vehicle and Rifle and Shotgun. At that same table, if the game is modern [post-Vietnam], Rifle will also cover SMG because of the advent of the assault rifle making handling autofire part of Basic Training. If the game is Great War or War Two, SMG is a separate skill. Why? Because at that table with that particular group they want that level of detail. If I'm sitting at a table of medical people, First Aid is going to be different than Medical: Trauma and Medical:Surgery.

At the end of the day, I certainly don't want to bleed skill points off of skills the players will need to survive the campaign just for the sake of character concept. But then again, a person who generated a Military NCO from a ranch in Texas had better have a real good story on how his character got Mythos Lore 45% at campaign start :D

That makes sense. As long as everyone is buying in that's cool. 👍

My players and I are a bit different I guess. We see the merging of similar skills as a positive thing (even for our various RL expertises). 

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19 minutes ago, drablak said:

That makes sense. As long as everyone is buying in that's cool. 👍

My players and I are a bit different I guess. We see the merging of similar skills as a positive thing (even for our various RL expertises). 

 

This is an important point. The only "right" answer is what is best for a specific group.  My buddy is Army retired and an ex-Tanker and I get it.

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1 hour ago, Son-of-the-Furies said:

Haha svensson, I was just in the middle of typing pretty much the same thing...  I agree...  One shoe does not fit all...!

I live to serve... mostly breakfasts ;)

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The problem here is that being realistic, motorcycle should be a separate skill, particularly because you should only be rolling if there's a high speed chase or evasion of some calamity or some other "extraordinary" event. However, if you make it a separate skill, nobody will take it because it's just too niche. CoC already has too many skills that nobody takes because they spread your points out too much.

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