Certificates, tickets, warrants , was Reality intersecting cargo ships in Rules & Errata
time Jan 19 2012, 17:35 Group: Heroes, Orlamist Monk Quote Post
The way I envision Pilots in space is someone who has a very high level of knowledge about a "local area" (Earth Orbit, for example). And brings a spaceship into or out of a port in those local areas. Once the ship is parked in a stable orbit, then the pilot leaves, and the ship begins burns (or accelerations) for a transfer orbit. If the "local area" is particularly crowded (say with other ship traffic, or debris) then the pilot could stay onboard for longer to ensure the ship is in a safe position.

I always think of a pilot taking a ship into a port that is inside a hollowed out asteroid. The path may not be straight, so this would be very analogous to a ship having to maneuver up a river or into a narrow harbor to get to the piers at the port. The pilot would have the tunnel essentially memorized and would understand how local traffic moved into and out of the asteroid. He or she would also have communications with the harbor/starport control facility and would know what the local regulations were regarding making radio calls.

A pilot taking a ship into and out of port in orbit around Earth may have knowledge of the orbits of most of the large pieces of orbital debris or the orbits of satellites and other manmade objects. They would then be able to help the ship calculate a transfer orbit into a lower orbit to dock with the destination station.

These are just some of things I think about in my free time... but I haven't started to think about how to model these skills in Alternity yet. I think Physical Science Astronomy would cover quite a bit for the "local knowledge" portion of the certification (hazards and aids to navigation, "geology", etc.) Another skill that would be needed to fill in the gaps that Astronomy wouldn't cover is Knowledge-Specific Knowledge (local spaceways customs and regulations). This would be skill necessary for understanding how the local traffic moves, who to talk to and when, what major work is occurring and where (such as moving a large asteroid from high orbit to low orbit so the mining crew can process it down to its base metals). Perhaps that specific knowledge skill could also be covered by one of the legal skills since its dealing with local customs and regulations.

Definitely, the pilot needs a few skills in Vehicle Operation-Space Vehicle. I know Alternity requires a specific skill for each of the different types of space vessel, but perhaps there's a general skill (Vehicle Operation-Space Vehicle (piloting)) that gives the character a general understanding of the forces at work on the vessel and how to control those forces. After all, the forces at work on a ship at sea are the same regardless of the size of the ship and since I know how to drive a ship at 9,000 tons, in theory, I know how to drive a ship at any tonnage (I just may not do it very well my first time). Another skill that would be useful is one of the Leadership skills (can't remember if it is a broadskill or a specific skill at the moment). That is necessary since a pilot often is giving orders to a tug or two while also needing to give the ship's crew some guidance on the safe navigation of the ship.

A pilot would not be required to have any expertise on ship's systems. He needs to know how to talk on a radio, but he doesn't need much knowledge beyond that. If the radio isn't working for him, the ship will fix it, not him.

I think that is enough for now... especially since I'm typing this from work. Oops!
uncle_jimbo Jan 21 2012, 07:10 Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin Quote Post
Author (time @ Jan 19 2012, 12:47)
I'd be interested on your thoughts on this.  I'm also interested in helping you flesh out these ideas some more.

I'd certainly be glad of any insights. My knowledge of the industry is second-hand at best and pretty much confined to reading Wikipedia for most matters.

Time Period

  • Terran Empire: The unified nations of the Earth set out to organise travel and commerce throughout the known Galaxy. Some sentients still living might hold warrants from this era, though their legal status raises thorny questions.
    Among other intelligent beings, Aleerin records of competence and T'sa Cluster warrants served equivalent purposes. Both still exist and hold authority in human space, with necessary adjustments.

  • Interbellum: Each of the new nations hastened to reject the authority of Terra and establish its own system.

  • GW II and the Long Silence: Paradoxically, the early years of the war saw great difficulties and belligerence over merchant shipping (while the nations saw an opportunity before the outbreak of open battle to lay pressure on their rivals by other means) while such commercial ships as were able to travel in the bad times of the 25th century moved with few legal entanglements (once the stellar powers had neither the desire to choke any resources that might flow to their economies nor the capability to regulate trade routes). Commerce raiding and sheer piracy were another matter entirely.
    Many systems of the Verge had to develop their own interim methods to train and accredit ship's crews. Eventually they took steps to align to a Verge-wide arrangement. This, too, persists into the present day.

  • Treaty of Concord: The Galactic Concord issues warrants that are, in theory, valid throughout the Ring, but the stellar nations have by no means agreed to dismantle their own regulations.

It would be good to avoid writing 13+ different and unique qualification frameworks, while at the same time maintain some distinctive features in the system to make heroes more interesting and the setting more real and solid. I think a look at Star*Drive history can inform both of these intentions.

From the present day to the Terran Empire, the Fusion Age and colonisation of the Solar System saw a disunited human species, divided into six great blocs with many independent organisations. Commercial standards advanced, as today, by summits, realpolitik and agreements to build cooperative bodies, rather than by imperial regulation. The Empire itself "was a largely symbolic gesture" that carried on already-fixed arrangements while control of many of the colonial authorities had already slipped through the homeworld's fingers.

The emerging stellar powers grew out of Earth-registered corporations or Earth-chartered colonial administrations, largely supported at their outset by supply lines from home. They had every reason to know and follow the shipping procedures established for the Solar System hub and outward fortress ship routes.

There were exceptions to this pattern. Early Nariacs and Hatires separated themselves from Earth, but by the same act relegated themselves to little influence on interstellar trade. The Thuldan Colonial Authority built its power in parallel to the Empire but not in any obvious way differently from it. The Rigunmor Star Consortium, at its roots an interstellar trading guild, diverged earliest and with greatest effect from Terran Empire practices, establishing (perhaps, in some part, continuing from pre-Space Age Earth) a distinct merchant tradition as opposed to a colonial service.

Besides Rigunmor peculiarities, this progression shaped the nuances of the distinction between drive and non-FTL vessels. Regulations for system ships, fundamentally, concerned the Solar System, the diverse Fusion Age craft that had explored it and fought across it, and its special status as physically mapped and tamed but teeming with hazardous traffic. Drive ships were great liners and colonial cruisers, under naval or corporate discipline, carrying Earth's authority (or, equivalently, that of the growing second worlds of each new power) to the outer settlements while they towed along independent merchants at their sufferance.

(moving ahead in time - and more on pilots and navigation - later)

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Feb 26 2012, 04:19
uncle_jimbo Oct 28 2012, 00:48 Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin Quote Post
I thought it would be useful to pull this discussion out, since while very relevant to merchant shipping, it's a bit separate from ship design.

Thinking about the difference between an engineer's and environmental tech's warrant (since, from Warships crew estimates and the requirements of taking humans into space, it seems reasonable that these would be more distinctly separate professions/trades/tracks than in today's ocean vessels - computer techs, too) a warrant might have the basic qualifications or components, variable at need, of
  • prerequisites, if any,
  • mandatory broad skill or specialty skill, and
  • at least two or three of the following list of broad skills
Prescribed broad skills would include their specialty skills, though not necessarily all of them. Thinking about that, maybe I do need to list all the specialty skills that apply.

For example:
  • Engineer: Prerequisite: Spacehand's warrant, Mandatory: System Operation-engineering and Technical Science, Elective: two of the following: Computer Science, Physical Science, Administration
  • Environmental tech: Prerequisite: Spacehand's warrant, Mandatory: System Operation-engineering, Elective: three of the following: Computer Science, Life Science, Physical Science, Technical Science, Administration
In rules terms, these skills could form the basis of examinations, which I could implement in a couple of ways that aren't necessarily exclusive. Either a character has to make checks in game to gain a higher warrant (which I could see forming a notable narrative event in several campaign models) or if he starts with a warrant within character creation, it counts as a prior Teach usage that reduces his skill cost.

The warrant system can and should apply to just about any officially definable and valuable skill set, just as Traveller's careers do. For example, Combat Specs could have Security warrants and Free Agents could have Intelligence warrants.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Oct 28 2012, 00:48
uncle_jimbo Feb 9 2019, 20:51 Group: Grid Cop, 5éme Corbin Quote Post
Author (uncle_jimbo @ Jan 15 2012, 14:12)
Pilots, specifically authorised to navigate ships in particular hazardous regions (general navigation is a deck officer's core responsibility)

History lives everywhere in the Union of Sol and some would say safety ranks almost equal as a passion.

Within the Solar System, unfamiliar ships must take on a navigator (and also protocol guide) of the Company of Orbiters and Descenders and a helmsman certified for knowledge of the Home System's corridors and controlled spaces.

Within 25 light-years of Sol, one starfall of the first generation fortress ships (where any fault in the technology of a new era once placed a flotilla of ferried craft and travellers in jeopardy) the Terran Board of Trade administers regulations of ancient stamp.

This post has been edited by uncle_jimbo on Feb 9 2019, 20:52
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