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    Default Driving a vehicle, what check?

    In a system with no skills, and everything is a simple Stat Check, what stat would you say driving a vehicle is? For something complicated (Jet, starship)? Something simple (commercial car)? For non-stress situations, would a check be necessary for a simple vehicle (complicated is kind of obvious "Yes")?

    This came up in a game I'm in, and we couldn't come to an agreement. Some said dex, for reflexes, but others said Int (especially for complicated vehicles), and another said Con for.... no adequately explained reason. Also strength for power turns and "pushing the throttle extra hard".
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    I'd say it depends on what kind of vehicle and how fast you need to react. Something like a modern or starship, Int makes sense. Something like a car or a fighter, I'd go with Dex/Agility/whatever your reflex stat is, since it's about how fast you can react to the changing situation.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    I actually developed a fairly interesting system regarding piloted vehicles and mecha in my tome of iron project.

    Basically, piloting is it's own skill. Dex based. You made checks to make your vehicle do things. Different vehicles had different DCs to accomplish different goals. For example, a walker's move DC is higher than a car's.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    I'd break it into different skills for different situations. If you're just trying to get a simple vehicle (like a modern car) to start up, take you where you're going and stop there, I wouldn't make a player roll. Under some kind of stress (e.g. you're being chased and have to get moving now) or with a complicated vehicle, I'd use intelligence for getting the vehicle started and solving any operational problems along the way (updating a navigation system or getting in the right gear for rough terrain, for example) and dexterity for maneuvering and avoiding obstacles. If you were dealing with a vehicle that was almost completely computerized (relying on autopilot and such) I'd go with intelligence all the way since you're not so much controlling the vehicle as controlling a computer which controls the vehicle.

    EDIT: For archaic vehicles, you might add strength to the mix to actually move the wheel of a sailing ship (sorry, no power steering) or charisma to make the animals involved do what you want (like for a horse drawn cart).
    Last edited by Lord Il Palazzo; 2013-03-12 at 09:46 PM.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Whatever stat you use for reactions and reflexes. This is often abstracted/folded into something called Dexterity, but some systems plain have Reaction or similar. Some systems average something like Reaction from Dexterity (or equivalent) and Intelligence, Wisdom, Intuition, or Perception (or equivalent). Heck, in Twilight 2013, I think it'd be OODA (Observe-Orient-Decide-Act, that's definitely applicable to driving).

    Actually, the OODA loop applies perfectly to driving. It's not so much about hand-eye coordination as it is about Observing your surroundings, Orienting to what happens in them, Deciding on the correct course of action (a matter of learned skills and knowledge), and Acting quickly and correctly. This is mostly a matter of learning and practice (inborn talent would probably mostly make a difference on the professional race car driver level), but obviously you're needing to simplify it to a single stat.

    What are the stats in your system? Sounds like Dexterity is the best fit you have.

    Edit: Piloting would be OODA, or in its absence dexterity/reflexes for fighterplanes and small planes, intelligence for large jetplanes. I'd say that's mostly about knowing what to do and when. Spaceships... well, you'd mostly be giving orders to an artificial intelligence, so intelligence. I guess some kind of tiny fly-by-wire fightercraft would be dexterity.
    Last edited by Rhynn; 2013-03-12 at 10:00 PM.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Stats are the standard lot. Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Wisdom and Charisma.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    For a simple vehicle, with few different levers and that responds mostly instanteously, whatever your reflexes-stat is. A car, for example, just involves moving the wheel and pressing on foot pedals. How well someone steers a car (once they know what they are doing) depends on their reflexes.

    For a complex vehicle, with lots of different buttons and such and that doesn't have an immediate response, whatever your memory retention stat is. Flying something like a 747, I would assume, would involve a lot of prediction and knowing what needs to be done long before an action takes place. Driving an 18-wheeler would probably be similar.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    and another said Con for.... no adequately explained reason. Also strength for power turns and "pushing the throttle extra hard".
    Have these people driven cars before?

    TBH, I think that most of the time no check should be required. Driving to the convenience store is a freebie. I'd require a check depending on what happened. If the players are being gunned down by a tank, the equivalent of a dexterity check would let them make evasive maneuvers. If wild giraffes are trampling the freeway, a reflex check would be necessary to avoid hitting them. If the players are fleeing the police, I'd argue that trying to lose the pursuers would require some sort of intelligence check.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Have these people driven cars before?
    I would hope they meant the throttle only in reference to piloting (the thrust lever). I really hope they don't try pushing the throttle of a car... I mean... what...

    And hey, when my car sprung a hydraulic leak and the breaks and power steering went out, it sure required a bit of strength to steer it to safety.


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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by valadil View Post
    Have these people driven cars before?
    I can maybe see Con for a jet fighter or something, where it's the main factor limiting how fast and hard you can maneuver. But I'd debate it as a main stat, and certainly not for anything else.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    The vehicle in question is a Hover Winnebago (not really, but it is essentially a Hover Winnebago) and we are driving over mostly flat, Arizona-like desert with possibility of super-powered monster attacks. An internet who can tell me what game and where we are.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Intelligence, obviously. Most traffic accidents are caused by driver stupidity (granted, often it's alcohol-fueled stupidty).

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    OODA / Reaction / Reflexes / Dexterity.

    No checks for regular use (I can't think of any game where you make a Riding or Driving test unless you're facing complications). Check for maneuvering in stressful or risky situations, attempting something dangerous, etc.

    If it's a game where simple survival is an issue, resources are short, wear and tear of vehicles is important, fuel is tallied, etc. (like a post-apocalyptic setting; AFMBE or TW2000/2013), I'd have a random complication chart, or include vehicle complications on a random encounter chart, and include stuff like "Possible accident, driving/piloting test to avoid", etc. These would come up pretty rarely, unless off-roading.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    OODA / Reaction / Reflexes / Dexterity.

    No checks for regular use (I can't think of any game where you make a Riding or Driving test unless you're facing complications). Check for maneuvering in stressful or risky situations, attempting something dangerous, etc.

    If it's a game where simple survival is an issue, resources are short, wear and tear of vehicles is important, fuel is tallied, etc. (like a post-apocalyptic setting; AFMBE or TW2000/2013), I'd have a random complication chart, or include vehicle complications on a random encounter chart, and include stuff like "Possible accident, driving/piloting test to avoid", etc. These would come up pretty rarely, unless off-roading.
    The GM said that (this time) we have plenty of food/water/gas/whatever. Also we are heading through a vast desert. There are no roads. There are also no wheels either, so some (not all) of the off road hazards are minimized.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Skill checks are nothing more than ability checks with specialised bonuses.

    Driving and piloting motor/jet vehicles are Dex-based skills (in d20 Modern), so they would boil down to Dexterity checks.

    Profession seems to be the skill of choice for large ships in D&D (and by extension, anything else where you command other people to manipulate the actual controls), so that boils down to Wisdom. And Handle Animal seems to be the skill of choice for animal-drawn vehicles, which boils down to Charisma checks.
    Last edited by Ashtagon; 2013-03-13 at 01:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Depends on what kind of driving you're doing.

    No check is necessary for driving from your house to the local grocery store, unless your game has a Luck stat. Even then, the possibility of something out of the ordinary happening during this would be pretty low.

    If you're doing something like a car chase with obstacles flying out of nowhere and you're trying to stay on-course at hair-raising speeds, I would expect something like Reflexes or Dexterity, or whatever stat your system uses for dodging flying objects.

    If you're doing something like stealing a high-tech military vehicle, like a fighter jet, and you've never flown that type of fighter jet before, an intelligence or reasoning check would be in order to see if you can figure out the controls in the first place.

    If you're doing something like driving long-distance through a hot desert, and the car's air conditioning is totally shot, and the scenery all looks the same and the road is straight and nearly deserted... I might ask for a Constitution/endurance/vitality check to see if you can endure the environment enough to be healthy enough to drive, and then a willpower/spirit check to see if you can concentrate on the road.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    I think driving a car should be Wisdom based. Whatever Dexterity you have yourself matters little as turning a wheel and hittint a throttle and gear-shifting requires fairly limited amount of body-control. Your awareness however, is much more important. You can't calculate or sit down and do problem solving for how you are supposed to turn in the next crossing which makes it NOT to be Int-based. "Doing stupid things in traffic" mostly has to do with people having low Wisdom too, thus lacking fair judgement (which is attributed to Wis and not Int). If you are driving in a race, then you need three rolls really. First an Int-based check to help you plan how to drive, with success or failure giving you modifications on your Wis-roll while the race is running. Then you also need Con in order not to suffer fatigue (races are demanding physically).

    But yeah, Wisdom, for awareness, sound judgement and a general "feel of the traffic, vehicle" thing. Dexterity only enters in if you are stunt-driving a motorcycle.
    Last edited by Lorsa; 2013-03-13 at 05:37 AM.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorsa View Post
    I think driving a car should be Wisdom based. Whatever Dexterity you have yourself matters little as turning a wheel and hittint a throttle and gear-shifting requires fairly limited amount of body-control. Your awareness however, is much more important. You can't calculate or sit down and do problem solving for how you are supposed to turn in the next crossing which makes it NOT to be Int-based. "Doing stupid things in traffic" mostly has to do with people having low Wisdom too, thus lacking fair judgement (which is attributed to Wis and not Int). If you are driving in a race, then you need three rolls really. First an Int-based check to help you plan how to drive, with success or failure giving you modifications on your Wis-roll while the race is running. Then you also need Con in order not to suffer fatigue (races are demanding physically).

    But yeah, Wisdom, for awareness, sound judgement and a general "feel of the traffic, vehicle" thing. Dexterity only enters in if you are stunt-driving a motorcycle.
    d20 Modern specifically states that in ordinary situations, no check is required; even someone with no actual rank can have a drivers licence. Skill checks come into play in situations of high stress and stunts, and good reaction times are needed for that, which is why it is a Dexterity issue.

    http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=136459

    I homebrrewed a feat for this anyway, on the basis that some drivers just get into "the zone" and can drive on in stressful situations, calm as mustard.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    There is no good answer, and this example shows the limitation of a system with no skills, in which everything is a simple Stat Check.

    Many skills are learned, not innate. There are extremely dexterous people, or extremely intelligent people, who have never learned to drive. These people cannot drive as well as somebody else with mediocre skills who drives every day.

    Similarly, world-class athletes who have never learned to fight cannot wield a sword competently.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    The GM said that (this time) we have plenty of food/water/gas/whatever. Also we are heading through a vast desert. There are no roads. There are also no wheels either, so some (not all) of the off road hazards are minimized.
    My two cents: That check was totally superfluous.

    In nearly every system I've read that calls for such things, the GM makes the call for checks, and the GM should only call for checks when circumstances are extraordinary.

    Assuming your characters knew how to drive at all, a check should only have been made if something unexpected came up, like a giant monster or an unseen boulder, and the driver suddenly had to regain control of the vehicle.
    Last edited by Grinner; 2013-03-13 at 10:28 AM.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    ...

    Assuming your characters knew how to drive at all, a check should only have been made if something unexpected came up, like a giant monster or an unseen boulder, and the driver suddenly had to regain control of the vehicle.
    There is one system I know of that does it differently: Torg.

    In Torg, vehicle control tests are used to maintain control in such situations. But the skill is also used to determine how long an uneventful road trip takes. This follows the same game mechanics (modified by vehicle speed) whether driving, flying, piloting, sailing, skiing, skating, swimming, running, or hiking.

    Torg has seven ability scores (Dexterity, Strength, Toughness, Perception, Mind, Charisma, Spirit). All vehicle control skills are governed by Perception, with beast riding, (personal) flight, running, and swimming governed by Dexterity. Hiking is Toughness, and Climbing is Strength.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by Grinner View Post
    My two cents: That check was totally superfluous.

    In nearly every system I've read that calls for such things, the GM makes the call for checks, and the GM should only call for checks when circumstances are extraordinary.

    Assuming your characters knew how to drive at all, a check should only have been made if something unexpected came up, like a giant monster or an unseen boulder, and the driver suddenly had to regain control of the vehicle.
    Since no one guessed it, this is a Pokemon game. So monsters attacking out of no where is expected, oxymoron not withstanding. From what I understand, the GM is trying to see if the driver avoids an unnamed entry hazard move. For those of you who don't know, these moves deal damage to opponents as they enter combat. Or in this case, as the Hover Winnebago enters the Pokemon's territory.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by MesiDoomstalker View Post
    Since no one guessed it, this is a Pokemon game. So monsters attacking out of no where is expected, oxymoron not withstanding. From what I understand, the GM is trying to see if the driver avoids an unnamed entry hazard move. For those of you who don't know, these moves deal damage to opponents as they enter combat. Or in this case, as the Hover Winnebago enters the Pokemon's territory.
    Well yeah, in D&D terms that'd totally be a Dexterity check.

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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashtagon View Post
    Well yeah, in D&D terms that'd totally be a Dexterity check.
    And I totally dumped Dex. Awesome. Good thing there is an Engineer in the party.
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    Hey, GM of the game speaking. I never even intended to ask for checks normally to drive the vehicle. I don't know how that got communicated. No checks to drive have been asked for yet in the game, and obviously would only come up if something needed to be reacted to. (Though now that you mention attacks, I probably should give the machine some HP...)
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    Default Re: Driving a vehicle, what check?

    I foresaw the need to ask, so I did so proactively instead of reactionary.
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