Astromech Units and Piloting

Can an astromech unit like a R2 pilot a starfighter on his own? One of my players wants to get Double Attack to make, well, two attacks with an x-wing cannons. I told him that piloting is a move action so he won't be able to take a full-round action except if the vehicle is stationary. He replied that the R2 can do the piloting while he shoots.

TBH, I cannot find any reasons not to allow it. The stock R2 (page 198) has Pilot as a trained skill, so he should be able to do so...

What about space transports? Will you allow it?

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

The Scavengers' Guide to Droids has details of what the 'Droid Socket' in star fighters allows. With permission, or if the pilot is unconscious, a droid may pilot the vessel. We actually see this at least once, in Empire Strikes Back, when R2 brings the X-Wing to Luke on Hoth (after Luke destroys the AT-AT).

For Transports, if the vessel has a scomp link (also listed in SGtD), OR the droid has limbs to manipulate the standard controls, then yes, as long as they're trained in Pilot, or have a Heuristic Processor.
Winner of "You Make The... Contest #1: Starfighters"
For a semi-canonical example of the space transport version, in X-Wing Alliance your character's droid EmKay (a modified maintenance droid) serves as co-pilot when flying one of the family's corellian transports, taking over piloting duties if you man the guns, or operating the turret weapons if you're piloting. He's pretty good in both roles.
Obi-Wan's astromech pilots his starfighter alone in ROTS while Obi-Wan stays behind on Utapau.
Children believe what we tell them, they have complete faith in us. I ask of you a little of this childlike simplicity, and to bring us luck, let me speak four truly magic words: "A long time ago...." (Jean Cocteau's Beauty and the Beast) Winner of You Build the Character #12, YbtC #22, YbtC #24, YbtC #28 and YbtC #35 Winner of You Make the... Contest #8
Thank you all! I'll check Scavengers, seems it has all the info I need.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

While I have little issue with letting a droid pilot a starship I do run into two issues when it comes to the former "pilot" making attacks.  The first, and probably bigger, issue is if the former pilot can fire pilot controlled weapons because he is no longer the actual pilot; I normally wouldn't say someone could act as gunner on a pilot controlled weapon when there is an actual pilot so trasfering the pilot role to a droid could/should also transfer weapon control.  The second issue should actually be pretty clear, if you are not doing the piloting for a vehicle you do NOT get the +2 bonus that normally comes when making an attack as the pilot with a pilot controlled weapon.

For what it's worth I strongly discourage pilots from investing in attack actions that will require a full round if they want to use it in vehicles.  Instead of Double Attack I would suggest he take Rapid Shot or perhaps Burst Fire if he wants to get more damage out of his vehicle's attacks.
 
The Scavengers' Guide to Droids has details of what the 'Droid Socket' in star fighters allows. With permission, or if the pilot is unconscious, a droid may pilot the vessel. We actually see this at least once, in Empire Strikes Back, when R2 brings the X-Wing to Luke on Hoth (after Luke destroys the AT-AT).



As well R2 ostensibly offered to drive when they were leaving Hoth.
And there are several examples of R2 hopping in a Republic fighter and flying around in the Clone Wars series. Specifically in the episode "R2 Come Home" where he jumps in Mace Windu's fighter to get help.



While I have little issue with letting a droid pilot a starship I do run into two issues when it comes to the former "pilot" making attacks.  The first, and probably bigger, issue is if the former pilot can fire pilot controlled weapons because he is no longer the actual pilot; I normally wouldn't say someone could act as gunner on a pilot controlled weapon when there is an actual pilot so trasfering the pilot role to a droid could/should also transfer weapon control.  The second issue should actually be pretty clear, if you are not doing the piloting for a vehicle you do NOT get the +2 bonus that normally comes when making an attack as the pilot with a pilot controlled weapon.
 


That's pretty much covered by the rules on crew roles, isn't it? For anyone (even a droid) to pilot a vehicle, they must take over the Pilot role from the current pilot, and only the character who is currently acting as pilot can operate Pilot-operated weapon systems. 
The point about the pilot not being able of firing pilot-operated weapons if the droid takes control makes sense totally! Thanks for that!

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

The point about the pilot not being able of firing pilot-operated weapons if the droid takes control makes sense totally! Thanks for that!


Which, in the case of many starfighters, means that if the "pilot" gives control over to the droid he is also giving up weapon control and thus couldn't make use of Double Attack anyway unless he happens to be shooting a personal weapon.

There are a number of weapon systems on fighter-scale craft with multiple possible operators, so I have no problem with the idea of a 0-emplacement point mod (probably 1,000 credits cost) that allows the organic to retain control of 'pilot' weapons while an astromech flies. He would STILL lose the +2 attack bonus, since he was no longer the pilot while using the weapons.

For some inexplicable reason, there are a LARGE number of fighters that have a "you can put an additional person in here acting in any role... except gunner" craft, which, frankly, is a big load of BS. I'm not sure if the game designers did it for some kind of assumed game balance or what, but it's absurd and pointless. Virtually EVERY real world fighter with a crew of 2 has a dedicated Weapons Officer and dedicated Pilot.
Winner of "You Make The... Contest #1: Starfighters"

I can actually see why the additional person in a fighter could NOT act as gunner for pilot controlled weapons; those weapons are strongly tied to the ship's heading and if you aren't the pilot there isn't much aiming you can do.  The biggest exception to that should be missile weapons which have their own guidance systems and thus can be "aimed" which would give them a second chance to strike if they miss on the first pass.

In a Y-Wing I figure the pilot should have control of the laser cannons and the gunner control of the ion guns.  It's torpedoes I believe should be fireable by either position with the pilot having a better shot firing them dumb (the +2 bonus for pilot controlled weapon) while the gunner can actually get a lock with them before firing.  Of course I have stated my opinion other places that if a pilot is allowed to "remotely" operate a pilot controlled weapon he shouldn't get the +2 pilot bonus. 

Great THEORY, but that's wrong. Look at the ARC-170. The forwarde guns are gunner controlled. Also, that whole weapon connected to heading thing is the REASON for the +2 that pilots get to their to-hit. You can still act as gunner on forward facing guns even without being pilot. Nothing stoppping it, whatsoever.

Moreover, Saga doesn't even concern itself with firing arcs, so how can forward-only weapons have ANY negative impact from who uses them?

Where the starship combat system more... robust... and included firing arcs, there might be a fair arguement, but even then it seems a bit weak.

In the Real World? I don't know who controls the guns on modern fighters that have a Weapons Officer. I'm also not sure what degree of aiming can be done on forward guns without realigning the craft. I'll see what some searching can dig up.
Winner of "You Make The... Contest #1: Starfighters"
I could say that the reason trained pilots get the +2 attack is twofold.  First it accounts for those pilot controlled weapons being tied more directly to the vehicles heading which means moving the entire vehicle to aim.  The second reason for the +2 is to make up for the potential loss of extra attacks because you will not be able to make full attacks due to lack of actions.

When it comes to modern fighters most of them are single seaters with the two seaters often used for training purposes.  The guy in back usually handles some of the ship's more complex tasks and when loaded with self-directing weapons can operate those; I doubt that (m)any of them can fire a fighter's gun.
When it comes to modern fighters most of them are single seaters with the two seaters often used for training purposes.

The F/A-18F being an example of a modern fighter with 2 seats. It is not mostly used for training, there are entire squadrons of them used in combat.

20801.jpg

When it comes to modern fighters most of them are single seaters with the two seaters often used for training purposes.

The F/A-18F being an example of a modern fighter with 2 seats. It is not mostly used for training, there are entire squadrons of them used in combat.

"Often used" is a far cry from "mostly used" so don't confuse the two.  I'm also looking at it in overall number of models .  I guess in all honesty few "modern" fighters are actually used for raw training in part because of cost and because of the availability of simulators

I'll also say that the F/A-18F is a lot more than just a "fighter" in the StarWars sense of the word.  Looking at the range of roles that aircraft fills the guy in back is a lot more than some gunner and in SWSE terms probably fills the rolls of system operater and engineer in addition to copilot more than it would fill a role as gunner.  Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?
"Often used" is a far cry from "mostly used" so don't confuse the two.  I'm also looking at it in overall number of models .  I guess in all honesty few "modern" fighters are actually used for raw training in part because of cost and because of the availability of simulators.

Sorry, my bad. I think that you would have to log quite a few hours in the simulator before you get to try the real thing.

I'll also say that the F/A-18F is a lot more than just a "fighter" in the Star Wars sense of the word.  Looking at the range of roles that aircraft fills the guy in back is a lot more than some gunner and in SWSE terms probably fills the rolls of system operator and engineer in addition to copilot more than it would fill a role as gunner.  Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?

Well, a lot of ships in Star Wars can fill multiple roles, just as the real world equivalent. Take an Y-wing for example, I'm pretty sure the gunner can do more then fire the ion-cannons. Y-wings are used to jam communications sometimes, something handled by the systems operator in most cases, this is most likely handled by the gunner/system-operator on a Y-wing.
As to the question if the co-pilot of the F/A-18F and other modern aircraft can fire the cannons while not controlling the plane, this is something you would have to ask someone who actually flies one of those planes... As far as I know, most modern armament like that do have active targeting, so the guns actually moves slightly from side to side, up and down to help aim the gun. That would make it possible to hit someone in front of you even while not "driving". If is done or not, or if the co-pilot is locked out from the guns, I have no idea.

20801.jpg

Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?



I think this is the key point here.  The second pilot does not control the fighter's cannon, because as you said, it is inseparably tied to the movement of the craft.  Imagine this scene: pilot banks the fighter and lines up the target, and then shouts to his copilot "Fire.  Okay you missed, wait for a second ... wait for a sec--okay, fire!  dang missed again."  Since the pilot is the one moving the craft and literally is hands-on regarding its path, speed, and angle, he is in the better position to use the forward fixed cannon.

Now, I'm trying to remember the interworkings between the pilot and weapons engineer (I don't think that is the correct term) on the apache.  I know the weapons guy controls the missiles/rockets, but I'm trying to remember if he also controls the cannon.  The cannon swivels about following one of the pilot's eyes, but I can't remember which one of them it is.
I'm sorry, but a blackhole ate my Death Star. Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign page Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign wiki Check out pukunui's Absolute Dawn (DoD) campaign log
Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?

I think this is the key point here.  The second pilot does not control the fighter's cannon, because as you said, it is inseparably tied to the movement of the craft.  Imagine this scene: pilot banks the fighter and lines up the target, and then shouts to his copilot "Fire.  Okay you missed, wait for a second ... wait for a sec--okay, fire!  dang missed again."  Since the pilot is the one moving the craft and literally is hands-on regarding its path, speed, and angle, he is in the better position to use the forward fixed cannon.

Now, I'm trying to remember the interworkings between the pilot and weapons engineer (I don't think that is the correct term) on the apache.  I know the weapons guy controls the missiles/rockets, but I'm trying to remember if he also controls the cannon.  The cannon swivels about following one of the pilot's eyes, but I can't remember which one of them it is.

The Apache is actually quite a bit different from a fighter.  The Apache has one gun in a turrent underneath the ship.  If I were to write out the gunship's stats that would be a gunner fired weapon; I may allow the pilot to serve as gunner but he would NOT get the +2 bonus in that situation.

I would guess that a modern fighter's cannon does have some tracking/aiming assistance built in instead of being fixed but I'd guess that it's variation is less that 5 degrees in any direction.  It may be enough to help counter some things but it would still be a very narrow cone to shoot in and not something that could be handled well with out full vehicle control.
 

I think that as a GM I may allow this IF the pilot lines up for an Attack Run.
Otherwise I would go with what StevenO is saying, that this would be impractical at best.

20801.jpg


Previous text

Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?

I think this is the key point here.  The second pilot does not control the fighter's cannon, because as you said, it is inseparably tied to the movement of the craft.  Imagine this scene: pilot banks the fighter and lines up the target, and then shouts to his copilot "Fire.  Okay you missed, wait for a second ... wait for a sec--okay, fire!  dang missed again."  Since the pilot is the one moving the craft and literally is hands-on regarding its path, speed, and angle, he is in the better position to use the forward fixed cannon.

Now, I'm trying to remember the interworkings between the pilot and weapons engineer (I don't think that is the correct term) on the apache.  I know the weapons guy controls the missiles/rockets, but I'm trying to remember if he also controls the cannon.  The cannon swivels about following one of the pilot's eyes, but I can't remember which one of them it is.




The Apache is actually quite a bit different from a fighter.  The Apache has one gun in a turrent underneath the ship.  If I were to write out the gunship's stats that would be a gunner fired weapon; I may allow the pilot to serve as gunner but he would NOT get the +2 bonus in that situation.

I would guess that a modern fighter's cannon does have some tracking/aiming assistance built in instead of being fixed but I'd guess that it's variation is less that 5 degrees in any direction.  It may be enough to help counter some things but it would still be a very narrow cone to shoot in and not something that could be handled well with out full vehicle control.



Yeah, I was bringing up the apache as an example of a case where you can have someone using a forward mounted gun, who was not the pilot.  Because it's mounted on a swivel, it can move about free to some extent from the movement of the aircraft.  I just couldn't remember if it was the pilot or the gunner who had control of the weapon.
I'm sorry, but a blackhole ate my Death Star. Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign page Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign wiki Check out pukunui's Absolute Dawn (DoD) campaign log

Previous text

Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?

I think this is the key point here.  The second pilot does not control the fighter's cannon, because as you said, it is inseparably tied to the movement of the craft.  Imagine this scene: pilot banks the fighter and lines up the target, and then shouts to his copilot "Fire.  Okay you missed, wait for a second ... wait for a sec--okay, fire!  dang missed again."  Since the pilot is the one moving the craft and literally is hands-on regarding its path, speed, and angle, he is in the better position to use the forward fixed cannon.

Now, I'm trying to remember the interworkings between the pilot and weapons engineer (I don't think that is the correct term) on the apache.  I know the weapons guy controls the missiles/rockets, but I'm trying to remember if he also controls the cannon.  The cannon swivels about following one of the pilot's eyes, but I can't remember which one of them it is.


The Apache is actually quite a bit different from a fighter.  The Apache has one gun in a turrent underneath the ship.  If I were to write out the gunship's stats that would be a gunner fired weapon; I may allow the pilot to serve as gunner but he would NOT get the +2 bonus in that situation.

I would guess that a modern fighter's cannon does have some tracking/aiming assistance built in instead of being fixed but I'd guess that it's variation is less that 5 degrees in any direction.  It may be enough to help counter some things but it would still be a very narrow cone to shoot in and not something that could be handled well with out full vehicle control.

Yeah, I was bringing up the apache as an example of a case where you can have someone using a forward mounted gun, who was not the pilot.  Because it's mounted on a swivel, it can move about free to some extent from the movement of the aircraft.  I just couldn't remember if it was the pilot or the gunner who had control of the weapon.

The Apache's cannon is in a belly mounted turrent.  Turrents may have a "home" position along with zones they are more accurate due to stability and other movement factors but they still wouldn't be what I call "foward mounted" guns.  The Cobra Gunships have their turrents in a chin mount which may not be able to fire behind the ship the it still offers considereable movement.



Previous text

Even looking at that can the guy in back fire the fighter's cannon with any kind of accuracy if not also filling the role of pilot?

I think this is the key point here.  The second pilot does not control the fighter's cannon, because as you said, it is inseparably tied to the movement of the craft.  Imagine this scene: pilot banks the fighter and lines up the target, and then shouts to his copilot "Fire.  Okay you missed, wait for a second ... wait for a sec--okay, fire!  dang missed again."  Since the pilot is the one moving the craft and literally is hands-on regarding its path, speed, and angle, he is in the better position to use the forward fixed cannon.

Now, I'm trying to remember the interworkings between the pilot and weapons engineer (I don't think that is the correct term) on the apache.  I know the weapons guy controls the missiles/rockets, but I'm trying to remember if he also controls the cannon.  The cannon swivels about following one of the pilot's eyes, but I can't remember which one of them it is.


The Apache is actually quite a bit different from a fighter.  The Apache has one gun in a turrent underneath the ship.  If I were to write out the gunship's stats that would be a gunner fired weapon; I may allow the pilot to serve as gunner but he would NOT get the +2 bonus in that situation.

I would guess that a modern fighter's cannon does have some tracking/aiming assistance built in instead of being fixed but I'd guess that it's variation is less that 5 degrees in any direction.  It may be enough to help counter some things but it would still be a very narrow cone to shoot in and not something that could be handled well with out full vehicle control.

Yeah, I was bringing up the apache as an example of a case where you can have someone using a forward mounted gun, who was not the pilot.  Because it's mounted on a swivel, it can move about free to some extent from the movement of the aircraft.  I just couldn't remember if it was the pilot or the gunner who had control of the weapon.

The Apache's cannon is in a belly mounted turrent.  Turrents may have a "home" position along with zones they are more accurate due to stability and other movement factors but they still wouldn't be what I call "foward mounted" guns.  The Cobra Gunships have their turrents in a chin mount which may not be able to fire behind the ship the it still offers considereable movement.





While it has a range of movement, I don't believe the cannon on the apache is capable of firing behind the aircraft.  It's of little importance to this thread, however, and I'm afraid I may be taking it off its rails.
I'm sorry, but a blackhole ate my Death Star. Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign page Check out my Eve of Destruction campaign wiki Check out pukunui's Absolute Dawn (DoD) campaign log
Sign In to post comments