With the current Edge of the Empire Beta rules as written, the Piloting skill feels a little underwhelming and disappointing. It is given me Despair. The skill is intrinsically tied to the game, not only by having a Career Specialization with the same name, but also in the core idea that most Star Wars campaigns will have some degree of starship travel.
I would like to alter the rules to better emphasize and encourage investment into the two Pilot skills. There are only a few different ways listed in the Edge of the Empire Beta that call upon a Pilot skill check; navigating hazardous terrain, chase scenes, and the Gain the Advantage action. In a firefight involving medium sized vehicles and starships without copious debris littering the field, though, the skill level of the Pilot is made entirely irrelevant.
I think that a good place to look to change the situation to the better is the Gain the Advantage action, which tries to narratively represent the fast-paced, back and forth jockeying of high speed starship and vehicular combat. The action has good potential and can be tweaked a bit to better emulate the kind of game I want to play.
Gain the Advantage currently suffers from two major problems:
- The current prerequisites of using this action prevent light freighter pilots from ever using it. The rationale here seems to be grounded in some sort of sense of realism and simulation, but I don’t really care about that. I’m playing a game of make-believe with laser swords, afterall. What I do care about is that most Crew will be flying light freighters, and thus this action becomes worthless to the player characters. So, I am now opening the restrictions on the action, but giving stiff penalties for trying this against a faster vehicle than your own.
- It’s not really a great tactical option for snubfighters either. In almost every situation, over the course of two rounds it is tactically better to attack twice rather than Gain the Advantage and then attack once. Thus, this needs to be a Maneuver, not an Action, in order to have it worth using for smaller vessels. This would also give starfighter pilots a more interesting tactical decision as they can now attack and then choose between Gain the Advantage and a different maneuver, such as Evasive Action. Furthermore, pilots in very clumsy vehicles (or very clumsy pilots) can opt to use the automatic, but lesser benefits of Stay on Target.
Here is the result:
Gain The Advantage (CSR)
Pilot Only Maneuver
Requirement: Speed 1+
Target one starship or vehicle in Close range and make an opposed Piloting check against the starship or vehicle’s pilot.
Upgrade the check for each point of Speed your starship or vehicle is travelling faster than the target, and downgrade the check for each point of Speed your starship or vehicle is travelling slower than the target. Add Boost or Setback die as normally determined by the starship or vehicle’s Handling rating.
On a successful check, combat checks from your starship or vehicle against the target are upgraded and you may choose the defense zone targeted.