The Storm Has a Name
Use: Unskilled use penalized. Macro skill.
Sample limitations: Biology, chemistry, physics, electronics, materials, any applied field of knowledge.
Sample specializations: A more specific area of knowledge within a limitation.
Axiom: Social 10
This skill represents an understanding of scientific facts and principles, and the ability to apply that knowledge in order to learn new facts and principles, adapt to unusual applications of the knowledge and to develop or understand new technologies. It is this ability to apply what is already known to understand something that is unknown that differentiates science from scholar. Scholar is more rote learning and memorization of facts, if a question or problem involves something not already contained in a body of knowledge, scholar is of no help in figuring it out.
For example, a Core Earther with scholar(physics) might understand the basic principles behind lasers and would recognize a Tech 26 energy weapon as firing some kind of laser beam. But to understand how the weapon actually creates its laser beam, say for purposes of repairing the weapon or to design and build a similar device, is beyond the scope of the scholar skill. That requires science.
Players may purchase the science skill multiple times to represent additional areas of expertise for their character. Limitations can be about as broad as the subjects in which universities typically offer undergraduate degrees. A narrower focus within a field would normally involve a specialization but isn’t required. If the player wishes to limit his character’s knowledge to just a narrowly defined field she does not have to take a broad limitation and then apply a specialization.
The difficulty numbers for using science to figure out a new concept or piece of technology are based on the overall complexity of the problem, modified by its Tech axiom relative to the scientist’s Tech axiom. The Difficulty Number Scale is used to determine the difficulty based on these sample definitions and modifiers:
|Easy||Basic principles (gravity), very simple mechanisms with few or no moving parts|
|Average||Basic principles in detail (newton’s laws of gravity), simple mechanisms|
|Complicated||Advanced principles (einstein’s theories of relativity), complex mechanisms, simple electronic devices|
|Difficult||Advanced principles in detail (curvature of space-time), mechanisms with many integrated systems, complex electronics|
|Hard||Highly specialized principles (gravity waves), complex electronics with many integrated systems|
|Very hard||Mechanisms with hundreds of integrated systems, simple devices utilizing advanced principles|
|Extremely hard||Electronics with hundreds of integrated systems, simple devices utilizing highly specialized principles|
|Incredible||Complex devices utilizing advanced principles|
|Nearly impossible||Complex devices utilizing highly specialized principles|
|Prototype device, theoretical model||+3|
|Production model, tested theory||+0|
|Lower tech axiom than scientist’s by no more than three points||-5|
|Lower tach axiom than scientist’s by more than three points||+5|
|Tech axiom greater than scientist’s by no more than three points||+5|
|Tech axiom greater than scientist’s by more than three points||+10|
|Related information resources available||-1 To -5|
|Consultation with other scientists||Use many on one rules|
The success level of the scientist skill check determines how much knowledge the character gains about the device or scientific principle he’s trying to understand.
|Success Level||Achievement Possible|
|Minimal||The scientist knows what the device is supposed to do and any game values it may possess (such as a weapon’s damage value.) Device can be operated if the scientist has the appropriate skill. Theories and principles understood in general layman’s terms.|
|Average||The scientist can operate devices with the normal unskilled use penalty if he does not have the appropriate skill. Theories and principles understood in more detail.|
|Good||The scientist can operate devices without unskilled use penalties, or operate devices that cannot be used unskilled with a Very Hard penalty.|
|Superior||The scientist understands the device well enough to repair it, if proper tools and materials of the appropriate Tech axiom are available. Devices that cannot be used unskilled may be operated with a Hard penalty.|
|Spectacular||Gives the scientist the knowledge necessary to design a similar device if the proper resources are available. Theories and principles also understood well enough to design devices that utilize said concepts. Devices that cannot be used unskilled may be operated with a Complicated penalty.|
Example: Father Wagner pays a visit to a physicist he knows, hoping she can shed some light on a strange television-sized device the Storm Knights discovered during an adventure in Los Angeles.
The mechanism, a Tharkold synthecycler, is extremely complex and is made up of numerous systems so Becky rates its difficulty at Very Hard (15). Additionally, the item’s Tech axiom is 26 and
the physicist’s is only 23 so there is a +5 penalty, increasing the difficulty to 20. The physicist has science(physics) 14. Generating a skill total of 20, she gets a Minimal success.
She is able to tell Wagner that the device appears to be a small automated factory of some kind; raw materials are inserted at one end and are converted into a finished product somehow that comes out the other end. Control of the machine appears to involve a cybernetic link of some kind.
Because the physicist does not have the appropriate skill (UltraCAD operations), or a neural interface for that matter, she does not know how to operate the device.