We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not
an act, but a habit.
"I don't know why I put up with your manners. I should
throw you out right this moment."
"And loose your best polihacker? Get real, buster, without me
you would understand nada of what happens on the Hill. You may have
the money and tech, but you can't even parse the Post. Without me,
you wouldn't know what hit you when they change the rules
"Just don't forget who pays the bills. Do you really think
you could have created an organization like this?"
Academic skills enable the character to understand nature, man and
society on a deeper level. He can see how and why certain ideas
influence the way of thinking in his area, and utilize them. The
Coordinator should give bonuses and penalties depending on the
quality of a character's access to reference libraries,
professional advice, equipment etc.
This is the study of matter and how it behaves. Applications
include understanding the reactions that occur in our environment,
analyzing unknown substances, synthesizing chemicals and knowing
their properties. Modern chemistry relies heavily on online
databases and simulation methods, as well as the traditional lab
The study of living organisms, from individual viruses to whole
ecosystems. Biologists learn about how organisms function, their
properties, how they live, evolve, can be identified and
classified, how they form biotopes and ecosystems. See also Ecology
Medicine studies the human body and its illnesses, both as a
scientific subject in itself and as the practical skill of helping
sick (or healthy) people get better. Medicine can be used to
diagnose illnesses and find treatments, know about how the body
works and how it will react to different circumstances ("Is it
dangerous to bring him along with his weak heart?").
This is the study of matter, energy and the forces that bind them
together. Like most modern sciences it has a variety of branches,
such as theoretical physics, thermodynamics, nuclear physics,
chemical physics, materials physics, engineering physics and
optics. Using physics it is possible to predict and design physical
processes, as well as understand why they occur.
Unlike arithmetic and everyday calculations, Mathematics deals with
abstract structures, ranging from numbers and geometry in the
beginning to concepts like functions, sets, groups, graphs and
spaces higher up. Modern mathematics has a myriad of
subdisciplines, but the major areas are analysis, algebra, logic,
geometry and combinatorics. Some degree of mathematical knowledge
is usually necessary to truly understand modern science, but most
people think Mathematics is too hard for them, barring themselves
We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science
and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science
Engineering is the art and science of building things, from
electronic toys to roads. It also includes the ability to repair
and maintain them, but unlike the Repair skill the engineer does so
based on an understanding of the object, not just rules of thumb.
Subdisciplines include mechanical engineering, power engineering,
civil engineering and many others.
This skill is not only about telling funny anecdotes about
historical figures and remembering important events. It is about
understanding the political, economic and socio-cultural processes
that shaped history's course. The skill is about understanding why
events happened in a certain way and to analyze the effects that
those events had on the present.
Psychology studies how humans think and behave, and why. It is a
broad subject, containing many subfields with quite different
methods and aims. Some are scientific, while others are more
gathered experience and theory; many subfields are somewhere in
between (and a few, like certain forms of psychoanalysis, have
developed into cults rather than serious disciplines). This skill
allows the user to understand human motivations and behavior, for
example diagnosing what is wrong with someone who seems manic, and
methods to deal with it (ranging from drugs to talking calmly).
Most people have a little inkling of psychology (who was Freud?)
but tend to know more about the latest pop psychology psychobabble
than the real stuff.
Social Sciences VH
This skill is composed of several separate skills like Anthropology
(the study of civilizations), Philosophical History (the study of
how ideas have changed in history), Art History, Literature
History, Political Science and many other skills in the humanities.
The problem is that they nowadays are nearly inaccessible to a
student. They are so deeply steeped in post-modern thoughts and
jargon that hinders them to really accomplish anything significant
and they have sunk to their lowest point in history. Their teachers
have declared that humanities have no questions to ask, no method
to follow, and no answers to offer. As a result, they are
disappearing - losing their identity, their intelligibility and
their students. Nearly no one would suspect any longer that these
skills could be relevant to human life or action. That is why these
skills are Very Hard, they are damn hard to get anything useful
Art is the skill used to create artistic pieces. It is used in
combination with an appropriate Crafts skill (Sculpting, Painting
and so on). It is also used to appreciate and evaluate art. The Art
skill shows how unique and original the character's artistic vision
is, his creativity, his talent to express his vision and his
capacity to refine his appropriate Crafts skill into an artistic
technique. These are things that can be improved with practice.
Unfortunately there isn't any art around anymore so the character
must work on his own to achieve this skill.
This skill is about understanding religion in a scientific way. You
don't learn about the religion as a practitioner, but as a reasoned
observer. You understand the mechanisms behind faith and how and
why religious leaders manipulate the believers. You know about
various religions' organization and their history.
Anyone who thinks they have devised an unbreakable
encryption scheme either is an incredibly rare genius or is naive
Cryptography is the ability to understand, create, implement and
crack cryptographic systems. Most cryptographers rely on advanced
mathematics; without it cryptography becomes more a question of
brute force and tricky programming. Unlike the movies, a
cryptographer can not necessarily crack any message even with
unlimited computing power. There are cryptosystems like blanket
ciphers that are simply impossible to crack - unless the adversary
makes some mistake, or the cryptographer can get extra information.
In reality, many "secure" communications are far less secure than
Philip Zimmermann, PGP documentation
Nanotechnology is the art and science of making nanodevices that
actually work, and employing them for various tasks. Without
chemistry and physics it is mainly putting together pre-designed
parts, together with the other sciences it can be used to create
devices with amazing abilities. Nanotechnologists mainly use
molecular modeling and simulation tools to develop their designs,
trying out different structures and arrangements before attempting
to put them together in a nanolab or MC. This later part can often
become amazingly frustrating, as the real world is far more messy
and complex than the simulations. Just because you know
nanotechnology doesn't mean you can build anything; there are a lot
more or less obvious limitations to nanodevices, and making a
robust, working nanite that actually does what you want is an
achievement in itself.
The ability to understand how biological systems can be modified,
and the practical skills to do so. This involves everything from
culturing bacteria, genetic testing, genetic modifications,
cloning, various forms of gene therapy to designing new genes.
Biotech of course requires laboratory equipment, although the
essentials for many processes today have shrunk to portable kits.
Electronics is diverse and commonplace; practically everything has
some kind of electronics inside. With electronics it is possible to
understand how the circuits work, to repair or design them,
interfere with their work - or even understand what they are
intended to do.
Artificial Intelligence VH
Artificial Intelligence is the field of making more or less
autonomous machines and software, that can act as independent
entities, learn and solve problems. It involves ways of programming
software so it acts intelligently, theories of how to make more
adaptable and smart systems, how to manage very complex multiagent
systems and the software side of building robots (the physical side
is mainly Engineering and Electronics). This is useful to
understand and develop better search agents, organize robot swarms
or program expert systems.
Ecology was partially a sub-discipline within biology, but has
grown into an independent field recently. The Ecology skill
combines both knowledge about ecology itself (how does the
ecosystem work?), environmental science (how does pollution affect
things? what will deforestation lead to?) and ecotechnological
engineering (what is needed to increase biological diversity in
this area?). Using this skill it is possible to understand and
model complex environmental situations, and to apply more or less
efficient methods to fix them.
Computer Programming H
A programmer can create new programs and make the computer do new
things (unlike Computer Use, which merely is the skill of actually
using the computer well). Programming can be done in a variety of
ways, from high-level software engineering down to quick and dirty
hacking. Most people can use the simple scripting tools available
to write small programs, but Computer Programming allows the
programmer to write powerful programs in more advanced computer
languages. Included in this skill is also an understanding of how
operating systems and computers really work, and how this affects
operations - this can be used for cracking systems.
Financial Analysis VH
This skill is similar to Evaluation but on a much, much higher
level. It is based on knowledge of Economics, Management and
Administration. With it you can be a successful stockbroker or
corporate executive. You can decide which tactical and strategic
decisions a rather big organization should make to remain
profitable and functional. You can see strengths and weaknesses in
an organization and you are able to make predictions about its
future and of appropriate measures. Management and Administration
might be enough to run a small organization, but not a
This skill is about understanding how an economy works, in theory.
It involves micro- and macro analysis from a neo-classical
perspective but also an Austrian analysis of market processes. It
can be used to make predictions of an economy's strength and to
understand what makes a market work and why.
This skill is the practical side of Administration. How do you
implement the theory in the practical situation at hand in your
organization? If you don't possess this skill you are a prime
candidate for becoming a dilbertist boss, you often try to apply
inadequate measures in your organization because they sound fine in
theory or look great in other organizations. The skill includes
also a bit of knowledge about identifying organizational
subcultures, organizational etiquette and personnel psychology.
Note that this isn't the fabled Bureaucracy skill from many
role-playing games. To manipulate the system also requires other
skills (particularly Social skills).
How to administrate an organization in theory. How do you build up
an effective organization that accomplishes its goals at a minimal
cost in resources? It includes some accounting, personnel
administration (who should do what and how?) and resource
administration (what should do what and how?).
An in-depth knowledge of how the media works, what news are
interesting to the media, how do you design a TV-program or a
newspaper article to be interesting and get accepted, who is who in
the media. In short, how do the media work in practice? Often used
in combination with Journalism.
Academic studies in journalism, communication sciences, media
structure and media history. This is a theoretical skill that is
often applied in combination with Media, that is the practical
The skills to produce visual media like still photography,
film-making and VR construction. The skill is often used with
Computer Use. It includes knowledge of the technologies used in the
production of these media, as well as how they can be manipulated.
Covers theoretical and practical knowledge of metaphysics,
epistemology, ethics and politics. Philosophy, unlike what many
think, is a very practical skill that is essential to life as it
enables you to understand it and live it. The Philosophy skill is
very infrequent at philosophy faculties at universities all over
the world . Most have discarded it as relevant to real life.
Knowledge about the laws. You know how the judicial system should
work and how it really works. You understand why the lawmakers have
made the laws in a particular manner and what they wish to achieve
by that. The skill does not only cover the laws of the FOG but also
objective justice, theoretical law and Concordat rule
interpretations. If trying to understand a different legal system
than the one you're accustomed to you will get penalties to your
Combat skills have a chapter of their own, see below.
Thrown Weapons H
The ability to throw knives, axes, shuriken, javelins and other
melee weapons. It also includes the ability to throw a hand grenade
in a correct and directed manner.
The ability to fire bows, improvised or factory made. The skill
includes an ability to repair them. It does not include the ability
to fire crossbows; Firearms cover that.
Combat Experience VH
You have participated in real combat. You know what to do in a
combat situation, how to stay alive and succeed in your combat
tasks. Lower levels can be attained if you are constantly involved
in brawls or shoot-outs but the higher levels are probably only
attained from war experiences. That's why Combat Experience is a VH
skill, you don't get many opportunities to train it besides the
real thing (and one mistake there and you won't be able to train it
again). Paintball games can be a way to train it at very low
levels, but ultimately it doesn't really prepare you for the real
Covers the use of pistols, rifles, submachine guns and automatic
rifles but not machine guns or heavier firearms. It also covers the
use of crossbows. Firearms can also be used to maintain guns. If
you are firing a rare or experimental weapon, the Coordinator will
give you a negative modification on your skill to use it until you
are accustomed to it.
Covers the use of most melee weapons, everything from knives,
broken bottles, chains, swords and shields. You can keep your
weapon working with this skill and you will probably get a negative
modifier on a rare or experimental weapon (how did your character
learn to use a great axe?)
Kicking, biting, scratching, wrestling and punching. It's the way
most people fight, without technique and finesse. This skill
indicates that you have been in quite a lot of fights and that you
can walk away from them with your adversary hurting more than you.
Heavy Weapons VH
Flame throwers, heavy artillery and machine guns and so on. Very
military weapons, you learn to use these in the army.
To plant bombs and explosives effectively without blowing oneself
up in the process.
Martial Arts VH
Martial Arts are about fighting with a technique, often with a lot
of practice attached to it. If you just know some karate kicks you
are Brawling. You have certainly trained a lot in a dojo (or
equivalent) if you posses a Martial Art. Each Martial Art is a
separate skill, for instance Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Capoeira, Rua
Vale Tudo, Ninpo, Judo, la Savate, Krav Maga, Ninjutsu, Boxing and
Greek-Roman Wrestling. This is not to say that Brawling is a less
efficient skill; many of these Martial Arts are fooling their
practitioners that their skills will be efficient in a real combat
situation. Sure, Judo might look good in a dojo, but it is
difficult to use it in real combat. That is why this skill is Very
Hard, you must put in the extra effort to learn it right.
Personal skills enable the character to perform practical tasks
involving his body and his mind. They are a quite varied
These are athletic abilities performed at a professional level.
Each sport is a separate skill, for instance American football,
soccer, basketball, water polo, gymnastics, track and field and
ice-hockey. A person that uses the skill Soccer is much more
skilled and refined than someone just using Athletics. At the
Coordinators discretion the appropriate Sports skill can substitute
for Athletics in certain situations.
General athletic ability. It is used to climb, jump, run fast, run
long distances, lift heavy objects and so on. Mind that the various
Sports skills are on a professional level and much superior to
The traditional crafts like carpentry, blacksmith, weaving, pottery
and so on. They are too many to list here and each craft is a
Information Gathering H
Information Gathering is about researching, finding and evaluating
information found from different sources like a library, the
Internet or from rumors. It involves obtaining relevant data and
evaluating their significance and then process them into good
information from which you can deduce things about the subject you
are researching. The skill is rated Hard because most people aren't
very skilled at doing such a broad and open search as this skill
enables. If the character does a very limited research he might get
a bonus, but not quite as good results.
You know the techniques and are skilled with the tools used for
activities such as picking locks (both mechanical and electronic),
hot-wiring cars, setting and deactivating burglar alarms, and
opening up safes. You also know how to build and penetrate complex
You are a bit of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to mechanics
and electronics. You can repair simple or complex devices like
cars, elevators, doors and even computers. Given the proper tools
you can fix most things. Construction or more advanced problems
requires Engineering or other relevant skills.
Computer Use N
In the 21st century the actual use of computers is very
differentiated from the programming of them. You can be very
skilled at using computer applications like word processing,
spreadsheets and presentation programs without knowing how to
create them (the reverse is also true). With the skill of Computer
Use you can get the most out of your computer's functions and
minimize problems. Most people use this skill in combination with
other skills in their daily jobs.
Memory Tech VH
See Mental Techniques
See Mental Techniques
Body Control VH
See Mental Techniques
Attention Training VH
See Mental Techniques
Emotion Control VH
See Mental Techniques
Urban Survival N
The skill makes it possible to survive in an urban environment with
few means. It includes some home economics but it generally enables
you to know where you can find cheap or free food, clothes, shelter
and such things. If you really are destitute, completely without
capital or means (bag-lady style) and not accustomed to it you will
get a penalty on your skill. Urban Survival is about surviving on
small means. A lot of romanticism has been said in many
role-playing games about living on the streets with no means, but
it is really an impossible lifestyle. Most destitute people survive
by lingering on institutions, receiving welfare from time to time
or by getting out of the homeless lifestyle - those who don't tend
Wilderness Survival H
A lot of glamorizing here too. Living in the wilderness is pure
hell, with this skill you can hunt, fish, forage for food, know a
bit about animals in the wilderness, which plants to eat and make
small traps. You will survive, but hardly more. If you lack
equipment you will most certainly get penalties on your skill.
Trying to survive in an unfamiliar environment will reduce your
Stealth enables you to move quietly and without rousing suspicion.
It is used both in the wilderness and in urban environment. Almost
always a resisted dice roll.
Use Technology E
This skill involves using and repairing everyday technology. It's a
very basic skill that can be used to design a new technology so it
is usable and understandable to the general public. Note that
people from Third World countries will generally have lower ratings
on this skill. A Pakistani peasant will not know how to operate an
elevator or kitchen blender. There is a lot of advanced technology
in our lives that people in the industrialized countries just take
Basic Education E
A basic industrialized country education. It includes knowledge of
basic mathematics (addition, subtraction, multiplication and
division), speaking and reading and writing your native tongue on a
fairly advanced level (that's why even native speakers do not start
with higher than Mediocre). Some basic knowledge about your native
society (with which you might answer simple questions like who is
the president of the United States, how is the Swedish parliament
elected) and basic knowledge in legal matters (am I allowed to own
drugs?). Note that people from Third World countries will generally
have lower ratings on this skill and that knowledge from Basic
Education is heavily tainted with FOG propaganda.
You are streetwise with this skill. You are knowledgeable about
criminal operations, where to find fixers, illegal goods and
services. You know the etiquette among these groups and you have
knowledge about organized crime. Mind you, this is a rare skill. If
you possess it you are certainly part of the scene. If you possess
it at higher levels you are a serious operator (perhaps a Triad
boss or its equivalent) and you may have been sentenced for a
crime, one of the best ways of learning Underworld is in prison. If
you run a criminal operation you will use this skill in combination
with other skills. The skill is international, but you will
encounter heavy penalties to your skill if you try to use it in an
Farming includes basic agronomy. You know how to run a small farm,
how to take care of traditional crops to produce a reasonable yield
and how to take care of traditional livestock. You can also use
Farming to take care of domestic pets in an efficient way.
The ability to drive personal transports like cars, bicycles,
motorcycles, trucks, lorries and such. If you try to drive a
vehicle that you are not accustomed to (like a Main Battle Tank)
you will get heavy penalties until you are accustomed to it.
The ability to use aquatic transports ranging from rowing boats,
sailboats, motorboats, catamarans, submarines and supertankers. If
you try to drive a vehicle that you are not accustomed to (like a
supertanker) you will get heavy penalties until you are accustomed
The ability to use air transports ranging from hang-gliders,
helicopters, commercial jets, and space shuttles. If you try to fly
a vehicle that you are not accustomed to (like a jumbo jet) you
will get heavy penalties until you are accustomed to it.
You are knowledgeable about politics with this skill. You are
knowledgeable about political operations, where to find power
brokers, subsidies and quangos. You know the etiquette among these
groups and you have knowledge about organized political parties.
Mind you, this is a rare skill. If you possess it you are certainly
part of the scene. If you possess it at higher levels you are a
serious operator (perhaps a mayor or its equivalent) and you may
have been elected to an office, one of the best ways of learning
Politics is in a political body. If you run a political operation
you will use this skill in combination with other skills. The skill
is international, but you will encounter heavy penalties to your
skill if you try to use it in an unfamiliar environment.
Mumbo-Jumbo is frighteningly common knowledge in the 21st century.
You know quite a lot about the New Age movement and various sects.
Traditional superstition in Third World countries is also included
in this skill (what are pennangalans?). What do the various New Age
groups say about the world? What they say about a specific issue
and how they deal with problems. This skill gives you the
propaganda that the sects say to the masses. It isn't a true
understanding of their ideas. To truly understand the mumbo-jumbo
you should use this skill with Theology and Philosophy.
Political Correctness E
A horrible combat skill, it enables the user to attack a subject
with mind-numbing Political Correctness. In the 21st century people
have been taught to not argue with certain types of arguments, a
ritual of quietly accepting something as the truth. Political
Correctness covers the whole spectrum of ideas that dominate
society; feminist theory, queer theory, environmentalism, war
against drugs rhetoric, United Nations babble, egalitarianism and
so on. It is a good thing to know one's enemy, but Political
Correctness should be used in combination with a serious skill. By
its nature it's very one-sided and one-eyed. It doesn't work on
cynical FOG people, most Concordat members and others who have
freed themselves from social conventions, but it still affects most
listeners and arguing against it sounds bad.
Example: Jeanette Beaulieu is debating with a FOG
loyalist in front of a large auditorium. She is not doing too well,
the loyalist has had some rather good arguments and is manipulating
the mood. She decides to use Political Correctness: "But what about
women, children, disabled and other weak groups? Your society will
put them at an even greater disadvantage, at the mercy of
paternalistic bureaucrats in Brussels!". She goes on to
environmental issues. Her argument is completely spurious, but
since most of the audience has been conditioned to not argue with
this kind of argument (and besides, any attack might be male
chauvinism) she wins - at least for now.
Lemming Lore E
How does John Q. Public think? What is considered normal in
mainstream culture? How does a "normal" person act in a given
situation? It might seem as a stupid skill, but consider this, how
"normal" are the players' characters? It is easy sometimes to loose
sight of mainstream society and thus end up branded as a bunch of
"kooks" when you daily deal with things people generally don't have
the slightest clue about. In addition, this skill is useful for
blending in, which can be used for "social engineering" and
infiltration. Of course, if you use this skill in a very different
culture that you are accustomed to you will certainly get some
penalties to your skill (John Q. Public acts in a very strange way
in many Arabs' opinion).
Example: Auntie May has confronted Bill and his
cell-mates with the fact that they are doing something strange in
the basement. Something seems to be cooking in some chemical
equipment. How should they explain this? The bad idea would be to
say something "Oh, we're just doing some nanoscale mechanosynthetic
chemistry for school". This is bad since it is something weird and
unknown and the proud aunt might even mention it to the neighbors.
A better solution would be to say something like "Oh, don't tell
this to anyone. Me and my mates are just making moonshine - do you
want a bottle?" This is something understandable, and May will
likely keep quiet (even if she disapproves, to protect her nephew)
and even if she doesn't, the nosy neighbors will likely just ask
for moonshine. With Lemming Lore you can see what's a good idea and
a bad idea when dealing with lemmings.
Official View E
What is the FOG saying about the world? What does it think of a
specific issue and how does it deal with problems. WARNING! This
skill gives you "the official view", what the FOG says to the
masses. With Official View, you can understand what the prime
minister really means with the word 'justice'. It isn't the way the
FOG is really run. To truly understand the FOG you should use this
skill with Philosophy, Law and Politics. This skill only gives you
propaganda. Corporate dilbertism is included in this skill.
What do the various groups of mindless activists say about the
world? What they say about a specific issue and how they deal with
problems. This skill gives you the propaganda that the activists
say to the masses. It isn't a true understanding of their ideas. To
truly understand the activists you should use this skill with
Philosophy and Politics. Activism is also useful for blending in,
by spouting the right slogans and dressing right. All non-TU groups
are included in this skill from neo-nazi groups to
environmentalists and anarchists.
Example: The kooky right-wing politician is on
electoral campaign in town. What will the anarcho-syndicalists do,
and how do you avoid the mess?
The art of assigning a proper value to goods, commodities and
services. You use this skill to get the highest price for your
goods and services and to buy things cheap. It can also be used as
a haggling skill, but it requires that both parties acknowledge a
proper value. Most people outside the TU use Brownnosing and
Manipulation to trick and fool.
Area Knowledge E
Each area is a specific skill. Even if you are very knowledgeable
about the Stockholm area you won't know as much about the
Montevideo area. An area is often a city and its surroundings but
it could also be of a specific countryside or wilderness (i.e.
Amazon Knowledge). It gives you the kind of knowledge found in
guidebooks at first, to go on towards the pecularities only known
by locals. The reason it starts as Mediocre for all areas is that
you can quite easily attain that level of knowledge by reading some
good guidebooks and live a few weeks in the area - if you haven't,
then the relevant skill is lower.
This skill is an asset in InfoWar, the ability to teach someone
another skill. It involves some pedagogy, a bit of psychology,
ability to make a realistic and functional curriculum and knowledge
of how to "sell" the subject to a student. Teachers are really a
kind of salesmen that try to make the student interested in the
subject, it is really the motivated student that does most of the
hard work, with some coaching from the teacher. Of course, the
teacher must have a higher level in the taught skill than the
Social skills enable the character to interact with other people.
Positive or negative modifiers should be given according to the
player's role-playing but don't discard rolling the dice for Social
skills altogether. After all, the character has other strengths and
weaknesses in this area than the player and the actual dice roll
accentuates them. Social skills should also be used among player
characters, absolutely not dictating the others' reactions but
giving them a suggestion of how they should react. Wouldn't it be
strange if a great debater among others always looses every debate
in his own cell?
Emotional embezzlement. To trick someone to believe in something by
using his emotions against him. It often involves using guilt
feelings against the target. This skill can also be used to confuse
a target with fast-talk.
This skill involves using logical arguments to convince someone of
something. Most people are not used to use logic or to be a part of
a logical debate. That is why this skill is Hard. Rhetorics is
included, but only those uses that rely on logic and honest
debating otherwise, as in most cases, Manipulation is used.
To put oneself in an inferior's position and rely on the good will
of the target. It includes flattery, whining, insincere admiration
and bootlicking. You don't try to argue with the target (that's
Argumentation), neither to attack his feelings (that's
Manipulation). This skill is also used in bribing people by
offering them something. The briber does not see himself as an
equal partner in the transaction, like in Evaluation.
Menacing and frightening a target either with direct or veiled
In InfoWar each language is a separate skill; Romanian is one
skill, French is another. You might get a bonus to understand a
language that is related to one you know. Your native tongue (or
tongues if your multilingual, and that is quite unusual) is covered
by Basic Education. Higher levels of skill mean that you are not
only fluent in that language but you have also an academic grasp of
the language's history, function, grammar, a bit of essential
literature and the ability to express very advanced and complex
things. Of course, this skill also includes reading and writing the
language besides speaking it.
The upper crusts of society are still a world very much of their
own. There are still a lot of differences between the elite and the
lower classes. If you don't possess Etiquette at a reasonable level
you will be regarded as an outsider by the rich and famous.
Etiquette is nearly a talent that the sons and daughters of old
money start to learn since birth. The lower classes are more
unaware of the differences that really still exist nowadays (since
they aren't so pronounced as earlier) so they often use Brownnosing
to communicate with the upper class.
Example: One of the authors went to a party of an upper
class acquaintance some time ago. He has some knowledge of
Etiquette even if he isn't upper class. In a discussion with the
party's hostess another guest kept praising the hostess for her
marvelous ten-room apartment. The author kept quiet because he knew
that upper class people consider it uncouth to mention their
possessions. It is natural for them to have such an apartment,
whoever makes a big deal of it is certainly not from their class.
With this knowledge he didn't make a simple mistake and he got more
respect from the hostess. This is how characters can use Etiquette,
if they are not from the upper class themselves.
Creating Your Own Skills
Sometimes The Dialogue of a character indicates that he should
possess a skill that isn't covered by the already existing ones. Be
careful when you design a new skill, 30 free skill levels aren't a
lot if you want reasonably skilled character's from an
industrialized country, and if you construct too many skills your
characters won't know anything in the end. When assigning the
difficulty of the new skill think about; how common is the skill in
society, how easy it is to train, if the skill is obtainable in
just a few institutions and so on. The most important questions,
will the skill be relevant to the character, is it something that
has to be covered in a separate skill and will it add to the
role-playing? Most new skills will probably be Hard or Very Hard.
In Bill's Dialogue he mentioned that he had studied Agronomy. Since
the stories that the Coordinator has designed are about modern
agriculture and fighting the myths surrounding agriculture he
designs a new skill. Agronomy is different to Farming; it is a
scientific skill to optimize agricultural profits. It involves
animal and crop handling on a much bigger scale than Farming and is
taught at universities and special schools, so it should be Hard.
Space Training VH
Monique's character was an astronaut in the '80s and the chronicle
is about stopping FOG's satellites. Space Training involves most
operations than an astronaut does in space. To cope with micro-
gravity, to take care of his spacesuit and operating advanced
technology and sensors. This skill can only be learned at very few
places so the skill should be Very Hard.