Feb 19, 2018

Science Fiction Skills for Openquest

Following up on these changes to Openquest's skill system, here's a list of possible skills that should be added to the skill list for science fiction games. Many of them are drawn from the Mythras science fiction skill list. I'm mainly interested in moderately-hard science fiction stuff, so there's no "Psionics" or the like. Obviously, I'd recommend removing Sorcery Casting as a skill in a sci-fi game.

New Skill Additions

Communications (INT x2)
Computers (INT + CON)
Explosives (DEX + INT)
Gunnery (DEX + INT)
Piloting (DEX + INT)
Scanning (INT x 2)
Science (INT x 2)
Social Engineering (CHA + INT)

Skills Changed for a Science Fiction Setting

Locale (Region)

New Skill Descriptions

Communications covers using complex communications mechanisms like encrypted radio transmissions, tight-beam lasers or entangled photonic systems. Communications also covers encryption/decryption, using ECM / ECCM suites, and is the skill used for issuing orders to autonomous drones, vehicles, and robots.

covers programming, hacking, data retrieval, and performing other tasks involve a computer's software systems. It's also used for setting up behaviour trees for autonomous systems (e.g. security systems, autonomous drones, etc.). Computers uses CON as one of its relevant stats because almost anything you'd want to do with it is an extended task requiring focus and concentration over long periods.

covers deploying, detonating, and defusing explosive devices. Rocket launchers and other guns that shoot explosive rounds are covered by Ranged Combat or Gunnery. Grenades, IEDs and demolition-charges are Explosives. The skill also covers analysing or identifying explosives and their aftermaths.

Gunnery covers using, reloading, and repairing weapons systems that don't use direct sights to aim, ranging from artillery to air-to-air missiles to ICBMs and installation-based rail guns. It is used by drones and other autonomous vehicles and robots to fire, and is used in most vehicular combat.

covers operating vehicles in three dimensions, whereas Driving covers vehicles that operate in two dimensions. Piloting is used for manoeuvring during vehicle combat, for astrogation and for space travel. Piloting is also used to remotely operate drones.

Scanning is the use and interpretation of complex scanning equipment whether these devices are hand-held or vehicle-mounted. Any device that returns results more complicated than a false-colour picture (e.g. thermal vision or low-light amplification) uses Scanning instead of Perception. Scanning is now also the skill used for surveying, replacing Engineering's role.

Science covers scientific knowledge, versus Lore which covers other kinds of knowledge (the humanities). Science uses specialities, so each 20% or fraction thereof in the skill grants another speciality.

Social Engineering allows a PC to engage in politics on a mass level. It deals with analysing and changing belief systems and ideologies through the use of propaganda and other means of mass communication. Influence covers changing an individual or small group's beliefs, Oratory covers a larger group, and Social Engineering works on the level of entire societies.

Changed Skill Descriptions

Athletics now also includes all zero-g / EVA manoeuvring in space.

Driving now explicitly covers all vehicles that operate in two dimensions, ranging from chariots to cars, trucks, and buses. Hovering vehicles with relatively fixed altitudes (skimmers, etc.) and humanoid robots are handled with Driving as well.

Engineering is now a speciality skill, and covers constructing or repairing any machine larger than a person, from groundcars and security systems to fusion plants and FTL drives. It also includes architectural analysis (Is the floor sloped? What's the gravity in this station? Are there secret doors here? etc.) and design. Surveying is now part of Scanning.

Locale (Region)
has only a minor change, in that "region" should be interpreted broadly to include larger areas than a medieval person would mean by that term. A space explorer might have Locale (Mars) or in a game of sufficiently grand scale, Locale (Sol System).

Mechanisms now includes the ability to build, repair, and subvert electronic and electrical systems as well as mechanical ones.