3.2.3 – Social and Mental Skills

These two are lumped together due to their similarity. They consist largely of learned techniques for modifying attributes.

Social. Social skills apply learned techniques to emotional/social communication.

Animal Sociability. [PRI onward] Interacting with non-sentient animals. This includes instilling all sorts of emotions, calming them, enraging them, frightening them, etc. This must be specified by species or, more restrictively for advancement, to habitat. In the case of species, learning a closely related species is easier than learning entirely different species. In the case of habitat, the character enjoys the skill with all the species of the familiar habitat even when elsewhere. Learning a new habitat in the same biome or a similar habitat in another biome is easier than learning entirely novel habitats.

Speaking. [PRI onward] This involves using a language verbally or through gestures, but not through writing. This is a social skill, because speaking is instinctual for human beings. Must be specified by language, but the narrator will likely rule that all characters have some skill in their native tongue. The ease of learning new languages can however be affected by either social or mental attributes, and should be easier if the character is already familiar with is closely related. Note that in EXCEPTIONAL settings, magical languages might exist the speakers of which can be highly protective, thus making learning the language more difficult.

Oratory. [ANC onward] A set of techniques that modifies CHARM action rolls, and can rely on other social attributes that allow the character to “read” the audience, or mental attributes . This must be specified by culture and/or language. Learning

Bias. [ANC onward] A set of techniques about basic human biases that modifies certain social action rolls. Bias guides attempts to ferret out another’s motives and drives, and so modifies AFFINITY, EMPATHY, INSIGHT, and ACUMEN, but not COMPASSION as this attribute is about affecting self.

Mental. Mental skills involve the manipulation and communication of ideas. In most game settings, mental skills are taught by special professions or organizations.

Field of Study. [ANC onward] A set of interrelated knowledge about a specific subject. Many of this begin as what we would call philosophies, and later develop into sciences. This provides a natural method of specialization based on the tech level of the game setting. Naturally, the fields of study available to characters are determined by the narrator, open to appeal and negotiation by players. Note that the field of study skill only allows the character to access information, not to apply it, which usually requires a related crafting skill, or to successfully communicate that information to others, which would require an action roll modified by the characters other skills and attributes and the knowledge of the recipient of the information, which makes them a bit like languages. See the graphic at right (and the list below) for some sample fields of studies.

Logic. [ANC onward] A set of techniques that modifies REASON.

Mnemonics. [ANC onward] A set of techniques that modifies MEMORY. This can be specified to certain types of knowledge, like memorizing principles of science, statements, songs, etc.

Rhetoric. [ANC onward]  A set of techniques that modifies DISCOURSE, to communicate REASON. This is similar to oratory but the method is rational. Thus it will be naturally more effective on an audience with higher mental attributes or more familiar information, and may have lessened modifiers if the character is forced to communicate the ideas “in layman’s terms.”

Writing. [ANC onward] Communicating a language by making marks on clay, skins, paper, or some other medium. This is a mental skill, because writing is not instinctual for human beings. Must be specified by script, including codes and computer languages. The ease of learning new languages can however be affected by either social or mental attributes, and should be easier if the character is already familiar with is closely related.

Scholarship. [ANC onward] A set of techniques to apply learned information to REASON and MEMORY.

Experimentation. [ANC onward] A set of techniques to apply observed information to REASON and MEMORY.

Tactics. [PRI onward] A set of techniques that modifies INSIGHT and SHREWDNESS.  Can be specified to a particular set of tools or weaponry used by the small group to be organized.

Strategy. [ANC onward] A set of techniques that modifies ACUMEN and VISION. Can be specified to a particular set of tools or weaponry used by the large group to be organized.

Fields of Study. Note that, although certain specializations only arise at certain points in history, at the narrator’s discretion there’s no reason why a character might not obsess about a specialized field of study before it becomes organized as a specialization. Thus all fields of study can be considered [ANC onward] for purposes of selection.

Note also that basic fields of study, as identified below, often start as more general fields that later form the basis of other specializations, but can also remain as their own specializations later. A good example is physics—which spawns optics, mathematics, and engineering—but also continues as a specialization on its own merits.

Advocacy. The study of how to achieve social ends in the context of law.

Anthropology. The basic study of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Arts. The basic study of emotional creations of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Astrology. The study of heavenly bodies for predictive purposes. This only has real affect on gameplay in EXCEPTIONAL settings.

Astronomy. The study of heavenly bodies, their movement and nature. This is deeply connected to astrology in early cultures.

Biology. The basic study of living creatures.

Botany. The study of plant life.

Chemistry. The study of physical components of the universe as distinct from their larger scale interactions as studied in geology, meteorology, and oceanography. In a way, this is the specialized continuation of earth science. An early form of chemistry, known commonly as alchemy, can have supernatural affects in EXCEPTIONAL game settings.

Conjuration. In EXCEPTIONAL game settings, the study of how physical things are brought into existence.

Disease. The study of disorders that threaten the health of living creatures. Can be specified by the type of creature or by the disease.

Divination. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how to obtain information from the universe or from greater beings (magical, divine, demonic, etc.).

Earth Science. The basic study of the physical components of the universe.

Ecology. The study of how living creatures interact.

Economics. The study of material exchanges between human beings, and the legal and moral ramifications of this.

Enchantment. In EXCEPTIONAL game settings, the study of how magic inheres in physical objects and characters.

Engineering. The study of how physics can be put to effective use. Central to various crafting skills.

Ethics. The study of how individual decisions affect practical and moral ends.

Evocation. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how to channel the will of greater beings to supernatural effect.

Evolution. The study of how living creatures change over time in response to ecological threats.

Geography. The study of the layout of terrain, including political, ecological, and economic regions. In science fiction settings, this can mean the layout of star systems in space.

Geology. The study of the behavior of the mineral components of the universe. Can be specified by the type of mineral.

Herbalism. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how chemicals can have magical effects.

History. The study of the events moving human development through time. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Hydrology. The study of the behavior of the physical components of rivers, lakes, and seas. Can be specified by the type of body of water.

Invocation. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how calling on greater beings (magical, divine, demonic, or otherwise) can achieve magical affects. This is distinct from the ritual skill, which does not rely on greater beings.

Journalism. The study of the spread of information in society, and the legal and moral ramifications of this.

Judiciary. The study of how law is applied, usually in the context of a court system.

Justice. The basic study of how to achieve right in sentient society.

Legal Theory. The study of how laws achieve ends, and the perhaps unseen consequences of this.

Linguistics. The study of the methods of communication used by human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Literature. The study of the written creations of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Mathematics. The study of numbers and their relationships. Includes geometry, statistics, algebra, calculus, etc.

Medicine. The basic study of how living creatures maintain their health.

Meteorology. The study of the behavior of the physical components of the atmosphere.

Military Ethics. The study of how behavior in conflict affects practical and moral ends.

Music. The study of the melodic and rhythmic creations of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Mutant Science. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how and why some characters are born with super powers.

Necromancy. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of the relationship of the living and the dead.

Legislation. The study of how laws come into being.

Law. The basic study of how human beings establish order.

Optics. The study of light and how it travels through space.

Orthopedics. The study of the skeleton (and related muscles and nerves) work in living creatures.

Pharmacology. The study of how chemicals affect the health of living creatures. This is closely related to the EXCEPTIONAL skill of herbalism.

Physics. The basic study of the forces that make the material universe works.

Prophecy. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how predicted events come about.

Psychology. The study of individual human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Recitation. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how repeating certain words (often those revealed by greater beings) can achieve magical affects. This is often paired with a magical language.

Ritual. In EXCEPTIONAL settings, the study of how certain formulaic behavior can achieve magical effects. This is necessarily distinct from invoking the power of greater beings (magical, divine, or otherwise) as this would be handled by the invocation skill.

Sociology. The study of groups of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Surgery. The study of how to change the bodies of living creatures.

Theater. The study of the dramatic creations of human beings. In EXCEPTIONAL and science fiction settings, can be specified by sentient species other than human beings.

Zoology. The study of animal life.