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Home-grown Skills

by Rossco Jenkins [rossj@worldgate.com]

Athletic Skills

No-Landing Extraction (Physical/Average); Defaults to DX-3 or Climbing-2

This skill replaces the mental/average skill of the same name. While the devices for etracting a standing man via airplane exist, STARS and STABO, they have been proven to be both very damaging to the wearer and also not very practical. Besides, there is no skill to their use: you activate them and wait for the plane to pick you up; use FEO instead. They are also not used with sufficient frequency to warrant a skill in any special op training package.

The act of ascending and/or descending from a moving helicopter is called by the military as ‘no land extract’. If you wish to use this skill, use it in place of the existing No-Landing Extraction in any training template.

Combat/Weapon Skills

Broadsword (h) (Physical/Hard); Defaults to DX-4

This is an advanced version of broadsword skill, and is treated exactly like it, except that when using this skill, the weapon’s parry is based off 2/3 skill instead of 1/2 skill. The normal broadsword skill does not default to this skill at all or vice versa, and must be learned separately.

Katana (Physical/Hard); Defaults to DX-4

This skill identical to the skill listed in Martial Arts and Compendium I, except that it is now a Physical/Hard skill, and defaults to Broadsword (h) at -3. A person with the normal broadsword or 2-Handed sword skill using this weapon would only benefit from 1/2 parry.

Shortsword (h) (Physical/Hard); Defaults to DX-4

This is an advanced version of shortsword skill, and is treated exactly like it, except that when using this skill, the weapon’s parry is based off 2/3 skill instead of 1/2 skill. The normal shortsword skill does not default to this skill at all or vice versa, and must be learned separately. This Skill replaces the Short Staff Skill.

Craft Skills

Book Binding/TL (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This is the skill of making and repairing books. It does not cover actually writing the material. The skills of Calligraphy or Illumination must be used to decorate or adorn any book. Traditionally, book binding was a separate trade from either paper making or the writing of the book itself.

Brewing (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5, Vintner-3

This is the skill of making alcoholic beverages such as beer or ale, made from oats, hops, or grain. It is also used for crude wines and meads.

Machinist/TL (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This skill represents knowledge of how to use industrial machinery, from industrial revolution automated looms and smelters to modern car or steel manufacturing machinery, as well as use of lathes, welders, drill presses and stationary saws. This is skilled labour but not ‘smart’ labour. This skill cannot be used in place of engineering in any form, it is merely the knowledge of how to work the machines or tools. Historically, this skill did not become available until the Industrial Revolution (early TL 5)

Papermaking (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This skill reflects knowledge in the making of various forms of paper, including papyrus, bla bla bla. The skill of making vellum, lamb skin, for books or other animal hides, is Tanning and does not default to this skill.

Vintner (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5 [, Agronomy-3 -- Incanus]

This is the skill of making wines and spirits. [Includes those parts of Agronomy which cover the care of vineyards, which includes pesticides etc. -- Incanus]

Professional skills

Baking (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-3, Cooking-2, Confectionery

This is the ability to make breads, cakes and pastries. This can be cone on the domestic or professional scales. It includes the ability to make both leavened and unleavened bread, pie and puff pastry doughs, as well cakes, pies, tarts, and other baked goods. It also includes basic decorating, including piping (drawing) with icing, chocolate or fondant.

Banquet Cooking (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5, Cooking-3

This skill is the knowledge of how to prepare a meal or series of meals exceeding 20 people. This skill does not involve the actual preparation of the food, merely the organizing, storing, and presenting of the food in a timely manner. Cooking or Food Preparation is needed for that. Facilities affect this greatly. A normal house hold kitchen is at no penalty at up to 30 people, but gives a -1 skill per 20 people served above that. A professional, restaurant kitchen will give +1 to any roll up to 200 people, with the same penalties for above that. A catering, palace or hotel kitchen gives +2 to all rolls and may have much larger capacities. Additional servers, cooks, etc. are required, 1 for every 20 people being served in addition to the head caterer.

Child Care (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-3

This skill represents a character’s ability to care for a baby or infant. It involves knowledge of how to change, feed and bathe a baby in a clean and safe manner. It also allows a character to soothe an angry or crying baby, and deduce why a child is in pain or upset. In includes the mixing and making of formula and/or baby food and a knowledge of basic safety precautions involved with infants, such as child seats, slings and papooses. This skill applies until a child is mobile and can speak in a rudimentary manner (about three or four years of age).

Modifiers: Empathy +4, knowing a child well +2. Other advantages and disadvantages from Compendium would also apply, but I haven’t compiled them yet.

Confectionery (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-3, Baking-2 or Culinary Art -3

This is the skill of making elaborate and wonderful desserts. This includes wedding cakes, ginger bread houses, chocolate sculptures, elaborate mousses and bombs, as well as more conventional cakes and goodies. This skill includes both the making and decorating the dessert item. Acute taste/smell adds to this skill.

Culinary Art (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5, Cooking or Food Prep -3

Users of this skill may make the occasionally amazing food ‘art’ seen in hotels and the homes of the influential. This includes ice and fat sculptures, centerpieces, mirror platters, spun sugar, chaud-froid, and a myriad of other such creations. This may also be used with any prepared item, making at a work of art. This skill does not actually make any of this lovely food taste good; Cooking (B53) or Food Preparation must be used for that. Use of this can be very time consuming; extravagant balls can take weeks to prepare.

Family Management (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-4 [, Butler -- Incanus]

This skill is the basic knowledge of how to manage a house hold, including basic budgeting, keeping all members of the family fed clothed and healthy. It includes a knowledge of safety and sanitary practices commonly used in households. This skill does not include cooking food, just budgeting and buying it. The Cooking skill (B53) must still be taken by (at least one member of the household). Any time that the family increases (whether due to a new birth or the dreaded in-laws), the skill is at a penalty equal to the number of additional persons in the household. A house of up to 16 people can be accommodated by this skill. A larger house requires the Professional Skill: Butler.

Field Equipment Operation (type)/TL; Defaults to IQ-4, other FEO -3

This is the skill of how to use all of the basic equipment of a law enforcement or military agency. This includes radios, ALICE kits, different types of grenades, knowledge of weapons used, etc. With this skill, a character does not have to take El Op Comm to use a PRC 25 radio, or Traps or Demolitions to set a claymore mine. This skill does not include armoury, just a knowledge of how to recognise and operate these weapons. It also, obviously, does not replace or add to any weapons skills.

This skill has several specializations, including NATO, Warsaw Pact, FBI, RCMP, USMC, etc.

Food Preparation (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-4, Cooking-2

This is the skill of making a food item from a pre-made recipe or already prepared item. A person using this skill does not have knowledge of how to modify or change any food he is preparing, nor will anything he does affect taste or quality, assuming he makes his skill check. The skill includes basic food presentation, safety and sanitation practices used in such environments as well. A failure may indicate the item is burnt, soggy, greasy, or presented in an unappetizing manner. A critical failure means that the food is completely unservable or poisonous, and the eater may get sick! This the skill used by restaurant cooks, donut bakers, and ‘greasy spoon’ servers.

Handyman (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-3, Carpentry-2, other craft skill -2

This skill represents an amalgam of general duties that are performed in general care and maintenance of a house hold. This includes basic plumbing and carpentry, like fixing base boards and holes in the wall. Also, painting, replacing lost shingles, mowing the lawn, pruning the hedges, fixing the porch and the squeaky door. In western society until the 80’s, this was considered a ‘man’s skill’. Persons of higher class may not know it at all.

House Keeping (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-3 [, Butler -- Incanus]

This is the rudimentary skill, unknown to most bachelors of any day and age, of tending house. It includes how to do laundry, clean and vacuum, remove stains, repairing the curtains and so on. Just because a character possesses this skill does not mean that he is required to use it. Many people are very people are capable of keeping a clean house but choose not to! This skill is very basic and can be assumed, but many PCs, such as aristocracy, children of doting parents, or males in ‘traditional’ families may have no inkling as to how to accomplish these basic mundane tasks.

Professional Skill: Butler (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-4 [, House Keeping-4 -- Incanus]

This is the skill of running the day to day operations of a largehouse (over 20 people) or mansion. It is not same as Savoir Faire: Servant. This includes budgeting and purchasing domestic items and food (with grocery lists from the Chef), ensuring that all parties are safe, warm, clothed and healthy. It also includes organizing, hiring and supervising maids, cooks, grounds keepers, servants, etc.

[For some excellent examples of this skill, check the film Remains of the Day, or the serials Jeeves and Wooster and You Rang, M’lord. -- Incanus]

Outdoor Skills

Spelunking (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This skill reflects knowledge of the nature of the interior of caves and caverns. It involves recognizing whether a cave or cavern is safe and stable, how to make or follow a marked trail, as well as knowledge of basic safety procedures and the common hazards of caving. This skill is a must for any would-be dungeon crawler.

Social Skills

Grooming (Mental/Easy); Defaults to IQ-3, Sex Appeal -2

This is the skill, known mostly by women, to do all the various things required to look physically and sexually attractive. This includes a knowledge of what clothes suit a particular body type, including both cut and colour of clothing. It also includes how to apply cosmetics and perfumes in a flattering manner, and how to style and colour hair.

When using this skill, a success by 1-4 will give a +1 to all reaction modifiers while the person still has this ‘look’. Success by 5 or more gives +2, while success by 10 or a critical gives +3 to all reactions. Failure gives no bonus, while failure by 4 or more gives -1. Critical failure gives a -3 reaction, unless the character also has the Pitiable advantage, in which case it adds to reaction!

There are Fine and Very Fine quality (as well as cheap) make up, perfumes and clothing, which add either +1, +2 or -1 to this skill respectively and cost from x5 to x20 the normal retail prices. Note that all very fine and most fine quality product lines have very recognisable name (Estee Lauder, Obsession, Christian Dior, etc).

Obviously, not all look are appropriate for all occasions. Going into a country bar dressed in a tuxedo, or coming into a 9 to 5 desk job in a cocktail dress would give penalties to appearance. A penalty of -1 to -4 to reaction (any reaction bonus due to skill success still applies) would be appropriate, although some more severe actions may result (such as getting sent home, suspended, or physically assaulted).

Modifiers:

Undressing (Physical/Easy); Defaults to DX-3

This is the same skill described in GURPS Sex. I don’t want to break copyright or anything, so I’ll just add this comment:

Note this skill is often used outside the bedroom. Any professional model most certainly has this skill, and is very handy for secret agents who must change disguises or strip guards of their uniforms quickly.

Thief/Spy Skills

Security Procedures (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This skill represents a body of knowledge used by security guards. It replaces the skill Electronic Operation: Security Systems. A guard may use this skill to replace IQ for purposes of resisting Fast Talk or Sex Appeal, and may use it in place of vision or hearing to detect intruders. A character that has this skill is also familiar with all modern security equipment that is used in his field.

Police Procedures (Mental/Average); Defaults to IQ-5

This skill is a representative of all the various skills that a policeman may need to know in the course of his duties. In addition to the mundane uses such as how to fill out paperwork, request new equipment and so on, this skill is can be used to replace several other skills in context of police duty only. It can be used in place of Holdout for spotting or finding hidden items only. With this skill, a policeman does not have to take the skills of Administration or Field Equipment Operation. To reflect police training, the skills of Interrogation and Detect Lies default to this skill at -3.