The Skill System is a new way of detailing out your characters abilities. These are optional and purely for reference purposes. They do not have any effect in-game. Repeat, they have no in-game effects.
How to Use
The skills selection works on a very simple system. Each skill has four levels, each needing a different amount of skill points.
- Untrained - 0
- Amateur - 1
- Trained - 3
- Professional - 6
These are not cumulative, so taking a skill at professional will use 6 points, not 9.
You have an unlimited number of skill points, and you will be assigned a rank for how many you use. A 20 year old character gets "regular" titles, a 30 year old character gets 4 "bonus points", and a 60 year old character gets 10 bonus points on top of the 20 year old. The titles for a 20 year old are:
- Unconfigured 0
- Terrifying 1 - 3
- Below Average 4 - 6
- Average 7 - 10
- Above Average 11 - 14
- Exceptional 15 - 18
- Genius 19 - 24
- God 25+
In general, if you plan on going to Exceptional or higher, you should have an explanation as to why your character is so skilled. Are they unusually obsessive? Intelligent? Does their knowledge come from a family or cultural tradition? Remember that all of those traits have drawbacks too.
Also take a look at the nature of your character's skills. Related skills make much more sense than unrelated ones: A doctor may easily be an experienced biologist, but it would be stretching it to have them also be an experienced construction worker. Some skills are easier to justify than others, of course--cooking could be a hobby, but surgery is extremely unlikely to be.
Let your skills be consistent with the character you're playing. If you're playing an airheaded cook who would rather be relaxing on the holodeck than frying omelettes, you're perfectly justified in giving them a low cooking skill despite their profession, and even to give them so few skill points that they go into the "terrifying" range. Playing an unskilled character can be fun, too.
A word on IC and OOC skills. You, out of character, may know how to set up the engine or repair a cracked skull, but if your character, IC, doesn't know this, then obviously that character can't do it. Think about what your character would do upon coming to the realization that they are in over their heads. Would they ask for help? Panic? Try anyway and botch it up? Apply other skills that they do know to the problem? (That cracked skull mightn't be reparable by your nurse with only first aid level training, but they could help keep the patient stable and keep them calm, while yelling for a doctor, for example. Or your maintenance technician with an engine to set up and no way to do it could beg the AI for help and be walked through the steps... hopefully without blowing up the station. Have fun with it.)
The opposite problem also exists, though: What do you do if you, OOC don't know something that your character, IC, does know? Several options exist. You could simply not get into that situation by playing a character with a low skill level and working up. Want to play a doctor but don't know a lot about the job? Play an intern or a medical student, a nurse or orderly, with a medical skill at the Amateur level. Ask other characters to teach yours, in character. As you learn more, you can improve your character's skill level, and perhaps increase their age, as your medical student becomes a resident and then a full-fledged doctor. If you still find yourself playing a character that knows how to do something you don't know, check the wiki for information. If you don't find it there, adminhelp and ask, or if the people near you know, use LOOC to ask them. (Don't use OOC, though. That's IC in OOC and can expose people to unwanted spoilers.) If you still mess up, remember that even trained professionals can and do make mistakes--yours just made one; how will they react? Your botch could be the start of an interesting storyline.
Below are are some explanations on which each skill level represents.
- Untrained - 0
Commonly required time: None
You have only the knowledge in this skill that the average person would attain commonly, for example in school or by being taught by their parents. This means, for example, that you know what a hand is, but not how to perform surgery, or that you know how to open a text file on a computer, but not how to write programs.
- Amateur - 1
Commonly required time: A few hours every week for an extended period of time
You have taken a course on the subject, or regularly been exposed to this subject over the years without ever dedicating yourself to it. First aid, cooking at home, or knowing how to use a gun without special training falls under this category.
- Trained - 3
Commonly required time: Several months up to over a year.
You have dedicated yourself to this skill, be it through internships, job experience, or as part of a university degree. Commonly required for performing regular tasks as a profession.
Note however, that this level of skill is not enough for all professions, for instance a "trained" anatomy skill is only enough to work on corpses, whereas surgery can only be safely performed with the "professional" skill. Similarly, a "trained" chemist would be more of a "lab assistant", as an actual "chemist" position requires more thorough knowledge.
- Professional - 6
Commonly required time: Several years.
This level of skill represents dedicating several years into specializing in this subject. In real life, a character of this skill level would likely have a master's degree, and possibly also a good amount of practical experience. For many jobs, this skill level is not a requirement, and only useful in very special situations. However, for the "research" jobs, such as chemistry, genetics, virology and so on, this skill level is indeed a requirement, as these fields are very broad and complex. It can be argued though that "non-research" tasks, such as cloning, mixing known chemistry recipes, or curing vira, can be done with a "trained" skill level.
These are the various skills and their descriptions.
Not all skills require months, or years of training to get right. Skills that only have a "trained" and "professional" level are secondary skills. They take considerabily less time to learn, and thus also cost less skill points.
Your ability to manage and commandeer other crew members.
Describes how good a character is at growing and maintaining plants.
Describes a character's skill at preparing meals and other consumable goods. This includes mixing alcoholic beverages.
This skill describes your training in hand-to-hand combat or melee weapon usage. While expertise in this area is rare in the era of firearms, experts still exist among athletes.
- Weapons Expertise
This skill describes your expertise with and knowledge of weapons. A low level in this skill implies knowledge of simple weapons, for example flashes. A high level in this skill implies knowledge of complex weapons, such as unconfigured grenades, riot shields, pulse rifles or bombs. A low-medium level in this skill is typical for security officers, a high level of this skill is typical for special agents and soldiers.
Describes your skill at performing forensic examinations and identifying vital evidence. Does not cover analytical abilities, and as such isn't the only indicator for your investigation skill. Note that in order to perform autopsy, the surgery skill is also required.
Your knowledge of NanoTrasen law and procedures. This includes Corporate Regulations, as well as general station rulings and procedures. A low level in this skill is typical for security officers, a high level in this skill is typical for captains.
- Extra-vehicular activity (Secondary)
This skill describes your skill and knowledge of space-suits and working in vacuum.
Your ability to construct various buildings, such as walls, floors, tables and so on. Note that constructing devices such as APCs additionally requires the Electronics skill. A low level of this skill is typical for janitors, a high level of this skill is typical for engineers.
This skill describes your knowledge of electronics and the underlying physics. A low level of this skill implies you know how to lay out wiring and configure powernets, a high level of this skill is required for working complex electronic devices such as circuits or bots.
Describes your knowledge of piping, air distribution and gas dynamics.
Describes your knowledge of the various engine types common on space stations, such as the singularity or anti-matter engine.
Describes your experience and understanding of operating heavy machinery, which includes mechs and other large exosuits. Used in piloting mechs
- Complex Devices
Describes the ability to assemble complex devices, such as computers, circuits, printers, robots or gas tank assemblies(bombs). Note that if a device requires electronics or programming, those skills are also required in addition to this skill.
- Information Technology
Describes your understanding of computers, software and communication. Not a requirement for using computers, but definitely helps. Used in telecommunications and programming of computers and AIs.
Implies an understanding of how DNA works and the structure of the human DNA.
Experience with mixing chemicals, and an understanding of what the effect will be. This doesn't cover an understanding of the effect of chemicals on the human body, as such the medical skill is also required for medical chemists.
Your experience and knowledge with scientific methods and processes.
Covers an understanding of the human body and medicine. At a low level, this skill gives a basic understanding of applying common types of medicine, and a rough understanding of medical devices like the health analyzer. At a high level, this skill grants exact knowledge of all the medicine available on the station, as well as the ability to use complex medical devices like the body scanner or mass spectrometer.
Gives you a detailed insight of the human body. A high skill in this is required to perform surgery.This skill may also help in examining alien biology.
This skill implies an understanding of microorganisms and their effects on humans.
- Q: Do these have any effect in-game?
- Q: Really?
- Q: Why can I take so few skills without becoming God?
A: The skill system was carefully designed to be an approximation of reality. This is different from many games and RPGs, where characters typically are very exceptional and possess many more skills than found in "normal people". However, characters on SS13 usually are "normal", and so are their skill levels.
In real life, we have specialization because no single person can do all the tasks in a specific field. BS12 is no different. If you want to play a head, pick a management skill and a skill your character will focus on, and leave the rest to your subordinates. If you used to perform many more tasks than currently possible, that probably just means your character was unrealistically skillful.
There are exceptions to the tendency to specialize: Some characters are jacks-of-all-trades who like to learn a little about everything. A character like this, given a high Command skill, may make a good captain. Most Heads will also be able to do pretty much anything in their departments competently.
If in doubt, raise the age of your character, especially if they are in command. Older characters naturally have more experience and had more time to attain training in many different fields. The downside is that from a certain age on, they will be less healthy and physically strong. This is not currently represented in the game, but it can be role-played fairly easily.