Funky Skill Stuff

This page is a set of notes relating to the various skills on the skill page.
 

Heavy Weapons:  This is the skill for using weapons too big for a human to carry, ranging from 17th century cannon to firing a tank gun to a starship cannon.  It cannot be used Unskilled.

Manuever:  Manuever is the skill of wearing out a foe by basically bouncing around like a jumping bean and forcing himself to exert himself to try to keep up.

The Four Magic Skills:

Magical skills cannot be used unskilled.  The first add you buy in your first magical skill gives you 12 points of Arcane Knowledges (Explained in the Magic rules).  [This does not apply to the free magical skill all Aylish people get.  They must buy a second add in that skill or else one add in another skill to get the 12 points of Arcane Knowledges.)

Some cosms do not have all four skills (Core Earth lacks Conjuration, the Living Land has NO MAGIC AT ALL, etc.).

Nile Empire and the Standard Magic Skills:

People from the Nile Empire can only learn the four standard magical skills by buying the power of Pulp Sorcery.

Linguistics

Linguistics is the art of communication with people who do not speak your native tongue.  It can be used unskilled, which represents using crude sign language and lots of pointing to communicate.

Linguistics must be purchased seperately for each language family you wish to have some degree of skill in.  You can use your Linguistics in that language family to try to communicate with speakers of any of the languages in that family or to try to read any language in that family.  (Not entirely realistic, I know, but this is a cinematic game).

The base difficulty is 8.


Scholar (Pick specialty) and Science (Pick Specialty)

The Scholar skill can and must be bought multiple times, once for each scholarly specialty you possess.  This skill basically covers 'book learning', while Science concerns the application of knowledge.  For example Scholar (History) tells you when the Battle of Hastings happened, while Science (History) lets you go into an archive and do primary research.

There are a few odd exceptions to this.  Scholar (Computers) represents ability to make use of computers through software, while Science (Computers) is used to build hardware and write programs.

Trick

Trick is the skill of short-term deception.  Making someone believe a lie for very long is more the realm of Persuasion, but Trick is used to feint in combat and to briefly con someone into something, such as flashing your  wallet at someone and trying to bluff you're a cop long enough to get into a place.
 

Occult

Occult is the special Magical Skill of Orrorsh, used to produce magical effects.  I am too lazy to type up the whole system unless someone expresses interest in it, but it essentially involves collecting items with appropriate magical resonances and building rituals around them.  Occult can do almost anything, but every rite is unique, producing a specific effect on a specific target or small group of targets.

For example, a ritual might produce a magical sword which is potent against a vampire, or an entire coven of vampires spawned by a common 'father', but not one which works on all vampires.

The use of the Occult is dangerous because evil uses of the Occult quickly corrupt you, turning you into a monster.

This skill is a contradiction outside Orrorsh because it is connected to the World Laws.

Corruption and Honor (Aysle Skills)

In Aysle, evil or good deeds can earn you these skills, which grant various special abilities as you rise in them.  You don't raise them the normal ways; instead, your actions cause them to go up or down.

You can only buy adds in these if you are from Aysle and if the skill is your tag skill.  You can only have one of these two skills at once.

These skills are a contradiction outside Aysle because they are connected to the World Laws.

Faith and Focus

Faith measures the strength of one's belief in whatever religion one follows.  Focus measures your spiritual power and ability to perform miracles.  Most believers, unless the spirit axiom is very high, only have Faith, as Focus skill typically requires special training.

Faith:

Focus: Basically, think of it in terms of 'hitting' and 'damage'.  Focus 'hits', Faith 'damages'.

When performing a beneficial miracle on someone, you use your Focus and their Faith.  When performing a hostile miracle on someone, you use your Faith and Focus, and you have to beat their Faith as well as the difficulty number of the miracle for it to work.

Examples:

Father Bryce (Spirit 12, Focus 2, Faith 4), wants to heal Tolwyn (Spirit 10, Faith 2).  The miracle's difficulty is 17.  Father Bryce will use his Focus total (14) and Tolwyn's Faith total (12), because this is a beneficial miracle.  Father Bryce decides to spend a possibility point, so he rolls twice and adds them together.  He gets a 25 total, which is a +8 Bonus.  This gives him a 22 Focus and 20 Faith Total.  He beats the Difficulty with his Focus and beats it with his Faith by a margin of 3 result points.  He heals all of Tolwyn's shock and KO and two of her wounds with his Good Success.

Later, Father Bryce is confronting Victor Manwaring, a powerful Vampire.  Victor has Spirit 9 and No Faith or Focus at all.  Father Bryce whips out his cross and tries to use the Ward Enemy miracle on Victor.  Ward Enemy has a difficulty of 0.  Father Bryce tries to spend a possibility point, but Victor negates it.  Father Bryce is stuck rolling one die, and to his horror, he rolls a four for a -8 bonus.  This means Father Bryce scores a Focus total of 6, and a Faith total of 8.  While his focus beats the zero difficulty, he fails to overcome Manwaring's defense of 9 and the miracle fails.  Manwaring swats the cross away and grabs him by the throat, only to get a stake through the heart from Tolwyn...
 

If you have Focus, you normally start with your Faith + your Focus adds worth of miracles.  Father Bryce, in the example above, has +2 Focus, +4 Faith and knows six miracles.

Further details on the use of these skills is found in the Miracles Rules.
 

Shapeshift

Certain Orrorshian horrors have powers that let them infect people with lycanthropy of various kinds (wolf, bear, tiger, etc).  Anyone who has this skill is infected and can now assume a hybrid or animal form.  This is dangerous, because you can easily lose yourself in your animal instincts and do something Wicked, which will give you corruption.

In Animal form, you add your Shapeshifting adds to any bite or claw damage you do.  In Hybrid Form, you add half your adds.  Your animal and hybrid forms can reshuffle your attributes; typically, Mind, Charisma, and Spirit drop like rocks, while Perception, Toughness, Strength, and Dexterity rise.

Shapeshifters can buy enhancement packages which augment their hybrid and animal forms.  Each package costs one possibility point per adventure and provides 3 extra attribute points when you are in hybrid or animal form.  They can only be spent on Perception, Toughness, Strength, and Dexterity.  You can have up to two packages.

This skill is a contradiction outside of Orrorsh.
 
 

Astronomy, Mathematics, and Engineering

In ancient Terra, Astronomy, Mathematics, and Engineering were all developed as forms of Skill Substitution (as per the Delphi Council Sourcebook) to enable the creation of magical spells when the Magic Axiom was too low to support reliable Conjuration.  They have since been refined into special forms of spellcasting which allow one to create and use spells for certain categories of magical activity.

Astronomy:
Astronomy functions as a booster skill for Mathematics and Engineering.  (Egyptian Religion skill is used to perform astronomical calculations for religious purposes.)  It is a Mind skill.  See Nile Empire Sourcebook, pp. 86-7.

Mathematics:
Mathematics handles the abstract side of Egyptian magic, while Engineering tends to handle the practical side.  What does this mean?  It means that Mathematics spells involve manipulating abstractions and concepts and ideas, rather than concrete qualities.  Basically, all Mathematics spells involve the Principles and the Essences.  The Pattern, Process, and Result of all mathematics spells must be Principles or Essences.  This tends to make them quite complex, with high difficulties and backlashes, or else with very long cast times.  The use of Astronomy helps to offset this somewhat.

Mathematics spells are not divided among Alteration, Divination, Conjuration, and Apportation, but rather are all cast with the Mathematics skill.  Arcane Knowledges are not used during the creation of spells or required to cast them, although each spell is tagged with the Arcane Knowledge of its Pattern, in order to determine likely side-effects and for use in spell exclusion (a given target can only have one spell at a time on it which has a pattern of a given knowledge as with normal spells).  Backlash takes a different form with Mathematics spells than with standard spells.  If any Backlash is suffered, then there is some sort of side-effect which is proportional to the result points of the Backlash.  It is typically related to whatever Pattern the spell is tied to.
 
 
Backlash Result Points Backlash Result
A minor visual show related to the spell
1-2  A tiny side-effect, noticable but not very potent
3-6  A small side-effect, somewhat weaker than the spell
7-11  A significant side-effect, roughly equal in power to the spell
12-17  A major side-effect, which may well eclipse the spell itself
18-24  A catastrophic side-effect, which dwarfs the spell
25+  Abject, horrible disaster

To give a set of examples, let us consider the side-effects of the Crocodile Legion spell, if it malfunctions due to Backlash suffered:
 
 
Backlash Result Points Backlash Result
For the duration of the spell, the sorceror manifests the sigil of Sebek the Crocodile God on his forehead. 
1-2  The crocodiles summoned are restless and hungry, easily distracted
3-6  A few of the crocodiles summoned are not under the caster's control and will wander about, obeying their instincts to find something to eat.
7-11  In addition to the crocodiles summoned and controlled, an equal number of crocodiles show up which aren't under control, and instead are hungry and roam about, wrecking havoc.
12-17  In addition to any crocodiles successfully summoned, one and a half times as many show up which are hostile to the caster and his friends and anything else edible. 
18-24  No friendly crocodiles show up except for a handful; twice as many as he wanted show up, and almost all of the ones called are instead hostile and full of the desire to use the caster as a tasty meat snack.
25+  Angry crocodiles swarm up to the caster in a seemingly endless horde which chases him for hours, trying to devour him and all that he holds dear. 

 

When the Mathematics skill is used to create new spells, the Mathematician can use his Astronomy skill to configure planets in order to boost his effective skill for purposes of the various totals in which it is used in spell creation.  Each planet configured successfully provides a +1 bonus to his skill for spell-creation purposes.  All planets used in this manner during the creation of a spell must be configured in order to use the spell later. All of the standard Pattern Theorems can be applied in spell creation, along with the Process Theorems.

Mathematics spells tend to have long casting times, but this is not absolute; they all require that you can speak and have something to draw geometric figures on, though scratching in the sand with a stick will do the trick.

When creating mathematics spells, keep in mind that such spells typically manipulate abstractions and thoughts, rather than producing concrete, tangible results.  Many are divinatory in nature.  Those with more tangible results usually involve the direct production of the essences and principles, such as a spell to cover the land in darkness, or one which causes people to drop dead.  Spells which produce tangible things (the Elements, Kindreds, and Mixed Knowledges) are the realm of Engineering.

Sample Mathematics Spells:
Animate Mummy
Axiom: 12
Skill:  Mathematics 15
Backlash:   15
Difficulty:   12
Effect Value:  15
Bonus Number to:  Duration
Range: Touch
Duration: 29 (one week)
Casting Time: 25 (one day)
Planets Necessary to Configure:  Ra, Isis, Osiris, Horus, Anubis

The process of mummification and binding of the mummy to obedience is slow and exhausting.  The result is the transformation of a corpse into an obedient mummy which will carry out the caster's commands to the best of its dim wits.  Mummies have Dexterity 15, Strength 15, Toughness of 15 + Body's Toughness in Life (Usually a 7 for an average human), Perception 6, Mind 6, Charisma 3, Spirit 15.  Mummies have no skills and do everything unskilled.
 

Crocodile Legion
Axiom: 12
Skill:  Mathematics 17
Backlash:   35
Difficulty:   27
Effect Value:  16
Bonus Number to:  Duration
Range: 0
Duration: 18 (one hour)
Casting Time: 22 (six hours)
Planets Necessary to Configure:  Ra, Isis, Horus

This spell calls every crocodile within a one mile radius, binding them to the caster's service for one hour.  It will not effect crocodiles who are hostile to the caster, and he cannot make them act against their nature.  They will not, for example, swarm out into the desert, nor will they sit still and let themselves be killed.  They will, however, risk death to kill the caster's enemies.  Eating humans is well within their nature...

It can be noted that this is a heavily difficult spell; most mathematicians, unless they are possibility rated, can only successfully cast this spell either by waiting for rare natural multiple conjunctions of planets or by being very skillful at configuring planets (For example, once every 143 days, Nut and Nephthys come into conjunction, granting a +10 bonus to all mathematics, engineering, and Focus (Egyptian Religion) effects.  A skill total of 21 with Astronomy would convey the same effect to this spell.  ).  This is likely for the best, as daily crocodile rampages would not be very good for civilization.
 

Detect Magic
Axiom: 5
Skill:  Mathematics
Backlash:   13
Difficulty:   10
Effect Value:  0
Bonus Number to:  Duration
Range: 6 (15 meters)
Duration: 9 (one minute)
Casting Time: 5 (ten seconds)
Planets Necessary to Configure:  None

Through careful mathematical calculations, the caster empowers himself to detect magical energies within a radius of 100 meters of himself for the duration of the spell.  This typically involves inscribing a segmented circle in the sand or a piece of papyrus; the segments glow to indicate the direction and type of magic detected.

Engineering:
Engineering is a magical skill used to manipulate the concrete world and to facilitate the construction of magical buildings of various kinds.  Engineering spells typically work with the Kindred, Elements, and Mixed Essences as their Pattern and Result mechanisms, although they can also tap the Magic knowledge and use it as a Process mechanism.  They tend to be oriented around producing concrete effects: pillars of flame, magically reinforced stone, deadly knife traps, and the like, although divination spells related to engineering can also be produced with Engineering.

Like Mathematics, Engineering can be used to substitute for the four skills normally used for spell-casting and spell creation.  Like Mathematics, it is influenced  by the sacral geometry of the stars.  And as with Mathematics, Astronomy can be used to aid in spell construction.

Engineering magics, like Mathematics magics, suffer Backlash in the form of side-effects.  However, many Engineering magics are made permanent and thus have permanent side-effects so long as the spell endures; such are often not always obvious at first, until the worst possible moment to manifest (the Law of Drama at work).

Engineering magics are often designed to be made permanent (Permanent Engineering magics suffers a 18 Bonus modifier, though.  See rules for Permanent spells in the Aysle Sourcebook), and frequently have hideously long casting times on the scale of weeks to months to years, though some effects can be used quite quickly, especially the divination effects.

Sample Engineering Formulas: