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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. While we don't really enforce this to Baystation's levels (and probably never will), the system is there as a handy guide to help players to create realistically skilled characters, and to know when they're starting to stretch the point of being overpowered.
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, as well as spamming up the screen.) 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 considerably less time to learn, and thus also cost less skill points.
Your ability to manage and commandeer other crew members.
- Untrained: You don't know how to manage other people. You may try to give orders, but your primary interactions are that of a co-worker or friend, and you're out of your depth when you have to direct other people's efforts. You're probably better off finding a good leader and helping them out.
- Amateur: You know a little about management, but you have a lot of flaws and little experience. You may micromanage, lose track of people, or generally muck things up. Handling a major crisis is probably beyond your ability.
- Trained: You're a good commander. You know how to coordinate the efforts of a large group of people effectively. You'll still be thrown off in a crisis, but you'll probably get through it.
- Professional: You're an excellent commander. In addition to just doing your job, you know how to inspire love, loyalty or fear, and you handle crises smoothly and efficiently.
Describes how good a character is at growing and maintaining plants.
- Untrained: You know that plants need water and fertilizer, and that planting seeds will get you crops, but you don't know anything practical. You can't tell edible and poisonous mushrooms apart.
- Amateur: You've done some gardening. You can water, weed, fertilize, plant, and harvest, and you can recognize and deal with pests. You may be a hobby gardener.
- Trained: You're a botanist or farmer, growing crops on large scales or doing botanical research. You know the basics of manipulating plant genes.
- Professional: You're a specialized botanist. You can care for even the most exotic, fragile, or dangerous plants, and you can create custom hybrids and modified strains.
Describes a character's skill at preparing meals and other consumable goods. This includes mixing alcoholic beverages.
- Untrained: You can pour a drink, make a sandwich, and maybe cook simple meals, though you're likely to burn things. You probably live on ready-to-eat food.
- Amateur: You can make simple meals and do the cooking for your family. Things like spaghetti, grilled cheese, or simple mixed drinks are your usual fare.
- Trained: You can cook professionally, keeping an entire crew fed easily. Your food is tasty and you don't have a problem with tricky or complicated dishes. You can be depended on to make just about any commonly-served drink.
- Professional: Not only are you good at cooking and mixing drinks, but you can manage a kitchen staff and cater for special events. You can safely prepare exotic foods and drinks that would be poisonous if prepared incorrectly.
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.
- Untrained: You can throw a punch or a kick, but it'll knock you off-balance. You're inexperienced and have probably never been in a serious hand-to-hand fight. In a fight, you might panic and run, grab whatever's nearby and blindly strike out with it, or (if the other guy is just as much of a beginner as you are) make a fool out of yourself.
- Amateur: You either have some experience with fistfights, or you have some training in a martial art. You can handle yourself if you really have to, and if you're a security officer, can handle a stun baton at least well enough to get the handcuffs onto a criminal.
- Trained: You're good at hand-to-hand combat. You've trained explicitly in a martial art or as a close combatant as part of a military or police unit. You can use weaponry competently and you can think strategically and quickly in a melee. You're in good shape and you spend time training.
- Professional: You specialize in hand-to-hand combat. You're well-trained in a practical martial art, and in good shape. You spend a lot of time practicing. You can take on just about anyone, use just about any weapon, and usually come out on top. You may be a professional athlete or special forces member.
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.
- Untrained: You know how to recognize a weapon when you see one. You can probably use pepper spray or a flash, though you might fumble and turn them on yourself by mistake. You're likely to shoot yourself in the foot, forget to take the safety off, or have no concept of trigger discipline. Your lack of training may make you more dangerous to your allies than your enemies.
- Amateur: You know how to handle weapons safely, and you're comfortable using simple weapons. Your aim is decent and you can be trusted not to do anything stupid with a weapon, but your training isn't automatic yet and your performance will degrade in high-stress situations. You may be halfway-confident with energy weapons but be thrown off by the recoil of anything ballistic, or otherwise only know how to operate a limited range of weaponry properly.
- Trained: You've used firearms and other ranged weapons in a high-stress situation, and your skills have become automatic. You spend time practicing at the firing range. Your aim is good. You can maintain and repair your weaponry. You may have military or police experience and you probably carry a weapon on the job.
- Professional: You are an exceptional shot with a variety of weapons, from simple to exotic. You can depend on hitting not just your target, but a specific part of your target, such as shooting someone in the leg. You use a weapon as naturally as though it were a part of your own body. You may be a professional marksman of some kind. You probably know a good deal about tactics, and you may have designed or modified your own weaponry.
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.
- Untrained: You know that detectives solve crimes. You may have some idea that it's bad to contaminate a crime scene, but you're not too clear on the details.
- Amateur: You know how to avoid contaminating a crime scene. You know how to use the tools of the trade (scanner, computer database, and so forth), and you can conduct an interview with a witness or a suspect.
- Trained: You're a police officer, pathologist, or detective. You can secure a crime scene, gather evidence, interview witnesses, and put two and two together to get an arrest. If you're trained in anatomy, you can perform an autopsy.
- Professional: You specialize in criminal investigations. Your ability to gather and analyze evidence has been honed through intensive schooling, years of practice, or most likely both. You can organize a manhunt or draw a criminal into a trap, and though you're behind the scenes and may never even see the criminal, your skills make the difference between an unsolved crime and a convicted criminal.
Your knowledge of NanoTrasen law and procedures. This includes Corporate Regulations, as well as Admiralty Law, and 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 Colony Directors.
- Untrained: You know most of what's legal and illegal in your everyday life and work, though you're fuzzy on the finer points of the law, especially if it doesn't apply to your own daily experience. You're familiar with Standard Operating Procedure.
- Trained: You know and understand the law in a practical sense. You know the punishments for crimes and you can read and understand a legal document easily. You may be in Security or Command.
- Professional: You have a law degree or the equivalent amount of knowledge. You can draw up legal contracts, interpret the minutiae of the law, settle disagreements, and argue a case in court.
Extra-vehicular activity (Secondary)
This skill describes your skill and knowledge of space-suits and working in vacuum.
- Untrained: You have basic safety training common to people who work in space: You know how to put on and seal your internals, and you can probably struggle into a space suit if you really need to, though you'll be clumsy at it. You're still prone to mistakes that may leave you trying to breathe vacuum.
- Trained: You can comfortably use a space suit and do so regularly in the course of your work. Checking your internals is second nature to you, and you don't panic in an emergency.
- Professional: You can use all kinds of space suits, including specialized versions. You can use a jet pack to navigate and are just as much at home in a vacuum as in atmosphere. You probably do your job almost entirely EVA.
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.
- Untrained: You can move furniture, assemble or disassemble chairs and tables (sometimes they even stay assembled), bash your way through a window, open a crate, or pry open an unpowered airlock. You can recognize and use basic hand tools and inflatable barriers, though not very well.
- Amateur: You can dismantle or build a wall or window, build furniture, redecorate a room, and replace floor tiles and carpeting. You can safely use a welder without burning your eyes, and using hand tools is second nature to you.
- Trained: You know how to seal a breach, rebuild broken piping, and repair major damage. You know the basics of structural engineering.
- Professional: You are a construction worker or engineer. You could pretty much rebuild the station from the ground up, given supplies, and you're efficient and skilled at repairing damage.
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.
- Untrained: You know that electrical wires are dangerous and getting shocked is bad; you can see and report electrical malfunctions such as broken wires or malfunctioning APCs. You can change a light bulb, and you know how to replace a battery or charge up the equipment you normally use.
- Amateur: You can do basic wiring; you can lay cable for solars or the engine. You can repair broken wiring and build simple electrical equipment like light fixtures or APCs. You know the basics of circuits and understand how to protect yourself from electrical shock. You can probably hack a vending machine.
- Trained: You can repair and build electrical equipment and do so on a regular basis. You can troubleshoot an electrical system and monitor the station power grid. You can probably hack an airlock.
- Professional: You are an electrical engineer or the equivalent. You can design, upgrade, and modify electrical equipment and you are good at maximizing the efficiency of your power network. You can hack anything on the station; you can deal with power outages and electrical problems easily and efficiently.
Describes your knowledge of piping, air distribution and gas dynamics.
- Untrained: You know that the air monitors flash orange when the air is bad and red when it's deadly. You know that a flashing fire door means danger on the other side. You know that some gases are poisonous, that pressure has to be kept in a safe range, and that most creatures need oxygen to live. You can use a fire extinguisher or deploy an inflatable barrier.
- Amateur: You know how to read an air monitor, how to use an air pump, how to analyze the atmosphere in a space, and how to help seal a breach. You can lay piping and work with gas tanks and canisters. If you work with the engine, you can set up the cooling system. You can use a fire extinguisher easily and place inflatable barriers so that they allow convenient access and airtight breach containment.
- Trained: You can run the Atmospherics system. You know how to monitor the air quality across the station, detect problems, and fix them. You're trained in dealing with fires, breaches, and gas leaks, and may have exosuit or fire gear training.
- Professional: You are an atmospherics specialist. You monitor, modify, and optimize the station's atmospherics system, and you can quickly and easily deal with emergencies. You can modify atmospherics systems to do pretty much whatever you want them to. You can easily handle a fire or breach, and are proficient at securing an area and rescuing civilians, but you're equally likely to have simply prevented it from happening in the first place.
Describes your knowledge of the various engine types common on space stations, such as the singularity or anti-matter engine.
- Untrained: You know that "delamination" is a bad thing and that you should stay away from the singularity. You know the engine provides power, but you're unclear on the specifics. If you were to try to set up the engine, you would need someone to talk you through every detail--and even then, you'd probably make deadly mistakes.
- Trained: You can set up the engine, and you probably won't botch it up too badly. You know how to protect yourself from radiation in the engine room. You can read the engine monitors and keep the engine going. You're familiar with engine types other than the one you work with. An engine malfunction may stump you, but you can probably work out how to fix it... let's just hope you do so quickly enough to prevent serious damage.
- Professional: Your engine is your baby and you know every minute detail of its workings. You can optimize the engine and you probably have your own favorite custom setup. You could build an engine from the ground up. When things go wrong, you know exactly what has happened and how to fix the problem. You can safely handle singularities and supermatter.
Heavy Machinery Operation
Describes your experience and understanding of operating heavy machinery, which includes mechs and other large exosuits. Used in piloting mechs.
- Untrained: You know what a mech is, and if you see one you can recognize which type it is. If your department uses exosuits, you know roughly what their capabilities are. If you were to get into one, you'd have about fifty-fifty odds of getting it moving in the direction you wanted it to go.
- Amateur: You can drive an exosuit safely, but you specialize in only one type of mech that your department regularly uses. You're not an expert and you fumble the controls sometimes, but you're going where you want to go and you're pretty sure you know what those buttons do. If you're a miner, you can set up a mining drill safely; if you have the electrical skills, you probably know how to operate a shield generator and set up a laser emitter.
- Trained: You are very comfortable using the type of exosuit you're most familiar with. You may spend entire shifts piloting one, and you're familiar with its functions. You can do basic maintenance. You can use most types of exosuits, unless they're very exotic or specialized. If you're an electrician or engineer, you can set up a shield generator solo. Miners at this level can place and use mining drills with high efficiency.
- Professional: You can use any type of mech comfortably and automatically. To you, a mech is more like a second skin than a vehicle. You can maintain, repair, and probably build exosuits. You can maintain, repair, and modify drills and shield generators.
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.
- Untrained: You know how to use the technology that was present in whatever society you grew up in. You know how to tell when something is malfunctioning, but you have to call tech support to get it fixed.
- Amateur: You use and repair high-tech equipment in the course of your daily work. You can fix simple problems, and you know how to use a circuit printer or autolathe. You can build simple robots such as cleanbots and medibots. If you have the relevant medical or electronic knowledge, you can repair a prosthesis or artificial organ; if not, these devices are beyond you.
- Trained: You can build or repair an exosuit or cyborg chassis, use a protolathe and destructive analyzer, and build prosthetic limbs. You can safely transfer an MMI or posibrain into a cyborg chassis.
- Professional: You are an inventor, researcher, or anomalist. You can design, build, and modify equipment that most people don't even know exists. You are at home in the lab and the workshop and you've never met a gadget you couldn't take apart, put back together, and replicate.
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.
- Untrained: You know how to use the computers and communication devices that you grew up with. You can use a computer console, a handheld or wall-mounted radio, and your headset, as well as your PDA. You know what an AI is, but you may see them as either "people made of silicon" or "only machines"; you know they have to obey their laws, but you don't know much about how or why they work.
- Amateur: You know the basics of programming, but you're not very good at it and couldn't do it professionally. You have a pretty good idea of what makes AIs tick. You understand how information is stored in a computer, and you can fix simple computer problems. You're computer-literate, but you still make mistakes. If you tried to subvert the AI, you might make mistakes in wording your new laws, but you know how to use the reset board.
- Trained: At this level, you're probably working with computers on a daily basis. You understand and can repair the telecommunications network. Your understanding of AI programming and psychology lets you fix problems with the AIs or cyborgs--or create problems, if you so desire. You can program computers and AIs and change their laws effectively.
- Professional: People are probably starting to wonder whether you might be a computer yourself. Computer code is your first language; you relate to AIs as easily as (probably more easily than) organics. You could build a telecommunications network from the ground up.
Implies an understanding of how DNA works and the structure of the human DNA.
- Untrained: You know that people have genes and that these genes affect how their bodies look and work. You know how to scan them people into the DNA scanner and clone them if you have to, but unless you're a doctor the finer details of how to treat them afterwards may elude you.
- Amateur: You know the basics of genetics and understand inherited traits and disabilities. You can detect genetic damage on a handheld scanner. If you're a doctor, you can scan and clone your patients, and know how to treat genetic damage in a cryo tube. If you're a botanist, you can identify plant genes.
- Trained: You've studied genetics specifically, and you are well-versed in the ins and outs of how genes work and how to modify them. You could resurrect an extinct organism from its DNA or make genetic modifications to an adult organism, as long as they're possible within the organism's species. Given time to investigate one, you could probably explain how a changeling does what it does.
- Professional: You are a geneticist, and genes are your playground. You can accurately identify and change them at will, repairing genetic damage and even giving your clients superhuman powers that aren't possible within the species's normal phenotype. Even if you don't participate in the shady side of genetics, you know exactly how it's done.
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.
- Untrained: You know that chemists work with chemicals; you know that they can make medicine or poison or useful chemicals. You probably know what an element is and have a vague idea of what a chemical reaction is from some chemistry class in your high school days.
- Amateur: You can make basic chemicals or medication--things like space cleaner or anti-toxin. You have some training in safety and you won't blow up the lab... probably.
- Trained: You work as a chemist, or else you are a doctor with training in chemistry. If you are a research chemist, you can create most useful chemicals; if you are a pharmacist, you can make most medications. At this stage, you're working mostly by-the-book. You can weaponize your chemicals by making grenades, smoke bombs, and similar devices.
- Professional: You specialized in chemistry or pharmaceuticals; you are either a medical researcher or professional chemist. You can create custom mixes and make even the trickiest of medications easily. You understand how your pharmaceuticals interact with the bodies of your patients. You are probably the originator of at least one new chemical innovation.
Your experience and knowledge with scientific methods and processes.
- Untrained: You know what science is and probably have a vague idea of the scientific method from your high school science classes.
- Amateur: You keep up with scientific discoveries. You know a little about most fields of research. You've learned basic laboratory skills. You may read about science as a hobby; or you may be working in a field related to science and have learned about science that way. You could design a simple experiment.
- Trained: You are a scientist, perhaps a graduate student or post-graduate researcher. You can design an experiment, analyze your results, publish your data, and integrate what you've learned with the research of other scientists. Your laboratory skills are reliable, and you know how to find information you need when you research a new scientific topic.
- Professional: You are a professional researcher, and you have made multiple new discoveries in your field. Your experiments are well-designed. You are known as an authority in your specialty and your papers often appear in prestigious journals. You may be coordinating the research efforts of a team of scientists.
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.
- Untrained: You know basic first aid, such as how to apply a bandage or ointment to an injury. You can use an autoinjector designed for civilian use, probably by reading the directions printed on it, and can figure out the basic applications of the publicly-available first aid kits. You can tell when someone is badly hurt and needs a doctor; you can see whether someone has a badly broken bone, is having trouble breathing, or is unconscious. You may not be able to tell the difference between unconscious and dead.
- Amateur: You've taken a first-aid training, nursing, or EMT course. You can stop bleeding, do CPR, apply a splint, take someone's pulse, apply trauma and burn treatments, and read a handheld health scanner. You probably know that Dylovene helps poisoning and Dexalin helps people with breathing problems; you can use a syringe or start an IV. You've been briefed on the symptoms of common emergencies like a punctured lung, appendicitis, alcohol poisoning, or broken bones, and though you can't treat them, you know that they need a doctor's attention. You can recognize most emergencies as emergencies and safely stabilize and transport a patient.
- Trained: You are an experienced EMT or experienced nurse, a medical resident, or a doctor. You know how to treat most illnesses and injuries, though exotic illnesses and unusual injuries may still stump you. You have probably begun to specialize in some sub-field of medicine. In emergencies, you can think fast enough to keep your patients alive, and even when you can't treat a patient, you know how to find someone who can. You probably have some skill in genetics, virology, and surgery, if only to the extent of being able to create an antibody, do a cloning scan, or assist a surgeon in the operating room. You can use a full-body scanner, and you know something's off about a patient with an alien parasite or cortical borer.
- Professional: You are an experienced doctor. You've seen almost everything there is to see when it comes to injuries and illness and even when it comes to something you haven't seen, you can apply your wide knowledge base to put together a treatment. In a pinch, you can do just about any medicine-related task, but your specialty, whatever it may be, is where you really shine.
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.
- Untrained: You know what organs, bones, and such are, and you know roughly where they are. You know that someone who's badly hurt or sick may need surgery.
- Amateur: You've taken an anatomy class and you've spent at least some time poking around inside actual people. You know where everything is, more or less. You could assist in surgery, if you have the required medical skills. If you have the forensics knowledge, you could perform an autopsy. If you really had to, you could probably perform basic surgery such as an appendectomy, but you're not yet a qualified surgeon and you really shouldn't--not unless it's an emergency. If you're a xenobiologist, you know how to take out slime cores.
- Trained: You're a surgical resident, or an experienced medical doctor. You can put together broken bones, fix a damaged lung, patch up a liver, or remove an appendix without problems. But tricky surgeries, with an unstable patient or delicate manipulation of vital organs like the heart and brain, are at the edge of your ability, and you prefer to leave them to specialized surgeons. You can recognize when someone's anatomy is noticeably unusual. You're trained in working with several species, but you're probably better at surgery on your own species.
- Professional: You are an experienced surgeon. You can handle anything that gets rolled, pushed, or dragged into the OR, and you can keep a patient alive and stable even if there's no one to assist you. You can handle severe trauma cases or multiple organ failure, repair brain damage, and perform heart surgery. By now, you've probably specialized in one field, where you may have made new contributions to surgical technique. You can detect even small variations in the anatomy of a patient.
This skill implies an understanding of microorganisms and their effects on humans.
- Untrained: You know that diseases are contagious; you've probably heard you should wash your hands to stop their spread. You know that if you're sick, you can go to Medical and get treatment.
- Amateur: You know how viruses work, and you can use the machinery in the virology lab to analyze a virus or create an antibody. You know the principles of quarantine and you know how to keep a virus from spreading. You know that spaceacillin will help the body fight off a virus. However, you're not specialized in virology, and you probably don't have a whole lot of experience in dealing with viruses. If you are a medical doctor, you know how to treat symptoms and keep sick patients stable.
- Trained: You know how to analyze, modify, and cure viruses, and could probably do so even without most of the equipment in the virology lab. You know how to trigger mutations in a virus and how to isolate genes. If you really wanted to, you could create a deadly virus, provided you got lucky with the mutations.
- Professional: You are a specialized virologist--either a medical doctor or a scientific researcher. You may be well-known in the field, having published in prestigious journals; or you may be a mad scientist working away in secret. You know how to use a virus as a tool or a weapon. You can cure any epidemic--and if you wanted to, you could start one so deadly and contagious that your targets wouldn't know what hit them.
- 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 Colony Director. 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.
The only real rule relating to these is the requirement that you stay in your own department - If something is in a public area or in your own workplace, you can safely assume that your character is allowed to know how to use it - that's not to say you still can't play a trainee or the like!