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Old 08-10-2018, 07:22 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Psionic Powers] Clarifying Borrow Skill

The psionic PC in my Infinite Cabal campaign has just bought Borrow Skill, which prompted me to take a careful look at a few aspects of it.

Languages and learning them are important in the campaign, and this PC has Language Talent, in addition to level 4 of Borrow Skill. That suggested an interesting question: You want to borrow a language, and the closest person who knows it has it at Accented/Literate, for [4]. But the character with Language Talent doing the borrowing would acquire a language at Native/Native for [4]. Can he get a language at better fluency than the person he's borrowing it from?

Since the campaign isn't very cinematic, the player and I concluded that Borrow Skill can't give you a language at better fluency than the person it's being borrowed from, even if you have Language Talent. This is unlikely to matter often, unless you're borrowing a very rarely known language.

Thinking about this led me to the conclusion that since you obviously can borrow the spoken form of a language from someone who's illiterate, and thus presumably the written form from someone who knows that, but can't speak it, that generalises to allowing you to borrow different levels of spoken and written deliberately, if you want to.

Finally, I reckon you can borrow techniques of a skill, as well as skills, provided they aren't psionic techniques, or otherwise forbidden by the description of Borrow Skill. You can even borrow a skill and a technique in the same Borrow Skill slot. provided they come from the same person. If you have more than one slot, you can't stack them for the same skill, but you can use one for a skill and another for a technique of the skill.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2018, 10:29 AM   #2
Join Date: Jan 2009
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Clarifying Borrow Skill

Do you intend to generalize this ruling to all Talents, or just Language Talents?
Toptomcat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2018, 10:34 AM   #3
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Clarifying Borrow Skill

Just Language Talent, unless something turns up that I haven't thought of. The large amount of vocabulary and usage that a Native speaker of a language knows, but an Accented speaker will not, was important in making this ruling.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2018, 11:26 AM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: England
Default Re: [Psionic Powers] Clarifying Borrow Skill

I'd rule it the same way, even if you had Language Talent you can't know the language better than the donor does.

I hadn't really thought about it, but think I'd be happy to say that someone who could borrow [2] points of a skill could get "accented" in a spoken language but no literacy as well as "broken" in both spoken and written, or putting the two points into written.

I'm not sure how I'd do it for those using "Colourless Green Ideas" from Pyramid 44, where the spoken and written forms are separate skills and scripts become a perk; I'm not sure I'd feel the same way splitting points between separate skills and a perk, but maybe that's unfair.

I'd also allow a Borrow Skill variant, "Borrow Language", which replaces the "No Special Skills, -5%" limitation on the underlying Telepathic Learning advantage with "Languages Only, -50%", for a reasonable cost saving, though I'd probably use the same IQ/H skill for both.
Crystalline_Entity is offline   Reply With Quote

borrow skill, psionic powers

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