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Old 05-02-2015, 05:02 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

Expert Skill is a category of IQ/H skills, providing expertise in a cross-disciplinary field covered by several standard skills. Within the field of an Expert Skill, you can use it in place of any IQ-based roll against a skill that has a default. This doesn't exempt you from language or Cultural Familiarity requirements, and never allows you to do practical tasks, only to know or deduce things. For example, Expert Skill (Egyptology) means you know a lot about Ancient Egypt, and can realise (substituting for Archaeology) that a claim that an artefact was found at a particular site is implausible, but it doesn't allow you to carry out a dig (a practical task), or to read Ancient Egyptian (a language). Expert Skills do not have defaults, at all.

The Basic Set provides a lot of examples, many of which were setting- or genre-specific conventional skills in 3e, but explicitly allows players to make up their own Expert Skills, with GM approval. Additionally, Expert Skill is the placeholder for Hard skills that need to be added in future and those don't need to follow the rules for Expert Skills, although quite a few of them probably will.

By far the most common Expert Skills on templates are (Military Science), (Natural Philosophy) and (Epidemology), and various Expert Skills are added by 4e books after the Basic Set. Dragons has (Dracontology). Fantasy has (Bardic Lore). Horror makes a lot of use of Expert Skills and adds (Cryptozology), (Demonology), (Pneumatology), (Ufology), (Vampirology) and (Xenology), plus some discussion of appropriate relationships between those skills, Occultism and Hidden Lore. Madness Dossier has (Memetics), Infinite Worlds has (Cliodynamics) and Britannica-6 has (Scientific Theorizing). Martial Arts has (Hoplology), Supers has (Bio-Powers), and Reign of Steel: Will to Live has (Robotics). SEALS in Vietnam has (Oceanography), and Thaumatology has (Mind-Magic). PU3 and PU7 have examples that include Expert Skills, mostly by specialisation, although the Sage talent and Encyclopedist! wildcard include all Expert Skills.

I've used Expert Skill (Epidemiology) in a combat situation, to realise how to use a city sewage system to escape a gas attack, but I don't think I've used any of the others.

What have you done with Expert Skill?

Last edited by johndallman; 05-02-2015 at 05:10 PM. Reason: punctuation
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:50 PM   #2
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
What have you done with Expert Skill?
Frowned at it wondering how I'm supposed to decide what's a "real" Skill in it's own right and what's just a partial substitute for several other Skills.

Not my favorite concept in 4e and I've never used it.
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Old 05-02-2015, 05:59 PM   #3
Flyndaran
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
...
The Basic Set provides a lot of examples, many of which were setting- or genre-specific conventional skills in 3e, but explicitly allows players to make up their own Expert Skills, with GM approval. Additionally, Expert Skill is the placeholder for Hard skills that need to be added in future and those don't need to follow the rules for Expert Skills, although quite a few of them probably will.
...
Thanks for including that. While not in any Gurps book I know of, the authors have repeatedly stated that that was their intent when creating the skill.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:51 AM   #4
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

The only Expert Skill I remember my characters using was ES(Memetics), and I used it for specifically what RAW lets you use it for: Artifact Analysis and Population Analysis actions of memetic operations, as this is the only skill that can perform both of these tasks without a penalty.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:06 AM   #5
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Frowned at it wondering how I'm supposed to decide what's a "real" Skill in it's own right and what's just a partial substitute for several other Skills.
As best I can tell, if it's something that really doesn't come under any existing skill, then it's a new non-Expert skill. If it's something that overlaps with several existing skills, and is about knowing, rather than doing stuff, it's an Expert Skill. If it overlaps with several existing skills, and you can do stuff with it, it's a wildcard, or a matter of learning several skills, possibly with specialisations.

To use the Egyptology example, someone who has learned most or all of Archaeology, Anthropology, History, Linguistics and Occultism with appropriate specialisations or familiarities for ancient Egypt may be hard for a non-expert to tell from someone who's spent fewer points on the same skill level in Expert Skill (Egyptology). I'd suspect that the chap with the large set of real skills is likely to cite a lot more primary sources, and will also be much more use which you find yourself transported to ancient Egypt.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:39 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

I find most of the expert skills not really likely unless you are a pure researcher and even then I find in many situations that the actual skills are more likely to be used. Though having some of them as dabbler might make sense to have "areas of interest" that you have read about but not actually studied.

The ones used in my games have been:
Computer Security-I find myself at bit two thought about this, though it is indeed a very valid skill set, but since I find that most people in real life who have this skill also have the skills to patch. Thus a skill that includes both would seem more proper instead of forcing people to buy two skills for computer security.
Conspiracy Theory: I do find this kind of silly...
Epidemiology: I find this iffy in most characters, it is a very tiny niche and I would think in most situations the people doing this would more likely use the actual skills as they tend to be doctors, Though It is indeed a very specialized academic field of study.
Military Science:This one I have no problems with as there are so many people who can answer silly things like "what is the range of the 105mm m102 howitzer" without having any clue of actually how to fire one. But again I would make the professional instead have the real skills.
Political Science:Same as the others basically. Some academic might have this, but for any in game roll you would be much better off with the real skills.
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:43 AM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

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Originally Posted by weby View Post
Computer Security-I find myself at bit two thought about this, though it is indeed a very valid skill set, but since I find that most people in real life who have this skill also have the skills to patch.
Do you mean to apply patches, which is just Computer Operation, or to create them? A lot of people who work as consultants and managers in computer security lack the latter ability.
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Old 05-03-2015, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

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Do you mean to apply patches, which is just Computer Operation, or to create them? A lot of people who work as consultants and managers in computer security lack the latter ability.
Either one.

I would use computer operation for both using vulnerability scanners to find problems and for applying patches. But there is an optional specialization definitely available for computer security.

For actual tracking down unknown vulnerabilities and for creating patches for them I would use computer programming. Again with an optional specialization possible.

I would also use computer operation for best practices while using computers so you can try to avoid problems when using computers and computer programming for best practices when programming so you do not program in security faults.
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Old 05-03-2015, 02:03 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

I use Expert skills as "knowledge" skills in my games.

For instance in a sci-fi game with several alien races I have an Expert (that race). It can cover stuff like Sociology, Psycology, History, Physiology and a few others.

In the same game there are several huge mega-corps. I use Expert (choose one corp), as a stand in for all sorts of info about the products they make, their business model, predicting howthey the company would react to threats or certain situations and also their general beurocracy and whos who.

The same for a few of the big organisations in the setting like "the evil terroist organisation" and so on.

Last edited by Maz; 05-03-2015 at 02:09 PM.
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Old 05-03-2015, 07:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Expert Skill

In my gritty Supers campaign, the PC medical researcher has an Expert Skill in the study of Metas -- their genetics, history, even the rules and regulations that a registered meta has to follow.
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