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Old 07-24-2015, 02:36 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Forensics

"I don't think I'm leaving a broad enough trail." -- A pulp-era PC who relied on the villains finding him.

Forensics is the IQ/H TL skill of finding inobvious clues through scientific means. It defaults to IQ-6 or Criminology-4. and no skills default to Forensics. The same skill is used for gathering evidence at the scene, and analysing it in a lab, although other skills will be helpful in both environments. As well as evidence of a crime, or other activity, it can be used to look for evidence of concealed activities. And adventurers operating outside the law should always be aware of the evidence they're leaving behind.

Hyperspectral Vision, Sensitive Touch, Ultravision, and sense-enhancing abilities in general are useful with Forensics. The skill is also used to detect fakes made with Counterfeiting. The rules for poisoning (B439) have notes on Forensics.

Forensics is common on templates for modern-day law enforcers and investigators, and a common example for lab facilities. Action has more details, and points out that Forensics is also the skill for planting false clues. Banestorm features Forensics/TL3; most of real-world forensic science is TL5 or later, but it's the kind of idea that would leak out into Yrth culture. Bio-Tech has, naturally, a lot to say about applications of Forensics as applied to people; High-Tech has more on inanimate objects. Mysteries has a lot on Forensics in criminal investigation, PU3 and PU7 have examples that include the skill and Powers and Enhanced Senses have abilities that boost it. Tactical Shooting covers the forensic hazards of guns, and Ultra-Tech has some very advanced equipment.

I like using Forensics. It's one of the skills that give a GM good reason to tell you part of what's going on. Perhaps my most enjoyable use of it was searching an apartment and finding the bloodstains on a sofa that matched the mysterious needle wounds on a body in the morgue. We still didn't know quite what was going on, but the absent occupant of the apartment was clearly the next step. Another PC was built round Forensics: an In Nomine angel who worked as a medical examiner. The police brought me all the strangely murdered bodies in West London, some of them killed by demons. It was great fun, and reading a popular book or two on forensics helped a lot.

What have you caught with Forensics?
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:12 PM   #2
whswhs
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Forensics

There's also a lot about Forensics in Transhuman Mysteries, which grew partly out of a campaign I ran about private investigators in Montréal in 2100.
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:45 PM   #3
Adversary
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Forensics

When I built career robber Parker for the Giants in the Earth thread, I think I gave him a 1-trick wonder perk in forensics for erasing/avoiding leaving evidence. Given all the things included in forensics (taking fingerprints, comparing them, ballistics, examining blood traces, etc.) I feel simply avoiding leaving such things was a narrow enough subset of the skill to be a valid 1-trick wonder.
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Old 07-24-2015, 03:47 PM   #4
Phantasm
 
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Join Date: Jun 2006
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Forensics

In a superheroes game without bang! skills, where would folks like Bruce Wayne/Batman and Barry Allen/Flash be without their Forensics skill?

That said, any investigator type character regardless of genre will probably have it. I once saw a TL3 fantasy "witchhunter" character with it; a bit of applied magic to replace the lab work (mostly Identify spells) supplemented the skill nicely.
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