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Old 09-19-2015, 04:47 AM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

Hazardous Materials is the IQ/A TL skill of dealing with dangerous substances. At high TLs, there's a lot of record-keeping, regulatory paperwork, and systems of labelling; at all TLs, knowledge of containment and decontamination processes, plus antidotes, is important. The only listed default is IQ-5, but I could imagine situational defaults to scientific or engineering skills, or First Aid. The default does not include the labelling systems used for real-world hazardous materials, knowledge of which is confined to professionals "to avoid alarming the public." No skills default to Hazardous Materials. It appeared at 4e.

Personal protective equipment usually uses NBC Suit skill. Hazardous Materials has a similar game mechanic to Environment Suit skills: most skills used in handling dangerous materials (Driving, First Aid, Freight Handling, etc.) are limited to your Hazardous Materials skill level.

Specialisation is required: the common high-TL specialisations are (Biological), (Chemical) and (Radioactive), which default to each other at -5. (Magical), (Nanotech) and other specialisations could exist in the right setting, and might well have no default.

Action makes HazMat an option for Cleaners, Demolition Men and Medics, especially with security backgrounds, and provides examples of using the skill in a modern setting. Bio-Tech has more uses, including lab accidents, bioweapons cleanup, sabotage and epidemic control. DF Wizards and Artificers have plenty of uses for (Magical); Fantasy makes that a skill for enchanters, and has guidance on using it. Horror places vampire blood under (Biological), and suggests new specialisations, such as (Ectoplasmic) or (Paraphysical). Infinite Worlds' Miricle Workers use HazMat, as do Monster Hunters, Mysteries firefighters, and several Space templates. There's no Talent in PU3 that includes this skill, but several wildcards in PU7 have it. Enhanced Senses has abilities to enhance several specialisations. Spaceships uses it for handling dangerous cargo, Ultra-Tech has equipment for the skill, and a use of it in place of IQ, and Zombies has lots of applications.

I don't think I've ever used this skill, as player or GM. My Laundry campaign had it as a job skill for "plumbers", but the types of situation that needed it just never came up.

How have you cleaned up in a game?
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:03 AM   #2
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

It came up frequently (far more frequently than the Players expected, which confuses me) in my Gamma World Fantasy mashup.

Uses:

Cleaning up after fights with beasts who's blood/viscera contained magical or mundane hazards (Biological or Magical specialties).

Proper storage of extracted bits from Fantastical creatures (Survival and Cooking allowed this as well to more limited degrees, Biological or Magical specialties).

Handling and storage of Artifacts from Other Realms and Last World Archeotech (Magical, Biological, Chemical and Radioactive specialties)

Sense based passive rolls to notice when they had or were about it enter 'Reality Warped' Areas (Magical), Mana Fallout Zones (Magical), and regular Bio-chem Hazard Zones (Biological, Chemical and Radioactive) remaining from the Realms War (based on strange properties of flora, fauna, and other stuff).



The first and last were the more prominent uses, as the PCs didn't think trying to make use of the magical bits of the things they killed was of tremendous value (no Alchemists in the party) and storage for later resell would have been difficult. And they only found an Archeotech 'stash' in the last session of the campaign and haven't had time to deal with it.
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:09 AM   #3
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

Isn't it also referenced in Dungeon Fantasy volume 2?
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Old 09-19-2015, 07:32 AM   #4
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
Isn't it also referenced in Dungeon Fantasy volume 2?
Yes - those are some of the "plenty of uses". I don't try to list every single mention of a skill, it just gets too long and detailed.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:12 AM   #5
malloyd
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

I suppose it must have come up in a cleanup situation, but those tend to be boringly unmemorable.

I've rolled some did the protective gear work saving throws against it (it really ought to entirely absorb the NBC Suit skill). It comes up occasionally in cargo handling - though honestly those tend to be solved by we open the hold to vacuum and teleoperate the forklift to toss it out. Interpret the paperwork and cryptic warning labels to determine which truck has the stuff we want to steal loaded on it got talked about but dismissed since the people moving the stuff weren't the sort to bother with legal labeling requirements.

Setting up an "accident" in a chemistry lab seems like the sort of thing PCs would do where it might be useful.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:42 AM   #6
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Yes - those are some of the "plenty of uses". I don't try to list every single mention of a skill, it just gets too long and detailed.
I just think of the 2nd volumes of DF, MH and Action as being core'ish books.
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Old 09-19-2015, 08:47 AM   #7
Kromm
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

In my secret-agents game, it came up around bio-weapons and chemical weapons. The PCs needed it to handle samples of such stuff on a number of occasions.
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Old 09-19-2015, 09:19 AM   #8
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Hazardous Materials

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Knutsen View Post
I just think of the 2nd volumes of DF, MH and Action as being core'ish books.
Of those, DF2 is the one where I'd be most cautious about applying its rules to a different setting.
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