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Old 10-16-2015, 03:16 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: History

History is the IQ/H skill of knowing about the recorded past. Archaeology, Palaeontology and other skills that study the past deal with what can be deduced from its remains, while history starts from records and supplements them with examination of the locations and remains, and occasional practical experiments. The only default is IQ-6.

The history of Earth is much too vast for a single skill, so specialization is required. The two main forms of specialization are a region, no larger than a small nation-state, over a long period of time, or the combination of a shorter period of time and one of a large region, a culture, or a concept, such as economic or military history. This creates unavoidable -- and realistic -- scope for overlap between specializations. Overlaps allow defaults between specializations, usually at -2 to -4. The Geographical and Temporal Scope rules on B176 can also be useful. Many Expert Skills contain specialized history. History was included in GURPS 1e, as a single Hard skill with no specializations, which were added at 4e.

Banestorm's Yrth has a sufficiently developed history to have meaningful specializations: Cardiel is a small enough state that its history is all one skill, while Megalos needs several skills for different periods, and several other specializations exist. Dragons has History (Esoteric), which needs a period under 4e, and DF9 gives ghosts History to represent their general knowledge of the place and time of their origin. Fantasy expands on the relationship between history, fiction and mythology. High-Tech uses History as an example for libraries. History is quite important in some styles of Horror, where knowing what you're up against is important, and the same applies in Infinite Worlds and Monster Hunters. PU2, PU3 and PU7 have examples for this skill. Social Engineering: Back to School has Expert Skill (Bardic Lore), which covers a lot of History.

History is fairly important in my Infinite Cabal campaign, primarily for getting the approximate date of worlds by observation, without having to interact with anyone. One character, not one of the mad wizards, has specialised in this, and is now quite expert in the evolution of architectural styles during the 19th and 20th centuries.

What history have you made, or made up?
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:50 PM   #2
Desthro
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
History is the IQ/H skill of knowing about the recorded past.

History is fairly important in my Infinite Cabal campaign, primarily for getting the approximate date of worlds by observation,
Such skills are rarely taken in my campaigns =( if I see a skill like this, I always build in possibilities, so it varies from time to time. I got accused of ripping off the Stargate series one day, (which is a testament to the thought processes behind it all,) when the PCs started digging up the history of their world and basically saw a step-by-step analogue of Stargate. (I had never seen it until they mentioned it to me. LOL)

Aaaaand, just for the sake of argument:
Since History is knowledge of the RECORDED past, wouldn't mere observation of any new world be insufficient to deduce anything without written and translated material from that world?
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:51 PM   #3
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

I must admit I'd like to see a single overall History skill, for the sort of general background knowledge one gets from a school education that doesn't specialise in a particular period. Like Area Knowledge (Earth), it would be very vague on detail but would cover overall trends. I suppose one could represent it as a Dabbler variant.

Quite a few characters in my archives have some level of History, often related to the main thing they do, but I don't recall its having been particularly important in games I've run.
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:52 PM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

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Originally Posted by Desthro View Post
Aaaaand, just for the sake of argument:
Since History is knowledge of the RECORDED past, wouldn't mere observation of any new world be insufficient to deduce anything without written and translated material from that world?
In the context of John's game, we are already assuming we're looking at reasonably close parallels of historical Earth when we do this. If we make that assumption wrongly, History will utterly mislead us about the date.
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Old 10-16-2015, 04:04 PM   #5
Kalzazz
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

History is one of those things I see only rarely, since specialization requirements really kill desire to try it out . . . . similar to area knowledge really
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Old 10-16-2015, 05:21 PM   #6
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

When I see it on a PC in my games 90% of the time it's a background or 'hobby' skill, like the Civil War history buff having History (American Civil War) at 1cp forever. Occasionally it's taken for character background reasons tht turn out to matter, like a Wizard with History (Arcadian Magic) and I decide the Arcadian Magical system was important for some reason (Say an ancient Arcadian Lich is still roaming around).

On my PCs it's always more of a 'supporting' skill. For instance my Sage in an online game has 6 different skills all about the UnderCity* most of which aren't ever likely to see much use (Area Knowledge will be a frequent use skill though).




* Thnaks for reminding me about Paleontology.... I'll need to pick it up.
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Old 10-16-2015, 06:37 PM   #7
simply Nathan
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

I take it without specializations and still never roll it.
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Old 10-16-2015, 10:52 PM   #8
dripton
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

The DF game I'm running has a lot of historic backstory and thus a lot of chances to roll against History to receive extra information.

Unfortunately, none of the current PCs have History, and IQ-6 is a pretty tough default. So they haven't received any of these clues yet. Fortunately, none of them has really been necessary.
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Old 10-16-2015, 11:17 PM   #9
evileeyore
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

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Originally Posted by dripton View Post
The DF game I'm running has a lot of historic backstory and thus a lot of chances to roll against History to receive extra information.

Unfortunately, none of the current PCs have History, and IQ-6 is a pretty tough default. So they haven't received any of these clues yet. Fortunately, none of them has really been necessary.
They should hire a Sage to travel with them.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:18 PM   #10
dripton
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: History

They haven't found a Sage who's willing to go into the dungeon yet.
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