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Old 04-08-2016, 01:35 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Metallurgy

Metallurgy is the IQ/Hard scientific study of metals and their properties. It defaults to Chemistry-5, Jeweller-8 or Smith (any)-8, and Engineer (Materials) defaults to Metallurgy-6. With a skill roll, you can identify metals and alloys, or solve a problem relating to the mining, refining or use of metals. The skill comes into existence at TL1, as people learn to extract metals, and while it changes a lot with TL, as chemistry and physics develop, it retains an experimental aspect at least as far as TL8. It appeared as a GURPS skill at 1e.

As far as I can see, a metal-worker doesn't need this skill if he acquires metals ready-refined, and doesn't alloy them. If your smith wants to start from ore however, she needs this skill.

Metallurgy is a pretty rare skill on published character templates, usually showing up as an option for scientists and engineers, or as a required expertise skill to do something with metals right. Banestorm's Underground Engineers use it, and High-Tech has labs. LTC3 requires it for extracting metals from ores. Power-Ups volumes 2, 6 and 7 have examples for the skill. Powers: Enhanced Senses and Thaumatology: Chinese Elemental Powers both have abilities that can boost it, and elemental technology has possibilities for making high-quality metal work cheap.

Have you used Metallurgy in a game?
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Old 04-08-2016, 02:50 PM   #2
RogerBW
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Metallurgy

This only shows up on three characters in my archive, and I think it's always been a colour skill - or something for the lab team to be consulted about.

Smithing can mostly be covered by, well, Smith. Prospecting lets you analyse an ore sample well enough. There might be a role for Metallurgy somewhere in between those two, and certainly identification of metals might sometimes be useful, but this is specialised enough that I've never seen it come up in play. In GRIWND*, this will probably be a special case of "scientific skill with no particular associated game mechanics" rather than needing a separate listing.

* GURPS Revision I Will Never Do, because it would be too much work to do unpaid, and SJGames obviously isn't going to pay me to do it when they have a perfectly good Dr Kromm available.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:21 PM   #3
Bruno
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Metallurgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
As far as I can see, a metal-worker doesn't need this skill if he acquires metals ready-refined, and doesn't alloy them. If your smith wants to start from ore however, she needs this skill.
From what I understand, the smith doesn't need the skill in the specific circumstance of getting a billet of metal of the type they want.

Is it Metallurgy to make a billet of Damascus steel or other mixed-steel billet? Or is that Smith because it's done by forge-welding at an anvil and forge, rather than in a smeltery and/or crucibles?

It definitely seems like you need Metallurgy to deal with metal of unknown or uncertain origin - if you're salvaging metal from a junkyard (which is a thing with some modern smiths) or in an After The End game (where the entire gameworld is a junkyard), or perhaps if you just don't entirely trust the merchant or craftsman who you got the billet from. If only to figure out what it is to avoid a Smithing penalty.
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Old 04-08-2016, 03:23 PM   #4
Polydamas
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Metallurgy

Isn't Metallurgy also the skill for casting metal? If so its essential for metalworkers from TL 1+, except for blacksmiths.
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Old 04-08-2016, 04:38 PM   #5
johndallman
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Metallurgy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruno View Post
FIs it Metallurgy to make a billet of Damascus steel or other mixed-steel billet? Or is that Smith because it's done by forge-welding at an anvil and forge, rather than in a smeltery and/or crucibles?
I reckon that's Smith, simply because it's a common thing for smiths to do at the relevant times and places, and the default penalty from Smith to Metallurgy is big enough at -8 to indicate that someone with Smith needs to learn Metallurgy separately unless he's amazingly skilled.
Quote:
It definitely seems like you need Metallurgy to deal with metal of unknown or uncertain origin ... If only to figure out what it is to avoid a Smithing penalty.
True, I reckon, although the TDMs may be helpful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Isn't Metallurgy also the skill for casting metal? If so its essential for metalworkers from TL 1+, except for blacksmiths.
I think casting may be something you can do with either skill. Whitesmiths, Brownsmiths and Jewellers all do casting; classic low-tech blacksmiths don't because the melting point of iron is too high for their fires. But operating a blast furnace or a Bessemer Converter and casting the output is clearly Metallurgy.
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