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Weird Science Skills


Foxiekins
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I have an NPC I'm creating, named Professor Michael Mallory...  I need to select his science skills...  The basics are obvious, but I need suggestions for his *weird* skills...  I. E. the ones he uses when fiddling around with super-gadgets and Deux Ex Machina devices...  Has anyone come up with a set of these they use frequently...?

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1 hour ago, Foxiekins said:

I have an NPC I'm creating, named Professor Michael Mallory...  I need to select his science skills...  The basics are obvious, but I need suggestions for his *weird* skills...  I. E. the ones he uses when fiddling around with super-gadgets and Deux Ex Machina devices...  Has anyone come up with a set of these they use frequently...?

You can fudge and just give him Power: Weird Science skill, and then also give him KS: Weird Theories of Science! skill, KS: Weird Scientists. Give him PS: Singing at a decent level and you got Buckaroo Bonsai.

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Generally speaking, a Weird Scientist doesn't need science skills. They are 'helpful' in laying out bullshit theories, but remember that they come to there conclusions using methods which most science believe is Just Plain Wrong and that thoes who use tnem are, at best Crackpots, and at worse, cRaZy.

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On 11/16/2019 at 7:49 PM, Cancer said:

Don't overlook some conditional Presence adds when laying out Weird explanations.

 

That's actually something close to what's on Starforce's character sheet:

 

Expert at Technobabble: Persuasion 13-, Only for technical talk and explanations (-1).  Given a PRE of 20, that's only 1 point.

 

It also came in VERY useful during the time travel story "Greatest Generation," when he came up with an explanation on the fly to the Base Commander at RAF Woodbridge on how TASK FORCE had appeared in Rendlesham Forest in September 1944 with a Nazi wunderwaffen.  Though he knew better, even team leader Ranger almost believed it...

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It might help if we knew specifically the goals / proposed usages of these skills are.

 

If it's simply the skill he uses to invent things-- even whacky, crazy things that should not work, period ("I didn't have a long enough cord to plug in the power strip, so I plugged it into itself, and the circular pattern of the electron path creates a magnetic field, and when you get right down to it, that's half of a generator, right?  So as long as we keep this steel rod taped through the coil, it will power itself for as long as we need it to--"), well at the end of the day, that's Inventor.  That's his weird skill.

 

Still, there is _nothing_ that stops you from giving it a cool name (let's be honest: powers and skills need cool names!) like "Of course!  It's so simple!"  or "How can you not understand this?!"

 

If you're seeing it as a Drain: INT  --- there was an "inventor" here some years back (rest his soul) who bamboozled _lots_ of people with his "free energy" device.  I met him on numerous occasions, and I have to tell you--

 

well, let me say this:  I spend several years as part owner and primary technician of a DC electrical shop.  I saw his "demos" and his tests and listened to his spiel, and not only did I know why it wouldn't work, but I could point out every thing he said that wouldn't work, as far as the technicalities and outputs and regulations and most specifically, increasing revolutions by _dropping_ the amperage of the input and increasing the voltage (but not enough to do any real good, and of course "armatures do not work that way!"  And the things he was claiming he could do with rectifier bridges were complete crap!

 

At any rate, I knew it was crap.  I knew _why_ it was crap.

 

But when he started rolling it off, confident and fast-talking, you couldn't freakin' _think_.  Seriously, by the time you snapped to attention with the thought "what he said six minutes ago doesn't sound like it adds up," he was on to something else that _on the surface_ sounded right-- until another six minutes went by.....

 

 

So if you want his weird skills to be used in that way, well-- that's still just a normal thing: Drain: INT.   But again, you can call it anything you want: technobabble.  Bafflingly Brilliant.  Whatever.  If he ever gets as good as old man Wilkes, it's damned near mental paralysis.

 

So again:  I think we can be way more helpful to you if you tell us what it is you want the weird skills to actually _do_.

 

Thanks!  :)

 

 

 

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Do you want what he creates to actually WORK? Ha! So simple. It is just a Variable Power Pool with "weird science" as a special effect. Nothing more needs to be written.

 

Reminds me of Professor Robert Steriaca, and his "gamertech" inventions (like his "personalized blaster" and his "carboardaim shield", and knowing he is a Champions villain with a character sheet somewhere).

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Don't discount the usual suspects such as Mechanics or Electronics, either, when you're doing you Weird Science character. 

 

Another useful skill is +4 to INT-Based Skills with the limitation "Only to Offset Time Modifiers" if it absolutely, positively, MUST be built right now.  You never know when you need to turn a toaster and a VIPER pulson rifle into a Gauss Gun to stop the running battle in the casino lobby, after all...

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Okay...  Right now I'm using him without a finalized character sheet, but I'd like to set skills for him that make sense...  The Superhero branch of the Federal Government of the US is the Metanormal Examination and Training Authority...  They are secretly in possession of a power core removed from an Alien Spacecraft...  No one has ever been able to figure out how the core works, but it apparently holds an unknown quantity of a Matter/Antimatter flux, that somehow is prevented from annihilating itself...  Instead, the device is able to deliver phenomenal amounts of power on demand, apparently by pulling it from the flux...  META has been pulling several gigawatts from it for decades now, and they have no idea when it's going to be empty...  Given that it almost exploded once, after someone tampered with it, folks are rather keen to know...  Professor Mallory had the notion that a resonance in space-time could be set up, to try and measure how much flux the core still has inside it...  The problem is, when he did his experiment, with the PCs there, there was an accidental rupture of space-time, resulting in extradimensional visitors, who would like to go home...  The Professor has also done research into the power signatures associated with high energy powers, and anything else META has fiddled with the last 10 years or so, which could be a LOT of stuff, given they are fiddling like idiots with a bunch of alien technology...  So, given this, what skills should go onto his character sheet to finalize it...?  Dimensional Geometry...?  What else...?

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I've seen a few of these fringe-y sciences in sci-fi and comic books over the years, including in game books. To a large extent they're contextual, derived from whatever conditions and precedents a given setting allows for. If it exists, there can be a science behind it. ;)  A few examples off the top of my head:

 

Biophysics: the energetic processes in organisms that can manifest externally, e.g. bio-electricity, gamma-ray mutation, or organic size/mass increase or decrease.

 

Temporal Physics: principles governing time-travel and time manipulation.

 

Extra-Dimensional Physics: methodology behind travel to alternate universes or other "planes of existence," and how physical laws there may differ.

 

Psionics: the laws and functions of mental powers, how to detect them, block them, or duplicate them using technology.

 

Hyper-Dimensional Engineering: constructs which extend beyond the four dimensions which humans can perceive, which affect their properties.

 

When I rebooted the classic Champions villain Profesor Muerte for Digital Hero, I coined the science of Necrobiology, the study of the physiological processes of the undead.

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Macrophysics and microphysics: The physics of size manipulation. Sometimes called "pymphysics" after a certain size manipulating superhero of a Marvelous world.

 

Spartial Physics: Similar to Tempral Physics, but dealing with the folding and manipulation of space as oppose to time. From teleportation to pocket dimensions.

 

Xenophysics: A more generic science for the study of physics which are naturally alien to this world. Once the experiment and theory has been replicated on Earth using current Earth technology, then it is moved out of Xenophysics into the more appropriate science.

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As a couple people have alluded to, it's important to distinguish whether you're talking about super-science, which is advanced beyond everyday science and technology but still "works" (even if most scientists don't understand why) and mad science, which explicitly wouldn't work if anyone else tried it. It sounds like Professor Mallory deals in super-science.

 

For my super-science NPCs (and the PC Csongor Kovacs in my Avant Guard campaign), I largely stick to "ordinary" scie-tech skills with high ratings. Analyze: Technology to figure out what something does. Inventor to build another one. Electronics and Mechanics for the more conventional aspec ts of a device. Weaponsmith if a device is a weapon. Science Skills for everything else. "Conventional" SS for straightforward things such as SS: Nuclear Physics for a fusion reactor, or SS: Genetics for an alien disease. LL gave some of the more ordinary weirder alternatives (pardon the oxymoron) such as SS: Dimensional Physics for a teleport device; that sounds suitable for Professor Mallory's space-time resonance, too.

 

But remember that a SS of greater generality can stand in for such exotic specialties: You just assign a progressively greater penalty to the Skill Roll. Even if Mallory just has SS: Physics, he can try using that to generate a space-time resonance as a way to analyze the alien reactor: If his rating is high enough, he still has a chance that it'll work. Or, as the example goes, almost work! Particularly for a PC, if someone spends the points on a highly specialized skill such as Dimensional Engineering, they should get better results on a success than sopmeone who relies on the general skill, no matter how high the rating. PCs should never feel like they wasted points for the sake of style.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

 

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So far I've got:

Inventor

Mechanics

Electronics

SS: Physics

SS: Dimensional Geometry

SS: Biophysics

 

There was also the time he was convinced he could talk to birds...  Quite a lot of money was wasted testing him, until it turned out that he'd accidentally drank a leftover psychoactive lab sample, thinking it was Mountain Dew...

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