Monday, November 7, 2022

More on Skills: Naval Architect

Presenting possibly the least useful skill introduced in the Advanced Character Creation books!

Definition, from Book 6 Scouts

The individual has been trained in the design of starships and small craft. Knowledge of the requirements for accurate, usable ship design plans and of the details of ship design are part of this skill. The character is capable of acting as a naval architect, subject to the level of skill attained.

Naval Architect-1 is sufficient to occasionally design ships, especially for personal or group use, but generally requiring three or four times the time called for by a professional (about 16 weeks). Naval Architect-2 allows design of a ship in 10-12 weeks. Naval Architect-3 indicates a level of skill approaching professional. Naval Architect-4+ allows the individual to function as a professional naval architect.

This skill operates in conjunction with the established starship design and construction rules, and does not allow the invention of new devices or equipment.

First of all, Naval Architect skill (hereafter NA) is found in the Technical School skill table, roll 5. This is the only instance of the skill in the skill tables. So it is rare for a Scout character to get it at all, let alone to have it at skill level above 1.

Once acquired, it does exactly one thing: draw plans for ships. No throws are suggested, the skilled PC has only to take the time and produces the results. There is, as far as I can imagine, exactly one instance where this skill would come into play. That is, a group of PCs want to build their own ship, or pay to have it built. NA skill will save them some money up front, but that’s all.

I would like to learn the rationale for including a skill with this narrow of an application. In contrast, Book 1 skills are widely applicable. Compare NA with Mechanical for an example. With this skill, a PC can attempt to build or repair or destroy any number of manufactured devices. Mechanical works on starship airlocks or factory machinery or ATVs. NA can produce blueprints, a narrow application.

To the end of making NA more useful, let’s see if we can broaden out NA skill.