1879: High Tiers: The Scientist

The Warden-Tier Scientist runs their own laboratory or research facility. They’ve become adept at the political games that control funding and the direction of inquiry. Trying to insult them no longer works, as they can Resist Taunt, and even turn the insult back with Witty Repartee. Adding their Bardic Voice to their First Impression or Leadership Skills gives them the sonorous, authoritative presence expected of a leader in the field. More importantly, though, they have gained a Deeper Understanding of the world around them through their research. Knowing the theory behind a thing grants an advantage, that the Scientist can apply to anything appropriate. For example, a natural philosopher could improve their approach to anything mechanical, or to analysis of a structure for weak points, through understanding the physical principles involved, such as gravity or leverage.

At Master, the Scientist has a research facility named after them, possibly one they or their patronage have funded. Their Skills again focus on the social aspects of Science, dealing with rivals, giving lectures to the public or their fellows, and seeing through attempts at misdirection. (Providing a rival with false data or a misleading hypothesis is far too common.) Directly confronting a rival in an Academic Duel becomes part of maintaining their position as a leader in their field. Win the duel, and the prestige will carry you and your institution to the next level of endeavour. Lose, and the ignominy and shame may force you out into the field for years to regain your standing.

Skills and Abilities

  • Warden
    • Core Skills
      • First Impression, Leadership, Resist Taunt, Undermine, Witty Repartee
    • Optional Skills
      • Bardic Voice, Disarming Smile, Knowledge (Select), Lion Heart, Safe Thought
    • Abilities
      • The character gains +1 to their Mystic Defense.
      • The character gains +1 to their Social Defense.
      • The character may spend Karma on PER-only Tests.
      • Deeper Understanding: The Scientist can extrapolate from the principles of their field of specialization to the world in general, applying what they have learned in their studies to other endeavours. For 4 Strain, the Scientist can add their Professional Skill Rank to any Skill Test other than combat actions. For example, the Scientist could add their Profession Skill Rank to a Mechanic Test, representing knowledge of the underlying theory of machines, or a Taunt Test, representing knowledge of how the mind and culture interact, but not to a Firearms Test, although it could be added to a Craft Firearms Test. The player must explain how the Professional Skill applies to the Test before using this ability.
  • Master
    • Core Skills
      • Cutting Words, Lasting Impression, Oratory, Perfect Focus, Soul Aegis
    • Optional Skills
      • Escape Plan, Exploding Ammunition, Knowledge (Select), Second Chance, Truth Through Lies
    • Abilities
      • The character gains +2 to their Social Defense.
      • The character’s Max Karma increases by 15.
      • Academic Duel: The Scientist may challenge another Scientist in their field of knowledge. Using Reputation + PER as the Skill Rank, the Scientist makes a Champion Challenge Test against their opponent’s Social Defense, and spends 4 Strain. Instead of single combat, each Scientist presents a short paper or demonstration of their primary field of Knowledge (their Profession Skill). The effects of the Champion Challenge Test apply to all aspects of the presentation – the Knowledge Skill Test to prepare it, any ancillary Tests such as Mechanic or Craftsman to set up the demonstration apparatus, and the Social Skill(s) used to deliver it. Taking more than one full day to make the presentation results in an automatic loss. The winner of the academic duel gains a +2 Step bonus per success on the Champion Challenge Test to all Actions targeting the opponent and their scientific faction for the winner’s Reputation in days, while the opponent and their faction are at -2 Steps per success to all Actions against the winner and their side for the same period. The Gamemaster may determine other effects, such as gain or loss of Social Level, changes in GMC Attitude, and so forth.