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[Science Skills for HERO]

Copyright © 2000 by Robert J. Hall

Return to Shaezyra Fantasy HERO®

The known is finite, the unknown infinite;
intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of
an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business
in every generation is to reclaim a little more land.

-Thomas H. Huxley

What does it take for a skill to be classified as a science? First, the science must explain a diversity of phenomenon by a few underlying principles, theories, or laws. Second, the underlying theories or laws must be testable. The theories or laws must make predictions about phenomenon, which were not previously considered when the theory was first devised. If the phenomenon is tested and the theory proves invalid, new theories are devised that successfully explain all past and current results.

As noted in the HERO® Game System Rulesbook, Science Skills function as a combination of Professional Skill and Knowledge Skill with a focus on a specific area of science. The table of skills below include scientific fields that were developed in the past, plus a few which may be developed in the future or only occur in an alternate reality. Most of the skills are based on broad categories of scientific knowledge.

It is possible to focus a skill on a narrow specialization within one of these categories. In this case the character gains a skill in the broader category with a -3 penalty. Likewise, if a character has already learned one of the following Science Skills, then the separate purchase of a narrow specialty gives a +3 bonus to the specialized skill level.

Unless otherwise noted, all the following skills are INT-based and cost 3/1. Most of the INT-based skills below, when bought to the base 3 points or more, also provide familiarity with the Mathematics skill. The depth of knowledge in a science skill is dependent on the era in which it is learned. Trying to apply a science skill to a more advanced era will result in severe penalties due to inadequate knowledge of tools, antiquated theories, and spurious notions.

Many of these science skills are interdisciplinary, giving the character some skill in the related sciences. If a character has spent points on such a skill, he also gains the related skills at a total level equal to half the points spent. The points are split evenly between the related skills and fractions are rounded down. Thus, four points spent on the Ecology skill will give the character the equivalent of a familiarity in Biology and Geology. Related skills are listed in italics.

While the points needed to acquire these skills is relatively low, most will require many years of advanced study in order to become fully trained. Many also require regular upkeep to stay current with the latest advances. The following table shows the approximate skill rating corresponding to specific levels of education and experience. Very difficult subjects or specializations will have a slightly lower skill rating.

Skill Level   Experience Required

8- College Minor
11- Lab Technician
12- Bachelor of Science Degree
13- Engineer
14- Master of Science Degree
15- Research Associate
16- Doctorate Degree
17- Researcher
21- Leading Scientist

The table below describes the most broadly known Science Skills. Additional Science Skills will certainly be developed as technology advances, and many cross-discipline skills are also starting to appear. Comparable skills for many of the entries will exist for each alien race or ecology encountered. These commonly receive the prefix "Xeno-".

Science Skill Description
Advocacy The general study of scientific knowledge. The Advocate has an interest in many scientific topics and constantly keeps up on the latest discoveries and literature. He is highly knowledgeable about the scientific process, science history, technical terminology, current controversies, and the tools of science. He can easily converse with a lay person on many scientific subjects, and can explain complex theories in a comprehensible manner. On a successful skill roll he has the equivalent of a familiarity in a specific scientific skill, for the purpose of remembering a fact or explaining an issue. Typically an Advocate will specialize in one or more scientific or engineering disciplines.
This specialized field of engineering combines the diverse subjects of aerodynamics, fluid dynamics, propulsion, thermodynamics, aerospace mechanics, energy use, and structures. Aerospace engineers can design and manage the construction of aircraft, drones, rockets and missiles, spacecraft, satellites, guidance systems, and so forth. The tools of the engineer include wind tunnels, engine test stands, vacuum and thermal testing chambers, high performance computers, sophisticated software packages, and simulation laboratories. Most of the applications of this skill are in the aerospace field, but it can also be useful in studying energy conservation, evaluating wind loads on a building, or the efficient design of a wind turbine. This skill could more practically be used, for example, to design and construct a stable glider out of wood, fabric, or other materials. A suitable piloting skill would still be required to actually fly the device.
Alchemy During the medieval age, the Alchemist functioned something like a modern Chemist. He would concoct materials for a specific purpose by mixing together natural materials and possibly subjecting them to refinement through crushing, sifting, vaporization, melting, and so forth. Many of the techniques of the Alchemist relied on magical reasoning, such as the belief in sympathetic (like effects like) and contagious (things that were in contact remain connected) magic for their effectiveness. But occasionally, through trial and error, the Alchemist would stumble upon a mixture that actually did something useful. Some of these Alchemists were in search of a magical technique for converting base metals into gold, although such a goal could also be cited as a scam to gain temporary patronage. Most Alchemists worked on much more mundane research, such as how to make clear glass or produce yellow for ceramic glazes. In a magical setting, the Alchemist would know several formulas for producing enchanted potions of various effectiveness. Such formula would be closely held secrets, only to be fully revealed to apprentices after many years of loyal service.
Agriculture The application of biology and related sciences to the production of food, fiber, and other farm products. Agricultural scientists work to improve the yield, quality, and storage of crop and orchard harvests; enhance the breeding, tending, and butchering of farm animals; study the use, quality, and erosion of soil; and work on the preparation of food and other farm products for the market. He is familiar with methods to control pests, such as insects and weeds. The agricultural scientist will be able to advise a farmer on techniques for improving the quality and productivity of their farm. He will be an expert on crop and animal breeding, and now uses genetic engineering techniques that have revolutionized the production of farm products. With rising population and a decline in soil quality, the role of the agricultural scientists grows ever more vital.
Anatomy The study of the physical structure of creatures, especially humans. The Anatomist is an expert on dissection techniques, gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, and histology. He is highly knowledgeable about the organization and function of the various bodily parts, organs, and tissues. He has studied the internal structure of different creatures and is familiar with the various evolutionary adaptations. When given a tissue sample, he can study it to determine various anatomical properties. Anatomy is often used to complement a biomedical skill.
Anthropology The study of the physical, cultural, and social development of human beings. Includes analysis of comparative human biology and variations in human beliefs and customs. This skill can be used to identify customs specific to a particular culture, and can be used to avoid penalties to PRE-based skills due to cultural differences. They will have familiarity in the occult practices of a specialty culture. In a fantasy setting this skill can include specialization in non-human races. In a modern or future setting this will include the specialty of cyber-anthropology, which includes the study of the hacker and cyberpunk sub-cultures. The related skill is Archeology.
Archaeology The reconstruction of human history and culture from the examination, storage, and analysis of remains, including bones, tools, artifacts, plant remains, and sediments. The archaeologist will be an expert on the tools and techniques of excavation and reconstruction. He is generally knowledgeable about the course of human prehistory from early migration and tool use up until the first civilizations appeared. He will have a strong familiarity with several prehistoric cultures, and their technology, settlements, and migrations. He may have literary skills in archaic languages. The related skill is Anthropology.
Architecture The study of building design, including structure, styles, history, internal environment, and illustration. Architecture has been a respected field of study for much of the recorded history of mankind, and many architectural innovations occurred during otherwise backward ages. The architect is an expert on modern structural engineering, building materials, and drawing methods. He is knowledgeable about current and historical building styles, and how to adopt them to the structural requirements. With computer technology, the architect can build virtual environments to display and study a building from a variety of viewpoints. When contracted to a construction project, architects work closely with urban planners, building contractors, and landscapers to complete the structure as planned. With a little study architects can locate features of interest within a building, such as a special purpose room or concealed areas.
The study of the use of the computer for non-numerical problem solving. The ultimate goal of the AI scientist is to program computers to emulate human cognitive abilities. He is highly familiar with AI algorithmic techniques, including cellular automata, expert systems, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms, neural networks, pattern recognition algorithms, natural language processing, and speech recognition. He is an expert with the latest AI programming languages. In the future, AI software packages will grow increasingly sophisticated, eventually attaining sentience. These self-aware programs will in turn produce more advanced intellects. The ultimate result will be the Artilect machines, which will require nanotechnology and possibly megascale engineering to construct. It is unclear what the fate of mankind will be once these vastly superior intelligences are created. The related skill is Computer Science.
Astrobiology See Xenobiology.
Astrology This non-INT based study can be used to determine the supposed influence of the stars and planets upon a person. Knowledge of the birth date and time will allow a forecast of the future of a person to be prepared. The knowledge gained is usually vague at best and often valuable only for significant life events. The GM will have to determine the degree to which this knowledge is applicable to the real world. The knowledge of the stars and planets gained from this skill can be of some benefit when attempting to navigate by the stars. Astrology was a medieval era skill that is not a science in a more advanced, low-magic society - use Astronomy instead.
Astronomy The investigation of the nature of the universe through observation and analysis of the resulting data. Astronomy has many specialized areas of study including planetary studies, astrometry, stellar structure and evolution, interstellar matter and conditions, galactic structure, high-energy sources, and cosmology. The Astronomer can also specialize in a particular band of the electromagnetic spectrum, such as optical or radio astronomy, or in new observational tools such as neutrino and gravity wave detectors. The astronomer will be familiar with the moons, planets, prominent stars, and many nebulous sources. He will also be able to compute the orbits of comets and other bodies, and will be aware of upcoming significant astronomical events. The related skills are Physics and Nuclear Physics.
Bacteriology The study of bacterial life forms. The Bacteriologist is an expert on bacterial taxonomy, physiological structure, biochemistry, toxins, and metabolism. He is highly knowledgeable about bacterial diseases, and their treatment. Bacterial research includes investigating their genetic structure, and examining the effectiveness of various antibiotics. The Bacteriologist can research these diverse life forms in a variety of different environments ranging from marine to anaerobic. The related skill is Microbiology.
Biochemistry The study of the effect of various chemicals on cells and living beings. These chemicals can include food nourishment, drugs, enzymes, hormones, and toxins. The Biochemist is an expert on the molecular composition of life forms, and how they interact to effect growth, metabolism, reproduction, and heredity. Like a biologist, the Biochemist is an expert on the structure and operation of the cell. He is knowledgeable about methods for synthesizing and producing large quantities of biological chemicals. He is familiar with many aspects of such related fields of study as microbiology, organic chemistry, genetics, physiology, and pharmacology. The related skills are Biology and Chemistry.
Biology This broad skill is the study of all aspects of life, including growth, physiology, metabolism, reproduction, behavior, movement, interrelations, heredity, and evolution. There are many specialized branches of biology, including studies of each of the major life form classifications, such as viruses, microbes, protozoa, fungi, plants, insects, reptiles, fish, and mammals. The biologist is an expert on the structure and operation of the cell. He is knowledgeable about methods of reproduction, biological development and life cycles, evolutionary theory, biopoesis, general taxonomy, methods of collecting and preserving samples, scientific illustration, eco-systems, and microscopic examination techniques. The related skill is Organic Chemistry.
Biomechanics The treatment of the body as a mechanism to which the laws of physics are applied to study movement and athletic performance. The researcher studies kinesiology, which is the coordination of nerves, muscles, and joints required for physical activities. He is also familiar with the response of the body to various levels of exercise and stress, especially the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, and is familiar with related aspects of medicine and physiology. Sports science is a specialized field of biomechanics with the goals of enhancing physical health and performance; the prevention of injuries; and refining the design of sports equipment. The sports scientist is able to use tools to analyze physical activities, such as running or swimming, and suggest techniques for improvement. Often the researcher is an amateur athlete himself and enjoys many types of sports. The related skill is Mechanical Physics.
The design and development of medical technology. This cross-discipline field requires knowledge in medical practices and engineering methods. It includes the design and development of such medical technology as instrumentation, sensors, implantable devices, replacement biomaterials, body imaging, and prostheses and orthopedic devices. The related skills are Electrical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering.
Biophysics This cross-discipline field is the study of biological structures and processes using physical techniques and the analytical methods of physics. The Biophysicist studies such diverse biological topics as large scale molecular interactions and mechanisms, the physical structure of the cell, the effect of energy use and radiation on cellular function, and thermodynamic and electrical phenomenon within the body. The related skills are Microbiology and Physics.
Botany The study of plants, including their structure, ecology, physiology, and evolution. The skilled botanist will be an expert on the classification of plants and will be able to determine how closely two species are related and in which ecosystem they normally belong. He will be familiar with many types of plants, trees, fungi, lichen, mosses, algae, and marine growths. His knowledge will allow him to properly cultivate and propagate plants in a controlled environment. Botany will slightly enhance the Survival skill in wilderness areas with significant plant growth. The botanist will be able to identify toxic flora in the field and can locate useful sources of plant food. He may choose to specialize in certain kinds of plants or in specific aspects of their biology. The related skill is Biology.
Cartography Map making has been a useful skill for many centuries, and useable maps could be made of buildings and settlements. Until scientific methods were developed for measuring distances, however, large-scale maps were inaccurate and often contained whimsical and misleading additions. The development of surveying techniques and accurate clocks brought such cartography to a fine art. Modern maps are extremely accurate thanks to airborne and satellite imaging, electronic positioning instruments, and computer tools. The Cartographer is an expert on map making, projection techniques, symbols, and the efficient presentation of geographic information. He can collect and interpret all types of spacial data, then display the resulting information in a map. Cartography can be applied to any planetary body with a solid surface if suitable sensory information is available.
The study of the properties and processing of ceramic materials. The Ceramics Engineer is an expert on the selection of the raw materials and the manufacturing process of forming, drying, and firing ceramic products. He is knowledgeable about the measurement and behavior of ceramic materials, including their chemical, physical, structural, electrical, and optical properties. He is also knowledgeable about the feasibility and economics of producing ceramic products for engineering applications.
The study of the chemical conversion of raw materials into such end products as rubber, plastics, petroleum products, detergents, synthetic fuels, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, and industrial chemicals. He develops the processes and designs the facilities needed to produce these chemical products. The Chemical Engineer is an expert in the efficiency, economy, environmental impact, and safety of such chemical plants. He is knowledgeable about such diverse subjects as plant design, process optimization, thermodynamics, chemical reactions, fluid mechanics, heat and mass transfer, pollution control, software development, and economics. The related skill is Chemistry.
Chemistry The study of substances, how they react and bind, and the natural laws that describes their actions. Chemists are experts on the properties of the different elements; state changes in matter; types of chemical bonds; the dissolution of substances; thermodynamics; combustion; chemical reaction rates and equilibrium; and the chemical analysis and structure of substances. They are knowledgeable about many types of materials, such as acids, enzymes, polymers, organic compounds, metals, and salts. Advanced studies include the quantum mechanical physics of chemistry. Given suitable equipment and supplies, the chemist can synthesize or analyze just about any substance. There are several specialties in chemistry, including biochemistry, organic and inorganic chemistry, and chemical engineering.
This field of engineering is the design, construction, and management of physical infrastructure projects. These include buildings, highways, railways, airports, bridges, tunnels, docks, water projects, and sewer systems. The Civil Engineer is broadly knowledgeable in the subjects of soil mechanics, surveying, construction materials, structures, hydraulics, sanitation, pollution control, various transportation systems, and roadways. He can determine the likely impact of a natural event on a structure, such as an earthquake, heavy rainfall, strong winds, or major storm. To complete a project he works closely with lawyers, urban planners, economists, architects, system analysts, and many other professions.
Climatology The study of long-term weather patterns and climate on the earth and other planets. The Climatologist is an expert on the physical processes that determine the climate of the atmosphere. He is highly knowledgeable about global changes that can effect the climate, such as ocean currents, changes in the planetary orbit, variations in solar output, increases in greenhouse gases, and volcanic eruptions. He studies records of past climates, including temperature and precipitation changes, to make predictions about near-term weather patterns. He can also estimate the effect of human activities on climates. Paleoclimatology is the study of the climate in the distant past, such as glacial eras. The related skill is Meteorology.
The design and development of computing technology and devices. The Computer Engineer is an expert on integrated circuits, silicon chip design and fabrication, and embedded software. He is knowledgeable about electrical engineering, thermodynamics, heat dissipation, and solid-state physics. In the future he will also be familiar with advanced computing technologies using quantum effects, photonics, or molecular machines. The related skill is Electrical Engineering.
The computer scientist can break down and analyze a problem requiring computational devices, then plan for the necessary hardware architecture, software tools, and programming skills. He is an expert on the communication and storage of information; algorithms for modifying data; and the hardware and software needed to perform these activities. He will be familiar with a number of different programming languages and the corresponding optimum methods for expressing algorithms and data. He has a solid understanding of operating systems and how they manage processes and resources. Several specialties are possible, including compiler design and optimization, simulation techniques, computer graphics, virtual reality, digital signal processing, communication and networking, hardware architecture, parallel programming, and artificial intelligence. The related skill is Computer Programming.
Criminology See the Criminology skill in the HERO® System Rulesbook.
Cryobiology This science studies the effects of low temperatures on biological systems and techniques for preventing and repairing damage from freezing. This science began with the attempt to place dying humans in biostasis until medical technology had advanced sufficiently to restore them to life. The body or head is placed in a tank and the temperature lowered until nitrogen freezes. More advanced techniques employed cryoprotective chemicals to protect the body, or chemicals that bond the cellular components in place. When the technique is mastered, cryonic suspension can be used for the long duration storage of crews during interstellar voyages.
Cryptography See the Cryptography skill in the HERO® Systems Rulesbook. The related skill is Mathematics.
Cybertechnology Originally cybernetics compared the functioning of the human nervous system and computers. The field evolved into cybertechnology, which studies all technological enhancements to the body and neural system. Cyberneticists create cyborgs through the use of mechanical, electronic, and bionic implants and neuroprostheses, collectively known as dryware. They are experts on the interaction of various materials and tissues, and will be able to design and develop components that will function properly under the required operating conditions. A Surgeon is required to actually implant a cybertechnological enhancement, but advanced technology will allow devices to be self-implanting. The related skills are Mechanical Engineering and Physiology.
Ecology The study of the interaction between organisms and their environment. Ecology is an interdisciplinary field that incorporates aspects of biology, chemistry, geology, climatology, and meteorology. The Ecologist will be an expert in the effects of climate, soil, water, geological processes, natural selection, and species population dynamics on an ecosystem. He will be able to estimate the effect that the loss of a particular species would have on an ecosystem. A significant field of study within ecology is environmentalism. The environmentalist is concerned with the negative ecological effects of human interaction with the environment, including global warming, ozone depletion, air and water pollution, acid rain, deforestation, wetland loss, solid waste disposal, and toxic chemicals and other hazardous wastes. The related skills are Biology and Chemistry.
Economics The study of the production and distribution of goods and services among groups and individuals. The Economist is an expert on the many forces which shape an economy, including labor, raw materials, manufacturing, investment, transportation, retailing, and consumption. He is familiar with the history of economics, the effects of government policies, price theory, business cycles, econometric forecasting, various national economic models, benefits of credit and banking, and so forth. Based on computer models and key economic indicators, he can predict short term economic trends of various industries or regions with some success. He can also determine the likely effect of a change in the economic conditions, such as new government regulations, a technological innovation, or a sudden shortage of raw materials.
The design and implementation of products that utilize electricity and the electromagnetic properties of matter. The Electrical Engineer is an expert in the design, analysis, and optimization of electronic circuits. He is highly knowledgeable about semiconductor devices, integrated circuits, power systems, transmission and reception of signals, surge protection, and the electromagnetic properties of materials. He is familiar with the latest electronic devices, including motors, control systems, generators, amplifiers, instruments, converters, antennas, receivers, networks, printers, computers, household appliances, and even microwave and laser systems. Some older engineers are also familiar with obsolete electrical technology, such as tubes, that may have special uses. The related skill is Electronics.
The study of environmental protection technology. The Environmental Engineer is an expert on air and water pollution control techniques, as well as solid waste disposal. He is knowledgeable about the handling and treatment of various forms of wastes, including radioactive materials, and methods of removing contaminants. He is also knowledgeable about public hygiene, sanitation, and health issues and standards. He is familiar with techniques for measuring air and water quality, and for identifying hazardous impurities. Environmental Engineering requires a broad range of methods from a variety of disciplines, including fluid mechanics, chemistry, hydrology, biology, and chemical engineering.
Ethology The study of animal behavior as shaped by evolutionary forces. The ethologist is an expert on animal social behavior, foraging, species interactions, and the structure of communities. He is knowledgeable about many aspects of sociobiology, including mating behavior, parental care of offspring, altruism, and individual versus group survival strategies. He studies group animal behavior, such as pack hunting tactics, communication, and social hierarchy. Creatures studied by Ethologists range from primitive protozoa to sophisticated primates. The Ethology skill can be used to determine the likely behavior of a creature in a given situation. The related skill is Zoology.
Forensics See the Forensics skill in the HERO® Systems Rulesbook.
Forestry This focused science combines dendrology, biology, ecology, soil properties, and economics for the management of forested environments. The forester will be knowledgeable about the causes and effects of forest fires, tree pests and diseases, conservation techniques including inventory and mapping, watershed protection, properties of various types of wood, and methods for utilization of woody plants such as paper or plywood manufacturing. He can apply scientific techniques to control the establishment, growth, and harvesting of stands of trees. He will be an expert on the taxonomy of trees and their growth environment and range. Foresters will usually specialize in the forests of a specific region. The forester will be educated on regional legal restrictions applicable to the forestry industry and environment. As part of his job he may also be involved in the development and supervision of grazing lands and recreational areas.
Genetics The study of heredity, or how characteristics are passed from parent to offspring. The basic skills of genetics have been used for several centuries to breed improved crops and domesticated animals. Now it is also used to track family histories of genetic defects and determine the risks for offspring. A massive mapping effort is underway for several species, including humans, to identify their genes and pin their location on the chromosome. This knowledge will allow tests to be developed to identify many genetic diseases and to study the protein strands created by the DNA. The later will allow new drugs to be developed for genetic defects. Genetic tests can also be used to positively identify a person who left tissue traces behind, such as at the scene of a crime. In the future, simulation techniques can be used to predict the likely evolutionary paths of a species based on specific scenarios. The related skill is Genetic Engineering.
This specialty skill is based upon the ability to transplant genes to other chromosomes in order to repair defects or even enhance inherited traits. These modified traits can be used for the manufacturing of complex proteins, such as hormones, enzymes, and proteins for industrial and medical uses. More advanced uses include improving food plant and animal, breeding plants that require less pesticides or fertilizer, cloning and ectogenesis, and creating cures for various hereditary diseases. This skill is greatly enhanced when a complete genome map is available for the species. In the future, genetic engineering techniques can be used to uplift animals to sentience. GELFs can be created to fulfill a variety of useful purposes, especially in non-terrestrial settings. The work of genetic engineers is subject to more scrutiny than most sciences due to the serious moral issues. The related skill is Genetics.
Geology Examination of the structure, composition, and history of the earth's rocky crust and interior. Geologists map the location of various rock types, then theorize about how the rocks were formed and why they moved and changed since their formation. They can locate mineral and water deposits, perform geologic surveying and mapping operations, and determine the suitability of construction sites. Areas of specialization include the search for valuable resources such as minerals and petroleum deposits; studies of the ocean bottom; construction consultation for dams and tunnels; classification and analysis of minerals and jewels; chemistry of the rocks; volcanology; examination of the forces that shape the earth's surface such as erosion, glaciation, volcanic eruption, and seismic shifts; the chronology of the rocks from radioactive decay; and the strata of rock in the earth's crust. A skilled geologist will be able to classify a rock and understand how it formed. He will also be able to estimate the odds that a significant geological event, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption, will occur by applying models and instruments, plus examining historical records and geological data.
Geography The study of how individuals, groups, and societies organize and utilize their territorial spaces. The Geographer examines how the physical environment effects the activities of people, including weather, water, and terrain structure. He seeks to understand the complex interaction of many factors, including population spacial distribution and migration, urban growth and structure, the role of transportation, trade patterns, resource usage, differing societies and cultures, corporations, technology, and environmental impacts. He can use his knowledge to advise governments and commercial firms about the best locations to develop. He is an expert on maps and map making. He will be familiar with the location of many nations, societies, cities, and geographic features throughout the world. However, the Geographer will usually specialize in a particular region. The related skills are Cartography and Area Knowledge.
Geophysics The study of the structure and dynamic behavior of the earth and other planets using the methods of physics. Geophysicists are experts on tectonics, seismology, the generation of a planetary magnetic field, and the study of mass distributions. They are knowledgeable about methods for mapping the internal planetary structure and past history, including gravimetrics, measuring seismic transmission, changes to the magnetic field, and the history of the magnetic field as recorded in rocks. They are familiar with the properties of rock within a planet, including strength, elasticity, rigidity, crystal structure, radioactivity, and thermal properties. The related skill is Planetology.
The study of the fundamental force of gravitation. The Gravitational Physicist is an expert on general relativity, tidal dynamics, and such gravitational singularities as black holes, cosmic strings, and domain walls. He is highly knowledgeable on the latest research into quantum gravity, gravity waves, graviton particles, and grand unification theories. In the future he could perform research on artificial gravity, gravitics, and laboratory singularities. The related skill is Physics.
History The historian examines the written records of the past and uses them to study the human societies and interpret the events and trends that shaped them. He can also draw parallels with historical and current events, and sometimes take useful lessons from the outcome of the former. There are many specialties in this broad subject, including art, musicology, politics, specific historical periods, religions, science, social movements, institutions, warfare, and specific regions or cultures. Knowledge of the appropriate languages, both common and obscure, is often a prerequisite for many specialties. In some cases the historian may be one of only a few individuals who can read a forgotten tongue. History differs from Archeology, which uses physical remains to study the past.
Hydrology The study of water, including its properties, distribution, and transport. The Hydrologist is an expert on the physical and chemical properties of water and its interaction with other substances. He studies the distribution, flow, currents, and composition of underground and surface water. He is also knowledgeable about the processes of evaporation, precipitation, runoff, and glaciation. He can work with Civil Engineers to address issues with water supply, erosion, irrigation, snow pack, and flood control. In the future related skills can specialize in the other types of liquids commonly found on planetary bodies, such as liquid methane.
Immunology The study of the immune system of the body, and how it defends itself against the invasion of foreign substances, tissues, and organisms. The Immunologist is an expert on the production of antibodies, the activities of the immune system cells, and the development of immunizations against diseases. He is knowledgeable about methods for suppressing the immune system to allow transplanted organs or to prevent allergies. He can investigate a new disease outbreak and attempt to develop a suitable vaccine. He can also be involved in long term research to find cures for resistant bacteria, or such intractable diseases as cancer, herpes, and AIDS.
The design of optimum manufacturing processes through the coordinated use of people, equipment, materials, and power. The Industrial Engineer is an expert in the design of efficient production lines, long-range planning, information processing, and management techniques. He is knowledgeable about manufacturing methodology, configuration of equipment, measuring work performance, and techniques for introducing new products. He is also familiar with designing facilities, building layouts, selection of tools and equipment, controls systems, and employee productivity and morale. The Industrial Engineer will be able to determine the probable location and function of a particular unit within any manufacturing plant. The related skill is Mechanical Engineering.
This is the branch of chemistry that deals with all elements and compounds except for the hydrocarbons and their derivatives. As such this "specialty" is almost as broad as the science of chemistry itself. Inorganic chemistry includes the study of ceramics; metals; extreme temperatures and pressures; geochemistry; and the transuranium elements. This study overlaps many other scientific fields, including metallurgy, mineralogy, solid-state physics, and synthetic chemistry. The related field is Chemistry.
Linguistics The study of language. The Linguist is an expert in analyzing the internal structure of language, including the grammatical and phonological components. He is highly knowledgeable about the history, categorization, standardization, and comparison of languages and dialects. He is also knowledgeable about the development of language skills in children and animals. Linguists will usually be fluent in at least one foreign language and often specialize in a particular language family. Knowledge of linguistics will allow the scientist to analyze a new language and pick up its syntax and semantics more rapidly if a suitable instructor is not available.
Literature The analysis and interpretation of writing. Specialists in this field of study spend a considerable amount of time reading and enjoying books, and requires a certain level of reading comprehension and insight. The Literature expert studies all categories of writing, including fiction, poetry, and drama. He can study works from a variety of different genre, styles, cultures, and writing periods, comparing the works or examining them on their own merits. He is able to think about a work of literature philosophically, analyzing the writing and producing an insightful essay. He is an expert in the terminology for discussing literature and is highly familiar with the art of creative writing.
Study of the life in the ocean, including fish, sea mammals, crustaceans, shellfish, and plankton. The marine biologist examines the physiology, ecology, distribution, life cycle, diseases, and migration of ocean organisms. He will also examine the complex effects of pollution. The skilled marine biologist will be an expert on the classification of sea life and will be able to determine how closely two species are related and in which ocean environment they normally belong. This skill will also allow him to properly manage sea-farming activities. The related skill is Oceanography.
This field studies the structure and properties of useful materials, and uses the knowledge during processing. The Materials Scientist is an expert on the atomic arrangement of materials, and understands their physical, chemical, electronic, thermal, and magnetic properties. He is knowledgeable about techniques for processing materials, particularly for alloys, composites, ceramics, and glasses. He also studies synthetic and biological materials. Areas of specialty include membranes, aerogels, polymers, tribology, ceramics, bubbles, and rheology. The related skill is Chemistry.
Mathematics The study of all self-consistent structures using numbers, symbols, operations, and logical reasoning. Mathematics is not actually a true science, but instead is employed by the sciences as a tool. All modern fields of science presume at least a familiarity with mathematics. Pure mathematics is an art form that involves the exploration of the elegant properties of numbers, expressions, and geometries according to a well-defined and often elaborate set of rules. Despite its often esoteric nature, pure mathematics does find application in some science fields. Applied mathematics is a more pragmatic study that uses hypotheses based on mathematical techniques in an attempt to resolve scientific problems. Specialties include operations research and statistics.
This broad engineering field studies the design and development of mechanical devices, such as machines, engines, and tools. He is an expert in modeling techniques; selecting materials based on their mechanical properties; fabrication methods; system dynamics; thermodynamics; fluid mechanics; the dampening of noise and vibrations; and the plasticity, corrosion and failure of solid materials. The mechanical engineer is a problem solver who can design a solution to a requirement, or identify the required device. He can specialize in many different industries including energy, automotive, marine, petroleum, agricultural, aerospace, environmental, textiles, and materials testing. He can also be involved in the management of systems of men and machines. The related skill is Mechanics.
Medicine The pathology of human beings, and the treatment or prevention of their diseases, injuries, and disorders. In medieval and earlier times this practice used many methods and treatments that were of dubious benefit. The modern Medical Professional is an expert on the anatomy and physiology of the human being. He is highly knowledgeable about the latest tools, drugs, and techniques for measuring the state of the body and identifying specific ailments. He is also familiar with recommended healing methods, which can include pharmaceuticals, splints or prostheses, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and surgical techniques. There are many medical specialties that manage specific human biological systems, such as the bones, joins, and muscles (orthopedics); hands and feet (chiropody); skin (dermatology); blood (hematology); teeth and gums (dentistry); and the nervous system (neurology). The medical practitioner is supported by many health care specialties, such as Anestesiology, Immunology, Radiology, Nursing, Nutrition, Pediatrics, Physical and Occupational Therapy, Gynecology, Pharmacology, Psychology, and Psychiatry. The medical practitioner may be involved in the development, testing, and approval of experimental drugs and other treatment techniques.
This futuristic study is the ability to use self-replicating technology and other advanced techniques to build immense structures. This technology uses energy and methods that are far beyond our current means, but are still bounded by physical laws. Typical applications of these engineers include orbital elevators, terraforming planets, shifting planetary orbits, ring worlds, Dyson spheres, stellar husbandry, igniting fusion in gas giants, and tipler cylinders. (See the glossary.) Ultimately he will be able to manipulate planck energies to perform construction using exotic particles in higher dimensions. The related skills are Nanotechnology and Mechanical Engineering.
This field studies the processing, refining, fabrication, and utilization of metals and alloys. The Metallurgical Engineer is an expert on the properties of metals and alloys, the smelting of metals from ores, and the processing of the resulting metals. This includes the refining, alloying, casting, fabricating, and heat treatment of metals. He is knowledgeable about designing, developing, and operating plants and equipment for processing metals. He is also familiar with pollution control technology for such plants. The Metallurgical Engineer can develop new materials and techniques for metallurgy. He can identify the proper alloy required for a particular task. The related skill is Materials Science.
Meteorology The study of atmospheric phenomenon, including the physical processes and the interaction with the surface. The Meteorologist is an expert on weather observation, dynamics, and prediction. He is highly knowledgeable about the forces and fluid behavior of the atmosphere, including atmospheric convection, weather fronts, and severe weather. He is also familiar with the physics of cloud formation, the structure of the atmosphere, and such optical phenomenon as rainbows and halos. He understands the effect of terrain on clouds and weather. He can specialize in climatology, and study long term weather trends, and natural and human induced climate variations. Meteorologists commonly use such tools as radar, satellites, and high speed computers for predicting weather trends. The related skill is Climatology.
Metrology The study of precise measurement, including a variety of physical properties of materials and structures. Metrology complements the engineering skills, and is used to assess the quality of an engineering design or manufacturing process. The Metrologist is an expert in the tools and techniques of measurement, as well as unit standards and references. He is highly familiar with methods for measuring fundamental properties such as mass and dimensions. He can also measure the physical, optical, electrical, and radioactive properties. He is knowledgeable about techniques for measuring complex systems, including thrust, center of gravity, stress, leak detection, and aerodynamics. Metrologists work to design improved measuring implements, including highly accurate clocks.
Microbiology This science studies the taxonomy, physiology, ecology, evolution, genetic structure, and medical effects of microorganisms, including viruses, bacteria, yeasts, fungi, protozoa, and single-celled algae. Microbiology can be used in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases; the production of hormones, antibiotics, industrial chemicals and complex drugs by microorganisms; the treatment of various human wastes; and the production of certain food stuffs such as beer, wine, cheese, soy sauce, tofu, and bread. Of particular importance is the creation of new types of antibiotics for the treatment of resistant bacteria. The skilled microbiologist will be able to genetically modify bacteria for various uses. For this purpose, new types of microorganisms will be collected from soil samples in the wilderness then genetically combined with suitable host microorganisms in the laboratory. The related skills are Bacteriology and Virology.
The theoretical study of military operations under a variety of political, geographical, and weather conditions and with differing force mixtures. He is knowledgeable about many aspects of warfare, including logistics, reconnaissance, combined arms combat, defensive works, siege warfare, infiltration, effects of morale, C4I, electronic warfare, reserves and mobilization, terrain, spying, and weather effects. He has studied a variety of forms of strategic and tactical conflict, including static and maneuver battle, irregular warfare, amphibious assault, air and naval power, strategic weapons, and even space warfare. The Military Theoretician is well studied in military history, and familiar with many significant battles and campaigns; the methods of great commanders; and the causes and effects of war. He is also familiar with the rules and practice of conducting war games to test battle plans, and will be able to analyze a plan for strengths and weaknesses. Often he is a graduate of a military college and a veteran soldier. The works of good Military Theoreticians are studied by progressive commanders for insights into how to conduct battle. The related skill is Military History.
This field studies the location and extraction of mineral resources from the ground. The Mining Engineer is an expert on the facilities and processes for open-pit and underground mining. He is highly knowledgeable about mining safety methods, demolitions, resource extraction and transportation, miner living facilities, power supply, and environmental systems. He is also knowledgeable about the manufacturing processes for extracting the resources from the rock. When the operation is complete, he is responsible for restoring the local environment to an approximation of its original condition. The Mining Engineer will usually specialize in the extraction of a particular type of resource, such as copper, coal, iron, petroleum, or uranium. The related field is Geology.
The study of the molecular basis of life forms, particularly in the function of individual cells. The Molecular Biologist is an expert on the mechanisms by which a cell stores, transmits, and expresses its genetic information in the form of protein molecules. He also studies the macromolecular organization within and between the various cell components. He is knowledgeable about the differing mechanisms of genetic expression during embryonic development, cell differentiation, and aging. Much research in this field is tied to the study and development of genetics. The related skill is Genetic Engineering.
Nanotechnology The study of robotics and construction at the nanometer scale. The key technology behind this field of engineering is the assembler: a device that can construct structured substances an atom at a time. The assembler builds other machines capable of performing any task for which they are programmed and have the required energy source. The Nanotech engineer is an expert in designing functional structures on the atomic scale, a task requiring strong knowledge of quantum mechanics, chemistry, robotics, and mechanical engineering. He is also familiar with disassembly techniques that methodically take apart a structure and map the location of each atom. Research in this field is heavily regulated due to the extreme danger of lethal technology, and most research is performed in isolated locations such as outer space. The related skills are Chemistry and Robotics.
Neuroscience This multi-discipline science is the study of the brain and how it regulates behavior. The neuroscientist studies the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry of the nervous system at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels. He is knowledgeable on how the nervous systems creates the vicissitudes of psychological experience and behavior, as well as clinical disorders. He is an expert on the functioning of neurons and synapses, neurobiological systems, medical devices for observing the functioning of the brain, and the results of studies of brain-damaged patients. He is also familiar with AI studies in neural networks and related methodologies that attempt to model the low level functioning of the brain. Because of the cross-discipline nature of this science, the Neuroscientist is familiar with related topics in chemistry, biology, physiology, psychology, pathology, and anthropology. In the future the neuroscientist will study the uploading of the brain into a computer system. The related skill is Physiology.
The application of mechanical engineering techniques to the design, construction, and operation of nuclear power plants. The Nuclear Engineer is an expert in the properties of radioactive materials, and can apply his knowledge to nuclear fuels, designing nuclear weapons, and using nuclear materials in industrial and medical applications. As safety is the primary concern of this occupation, he is highly knowledgeable in all aspects of nuclear safety, radiation health effects, and the protocols for handling emergencies. He is also familiar with nuclear instruments and detectors, heat utilization and management, radiation shielding, nuclear physics, and the environmental impact of radioactive contaminants. In the future this field will also include Fusion Reactors, which can require knowledge of plasma theory, lasers, and magnetic containment technology. The related skill is Mechanical Engineering.
The study of the quantum and relativistic physics at the scale of the atomic nucleus. The Nuclear Physicist is an expert in the process of nuclear reactions, radioactive fission, particle accelerators, and nuclear particle detectors and instruments. He will theorize about the structure and behavior of the atomic nucleus using quantum mechanics and particle models. He is interested in the nuclear phenomenon that occurs in atomic reactors and the interior of stars. He will be highly familiar with the fundamental operation of both nuclear reactors and weapons. The related skill is Subatomic Physics.
Occultism The study of mysterious knowledge and forces in the universe, and the abilities of certain Occult practices. This practice is based on a belief in relationships that unite all things, so that stars, planets, gems, colors, and even body parts are interlinked. The Occult specialist may study these esoteric practices in an anthropological sense to examine their roots and influence in the various cultures. In a true occult setting, however, Occultism is the acquisition of the specialist knowledge needed to perform occult practices. The Occultist can examine the belief in divine beings, such as spirits or deities, who can be contacted by those who possess the appropriate ritual knowledge. The number of Occult practices to be studied is innumerable, and includes astrology, numerology, crystals, tarot, crystal ball, palmistry, channeling, and so forth. The related skill is Paranormal Studies.
Oceanography The study of the world's seas and oceans, both on the surface and underwater. The Oceanographer is broadly knowledgeable about the biology, hydrology, geology, chemistry, and physical environment of the oceans. Like the specialized Marine Biologist, the Oceanographer examines the diverse life forms that dwell beneath the waves, including the ecology, life cycles, and migrations of fish and sea mammals. He studies the interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere, including currents, tides, winds and temperature patterns. He also examines the geology of the thin crust that lies at the bottom of the ocean, as well as the coastal and island uprisings. He can be involved in the design of tools and equipment used for oceanographic equipment. The Oceanographer is likely to be familiar with legal regulations governing fishing, sea mining, dumping, and other marine related matters. Finally, Oceanographers study the effects of man-made pollutants on the ocean environment. Limnology is the freshwater equivalent of Oceanography.
The study of hydrocarbon compounds, composed of carbon, hydrogen, and possibly other elements. The Organic Chemist is an expert on the structure, nomenclature, reactions, and synthesis of organic compounds. He is also highly knowledgeable about the properties of the main functional groups of organic compounds, including alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, carboxylic acids, carbohydrates, lipids, and proteins. He is familiar with the chemistry of bioorganic molecules, including nucleic acids, enzymes, and so forth. The related skill is Chemistry.
Paleontology The study of the fossil remains of prehistoric life. The Paleontologist is an expert on the fossilization process, the taxonomy of fossils, and their prehistoric evolution. Besides the common fossils of wood, bones, and shells, the Paleontologist can examine such remains as soft tissues, tracks and trails, and corprolites. He is highly familiar with the prehistoric ecology reconstructed from the remains. He is also knowledgeable about the geological processes that deposit the fossil remains, and the methods for determining their age such as chronometrics. If given an intact fossil, the Paleontologist can study it to determine the taxonomy and approximate age of the remains. The Paleontologist can specialize in a particular prehistoric age or fossil category. The related skills are Biology and Geology.
This is the study of psychic phenomenon. It is not clear whether this is a true science, since the results are not readily reproduced. Thus much effort has been directed to finding corroborative evidence of these phenomenon, while others work to debunk such claims. Early psychical studies were influenced by strong religious beliefs, and examined such spiritualistic phenomenon as clairvoyance, telepathy, automatism, hauntings, occult healing, possession, reincarnation, psychometry, mediumship, and stigmata. Later a more rigorous testing approach sought direct evidence of psychokinesis and extra-sensory perception, the later collectively consisting of clairvoyance, precognition, and telepathy. Research has expanded into the study of spontaneus psychic phenomenon, including poltergeist activity, premonitions, out-of-body travel, apparitions, and spiritual mediums. Other areas of psychical interest include auras, dousing, levitation, and spirit recording. Significant advances in this field, if any, may not occur until a deeper understanding of the mind and universe is achieved. The Paranormal expert is highly knowledgeable about the structuring of biological tests and the use of statistical testing methods. The related skill is Occultism.
Pharmacology The study of the physiological and pathological effects of drugs. The pharmacologist will be an expert on drug dosage, metabolism, tolerance, interactions, and side effects. He will be able to determine when a particular patient could have a problem with a drug. He is legally licensed to sell a wide variety of prescribed drugs to patients. In certain cultures he will instead practice Herbalism, which uses natural, time-tested remedies that may or may not be effective. The related skills are Biochemistry and Physiology.
Philosophy The study of fundamental belief systems, including the disciplines of science, mathematics, logic, religion, ethics, aesthetics, and ideology. The Philosopher is an expert on philosophical reasoning and proper philosophical questions. He is familiar with many time-honored theories concerning the fundamental questions of philosophy, including epistemology, metaphysics, ontology, and axiology. He is knowledgeable about the historical development of many philosophical ideas, such as theosophy, dialectics, reductionism, and holism.
Photonics The study of the control of photons, especially for the transmission of information. The Photonics scientist is an expert in the methods of transmitting, channeling, and receiving photons. He is highly knowledgeable about such photonic technology as lasers, laser amplifiers, fiber optical cables, light emitters, photon detectors, and charge-coupled devices. This science is developing or enhancing such technology as optical communication systems, imaging systems, optical computers, and optical data storage systems. Photonics and quantum computing is expected to supersede most modern computing technology. The related skill is Computer Engineering.
Physics The study of the fundamental laws of nature, including the properties of energy, matter, and their interactions. The core goal of physicists is to construct unified theories that will correctly predict all phenomenon in the universe. The Physicist will be an expert in the mathematical relations describing these forces of nature. He will be especially familiar with the subjects of classical mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, relativity, and quantum mechanics. He is likely to specialize in one of the many fields of research within physics, such as acoustics, fluids, optics, lasers, cryogenics, superconductivity, condensed matter, solid-state physics, atomic and molecular physics, nuclear physics, plasmas, spectroscopy, elementary particles, superstring and hyperspace theory, guage theory, gravitation, and high energy physics. The theories constructed by physicists are successfully applied in a number of other scientific disciplines, including chemistry, biology, astronomy, geology, and engineering. The related skill is Mathematics.
Physiology The study of how organisms function at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels. He is an expert on the cellular function, including metabolism, mitosis, and the function of specialized cells. He is also knowledgeable about how the various bodily organs operate and interact. The Physiologist is also concerned with the interaction of the body with the environment, and the effects of disease and aging. Experiments in Physiology rely heavily on animals, and he is knowledgeable about the physiology of these specially bred creatures. The most common areas of specialization are cellular, renal, cardiovascular, neural, gastrointestinal, endocrine, and respiratory physiology. The related skill is Anatomy.
Planetology The combined study of the geology, meteorology, and environment of extraterrestrial planets and moons. The planetologist will be able to assess the suitability of a particular world for human inhabitation or colonization. Much of this assessment can be made with instrumentation from nearby orbit, but long duration visits to the surface to study the local conditions and hidden hazards will improve the reliability. The global effects of stellar companions, including tides and radiation, will be included in this assessment of a planet. He will be able to estimate the age and geological history of the world; the availability of key resources; and the risk factor for significant hazards such as extreme weather or geological activity. The Planetologist can specialize in a world type, such as terrestrial, ice worlds, exotic, or gas giants. The related skills are Geophysics and Meteorology.
The branch of the social sciences concerned with the description and analysis of political institutions and processes. The Political Scientist is an expert on the nature and organization of government institutions. He is highly knowledgeable about many aspects of the running of a government, including administration, regulation, statecraft, foreign policy, war, civil rights, political thought, and the use of a constitution. He studies the behavior and views of the various political parties and how they interact with the people and government. The Political Scientist can specialize in a particular nation, era, or study international relations.
This potential field is the design and development of technology needed to reproduce the psionic abilities of the mind. The scientist is an expert on quantum computing techniques as well as the manipulation of psychotronic energies. The first use of psychotechnology was for mental control of machinery. More advanced applications are later developed, including probability modifiers, psionic weaponry, mind-control devices, telepathy probes, dream scanners, brain wipe machines, and nexus interfacing of mass minds. The related skill is Quantum Physics.
Psychology The study of behavior under a variety of conditions and understanding its causes as a result of physical, biological, and social factors. Significant areas of interest are human cognition and personality, physiological and sensory bases of behavior, and developmental and social psychology. This skill is especially suited for counseling and the treatment of the mentally or emotionally disturbed. The psychologist will be able to make an assessment of an individual's ability, personality, and expected behavior under specific conditions. The chances for success of this assessment will be improved if the psychologist has previously studied the subject; has access to his clinical records; or is able to apply standard testing techniques.
Robotics The application of Artificial Intelligence to the control of machines. The Roboticist is an expert in such essential components as navigation systems, sensors, sound and pattern recognition methods, real-time control, autonomous behavior, and biomimetic techniques. Early robotic developments include industrial robots, remote-controlled submersibles, and interplanetary probes. Future improvements will lead to the development of androids, self-replicating machines, interstellar probes, warbots, giant mechanoids, and even fully sentient robots. If a lower order robot is behaving in an anomalous manner, the Roboticist can attempt to manually modify its programming to compensate. More sophisticated robots require powerful AI packages to fix the faulty programming. The related skills are Artificial Intelligence and Mechanical Engineering.
The study of how individuals interact with groups, and how group pressure can alter thoughts, emotions, and actions. The Social Psychologist is an expert on group dynamics and the social effects of prejudice, cultural beliefs, social condition, roles and responsibilities, personal relationships, and conflict. He is knowledgeable about various social techniques for controlling group thought, including propaganda, disinformation, psychological warfare, psychomanipulation, word framing, advertising, and peer pressure. He can attempt to use his familiarity with these techniques of persuasion to further reduce their effectiveness. Social psychologists also specialize in such fields as memetics and social influence. The related skills are Psychology and Sociology.
Sociobiology The study of the behavior of social animals, including humans. Sociobiology is an expert on the effects of population biology, genetics, and evolutionary pressures on social behavior. He is knowledgeable about social organizations, the ecology of sociality, and models of altruism, stable evolutionary strategies, and the theory of optimum reproductive investment. He can attempt to apply sociobiological theories derived from animal studies to human beings, examining such factors as criminal behavior, sex and gender roles, collective behavior, predisposition to religious beliefs, and the nature of human behavior. The related skill is Sociology.
Sociology The study of social interaction and change, behavior of groups and organizations, deviance from the norm, and population growth and distribution. The skilled sociologist will understand the effects of ecology, social structure, conflict, and culture on a group. He will be able to examine and quantify the effects of various factors on group social behavior, including religious beliefs and practices, racial and ethnic interaction, age and sex differentiation, criminal behavior, economic stratification, population density, and political structure. This skill is especially suited for public relations, law enforcement, and community planning occupations.
Statistics This mathematical specialty is the study of probability theory and the application of statistical methods for performing studies of complex systems. The statistician will be familiar with the use of various statistical models and techniques for evaluating sampled data. He will be able to plan sampling methods for measuring specific information. He can compute the mathematical likelihood of an event, given sufficient information. Statistics is broadly applicable to a number of other scientific fields, including economics, materials studies, medicine, psychology, and sociology. He can work in such fields as Actuarial Science, Market Research, Medical Research, Social Studies, and so forth. The related skill is Mathematics.
The study of nuclear and elementary particle physics. The Subatomic Physicist is an expert on the strong and weak forces, quantum mechanics, and the interaction of particles at extremely short distance scales. He is highly familiar with nuclear phenomenon and models, the forces at the nuclear level, symmetry principles, conservation laws, and nuclear decay and reactions. He is familiar with the latest theories intended to explain subatomic physics, quantum chromodynamics, guage theories, and various unified models. The related skill is Physics.
The study of the measurement and physics of time. At present this field is limited to the construction of ever more accurate timepieces, relativity research, and theoretical studies on the nature of time. In the far future, advances will allow time travel into the past. This future physicist is an expert on the physics of time travel, including chronoretardive fields, temporal back propagation, time stream splitting, closed timeline curves, and causality conservation. (See the glossary.) The skill then complements engineering, allowing the scientist to design and construct the powerful device required to allow time travel. The related skill is Physics.
Terraforming This cross-discipline study involves modifying the properties of a planet over a lengthy period to make it more earth-like. This can involve the megascale engineering skill, but also techniques from planetology, chemistry, ecology, genetic engineering, and computer simulation. Depending on the nature of the planet, terraforming can require changing the atmospheric composition, pressure, temperature, and/or climate. It can also require introducing a self-sustaining ecosystem using transplanted and genetically modified life forms. The related skills are Megascale Engineering and Planetology.
Thanatology The study of dying and bereavement. The Thanatologist is interested in all aspects of the death process, including the legal aspects, moral issues, cultural differences, historical records, memorialization, burial, and necrosis. He studies the stages of terminal illness, and practices counseling and therapy techniques to help the patient deal with the certainty of death. He examines issues concerning the various means of mortality, including suicide, euthanasia, warfare, state execution, murder, genocide, illness, abortion, accidents, and old age. Finally, he studies various beliefs concerning the afterlife, reincarnation, and ghosts and spirits.
Thaumaturgy The scientific study of magic and miracles. Such a study is relevant only in a setting that allows magic to exist and be employed. The Thaumatologist will have a strong familiarity with the techniques for developing spells to create magical effects. In the absence of proper scientific techniques used by a Thaumatologist, such magical spells are only developed using heuristics or by trial and error. The Thaumatologist is an expert on the historical methods used to express spells, including incantations, chants, rituals, gestures, fetishes, dancing, and meditation. He is knowledgeable about the written languages that are used to describe spells, from the simple rhyming ritual to a complicated spell motif of runes and geometric patterns. Some of these languages are all but opaque to the uninitiated, and may even be dangerous to attempt to unravel.
Theology The study of religion and the nature of god. The Theologist is an expert on philosophies concerning god and his relation to the universe. He is knowledgeable about religious philosophy, doctrinal revelations of god, ethical behavior and instruction, the afterlife, and pneumatology. He is very familiar with religious history, the significant founders and figures of the leading religions, proselytism, didactics, and the effect of religion on society. He also studies different religions and their comparative beliefs. In some cultures Theology can also be the study of an entire pantheon. Those drawn to this study usually specialize according to their own religious beliefs.
Toxicology The study of the adverse effect of chemicals on living organisms, including how the effects occur and means of countering the toxins. The Toxicologist is an expert on a variety of natural and man-made toxins, including their symptoms, effects and various means to treat them. He employs knowledge and techniques from a variety of disciplines to perform his studies, including physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and pharmacology. The related skill is Pharmacology.
This potential scientific field studies new discoveries in the physical laws of the universe that allow the fabric of hyperspace to be warped and folded in useful ways. Transdimensional Physicists have discovered techniques of superluminal communication and travel, such as worm holes, tachyon detectors, hyperspacial warps, and dimensional teleportation. They have also opened the doorway for travel to parallel dimensions, developed extra-dimensional cloaking and tunneling fields, and allowed the creation of bubble universes. Because of the enormous expenditure of power required, the physicist is also an expert in the generation and storage of antimatter and other high-energy sources. The related skill is Physics.
The study and management of human settlement and urban development. The Urban Planner is an expert on coordinated land use planning, zoning policies, stages of urbanization, infrastructure requirements, shifting economic patterns of growth and decline, and quality of life issues such as poverty and homelessness. He is knowledgeable about planning methods, real estate financing, forecasting methods, transportation systems, environmental and cultural constraints, and the political process. The planning can occur at scales ranging from small neighborhoods up to the national level.
This broad field is the medical study of animals, including the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases and injuries. It combines a biological understanding and applied medical techniques to the maintenance and productivity of domesticated animals for human benefit. The Vetenerian is an expert on the pathology of common domesticated animals, and is familiar with many unusual pets as well. He is knowledgeable about many related fields that are applicable to the veterinary skill, including anatomy, physiology, ethology, microbiology, and cellular biochemistry. He is familiar with applied techniques for treating animals, including pharmacology, emergency medicine, and surgery. On a successful skill roll, the Veterinary is able to diagnose and treat animal ailments.
Virology This subfield of Microbiology is the study of biological viruses, including how they infect cells and the disease process and treatment. The Virologist is an expert on the structure, function, and means of classification of many known viruses. He is also familiar with the pathelogical effects of viruses and means of replication, including their attachment, penetration, and uncoating phases. He is highly knowledgeable about the immune defenses of creatures and the control and treatment of viral infections. He can also study their genetic structure in an effort to gain clues about their nature. The Virologist can specialize in specific viral categories and even a specific strain. The related skill is Microbiology.
The design and construction of weapon systems. This cross-discipline skill combines many areas of engineering knowledge, but especially mechanical and electrical. The Weapon Systems Engineer is an expert on projectiles, targeting, guidance, propulsion systems, explosives, controls, material properties, energy platforms, and defense structures. He is knowledgeable about the effects of weapons against both hard and soft targets. He is also familiar with common military jargon, the history of weapons and armor, weapon manufacturing, and current weapon technology. In the future the engineer is more likely to work on non-lethal weaponry for use in police actions. The related skills are Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering.
Xenobiology The study of the biology of extraterrestrial life forms. The Xenobiologist can successfully apply standard biological techniques and knowledge for the many of the environments found in alien settings. But some extreme alien species and eco-systems can require many years of study even to begin to comprehend. (See the Alien Life in the glossary.) Xenobiologists can specialize in an individual world, a specific environment or world type, or even focus on a single complex alien species. This skill is also known as Astrobiology. The related skills are Biology and Xenology.
Xenology The study of anything that is alien to the earth, including intelligent extraterrestrial species. At present this skill is limited to attempts to detect alien transmissions; determination of the probable number of life bearing planets in the galaxy; scholarly speculation about the nature of alien life forms and why they have not made contact; and scientific investigation of UFO sightings and activity. After contact has been established, this science is more solidly based on direct observation of the alien races, including their technology, biology, language, society, and behavior. Due to the potentially vast scope of this science, the future Xenologist is likely to focus on a specialized aspect of alien study, such as Xenobiology, Xenophysiology, Xenopsychology, Xenolinguistics, and so forth. Xenologists are responsible for devising first contact procedures and frequently serve in the role of advisor to an alien emissary.
Zoology The scientific study of animals. The Zoologist is an expert on animal taxonomy, morphology, and anatomy. He is knowledgeable about animal life cycles, social behavior, senses, species interrelations, survival techniques, evolution, and ecology. He is familiar with microscopic examination techniques. The Zoology skill can be used to make an assessment of the likely capabilities and life style of a creature. Each classification of animals has its own specialized field of study, including fish (ichthyology), mammals (mammalogy), birds (ornithology), insects (entomology), reptiles (herpetology), mollusks (malacology), protozoa (protozoology), and parasites (parasitology). Zoologists can also specialize in many related studies of animals, including ecology, hormones, behavior, evolution, physiology, genetics, and medical treatment.

Brief glossary of terms