A Preview from Beneath the Sea! - Science & Technology Skills!
It is I, James Gill, the Amphibian Agent here to oversee your overthrow! Also, I'm running this Kickstarter campaign and sharing previews for our encounter simulator, which you will experience as the tabletop roleplaying game, THEY CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA!
Today, I'm going to share another preview from the manuscript, from the soon-to-be shared Attributes and Skills chapter. Keeping with the theme from our last preview, we're going to follow The Scientist with the sections on the Science and Technology skills.
But before we get to that, I wanted to quickly touch on the idea of using this game with a few different tones. It's mostly been presented as a tongue-in-cheek casual tribute to low-budget American B-Movies of the 1950s, but that's not the only way to play this game! It was actually born out of very serious and deadly mission-based game that grew in this direction over years of playtesting and development. But just because it's been presented a little lighter, doesn't mean you can bring back some of the shadows in your game, if you'd like. It's quite easy to switch up the tone within this game and setting, and the silliness (or seriousness) is on an adjustable dial.
Here's Matthew Dawkins, the Gentleman Gamer himself, to discuss a bit more about the origins of They Came from Beneath the Sea!...
and now, on to our Attributes and Skills preview...
This covers natural sciences and also all theoretical empirical hard sciences. Physics, chemistry, biology, life sciences, and earth sciences, but not medicine (which has its own Skill) or social sciences and archaeology (which come under Humanities). If someone is wearing a white coat and glasses and is not a medic, they are probably doing science.
With the Science Skill a character attempts to come up with biological or chemical controls for the encroaching coral or to explain an obtuse point about the neuroplankton swarm to an audience. Science also represents a special knowledge of geology to deduce where a hole in the rock leads, the know-how to conduct experiments to test theories, and the jargon to convince fellow scientists of the validity of a project.
• Lab Assistant: You were really good at science in school and still take an interest, reading magazines and books and watching documentaries about science. Okay, it’s not much more than general knowledge, but it impresses less-knowledgeable friends and is occasionally useful in the field.
•• Bachelor: Having majored in at least one natural science in college, you kept up since graduating. You have a good, basic understanding of science and the scientific method. You are resistant to being persuaded by pseudoscience, though your grasp of statistics does let you down at times.
••• Master: An expert in your chosen field with a good general education in natural science and scientific method, you assess unknown items from your specialist field (a master’s degree in chemistry does not help much when trying to identify a strange fish and a master’s in biology will not help much in analyzing a strange and possibly explosive compound).
•••• Egghead: You earned a doctorate in at least one natural science and a smattering of high level knowledge in the others, mostly gained through discussions in the student lounge. You analyze and identify anything described in a scientific journal in your own field (and come up with the means to combat it — at least in theory) and, given time in the lab, have a chance of doing the same for something previously undescribed. You can teach and explain difficult concepts related to your own field.
••••• Mastermind: There is little in the field of natural science you don’t understand. You have an international reputation and sway your fellow scientists to your cause. Your analyses and inventions are not confined to your own field. You can apply science to any problem.
Blinded by Science: Jules delivers a long and involved scientific presentation to the military committee. Utterly confused by the jargon and fine detail, the chairman (who is not a scientist) agrees to lend Jules a platoon to help defeat the trencher rather than admit that he understood no more than one word in five from Jules’ presentation. The
Appliance of Science: Anne secludes herself in the lab and comes out a few hours later with a poisoned bait the leviathan will be unable to resist.
For Science!: Gavin uses science to tackle the problem without regard to the consequences. His spray does, indeed, get rid of the creeping coral on the mayor’s lawn, but it also kills every invertebrate in a 10-mile radius including the oysters that are of vital importance to the local economy.
Technology describes a character’s familiarity and aptitude with a wide range of tools and devices. This Skill covers using, making, analyzing and repairing any tool, device, or piece of machinery. It also includes detecting weaknesses in such items in order to reinforce or break them.
Technology comes into play when repairing a machine of any kind, detecting the weak girder in a structure, working out what an unfamiliar machine was designed to do (and maybe repairing it) or using a computer the size of a house.
• Journeyman: You’re pretty good at tinkering with anything mechanical or electrical. You fix items around the home. You’ve delighted in taking things apart since you were four.
•• Craftsman: You understand how common machines work. Not only did you take things apart as a child but you were usually able to put them back together. Friends bring you items to fix.
••• Mechanic: You work at a professional level on any piece of machinery in which you have a specialty and cope pretty well with other machines of a similar nature. You perform running repairs in the field and routine repairs with the right facilities and equipment.
•••• Engineer: You understand machines, devices, and tools and you are usually able to work out what a previously unknown item was designed to do. You fix most things even if they are very broken, though clearly having the right equipment, spare parts, and assistance help. You invented a couple of handy gadgets to make your life easier.
••••• Inventor: Working out what a strange device does is not a problem for you. Given the tools and the time you may also make an attempt to repair an unfamiliar item with reasonable hope of success as long as you can obtain or improvise the spare parts.
Gadgeteer: Milly pulls a strange device out of her purse and points it at the suspended. Its carapace just seems to melt away, leaving a gasping, fishlike being thrashing around on the ground. “I always like to keep my patented distance dehydrator handy,” Milly says, whilst emptying out the storage tank on her gadget, taking care, of course, to keep a sample of the slime for later analysis in the lab.
Do You Have a Nylon Stocking?: Improvisation is the key to performing a dramatic repair using only everyday objects that are bound to be at hand. Karl never leaves home without his trusty WD40 and gaffer tape.
Talent for Destruction: Sophie surveys the giant brainbox robot bearing down upon the crowded boardwalk. She points towards it. “See the point where the spinal structure curves? If it takes a hit there, the whole thing will fall.” Simon takes a baseball out of his pocket and flings it towards the robot, hitting it precisely where Sophie indicated. The robot crashes into the sea, microseconds before it reaches the innocent bystanders.
We're closing in on our first Stretch Goal, commissioning new WIDESCREEN art for our Alien Recording Device... I mean, Director's Screen! Let's get some more awesome Larry Blamire artwork for this game!
At $24,000 in funding - NEW DIRECTOR'S SCREEN ARTWORK - We'll commission new widescreen full-span Larry Blamire artwork for the Director's Screen!
At $26,000 in funding - ADDITIONAL AQUATIC ALIEN ADVERSARIES! - A handful of new threats and antagonists will be created and released to you as a Threat File! PDF.
We'll also look at adding a new reward tier that will allow some backers to contribute ideas and help the Design and Development teams build some more monsters!
So, spread the word! Share with your social circles and on your social media! At least let them know an invasion is planned, though you will be powerless to stop my water-breathing brethren!