A Path to Steam
Skills for Design, Repair, and Use
When choosing technological skills for your character, it can be helpful to bear in mind that such skills govern three distinct classes of activity:
Design. An inventor, gadgeteer, or mad scientist requires skills that let him design and build new inventions, redesign existing ones, and deduce the function of (and reverse-engineer!) unknown technologies. The key skill here is Engineer – specialized in the inventor’s fields of interest – but Bioengineering (for biotechnology) and Computer
Programming (for software) are equally appropriate.
Repair. A craftsman or technician needs skills that enable him to troubleshoot and repair known devices, perform major overhauls and upgrades, install new equipment, and customize existing gear. The most important skills of this type are Armoury, Electrician, Electronics Repair, Machinist, and Mechanic.
Use. A detective, soldier, spy, or similar professional needs skills that let him operate specialized equipment, conduct routine maintenance on his gear, and identify common makes and models (and their strengths and weaknesses). Such skills include Computer Operation, Electronics Operation, Environment Suit, Explosives, vehicle skills
(Crewman, Driving, Shiphandling, etc.), and weapon skills (Artillery, Guns, etc.).
These skills form “design-repair-use triads”; e.g., Engineer (Electronics)-Electronics Repair-Electronics Operation for electronic devices, Engineer (Vehicle)-Mechanic-Driving for vehicles, and Engineer (Small Arms)-Armoury-Guns for firearms. Cinematic adventurers with great depth of knowledge often have all threeskills in a triad!