Mass Effect 2164
Professional Training (• to •••••)
Effect: Your character has been on the job for a while, and has grown skilled in the areas important to her Profession. This Merit reflects your character’s job experience, natural prowess at the talents important to her line of work and how well she can learn and grow within her field. Each of the Professions listed later in this chapter has two Asset Skills associated with it. Players choose a free Specialty in one of those Skills at character creation, and characters probably have at least a dot in both of the Asset Skills. Characters do not have to begin with a dot in Professional Training, though, in order to choose a Profession.
The Professional Training Merit is progressive; a character can’t have Continuing Education until she has Networking. The Professional Training ranks listed in the individual write-ups of the Professions beginning on p. 74 allow a good shorthand for how well trained a given character is. A Hacker character with two dots of the Professional Training Merit can be called a “Programmer,” while one with five dots is a “Genius.” Characters, of course, don’t use this nomenclature, but it can be handy way for players to note roughly how experienced their hunters are.
• Networking: Your character has amassed the contact information for people in her chosen Profession. At low levels of the Merit, she is an up-and-comer, asking questions of older and more established colleagues. As her Professional Training increases, people start coming to her with questions, requests for advice and consultations, offers to coauthor papers, and invitations to speak at conventions. In game terms, the character is considered to have the Contacts Merit (see p. 114 of the World of Darkness Rulebook) equal to her rating in Professional Training, in addition to the other benefits that later levels provide. Every time a hunter character gains a dot of Professional Training, the player must choose a sub-field of the Profession for this portion of the Merit.
Example: John’s character, a Detective, gains a second dot of Professional Training. John specified that the first dot of Contacts bestowed by this Merit was Police, refl ecting the character’s work with the local cops. With the increase, John decides that since his character has made a name for himself in law enforcement, he now has Contacts in Federal Agencies. Note that the Networking facet of this Merit does not preclude the player from purchasing the Contacts Merit separately, nor does it imply any special relationship with any one particular person in the areas specified. It simply means that the character saves business cards, writes down numbers, buys drinks at conventions or otherwise pays attention to the people he meets.
•• Continuing Education: As part of her growth within her field, the character learns new skills that are applicable to what she does. Sometimes, the character finds herself learning things she never thought would apply to her Profession. An Academic might take a class in physiology and find she has a passion for it, signing up for gross anatomy classes, learning first aid and thus gain dots in the Medicine Skill. When the player purchases this dot of Professional Training, the player chooses a third Asset Skill. If the player takes this Merit at character creation, she can take her free Specialty in any of her three Asset Skills. The Storyteller is the final arbiter of whether a given Skill is an appropriate choice.
••• Breadth of Knowledge: A character who settles into the routine of her job never stops learning, but probably doesn’t learn new aptitudes so much as how to make better use of her existing ones. In game terms, this “breadth of knowledge” is best represented by Specialties. Upon purchase of this dot of Professional Training, the cost for Specialties in Asset Skills drops to 2 experience points per Specialty.
•••• On-the-Job Training: Schooling is no substitute for experience. A character who has been at her Profession for a long time (and who dedicates herself to it, rather than just coasting or dodging work), progresses efficiently within her field. She learns not just facts, but patterns, tricks, shortcuts and truisms that help her do her job well. In game terms, characters at this level of Professional Training pay only (new dots x 2) for Asset Skills, rather than (new dots x 3).
Drawback: The problem is that picking up new Skills is difficult for those who specialize. Buying the first dot of a new non-Asset Skill costs one extra point of experience (four points, rather than three). This increase does not affect raising the Skill further; it just represents a steeper learning curve, because the character has to shake herself out of her routine a bit more than others in order to learn new talents.
••••• A Day on the Job: Characters who achieve this level of competence at their Professions are envied, highly sought after and extremely rare. The character might not be the most Skilled person on the planet (i.e., might not have an Asset Skill at five dots), but she has learned so much about the application of those Skills that she can do her job in her sleep. When the player spends a Willpower point on a roll involving an Asset Skill, and that use of the Skill is something that would fall into the daily purview of the character, the roll can instead become a rote action (rather than the usual +3 dice for spending a Willpower point). Details on the rote action rule can be found in the World of Darkness Rulebook, pp. 134–135. “Daily purview” means that the action is something the character would encounter on a regular basis in the course of his job. A Soldier could use the ability in a firefight. A Detective could use it while searching a crime scene. An Occultist could use it for research, and so on. The exact Skill being used isn’t as important as the way in which it is used. For instance, a Laborer who uses the Crafts Skill to fix cars and other machines couldn’t use this Merit to turn baking a cake into a rote action, even though it’s covered by the same Skill.
Note that hunting down and killing monsters isn’t a matter of routine for anyone, and so while a hunter can use A Day on the Job in a fight with a monster, he cannot use it on a Tactics roll (see p. 217).
Drawback: While a character can use this Merit to make a combat roll into a rote action, doing so forces the character to concentrate on following through the attack above all else. The character receives no Defense during that turn. Also, the character cannot specify a target (see p. 165 of the World of Darkness Rulebook). In addition, the Storyteller may determine that the scene of combat is simply too out of the ordinary to fall under the “daily purview” rule. See the sidebar entitled “Combat by ‘Rote’” for more information on rote actions in combat. Example: John’s Detective character has, over the course of the chronicle, become extremely well respected, an authority on serial killers and cult-style murders. When called upon to make an Empathy roll to detect a lie, even if that lie comes from a supernatural creature, John can spend a Willpower point and make the roll a rote action. If he were called upon to make an Empathy roll to assess whether a child’s description of an event has been coached or is genuine, he might be able to make this roll a rote action, if he has worked with children under such circumstances often enough in the past. This, of course, is the Storyteller’s decision to make, based on the events of the chronicle and the player’s input.
NCO Merit *
Prerequisites: Expression * * ; Presence * * *
Benefit: You have gone through the appropriate training and earned the right to be a Non Commissioned Officer. You may now raise your rank above E4 and may have command over other troupes.
Special: Adding two more dots will make this merit become the * * * Commissioned Officer Merit. However, this will completely reset your rank to O2. Your services have NOT been forgotten, and you retain all other secondary perks of your former rank, and have a reduced cost to gain future ranks.
Commissioned Officer Merit * * *
Prerequisites: Academics * * * ; Expression * * ; Persuasion * ; Presence * * *
Benefit: You have gone through the appropriate training and earned the right to be a Commissioned Officer. Your rank is now O1 and may now raise your rank to O2 and above.
Special: Adding two more dots will make this merit become the * * * * * Admiral/General Merit
Admiral / General Merit * * * * *
Prerequisites: Academics * * * ; Expression * * ; Persuasion * ; Politics * * * * ; Presence * * *
Benefit: You have gone through the appropriate training and impressed the right people. You have earned the right to be an Admiral/General. You may now raise your rank above O6 and may have command over Fleets/Battalions.