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Here on dumpshock, topics pop up about the active skills all the time. which ones people need, which ones are useless, and which ones are for specialists.

What I don't ever see are discussions about knowledge skills. What do runners need to know? What knowledge skills should every good hacker have? Every good mage? Every good face?
I bet people will chime in here but in my experience most common knowledge skills are very handy. The problem is you need a player that uses them to his advantage and sometimes a GM that is willing to let you stretch the skill just a bit.
Less and less related topics are handled through raised threshold, so there's so much you can know about.

Fashion comes in freakishly handy. Corporate Procedure. Runner Bars. Shadowrunner Personalities. Underworld Figures. Fences. Corrupt [Types] (Lawyers, Judges, Police, Magicians, Executives, Etc). Cutting Edge Tech. Gang Culture.

There's so many, you're best off coming up with your characters history and personality before choosing them, as they really fluff out the concept.
Security based knowledge skills. "Corporate security procedures" for example. They can allow a GM to let you know what kind of behaviour you can expect from your most common opponents, such as Lone Star and site security for where-ever you're breaking into. Magicians should take advantage of the "Sorcery Background" and "Conjuring Background", as well as general magical knowledge skills. Otherwise you don't really have any idea what to expect from magical situations. In fact, I think that's one of the most common examples of characters using player knowledge. How the hell can that samurai or rigger or hacker prepare against magic when they don't know anything about it?
Security Procedures has saved one of the PCs at my table on numerous occasions. Magical Threats is a useful one, as is Safe Houses and also The Shadowy Side Of The Matrix, which included stuff about anonymiser nodes and the like.
I've never understood how the Safehouses knowledge skill would work. What's the point in knowing where a safehouse is if you don't have access? Doesn't seem very safe if you trip an alarm breaking in or some-one else shows up looking to hide out in their own safehouse.
I work it so that you know who to get in touch with to get use of a particular safehouse. Under the expanded lifestyle rules in Runner's Companion, I've also allowed people to add it to their dice pool in order to find a safehouse in a hurry...
Knowledge skills that see much use in my games:

1) Local knowledges - local area knowledge, local police, local shadowrunners

2) Corp related knowledges - corporate rumors, corporate politics, corporate security procedures

3) Security and tactic knowledges - guerilla tactics, corporate security procedures, police procedures

4) Magic related knowledges - may not be as useful if you already have Arcana

All these can be gotten around with (as I have stated in another thread) by having Contacts(with the appropriate skills) and like with all other skills with skillsofts.
I've got a rigger I recently made with varied knowledge skills. Highlighted among those are Seattle Chop Shops, Security Drones, Seattle Biker Gangs and Civilian Ground Craft.

I tend to take other knowledge skills on a per character basis, such as Metahumanity (for identifying the meta attacking you), Paranormal Animals, Corporate Politics, Law Enforcement Procedures, etc etc. Basically think of something useful, and make it a knowledge.

Having the background/fluff knowledge on firearms or demolitions isn't a bad thing either.

EDIT: I once had an adept whose big trick was running through walls and such. He had Physics, Building Materials, Masonry, Metallurgy, and Architecture.
I think everything mentioned thus far is a pretty good start. Depending on your character, the effectiveness or use you see in those particular knowledge skills will greatly vary.
I also like security knowledges, Safehouse/Shadowrunner knowledges(most of my characters have safehouse locations/shadowrunner haunts on their lists.) Shadow Clinics/Talismongers for cybered/magical people. Magical Threats/Magical Groups are also good ones. I also like my characters to have n Area Knowledge skill in the place(s) they are most familiar with.

Of course, interest knowledges are great for fleshing, and you never know when you can make some interesting conversation with them.
- Language skills are pretty common; characters will usually have two additional languages. Some will also have an assortment of language softs.

- Professional knowledges are there to represent character history; the knowsoft variant is great for supporting a disguise. (Negates some negative DP mods for social tests.)

- Useful background information: Paracritters, Arcana (Houserule), Security Systems, Law Enforcement Agencies, Local Syndicates,...

- Shadow information: Safehouses, Black Market Structure, Arms Dealers, Border Crossings... These can be used to locate a known source, and get a deal. Glitches can be bad, watch the small pools.

- at least one hobby for passing downtime, and usually a Local Area Knowledge out of safety concerns.

Not all knowledge skills are available as Knowsoft - someone needs to do a recording, after all, and some information is worthless once every chiphead knows. The really good sources might be uncooperative...
Daddy's Little Ninja
A lot of them lead to good role playing in when the GM and player are working together. I mean if I walk into a new game with my character loaded with Japanese Tea Ceremony 4, Country Western Bar Scene 3 and Asian Cooking 5 it is probably not going to come into use but with a GM who knows they are there he can work up games where they have a use. such as under cover as a cook.
Magical Background (general)
Magical Theory (metaphysics, formula)
Magical Phenomena (spirits, metaplanes, etc.)
Parazoology (dragons & paracritters)

Matrix Background (general)
Matrix Theory (design, programing)
Matrix Phenomena (synthetic intelligence, resonance, etc.)

Corporate Ettiquite
Fine Cuisine

Security Design (general, layout)
Security Procedures (personnel, response, etc.)
Security Systems (scanners, locks, etc.)
Wesley Street
Not every knowledge skill needs to be immediately useful. We all work jobs where our skills are used but we also all have side-hobbies and interests. Which may relate or may not to our source of income. As a GM, I'd be a little leery allowing a PC with only "immediately practical" knowledge skills. It's a rare person who eats, sleeps and breathes his job.

Tony Soprano liked the History Channel and old movies.
I would like to point out that many times, particularly in my case, the "professional" knowledge skills are the characters hobbies.
Wesley Street
Yeah, some people do eat, sleep and breathe their jobs...
Not exactly. Take the fine cuisine for example - appropriate professional knowledge for a Face, yet some people enjoy cooking, eating, or wine tasting.

One of my characters has a high rating Psychology skill - not because she is a psychologist, but because she enjoys twisting people (very fucked up individual).

All of my characters have professional knowledge, not because of their job (it's not even related to their job most of the time), but because it's a hobby.
Remember that the similarly named skills can be classified under different types of Knowledge skills. Unless stated explicitly, it is often difficult to know what skill is which type. You can have Psychology (Academic or Professional) or Psychology (Street or Interest). They mean different things but are named the same, sometimes they all mean the same thing except they are looking at it from different angles.

Not all knowledge skills are available as Knowsoft - someone needs to do a recording, after all, and some information is worthless once every chiphead knows. The really good sources might be uncooperative...

You got RAW to back you up on that? The way I see it, it is simply why the pirated versions of such knowsofts deteriorate, the information simply goes out of date, but if you have the legal versions, the data is constantly being updated.
There is no RAW list of available knowsofts (thankfully), so having one for every knowledge skill is ruleswise legal. But:

- The main book does not say that all theoretically possible knowsofts exist. It just gives rules that apply to all knowsofts.

- Simsense software is recorded from the brain of someone that has a natural skill rating. The producer needs to have at least one willing or coerced source, and an economic reason to care.

- Simsense software is not programmed in a classical sense, and can´t have it´s copy protection broken. There would be no way of creating a patch, either. So the proliferation of knowsofts created for special user groups is limited.
for my runners I always take at least 1 extra language, 1-3 professional knowledges, often Current Events, and at least 1 interest skill.

Interests I am fond of taking: Gambling Card Games, Esoteric Trivia, Flatvid Movies, Classic Rock, Billiards, and Chess

Once a hacker of mine named Analog took Clockwork Gadgets as an interest. It never came up in play, but it was still cool.

Almost forgot, better living through Chemistry!
Languages are a very important knowledge skill to have in my games. The ethnicity of everyone in my games is determined randomly so the Runners never know who they might be running into. My Runners are often left grumbling when none of them speak Baltic-Slavic, and never thought to pick that language soft up.

And since language skills are the only ones that reduce social dice pools, my players have found themselves on several occasions, for all their perceived suaveness, looking like complete asses.
Like I tell people, "No Knowlegde Is Useless, Just Unused Until Needed."
we had a pretty good laugh the other session. One of our players couldn't make it, so I ran his Ork gunbunny. I started looking over his character and got to his Knowledge/background skills

Comedy 6
Merc Procedures 3
India 5
Gun History 3
Crowd Control Procedures 5

Best I could come up with, is that he was a bodyguard for an extremely unpopular comic in India.
QUOTE (BookWyrm @ Jan 29 2009, 05:55 PM) *
Like I tell people, "No Knowlegde Is Useless, Just Unused Until Needed."

Right skill, right time, right place, add one karma please. No, please. It´s the least Johnsons Inc. can do.
Hear hear, Ryu!
Dark Talon
Don't forget to take every SR3 runner's favorite knowledge skill example: 20th century role playing games!
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