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Hi. Maybe I'm missing something, but I have a question about specialization. Specifically dealing with Athletics and Stealth. Now I assume that if you choose not to specialize in a given category for a skill, you can still perform the function that the specialization describes. For example. If you have Athletics, you can still swim using your base athletics skill.

But, from the description in the SR Companion for escape artist, it is worded so that it would seem you can only attempt the escape IF you have that specialization. To make matters more confusing, in the same book, when describing the specializations under Athletics, they specify you can perform that action with either the base skill or the specialization. There is no such specification for the escape artist entry. So, which is it?

Sorry about the length. Thanks.
You can always use the base skill. If you couldn't use athletics to escape, then escape artist wouldn't be a specialization of athletics, it would be a separate skill. If it's not listed in the suggested specializations, it's probably as an editing oversight.
Ol' Scratch
When they list a skill in a fashion like this "Athletics (Escape Artist)" they're just telling you which specialization of that skill is most applicable to the discussion at hand. If you only have Athletics, that's what you would use. But if you had the Escape Artist specialization, you can use that instead. If you have the Gymnastics specialization, for example, you wouldn't be able to use that and instead would have to use your base Athletics score.
Right. They're making sure that you understand that (Escape Artist) is it's own specialization, and that you don't try to get away with making escape artist checks with a different specialization that you might mistakenly believe to be applicable.
Ol' Scratch
In a nutshell, your base Skill includes all the possible Specializations that skill might have. If a test requires a specific specialization and you do not possess that specialization, the base skill is used instead.
Yeah, that's what I thought, it's just that the example was worded so specifically that it put doubt in my mind. It sounded like you needed escape artist specifically to attempt an escape. That seemed contrary to my understanding so I came here to clarify. Thanks. You guys are great.
Ol' Scratch
Yeah, I had trouble with that the first time I tried wrapping my head around specializations and concentrations then finding an entry similiar to that one. Don't feel too bad. smile.gif To this day the Electronic Warfare rules in Rigger 3 confuse the hell out of me because of the way they talk about the Electronics skill. biggrin.gif
In another nutshell specializing either athletics or stealth is pretty dumb.

Note I did not say entirely or certainly dumb, just pretty dumb. The thing is that the general skill is so broad and usefull and the specializations so narrow that the small difference in karma cost is pretty dubious. Ettiquette is the same way except that so many charachters just want to get a lowish skill as cheaply as possible so the street ettiquete specialization happens a lot.

Back when you could specialize stealth by environment it was actually an ok thing to do. A drawback, but worth it for the cost reduction.
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