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Nalanthi
The fact that knowledge, generally considered a knowledge skill (I think its actually an example in the core book) gets used as an active skill when trying to make bombs (the first adventure in corporate punishment). This has never bothered me but I have never really been big on the distinction between active and knowledge skills in this particular manner. For me the dividing line has always been how actively useful the skill would be.

A great example would be a role playing games knowledge skill. By the rules it would only cover knowing about the game but if you actually wanted to play it you would need to an active skill in role-playing games. I would just let the knowledge skill substitute for the active skill in this area. Another consideration I use in determining if something is an active skill is whether or not it is truly effective to learn it from a textbook. If the answer is no then I make it an active skill.

So I guess my question is, if you don't let characters build bombs with their knowledge skill chemistry, how do you justify this?

Nalanthi
Kagetenshi
By canon, Chemistry is the skill you use to build bombs. Man and Machine covers it.

~J
hahnsoo
I let them build bombs with Demolitions, with a complementary skill of Chemistry (p108 of M&M, Chemistry alone is not the canon way of making explosives). So that's still an Active skill use. A better example would be using Data Brokerage to program an Evaluate program, or coming up with a Design Plan for programming or surgery.

The only in-game distinctions I see between Active skills and Knowledge skills are for Karma training and character generation purposes. Active skills are functionally structured for game balance and internal consistency (poorly in some cases, but there you have it). Knowledge skills are freeform to allow characters to develop their own passions and skillsets, and some skills may be more useful than others (Chemistry vs. Grunge Rockers of the 21st century).
Jrayjoker
I tend to use Active skills for making/doing things and allow the PCs to justify the use of a knowledge skill as a complementary skill per the normal rules.

I know a few chemists who could synthesize whatever compound you want, but if they were putting an explosive device together I would be in the next county.
GrinderTheTroll
Hansoo touched on this, but Active skills tend to have special rules covering how to use them (Pistols, Computer, Negotiations, etc) while Knowledge are more for the things the rules generally don't cover.
hahnsoo
The most recent use of a supposedly "useless" knowledge skill in our game involved the PCs needing large metal plates for an A-Team-like plan that they were concocting. I asked them "Where in the heck are you going to find large metal plates without being overly conspicuous?". The rigger piped up and said "Umm, I have a Knowledge skill of Local Junkyards of 3". So I let him combine that with an Etiquette test to acquire said metal plates... Totally unexpected, but it works for me. Originally he picked up that skill at character generation to represent the "Sanford and Son" relationship he had with his mechanic buddy.
Jrayjoker
I always take scrounging (active) and local junkyard (knowledge) skills at character creation. I can't tell you how many repairs and mods I have gotten for riggers from a junkyard. Plus every one of the yard operators I know of (3 or 4 so far in my home town) are really flexible about what gets recorded, if you know what I mean. wink.gif
DrJest
QUOTE (Jrayjoker)
I always take scrounging (active) and local junkyard (knowledge) skills at character creation. I can't tell you how many repairs and mods I have gotten for riggers from a junkyard. Plus every one of the yard operators I know of (3 or 4 so far in my home town) are really flexible about what gets recorded, if you know what I mean. wink.gif

Amen, brother. And it's amazing what you can get for what price. Example: I needed a new engine for a mark 2 Escort (don't ask. Just don't sarcastic.gif) . Price from a ford dealer, obscene. Price from a dealer in second-hand parts, mildly obscene. Price from the local scrap dealer, 50. Nothing wrong with it, the car had been rear-ended.
Jrayjoker
Yeah, if you can do the work yourself, it is the best way to go. And as a rigger it is the only way to go.
Talia Invierno
Can so appreciate the junkyard vehicle-related scrounging, having (real-life) done that myself -- repeatedly. It's sometimes the only source for parts, especially for earlier models.
GrinderTheTroll
QUOTE (Talia Invierno)
Can so appreciate the junkyard vehicle-related scrounging, having (real-life) done that myself -- repeatedly. It's sometimes the only source for parts, especially for earlier models.

Old parts are sooo SOTA:63 cyber.gif
Pthgar
I've got a guy who asks me every run if he can cut out any cyberware from dead opposition and sell it. I always let him try. He uses his decently high edged weapons combat skill and his sword focus to do it. He has zero medical skills of any kind (know or active). Everybody just sniggers when I tell him he failed to get any usefull items intact. Last run, a friend (from out of town who plays with us occasionally) who runs a ghoul with biotech skill and anatomy know skill (to get at choicer bits of tucker) told the chop happy adept to get some medical skills. spin.gif

Just to show that because one can cut real good doesn't mean one is a good cutter.
Glyph
I really wish they had come up with a better nomenclature than "active" and "knowledge" skills. You have "active" skills like electronics, demolitions, and aura reading, and "knowledge" skills like singing, dancing, and sculpture.

Generally, it seems that "active" skills are social, magical, technical, and professional skills. And "knowledge" skills are artistic, hobby, recreational, academic, and (yay!) knowledge skills.
Edward
The actual break down is active skills are the skills that welcome up regularly in a game as something other than a complementary.

There are 2 exceptions. Aura reading witch is a almost uses active skill because it is always a complementary and chemistry witch can be as useful as enchanting. (if you use a lot of chemical ammunition, and that stuff is saleable)

Edward
Pthgar
QUOTE (Glyph)
I really wish they had come up with a better nomenclature than "active" and "knowledge" skills. You have "active" skills like electronics, demolitions, and aura reading, and "knowledge" skills like singing, dancing, and sculpture.

Generally, it seems that "active" skills are social, magical, technical, and professional skills. And "knowledge" skills are artistic, hobby, recreational, academic, and (yay!) knowledge skills.

I don't see it that way at all.
For instance painting knowledge skill would allow you to speak about technique, medium used, maybe appraisal, and maybe great painters current and past.
Painting active skill would allow you to actually create a painting.

I spent a couple years as an art major and learned illustration and printmaking but I was never a great painter. The requirments for my major taught me a knowledge of painting technique and history that far exceeded my actuall ability to paint.

A more SR relevant example: I could have encyclopedic knowledge of pistols, I could have committed Jane's to memory and read instruction manuals and The Shooter's Bible but never have fired an actual pistol. My pistol knowledge skill would be very high, but my ability to shoot a pistol would be virtually nonexistant.

That's how I see the distinction in SR between active an know skills.
Tarantula
QUOTE (Pthgar)
I've got a guy who asks me every run if he can cut out any cyberware from dead opposition and sell it. I always let him try. He uses his decently high edged weapons combat skill and his sword focus to do it. He has zero medical skills of any kind (know or active). Everybody just sniggers when I tell him he failed to get any usefull items intact. Last run, a friend (from out of town who plays with us occasionally) who runs a ghoul with biotech skill and anatomy know skill (to get at choicer bits of tucker) told the chop happy adept to get some medical skills. spin.gif

Just to show that because one can cut real good doesn't mean one is a good cutter.

Just a suggestion for him, but cut around the implant. I.E. if its a cyber arm, lop off from their neck to below their armpit. Sure, its more bloody and the like, but, you can then let the guy who knows what hes doing finish detaching the metal from the meaty bits.
Kanada Ten
QUOTE
Painting active skill would allow you to actually create a painting.

According to SotA64, artisitc skills - those that allow you to create art - are knowledge skills.
Jrayjoker
Ahhh shadowrun skill rules. Gotta love them.
Pthgar
QUOTE (Kanada Ten @ Feb 23 2005, 01:13 PM)
QUOTE
Painting active skill would allow you to actually create a painting.

According to SotA64, artisitc skills - those that allow you to create art - are knowledge skills.

Yeah, I guess I wasn't clear that it was a house ruling based on our interpretation of the rules prior to SOTA:64.
Fortune
Skills are skills! The ones listed as Active just cost more, and are seperated for some kind of balance reason.
Pthgar
Well that's one way of looking at it. I like to have a rationale for balance issues, even a flimsy one.
Fortune
Active Skills are normally useful in a Shadowrun situation, while Knowledge Skills are usually used to flesh out a character.

With the advent of the current Knowledge Skill rules in SR3, and the subsequent free skill points equal to Intelligence x 5, the idea was probably to not give the characters the opportunity to acquire all the really necessary day-to-day Shadowrunning skills at 6 for free.
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