In the game Morrow Project 4th edition there is a Linguistics skill, and it appears as part of a skill package — the Academic I believe. It isn't defined in the skill list though. Is it defined in a previous edition? And if so, what is it used for?

There are already skills for Language→spec, e.g. Language→English, so that's not it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems to be our first question about Morrow Project; I’ve created the [morrow-project-4e] tag for it. I’ve never heard of the game, and I’m probably not the only one, so if you’re up for it, adding to its tag wiki would be much appreciated! \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Aug 23 '16 at 21:46

The Morrow Project 4th Edition has Linguistics as a Specialty of Language (Other).

According to the rules of skill development (page 48), once a character has reached a value of 20% in their Language (Other) skill they are required to specialize either in Linguistics, or in a specific language.

Language (other) can be taken more than once and Linguistics need not be taken as a specialty, it is just an option. Language (other) is listed on page 70 as a Complex Skill (defined on page 65) and as such, cannot be attempted untrained.

The Linguistics specialization allows for the analysis and slow deconstruction of an unknown language so as to build a lexicon and map out its grammar. This will be a useful skill in campaigns where there has been a lot of drift in the languages the Project Teams encounter when they are activated 150 years of hardship later.

Note: In the College Skill Selection Package on page 54, it does make it look like Linguistics is its own skill, but this should look like Language (Other, Linguistics) rather than Language (other), Linguistics.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I didn't, neither did the other players, notice that, we saw it as a skill. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike Browne Aug 25 '16 at 4:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ It certainly looks that way, and as SevenSidedDie points out below, at one point it used to be. \$\endgroup\$ – Runeslinger Aug 25 '16 at 15:29

Linguistics is actually a specialty of the Language skill — see the table on page 65 and the end of the Language (Other)! skill description on page 70:

Specialties: [other Language], Linguistics

(Yes, this could have been clearer in the book!)

Before that it explains what Linguistics does, albeit very briefly. Basically, it does what linguistics means in the real world: it's the scientific study of how human language works, which is helpful in the game for documenting, analysing, and ultimately learning the mutated or completely unknown languages that will have developed during the 150 years the characters have been frozen.

There is no support for how to use Linguistics to accomplish this, only the note that it allows construction of a translation guide “given enough time”. The details are left up to the GM, so if you have a character with Linguistics trying to decode the language of a newly-discovered post-apocalypse community, you should work together to treat it as a medium-term project, just like constructing a reliable water supply or teaching the inhabitants basic sanitation and medicine would be time-consuming Morrow Team projects.

Aside, original (1st through 3rd edition) The Morrow Project doesn't include skills at all; however, there was a 3rd-party supplement put out by Chaosium by “H. N. Voss” that included a skill system, including a Linguistics skill. It did pretty much the same thing, but with a few more (somewhat unrealistic and brief) mechanical details for how long it would take to get how much percentage of skill in a new Language skill specialty.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I chose the first, because it looks like it was answered first. \$\endgroup\$ – Mike Browne Aug 25 '16 at 4:10

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