While I enjoy the free potential of the knowledge skill, the problem is that you are to much of a broad pool of specific knowledge that can be used for an RPG. I can see it working in large sandbox games or RPG's like EvE Online, but for a Tabletop RPG, you need to have a more narrow selection. The book has lots of irregularities within it, for example, Weapons system 1 is only given to the pilot/mechwalker, and is not mention in any skill description as an advanced skill. should I place it in knowledge, or perhaps it would fit better in piloting or even attack:gunnery?. What is the difference between Knowledge:Religion and Knowledge:Theology? All while the actual skill Knowledge becomes neglected because players would rather pool all their skills in the specific ones than the actual knowledge skill, knowing their GM will be specific in their knowledge rolls.
for Knowledge there should be a small pool of advanced skills that are pulled by the characters instead of the infinite amount of tiers that can be created to make arbitrary trees of madness. for Example, to encompass ALL POSSIBILITIES of machinery or mechanics, you would use the skill Knowledge: Engineering. for ALL POSSIBILITIES of identifying a piece of art whether it be a painting or pottery, you use Knowledge: ART. This way it uses a common sense rule that someone who has studied art obviously does not just focus on 1 medium like wicker-weaving (Yes I had someone try to make that a thing), or that someone with an Engineering Degree degree didn't just study how to make small parts or hasn't dabbled in invention now and then.
Here is the list of 12 Advanced knowledge's I've boiled down to respectable categories that can be used as a form of system rolling and fit the setting of DUST:
Knowledge Advanced Skills:
Art - when studying a piece of cultural or historic value of dated art, like a painting, ceramic, textile, or ancient cave drawings.
Engineering - from machines and architecture, to gadgets and gizmos. every engineer knows how the gears turn and the way things work.
History- this history buff can recall timelines of battles, historic dates of countries, the rise and fall of empires, and other pieces of recorded history of our planet...or other planets...
Language- Latin, Germanic, Slavic, Japanese. Using this skill refers to dialog, writing and roots of the tongue of man. Like the old system, each point unlocks a language, and is used as a challenge for dialects and obscurities.
Lore- Unwritten histories of the occult, secret stories of war crimes in restricted documents, and the truth to the mystic. Knowing the unknown and undocumented lore of the world can be quite useful at times.
Mathematics- you're a walking calculator, able to solve cryptic war algorithms or calculate rocket trajectories in your head. a Savant of numbers.
Military_tactics- War games are your passion. Squad formations, army strategies, and knowing your enemy better makes it easier to understand their plans. you've read the ART of WAR and now play Chess against people who play checkers.
Religion- Faith is a strong concept in these hard times. Catholicism, Judaism, Buddhism and their writings enlighten people who study their rituals and beliefs.
Science From Whipping up chemicals and medicines to knowing the anatomy of a gorilla and DNA, Science is the knowledge of Life, Earth, Chemical, and Physical Sciences.
Social- Proper etiquette is required when going in an unknown world. how people talk, dress, what they like/dislike. you know the difference between a German "three" and a Russian "three". use this to pass situations that challenge your cultural knowledge of the community norms. Great for Spies.
technology - from weapons systems, alien technology, and even prototype computers, you always go for the circuitry and cutting edge tech to drive this war.
Weapons- Grenade launchers, laser weapons, flamethrowers. if it's a weapon you could figure out how it works. you have this skill if you keep a private arsenal in your basement.
I've broken it down to these specific rules:
1. Everyone know something about something, it's hard to find someone who haven't taken science classes in high school or had to once fix their car, so knowledge should be the basic rule as a pool generator for anything in the basic mundane of general education or intelligent knowledge attainment. 1 is an average persons memory of knowledge while 4 is a Renaissance man who partakes in everything pertaining to knowledge pursuit.
2. when the GM Wants to make it a specific knowledge Check, he can also ask that this person wants to use an Advanced Knowledge Skill. For Example, to decipher a code or algorithm, they could use knowledge with a combination of Knowledge: Mathematics. to recall the specific battle between the Axis and Allies you could use knowledge: Military tactics or Knowledge: History.
3. These skills can also pool with the other skills to add even more dice. If you need to repair a weapon system in a walker, the GM will normally use repair as the roll. If the person has repair 1 is also proficient with Repair: Walker 1 ALONG with Knowledge: Technology 2, they could use repair 1 + Repair:Walker 1 + Knowledge: Technology 2 for a total of a 5 dice pool. a person with a good knowledge of technology could bring new tricks up his sleeve that someone with just walker repair wouldn't have with a weapons system. Or if it's a mechanical issue, they could use Knowledge:Engineering to Jury rig the problem away from past engineering knowledge.
So what do you guys think? Would this help out DUST in any way? Feed back appreciated.