- It's described as vital to those who need to practice medicine on aliens. But the doctor doesn't have it.
- It's described as vital to those who regularly deal with aliens. But the Politico doesn't have it.
- It's described as aiding in harming aliens. But the assassin does not have it.
- It also helps in aiding aliens. But the bodyguard does not have it.
You roll it when you encounter new aliens, and it's described as aiding in dealing with alien species. But how?
Is it a gateway skill and you need to roll it before you use another skill when dealing with aliens? Meaning, I meet an injured alien of a type I've never encountered before. Before I can heal him, I must roll Xenology... And if that's how it works, then does it grant advantages? Poor rolls give disadvantages? Does it put a cap on the number of success I can actually use with my medicine roll (a la Shadowrun attribute limits?) What do you do with it?
It aids in harming alien opponents - again, how? Extra damage, with less damage for failed rolls?
This is the one skill that I've been completely unable to wrap my head around. As described, it has no systemic effect at all that can't just be done with the skills in question as par for the skills' course. There's no mention in the medical skill or section on healing, for example, of having problems healing an alien if you don't have xenology. No way to heal more if you are familiar with a species. The Xenology description says it is vital for medical attention on aliens - but again, it gives no actual systemic function. The same with charm, negotiation, leadership, coercion even attacking.
And if it does nothing - why even have it at all?
My GM handles it by handing out black dice in situations that seem to merit the use of xenology unless a successful check is made. He even gives them to the poor slicer when he's trying to hack into computers and commlinks used by aliens, with the logic that the language and coding syntax is different. He's said that blue dice will come from successful rolls, but none of us have it yet so we're not exactly flush with successful uses of it.
Making two rolls seems to me to be in opposition to the general actiony type feel of the game, but we haven't been able to figure out anything else to do with it.
So I'm curious, how are other people handling this skill and its complete lack of description for how it actually functions mechanically?