What is meant by 'Family' Groups - in part because I forgot if we had a term for it, in other part from how they have been described.
These are effectively a group of items which are considered to be part of a family due to a set of similarities.
Currently the items that would fall under this category are things like weapons and instruments.
Now how does the sirian tech lingos relate?
For a refresher: http://untoldpaths.com/forums/sirian-tech-languages
Most importantly: http://untoldpaths.com/comment/157850#comment-157850
The tech of sirian is assigned to the culture of which created it
This creates broad family groups in regards to tech
Gives a way to determine how proficient one is with a specific family affects the game mechanics (instead of being a binary - you can use/you can't use it)
Unfamiliar - adds +40 to target diff
Familiar - adds +20 to target diff
Proficient - no extra diff
This has been working rather well in that regard and I would to put forth the idea of having that system be applied to other elements of the system that can be easily adapted to it.
In this case: weapon groups and instrument groups
(These are the current two I can think of, so if I missed any feel free to bring them up)
I think with all the changes we have made so far in trying to make no difference mechanically between physical and magic/psi that this change would address some of the gaps/issues we have remaining.
In general we are aiming skills to be built more around themes rather then one specific thing - this is due to it is much easier to get the required three aspects in, and further solidifies that it doesn't matter if its physical or magical - its about the end result goal and your rp. It all works the same - period.
Also currently the only way to learn how to use a new weapon - is to learn a new skill.
This has become truly unfair due to magic skills that can do dmg also now can make use of weapon bonuses
Currently magic skills aren't listing a family group - something admittedly overlooked as we was worrying too much of balancing other things. Now that is seeming fine we can worry about this before it becomes a problem.
However to name a specific group in the skill itself may make it sound like its doing more even when its not.
Also weapons and skill relations are kind of binary - can use or can't use
However if we move to treat weapon groups (and other elements that use a family type grouping) that will resolve this, plus it wil (hopefully) lead even more to the trend of describe physical combat skills by fighting style - which would make it a bit more in line with how we are seeing magic skills so they will start feeling more similar in that aspect.
It will also give SHs and players a better way to have some fun in some situations - as currently there is a bit of fear of screwing over a player completely if certain events were to happen.
Also we can just make unarmed a family group (it can be like in the fist/brawling weapons category) which won't force those wanting to be more physical in nature to always have to make an unarmed skill - rather its another avenue.
I think really the hardest part will be designated the groups - we don't wanna be too broad and don't wanna be too narrow.
In this case as well I think it is ok to have a lot - and with some overlapping.
Another thing to consider - pending how hard it would be to code - is maybe putting a cap on it if we are concerned of this idea being potentially being too much and may take away the desire to make new skills - but for the most part I don't think that is the case esp if we consider allowing more then 1 to start proficient with (2 to 3 being the likely ideal range).