Reading through the Ark section of the Mutant: Year Zero core book (97) and the Opposed Rolls section in the Mutant: Genlab Alpha core book (45), I've often wondered why certain Skills were used for situations outside of their skill descriptions (e.g. Sneak vs. Scout; Manipulate/Dominate vs. Sense Emotions in opposed rolls). Other instances of this can be found in Mutant: Year Zero's ARK layer—specifically, the ARK projects. For example, the Endure Skill, typically used when “traveling in rough weather or . . . when suffer[ing] severely cold conditions,” comes up during construction of numerous projects where its application requires some intuitive leaps based on context.*
Why would one need to Endure in this sense when building a temple or a tavern?* Is it the effort involved in its construction or is it a measure of the People’s dogged persistence to seeing the project through? If the former is the case, couldn’t it be just as easily determined with a Force roll due to the brute strength involved in construction? Then again, the Endure roll may have to do with something more abstract. In the case of the temple, this may refer to the People’s desire to cling to faith in the face of incredible hardship. An Endure roll related to the tavern could reflect the People’s use of alcohol to endure by drowning their sorrows at the tavern every evening (or, to flip that on its head, to endure in spite of the temptation of losing oneself in their cups).
There seems to be a certain ambiguity when it comes to how the GM and their players read these skills (perhaps intentionally). Where does the distinction lie between the development or construction element, and the performance of the tasks one does therein (the day-to-day management or function of a particular establishment)? On paper, once these projects are finished, the People continue to maintain these projects without needing any player input (aside from dealing with the occasional sabotage). And yet, by describing the process as “working on a project” it gives the impression that projects have a finite length and are summarily abandoned as soon as work stops (since players no longer make skill rolls relating to these projects).
How do you interpret these atypical Skill applications in the ARK development layer from the GM side of things? How should players approach describing their participation in a particular ARK project in light of this ambiguity?
Any information on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
*A few make quite a bit of sense, however. The Croplands project is a good example of this. It’s hard to question the fact that farming is grueling work, requiring long hours of physical endurance beneath the beating sun.
Note: The topic of this thread was prompted by a discussion with Fenhorn about implementing the Tracker mutation with Mutant: Genlab Alpha's opposed Sneak rolls (Link).