Obligatory Marketing Hype

posted by Pope Guilty Original SA post

Back in the day, Steve Jackson Games used to run an ISP and BBS called Illuminati Online. It's probably most famous for having been seized by the Secret Service in 1990. But that's not what I'm here to discuss. What I'm here to discuss is a book that originated as a collaboratively-built setting for one of the BBS's online roleplaying boards, Illuminati University (which, as the introduction points out, makes Illuminati University the only college to ever be seized by the Secret Service). SJG have always been run by folks with a somewhat goofy sense of humor, and in 1990 they released GURPS Illuminati University, AKA GURPS IOU. (You're not cleared to know what the O stands for.)

The first Chapter, Welcome , introduces IOU and introduces us to a few of the characters we'll be seeing in the book's short fiction and stat blocks. Our first fiction short features a freshman orientation leader gunning down a baby Tyrannosaurus ("Just a little escape from the Department of Zoology, folks!")and attempting with little success to convince the orientation group that it won't happen again. Here we meet Gillian Brent, witch in training, and her backpack-riding familiar, a black cat named Pyewacket. Much of this chapter is kind of hard to summarize, because it's the same marketing flash and summary of the institution that anybody who's applied to universities will have seen a hundred times, only with the added bonus of applying to a university where you can major in Mad Science, Character Assassination, and Applied Theology.

Obligatory Marketing Hype

The short version is that Illuminati University is a school like any other, aside from its being located on a nexus between pretty much all dimensions. They've got all the amenities, facilities, and resources you'd expect of a modern university, particularly one accredited by the InterDimensional Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc. Because students, faculty, staff, and visitors at IOU cannot be assumed to be of a particular gender, or human, or of a species which possesses gender, or an organic lifeform, the terms "freshman" and "chairman" aren't in use, with "freshthing" and "chairthing" in use instead. Admission is fairly straightforward: you need your SAT results, three references, a successfully passed credit rating check, and a suitcase full of small, unmarked bills to cover the application fee. Financial aid is available- scholarships from successful Ilumni, private and subsidized loans, and loans directly from the University- after all, it gets the money right back from the student and then pretty much owns the student's income for the next couple of decades. There's also the "Smith And Wesson Scholarship", which the University regards as the sign of a self-starter who's probably headed for great things- and probably generating rather a lot of profitable blackmail material besides...

Here we're also introduced to the major Colleges: The College of Communication, the College of Metaphysics (magic, alchemy, and explosions), the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions (covert operations, explosions), the College of Temporal Happenstance, Ultimate Lies, and Historical Undertakings (history and time travel, and be sure to include the periods in the acronym), the School of Anti-Social Sciences, the School of Conservative Arts (making money, but not explosions, which are unprofitable), the School for Performing and Creative Arts (which only creates explosions if they're pretty), the School of Social Anti-Sciences (liberal arts, regards explosions as uncouth), and the College of Weird and Unusual Science and Engineering (science, technology, and a fairly high percentage of the local count of explosions). There's a whole section on these later.

IOU Overview

IOU sits at a dimensional nexus and virtually any sort of being can be found here. The GURPS Disadvantage Weirdness Magnet applies to the entire institution and its campus, and a classroom containing a mad scientist, a vampire, a psychic, a witch, a rock star, and a chiropractor is on the mundane side. The physical structure of the campus reflects this- some of the buildings are a bit too large to make sense for what they are, one of the buildings is an enormous tree, and a crater where a science building used to be means the University hasn't brought in the replacement yet.

IOU has, in addition to the usual collegiate rules and regulations, 9 rules that are always, always in force and will attract the unwelcome attention of the deeply scary ArchDean in a hurry if broken. They are:

1. The ArchDean always gets 10%.
2. There are no exceptions to rule 1.
3. Don't mess with cats.
4. Thou shalt never lower the ArchDean's stock values.
5. First-semester freshthings are completely off-limits.
6. No black holes on campus.
7. No antimatter on campus.
8. Destroying any worlds, stars, or universes requires the ArchDean's written permission.
9. Faculty bloodfeuds require a current permit.

Speaking of the ArchDean, she seems to be responsible for the current state of IOU, coming to a University which is believed to predate the Universewhen it was at its lowest point and revitalizing it. It's suspected that she knows what the O stands for. Like all the major characters and groups, she'll be detailed later.

Students are expected to take 12-18 credit hours per semester, needing 120 to graduate (though graduation requirements may vary wildly without warning); this is useful both to flesh out a PC's skill advancements and to generate things for PCs to actually do. They're also expected to maintain a certain minimum standard of both academic and financial standing, with failure in either being grounds for expulsion. Of course, between the two, a student is better off maintaining their finances, as most professors are entirely willing to have a lenient view of their grading standards if properly motivated.

Up next: Character traits and types. Vague familiarity with the GURPS system will help but not be entirely necessary.

Building Character(s)

posted by Pope Guilty Original SA post

Chapter 2: Building Character(s)

Okay, this is a mechanics-heavy chapter that outlines who can be found at IOU and what sorts of abilities they have. Our opening fiction has Og up there getting his dorm assignment.

Character Types

The baseline for a starting GURPS character is 100 character points, for the record.

Undergrads range from 100-175 points, starting on the low end as freshthings and growing through their studies (and the oftentimes ridiculously hazardous IOU curriculum), taking 4-5 courses per semester. Two skills are called out as particularly important: Area Knowledge (IOU) and Survival (IOU), and having student life insurance is pretty much a must if one hopes to survive!

Graduate Students range from 200-300 points, and spend most of their time either as experiment fodder for the profs in their department or babysitting undergrads. Recommended advantages are Wealth, Luck, and Combat Reflexes, while the Fast-Talk, Scrounging, Teaching, Running, Stealth, and various combat and Thief/Spy skills are all mentioned as essentials. Thesis defense may involve academic rigor, though blackmail, Fast-Talk, and armed combat are also common.

Faculty go from 250-350 points, and are in a lot of cases better-paid and credentialed grad students, with tenure being pursued with the same skill set that they defended their theses with. Getting ahead involves assassination (character and otherwise), departmental politics, and the occasional (or not so occasional!) bloodfeud. This is also where The Treatment, a mysterious process which renders IOU's upper echelons much harder to kill, shows up, being available to junior faculty above at level one. Notable advantages include Academic Status, Wealth, Unfazeable, and sometimes Tenure, while the Duty (to the university), Absent-Minded, and Greed disadvantages are common. Sense of Duty (Students) is sadly not nearly as common as Intolerance (undergrads). Specifically called-out skills are Research, Acting, Detect Lies, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Merchant, Law, and, again, the Thief/Spy skills, while the Teaching skill is optional. All faculty must be part of a department within one of the colleges.

Administrators are around 300 points, and include the various deans, the Bursar, the Chief Librarian, and heads of various departments. The Treatment is mandatory at at least level one, and depending on rank may go to the third and highest level of the Treatment. Everyone has Duty (to the University) at -5 to -10. Important skills include Administration, Diplomacy, Fast-Talk, Accounting, Merchant, Detect Lies, Psychology, Politics, Acting, Intimidation, Leadership, Tactics, and Thief/Spy and combat skills. Actually being skilled at your job is entirely optional. Everybody here has the Academic Status advantage, and Wealth, Luck, Combat Reflexes, Danger Sense, psi powers, Magical Aptitude, Patron, and Ally groups that range from underlings to outright hit squads are all common. Frequently encountered Disadvantages include Bully, Enemy, Megalomania, Greed, Intolerance (students), and Odious Personal Habits. Gullibility, Sense of Duty (students), Honesty, and Truthfulness are almost entirely unknown. Deans of the various departments start around 500+ points, while the Deans of the major schools like COUP or WUSE will be up to around 1,000 points.

Staff range from 0-100 points and are the various nonacademic employees of Illuminati University, from cooks in the dining halls to departmental secretaries. Campus Security in particular tends to be staffed by redshirts, and departmental secretaries tend to be Bimbras or Kajones, pretty but not terribly bright near-humans who are all loyal to the Arch-Dean. Job skills are important, as are Area Knowledge (IOU) and Survival (IOU)- after all, "The building I work in was moved and surrounded by some sort of death maze!" is hardly an excuse for being late.

Ilumni are generally around 200 points and are graduates of IOU, and may simply be visiting their alma mater (ilma mater?), recruiting for jobs, or just hanging around the only place weird enough for them to fit in. They're basically built as senior undergrads with a few more points. They generally have the No Insurance disadvantage (mere mundane health insurance hardly counts at IOU), but can buy it on a sliding scale for a mere 20% of their salary.

Visitors range from 25-150 points and fit into one of five groups: Prospective Students who will be treated extremely well (unless they fail a credit check), Academic Visitors from other institutions (who will lack IOU life insurance), Job Seekers (who will have No Insurance and often Mundane Background and Gullibility), Salespeople (who will be at the mercy of whatever IOU students feel like doing to them unless they have a permit), and Intruders (who may be up to any number of nefarious plots).

Visiting Faculty are guesting at IOU for a semester or two, teaching a class or working as researchers. They're built pretty much like IOU faculty, but never have Tenure (they might at their university, but not at IOU) or the Treatment. They get IOU life insurance, though, so that's nice. Their Area Knowledge (IOU) and Survival (IOU) will likely be low.

Local Citizenry run from 0-100 points, because even IOU has townies. There's plenty of near-campus shops and restaurants, not to mention the Pyramid Mall and its 523 stores. None of them have University advantages, and tend to have skills and advantages relevant to their jobs. Occasionally they'll have weird powers or something, because they do live near IOU, and the Unfazeable advantage is fairly common because of that.

Other covers the gamut of random people who might show up at IOU for reasons ranging from teleportation accidents to enjoying the radiation leak from the university's nuclear power plant. IOU's a weird enough place that just about anybody could show up.

There's no Illuminati at IOU, because they cost so much to build. Honest.

Next time: Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills!

Existing GURPS Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills

posted by Pope Guilty Original SA post

Existing GURPS Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills

Ally , Ally Group , or Patron would normally be either somebody who is on your side or an organization you're a part of, but at IOU Allies and Ally Groups are often being coerced- such as somebody you're blackmailing. Of course, you can also get willing allies, like the frat you're in or your advisor (who might also be a Patron).

Luck is very useful at IOU. Normally it comes in Luck (15 points), Extraordinary Luck (30 points), or Ridiculous Luck (60) points, but IOU also permits (at GM discretion) Super Luck (100 points), which permits the player to, once per real hour, simply dictate the result of a die roll, though it must be a possible die roll.

Unusual Background is rare at IOU simply because IOU's students and faculty are all so weird to begin with that it takes a lot to stand out in that regard. Demigods, unrestricted access to technology above Tech Level 8 (first-world countries in the real world are currently in early TL8), or greater demons would all count.

Wealth is tremendously useful. The book mentions that 91+% of IOU students come from Wealthy backgrounds.

Duty is generally academic (i.e. to students or faculty), though Campus Security's duty to IOU is worth more points than usual because it's constant and very, very dangerous.

The most common Enemy at IOU is one's roommate.

Illiteracy is disallowed for everybody except members of The Team.

Poverty is a terrible Disadvantage to take since at IOU the phrase "Dead Broke" is often literal! Get a scholarship.

Primitive is surprisingly common due to the number of time travelers who end up at IOU, though buying it off quickly is recommended. GMs shouldn't count it against the usual limit on Disadvantages since it's generally a temporary state.

Social Stigma applies to Nerds (including most WUSE students and faculty) from Jocks, and to Jocks from Nerds. Mundanes get Social Stigma from everybody else, except each other.

Weirdness Magnet pretty much describes IOU as a whole, but getting points for it at IOU will require things like getting abducted by aliens on the way to class.

Area Knowledge (IOU) is the local variant of the Area Knowledge skill, and it's extremely important. The topology of IOU is confusing at best and rapidly shifting at worst; a critical success may see you arriving at your destination before you left your dorm, while a critical failure could potentially leave you stranded in time and space.

Survival (IOU) is another super-important one, and can help you know which drinking fountains actually give water (as opposed to Everclear), which buildings can support a giant monkey, or read the hazard signs and symbols which explain which lever you absolutely must pull and which you absolutely must not. Lacking in this skill will lead to spending lots of time in the health center...

New Advantages, Disadvantages, and Skills

Academic Status goes from -3 ("High school students and other clueless lowlifes") to 0 (grad students) to 7 (the ArchDean).

Cast Iron Stomach lets you eat basically anything organic and resist poisons, though anybody who sees you eat won't like it. Very handy if you plan to eat in the cafeteria!

Gadgeteer makes you a mad scientist engineer. With time and materials, you can invent damned near anything.

Health/Life Insurance is extended to all students, faculty, and staff of IOU and covers various medical services from treating minor wounds to straight-up resurrection. (Dead students don't pay tuition!) This doesn't cost anything in an IOU game, since everybody is assumed to have it, but there's also No Insurance , which applies to people who aren't students, faculty, or staff. If you have No Insurance, then you're without the basic safety net that is crucial to survival at IOU, and in fact this is a -100 point Disadvantage. Nasty, that.

Honor Student s get a little bump to their reaction from university personnel, but Jocks don't like them.

Immunity to Poison is handy at IOU, especially if, again, you intend to eat at the cafeteria, whose staff are to cooking as Dr. Zoidberg is to doctoring.

Jock s get a bonus to their reaction from faculty and Ilumni, and a penalty from honor students and administrators. Nerds and Jocks, of course, hate each other.

Mundanity is straight-up one of the most interesting ideas in the book. Simply put, Mundanes don't believe in aliens, psi, magic, pocket-portable nukes, or any of the myriad wacky shit one encounters during an average day at IOU. But it goes beyond that. Even if you don't believe in those things, if you're most people, a few days at IOU will rapidly disabuse you of your skepticism. Mundanes, however, are so mundane that IOU-style weird shit cannot touch them in any way . This is also context-specific- Mundanes from ancient history have been known to suppress basic tech that we're all comfortable with, like cell phones or cars. Each Mundane has a Reality Check that has to be rolled over (GURPS uses 3d6) to affect them.

Mundanes come in three levels. First-level Mundanes just don't notice things or can easily explain them away. They blink at the wrong moment, they stop to tie their shoes just as a werewolf bounds across the Pent, or admire the pretty roman candles (which are actually Magic Missiles). First-level Mundanes have a Reality Check of 13, meaning that they have about a 75% chance to be completely unaffected. At level 2, Mundanes nullify any weird shit that comes close to them, rendering it in line with their blinkered view of reality- ray guns don't work, spells fizzle, ghosts and demons and aliens and shit can't even approach. Their Reality Check is 15, or about a 90% chance to nullify. Finally, a third-level Mundane affects anything they can see. Point an alien weapon at a level-3 Mundane? As long as he can see it, it's obviously just a painted nerf gun. That flying carpet better have wires, or it's going down the second a Mundane lays eyes on it. Rampaging monster? Just some guy in a suit. Which is no fun for the monster... Third-level Mundanes have a Reality Check of 17, which gives them about a 98% chance.

Nobody at IOU particularly likes Mundanes, and the other major downside is that lacking access to weird shit puts you at a huge disadvantage at IOU.

Rapier Wit allows a character to be so witty and verbally vicious that they can literally stun with their insults, doing a point of damage on a crit.

Secret Advantage lets the player choose a number of points to put into it, and then the GM picks out an Advantage worth 5 more and brings it into play when appropriate. Once it's unveiled, those extra 5 points have to be bought off asap. There's also Secret Disadvantage , which works the same way.

Tenure doesn't just protect you from being fired, but also from being bumped off, or "accidentally disintegrated in a lab experiment" or otherwise disposed of. You can still die in a legitimate accident, or be killed in a faculty bloodfeud (given that the bloodfeud was properly registered and permitted with the university).

The Treatment is one of the surest signs you've made it at IOU, since it's given to high-level administrators and faculty. It's basically a way of making sure that university gets done by conferring immunity to low-level violence and dangers on valued members of the university. At level one ("The Treatment"), you automatically and involuntarily turn insubstantial for a moment when damage comes in (well, the ~75% of the time it goes off). Your possessions and clothes are not affected, and you also gain some resistance to poisons, diseases, and powers. At level two ("The Treatment Strikes Back"), your chance to avoid damage rises to 95%, and you gain immunity to diseases and poisons, along with Fast Regeneration. At level three ("The Return of the Treatment"), your chance to avoid damage rises to 98%, you gain Instant Regeneration, and you get a massive bonus to resist powers. This level is mostly restricted to college deans and the like.

Clueless characters pretty much don't pick up on things, whether seduction attempts, jokes, or manners more sophisticated than chewing with one's mouth closed.

An Evil Twin looks and sounds just like you, and might even use a similar name, but their personality is entirely opposite yours. They've got the same stats, down to the Evil Twin Disadvantage (they don't like you any more than you like them). The more points you take in the Disadvantage, the better their stats and the more often they mess up your life by doing something that you get blamed for.

Klutz es are prone to accidents, tripping, and breaking things, and probably shouldn't major in chemistry.

A character who Lives on Campus is closer to their classes, yes, but are a) obligated to eat in the dorm every day and b) subject to whatever whims the University (or one of the hundreds of faculty) impose on the dorms, such as rigging the fire alarms to go off all night or reconfiguring the dorm to fit some odd plan. And then there's your roommate...

Mundane Background isn't as severe a mundanity as Mundanity- you come in without so much as the Occultism skill or any experience with technology past modern stuff, and you need to buy off the Disadvantage to learn any of that stuff at IOU. Also everybody at IOU who realizes you have this Disadvantage will regard you as kind of a rube.

Science! is a skill you can take once you've got a decent score in Research and a couple of science skills, and it basically makes you Benton Quest or Doc Brown- you can roll it in place of any other science skill. At Science! 13 or more, you can call yourself Professor, though it may not be wise to do so in front of actual professors.

Weird Science and Weird Magic let you comprehend and use science and magic that's way outside your normal range of understanding. They're also handy if you're gadgeteering or improvising magic.

Next time: Colleges and Departments!

Chapter 3: Colleges and Departments

posted by Pope Guilty Original SA post

Chapter 3: Colleges and Departments

There's three major components of Illuminati University- the colleges, the administration, and the semi-independent organizations associated with the university (such as research labs, and hell, IOU probably owns shopping malls and shit). This chapter focuses on the first group, and the next chapter on the administration, while the third group is left for the GM.

The School of Weird and Unnatural Sciences and Engineering (WUSE) (that's "wooz", not "wuss"), also known as the School of Anti-Social Sciences (SASS) (the name attracts mad scientists and confuses students in the School of Social Anti-Sciences) is one of the university's biggest (and most explosion-prone) schools, encompassing a large portion of the STEM spectrum. Want to be a mad scientist who holds the world hostage with your Cyclotrode? WUSE will teach you the skills necessary to invent it (though you'll want to take some COUP classes to learn how best to leverage it). Among its projects is THE computer, which is implied at turns to have a large presence in a cyberpunk dimension and also to be Friend Computer. Your typical WUSE student has a high IQ, no social skills, supernatural talents, or physical ability, and a somewhat casual attitude toward property destruction. Buildings range from incredibly expensive high-tech digital research labs to uber-cheap cracker boxes for the more... energetic research fields. Due to the school's proclivities and field of study, the Arch-Dean spends more time leaning on WUSE's dean to explain the cost overruns that go along with replacing half the buildings in use by the department each semester. Fortunately, WUSE runs largely on government grants, for who else has that kind of money and that kind of accessibility to lobbyists?

WUSE's Chemistry department is a bit more boring ever since Recreational Biochemistry broke off on its own, but they're still highly skilled at making things that go boom. This is a natural place to learn Chemistry, and also Demolitions. Courses include CHEM 112: Basic Pollutants, CHEM 445: Covert Toxic Waste Disposal, and CHEM 756: Mutagens for the Common Man.

Students and Faculty of the Department of Genetic Engineering are known as the Frankies, and in addition to Biochemistry and Genetics, it's also wise to pick up some Gunner (Tank Cannon), because sometimes the big ones get away. Courses include GE 100: Bringing Good Things to Life and GE 577: Making Friends: Do-It-Yourself Sentients.

The Department of Computer Wizardry is contested with the College of Metaphysics, and teaches Technomancy and the creation of increasingly arcane operating systems. Skills to learn here include Astrology, Computer Programming, Occult, and Electronics (Magical). Courses include CW 364: Semiconductor Metaphysics, CW 431: Operating System Upgrades for Profit (hey, that was a pretty good joke in 1990), and CW 742: Operating System Daemon Summoning.

The Department of Military Science and Cost Overruns is contested by the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions (who covet it for profit-skimming purposes) and is all about making huge weapon systems that blow shit up real good and cost way, way more than is reasonable to produce. Courses include MSCO 211: Counting Megadeaths: Statistics for Generals, MSCO 304: Applications of Military Overkill, and MSCO 715: Finding a Cushy Job in Industry.

Recently spun off from MSCO is the Department of Military Biology , because just teaching Marine Biology would exclude the Army, Air Force, and Navy, researching all kinds of materials useful to militaries such as harsh soaps and inedible MREs. Courses include MB105: Hygiene is Your Friend and MB390: Combat Uses for Toxic Waste.

The Department of Physics has a running rivalry with MSCO over who can create the most per-capita explosions each semester. The ability to absorb some stray alpha particles with minimal harm is definitely a plus. Courses include PHY110: Radiation is your Friend and PHY642: The Speed of Light: It May Be the Law, But You Can Always Cheat.

The Department of THE Computer Science teaches not only the standard CS curriculum but also psychology, diplomacy, and intimidation- all useful when dealing with THE Computer, the machine that runs all of IOU's computer systems. Mathematical ability and Electrokinesis are fairly popular advantages. Courses include TcS128: Virtual Breaking and Entering, TcS225: Programming Languages, TcS226: Deprogramming Languages, and TcS512: Using Flashy Graphical Interfaces to Hide Grungy Old Code.

Minor Departments

IOU's Botany department is housed in an enormous tree, complete with dryads. All students must be carnivores, as vegetarianism pisses off some of the more aggressive specimens...

The Department of Temporal Engineering is strictly about building time machines- actually operating them may only be done under the supervision of C.T.H.U.L.H.U. Since Time Travel isn't officially known to exist outside the University, job opportunities are limited for the legitimate-minded.

The Department of Weird Science and Culinary Studies cooks up some bizarre stuff that's making the College of Metaphysics suspect that it's a backdoor Alchemy department. The only commonalities to the subjects the Department studies are that they always involve some sort of fresh produce and that the theories involve strike even IOU's staff as being a bit... out there.

The Department of Political Science is another one that's contested by COUP, but hey, it's got "Science" right in the name! Take classes here if you want to learn how to get funding for building the death ray that you learned to construct in your MSCO courses.

Other Departments include Deforestry (strip-mining for fun and profit!), Computer Mythology , Earth Sciences , Martian Sciences , Recreational Biochemistry , Rude Engineering (building really obnoxious androids), Synthetic Nutrition (that is, hazardous materials handling), Ultramarine Sciences (scientific wetwork), and Zoology (capturing, classifying, and assigning blame for creatures that escape from other departments' labs).

Next time: the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions!

College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions

posted by Pope Guilty Original SA post

Soooooo sorry about the delay. I've been super-busy lately.

Our next major College at IOU is the College of Obscure and Unhealthy Professions , or COUP . COUP is where you go to learn skills that that can be used to fuck a person up in entirely legal (if incredibly underhanded) ways. Karl Rove probably guest lectures sometimes. The Dean of COUP is also known as "The Unseen Dean", since they're a shadowy figure second only to the Arch-Dean in terms of political power, and is somebody you really, really don't want to piss off. Promotion to the spot usually occurs when the previous Unseen Dean disappears, often under Circumstances.

Attending COUP classes is all about skulking in shadows, working in dark rooms (and darkrooms), and running either for office or cover, all while sitting with their backs to very sturdy walls. Said classes tend to take place in buildings that look like gothic cathedrals, mad scientist labs, or WUSE-style prefabs.

COUP Schools and Departments

IOU's School of Medicine falls under COUP's umbrella ever since somebody worked out that having Medicine and Law in the same department was potentially majorly profitable. This is medicine at its worst- it's all about finding the most profitable course of action. Faculty are generally Wealthy at least (being practicing doctors and COUP professors), and having a Code of Honor (Hippocratic Oath) is strictly optional. Students should be smart, hardworking, and preferably possessed of supernatural healing abilities of some manner. Typical Courses: Med567 - Uses of Scientific Notation in Hospital Bills, Med755 - Explaining Diseases to Patients Without Telling Them Anything, and Med756 - Selling Unnecessary Surgery.

The School of Law fits right in, training ambulance chasers, budding politicians, and all manner of bill-padders. Professors are generally practicing lawyers balancing teaching classes with the opportunities afforded by proximity to the School of Medicine's hospital- both for ambulances to chase and malpractice suits to file. Students need strong IQ stats along with Law and Research skills, and they'll also learn Diplomacy, Empathy, Intimidation, Acting, and many other useful skills. Typical Courses: Law504 - Basic Ambulance Chasing, Law599 - Police Procedures and How to Avoid Them, Law614 - Padding Bills, and Law754 - Politics: Writing New Laws for Fun and Profit.

Perhaps the most COUP of COUP schools is the Department of Dirty Tricks , where students learn the fine arts of bribery, blackmail, and character assassination. (The latter occasionally creating tension over unfair competition with the School of Journalism in the College of Communications.) As long as you don't have the Honesty or Truthfulness Disadvantages, you'll do fine, as graduates tend to go on to work in business, government, or as political operatives. Not the IRS, though- DoDT grads who try to go to work for them tend to disappear... Typical Courses: DDT187 - Congressional Bribe Estimation, DDT290 - Tabloid Photography Techniques, DDT291 - Bedroom Surveillance for Fun and Profit.

Next time: the College of Temporal Happenstance, Ultimate Lies, and Historical Undertakings.