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Intelligence as a skill is the art of observing or infiltrating a target for the purpose of information gathering and then analyzing and utilizing this information. Information, or "active data", of this nature requires evaluation in order to be assimilated into practical use. Primarily intelligence is sought on an opponent in order to acquire advance warning of an important event or to answer relevant questions posed by one's personal motivations and ambitions. An art as ancient as Mizahar itself and the purview of the goddess Akajia, patron deity of secrets and stealth, honed intelligence skills have both aided and destroyed reputations, livelihoods, businesses and governmental entities throughout history. Had the spy masters of Suva and Alahea been more adept at their jobs or, on the other side, had they been less adept, perhaps a definitive victor would have emerged from the centuries-long war that ultimately led to the Valterrian and thereby altered the face of Mizahar. On a smaller scale, had the leader of the House of the North Winds possessed knowledge of the House of the West Wind's ambitions to the throne of Eyktol prior to King Teremun's ill fated marriage, a commoner might very well presently reign as queen, altering the course of countless lives and political policies.

Rampant in Ravok, Sahova, Syliras and Ahnatep and wielded on levels small and large, short sighted and far reaching over the world entire, intelligence is considered to be a skill necessary for survival by many denizens of Mizahar.


Types of Intelligence

Observation & Analysis

One of the more passive applications of intelligence gathering, this aspect usually relies on the casual observation of individuals and groups interacting. Despite being the simplest form of intelligence gathering, this is also the foundation of any operation. The way people of different stations are dressed, the way people greet one another, the placement and frequency of guards, or even ascertaining routes of egress in a crowded restaurant all fall under this aspect of intelligence gathering. Often, though not always, employed with some combination of stealth or disguise when in potentially hostile environments, the skilled intelligence gatherer will garner critical information more rapidly than the average person, and from a much smaller set of data. Paired with a high investigation skill, even the most cursory viewing of an environment will yield everything from relevant and useful information to interesting trivia.

Planned Occurrences

Sometimes passive is just not enough. In situations like these the intelligence gatherer will need to organize a controlled event to draw out the desired responses. This requires advance planning and a series of contingencies that run the spectrum. Everything from triggering false alarms to determine response time of guards, to arranging for a pickpocket to relieve a target of an important document falls into the realm of this form of intelligence gathering. This method is most often employed only after extensive observation and analysis to determine routine and reliable regular events. This aspect of intelligence is best accompanied by acting skills, and to a lesser degree the stealth and impersonation abilities.

Rumors and Hearsay

The middle ground between the more passive observation and analysis and the aggressive planned occurrences, rumors and hearsay represents the individual's ability to flush out talk about a particular subject or target. A skilled intelligence gatherer will be able to identify and locate strategic places for the spread of rumors with ease. They will be skilled in the art of finding the right person with whom to speak and in determining the truth of particular snippets of information. An obvious match with the investigation, rhetoric and interrogation abilities, this is the method most often employed by the novice in collaboration with observation and analysis.

Learning Intelligence

Academy/Class Study

While intelligence is a skill capable of being self-taught via books and considerable practice, much of basic intelligence has historically also been taught in a classroom setting. Using scene sketches, role-play, and situational education, a student can be taught the fundamental aspects of observing and analyzing data. The great empires of Suva and Alahea both trained spies and assassins in the art of intelligence in this way starting from a very young age. Even so, such dangerous skills were taught only to those selected and invited to the secretive schools. In the post-Valterrian world, such training is not very widely available. Those few individuals who do learn it are limited in the resources at their disposal. Most noble Eypharians, for an example, will receive some training in the art of intelligence as will certainly members of the Ebonstryfe.

Field Training

Only so much can be learned in the classroom setting. Progression requires the application and honing of those abilities learned in theory. An intelligence gatherer, like an actor will develop a repertoire of tactics that they will learn to modify on the fly and apply to new situations as necessary. Such flexibility of theory and application can only come from the continued practice in the field.

Prerequisite & Related Skills

Intelligence has no prerequisites at it's lowest levels; however intelligence does require other skills in order to be mastered. A master at intelligence gathering must possess either two of the related skills at a minimum level of Competent or one of the related skills at a minimum level of Expert. The related skills are as follows:

Skill Progression

Novice (1-25)
At this level, the intelligencer is still actively learning the art form. They are reasonably adept at observational techniques, but are struggling to properly analyze and ultimately utilize their active data to its best purpose, especially when the gathered information is shrouded in layers of subtlety. Gaining information via rumors and hearsay can be successfully attempted, but again, the novice still struggles with the assimilation of their active data and can easily be misled by counter-intelligence measures performed by their opponents.
Competent (26-50)
At this level, the intelligencer can competently stage planned occurrences, but only if the occurrence in question has been appropriately researched via observational methods and does not require elaborate execution or excessive contingency plans. The intelligencer has become more adept at analyzing and utilizing of their active data and therefore benefits from a higher success rate in their operations. They are still fooled by the counter-intelligence measures of their opponents, but not nearly so often or easily as before.
Expert (51-75)
At this level, the intelligencer has gained a unique and extremely advantageous ability: the acquisition of multiple, unskilled contacts within their sphere of interest. These contacts periodically provide the intelligencer with bits of information. This information, however, is primarily based on rumor and hearsay as none of the contacts are highly skilled intelligencers themselves; and, therefore, unless there are moderator approved special circumstances, the information obtained will not be highly sensitive, comprehensive or highly reliable.

By this point, the intelligencer is adept at all methods of their art and their assimilation and utilization of active data can be securely trusted. Most importantly, an expert can begin to perform successful counter-intelligence moves of their own.

Master (76-100)
The intelligencer has reached a pinnacle very few have ever gained. They can at this point be considered actual spy masters. A spy master has the monumental advantage of a complete network comprised of unskilled contacts and highly skilled operatives both who provide the master with a plethora of information in all varying levels of sensitivity, depth and reliability. At master level a practitioner can quickly assimilate and interpret data, rapidly adapting to circumstances and developing new plans. Even the most minor piece of information presents the opportunity for interpretation. From rapidly mapping venues to recalling minor details viewed only in passing, the mind of the master intelligencer is a steel trap. Their focus is primarily split between the assimulation of active data provided by their personal operations as well as their network and the spreading of anti-data via counter-intelligence measures.