Instruction without the skill, huh? Also, the Mule Trait, what is it about?

Ok, so I’m sorry if these questions have already been answered, but I couldn’t find any related threads with the search function, so here goes.

1st. The Instruction Skill. I’ve read the rules pretty throughout, so I understand how the advancement system works. What I don’t get is Instruction. The rules indicate that someone with the Instruction skill can teach any skill to any character, regardless if the instructor has that skill or not.

So my Instructor could give someone a test for Psychology, without actually having Psychology as a skill. I know the system is abstract, (and love the fact dearly), but that seems a little too far out there to me. Is that how it’s supposed to go, or have I missed a rule somewhere?

2nd. The Mule Trait. I understand it mechanically, but I’m looking for a flavor explanation. I understand that the Bright Mark is a genetic marker placed in people during the days of the Federated Empires. I assumed the Mule trait represented those few who are descended from people who didn’t get the marker, and are Psychic. However, the fact that it gives sterility and a deformity seems to hint at something more, and I’d like to know what that is if possible.

Thanks to anyone who can help

The simple solution for #1 is a house rule: Use lower of skill taught or instruction.

#2: I saw mules as mutations of the bright mark, not those who never got it.

Or just use the basic intent and task system and say, “You don’t have Psychology. Teaching it isn’t an appropriate task.”

I’d considered a house rule along those lines, but since this is my first serious attempt at running the game, I wanted to understand the intent first.

  1. No house rule required. See Luke’s post.

  2. See Isaac Asimov’s novels Foundation and Empire and Second Foundation.

Oh man, also, I’m completely blind. In the downtime section it clearly says that you can only grant a test with an obstical equal to the Instructors ranks in the relevant skill.

The mule trait didn’t come from me. It’s something the BE crew clearly liked from Asimov’s Foundation series, and since I liked it too, I didn’t veto it. So there’s no pre-existing rationale in my mind for it unless I make one up. Which I’m happy to do right now.

As Oren says, Mules are psychologically talented descendants of people who somehow slipped through the Federation’s “tagging” program. So why the deformaty? Perhaps Mules are descendants of people who weren’t missed by the program, but had some sort of internal resistance to the mutation. Instead of the designer’s intent (when owner uses psychology, his eye will glow), the person responded in some random way (ower will have a club foot and lose all skin pigmentation).

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.