I've always though that the Techie was a
neglected role from a sourcebook point of view. Solos, Rockerboys, Police,
Nomads, and Netrunners have all had their own sourcebooks, even the Corporates
have had the three Corporate Reports. The best a techie got were a few tools in
the last two Chromebooks, so with having a long-time techie PC in the group, who
was always coming up with inventions and improvements, I decided to try and put
some building/invention rules together (the player was getting fed up with
"I've written it down, and I'll work out how long it'll take and what you
need to roll, this week for definite".)
Building / Altering
From the table below select the closest description to the task you are attempting. Then calculate the modifiers if you are altering an item's Reliability or Size.
*An improvement usually increases a device's 'ability', range or damage by +50%. A radical improvement increases 'ability', range or damage by +100%.
|Task||Base||Lasts For||Time Mod|
|Minor Modification / Maintenance||15+||Until damaged||.5|
|Refinement, Improvement*||20+||Until damaged||2|
|Adapting Technology to New Use||20+||Until damaged||3|
|Innovation, Radical Improvement*||25+||1 Year||7|
|New Technology for Existing Use||25+||1 Year||20+|
|Invention, Truly Original Tech||30+||5 Years||50+|
|Reliability (Chromebook 3)||Mod||Cost Mod||Malfunction|
|Very Reliable (VR)||+3||+50%||10%|
Double (large for it's type)
|Same Size (average size)||+0||+0%|
|Half Size (mini-whatever)||+3||+50%|
|Quarter Size (micro-whatever)||+5||+200%|
The modified difficulty determines what minimum tools you need. i.e. modified difficulty of 15 or less (minor mod, repair) would require a minimum of Poor tools. A difficulty 30 task (invention) would need a lab or workshop, but if you doubled the size (-3) and made it Unreliable (-3), you could attempt to build it in only Good conditions.
For every level the current facility is below the one required add 3 to the difficulty. ("Don't have the right tools," CP p.42). For every level the current facility exceeds the one required minus 3 from the difficulty to account for the better tools and conditions.
|Modified Diff||Required Conditions/Tools|
15 or less
|Poor/Multi-tool, Small Kit|
|20 or less||Average/Standard Tool Kit|
|25 or less||Good/Master Tool Kit|
|30+ or less||Excellent/Workshop or Lab|
|CADaM (new items)||-3|
|Autofactory (new items)||-3|
|Working from existing device||-3|
|Extra time spent (max +5)||-1/20%|
When creating a device from scratch follow these steps:
1. Design - working out how you can do
Roll INT or TECH + Skill + 1D10 verses base difficulty. The skill used could be a TECH skill, assuming that the skill covers both practical and theory or an Expert INT skill, for GMs who want to split theory away from the TECH skills. Every +5 rolled over the difficulty level needed will reduce the design time by 10%.
2. Development & Construction -
testing the theory
Roll TECH + Skill + 1D10 verses modified difficulty. Every +5 rolled over the difficulty level needed will reduce the development time by 10%.
3. How Long Does It Take?
It takes 1 hour per point of modified difficulty, further modified by the type of task (see Building / Altering Devices). Two-thirds of this time is spent designing the device, the rest is spent on development and constructing a prototype. After the prototype is built, and usually tested, the final design can be sent to an autofactory or other source for mass production.
When modifying an existing device follow these steps:
1. Research - opening the device up and
Roll INT or TECH + Skill + 1D10 verses base difficulty. The skill used could be a TECH skill, assuming that the skill covers both practical and theory or an Expert INT skill, for GMs who want to split theory away from the TECH skills. Every +5 rolled over the difficulty level needed will reduce the research time by 20%.
2. Alteration - putting it back
together again so it does what you want
Roll TECH + Skill + 1D10 verses modified difficulty. Every +5 rolled over the difficulty level needed will reduce this time by 20%.
3. How Long Does It Take?
It takes 20 minutes per point of modified difficulty, further modified by the type of task (see Building / Altering Devices). One-half of this time is spent researching the device, the rest is spent on altering the device. After the research has been performed successfully once, the alterations can be done to any number of devices without having to perform the research stage until an upgraded version of the device is released.
Research Projects or
As with Programming tasks, Techies can pool their skills and experience. Add the group's average TECH + group's applicable skills + 1D10.
Wolf (TECH 10, Electronics 7) wants to make a Sysec Protection Field more powerful (+50% damage). The Referee decides this is an Improvement (+50% ability), so a base difficulty of 20 is set. There are no changes to size, but Wolf doesn't want to spend too much time on this project (it is a freebie after all) so he decides to drop the reliability to UR (-3). The modified difficulty is 17, so Wolf needs a standard tool kit, luckily he owns a master electrician's tool kit (one level more than required, another -3).
His final difficulty is 14. Wolf opens up the Sysec Protection Field's electronics (Research roll vs 20, and gets a 23) and spends the next 4 hours, 40 minutes (14 x 20 mins x 2 = 560 mins; x 50%) working out how to increase the power output without frying the electronics (or the wearer). Once he's got that figured out he reconfigures the power-settings and installs a larger battery (Alteration roll vs 14, and gets a 22), which takes him 4 hours, 12 minutes (rolled 5+ more than required, -10% time).