Homebrew system - Salvage Tech

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So I'm working on a hombrew setting that takes place beneath the streets of New York City, which uses the d20 Modern system. In this setting, the subway acts as a conduit for generating magic (known as Radiance) in the underground tunnels and caverns (known as the Underworld). In the Underworld just about anything is possible, from caverns that mimic Wonderland, to neo-victorian london streets, toa  literal devil living beneath Central Station.

 

In this setting, regular technology does not work in the Underworld due to the Radiance. Instead, they use what is known as Salvage Tech. A form of technology created from scrap and powered by Radiance.

 

Salvage Tech is the bizarre science that is the purview of the Underworld. Using junk that they have found in the tunnels, or purchased from traders who have carried it below from the surface, Underworld inventors bend reality to their will, warped through the Radiance – producing inventions that physical science could never envision or achieve.

 

I'm trying to come up with a system for the construction of Salvage Tech that is structured enough to be used in the game, but loose enough to allow players to create just about anything they desire. Be it a lightning sword that draws power from the subway's third rail, a Radiance powered laptop device or a gun that shoots cheesewhiz to suffocate opponents.

 

I would really appreciate any assistance or ideas. Again this setting uses the d20 Modern system, which is essentially 3rd edition D&D with a few variations.

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There is a world just around the corner of your mind, where reality is an intruder and dreams come true.

You may escape into it at will. You need no secret password, no magic wand or Aladdin's lamp;

only your own imagination and curiosity about things that never were.

Something I was considering:

 

The first step in building Salvage Tech is to determine the Operants of the invention. Operants are what the item in question is intended to do upon completion. There is no limit to the number of operants that can be featured in a single invention, but each operant adds a level of difficulty to the construction. The seven basic operants for Salvage Tech inventions are: Destruction, Transportation, Repair, Creation, Transmutation, Manipulation, and Communication.

 

Thats as far as I've gotten so far. Just in the brainstorming phase right now.

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There is a world just around the corner of your mind, where reality is an intruder and dreams come true.

You may escape into it at will. You need no secret password, no magic wand or Aladdin's lamp;

only your own imagination and curiosity about things that never were.

Do you own Urban Arcana , a d20 modern supplement , that blends magic and tech? It includes the Tech Savant class That blends Spells and Programs , also has some items? theres still some D20 forums , perhaps post there?

I will immediately report any Phishers or Lonely Hearts Scam Artists.

I couldn't find any d20 Modern forums.

 

Yes I do have Urban Arcana, but it hasn't been much help so far.

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There is a world just around the corner of your mind, where reality is an intruder and dreams come true.

You may escape into it at will. You need no secret password, no magic wand or Aladdin's lamp;

only your own imagination and curiosity about things that never were.

So, after considerable work, this is the first draft framework for my Salvage Tech system. It is meant to be open enough to allow players to create just about anything they want (with GM approval). I'm not sure the difficulty numbers make sense, but it is only a first draft. Also not quite complete as it only covers design and materials right now and still needs the construction section. I'm also considering adding a section on possible limitations to add to inventions to decrease the difficulty of crafting them such as limited ammo for weapons.

 

Salvage Tech is the bizarre science that is the purview of the Underworld. Using junk that they have found in the tunnels, or purchased from traders who have carried it below from the surface, Underworld inventors bend reality to their will, warped through the Radiance – producing inventions that physical science could never envision or achieve.

 

Design

The first step in building Salvage Tech is to determine the operants of the invention. Operants are what the item in question is intended to do upon completion. There is no limit to the number of operants that can be featured in a single invention, but each operant adds a level of difficulty to the construction. The seven basic operants for Salvage Tech inventions are: Destruction, Transportation, Repair, Creation, Transmutation, Manipulation, and Communication.

 

Destruction

Any Salvage Tech weapon uses this Operant as its primary. This operant is the ability to deliver damage to a target. The form that delivers this damage is defined by the player creating the invention: electricity, pure Radiance, ready-whip spray cheese, it doesn't matter – the mechanics are the same. You determine the range and the damage delivered by the item to determine the difficulty level it will cost.

Range

Personal – A device that does damage to the wielder (+0 difficulty)

Melee – A device that deals damage to adjacent targets (+5 difficulty)

Distance – A device that causes damage to targets at range (+5 difficulty per 10ft range)

Damage

1d4 lethal (+1 difficulty)

1d6 lethal (+4 difficulty)

2d6 lethal (+6 difficulty)

1d8 lethal (+5 difficulty)

2d8 lethal (+8 difficulty)

1d10 lethal (+10 difficulty)

So a gun that fires bolts of electricity siphoned off the third rail with a distance of 20ft and a damage of 2d6 would cost a total difficulty of 16.

 

Transportation

This operant governs movement from one location to another. Difficulty is based upon the mode of transportation (transports may have multiple modes – each one adds its difficulty to the whole), as well as the size of the transport in question which is rated in the amount of space for passengers (although this may be cargo space depending on the role of the vehicle).

Mode of Transportation

Ground [wheeled, tracked] (+5 difficulty)

Ground [legged – can climb] (+8 difficulty)

Water [floatation] (+5 difficulty)

Water [submersible] (+8 difficulty)

Air [flight] (+10 difficulty)

Size

Personal [user only] (+5 difficulty)

Small [user + passenger] (+6 difficulty)

Medium [user + 4-6 passengers] (+8 difficulty)

Large [user + 6-20 passengers] (+10 difficulty)

Huge [user + 20+ passengers] (+14 difficulty)

So a wheeled transport intended for personal use would have a total difficulty of 10. The same wheeled vehicle built for 4-6 passengers would have a total cost of 13.

 

Repair

The returning of an item or person to their natural, undamaged state. This operants cost is based upon the intended target of the repair (machine or person), as well as the amount of damage it is meant to repair. Repair devices intended for machines or inanimate objects use technology to repair damage, while devices intended to function of living beings are powered by Radiance.

Target

Machine (+5 difficulty)

Person (+10 difficulty)

Repair Total

1d4 (+2 difficulty)

1d6 (+4 difficulty)

2d6 (+6 difficulty)

1d8 (+5 difficulty)

2d8 (+ 8 difficulty)

So a healing ray that mends wounds on a living person for 2d6 has a total difficulty cost of 16. The same ray intended for machines has a total difficulty cost of 11.

 

Creation

This operant governs the creation of something from nothing, and is one of the hardest to pull off (this is the operant which is used in the creation of Junkmen, for example). The difficulty of this operant is based entirely upon the complexity of the objects being created, and must be determined by the GM, with the following guidelines.

Materials to be created

Simple materials of no real use (+3 difficulty)

Simple, useful materials (+13 difficulty)

Complex compounds [food for instance] (+16 difficulty)

Complex systems (+18 difficulty)

Minor living machines [Fizzers] (+20 difficulty)

Major living machines [Junkmen] (20+ difficulty)

For example: a player wishes to build a device that creates a liquid which hardens into stone. The GM rules that rock is a simple material, but a hardening liquid form is definitely useful, and so the difficulty cost is 13.

 

Transmutation

Transmutation is the changing of one thing into another. This operant is another of the more difficult ones in the Salvage Tech arsenal. Again, the GM will have the final word regarding difficulty of constructing inventions using this operant. General guidelines for determining difficulty are based upon the similarity of the objects in question.

Objects to be changed

Variations of the same object (+5 difficulty)

Similar objects (+6 difficulty)

Dissimilar objects (+8 difficulty)

Usable against living targets (x3 difficulty)

For example: A character wants to build a “Change-O-Ray” - a weapon that will transform any person struck by its beam into a duck. The GM rules that people and ducks, while worlds apart, are both living beings, and hence could qualify as “similar objects” (the GM reasons that if the character wished to turn people into Scandinavian living room furniture, that would qualify as dissimilar). The difficulty level for similar objects is 6, and the multiplier for use against living targets is x3. The finale difficulty cost for the “Change-O-Ray” is 18.

 

Manipulation

This operants usage is twofold. First, it can be used for the physical manipulation of objects – creating robotic arms for lifting, as an example. Second, it can be used for manipulating individuals, via the domination of willpower. Difficulty is based upon the intended manipulation, as well as the intended target of the manipulation. The GM has final word on the difficulty of creating devices with this operant.

Target of Manipulation

Object manipulation (+5 difficulty)

Living manipulation (+10 difficulty)

Type of Manipulation

Physical Manipulation (x2 difficulty)

Mental Manipulation (x3 difficulty)

For example: A wicked character constructs a helmet that allows him to brainwash his targets into doing his bidding. The helmet targets living creatures with mental manipulation giving it a total difficulty cost of 30 (an almost impossible device to create). A different character wishes to create a pair of mechanical arms for lifting heavy objects, an object target with physical manipulation, giving it a total difficulty cost of 10.

 

Communication

This operant governs the transmission, receipt, or exchange of information. It is most commonly used to construct devices which allow distance communication in the Underworld (a location which is not kind to radio waves, and in which cellphones can fritz at a moments notice). Difficulty is based upon the range and the method of communication.

Range

Local [same domain] (+5 difficulty)

Intermediate [same part of borough] (+8 difficulty)

Long [entire underworld] (+10 difficulty)

Method

Text (+5 difficulty)

Voice (+6 difficulty)

Image (+8 difficulty)

No reciprocity (x2 difficulty)

For example: A character constructs a communication device. He decides to pull out all the stops. He makes it capable of transmitting his image, anywhere in the underworld...and decides the receiving party does not have to even have a similar device on their end (no reciprocity). This device would have a total difficulty cost of 36 (nearly impossible to create). He rethinks his device, and instead builds a long-range voice communicator that requires reciprocal units, for a total difficulty of 16.

 

Materials

The second step in building a Salvage Tech device is the gathering of the necessary materials. These materials generally take the form of debris, trash, and bits of junk from the World Above. They can be gathered from almost anywhere, or they can be traded for through members of the Traders Guild. The builder of the device must make a scavenge check. The difficulty of the check is determined by the difficulty of the device's construction as listed below.

Scavenging difficulty

Crafting difficulty 0 – 10 (Scavenge DC 10)

Crafting difficulty 11 – 20 (Scavenge DC 15)

Crafting difficulty 21 – 30 (Scavenge DC 20)

Crafting difficulty 31 – 40 (Scavenge DC 25)

 

Thoughts, opinions, ideas would all be appreciated.

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There is a world just around the corner of your mind, where reality is an intruder and dreams come true.

You may escape into it at will. You need no secret password, no magic wand or Aladdin's lamp;

only your own imagination and curiosity about things that never were.

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