Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Splinters of Tomorrow: Vehicles

Here is some brainstorming I'm doing for vehicle rules... I like how these 'feel'. They need a few more tables (for example, what happens when your vehicle breaks down), but this is a solid start:

Several archetypes begin with a vehicle. For example, a Terran Smuggler begins play with a transport. You build your vehicle in a similar way that you would build a character. Follow these steps:

How did you get it? (D6) 
1.            Was given it as a gift (see, people DO like you)
2.            Won it (you had a great bluff)
3.            Stole it (the previous owner didn’t really deserve it)
4.            Found it/recovered it/salvaged it (it was in a scrap shop, but you saw its potential)
5.            Earned it (accepted as payment for a difficult task you completed)
6.            Purchased it (you know, the old fashioned way)

 Starting Vehicle Stats

10+1d4 (12)
11+1d4 (13)
12+1d4 (14)
14+1d4 (16)
16+1d6 (19)
18+1d6 (21)
1d4 (2)
1d4 (2)
1d6 (3)
1d6+2 (5)
1d6+4 (7)
1d4 - 2d4 (1d4)
1d6 - 4d6
1d8 - 6d8
1d10 - 8d10
1d12- 10d12
1d20 - 12d20 (6d20)
1d10 (2)
2d10 (4)
3d10 (4)
4d10 (6)
+1 to +4
-1 to +4
-1 to +4
-2 to +4
-6 to +2
-6 to 0
25 credits
50 credits
100 credits
250 credits
500 credits
1,000 credits

Armor Class: trade for dependability on a 1:1 basis.
Hull: trade for dependability at the rate of 3 points of hull for 1 point of dependability.
Hit Dice: trade hit dice for dependability on a 1:1 basis.
Shields: trade for shields at the rate of 3 shield points for 1 point of dependability.
Control: trade control for dependability on a 1:1 basis.

I’m rolling up a transport for my character. He’s a Terran Smuggler. I roll for how he got the ship, and roll 1: gift. This was given to him by his wealthy uncle for his 18th birthday. He was expected to go into the family business, but the business was soon taken over by the High Theocracy. Rather than submitting to their demands, he went rogue, taking his ship with him. It’s a transport. I get a default dependability of +10, although I may modify this some.

For Armor Class, I roll 1d4+14 and get 1+14=15. The starting AC for this hunk of junk is 15.
For Hull, I roll 1d6 and get 6. Nice! She’s got some thick skin.
For hit dice, I roll 4d10 and get [4, 3, 7, 3] for a total hit points of 17. This is low, so I spend 1 dependability to increase hit dice to 5d10; I roll and get [6], increasing the hit points to 23.
For shields, I roll 2d10 and get [4, 7], for total shields of 11. I give up a point of dependability here (moving it to +9) to get to shields 14. I decide that the default setting is 8 points to the front shields, and 2 points each to each side and rear shields.
For control, I roll 2d4-4 and get [1,1] = -2! That’s just terrible. I want to have better control, so I take a hit of -3 to dependability (it’s down to +6!) to get my control to +1. There. Now the ship flies better, but it tends to break down far more often.
For speed, I roll 1d4+6 and get [4]. I finally get a break! This ship may be living on the edge of breakdown all the time with a random assortment of pieces, but she has a SWEET pulsar 5 vector engine that makes her among the fastest ships in the five systems. I could lose a little speed to pick up more durability, but I’d rather be fast.

A few things:
The daily maintenance will require me to spend 2d6 credits. I roll each day to see what maintenance is required; some days, I only need to re-charge my fuel cells, while other days require an astrogation fluid change, new void energy filters, or even the replacement of some weak solar panels. Any day I skip my required maintenance, I suffer a cumulative -1 to dependability.
If you pay twice what is required for a day (for example, you roll 3 credits for your maintenance today and decide to invest 6 credits), you take a temporary +1 to dependability until tomorrow’s check.

Recovering hit points
Every hit point of damage needs to be repaired. Restoring 1 hit point of damage always costs 25 credits. A sky cycle that suffered 2 hp requires 50 credits to fix to full hit points, while a star cruiser that has suffered 80 points of damage during a major battle requires 2,000 credits to repair the damage and restore it to maximum hit points.

Dependability Checks:
You can generally chug along just fine with very little maintenance. Your fuel cells are set to slowly re-charge themselves over time; your air filtration system and water generator are able to process clean consumables from almost any environment, and you’re able to skip around through the systems with no real worries.
However, when you find yourself in the middle of a dogfight or struggling to outrun a pair of Shadow Cruisers, you push your ship to its limits, and things can (and often do) start to break down. When you suffer considerable damage, or you push your ship towards its upper limits of performance, you have to see how it responds. Remember, you often keep this thing together with drock tape and chivven wiring.

When you make a dependability check, roll 1d20 + your current dependability rating. If successful (a total result of 20 or better), your ship does just fine, able to continue for the rest of the turn without any major system failure; unless another factor applies.

Make a dependability check:
Whenever the ship goes into a combat situation
Whenever the ship’s performance is done under pressure
When the ship suffers more than half of its hit points in total damage

Dependability results:
Fumble (natural 1). Over-taxed. The entire ship (except for basics like life support) shuts down for 1d6 rounds as the system resets.
Failure (result of less than 20). Failure. Check failure results below.
Success (result of 20 or more). Success. You continue on without a problem.
Critical Success (natural 20). Amazing success! Apply 1 dependability point to one of the ship’s attributes (your choice) for the rest of the turn.

In Play:
I’ve tried to bluff the Inspector at the Wormhole Entrace via comm channels, but he’s suspicious of my ruse, and is sending a boarding party to inspect the Valhallan Princess. I don’t think so, bucko!

I decide to race for the wormhole, throwing all of my shields to the rear deflectors and putting the stick to the brick. Immediately, I have to make a dependability check, and I roll a natural 1! The entire ship shuts down, and the inspector comes back on the comm, asking what happened… I explain that I was trying to activate the air lock, but it’s been malfunctioning, and it might be dangerous for troops to enter until I get it reset. This required a total system re-start. I ask for a minute to re-set my internal systems. I roll a CHA check, and get 21. He says fine, telling me to hurry it up. I ask the GM if I can use that time to jury rig the control panel, disconnecting my pulse cannon and routing that power to shields and engines as the ship tics back to life. The GM allows me to make an INT check (using my engineering), and I get 17 on the die, for a total result of 26! That’s awesome success. The GM tells me that I’ll get +4 to the initiative roll, and that I won’t have to make another durability check to gun the engine. I’ll take that. When the systems come back online, I tell the enemy carrier to start sending his boarding party. As soon as I see the hatch open and troops prepare a stabilizer line, I punch it.

I roll for initiative, and my +4 allows me to just beat the enemy ship. The Valhallan Princess roars forward to the wormhole. I can’t fire back even if I want to, but I DON’T want to… I want out of here! The GM rules that it will take 2 rounds to get to the wormhole (it would have been 3 if I lost initiative), and all 6 cannons on the ship are trained on my tail. I take the lower of my DEX modifier (+2 from DEX 11) or ship’s control (+1 for me) for defense, so I get +1 to AC vs. these attacks. The gunners are attacking at +3 (they have +1 to attack, and the cannons have +2 targeting). Two of them hit in the first round, dealing 7 and 5 points of damage respectively. The entire 12 is soaked by my shields, but that leaves only 2 points in shields for next round.

In round 2, all six cannons fire again, but this time 3 hit. The first deals 7 points (uh oh), knocking out my shields (2 points); the hull soaks all 5 remaining points. The second attack deals 7 points; my hull is able to soak 6 of that, but the Princess suffers 1 hp (it’ll be okay, baby!). The final cannon hits with a critical, rolling 8x2=16 damage. The hull soaks 6, but the internal systems suffer 10 points of damage. The Princess has taken 11 damage, and is down to 12 hit points. WHEW! 1 more hp of damage, and I would have to immediately make a durability check to sustain that much damage and keep chugging along. That could be very bad.

As it is, my poor girl is going to require 275 chips in repairs, and the cargo I’m carrying is only worth 500 chips, so I’m out over half of my take for this job… and I’ve just run a Theocracy blockade, putting me on their radar. Man, I need to find a safer line of work… or… if I put all of that money into my ship, maybe I can up her durability… no… actually, if I up my shields, I won’t have to worry about… that 225 credits isn’t going to go very far. I’d better start thinking about my next job.


The Broken Confederacy issued a currency in various colors of prismatic chips that were specially minted. These included:
Red Chips, representing 1 unit of value.
Orange Chips, representing 10 units of value.
Yellow Chips, representing 100 units of value.
Blue Chips, representing 1,000 units of value
Green Chips, representing 10,000 units of value
Indigo Chips, representing 100,000 units of value
Violet Chips, representing 1,000,000 units of value

The vast majority of commerce was conducted in red, orange and yellow chips. Blue chips were rare, and most people have never see a green, indigo or violet chip.

This monetary unit was outlawed by the Theocracy of Shadows, replaced with the System Credit. All ‘official’ business must be conducted in Credits, although the entire black market, and most markets on secondary planets, continue to conduct trade in chips. Chips are virtually impossible to track, but each is uniquely imprinted with a code verifying its value and legitimacy. No one has ever been able to successfully counterfeit Confederate Chips, although not for lack of trying! Any official bank of the Theocracy will gladly accept chips in trade for System Credits. System credits values are coded into your DNA signature, and any legitimate merchant has a reader to scan whether or not you have enough credits to purchase whatever you are trying to buy. 

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