Saturday, March 23, 2019

Psychics and Cybernetics for Sci-Fi Into The Odd

There are no classes in Into The Odd. With some newer versions of the rules, there aren't any levels either. Characters get more interesting through experiences, becoming weirder or getting their hands on magic items and wealth they use to fund crazy ideas.

The most obvious way to upgrade a classless and levelless character is to give them better gear. Another is to tie character upgrades to actions they make. That way, a character who's new is in theory the same as one someone's played for dozens of sessions, but the older character will have more and more powerful ways of dealing with things. As it happens, sci-fi has two tropes that fit each of these approaches neatly: psychics and cybernetics.

Robot parts people install to replace or enhance parts of their bodies. As it happens, we already have working ones. In a sci-fi future, however, they're cheaper and more versatile - enough that it's both cost effective and possible at all to upgrade and not just replace.

The main barrier to entry to cybernetics is price. I'm okay with this for two reasons: one, I like the idea of a Warhammer 40K-style setting where the rich and powerful are loaded to the brim with custom cybernetics, and two, wealthy characters are going to be more powerful than poor ones by definition. If the players ever get lost in what they want to do, having them be rewarded for making money ensures they always have that as a goal they can fall back on.

Most cybernetics should cost 5G. This puts them at about the same price range as ship upgrades, so the party has to choose between one upgrade for their ship or two for two members of the crew. Since part of the cost is paying for installation I would let cybernetically-inclined characters make a friend out of a cyberdoctor or install a cybernetic installation room on their ship for a discount of 1G per cybernetic, making them cost 4G. I'd say that's how much it costs for just the cybernetic, if that becomes relevant.

The main drawback for cybernetics is that they cause a character to become more and more distant from reality. This isn't entirely realistic, but more machine = less human is a fairly common sci-fi trope. For each cybernetic a character installs, they lower their CHA by 1, permanently. Uninstalling a cybernetic is costly and leaves the character worse off than before they installed it (I'd say 10G and some injury or stat loss from the removal), but does increase their CHA by 1 to heal the previous loss of humanity.


Airtank: Provides internal air for an hour. You can survive 5 minutes with air in vacuum.

Atmosfilter: Filters toxic air, including inhaled poisons, smoke, and tainted air.

Autodoc: Instantly stabilizes Critical Damage, once. Requires a Medical Kit to recharge.

Cyberears: Greatly enhances hearing sensitivity, clarity, and range.

Cybereyes: Magnifies and clarifies vision and provides fuzzy nightvision.

Cyberlimb: No stronger than an organic limb, but far more durable and free of pain.

Cyberarm - Vladislav Ociacia

Cybervoice: Perfect voice control, near-perfect mimicry, and higher decibel limit.

Headjack: Direct neural interface with computers, required to use most heavy vehicles.

Holdout Cavity: Hides a pistol-size object from almost all inspections and scanners.

Hyperadrenal Gland: Make an instant, free action when you take STR damage while at full STR.

Immunofilter: Filters almost all poisons and diseases, regardless of their source.

Internal Comms: In-brain radio that allows silent transmission/reception of information.

Melee Implant: Retractable melee weapon, from claws to knives to whips. (D6).

Plating: Subdermal armour placed over crucial organs, granting +1 Armour.

Psi-Boost: Enhances psionic ability, granting an extra use per day.

Psi-Crown: Subdermal shield blocks all but the strongest direct psionic effects.

Ranged Implant: Retractable ranged weapon, typically a pistol. (D6).

Synthnerves: Improve reflexes, granting first action whenever order is in question.

Mechadendrite: A single metal limb, of impressive strength and reach and flexibility.

Tech-Priest - by Mike Smith

While psychic powers are distinct from magic, psychics do largely serve the role of a "caster" in sci-fi settings. The plus side about Into The Odd is that any psychic rules are going to be placed on top of the core rules, and not made an inherent part of the game - so it's very, very easy to just say "there are no psychics in my game" and leave it at that.

Balancing magic has always been hard in classless RPGs. You don't want everyone to be a caster (not always, at least), but the balancing act nearly every class-based game does is to simply give the magic-user nothing extra except for their magic, or even penalize them. (I.E. B/X D&D giving them the smallest hit die size.)

But that gives me an idea - why not make learning new powers penalize the character? They don't get strictly better, just weirder, and not every player and character will find the costs worth the rewards.

There are ways to learn psychic powers on your own but they are long, arduous, risky, and unlikely to work. Once someone has learned a power on their own, almost all who come after them will be taught it by them or someone they taught. Learning a power requires a teacher who knows it and a few months of education. Not everyone can learn powers and not everyone who can learns them at the same rate, but for simplicity's sake all PCs can. (They are protagonists, after all.) Getting such an education is easier said than done, requiring either costly tuition fees or convincing a master you're worth teaching.

If the time spent is relevant, have the training PC make a CHA save at the end of each month. Once they pass two saves, they've learned the power they were being taught. Otherwise, assume it takes about three months.

Each time you learn a power you must roll a D6 on the Psychic Drawback Table. If you roll a drawback you already have, gain the next one down the list instead, wrapping back to number 1 if you already have number 6. PCs can never learn more than 6 psychic powers - any NPCs who do are either savants or masters with decades of training. If you roll number 6 as your first drawback, take number 1 instead.

Psychic Drawback Table
1 You can no longer gain Armour points from any source.
2 Your ranged attacks are all Impaired.
3 You no longer enjoy luxuries and only recover CHA damage after a Long Rest.
4 Your STR score is cut in half, permanently.
5 You require an open hand and subtle motions with it to use any of your powers.
6 You gain an extra use of your powers/day, but can never use the power you were taught.

You can use your powers as many times per day as you have powers. "Per day" means between restful sleeps. You can use any combination of them. If you know four powers you could use one of them four times, or each of them one time.

Psychic powers should always work unless the player is really pushing the limit with how they're using them. Some characters are immune to direct psychic effects, such as those wearing Psi-Crowns - if a psychic wears a Psi-Crown, they can't use any of their powers.

The powers below don't have to be the only psychic powers out there, but they're more than enough for a full campaign. Most psychics willing to teach powers will know three or four.

1 Telekinesis
You can move things with your mind, usually up to the weight of a human. You can move many lighter things, or weakly move a heavier thing. You don't have complex control.

2 Telepathy
You can read the emotions of others and probe their thoughts with extended contact. You can also sense the presence of creatures near you.

Reading emotions is subtle. Probing minds is anything but.

3 Empathy
You can alter the emotions of others and even force them to obey brief commands. You cannot use this to make a creature do or feel something they would never do or feel.

4 Clairvoyance
You can sense the presence and locations of things and creatures known to you. This allows you to track nearly anything, nearly anywhere, as it has no known range limit.

5 Biokinesis
You can perform a single feat of superhuman skill, like jumping great distances, lifting heavy objects, or deflecting incoming ranged attacks.

6 Healing
You can transfer your health to another creature, giving them your HP or STR one for one to heal them. You can also cure someone of an illness, injury, or poison by suffering it yourself.

7 Teleportation
You can transport yourself or a willing companion to a location you can see. This travel is instantaneous and without range limit.

8 Pyrokinesis
You can start a fire on an object or creature you can see. You can also control existing fires, putting them out or moving them around.

9 Precognition
You can see glimpses of the future before you make a choice. If opening a door would lead to combat, you would see glimpses of combat, but not of what with.

10 Psychometry
You can touch an object to see glimpses of its past. The most important events in its history – such as murders committed with it – are shown to you in murky visions.

11 Synaesthesia
You can create false images that creatures perceive as real, but don't fool machines. Such illusions can also be used to hide things so long as they remain still and silent.

12 Harming
You can deal D8 AP damage to a creature you can see, ignoring armour and without a range limit. This damage causes heads to explode if it kills.

  • Cost 5G, 4 if you get them installed for free.
  • Reduce your CHA by 1 each time they're installed.
  • Easy to install, hard to remove.

  • Learn up to six psychic powers from teachers.
  • Suffer a drawback for each power learned.
  • Can use them as many times per day as you have powers.

I'm working on a sci-fi supplement for Into The Odd. I've never been great at getting work done, but as slow as it's going I've been working on it far longer than most other projects I try to commit to. Aside from the stuff above, I'm currently writing a table of perks/drawbacks to randomly generate alien PCs, and a big table of Bastionland-style backgrounds.

Here are three, two based on the Cybernetics and Psychic rules from above and another based on the marines from Aliens. You roll a D6 for your starting HP and credits, and depending on what you roll you get different items/quirks.

Enthusiast is an understatement.
You won't be satisfied until you're more metal than flesh.

SPECIAL: You gain D6 HP the first two times you install cybernetics, not from taking damage.
You Get: Smartgun (D4, D8 if linked to your brain with a Headjack), -1 CHA
Names: Chip, Ronaldo, Tsumi, Chromeboy

1hp Hyperadrenal Gland: When you take STR damage while at full STR, you immediately take         an action for free.
2hp Internal Psi-Crown: You cannot be directly targeted by psychic powers.
3hp Cybereyes: You can see much further and clearer, and with fuzzy vision in the dark.
4hp Holdout Cavity: You have a hollow box in your stomach that can hide an object no larger             than a pistol. Only the most invasive scans and investigations find it.
5hp Headjack: Lets you link with computers. Necessary to pilot many forms of heavy machinery         and strictly necessary for piloting mechs.
6hp Cyberarm: No stronger than a "real" arm, but very durable and tireless.

1c  You want full control over what your body is like.
2c  You think of it as the best way to improve yourself and in turn your life.
3c  You always wanted to be a cyborg instead of an organic creature.
4c  You belong to a religion that commands its followers to "upgrade" themselves.
5c  You have minor but constant pain all across your body. Only cybernetics stop it.
6c  You have a single goal you religiously pursue, and cybernetics are part of the plan.

You were taught the ancient and mystic arts of psionicism.
With your master(s) dead, you walk your own path.

SPECIAL: You start with one psychic power and one psychic drawback.
You Get: Staff (D6, Bulky), Psychedelic Drugs
Name: Wei, Durran, Angie, Teth

1hp Precognition: Start with a Deck of Cards.
2hp Telepathy: Start with Rope.
3hp Teleportation: Start with a Gravchute.
4hp Pyrokinesis: Start with a Fire Extinguisher.
5hp Telekinesis: Start with Juggling Clubs.
6hp Healing: Start with a Medical Kit.

1c  You can no longer gain Armour points from any source.
2c  You ranged attacks are all Impaired.
3c  You no longer enjoy luxuries and only recover CHA after a Long Rest.
4c  Your STR score is cut in half, permanently.
5c  You require an open hand and subtle motions with it to use any of your powers.
6c  You can no longer gain Armour points from any source.

You were sent to distant colonies to put down alien infestations and plucky rebels alike.
Now that you're discharged, you have trouble staying frosty.

You Get: Assault Rifle (D8, Bulky), Military Armour (1 Armour)
Sample Names: Anderson, Banerjee, Wong, Silva

1hp Flamer: Start with a Flamethrower (D6, Bulky, Blast).
2hp Gunner: Start with an LMG (D10, Bulky, must be set up before use).
3hp Sniper: Start with Binoculars and a Sniper Rifle (D6, Bulky, very long range).
4hp Grunt: Start with a Grenade (D8, Blast).
5hp Medic: Start with a Medical Kit.
6hp Officer: Start with a Cool Hat and a Sabre (D6).

1c  Bertram's Rest: Uneventful and relatively bloodless. You're not sure why it haunts you.
2c  Thalidae Drop: Your pod got hit on the way down. It's a miracle you survived.
3c  Covan-2a: The enemy was violent, unrelenting, and looked exactly like children.
4c  Alesia-4: It wasn't until after you landed that the civilian presence became known.
5c  Solo Nobre: The Company owns your homeworld now. They paid you well for your aid.
6c  Tannhauser Gate: You were in your lifepod for weeks. You thought they forgot you.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Into The Void: Starships for Into The Odd

Starships are characters. Anyone who enjoys a lot of sci-fi can tell you every good starship has its own feel. Unfortunately, most RPG rulesets make ship-building, well, ship building. This is fine when you're playing a game like Traveller where there is a certain degree of realism as a design goal, but for most OSR games, the idea of building a character is anathema. And if ships are characters, ship building should be anathema too.

Now, the reason games tend to let PCs build their ships is because a ship is, after all, an object and not a person. With the exception of transhuman settings, a PC born with 3D6 in every stat very plausibly has no ability to change them except through leveling up, and maybe not even then. A ship, on the other hand, is built to exacting specifications. It's realistic that PCs have random stats – but it's also realistic that ships have chosen stats.

But is buying a ship really so common in sci-fi? And are bought ships really bought to specific taste? The first time the Millenium Falcon shows up in Star Wars, it's meant to be underwhelming. The Rocinante from The Expanse is a top-of-the-line Martian stealth ship, but not only is it stolen, it's stolen thanks to a combination of luck and desperation. Its crew didn't choose it.

Does this really look like anyone's first choice of starship?

When ships aren't beat-up, they tend to be the military cruisers of Star Trek or (again) Star Wars, or the realistic science ships of Interstellar or 2001. These are not the kind of ships that plucky adventurers acquire. Furthermore, bought ships are often bought on the cheap, from second-hand or unscrupulous dealers.

So. When the PCs get their hands on a ship, there is a good chance they will not get to decide what is and isn't on it. They're not in much of a position to argue. But a ship is still easily upgraded once you've got one – after all, it is a machine. I think this is why most games will let the players design their ships. But why not randomize their creation, and let them upgrade it as they see fit afterwards?

Into The Void
This assumes you've read Into The Odd by Chris McDowell before. It's a quick read with good ideas. If you haven't/won't/don't have the time here's the rundown: three stats, roll equal or under to pass tests, attacks automatically deal damage (but don't automatically "hit" per se – this goes into more detail), there are no classes or races, and magic is handled through magic items rather than learned spells. Personally, I think this fits sci-fi a lot more than it fits fantasy.

Bastionland, the in-development setting book for Into The Odd, starts every game off by having the PCs in monumental debt, and they start adventuring to pay it off. This fits sci-fi games well. A ship costs 100G to purchase, but the PCs start with one anyway, but they owe 1G per month to their debtholders until the debt is paid off. Running away to the rimworlds or beyond is a totally valid strategy, but bountyhunting is a common profession, and debtholders will double the price of the debt owed if you willingly dodge paying.

Starships have four stats, rolled 3D6 in order. When you roll for Shields, write down the results of the individual D6s - they'll be used later to generate ship quirks.

Hull (HUL) is their structural integrity, resiliency, redundancy, and general stability. You test Hull to crash safely, smash through things, and resist Critical Damage.

Engines (ENG) is their speed, mobility, agility, acceleration, and general movement. You test Engines to outrun enemies, dodge obstacles, and perform tricky maneuvers.

Systems (SYS) is their hardware and software systems, sensors, and general intelligence. You test Systems to scan things, resist hacking attempts, and run computer programs.

Shields serve as a ship's HP. They're never tested but they're used to resist damage, and recharge if the ship is given time to do so.

Default ships have 4 Max Fuel capacity and start with a full tank. Fuel costs 1G and can only be purchased from well-equipped starbases and fuel refineries.

Things like moving between planets, dogfighting, maneuvering past obstacles, etc, don't cost any Fuel. The same "gravdrive" which provides a ship's artificial gravity is also used to move the ship through space, applying gravitational force to it and dragging it from location to location. Making course corrections requires a pilot.

Interstellar travel costs 1 Fuel per week of travel, and it takes a week to go from one hex to another (which in most games will be the equivalent of 1 light year). The ship's "hyperdrive" pushes the ship out of our dimension - Realspace - and into a higher dimension - Hyperspace - where the distances between locations are smaller and ships can travel faster. A ship can only enter Hyperspace safely if it is outside the gravity well of a planet.

Taking off from a planet takes an amount of Fuel based on the planet's gravity. Standard gravity worlds require 1 Fuel, while high gravity ones require 2 and low gravity ones don't require any. It doesn't cost any Fuel to land on a planet safely.

A ship can support a number of people equal to its SYS + 2 indefinitely. Food, air, and water are all recycled although eventually the crew will be eating nutrient paste. This can last a ship for months, years if carefully rationed, and a ship's stores can be replenished easily on any habitable world. Standard life support systems have backup generators that allow them to run even if the ship's reactor is disabled or destroyed.

If Life Support is damaged or the crew reroutes the backup power to other systems, they have supplies left for one week per person the ship would normally be able to support. Ships with crews smaller than their capacity can go longer without life support being online.

Hydroponics by Eddie Mendoza

Ships start with standard weaponry (D6 Damage) and no armour (0 Armour).

In combat, attacks land automatically, but the damage is reduced by a ship's Armour. A ship's Shields absorb damage until they run out and damage starts being dealt to the ship's HUL instead. Shields recharge to full if the ship goes for ten minutes with its power running but without doing anything of note – remember that objects maintain their momentum in space, so you can keep it moving while doing so. Firing a ship's weapons requires a gunner.

Each time a ship takes HUL damage, they have to make a HUL test with their new HUL. If they fail this roll, the ship isn't taken out of combat, but instead the party must roll a D12 on the table below. The system listed is disabled and the consequences are listed beside it.

1 Jumpdrive: The ship cannot travel through Hyperspace and therefore between stars.
2 Gravdrive: The ship loses gravity and the ability to move at more than a snail's pace.
3 Targeting: All weapon attacks are Impaired and require manual aiming.
4 Fuel Pods: The ship loses half its Max Fuel, and any Fuel over the new maximum.
5 Sensors: Aside from what you can see out of the windows, you're flying blind.
6 Life Support: The ship has one week of supplies left for each point of SYS, plus two.
7 Shields: The ship's shields are reduced to 0 and will no longer recharge.
8 Bridge: Everyone in the bridge must test STR or suffer Critical Damage.
9 Cargo: Everything in the cargo bay is shunted out into space.
10 Quarters: Everyone in their quarters must test STR or suffer Critical Damage.
11 Computer: Everything in the ship must be done manually. The PA system is offline.
12 Reactor: Everything except for life support is deactivated.

If a ship hits 0 HUL, it is only a matter of time before it is destroyed. Roll a D6. In that many rounds, the ship's core will go nova, exploding the ship, killing everyone still on board, and rendering it little more than scrap metal. As long as the ship's computers aren't disabled, the time left will be loudly declared at the start of each round. Moving from one section to the ship to another, getting into and launching a lifepod, putting on a vaccsuit, and exiting the ship via an airlock all take one round each.

Repairing a ship's HUL requires a week of repairs in a starbase and 1G per HUL repaired. Repairing a subsystem also requires 1G. You can perform repairs outside of a starbase, but this will also take a week and will require cannibalizing parts from other systems, ships, or even the ship's maximum HUL score.

Remember when I told you to write down the individual D6 rolls for Shields? This is why. The result from each D6 gives the ship a quirk, with higher numbers having worse results. The higher your Shields are, the more negative quirks the ship will have, but the lower they are, the more positive ones they'll have. This fits in nicely with Into The Odd's system of giving PCs with low stats better starting gear.

6 Absent Weapons: This ship starts with no weaponry installed.
5 Flickering Shields: If an attack against this ship deals max damage, it bypasses Shields and directly damages HUL.
4 Cracked Hull: -1 Max HUL. There's a huge gash in the side of the ship.
3 Thick Hull: +1 Max HUL, -1 Max ENG. The ship has a much thicker hull than normal.
2 Armour Plating: The ship's Armour is increased to 1.
1 Reinforced Bulkheads: +2 Max HUL. The ship's internal walls are made of a strong alloy and the doors are difficult to force open. Boarding it is a tactical nightmare.

6 Faulty Jumpdrive: After exiting hyperspace, the ship's reactor is disabled for D6 times ten minutes. This leaves only life support and door controls online.
5 Missing Fuel Pods: -2 Max Fuel.
4 Laggy Gravdrive: -1 Max ENG. The ship moves a few moments after it's told to.
3 Huge Drives: +1 Max ENG, -1 Max SYS. The jump- and gravdrives are oversized.
2 Antigravity Plating: It costs 1 less Fuel to take off from a planet's gravity well.
1 Cloaking Device: The ship has a cloaking device onboard, which can be activated to turn all systems offline, but make the ship undetectable to all but the strongest scans.

6 Adware Beacon: The ship constantly and loudly broadcasts advertisements.
5 Eccentric Systems: The cost of all upgrades on this ship are increased by 10%.
4 Computer Glitches: -1 Max SYS. Computers are always messing up slightly.
3 Redundant Systems: +1 Max SYS, -1 Max HUL. There's two of every subsystem.
2 Intelligent Ship: The ship has an agreeable AI controlling it. They have 9 + D6 CHA, no STR or DEX, and can perform one task a PC would normally have to do per round.
1 Payment Error: The ship's total debt or cost is reduced by 25G, once. If stealing or salvaging a ship this quirk is meaningless.

It costs 10G and a week of work to remove a negative quirk. For the ones with positive and negatives, only the negative part is removed.

The rules above should do a good job at generating patchwork ships to start off the party. Buying better ships once the PCs hit it rich is beyond the scope of these rules. However, by the time a party can afford it, cost shouldn't be a problem unless they want a ship to have 18 in every stat and tons of upgrades. Either their wealth can buy it easily or their demands are so high it's beyond their reach and should be acquired through an adventure, if at all.

But what about upgrading a ship? Fixing the problems of a ship are, in a way, just another kind of upgrade. It's not too hard to extrapolate fixing the fuel pods into adding more.

Ship Repairs by Mark Zhang

There are two kinds of upgrades: stat upgrades and subsystem upgrades. Stat upgrades simply raise one of the ship's four stats by one to a maximum of 18. The first time a stat is upgraded it costs 10G, the second time 20G, the third 30G, and so on until it reaches a cost of 100G at which point it doesn't increase any more.

Subsystem upgrades instead add a new subsystem to the ship, giving it more potential or increasing the efficiency of existing systems. A ship can have as many upgrades installed as it has points of SYS. A list of example upgrades is given below. Upgrades with asterisks next to them can be taken more than once, up to a number of extra times equal to the asterisks there (so two asterisks mean an upgrade can be taken three times).

These should all cost 10G, but they are by no means the only upgrades out there, nor is 10G the set cost in every system. There may be better subsystems available for steeper prices, or which can only be acquired through salvaging alien/ancient/ancient alien technology. And of course, not every starbase will be able to sell you every upgrade.

Advanced Weapons**: Increase the ship's damage die one step. D6 > D8 > D10 > D12.

Armour*: Increases the ship's armour by 1. 0 > 1 > 2.

Fuel Pods*: Increases the ship's Max Fuel by 2. 4 > 6 > 8.

Hydroponics: A large room sized garden. Doubles the ship's life support capacity.

Smuggler's Hold: The ship has a small, hidden cargo hold that can hide a few crates or few people from most inspections. You can use this space to found an Enterprise aboard your ship, but it only gains both income and losses while in systems that buy contraband.

Cargo Bay: The ship's cargo bay is expanded and can hold lots of material including a few vehicles. You can use this space to found an Enterprise aboard your ship, but it only gains both income and losses while in systems that buy bulk supplies.

Rec Room: A comfortable room with a nice TV, gaming systems, VR equipment, bar, kitchen, and other assorted luxuries. Lets you restore CHA after a day of relaxing.

Medical Bay: A sterile room with comfortable beds, an autodoc chamber, and all the gear you need to perform surgeries, diagnostics, autopsies, and more. Lets you safely treat Critical Damage and restore STR and DEX after a day of treatment.

Fuel Scoop: If you spend a week in a gas giant's atmosphere, you can harvest 1 Fuel at the cost of D6 HUL. This HUL damage does not cause Critical Damage or reduce a ship below 1 HUL, but if the damage would have reduced it to below 0 HUL, the ship doesn't gain any Fuel. (If it kept scooping Fuel up, it would be reduced to 0 HUL and destroyed.)

Shuttle Bay: Stores a small shuttle that can carry a small cargo or six passengers or mixture of the two, as well as a pilot and copilot either way. The shuttle is slower than any ship but can easily leave a planet's surface for its orbit in half an hour and for no Fuel cost.

Advanced Jumpdrive*: Upgrade the ship's Jumpdrive so that interstellar travel is either cheaper or faster. When setting out into Hyperspace, decide between using half as much Fuel, rounded up, or taking half as many days, rounded up. Taking this upgrade twice lets you do both.

Lifepods*: One person pods that can be deployed to escape a ship in one round. Comes with as many lifepods as the ship has SYS + 2. When taken twice it both doubles the effective amount and lets you have them be located at two locations on the ship.

Laboratory: Used to perform research, analysis, and other similar studies.

Sensor Suite: Greatly upgrades both the range and information granted by your sensors.

Cloak: Allows the ship to "go dark", unable to do anything but undetectable while doing so.

Tractor Beam: Allows the ship to move shuttle-sized and smaller objects that are within weapon range. Ships may make a test with the lower of STR and ENG to break free.

Workshop: Used to perform modifications, repairs, and upgrades on vehicles and robots.

Probe Bay: Stores up to four probes which can operate autonomously or by manual controls and transmit and receive information on the other side of a system. Replacing a drone costs 1G. Each drone is twice the size of a man and has a panoply of sensors, manipulating limbs, and moves via artificial gravity. They can reach orbit in a few hours.

These probes are the ones from Star Wars, more or less. Art by Slayerlane

Shrine: By virtue of divine blessing or being in the right place to get in the way of damage (crews can never agree on which), this system allows the ship to reroll a disabled system roll and take the new result even if it is less desirable or the same result.

Cryopods*: Allows you to store SYS + 2 people in cryostasis. They don't age, die from injuries, or suffer harm from poisons or diseases, but they still count against the ship's life support. Most starship passengers prefer to be in cryosleep on the trip.

Vault: A secure location deep inside the ship but designed to easily detach. Contains a small, self-contained life support system with an airlock. A vault can survive most attacks and even a ship going nova, keeping up to twenty people or a moderate amount of cargo safe temporarily, or five people alive for months.

Intelligent Ship: An artificial intelligence installed on the ship's databanks and capable of running one system as well as a trained human would at a time. The AI always starts loyal and has 9 + D6 CHA, but no STR or DEX. You can download them into a robot body to turn them into a PC, but if you do so, they will not be able to be turned back into a ship.

Shipskin Projector: A translucent pink wall of a rubber-like organic substance, one side inside the ship, the other exposed to the void of space. Passing out of the ship through the projector coats organic creatures in the "shipskin", which serves as a comfortable and self-healing vaccsuit with a few hours of oxygen.

Monday, February 4, 2019

D100 Magic Items

(You can safely skip all this explanation for the list below. It's all superfluous.)

I've always had respect for the Roguelike genre. Videogames where you move a character around a grid, delving deeper and deeper into a procedurally generated dungeon, picking up new items, potions, and scrolls, and slowly figuring out what they do and using them to your advantage. You don't start out knowing what each potion or scroll or magic item does, and drinking/reading/equipping them to find out will sometimes have you use an item that is actually harmful (ranging from scrolls you're meant to use in niche situations to cursed items with negative enchantments and can't be removed without a curse-removing scroll).

Recently, though, I started playing a game called Unexplored. It's very heavily based on classic grid-based Roguelikes, but while it keeps almost all the same trappings, it's a top down action game instead. I've developed a minor addiction to it. The gameplay is fun, but not amazing, bu that's fine because it's mostly there to facilitate the slow, methodical exploration that I want to enjoy from normal Roguelikes but haven't been able to really get without more engaging systems on top of them.

Anyway, it got me into the idea of writing magic items. Most of the items in Unexplored just deal more damage or have a chance to bleed/stun/etc an enemy, but the number of combinations is still impressive. And in RPGs, where problem-solving is not always a matter of figuring out how to best defeat an enemy, there's a lot more room for interesting items.

I took inspiration from Unexplored's system of enchanting, where you can find magic runes as treasure and take them to the anvils that generate every now and then to turn a normal item into a magic item. Rather than write a hundred magic items off the top of my head, I took the nine sigils from Unexplored, added one to round it out, then came up with ten item varieties. I could just roll a D100, find the element and item it corresponded with, and use that as a base for the item.

It wasn't until I was halfway through the list when I had a realization. Because the tens digit says what element it is and the ones digit says which item, you can roll a D10 instead of a D100 and get a specific item or element. If you want, say, an item associated with ice, you can roll a D10 and add it to the end of 70. If you want a melee weapon, roll a D10 and put it in front of 5 (so a 1 becomes 15, 6 becomes 65, etc).

Items Grouped by Theme and Type
ITEMS BY THEME (Number + D10)
00 Life
10 Metal
20 Water
30 Fire
40 Magic
50 Death
60 Earth
70 Ice
80 Air
90 Storm
ITEMS BY TYPE (D10 + Number)
0 Armour
1 Helmet
2 Clothing
3 Ring
4 Amulet
5 Melee Weapon
6 Ranged Weapon
7 Shield
8 Trinket
9 Staff

A Few Notes On Compatibility
I've tried to make these as system-agnostic as possible, but:

I assume a system where D6s are the "average" damage die. In my homebrew almost damage is rolled on a D6, with stronger/weaker weapons adding/subtracting from the result, so that's why a lot these have damage values of "D4 or D6-1" or "D8 or D6+1". If your system has different damage averages you might want to adjust the values.

If you don't already know, Advantage/Disadvantage means you roll a D20 twice and take the better or worse result, respectively.

I've used notional distances - Melee, Reach, Close, Near, Far, etc. If you want specific distances, Melee is 5 feet/1 square, reach 10 feet/two squares, Close is 30/6, Near is 100/20, and Far is 250/50.

Some items have "STR" or "DEX" or the like attached to them. That just means the modifier of a specific stat - STR being Strength, INT being Intelligence, you can figure it out.

D100 Magic Items
00 Rose Knight's Armour
A beautiful suit of light armour which looks like plate but counts as chainmail. Rose-like embellishments and leafy designs cover it from head to toe. If the wearer is in a duel with someone – any (ostensibly) honourable fight between two lone combatants – they have Advantage on all attack rolls against their foe.

01 Crown of Thorns
A tiara made of green, thorny vines that provides no defense bonuses, but projects all harm the wearer suffers onto whoever caused it. When the wearer takes damage from an attack, their attacker takes 1 magic damage in return.

02 Elven Cloak
A green cloak that imbues the wearer with Elven grace. Living plants can never impede their movement – while this means they could run through a bush unharmed, it also means they can climb or even run up trees and vines safely and at their normal movement rate.

03 Ring of Life Detection
A gold ring with a small emerald. Whoever wears it can spend a moment concentrating on it to become aware of the presence and health of all living creatures within Close distance.

04 Amulet of the Snake
A jade amulet fashioned in the shape of a snake. Whoever wears it is rendered immune to any and all poisons, be they lethal or merely hindering.

05 Blade of Grass
A slightly curved one-handed sword made of a pale green metal. The edge is razor-sharp, causing attacks made with it to deal critical damage on a roll of 2 as well as 1.

06 Poison Flower Star
A flower-shaped throwing star with serrated edges designed to hold and easily inject poison into struck targets. If used to apply poison to a creature, the creature gains no Save vs Poison – however, the poison is always depleted after a hit (if it wouldn't be already).

07 Regenerating Shield
A wooden shield that was grown, not built. If the wielder sunders it to ignore all damage from an attack, it will regrow after eight hours. If destroyed by fire it is broken permanently.

08 Healing Moss
A patch of green, almost glowing moss. When rubbed on an injury it grows to replace the lost functionality, healing the injury and consuming the moss.

09 Staff of Healing
A staff made of two intertwined branches. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel their own life-force through the staff or hand, giving their HP 1-for-1 to any living creature within Close distance. Undead creatures are harmed instead.

10 Adamantine Armour
A light and thin suit of plate armour made of a pale blue metal. It counts as plate armour for the purposes of defense and as chain armour for the purposes of encumbrance.

11 Magnetic Helm
A metal helmet of a peculiar purple-and-red alloy that draws metal towards it. In addition to being a helmet, all attacks with metal weapons that deal damage to the wearer have the damage rolled reduced by 1, as some momentum and control is lost to the magnet's pull.

12 Armourer's Cloak
A grey cloak that shines like metal. When worn, the wearer treats all armour they wear as one step lighter for the purposes of encumbrance.

13 Ring of Ferrokinesis
An unremarkable iron ring. It allows its wielder to manipulate metal they can see up to Close distance away, with as much strength as the free hand they must use to do so.

14 Amulet of Hardening
A metal amulet in the shape of a fist. Whoever wears it has their equipment protected from non-magical hindrances – the things they carry cannot be taken from them or destroyed.

15 Adamantine Sword
A super-sharp, super-light one-handed sword of a pale blue metal. It counts as a masterwork sword, and the sharp metal allows it to ignore the physical armour of enemies.

16 Cable Bow
This bow's string and limbs are made of metal, not wood and fibre. The tensile cables can deal extra damage, but are harder to pull – it deals D6 + STR damage.

17 Shield of Rust
A rusty metal shield which rusts metal that comes in contact with it. Prolonged contact rusts for sure, but minimum damage rolls against whoever is wielding it rusts the weapon being used, giving it -1 to hit and -1 damage.

18 Dowsing Ball
An iron ball on the end of a chain. When held out in front of the wearer it will drift slightly towards the nearest source of valuable metal not already in their possession.

19 Rod of Magnetism
An iron staff. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel magnetism into the staff or hand, pulling or pushing metal within Close distance, up to the weight of plate armour.

20 Atlantean Plate
A suit of plate armour made of a dark blue metal that's impossibly light. It doesn't hinder swimming or climbing at all – it does hinder sneaking, running, etc as normal.

21 Diver's Helm
A large brass helmet that allows the wearer to breathe water and ignore water pressure. It does not stop water from entering the helmet, however, or the wearer from getting wet.

22 Boots of Water Walking
A pair of blue leather boots which allow their wearer to walk on any and all liquids. Water, but also acid, lava, and stranger things. Anything other than their boots can still sink.

23 Ring of Blood Draining
A silver ring with an inlaid ruby, which allows its wearer to draw blood within Close distance towards them if they have a free hand. This causes creatures to Save vs Magic or get dragged towards the PC, or instead causes D6 damage to creatures that are bleeding.

24 Anchor Amulet
An iron amulet in the shape of an anchor. It causes the wearer to sink to the bottom of water as if it were air, ignoring pressure but drowning and being wet as normal.

25 Tidal Blade
A one-handed sword that has a straight edge and an edge curved in a wavy pattern. If an attack made with it misses, and the wielder makes another attack on the next round, that attack is made at Advantage.

26 Bolas of the Saint of Fishers
A three-part chain bolas. Regular bolas have Close range and cause a Save vs Stun on a hit, lest the target be entangled – this one has Near range and always entangles on a hit.

27 Surging Shield
A brass shield with small spikes all across the front. If the bearer charges at an enemy, they may make an attack with both another weapon and the shield, which deals +1 damage over the normal damage of a shield, but only when charging enemies.

28 Bottle of Holding
A glass bottle that can hold up to a hundred times the expected amount of liquid, but only the normal amount of anything else. If shattered, the liquid explodes outwards all at once.

29 Driftwood Staff
A staff made of a single piece of ancient driftwood. If the wielder has a free hand, they can control water at a distance through a combination of the staff and hand, moving up to person's worth of a visible liquid (be it water, acid, blood, etc) at a time.

30 Dragonleather Armour
Leather armour made from a dragon's hide. It counts as chainmail for the purposes of defense, and leather for the purposes of encumbrance. The leather itself is immune to fire, but not heat or lava or explosions, and only covers the arms, torso, chest, and legs.

31 Molten Crown
A crown of molten gold that keeps its form, casts no light, and does not burn those who touch it. If you wear the crown, you are immune to fire and heat (but not explosions).

32 Striking Boots
Red leather boots with spiked soles. The boots allow their wearers to make unarmed attacks with +1 damage with only their feet, but cannot move and then attack with them.

33 Ember Ring
A unremarkable copper ring. It allows its wearer to shoot embers from the hand its on, starting small fires instantaneously.

34 Dragonslayer's Amulet
A small gold amulet in the shape of a dragon's skull. Whoever wears it has Advantage on all attacks against creatures that are twice as large or more than them.

35 Unfinished Blade
A one-handed sword that glows like an untempered blade. It casts light like a torch, and sets anything it strikes on fire. It only lights things hit while swinging it, so it can be sheathed or held without igniting the wielder.

36 Hellbore Crossbow/Musket
A crossbow (or musket in early-modern games) made of dark red, charred wood. It fires bolts/bullets that glow white with heat. They deal no extra damage, but melt through wood and metal with ease, allowing attacks made with them to ignore armour.

37 Shimmer Shield
A shield of a reflective, strong, and light metal. While it does not project light itself it reflects even the dimmest ones brilliantly, making it hard to see the wielder at a distance. Ranged attacks made against them by creatures that see (IE not undead) are at Disadvantage.

38 Orb of Flame
A small metal orb that can be easily held in one hand, which glows orange with warmth. It casts light and heat like a lantern, though it is comfortable to hold, and will never go out. If its tough exterior is broken, it will explode with the force of a bomb.

39 Firebolt Staff
A bronze staff that ends in a pale red crystal. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel flame through the staff or hand, igniting things at a distance. They must make a ranged attack to hit creatures.

40 Chainmail of the Sorceror
A suit of pale purple chainmail. It does not interfere with a spell caster's ability to cast magic, and can be worn by spell casters who wouldn't normally be able to wear chainmail.

41 Hood of Starry Eyes
A purple hood with a yellow eye drawn on the front. When worn to obscure the wearer's vision, they gain the ability to see out of it in every direction up to Close distance away, and through darkness and opaque but not impassable things (curtains, smoke clouds, etc).

42 Cloak of the Enchanter
A rugged black cloak with a red velvet inside. It allows the wearer to teleport to a location within Far range that they can see, at the cost of taking D6+1 damage and making a loud and impressive explosion both where they leave and where they reappear.

43 Ring of Dispelling
A silver ring with an inlaid amethyst. It allows its wearer to raise the hand its on and hold it open to project a translucent purple shield in front of them – it does nothing to physical things, but all but the strongest spells and magic abilities are completely blocked.

44 Wizard's Amulet
A silver amulet that contains a blue, faintly glowing crystal. When worn by a magician it gives them the spell-casting ability of an extra level (1 or 2 casts/day, 1 magic die, etc).

45 Drakara, the Thinking Blade
A well-made one-handed sword with a mind of its own. It can speak, and knows a lot about metalsmithing and magical research (having been built by a tinkering magician). It adds the CHA of its wielder to its damage rolls.

46 Starbow
A bow of pale purple wood. Arrows fired from it glow with magical energy, counting as magical for the purposes of damage and dealing +1 damage.

47 Sorceror's Shield
A shield of a pale purple wood. If worn by a spell caster, they can treat the hand they hold it in as an open hand for the purposes of casting spells.

48 Orb of True Sight
A crystal ball which, when looked through, dispels magical illusions, disguises, and invisible things. Any image created by magic is not seen through its glass.

49 Staff of Blasting
A wooden staff inscribed with purple runes. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel energy through the staff or hand to make ranged attacks against foes up to Near distance away. They deal D6 + INT damage on a successful hit.

50 Black Knight's Plate
A suit of knightly plate armour, as black as a starless sky. When worn, it makes the wearer completely immune to the effects of fear and pain, even if their limbs are chopped off.

51 Crown of the Bloodletting Queen
A silver tiara with an inlaid ruby. Whenever its wearer suffers an injury, they may choose to reroll the injury, but must suffer the newly rolled one if they do so.

52 Shroud of Death
A discarded part of Death's cloak. When worn over the body, it makes the wearer count as dead for the purposes of magic – the undead ignore them until harmed, healing spells harm them, and necrotic harm heals them.

53 Leech's Ring
An obsidian ring that resembles a leech biting its tail. It allows the wearer to drain the life force from a creature within Reach distance, dealing 1 damage and healing 1 in turn. This attack always hits, does not effect mechanical creatures, and does effect undead ones.

54 Amulet of the Lich
A black metal amulet with a large purple opal. If the wearer fails a Save vs Death, they pass it instead but the opal cracks and becomes black, the amulet drained of its power.

55 Sacrificial Dagger
An ornate dagger made to resemble a fang. When used to kill any creature the size of a chicken or larger, it stores the energy of the death. The next attack with it that lands deals double damage. Only one such charge can be stored at a time.

56 Black Arrow
An arrow of pure black metal. It breaks when it strikes a target, but immediately kills them – if a creature could at all be killed by an arrow, it is killed by this arrow.

57 Necrotic Shield
A black wooden shield that projects necrotic energy when the face is touched. If a melee attack made against its wielder fails, the attacker takes 1 magic damage.

58 Ferryman's Obol
A coin of silver, used to pay one's way into the afterlife. Whoever possesses this obol (or any other like it) has +1 on all Saves vs Death.

59 Staff of Harming
A black wood staff with an amethyst at the end. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel energy through the staff or hand to harm living creatures within Close distance at the cost of losing the same amount of HP, 1-for-1. Undead creatures are healed instead.

60 Stone Armour
A set of armour made of stone, that counts as plate armour in all respects. Whoever wears it cannot be moved against their will by another creature, but can still fall, slip, etc.

61 Helmet of Clarity
A stone helmet that fortifies the wearer's mind against negative effects. They have Advantage on Saves vs mind-altering things such as stuns, sleep spells, quest spells, etc.

62 Clatter Cloak
A set of tiny ceramic plates linked to each other. It provides no armour, but the plates reduce all slashing damage to 1 – piercing goes between the plates, and crushing simply ignores the plates, which do nothing to slow the impact of an attack.

63 Stonehand Ring
A ring which transforms the hand it's on into living stone. It counts as a shield and is extremely resistant to damage – you can reach into acid, pick up burning objects, etc.

64 Amulet of Unweight
A heavy stone amulet that is lighter when worn, and on top of taking up no inventory slots if worn, actually makes it easier for its wearer to lift things, giving them +2 inventory slots.

65 Stunning Mace
A one-handed mace carved from a single stone. When its wielder make a successful attack, they can choose to forgo dealing damage to instead stun the enemy for a round.

66 Giant's Shortbow
An impossibly large bow, that cannot be fired by anyone without a STR of +1 or higher. It can be "charged" by drawing the bow further each round, each round spent charging multiplying the damage to a maximum of three times the damaged rolled.

67 Giant's Buckler
An impossibly large shield, that cannot be lifted by anyone without a STR of +1 or higher. If held, it allows the wearer to effectively ignore all attacks from a single target, as the shield blocks any approach they can make – but renders the bearer unable to attack them either.

68 Humming Hammer
An otherwise unremarkable hammer that hums with uncontrolled energy. When struck against stone, it will shatter it into dust, enough to destroy a small wall. It has no effect on metal, flesh, wood, dirt, and anything else other than stone. It recharges in an hour.

69 Staff of Crushing
A thin staff made of red stone. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel crushing strength through the staff or hand, dealing damage to a creature within Close distance based on their armour – 1 for no armour, 2 for leather, 3 for chain, and 4 for plate.

70 Hyperborean Parka
As long as this dark blue parka (which counts as leather armour) is worn, the wearer will never get cold. They could walk through absolute zero conditions unscathed.

71 Berserker's Helm
A blood-stained metal helmet with ceremonial horns. When worn, it empowers the wearer by overtaxing their muscles, granting them Advantage on all melee attacks and Strength tests, but dealing 1 damage to them each time they benefit from it.

72 Good King's Boots
A pair of warm, well-made boots. Whoever wears them will not tire from movement, no matter how difficult or long the journey is. They could run for a full day and feel nothing.

73 Stasis Ring
Once per day, this light blue, translucent ring allows you to freeze yourself or another creature within Close distance for a round. They can take no actions, but cannot be affected by anything either, until the round ends.

74 Snowflake Amulet
A silver amulet in the shape of a snowflake. Whoever wears it is immune to both the negative effects of cold – even absolute zero won't harm them – and the negative effects of cold weather and terrain such as falling snow, snow drifts, slippery ice, and blizzards.

75 Chilling Axe
A one-handed axe made of hardened ice. When it deals damage to a foe, it slows down their actions. Their next action, on that round or the next, is made after every other character acts, regardless of their initiative.

76 Bow of Frost
A bow of pale white wood, with a blue string. Arrows fired from it glow blue, and freeze up to a cubic metre of water when they land in it. Enemies that are weak to frost, including those that aren't but are wet, take double damage from attacks made with it.

77 Crystal Shield
A shield of crystalline ice, slightly translucent. When a melee damage roll made against its bearer rolls maximum damage, crystal shards explode from it and deal D6 damage back.

78 Vapour Orb
A blue orb that can be held in one hand. At a thought, someone touching it can turn on and off its ability, which is to chill the air around it to its freezing point, filling a room-sized area with murky vapour that leaves a layer of frost on everything it touches.

79 Winter's Rod
A white wood staff that ends in a blue crystal. If the wielder has a free hand, they can project frost from the staff or hand to chill objects within Close distance at will – they can put out small fires, freeze cold or temperate water, etc.

80 Floating Mail
A suit of chainmail made from gravity resistant material. It counts as chain for the purposes of armour and leather for the purposes of encumbrance. When someone wearing it falls, they count as having fallen half as far for the purposes of damage.

81 Wafer Helm
A simple helmet made of a paper thin metal that is even stronger than the metal used in most helmets. It counts as a helmet but takes up no inventory slots.

82 Cloak of Invisibility
A cloak that, when worn, turns it and all beneath it invisible. If not worn by a living being, it has no effect, but can easily cover a large person in heavy armour, or a few small people.

83 Breeze Ring
An iron ring with a tiny sapphire embedded in it. It allows the wearer to perform weak acts of telekinesis up to Close distance away so long as they move the hand in question, such as turning pages, slowly moving keys and coins, and disturbing water and dust.

84 Amulet of Silence
A silver amulet that, when worn, renders the user completely silent. Any noise made by them or an item they carry is completely nullified, with the sole exception of their voice.

85 Sky God's Spear
A brass two-handed spear that seems longer than it looks. It can be used to make melee attacks up to Far distance away, rather than just Reach.

86 Swapping Handbow/Pistol
A one-handed crossbow (or pistol in early modern games) which swaps whoever fired it with living creatures they hit. If an attack lands, the attacker and defender swap places.

87 Returning Shield
A light metal shield which can be easily thrown. In addition to dealing +1 damage when thrown, its wielder can immediately draw the shield back to their hand after a throw. This takes almost no effort but if they don't do so right away they are unable to later.

88 Umbrella of Falling
A collapsible black umbrella. If held by someone while falling, they will float slowly instead of fall, reaching the ground in a quarter of the time and taking no damage when they do.

89 Staff of Blinking
A thin staff of silver. If pointed with both hands at a nearby location, the wielder can instantaneously teleport up to Close distance away.

90 Charged Mail
A set of chainmail armour which causes static shocks each time it is touched. When worn it keeps the wearer's mind on edge, making them impossible to surprise.

91 Helmet of the Storm
A brass helmet with an iron cloud and brass lightning bolts above it. In addition to counting as a helmet, once per day, it allows the wearer to fire a bolt of lightning at a creature within Close distance. It always hits and deals D6 damage, 2D6 if the target is wet or wearing metal armour, 3D6 if the target is both wet and wearing metal armour.

92 Boots of Speed
A pair of leather boots with small silver wings on each side. Whoever wears them can run twice as fast as they normally would, and for the same amount of effort.

93 Zap Ring
A gold, jagged ring. It allows the wearer to zap things with electricity up to Reach distance away, dealing 1 guaranteed damage, 2 if the target is wet/wearing metal, 3 if they're both.

94 Wanderer's Amulet
A wooden amulet in the shape of a man with a staff and wide-brimmed hat. Whoever wears it is immune to the effects of the weather, be it heat, cold, rain, or stranger things, but not non-weather sources of these (such as the heat of fire or wetness of a river).

95 Flurry Sword
A towering two-handed sword. When the blade kills a foe, energy crackles and it fills it wielder with vigour, allowing them to make another attack in the same round.

96 Electric Whip
A metal rod that cracks lightning through the air when swung. It acts as a whip (D4/D6-1 damage, 1 hand, Reach), except instead of Reach, the lightning has Close distance range.

97 Lightningrod Shield
A thin metal shield that can draw attacks made against creatures adjacent to the wearer to the wearer instead, once per round. They must decide to draw the attack before it is rolled.

98 Rain Idol
A small stone idol of an ancient god of rain. Once per day, someone can pray in front of it for a minute to move the local weather one step up or down this chain: Clear, Cloudy, Raining, Thundering, Storming.

99 Staff of Forked Lightning
A staff made of lightning-charred wood. If the wielder has a free hand, they can channel energy through the staff and hand to make two ranged attacks in a round against two separate creatures within Near distance, dealing D4 or D6-1 shock damage on a hit.