As part of converting the Iron God’s Adventure Path from 3.5 to 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons I have to also convert the weapons and other future tech items in the game. I also need to redo them because thematically it doesn’t fit my game world. In my revision the ship that crashed was a Rogue Trader after running afoul of a Illithid Fortress Ship so the technology has to be much more gritty and gothic. I’ll be posting individual conversions and new items as we work through the adventure path. As of today my party is in Scrapwall with a scrapworth of 6 so they are close to taking on the Lord’s of Rust directly.
I also changed a few things from the original adventure because I think their are far too many different items of little use in the game and, to be honest, are a little dull. I also don’t like the engineering skill and how it is used to identify items. Instead I use the guidelines in the DMG “Figuring out Alien Technology” and allow characters to either add their intelligence bonus to the roll or their cybertheurgy skill. This fits the roots of the adventure much better in my opinion as its very similar to the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. So far the characters have only broken one piece of equipment – the combat helmet.
Cybertheurgy replaces the original engineering skill, which again, sounds too scientific for a Thundarr the Barbarian type setting. In part 1 I am just looking at general properties of technology items. In part 2 I will focus on generic properties of weapons.
GENERAL PROPERTIES OF TECH ITEMS
Most of the technological wonders presented here require energy to function. These items each have a capacity score, which indicates the maximum number of charges the item can store at any one time. The number of charges an item consumes when it is used varies from item to item.
An item’s capacity can be filled from any power source— like a battery or a generator—as an action. When an item is charged, it always takes as many charges from the attached power source as it can hold, filling as close to its capacity as possible. Note that charging an item from a generator is more efficient, as any charges drained from a battery in excess of the number of charges an item can store are lost.
The equipment presented in here is described in full working condition and priced as such. While a high-technology setting may have many fully functional technological devices in it, that isn’t the case in Nimmeria.
Equipment that has been damaged or degraded over time works less consistently and is worth less money than new technological items. Such equipment is called “timeworn”.
Between languishing in forgotten ruins open to the elements, being used by those ignorant of the nature of this technology, and having no one skilled at building, maintaining, or repairing such devices, most technological items are “timeworn”—damaged and malfunctioning (when not completely nonfunctional). These malfunctions manifest in two ways: limited charges and glitches.
A timeworn technological item that is still somewhat functioning is worth half of its normal listed price, though one drained of its charges is worth 1% of its normal value, as a curiosity to collectors. Timeworn technology also has the following properties.
Timeworn. Timeworn technological items can’t be recharged. The item may also glitch when used after a long period of inactivity, when it uses its last charge or when a natural 1 is rolled in a situation where the item is used (tools and weapons most commonly).
This entry usually only affects weapons and tools. This lists whether the weapon is simple, martial, or exotic. If an existing weapon proficiency allows the new weapon’s use, that weapon proficiency is listed in parentheses. Note that Exotic Weapon Proficiency (heavy weaponry) works similarly to Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms) in that it allows access to a wide range of similar weapons. The areas of broad proficiency:
- Small Guns: The use, care and general knowledge of small firearms. Pistols, SMGs, and rifles.
- Big Guns: The operation and maintenance of really big guns. Miniguns, Rocket Launchers, Flamethrowers and such.
- Energy Weapons: The care and feeding of energy-based weapons. How to arm and operate weapon that use laser or plasma technology.
A character may gain proficiency in any specific class of weapons by spending downtime of at least two weeks and expending quadruple the ammunition the item requires at full load. Without proficiency normal rules apply – i.e. the character can still use the item but may not add their proficiency bonus.
Figuring It Out
When adventurers find a piece of technology that isn’t from their world or time period, the players might understand what the object is, but the characters rarely will. To simulate a character’s ignorance about the technology, have the character make a series of Intelligence checks to figure it out.
To determine how the technology works, a character must succeed on a number of Intelligence checks based on the complexity of the item: two successes for a simple item (such as a cigarette lighter, calculator, or revolver) and four successes for a complex item (such a a computer, chainsaw, or hovercraft). Then consult the Figuring Out Alien Technology table. Consider making the item break if a character fails four or more times before taking a long rest.
A character who has seen an item used or has operated a similar item has advantage on Intelligence checks made to figure out its use. The cybertheurgy skill grants a bonus to the roll equal to the skill points.
Art credit for banner: Headwires by NicolasRGiacondino
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