Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Savage Worlds Mass Effect: Gear

Most Savage Worlds Mass Effect gear is similar to modern and futuristic gear in the Savage Worlds Explorer's Edition, pages 48-56. Many things function differently, but have similar statistics.

Omni-tools are, at the very low end, the world’s best smart phone. With extranet access when near a node, the extent of what can be considered “common knowledge” is pretty vast. Civilian models include the ability to function as a flashlight, scanning system, dispense medi-gel (when provided a source), basic programming, hacking, video and audio recording and communication, and, of course, video games, movies, and music. Civilian omni-tools lack any significant minifacturing capabilities. A civilian omni-tool has 5 power points for its powers, which recharge at 1 per minute. They cost 100 credits.

Military and top-end commercial omni-tools are more robust, especially in the minifacturing capabilities, allowing the 
breaking of items into “omni-gel”, and creating items from the same. With finer control and fewer safeguards, these omni-tools allow the use of various “tech powers”, making use of mass effect fields, onboard VI, and available materials (including an on-board supply of omni-gel). Military omni-tools cost a minimum of 200 credits, will have 10 power points, and usually have a recharge of 1 point per minute. Additional power point capacity will cost about 20 credits each, with a maximum of 30 points, total. Upgrading recharge rates to 3 points every 2 minutes costs an additional 100 credits. Omni-tools may be optimized to provide a bonus to using specific powers at a cost of 100 per +1 to the Tech skill granted; no bonus can exceed +2, and an omni-tool may have no more than 2 such bonuses.

Anyone with the Tech skill may use their omni-tool for basic tasks, including the Healing power (if they have a supply of medi-gel; military models can use Healing on non-organics by dispensing omni-gel) and the Speak Language power. Those with the Tech Arcane Background may use an omni-tool for any of their powers. 

Most guns in the area we're playing (between ME1 and ME2) have the old-style, ME1 integral heat sinks. This gives them tremendous longevity, but also means they will shut down if over-fired, going into emergency cooling.
Each shot fired adds 1 to a weapon’s heat load; at the end of each round, subtract 1 from the current heat load. Should a weapon reach its full heat load (indicated by the number of shots), it will shut down for three full rounds as sheds heat; after those three rounds, it will have reset to 0 heat. Shutdown is very common with sniper rifles. Weapons with integral heat sinks weigh the standard amount.

Newer-style weapons, with disposable heat sinks (also called thermal clips), are becoming more available, especially in the military markets. These weapons shed their heat sinks upon reaching maximum capacity, allowing them to be reloaded (a non-roll action) and fired much more quickly. They are, however, limited by the number of heat sinks carried; without a heat sink, the weapon will not fire. Over-riding this will cause extensive damage to the weapon. This is partially a security feature; controlling the availability of heat-sinks reduces the value of military weapons to the black market.  It also reduces weight; weapons with disposable heat sinks weigh 1 pound less than normal. Omni-tool minifacturing is not capable of creating heat sinks out of omni-gel.

Standard civilian firearms are equal to a Glock 9mm. These are popular weapons, able to overcome some armor and with a good rate of sustained fire; with old-style heat sinks, they can double-tap for 17 rounds before overheating. They have relatively low damage, however. There are few civilian-accessible longarms, though settlers and outlying colonies may the equivalent of M1 or Winchester '76s, or the rare double-barrel or pump action shotguns. Civilian firearms almost always have the old-style integral heat sinks.

Military and security sidearms tend to resemble the Colt 1911 and Desert Eagle, and are about 50/50 on integral or disposable heat sinks. While the military might prefer for everyone to be on the thermal clip system, a lot of people are attached to old handguns, and their relatively low use in the field makes it less of a priority.

Military-grade shotguns tend to resemble Streetsweepers, and though by design favor the integral heat sink, tend to be loaded with the disposable heat sinks to reduce their value if stolen.
Military Rifles tend to be automatic rifles, with those resembling the M-16 or Steyr AUG being the most popular with many Systems Alliance Militaries due to their three round burst ability, but some manufacturers prefer the higher-damaging designs that resemble AK-47s.
Older Sniper Weapons are similar to the Sharps Big 50, with the attendant heating problems. Newer Sniper weapons will use the Barrett .50 stats, but rarely have integral heat-sinks. Older sniper weapons are starting to find their way onto the civilian market, though at twice the cost (800 credits).
Machine pistols are a new class of weapon available to military markets, resembling the various types of submachine guns on page 54 of Savage Worlds. These all use the new-style heat sinks; old-style heat sinks for these were not  manufactured, and so will require significant design work (A Knowledge (Tech or Weaponsmithing) roll).

Switching a weapon from integral to disposable heat sinks, or vice versa, is possible with a Repair roll, but reduces the number of shots by half (or not, on a Raise). It requires a weapon of the correct class with the desired kind of heat sink to be disassembled, or imposes a -2 on the roll (in addition to any penalties for lack of proper tools).

Disposable heat sinks for thermal clips cost 25 credits per heat sink. They're completely interchangeable, and if switched between weapons, will have a pro-rated amount of shots remaining, depending on the weapon originally used. Disposable heat sinks (thermal clips) weigh only 1/10th of a pound; they're about the size of a cigarette lighter.

Melee Weapons
It is rare to carry a purpose-built melee weapon; the advice to never bring a knife to a gunfight is well taken when most fights are gunfights. Military-grade omnitools can use their on-board minifacturing to create omni-blades. On a success, the omni-blade is equal to a dagger. On a raise, it's equal to a Molecular knife. Creating an omni-blade requires a Tech check and an action. Those with the Smite power can empower them as part of creation; this requires a separate Tech check, but without the multi-action penalty.

There are rarer (and expensive) melee weapons. Many will have Smite powers built in, though those cost 10 times the cost of a comparable medieval, modern, or futuristic weapons. The only exceptions are the Bangstick and the laser sword; there're no real equivalents in Mass Effect.

Heavy Weapons and Explosives
There are many and expensive heavy weapons in the Mass Effect universe. Beam weapons are uncommon at a personal scale, though the Laser Machinegun is available to military purchasers. Likewise available are equivalents to Bazookas, Mines, and Flamethrowers. All are unavailable in civilian markets; on the black market, they command impressive prices.

Grenades are slightly more available, though not cheap. Standard grenades (equivalent to the Mk67) cost 25 credits each when available; they might cost much more, depending on the market. Some grenades are available with the equivalent of the Smite power and associated elemental trappings (including Acid, Cold, Electricity, Fire, Sound and Mass Effect trappings); these are at least 100 credits each, and are even rarer.

There are four categories of armor in the Mass Effect universe; civilian, light, medium and heavy. Most light, medium, and heavy also have built-in shield generators. Civilian armor can mount a shield generator, but it's rarer and more expensive. Armor also is tailored to race; humans, batarians, drell, and asari share armor with minimal modification. Salarian armor is designed for their very small frames, but can be worn by some humans, drell, and asari. Turians, Krogans, and Elcor all have unique armor to fit their physiologies. Quarian armor is designed to incorporate their environmental suits, but the armor bonus from their environmental suit is superseded by any worn armor. Hanar are unable to wear armor.

Civilian armor is not freely available, but is relatively common and easy to acquire legally or semi-legally. In most cases, civilian armor is a simple bodysuit of advanced polymers. It functions much like a kevlar vest (+2 armor v. melee attacks, +4 armor v. bullets, and negating 4 points of AP from bullets, with a cost of 250 credits), but covers the entire body (including a head sock, if you wish to wear it).  The bullet-specific protection has problems against more advanced combatants; damage from tech or biotic powers is resisted at the lower level, and the AP reduction doesn't apply to AP granted from trappings. They also provide a +2 against environmental hazards (heat and cold), though not against heat and cold-based attacks, nor any protection against vacuum. A fully sealed version, with nominal life support for three hours in vacuum, is available for 500 credits (and is equivalent to quarian environmental suits).

Light suits are essentially the same as civilian suits, with the addition of some plating on the chest and limbs. Light Armor has a +6 armor bonus and weighs about 10 pounds. They require a d6 strength to wear effectively.  
Medium suits use heavier plating than light suits, but compensate with an exoskeleton to help with the weight. Medium Suits have a +8 armor bonus and weigh about 20 pounds when worn (efficient weight distribution and light exoskeletons); when not, they weigh about 50 pounds. 
Heavy armor is a full plate suit, with a significant exoskeleton and articulated joints. Some models boast weapon mounts, or mass effect generators allowing basic flight (as the Fly power). Heavy suits only weigh 20 pounds when worn, but they have a +10 armor bonus and increase the strength die by 1 type. They weigh about 100 pounds when powered down. Medium and Heavy suits require a d8 strength to wear effectively. All military suits have an integral HUD system that adds +1 to Shooting rolls. They are also fully sealed, providing +4 against environmental hazards and provide air, heating and cooling for up to six hours.

Shield systems are the equivalent of the Armor power. These can be activated with a Tech skill check, but this does not require an action. However, activated shields will remain on until deactivated or they run out of power points; to conserve power, experienced users will frequently take cover and cycle the shields; briefly bringing them down and then renewing them. This requires an action and a Tech check, but gives them 3 rounds for 2 power points, instead of the 1 additional round per power point that maintaining shields does. Shield generators cost 100 credits per power point, with a minimum of 200 credits. As with most devices, they recharge 1 power point per minute, but can be upgraded to 3 points every 2 minutes for 100 credits. Easy-to-use systems (with some VI support) can be had, adding +1 or +2 to the Tech roll to activate for 100 or 200 credits more, respectively. Standard Systems Alliance issue armor includes shields with a 10 point capacity and a +1 on shield activation; other Citadel races are similar. Some special units may have higher capacities, better recharge times, or a +2 shield activation.

Bio-amps are small power supplies that are designed to interface with a biotic's implants, providing additional power to their systems. Very small, they are concentrated and expensive power supplies, but invaluable to biotics who use their powers often.

Basic amps cost 50 credits per point of power capacity, and replenish at the rate of 1 per minute. Amps with up to 10 point capacities are available on the open market, as are fast-charging amps that recharge 3 points every 2 minutes (this capability costs another 200 credits). Those amps with more than 10 points require special permits in Citadel space, and cost 75 credits per point above 10 (and the 500 credits for the first 10). Many biotics will carry cheaper power point batteries (20 credits per point, with a 30 point maximum), though these require 3 rounds to set up, and a Tech check transfer power. During the power transfer, the character is -2 to parry, pace, and any physical skill checks. Bio-amps can also be optimized to work with certain powers; this costs 150 credits per +1 to the Biotics skill granted; the amp can only have bonuses to two skills, and no bonus may be larger than +2. 

Medi-gel is a multipurpose anaesthetic, clotting and sealing agent that can be used to rapidly heal wounds. When applied with an omni-tool, it allows the use of the Healing power, or Greater Healing if the medic has that power available (some advanced medical equipment has the Greater Healing power; such devices are expensive and usually quite large). Someone with the Healing skill using medi-gel adds +2 to their Healing check, or +4 if able to apply with the Healing Power. Medigel is fairly reasonably priced at 20 credits per dose; cheap enough that many people carry one or two doses in their omni-tool.

Omni-gel is a suspension of micro-spheres of plastics, ceramics, and light alloys in a viscous carbon-silicon lubricant. Civilian-grade 3D printers, and military-grade omni-tools, can use omni-gel to create simple, durable goods; more advanced printers can create objects with multiple moving parts. Omni-gel is frequently use to perform field-expedient repairs on materiel; while not as good as bring the item in for real repairs, omni-gel patches can keep a piece of hardware working for a long time.
Breaking an item into omni-gel is not necessarily the most economical way to carry it; it's worth far more as a completed item than as raw gel. Furthermore, a lot of objects cannot be broken into omni-gel; it does not work on most structural materials (i.e. buildings, starships, the frames of vehicles), and a lot of security features (locks, etc.).
In general, 1 unit of omni-gel is received per pound of item dismantled, and breaking an item into omni-gel requires a device capable of doing so (such as a military-grade omni-tool), a Tech or Repair check and 1 minute per pound. With a raise, 2 unit are received. Most items will leave a sizable waste pile once the components of omni-gel are extracted. Items created solely out of omni-gel can be recycled without loss; if you use 5 units to create an omni-blade, you can recycle those 5 units back into your system. Each unit weighs a bit more than 3 ounces, so there are 5 units in a pound. When minifacturing, you must have enough units to create the whole item (thus the preference for small weapons when creating omni-blades).
Old-style electronics and computers can be hacked effectively with omni-gel, using the gel to create a new network through which an omni-tool can work. These are rapidly being phased out as the new security upgrades go on-line, but if an older computer is encountered, each unit of omni-gel adds +1 to the Repair, Investigation, Lockpicking or Tech roll to bypass the device.
Omni-gel is available for purchase at 5 credits per unit (25 credits per pound).