Saturday, November 9, 2019

Powers as Tech Devices

So, I worked up the basic outline of using Savage Worlds: Adventure Edition for Mass Effect but, while I was working on it, I realized that a LOT of powers might exist as Tech devices, and that I don't have much in the way of clear guidelines as to what would work that way, or how much it would cost.

While these devices all list a cost, that alone is not sufficient to power the device; they also need supplies of Power Points, and most will have a built-in charger to regain power points.  Smaller power supplies run about 20 credits per power point, and standard rechargers cost 50, and recharge at a rate of 1 point per minute. Rapid chargers, which recharge at 3 points every 2 minutes, cost an additional 100 credits. Such power supplies weigh about 1 pound per 10 power points, with rapid chargers only adding a negligible amount to the weight. Cybernetic power supplies (ones designed to be integrated into a body) are about 50 credits per power point, but add nothing to encumbrance. Cybernetic power supplies are frequently regulated. Power point pools do not recharge while devices are in use; some devices will have several pools built in, both for redundancy and for endurance.

In addition, expert systems can be acquired, letting powers be activated more easily. +1 on the Tech roll will require an additional 100 credits; +2 will require 200 credits. Higher-end, fool-proof systems (i.e. adding a +3 or more), require a fair bit more space and processing, and add 200 credits per plus to the cost (so a +3 on the activation roll is 600 credits), and an additional pound per plus. Conversely, some systems are finicky, and can be "shorted", as described on page 151. Such devices inflict a penalty on the activation roll, but can reduce the power point cost of any power modifiers (not the base power, itself). These can be paired with an expert system; a Damage Field power might be shorted 1 or 2 points to allow for a cheaper increase in damage, but with expert systems reducing some of the penalty. Failures with these devices are always critical failures!

Many powers have a range based on Smarts; for devices, consider that a d6. Devices that only function at touch range receive a +1 to their activation roll. Many powers have set durations; devices can be set to deduct power to maintain them without action, though with the attendant 1 Power Point per additional duration.

Power List
Unless otherwise noted, all power-replicating devices rely on Tech, Electronics, or Common Knowledge skill checks. Some devices are more properly 

Barrier: While shields are common, they're not the only use of the Barrier power. Very common are stationary light-walls, erected to provide temporary cover or containment. Larger systems weigh in at about 10 pounds, plus power supplies. Generally, the Barrier Power requires 500 credits per power point in activation to create a full-size barrier; 5" (10 yards) long and 1" (2 yards) high. Many Barrier systems will make use of multiple, redundant, power supplies, allowing for serial activation.
Much larger and more expensive are those Barrier systems which function as Heavy Armor. They are not practical as personal shields, generally running 200-400 pounds, if not more. These are built into ships and installations.

Blast: Blast weapons are most often experimental; standard mass-effect based firearms are fairly effective, but cryogenic, thermobaric, electrostatic, and corrosive weapons of all sorts might be found. Most weapons are 300 credits per power point of activation, if they reach the production stage; prototypes, of course, may cost a lot more. Many will build in Armor Piercing and/or Heavy Weapon capability, as the power modifiers; these, of course, increase the cost of the weapon. Blast devices will often use Shooting in lieu of Tech.

Blind: Blind is a relatively simple hack that takes advantage of the similarity of most optical sensor protocols. Blinding devices are heavily regulated (since there's seldom a legal reason to want to evade notice by sensors), and start at 500 credits for a basic system, with power modifiers generally adding another 100 per point; selective fire, friend-or-foe systems are common on Alliance tech units, especially since a successful blind will remove many of a suit's sensors, and the Shooting bonus from the HUD. Blind devices may be activated with Hacking or Tech.

Bolt: Bolt weapons are fairly common, single-fire, directed weapons. As with Blast weapons, there are often trappings and associated power modifiers; not uncommon being the Heavy Weapon and Armor Piercing modifiers. Bolters begin around 100 credits per power point of activation. Bolt devices often activate with Shooting.

Burst: Burst weapons create a cone of hurt in front of them. Unlike Bolt and Blast weapons, these are less often Heavy weapons, focusing on hurting a lot of people, rather than destroying materiel. They do, however, frequently make use of the Push Mass Effect modifier. Production models are 200 credits per power point. Burst devices often activate with Shooting.

Confusion: Another hacking trick to use against non-organics like drones, vehicles, and geth, Confusion introduces conflicting commands and processing delays. Attended devices (such as ships and vehicles) can substitute an operator's Hacking skill, but drones and geth are dependent upon their Smarts roll to resist the intrusion. Confusion devices are often 500 credits, with modifiers adding 150 per power point. Like Blinding devices, these are often paired with friend-or-foe systems, and may be activated with Hacking.

Damage Field: Regarded as something of a dangerous option, Damage Fields are commonly activated with shields for skirmishers, such as the Alliance's infamous Vanguards. Many Vanguards make use of biotics, of course, but similar devices, using mass effect fields to Push their targets, begin at 2000 credits, plus another 300 credits per point of power modifier.

Deflection: As noted in the power description, deflection devices work on several different principles, from illusions to subtle gravitational wiggles. Personal-level systems usually use some degree of projected image, while ship-scale devices combine sensor chaff and mass effect fields to throw off aim. Those same personal level-systems begin at 150 credits, and so are a little cheaper than true Shields; however, they don't remain active, like shields do. Power modifiers that increase the cost of the Deflection power are 75 credits per point; a Hurry effect, leveraging the gravitational deflection to aid movement, is fairly common.

Dispel: "Dispel" forces a device into hard shutdown mode. Devices capable of this begin around 1000 credits, with power modifiers adding another 500 credits each. Dispel devices can often be activated with Hacking or Electronics, or with Tech.

Drain Power Points: Devices allowing Drain Power Points are simple, in theory; access the batteries of the device in question, spoof the power protocols, and direct the device to vent power. With a bit of luck and preparation, the power can even be directed to the device which stole them. These devices, though they can be useful, are relatively uncommon... power supplies are cheap and easily available, and so draining a few power points from a device is seldom crippling. These devices begin at 300 credits, with power modifiers adding another 100 credits per point. Drain Power Points is activated with Hacking, Electronics, or Tech.

Environmental Protection: While armor and environmental suits are relatively common, devices with Environmental Protection can provide additional defense in extreme environments, or form-fitting defense at relatively low weight; with a bathyscape adapter, for example, normal heavy armor can function deep into oceans, and unarmored characters can swim without bulky scuba gear. Devices such as this are usually around 200 credits per hazard protected against, though they can get expensive; a truly comprehensive space suit made up of such devices would require protection from Vacuum, Heat, Cold, and Radiation; at 800 credits, plus power supplies, there's little wonder most prefer to just buy a 500 credit environmental suit.

Fly: Though somewhat expensive, Flying harnesses are incredibly popular. The technology has a broad user base, as Hanar require them to move through most worlds, but is still relatively expensive; 1000 credits for a basic fight harness, plus 300 for each additional power point in power modifiers; Hurry is particularly popular, unsurprisingly. Fly is activated with Pilot.

Havoc: A simple device that projects a mass effect field, fling objects and individuals about. They are usually 150 credits per power point of activation cost. The device is created as either a Cone template or Medium Blast projector; selective fire between the two requires an additional 100 credits. Havoc projectors frequently activate with Shooting.

Healing: Healing via application of medi-gel is built into all but the cheapest Omni-tools, and tech Healing via the application of omni-gel is built into most omni-tools with significant minifacturing capabilities. Omni-tool applications can be standard healing, or use Neutralize Poison or Disease power modifier; these can be activated with Common Knowledge or Healing skills. Devices that make use of the Greater Healing or Crippling Injuries power modifiers are massive; several hundred pounds, and often able to fit an entire body inside. These facilities run 10,000 to 50,000.

Illusion: Programable holograms are a relatively simple tech, with dedicated tools having libraries of relevant images, and often the capability of scanning in new ones; just tell your projector what you want it to do, and it will build an image from its library. These devices are 100 credits per power point used in activation; you don't HAVE to program sound in to every illusion, but if you can, you need at least a 400 credit device, with enough power. Illusion devices are most often run via Electronics, Hacking, or Tech, but some are optimized to work via Performance.

Invisibility: The fabled Alliance Infiltrators make frequent use of Invisibility devices built into their armor. They begin at 500 credits, and require an additional 100 credits per additional power point.

Mind Reading: A hacking short-cut, Mind Reading from devices only functions on devices, so far, no matter what the vids say. It is, essentially, an involuntary download of information, frequently used to grab passwords allowing a more thorough plundering of data stores. Devices allowing Mind Reading begin at 300 credits, requiring an additional 100 credits per power point. When used against devices without an explicit Smarts attribute, simple success and raise rules apply. Mind Reading can be activated with Hacking.

Mind Wipe: Mind Wipe is file deletion as an offense; not simply logging in and removing the information, but targeting it in a closed system and prying it out, anyway. Devices capable of mind wipe are at least 600 credits, with another 200 credits per point of power modifier. When used against devices without an explicit Smarts attribute, simple success and raise rules apply. Mind Wipe devices can be activated with Hacking.

Protection: Protection devices might have been more common, had shields not been so ubiquitous. Alliance Sentinels are known for their use of the power, and some Vanguards make use of powerful Toughness-increasing protections (though those are often biotic).  At 100 credits per power point of activation, they're less cost-effective than armor. Still, they are popular personal protective devices for situations where armor would be impolitic; while shields are de rigeur, many like the additional layer of protection.

Puppet: Popularized in battles with Geth and Drones, Tech Puppet devices are nonetheless incredibly difficult to program; they begin at 1000 credits, and require an additional 300 per point of power modifier. The devices can be activated with Hacking, as well as Tech.

Relief: Usually not programmed into omni-tools due to fears of abuse (How long CAN you put off sleep?), Relief is nonetheless a popular add-on, requiring only 50 credits, and 50 more per point of power modifier. Relief does require the presence of medi-gel, but does not consume any; the amount used is miniscule.

Smite: Smite is most often built into a weapon, increasing its damage and adding some special effect. Like most powers installed in devices, Smite can be continued beyond its duration as a matter of course; switch it on at the beginning of combat, and switch it off afterwards (unless you run out of power before then). Smite costs 100 credits to install on a weapon, with an additional 50 credits for any additional special effects. It can be activated with a Shooting or Fighting check, depending on the weapon, and is most often only applied to a single weapon, a range decrease which allow for a +1 to the activation roll.

Sound/Silence: Sound is not really a power that gets used; there's far too many ways to generate a sound without dipping into esoteric technology. Silence, however, is a powerful weapon in espionage, allowing spies to move unheard, and unseen with applied Invisibility. Silencing devices start at around 100 credits, with and additional 100 credits per additional power point; very common is Mobile, of course, allowing the soundlessness to travel with the individual.

Speak Language: Most omni-tools have built-in, seamless, translators for a variety of known languages; most common languages, thus, need no access to the Speak Language power. However, more powerful and specialized devices are needed to translate languages outside the standard software. These powerful language computers often link to external databases, providing a holographic or auditory translation of what is said or written. Such devices are about 200 credits, with an additional 50 credits for per power point spent in power modifications.

Stun: Stun Guns and stun grenades are common tools for crowd controls; while a krogan may shrug off a single stun grenade, four or five will often slow him down. As single-use items (grenades), Stun starts at 50 credits, plus 10 credits per additional power point; a Large Blast Template Stun Grenade is a mere 80 credits. A Stun gun, that will recharge and fire repeatedly, begins at 100 credits, plus 25 per additional power point; for +2 power points/50 credits, it can be made into a "Stun Broom", which uses a Cone template.

Summon Ally: Depending who is talking and the context, a "drone" might refer to two different things. In some cases, they are the holographic drones summoned by Tech specialists; in others, they are mechanical constructs, piloted by VIs. The Drones of the Summon Ally power are of the first type. When constructed as devices, they are either small, single-use balls which can be activated and tossed in the air, creating a holographic sheath around themselves. Others are controlled and projected from devices worn or carried by their operators. The disposable type require 100 credits per power point spent in activation; at least 200 credits, plus power supplies. Disposable drones that are collected can be refurbished for half their base cost with a successful Repair or Tech check,  recharged, and used again.
Reusable holographic drones begin at 500 credits for a Novice drone, 1000 for Seasoned, 2000 for Veteran, and 10,000 for Heroic drones, with each additional power point of activation costing another 200. Each reusable drone requires its own VI, and so each must be purchased separately, with all of its options pre-selected; you cannot purchase a Drone projector and a lot of power points to create 30 drones; you must purchase a separate projector for each drone you wish to use, and create the same drone each time. Resuable holographic drones that are destroyed simply dissipate.
The mechanical drones are comparable to the holographic drones; however, they are not a power, but rather a purchasable Extra. They begin at 2000 credits for Novice, 4000 for Seasoned, 10,000 for Veteran, and 20,000 for Sentinels, with additional features from the power requiring an additional 1000 per point. However, mechanical drones add another 4 points of Armor.

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