Making the Damn Thing in Tales of Justice | World Anvil

Making the Damn Thing

Does the character have Gadgetry? If yes, proceed through the Five-Step Process below. If not, experience Tough Noogies, then go find a Gadgeteer.


1. __Design the Gadget, and decide whether or not it can be Taken Away in combat__
Make a list of all the Powers, Skills, and Attributes (at what APs, with or without Power Bonuses and Limitations, all that) the Gadget will have. This is a lot like creating a character sheet; the Gadget can even have certain Advantages and Drawbacks.


Well, it can't have Public Identity or Dark Secret, for example. But a Gadget could have Area Knowledge (Boston) if it's a Garmin-like mapping device, or Loss Vulnerability (microwaves, all) if it's a really crappy Garmin knockoff. Gadgets often wind up with the Miscellaneous Drawback: "Must stop to refuel every XX APs of {distance traveled/total time used/total shots fired}".


The Drawback "Can only be used by the person it was designed for" is too Mary Suish for our campaign, and will be treated as if it reads, "Causes Sparkliness: Reduces user's defenses by 18 Column Shifts against all attacks". Even supervillain Gadgeteers like Luthor and Doom cannot make a device that it's impossible for anyone else to figure out and use.


Anyway, note that the Gadget must have a Body -- other Attributes are dependent on what the Gadget actually does -- and it may have a Gadgets-only Attribute of "AV", "EV", "OV", or "RV". Or any of the four. If the __Attribute__ can be substituted for the user's Attribute on a die roll, that Attribute's name should be italicized in the Gadget description, and it will cost more. If you are writing this by hand, feel free to either underline the "italicized" Attribute, or bracket it with doubled slashies:

Hydraulic Arm {Body: 3, //Str: 5//}

Lastly, determine whether this is a Gadget that can be Taken Away in combat, or a GADGET that cannot be Taken Away in combat. Guns can be taken away, HELICOPTERS generally cannot.


2. __Allow the GMs to look over the Gadget design, and approve/veto/return with changes__
This is the time for fun notes such as, "Why does this device have the Power 'Telekinesis: 9 (Limitation: only works on forks)'?"


This is also the time when the GMs determine whether invention of this device would require the Gadgeteer to have the Genius advantage.


3. __Calculate Hero Point Cost__
Aaaand here we go....


Start by calculating the points of everything on the Gadget's "character sheet" as if it were an actual character. This is done at Starting Character levels, thank Smurf, and not in-play levels.


Oh, but wait!
Did you decide to use a Reliability Number? That changes the Factor Cost for __every Power, Skill, and Attribute__:
R# 0 = + 3 Factor Cost
R# 1 = inconceivable!
R# 2 = + 2 Factor Cost
R# 3 = + 1 Factor Cost
R# 4 = not an option
R# 5 = 0 change to Factor Cost
R# 6 = also not an option
R# 7 = -1 Factor Cost
R# 8 = there is no R#8
R# 9 = -2 Factor Cost
R# 10= They just didn't want to use even numbers in this chart.
R# 11= -3 Factor Cost
R# 12+ are all in the realm of "your crap don't work, start over"


If the Gadget has any italicized Attributes (see above), add +2 to the Factor Cost of that particular Attribute.
If the Gadget has Hardened Defenses (see above), add +2 to the Factor Cost of the Body Attribute.
The Gadget-only Attributes (AV, EV, OV, and RV) have a Base Cost of 5 and a Factor Cost starting at 1, but that's modified by the Reliability Number.


Also, the Gadget's Abilities can be dependent upon the user's Attributes. Jennie may, however, get downright cranky with any Gadget design that calls for this. The Green Lantern Rings are dependent on the user's Will Attribute, and the rules for figuring this cost out are a pain in the keister. If a PC is determined to do this sort of thing, there better be one hell of a GM bribe included in Step 2. We're not talking about chocolate, we're talking about "24 consecutive hours of attentive tabby duty". Or "Reed's Apple Ginger Brew: A twelve-pack".


Once all that is done:
It's a Gadget! It isn't sentient! Divide the total Hero Point cost by 4 if the Gadget can be Taken Away in combat, or by 2 if the Gadget cannot be Taken Away in combat. The Rule of Maximum Drek applies: round fractions up to the nearest whole number of Hero Points.


Write that final number down on the Gadget's "character sheet". Don't subtract it from the Gadgeteer's HP total yet. Don't lose these notes, either! You might need them for making more, or repairs, or something. This sheet is now your Gadget Design blueprint.


4. __Buy Parts__
This is a normal Wealth Check: Each PC gets one of these per in-game week, and if it hasn't already been spent on monthly living expenses or emergency travel expenses or informant payoffs, it can be used for buying parts.


Start with the highest AP rating of any one Ability (Power, Skill, or Attribute) that the Gadget has. Add +1 for every additional Ability; yes, this includes unitalicized Body. The total from this calculation becomes the OV/RV of the Wealth Check.


Did you gain at least one RAP? Great! Go to Step 5.
Did you get no RAPs? Parts cannot be afforded, and this Wealth Check is spent; wait for the next available Wealth Check, at least a week away. If you fail several Wealth Checks in a row, you might want to look into means of improving your Wealth.


5. __Constructing the Gadget__
Hoo boy.


All of the previous steps were part of getting ready to build the Gadget; now it's time for the Gadgeteer to step up and be impressive. Each of the Gadget's Abilities must be installed separately, starting with the Body. Each installation is a Dice Action using the gadgeteer's APs of Gadgetry Skill as the AV/EV and the APs of the Ability being installed as the OV/RV. Any positive number of RAPs equates to success.


If a Gadgetry Check fails, the Ability in question is _not_ installed; to complete the device, the gadgeteer must pay a special failure fee of 10 Hero Points, and try the roll again. Failure may be an option, but it's not a Heroic one!


The base time that it takes to make a Gadgetry Skill Check is one week, or 18 APs of time. Each additional AP of time that the Player adds to this base time before rolling will allow him to add 1 to the AV and EV of the Gadgetry Check, while each AP of time that the Player decides to subtract from this base time will lower his own AV and EV by one point. The number of RAPs earned on the Gadgetry Skill check make a difference here: subtract the RAPs earned in the Gadgetry Check from the base time. The result is the amount of time it actually took the gadgeteer to install the Ability.
(If the Gadgetry Check failed, then in addition to having not installed the Ability as described above, trying to do so also took the entire base time plus any additional time used to improve the AV and EV.)


Note: Superspeed affects the time it takes to create a Gadget. Silverwing can build a Tracking Device a lot faster than Tesla Coil can.


During the time that a Character spends working on a Gadget, he cannot perform any other activities except eating, sleeping, and personal hygiene. Short "mental health breaks" could be included such as The Flash or Magnum, P.I. The GM is likely to rule that any watching of the Discovery Channel, especially Dirty Jobs or Time Warp, will not only slow down the Gadget-making but will also result in odd design quirks to the Gadget ... and don't get me started on Doing DaVinci's effects on the Gadget in progress!
Once one Ability has been installed, the Gadgeteer may take a __short__ break before moving on to the next Ability, but the Gadget cannot be used until it has been completed.

Gadget complete!
Pay the actual Hero Point cost for the thing,
making sure any incidental costs like the 10HP "second installation try" Gadgetry Check have also been recorded,
and find out what's been going on in the world.

In our campaign, some of the above costs can be shared by interested parties. If the Gadgeteer is building the Gadget for someone else's use, the other Character can certainly provide the parts (and, therefore, make the Wealth Check) instead of the Gadgeteer doing it all. A teammate with the Leadership advantage can donate his own Hero Points toward the overall cost of Gadget-making; a Player who is getting a Gadget built for his own character should probably be the one to pay the actual Gadget HP cost (from the end of Step 3), rather than the Gadgeteer.


Please Login in order to comment!