Techynics

   Here are the Techynics rules for Legend of the Five Rings. At least in our game, Techynics is fairly common in the Ivory Kingdoms, and pretty much unheard of elsewhere.

   Technology is simply the art of exploiting the laws of nature. The deeper and more complex those laws, the more ways there are to exploit them. Sadly for would-be inventors, in the world of Rokugan, most of the deeper laws of nature concern the nature of spirits – and exploiting those laws requires spiritual talents of your own, rather than mundane tools, skills, and craftsmanship. High-order Rokugani technology is simply another branch of magic.

   Unlike the active magic of awakened spirits, however, Techynics can fool the user. It relies on tapping into the flow of universal energies and channeling a steady current of power through the sleeping spirits of especially-crafted, if otherwise more-or-less ordinary, items, thus producing consistent and constant (if relatively low-powered) effects.

   Technomancer “casting” levels are bought just like levels of spellcasting (12 XP each, must buy access to void magic to create void-based devices), offer similar Affinities and Deficiencies, and limit the level of devices which can be constructed as spellcaster rank limits spellcasting. Each spell slot devoted to technomancy provides (technomancer level/2) Construction Points, which can be used to create any Device falling within the user’s Fields of Study (6 XP each) and current device rank limit. Construction Points derived from Void spell slots can be used to build any device within the user’s limits. Building, or redesigning, devices requires basic tools, someplace to work, and one hour per construction point invested in them.

Known Fields of Study and Sample Items:

Fire-Based Fields of Study:

  • Light: L1) Flash Pellets, Light Stick, Flashlight. L2) Brilliant Lantern, Powerful Flares, Spotlight. L3) Searchlight, Taint-Searing Light, Darklight (only visible using special means or eyedrops). L4) Holographic Illusions, Burning or Searing Beams. L5) Realistic Holograms or Invisibility, Liquified Sunlight, Burning or Searing Sphere. L6) Truth-Revealing Light, Shadow-Dispelling Light, Solidified Light.
  • Power: These engines provide rotary, oscillating, or linear mechanical power. The rank simply determines how much is available. L1) Casual human effort, L2) Heavy human labor, L3) 2 Horsepower, L4) 20 Horsepower, L5) 100 Horsepower, and L6) 500 Horsepower. Applications which add to the users strength simply add the level of the device to it.
  • Pyrotechnics: L1) Smoke Pellets, Flash Pellets, Simple Fireworks. L2) Corned Powder, Greek Fire, Fire Extinguishers. 3) Flamethrower, Fulminating Powder, Refrigeration. L4) Freezing Powder, High Explosives, Instant Cookers. L5) Liquified Fire, Flame Bazooka, Refining/Metal Transmuting. L6) Lightning Projector, Solid Fire, Massive Explosions.
  • Weaponry: Weapon “devices” are generally improvements on existing items, rather than purely magical creations. L1) Autoload (+2 shots), Counts as a magic weapon, allows the use of a particular combat maneuver costing up to 3 XP, +2 dice versus Disarm, ignores 2 points of Carapace. L2) Autoload (6 shots), Reload as Simple Action, +1 Free Raise towards a particular combat maneuver, allows the use of a particular combat maneuver or weapon technique costing up to 5 XP. L3) Autoload (12 shots), Small Area (Explosive, autofire, etc), +2 Free Raises towards a particular combat maneuver, allows the use of a particular combat maneuver or combination of maneuvers costing up to 8 XP, damage is treated as magical energy damage. L4) Autoload (30 shots), allows the use of a particular combat maneuver, weapon technique, or combination thereof costing up to 10 XP, folds up or can be otherwise easily concealed, inflicts a mild toxin, inflicts 1K1 magical energy damage with its normal attack (+1K1 if it already does magical energy damage). L5) Autoload (60 shots), +3 Free Raises towards a particular combat maneuver, allows the use of a particular combat maneuver, weapon technique, or combination thereof costing up to 12 XP, inflicts an intermediate toxin, strikes as jade or crystal. L6) Autoload (Indefinite), Large Area, +4 Free Raises towards a particular combat maneuver, allows the use of a particular combat maneuver, weapon technique, or combination thereof costing up to 15 XP, inflicts a major toxin.

Air-Based Fields of Study:

  • Communications: L1) Line-of-sight Audio, Near-unbreakable Codes, Basic Photography. L2) Advanced Photography, Private Languages, Organized Mail Systems. L3) Audio Recorder, Telegraphy, Psychic Printing. L4) Mental Speech, Moving Photography, Wireless Transhorizon Communications. L5) Mental Probes and Links, Universal Translator, Sendings. L6) Personalty Recorder, Memory Sharing, Trans-Dimensional Communicator.
  • Control: These devices possess basic “senses” sufficient to do their jobs or equivalent to those of a normal human, whichever is worse. L1) Simple sequences, such as turning raw materials into arrows and putting them in a box. L2) Complex programs, such as running a mill. L3) Basic Intelligence, such as being able to recognize individuals or adjusting for changing conditions. L4) Advanced Intellect, equivalent to the skills of a competent human as far as the job in question goes. L5) Learning Intellect, able to acquire new skills while working. L6) Telepresence, able to act as its creator would direct if he or she was there – and with equivalent skills.
  • Skills: Basic Skill Amplifiers can provide +1K0 or +0K1 per level on a particular skill. More specific items, such as a calculating device that helps with mathematical problems only, grant +1K1 per level. Extremely general items, such as a device which enhances the memory to grant a bonus on all lore skill rolls, provide +1K0 or +0K1 per two levels. Adding a Style Element costs +1 CP for very specific devices, +2 for ordinary devices, and +3 for general devices. Sadly, thanks to the immense variety of events possible in combat, devices which improve combat skills count as “extremely general items”.
  • Winds: L1) Voice Amplifier, Soundproof Screen, Vacuum Cleaner. L2) Sound Projector, Deafening Amplifier, Fog Generator. L3) Sound Absorber, Gas Filter, Storm Manipulator (can direct existing winds, lightning, etc). L4) Missile Barrier, Sonic Stunner, Weather Manipulator. L5) Force Wall, Wind Manipulation (telekinetic effects, will still need power), Sonic Shattering. L6) Sound Reconstructor, Sonic Screwdriver, Vacuum Projector.

Earth-Based Fields of Study:

  • Armory: These equipment upgrades are normally applied to armor or clothing. They include Absorbing (reduces the damage from any direct kinetic attack by 1/2/ 4/5/7/8 points of damage per attack, to a minimum of 0), Deflecting (upgrades the base AC bonus by +1/2/4/5/7/8 points above the base – even staring from a base of 0, such as normal clothing) and Resistant (increases the user’s magic resistance, whether or not they have any to start with, by +1/2/4/5/7/8 points. Any level of this upgrade makes it extremely difficult to affect the item itself with other magic; it is five times as effective on the item itself). Secondarily, any piece of armor with the Absorbing or Deflecting abilities is almost unbreakable by normal means.
  • Construction: These devices allow the user to build things more quickly – or out of exotic materials – and to repair things with unnatural speed. L1) Collapsible Pavilion, Improved Concrete or Mortar, “Super Glue”. L2) Expanding Props, Jacks, or Ladders, Water Sealant, Memory Metals. L3) Fireproofing, Transparency Treatments, Metamorphic Compactor. L4) Quick-setting Foam/Concrete, Wood Synthesizer, Elemental Solids. L5) Structural Enhancer, Geologic Programming, Self-Repairing Structures. L6) Reconstruction Beam, Nanite Workcrew, Space Anchors.
  • Equipment: Enhancements to otherwise ordinary equipment includes Compact (-1 size category – palmable, pocket, awkward, sewing machine, shipping crate, mobile home, barge, and freighter – per level), Durable (resistant to incidental wear and tear on up through determined assaults with sledgehammers), and Quality (+1 rank per level, to a maximum of Fine at L2, Excellent at L4, and Legendary at L6).
  • Survival: L1) Compact floatation device, Clothing comfortable from extreme arctic to tropical conditions, Extremely Comfortable Mattress, Matches, L2) Easily-portable self-heating stove, Ration Tablets, Pocket Parachute. L3) Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, Hibernation Capsule, Insulating Clothing, Water Purifier. L4) Atmospheric Life Support, Disease Repeller, Water Condenser. L5) Stasis Capsule, Food Synthesizer, Antidote Synthesizer. L6) All-Environment Armor, Soul Jars, Psychic Transfer.

Water-Based Fields of Study:

  • Mobility: This is the art of creating movement aids, from swim fins on up. Note that larger vehicles will still require a power source and life support is not included. L1) Water surface or (relatively) smooth terrain; swim fins, boats, bicycles, etc. L2) Submersible or difficult ground vehicles; kraken ships, aquajets, treaded vehicles, icebreakers, mud- or sand- skimmers. L3) Near-impossible ground vehicles, able to transverse walls, ceilings, and the roughest terrain, hovercraft, floating fortresses. L4) Basic flight; strap-on wings, ornithopters, and dirigibles. L5) Tunneling and (potentially) high-speed air systems; mole drills, cloud ships, jet packs. L6) Trans-dimensional and “space travel” systems, teleporters; portals/stargates, and lightning chariots.
  • Production: These devices allow the user to accomplish more work in a given length of time. They are always limited to a particular type of task (construction, weaponsmithing, alchemy), material (wood, stone, metal), or group of skills (armor- and weapon-smithing, paper-making and printing). L1) x3, L2) x10, L3) x30, L4) x100, L5) x300, and L6) x1000. Sadly, to exceed L2 such devices need a power source of an equivalent rank, whether from animals, water, wind, or magic.
  • Sensors: L1) Sextant, Accurate Clock, Telescope. L2) Microscope, Accurate Pocket Watch, Sound Amplifier. L3) Metal Detector, Precise Surveying Gear, Rangefinder. L4) Geological Survey System, Remote Microphone, Poison Detector. L5) Darkvision Goggles, X-Ray Systems, Spirit Detector. L6) Bloodline Tracer, Penetration Vision, Composition Analyzer.
  • Warding: These devices neutralize incoming energies. In general, they can handle up to (5xRank) damage from a particular source, such as fire, cold, or falling and similar impacts or neutralize a particular spell of equal rank. Broadening their effects reduces their effectiveness. In general, protecting against three specific forms of damage or a small group of related spells requires +1 level. Protecting against a sizable subgroup of spells, such as “elemental fire magic” requires +2 to +3, depending on how sizable it is. “All Magic” requires +4. Devices which ward off extradimensional energies, such as taint, provide a bonus of (5xRank) on rolls to resist them or on the target numbers of relevant attacks.

Void-Based Fields of Study:

   Void offers your device access to all the power in the universe. Of course, it also offers everything in the universe access to your device… Void-based devices tend to be powerful, somewhat unstable, and prone to weird side effects.

  • Fortune: These devices twist the odds your way. While there are trivial devices of this type which can be used to improve your odds at dice and similar things, most either operate by effectively increasing a trait or ring or by allowing rerolls. Either mechanism simply represents the manipulation of probability, not actual changes in the user’s traits. Devices which assist all rolls associated with a particular ring can provide +1K0 at L2, +0K1 at L4, and +1K1 at L6. Devices which increase a particular trait with regards to a particular skill or very limited situation can provide +1 at L2, +2 at L4, and +3 at L6. General devices can provide a +1 at L3 and +2 at L6. Devices which provide Luck or Void–related advantages can provide 2 XP worth of such advantages per level. Devices which affect another creature on contact require +1 level, those which work at range require +2.
  • Neutralization: These devices counteract and contain other powers. As a rule, a neutralizer must outrank the power it is to contain by at least one level to be fully effective. Specialized neutralizers – designed to contain particular fields of magic for example – gain a +1 bonus on their effective levels. Extremely specialized devices – designed to contain a specific creature for example – gain a +2 bonus. Devices designed to work on contact, rather than being attached to or containing a target, suffer a +2 penalty. Devices designed to work at range suffer a +3.
  • Overlays: These devices force two places or realms to overlap. L1) Detect invisible spirits and entities, detect otherworldly energies, key existing gateways. L2) Draw on the energies of a nearby realm or location, Repel intruding spirits, create barriers that affect creatures of other realms. L3) Probe nearby Realms and Locations, Communicate with entities of other Realms, Phase thru gases and energies. L4) Probe distant Realms and Locations, Phase thru solid matter, suppress the Control of an ordinary Realm, Draw on the energies of a distant realm or location. L5) Transport between nearby Realms or Locations, Probe any Realm or Location, probe across time, suppress the control of a Jealous realm. L6) Transport between distant Realms or Locations, negate the control of a normal realm, Time Travel (this is virtually impossible to control properly).
  • Spell Effects: These devices duplicate the effects of elemental or other spells, albeit at drastically reduced levels. Duplicating a long-duration effect requires a device of 2 levels higher than the effect. Short durations require +3 levels. Instant effects require +4 levels. Spells which would normally require sacrifices add another +1 level, and those which would injure the user will destroy the device. Otherwise spell effect devices work without limit.

General Device Modifiers:

   By default, devices normally affect a single target, can be held (if sometimes a bit awkwardly) in one hand, can be taken away or broken relatively simply, can be used by anyone who can figure out what they’re for and how they work, can be used a relatively large number of times before being recharged or refurbished, are mystically linked to their creator, and will only work work while said creator is in the immediate vicinity – within a few hundred feet at most. Most of this can be modified, but the modifiers cannot reduce the effective level/CP cost of a device below 1.

  • Devices which affect a small group in close proximity require +1 level, affecting a modest group in a large room, small ship, or similar area requires +2, and large groups in open terrain require +3.
  • Extremely bulky, but still man-portable devices take a (-1) level modifier. Those which require a wagon or sizable crew take a (-2). Those which must be built into – or are – large structures or vehicles take a (-3). Smaller devices may require +1 or even +2 levels, depending on their complexity and how compact their designer wants to make them.
  • Man-portable devices which cannot readily be taken away or broken – whether they’re implants, arcane circuits tattooed on the skin, or simply because they appear to be innocuous personal objects – require a +2 modifier.
  • Personalized devices, which can only be activated by a specified list of users, require a +1 modifier. Devices which can be set to either affect or exclude specific individuals only – such as a flamethrower which doesn’t set fire to your allies – require a +2 modifier.
  • Devices with a very limited number of uses, such as a half-a-dozen flash pellets or an item which will “burn out” rapidly, gain a -1 level modifier. Single-shot items gain a -2. After the uses run out, the item must be rebuilt from scratch.
  • Devices which will continue to work at great distances from their creator must incorporate a link amplifier – a minor sub-gadget that requires one Void construction point to build. Regardless of whether or not a device incorporates a link, the builder can activate or deactivate it as a simple action at any time as long as his or her construction points are invested in it.
  • Devices which project their effects over exceptional ranges will require +1 to +3 modifiers, depending on the effect and the desired range.

Related Techniques:

  • Enduring Artifice: You may invest 1 XP per CP to create permanent devices.
  • Frankenstein: You may invest CP in build-them-yourself ally advantages. (10) for a single style (golems, robots, elementals, etc), (20) for any type. Sadly, like any other after-creation advantage purchase, they cost double.
  • Mad Science: You may apply a -2 modifier to your devices at the cost of weird side effects, mental disturbances, random breakdowns, and similar lunacies, all at the option of the game master. This is rarely a good idea for player characters.
  • Omnigadgets: You do not have to specify your gadgets in advance. Sadly, any on-the-fly creations suffer a +2 level modifier. (5) for any one Field of Study, (10) for any one element, (20) for any three elements.

   Depending on how it’s used, Techynics may or may not fit into the style of most Legend of the Five Rings games. A ninja with smoke and flash pellets, a spring-propelled grappling line up his or her sleeve, and a selection of minor gadgets will fit right in. A firearms master – or someone who’s using enhanced miniaturized crossbows to emulate one – is problematic. Professor Prometheus, with his invisible dirigible, lightning-cannon, patent-pending pump paste pistol, and quasi-Victorian outfit is a bit beyond the pale. The time-traveling combat cyborg who’s trying to prevent the “Thousand Years of Darkness” is pretty much a big “NO!”.

   Still, there are Rokugan-Future, Gaijin, Alternate Timeline, and entirely off-setting campaigns out there.

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