Thursday, July 7, 2016

E&E 2nd edition preview—1st level inventions

Here's the list of small gadgets, chemical preparations, and full inventions that techs will be able to build in E&E 2nd edition:

And, for your appetite-whetting edification, I'll go ahead and post the list of 1st level inventions right here.  Keep in mind that this new edition uses a copper standard, so most equipment prices are in cp and 1 cp of treasure must be wasted (i.e. not spent on useful things like gear or technology) to earn 1 XP.  The noted encumbrance values (EV) assume the use of that grid-based inventory system I cooked up several posts ago.  All of these 1st-level inventions require 3–4 days of work and 100 cp worth of materials to build; and the tech must pass a successful Int check or else the invention will be flawed and prone to failure.
(Also, please excuse any awkward hyphenations that I've missed in the text below; in the book, this stuff is squeezed into narrow columns, three to a page, after the fashion of the Rules Cyclopedia.)

EV: 7:1 per stick
For the cost of 1 gold piece (100 cp, or the price of ten normal grenades), the tech can fashion 20 sticks of dynamite.  (A bundle of 7 sticks has an EV of 1.)  As with a grenade, a stick of dynamite can be lit and then thrown; the damage dealt by a single stick is 2d6 in a 5’ blast radius, with the usual saving throw permitted for half damage. 
        The real advantage of dynamite is that the tech can wire together multiple sticks and thereby dramatically increase both the potential damage and the blast-radius:

Sticks        Damage        Blast Radius
1                  2d6                   5’
2                  2d6                   10’
3                  2d8                   10’
4                  2d8                   15’
5                  2d10                 15’
6                  2d10                 20’
7+                2d12                 20’

The throw range for either a stick or a bundle of dynamite is 10’.  Like an ordinary grenade, a stick or bundle of dynamite will explode on the round after it’s been lit.  Most techs prefer to come up with some safer and more reliable means of detonating such powerful explosives, though.  A 1st level tech should have little difficulty rigging up a plunger or a timer while fashioning the dynamite.  A remote detonator is only possible if the tech knows the 3rd level invention Wireless Telegraphy.

Electric Taser
EV: 1×2
This invention takes the form of a pistol which fires a pair of wired electrodes out to a distance of 20’.  A missile to-hit roll vs. AC 9 is required to land both electrodes on the target; a hit causes 1d3 points of electrical damage and forces the target to roll a saving throw or become stunned for 1d4+1 rounds.  (Stunned characters have their AC penalized by +2, can’t make counter-attacks or take parting shots, and can only make 1 move per round on their action.)
        The Taser must be reset by manually reloading the wired electrodes back into the pistol-grip, and once used, its internal electric battery must recharge for at least four hours’ time before it can function again.  Needless to say, the Electric Taser cannot stun the undead, golems, most oozes, or any other creatures that lack a living, functioning nervous system.
        Spare battery packs can be constructed for 5 sp and two days’ work; each extra battery weighs 1 EV and is interchangeable with the batteries used for the Optic Flash-Bulb invention (pg 102).   It takes two turns to swap a depleted battery for a fresh one, but a battery removed from the device won’t recharge itself.

Flotation Device
EV: 1×2
A self-inflating inner-tube that tucks into the clever gadgeteer’s belt, a simple draw of a pull-cord inflates the Device.  Provided the wearer is only lightly or moderately encumbered, it bestows a +5 bonus on any Strength checks made to stay afloat and swim on the surface, but it prevents any diving underwater.  If the Flotation Device is activated while the wearer is submerged, it will lift the character to the surface at a speed of 20’ per round (lightly encumbered) or 10’ per round (moderately encumbered). 
        A heavily, severely, or over-encumbered character will remain submerged until they reduce their EV load to 4×8 or less.  Once activated, the Device must be reset manually (which takes a few minutes) before it can be inflated again.

Grappling Hook
EV: 1×2
A standard piece of kit for rooftop-swinging heroes and tomb-delving archaeologists, the grappling hook fires a sturdy metal cable out to a distance of 90’, where a hooked spike will latch onto any solid protrusion or even fix itself into stone.  (If fired at a person, a missile to-hit roll is required; the hook will cause 1d4 points of damage on a hit, and the target must save or be caught on the hook.)  The grappling hook can then be used to swing, or it can slowly retract, reeling the cable back into the device at a speed of 10’ per round.  The Hook will support a total weight of 300 pounds; beyond that, the cable will not retract and the hook may come loose from its mooring.
        Once fired, the Grappling Hook must be retracted before it can be fired again.  It relies on a small charge of gunpowder (cost: 1 iron piece) to propel the hook and cable; provided the tech makes sure to keep some extra powder charges on hand, a few minutes’ time is sufficient to reset the device.

Moving Picture Camera
EV: 1×2
A true wonder of the modern age, this device captures moving images in real time.  The tech can film any-thing he can see, given decent lighting and proper line-of-sight.  Operating the Camera requires constant turning of a hand-crank at a steady speed.  The images recorded will be silent and in black-and-white, and are often grainy or jerky.  The finished film reels must be placed into a separate device, a Moving Picture Projector, for playback onto a screen. 
        It costs 1 gp to craft a Moving Picture Camera and another 1 gp to craft a Moving Picture Projector.  (A Projector has the same EV as a Cam-era, 1×2.)  A single reel of film can record about ten minutes of picture.  Film reels cost 1 sp each to produce and have EV 3:1.

Optic Flash-Bulb
EV: 1×2
An elaboration on the Electric Torch, this device consists of a heavy battery wired to a huge bulb which shines bright, flooding light in a 60’ cone.  The heavy battery (EV 1) is capable of powering this light-source for twelve hours a day; it will recharge automatically overnight.  The battery must be replaced each month (extra batteries cost 5 sp and take two days to craft) to keep the device in working order.
        At any time while the device is on, the tech may activate a secondary function: overcharging the bulb.  This causes a bright flash of blinding light.  All creatures which are able to see who get caught within the bulb’s 60’ conical area of effect must save or be blinded for 1d4 turns (10–40 minutes).  However, using the device’s “flash” function will instantly burn out the bulb.  Spare bulbs weigh 3:1 and cost 3 sp to craft.  (They’re also quite delicate and easily broken.)
        When used in combination with either the Camera Obscura gadget or Moving Picture Camera invention, the bright, steady light provided by the normal functioning of the Optic Flash-Bulb is ideal for clear photography, even in the deepest, darkest dungeons.

EV: 1×2
This device consists of a microphone, a horn-shaped loudspeaker, and a turning axle with a needle for playing and recording sound to and from a wax cylinder.  When activated, it can record up to an hour of sound, or play it back, by means of a hand crank and clockwork.  Wax cylinders, necessary for recording and playing, cost 1 cp and are EV 3:1.  The device has an effective range of about 30’ for recording and 90’ for playback, provided there are no heavy physical obstructions (like dungeon walls) in the way.

Pressure Trap
EV: 1×2
This device is a portable pressure-plate which unfolds to cover a 5’ × 5’ square area.  Any creature (or thing) of dwarf-weight or greater that steps on the pressure-plate may activate it; by default, the trap triggers 33% of the time (1–2 on 1d6), just like any dungeon trap, but the tech may set the sensitivity on the pressure-plate to any activation frequency desired, from 1% to 100%. 
        As built, the Pressure Trap is designed to deploy spikes that cause 1d6 damage to anyone standing on the trap when it’s triggered; there is no saving throw allowed, but the spikes roll to hit with an attack bonus of +2 (or +4 if the trap is deployed by a tech of 6th level or higher) plus the tech’s Intellect adjustment.
        Instead of spikes, the tech may choose to attach any other mêlée or missile weapon, grenade, explosive, or chemical preparation; in which case triggering the trap attacks with the weapon, sets off the explosive, or releases the preparation.  (The tech should be careful with explosives, though.  If they’re too close to the pressure plate, they may destroy it!  The plate itself has AC 4, 10 HP, and an item saving throw equal to 5 + its to-hit bonus.)  The weapon or device triggered by the Trap—the “business end” of the whole apparatus—can be placed up to 30’ away from the pres-sure plate itself.
        The pressure-plate is fairly easy to spot, even by those not looking for traps, but it can be concealed under cloth, dirt, leaves, or any other mode of concealment too light to trigger the device. 

Shock Absorbers
EV: 1×2
This device must be permanently integrated into a suit of armor or a reasonably heavy set of clothing that pads and covers the whole body; it increases the encumbrance of the armor or clothing by 1×2 squares.  Shock Absorbers reduce the damage sustained by falling, allowing a character who takes an unexpected tumble to ignore the first 10’ of the fall for the purpose of calculating damage.  They also bestow on the wearer a 1-in-6 chance to ignore a critical hit, possibly turning such a blow (from any source—even a back-stab) into a normal hit.

Smoke Machine
EV: 1×2
The latest in special-effects technology, the Smoke Machine is a portable smoke-screen generator.  Once set in place and switched on, it will start to bellow forth an opaque, clammy fog that obscures vision and slowly fills enclosed spaces.  The fog rolls laterally along the ground at a pace of about a foot per minute, so after one turn, it will fill a 10’ radius area centered on the machine; after two turns, a 20’ radius; and so forth.  The fog only climbs to a vertical height of 3’ per turn, though, so the machine must run for half an hour for the fog to reach the ceiling of a typical dungeon corridor.  The machine can run for an hour before it runs out of power and shuts down; thus, the maximum size of the fog-cloud (outdoors and on a still day) is 20’ tall and 120’ across.  While the machine is operating, it emits a steady “chugging” noise, plus the occasional sputter; but if the Smoke Machine is, e.g., concealed in the ventilation system of a building complex, these noises tend to sound more ghostly than mechanical and may add to the illusion of a purported “haunting”.
        Once generated, the fog will linger for an hour or so, unless blown away by moderate to strong winds.  The Smoke Machine must recharge for four hours (from the time it gets shut off) before it can be activated again. 

Spring-Heeled Jackboots
EV: 1×2
This is a set of heavy, metallic clock-work boots.  They grant their wearer a constant +6 bonus on Strength rolls made to jump heights and distances.  The wearer of the Jackboots can leap to heights of 10’ and bound over 20’ spans of distance with minimal effort.

Stainless Steel
EV: Special
This invention is an improvement over the Balanced Alloy.  The tech can now forge shields and two-handed metal weapons which weigh half normal and fill half the usual inventory space.  Whereas most 1st level inventions are EV 1×2, the weight of this invention is simply half that of a normal item of that type: 1×2 for a great sword, 1 for a shield, etc.  Such items are also impervious to rust (and the ravages of rust monsters).
        Stainless Steel weapons do not get an enhancement bonus to hit or AC, but they do get a +1 bonus on item saving throws to resist damage or destruction.  Nothing prevents a mage from enchanting a Stainless Steel piece of equipment.

Turbine Fan
EV: 1×2
This is a high-powered hand-held fan that can operate steadily for up to four hours a day.  It can generate enough of a breeze to blow away smoke, fog, or mist (even when magically conjured), clearing a 10 × 20 area for every turn that the fan is operated.  Once per day, the Turbine Fan may be overcharged, which generates a powerful gust instead of a steady breeze.  The gust will instantly blow away all smoke, fog, or mist in a cone-shaped area 60’ long out to 30’ wide; and any creatures in this area must roll a saving throw or be pushed back 10’ (those that fumble the save with a natural 20 are knocked prone).  Airborne creatures in the area are −5 on this saving throw, and any creatures that fail the save by 5 or more are knocked out of the air and may take falling damage.  Once the Fan has been overcharged, it may not be used again at all for the rest of the day.
EV: 1×2
This invention needs little in the way of explanation, as it doesn’t really have much of a direct mechanical impact on any game rules.  Ribbons of ink cost 1 iron piece.

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