Research and Development

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In games often people will want to develop something new for the game. This page outlines the rules associated with how to tell how long it takes to develop something new.

This covers the following types of modifications:

  • New / Modified Technology
  • New / Modified Magic
  • New / Modified Psionics

Collectively we call this New Art or Modified Art. In any case, to alter or create new art of any kind requires someone of at last Category 1, Class D skill level as a base-line for being able to accomplish their goals. The base-line should be rolled via either dice or random number generator, skill roll uses the Leveled Ranking System. The first roll is to determine if the person in question has the required skill to even design or understand how to design the required work, it categorized as rolling against a Class A for an entirely new design and a Class B for modifications to a design.

This roll is designed to see if the character in question looks at what is needed and believes they can do it or looks at it and doesn't feel they have the required skill level.

Actual Role Play

Everything about the development should be played out and recorded. This provides a history to the new technology to be posted to the Wiki, players should get creative. While the rules here are designed to provide a fair way to develop new things that takes time to complete but allows for eventual success they are also designed to provide spice and flavor to the game. Failing should have a reason - even if it is complete technobabble - this is especially true of critical failures, these should be spectacular. Equally true are successes or successful failures where a good design needs to be redesigned because it couldn't be executed well. Just, get creative and keep some kind of record of the history of the objects development if at all possible.

Team Design

Having an entire team assist with the designs can be very helpful. A team of 10 people can work and roll with Class A skill level.

Additional Roll Modifiers

  • For Minor Modifications, +1 for every 10 people involved on a particular modification /w diminishing returns at 30 people
  • For Major Modifications, +1 for every 25 people involved on a particular modification /w diminishing returns at 50 people
  • For New Art, +1 for every 50 people involved on a project /w diminishing returns at 200 people
  • For Major New Art, +1 for every 100 people involved on a project /w diminishing returns occurring at 400 people

Diminishing Returns

The idea of diminishing returns is that throwing people at a project isn't always the answer. At some point people run out of things to do, thus over a certain number of people they are less helpful. Just try making Thanksgiving dinner with 3 people then imagine trying to do the same meal with 30 people. Just not as effective. Diminishing returns starts at a certain number of people, over this number modifiers are cut in half, and this continues so if diminishing returns starts at 50 then at 50 it would be +1 for every 100. Then at 100 it would be +1 for every 200, etc..

Team Configurations

Rather than bulking everyone into the project for one thing, the work can be split having multiple teams working on multiple modifications. This is less effective with a large project of new art unless it can be reasonably split apart.

Rolling / Production Cycle

All work will have a three phase cycle, design, execution (prototype), and final (production). It is important that players understand their character does not know if the design phase produces a working product. Nor do they know if the execution phase (where that product is actually prototyped for testing) executes that design well. Thus the character will test during each cycle regardless of if the dice say it will win or loose. As everyone know, sometimes a bad design or bad execution can work, thus standard rules apply a Natural 20 always works and a Natural 1 always fails, no matter what.

Design Phase

Roll is made for if the design will create a viable working product.

  • Player Rolls a 1d20 + Modifier against Uncontested Chart per the difficulty class specified (see below).

This simply says if a design is a good and functional design or not. In the case of a Natural 20, it is considered to be a work of genius, it is both functional and elegant. All future rolls get an automatic +5 for excellence. In the case of a Natural 1, the design cannot be executed, as in the computer modeling says it will explode or the builders will not build it. In the case of spells the magic does something horrible to the person if the attempt it, and they are aware it would be a really dumb idea if they try.

Execution Phase

Now it is time to actually put the design to work and create something that can be tested.

  • If the previous roll was a failure, then the execution requires an extra roll to be successfully constructed.
    • Player Rolls 1d20 + Modifier against Uncontested Chart per difficult class specified.
    • If this roll fails, the prototype cannot be built.
    • If this roll succeeds, the prototype is actually constructed but has a design penalty of -10 to the subsequent test roll.
  • Player Rolls 1d20 + Modifier (-10 if required, see above) against Uncontested Chart per difficulty class specified.
    • If this roll succeeds the prototype actually works.
    • If this roll equals the roll required, technically this fails, in this case the prototype works but is destroyed in the process.
    • If this roll fails and does not work.

A failed prototype test requires going back to the Design Phase. A cumulative adjustment to the design phase roll of +2 per cycle. The only exception to this is if a Natural 1 is rolled at any time, then all modifiers are negated and process goes back to start.

Final Phase

The final phase begins once a working prototype is created and requires 3 successful rolls per the Execution Phase during the final testing. Unlike the execution phase, however, each cycle getting this far adds a +5 cumulative modifier to subsequent cycles.

Once the final phase is complete, the design is proved to be valid and can be properly executed with confidence.

Modification of Existing Art

First we'll cover modifications. This entails any time an existing piece of Art needs to be altered in some way. There are two kinds of alterations that can be made classified as Minor and Major alterations. In the case of modifications, the full production cycle (see above) must be completed for each and every modification made. Since they are just alterations each one takes less time than it does to completely design new art.

Major Alterations

A major alteration is classified as something that adds a new feature that has not existed before. Example would be, altering power armor so that it has thermal sensors or can withstand had vacuum (assuming it couldn't do those things before). Similar for spells and other work, alter an existing spell to have an entirely new dimension, for spells (psionic and magic) this would be akin to saying a silence spell also blinds a person.

Major alterations are classified as Class A. Roll 1d4 days per phase of each cycle for that phase to be complete.

Minor Alterations

A minor alteration is classified as improving or changing an existing feature. To use the previously-mentioned power armor example, improving the sensor resolution or making the armor mor durable. For a spell, increasing the effective range or duration of the existing effects.

Minor alterations are classified as Class B. Roll 1d2 days per phase of each cycle for that phase to be complete.

Creation of New Art

Creation of new art is far more time consuming and difficult. Automatically there is a -10 penalty to the design phase of the production cycle's initial (but not subsequent rolls). All creation of new art is considered to be Class A, and takes 2d4 weeks per phase of the production cycle.

Large / Complex New Art

For things like vehicles, space craft, or complex weaponry / large rituals require considerably more time. They follow the same rules as above with the exception that instead of 2d4 weeks per phase, they take 2d4 months per phase.

Experience / Skill

Put simply, creation of something new is a process of learning and thus increases ones skill. Especially if someone starts out from nothing at all and works hard to complete something entirely new. This table shows the increase in skill level for creation new art / modifying old art.

Skill Level Increase
Modifiied Art New Art
Minor Major
B No Increase

Capabilities of Final Product

Players or staff should use best judgement on how well the finished product works based on how many design cycles and how bad any failures were. Counterintuitively, most often with design a person learns more from failures than from successes. Thus a well refined final product is a better product than one that is assembled quickly, except in the case of a Natural 20 in the design cycle. Staff and players should use that idea as a basic guideline for how effective the final result is toward the desires of the character (and player).