Experimenting with Technological Items

Iron Gods

RPG Superstar 2015 Top 8

A character with the technologist can identify tech items, but what happens when a character without this feat tries to experiment and figure out how one works. For example, suppose a character tries to figure out a laser pistol.

You could try to roleplay this, but its hard because players will bring some background knowledge to the task, and describing the item in a appropriately naive yet sufficiently descriptive manner can be difficult.

I was thinking of an intelligence check and a chart of some kind.

Check Intelligence with DC equal to the craft DC of the item. Retries allowed, and each retry receives a +1 on the check since you know more about how it works as you experiment more.

It would be cool to have a timework glitches like chart to roll on when people fail their checks, but there are so many possibilities. Depending on the item. So, I was thinking of a quick n' easy chart that I could ad lib off of. This is what I came up with off the top of my head. Suggestions welcome!

Fail by 20: horrifically disastrous results. The item is destroyed/you critical yourself and/or allies/all charges are expended

Fail by 15: disastrous results but not horrifically disasterous. Hit multiple allies and self, item is broken, for example

Fail by 10: bad results. Hit self or ally. expend all charges, temporarily break item requiring a check not to fail by 10 or more to fix, etc.

Fail by 5: attempt to hit self or ally, make an appropriate save or skill check (DC 20) to avoid a Fail by 10 result.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well, if you really want to go for the old school "figure out the tech item," you could do a lot worse than the method that Expedition to the Barrier Peaks had. An image explaining this can be found here. That one had die rolls to determine whether your character could figure out an item. You could either keep the die rolls as written (your character is more or less trying things at random, anyway), or you could assign DCs to success - the lower they get, the worse the results.

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