Fringe Science options in Threefold Conspiracy #2

General Discussion

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When I first heard there would be a fringe science article in the latest AP I had hoped it would be new biohacker theorems. Alas, we got equipment.

But not really, because they're all really good, and come with interesting backstory that you can use to flesh out an adventure hook. I highly recommend picking up the volume if you're a GM looking for cool gadgets to give to or use against your PCs. One interesting thing is that because it's fringe science, everything is technological rather than hybrid while still doing some extremely wild stuff.

For example: behold, the new frontier of character optimization!

Eyes of the Seer biotech augmentation, level 11, price 26000 wrote:

A set of translucent nictitating membranes is implanted

within your visual sensors. When the membranes are
open, they can be spotted as small, lavender, triangular
muscles just inside the corner of your visual sensors with
a successful DC 21 Perception check. When the membranes
are closed, you see the world through a dark-purple haze
that softens the edges of the figures you see but outlines
them with a series of complex equations and algorithmic
formulae that define their relationships with the world. In
essence, you see the world almost as if you were viewing
it as lines upon lines of computer code, allowing you some
small insight into the way the future may resolve.

You can open or close these membranes as a swift
action, and all must open or close simultaneously. When
the membranes are closed and your eyes are open, you can
scan your surroundings using your newfound sight as a
move action. Roll a d20 and record the result; as a reaction
until the start of your next turn, you can spend 1 Resolve
Point to use this result for any attack roll, skill check, saving
throw, or ability check attempted by a creature you can see
(enemies and allies alike) as if they had rolled this value
themself. This reaction must be declared before the creature
rolls the check, and all normal modifiers apply to the roll
that uses the substituted value.

While the membranes are closed and your eyes are
open, you take a –2 penalty to Perception checks and
initiative checks and can’t take any reactions other than the
one described above. If you fail a saving throw against a
mind‑affecting effect while the membranes are closed, you
become confused until the end of your next turn (in addition
to any other normal results of the mind-affecting effect).

This is pretty nuts for save or lose spellcasters.

1. Activate (close) membranes as a swift action.
2. Scan surroundings as a move action, rolling a d20.
3. If it's a low roll, cast a spell against an enemy and force them to use it as their save against your killer spell. If it's a high roll, save it for an ally's attack or saving throw and do whatever seems best with your standard action.
4. Return to step 2 on each subsequent turn. Deactivate (open) you membranes after combat.

The second item, Voidhammer advanced weapons, are also kind of cool. They utilize black hole technology to knock prone and pin a target on a crit. Reach and unwieldy, so it's a remarkably good combo for a spellcaster who wants advanced weapons and has a Eyes of the Seer - use those low numbers for an enemy's save, use those 20s, when they show up, to guarantee your own crit and huge debuff on an enemy within reach.

The third item, the analeptic tablet, is based on cloning technologies. It heals all ability damage or shifts you one step towards healthy on an affliction track. Takes one hour and makes you sickened until you rest 8 hours (although that condition can be removed after the one hour is up), but only costs 600 credits, which is a bargain at mid levels.

The fourth item, the Multiverse Mirror, is big but cheap, level 3 and 1300 credits. Everyone should probably keep one in their ship quarters after a certain point (it's unclear if multiple people can use the same one in a day). You pick a skill you don't have and once per day you can make a skill check as if you had ranks=level. The downside here is that the first 20 you roll on any trained skill check has to be rerolled and take the lower. Good if you need to set up a disguise or prepare for a clutch bluff check or similar eventuality.

The fifth item, the Voice Encoder, is a cybernetic throat implant that lets you use a nonmagical(!) Command or Suggestion effect tied to a spoken phrase in common. You have to preprogram a specific Command/Suggestion out of combat and with a fixed phrase, so no improvising on the fly, but this is an amazing way to try to influence people without getting caught. No spell residue, and you said "sure is warm today," not "kill your boss," if people are trying to figure out why the made a saving through or acted erratically.

The sixth and final bonkers item is the Time Ripper, a ship augmentation. For the expensive but totally worth it cost of 35 BP and 50 PCU, your engineer can attempt a difficult check to capture temporal energy and charge your Time Ripper when entering or exiting the drift. There's a 25% chance of something unfortunate happening to your crew, ship, or gear every time you use it whether you're successful or not.

And what do you get for all this cost, risk, and difficulty to capture a single charge of temporal energy? A ship's engineer can release it during the engineering phase of starship combat, with no further check needed, to GIVE EVERY OTHER CREW MEMBER THAT ROUND AN EXTRA ACTION IN THEIR ROLE AND THEY CAN TAKE THE SAME ACTION TWICE. Your pilot can do two different stunts with full movement on each. Your gunner can do two different broadsides using the same weapons against the same target (twelve antimatter missiles in one round on one target will do a lot of harm, if you build that way). The captain can try twice at an inspiring speech. And so on.

Obviously this stuff isn't just freely available because it was printed in this book. But it's all cool and not all horribly overpowered (and even the stuff that is comes with downsides, at least), so maybe your GM will work with you if you make him aware of it.

Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Eyes of the Seer seems absurd to me, solely because of the action economy and lack of any way for most foes to counter it. You don't have to spend the RP unless you get a useful roll (very high or very low), so you get to fish every round while otherwise doing your normal thing as a spellcaster.

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One correction to my suggestion of combining Eyes of the Seer with a Voidhammer - you can't use the Eyes on yourself.

I agree that they are absurdly strong, as is the Time Ripper. The backstory for the Eyes of the Seer is that they're a very rare reward from the organization that works with a super Barathu complex entity that has incorporated weird biocomputers that let it predict the future fairly reliably. So it should require a specific quest if you're using it as written to obtain access.

Incidentally, the entity in question has predicted the one of the Pact World planets will be destroyed in AG 323. Looking forward to the Aucturn or Apostae AP in 2023.

Senior Editor

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I’m glad you enjoyed the article and the gear! I had a lot of fun writing these items and the fringe science lore. Big thanks to Jason Keeley for all his development help.

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