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Invention Design

Page history last edited by Joseph Teller 15 years, 8 months ago

Invention Design


The use of the invention skill in Zamani can be used in a number of ways. Generally it is the skill of developing prototype technology and in some cases using that technology, but it is also used to understand the technology that others have developed or to design makeshift 'simple machines' to accomplish tasks thru creative materials application.


Prototype Technology


Generally developing a new invention can take many hours, days, weeks or even months of time being worked on it. Additionally the inventing character must have a variety of supplemental science or craft skills to develop ideas in certain directions, and access to tools and materials to create the item. Most prototype technology really needs a workshop, lab or other sustained workplace to be developed and access to a wide variety of materials and tools.


Basically the inventor character has to evaluate the specific idea, and presuming that they have the appropriate supplemental skills that the GM declares necessary to make the item, they can with about 4 hours of work, develop a plan and design on what it would take to make the item in regards to time and effort.


They make an inventor skill roll (if the fail they determine that they cannot make the design work at all at their current skill level). Based on their success level on the action table they determine the time needed to develop the idea at their current skill level.


Action Table Result Development Time Materials Cost
L 3 Months (720 hours)$500
M 1 Month (240 hours) $250
H A Week (48 hours) $100
X A Work Day (8 hours) $50
C 4 Hours $ 20
! An Hour $ 10


Once success/failure on design has been determined, no further rolling is needed nor can the required amount of time needed be changed for the character's design.


Duplicating an item that they have previously made will take half the time it took to create the original, presuming they have their design notes (or Eidetic Memory).


Any prototype device made should require a specific skill for it's operation/activation/use. All prototypes are assumed to have a few design 'bugs' that need to be worked out, or unintended features, which will become obvious once they are completed and in use. The GM will reveal these as encountered or when the skill usage roll is failed by the character.


Speeding The Results


Three basic ways exist to increase the speed before the Inventor skill roll is made. Any and all of these can be used.


Advanced Skills


Since each prototype will have a number of required skills (see _Sample Inventions_ ) having advanced ranking in those skills should improve the character's invention design roll. For each such skill that is rated above 10 ranks, add 1 ranks to their invention skill for the design roll of the specific item. For each skill that is above 20 ranks add 2 ranks to their invention skill for the design roll. For each skill that is above 30 ranks add 3 ranks to their invention skill for the design roll.


Growth For Speed


Before maing the the design roll the character's player can choose to spend Character Growth Points on the invention design. For every Growth Point Spent they can add 2 Skill Ranks (+10%) to their Inventor Skill.


Flaws For Speed


Before making the design roll a decision is made to rush the project to speed results. These may be things like a clumbsier interface (1-2), slow startup (3-4), increased materials cost (5-6), an increased probability of breakage/failure/jamming (7-8) or increased size/weight/bulkiness (9-0). Exactly which flaw results is GM choice or random roll of 1d10. By taking flaws for speed the player gets to add a +20% to their Invetor Skill for the roll.




Starting Inventions


A starting character that has the appropriate skills and inventing skill may start with one or more of the 'Sample Inventions'. These have specific values as Favorable Traits marked for this purpose (Minor, Major or Severe) and must be balanced, of course, by taking Unfavorable Traits of appropriate value in the usual way.


Such items should be recorded as 'Prototype Device' at the appropriate favorable trait value.


An existing character can also buy a starting invention from this list as a trait of the appropriate favorable value, by spending growth points for it as a trait, if they have the needed listed skills, have lab/workshop access, and investing an hour to the project, rather than developing it as a device under the development rules.


Rapid Replacement designates an item, such as ammunition types, that can be reproduced by the character in the lab/workshop very quickly and without additional costs (takes about an hour) for their own use. Otherwise it is assumed that replacing a destroyed/lost starting invention will take a week (48 work hours).


Sample Inventions


These can be used as starting inventions, or for in-game invention ideas for players who need an idea to build off of. They can also be used by a GM to help determine concepts of skill requirements or the sorts of limits of what the inventor skill might create.


Not included here are combinations of technology and magic to develop magic powered or enhanced inventions.

Such ideas are highly specialized and really need GM input to determine whether they fit the setting, power level and abilities of characters involved.



Adhesive Footwear (Minor)


Requires : Leathercrafts, Metallurgy, Physics, and one of Electronics, Inorganic Chemistry or Organic Chemistry.


These are shoes or boots that have adheisve, unusual topology, or electromagnetic properties that allow you to walk upon any flat solid surface as if you were walking on the ground. They allow you to walk along or across walls and ceilings at up to 1/2 your normal Move per Action. These will fail on slippery surfaces (such as those wet with oil, soap or rain). Additionally you cannot perform kick attacks, and any combat that causes you to get a result of being knocked prone or unconscious will dislodge you from your position and falling. There should also be one or more materials that the footwear does not work on.



Advanced Gas Mask (Minor)


Requires : Organic Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry, and either Leathercrafts or Armorer


An advanced Gas mask protects the entire facial area, including the eyes, mouth and nose from all forms of gas attack. This protection includes not only against poisonous gases (such as Mustard Gas, Chlorine Gas, Carbon Monoxide, etc.) but also against various sleeping gases, tear gas, the irritations caused by heavy amounts of any kind of smoke, etc.



Belt Sword (Minor)


Requires : Metallurgy, Weapon Crafting & Leathercrafts


This handy little device appears to be an ordinary belt with a solid metal buckle. It can be whipped away from one's pants (while pressing a concealed stud) and then it begins to show its true nature as it will spring out straight. The leather section is then flicked off exposing a thin, bright blade of a very real and sharp high-tech rapier, light slender, supple and with a needle point tip. Because of its light metal, and lack of a proper guard, it does not help one's defensive as a normal sword would. The blade does require a standard light blade skill to use, and when it strike it has a damage base of 4. The beltsword is a fine weapon for someone properly skilled who wants to go armed to a function and yet appear unarmed.



Electric Gauntlet (Minor)


Requires : Electronics, Leathercrafting


This handy device resembles an oversized black glove with metal studs, with wires that are run under a shirt to a box that is a jacket pocket or bound to the body under clothes. Its a high tech electrical device that can deliver on contact a jarring blast of electricity to a target that can disrupt the body's electrical system temporarily. It can also be used by someone skilled as a physician as an emergency electrical jolt to restart the heart of someone who has had cardiac arrest. To use as a weapon it requires HTH combat skill to strike, a wrestling grab, or complete surprise to touch a victim. It does damage with a base of 4 (unless the target is wearing rubber soled shoes or other insulated protection) and all R, $, D and P results are ALSO a STUN effect if the sucess if M or greater.


Because of the nature of the current used and the delivery system it MUST be against skin or a conductive material to function. The gauntlet has five charges, and then must be recharged.



Electronic Eavesdroppers (Minor)


Requires : Communication Technology, Electronics


This is a small device that broadcasts what sound it picks up from the nearby area (aprox. a 5 meter radius) on a special frequency for a range of about a mile. It is plugged into a wall socket or a light socket in which case it works as long as there is a current. Any radio can be used to tune in to the low powered broadcast frequency.



Exoskeleton (Minor)


Requires: Machinist, Metallurgy, Mechanics, and either Electronics or Watchmaking.


Usage requires a Fitness of at Least 5, due to the weight of the device.


An exoskeleton is a special bodysuit worn over the skin and under one's clothes that enhances the physical strength of the character wearing it. In game mechanics terms, while worn, it adds a +2 Fitness for lifting weights and using the skills of Brawling and Crushing Weapons.


It prevents use of the skills of Acrobatics, Dance, or Swimming.


It cannot be worn with an Electric Gauntlet as that device would interfere with the skeleton and prevent it from working. An exoskeleton has problems when used in extreme heat or cold conditions, and will stop working after 2d10 hours in such conditions, and cannot be used if immersed in water (falling into a large body of water will short out the suit or jam it's joints. The suit can be worn for a maximum of eight hours, and then the unit must be removed and maintained or recharged for sixteen hours.



Explosive Ammunition (Minor)


Requires : Chemistry (either organic or inorganic), Gunsmith or Weapon Crafting (depending if for a gun or bow).


Rapid Replacement. Successful creation, replacement or pre-game purchase produces enough to reload the weapon completely 6 times.


Explosive ammunition is specially designed to fit a specific weapon that the character uses regularly, and must be specifically loaded into the weapon before it is fired to be useful. The shells/bullets appear to be that which the weapon normally uses, but they act as a minature grenade upon striking target, spreading damage. Generally all shots that hit taret and do damage will knock the target prone, no matter the other results from the action table.


Explosive rounds increase the effective damage level of the weapon from it's normal level, giving a +3 to the damage base. The explosion only affects the target, unlike a normal grenade. Using such on a living target may be considered dishonorable unless they are heavily protected in some way, but using it on a vehicle, door, or other object is acceptable behavior. Explosive Ammunition cannot be used in a semi-automatic or automatic weapon. Explosive heads could be used on an Arrow or Crossbow bolt.



Firearms Silencer (Minor)


Requires : Machinist, Metallurgy, Gunsmith


Rapid Replacement


The ability to silence the shots of a gun are a technology advancement in the setting, and requires a specially designed device that attaches to the muzzle of the weapon (4" to 1' in length). It cannot be used on a Black Powder weapon, a Shotgun, or revolver. Silencers affect the damage the weapon does,

in order to make shots less likely to be noticed by others. It reduces damage by 1 from what the weapon base is, and gives anyone who might hear the shot a -10 to their observation skill. Each type of gun requires a seperate effort to design a silencer for.


This cannot be used at the same time as Explosive Ammunition.



Fire Suit (Minor/Major)


Requires : Chemistry (either Organic or Inorganic), Tailoring


This is a protective suit of clothing that can help protect a character from the extremes of fire and heat, and which itself cannot be set on fire. It acts as 10 points of Armor to damage from Fire and Heat Sources Only. If the suit is to look like ordinary clothing instead of a strange material, then the cost for this as a Trait is Major instead of Minor.



Folding Bow (Minor)


Requires : Bowyer, Weapon Crafting, Metallurgy


This is an advanced bow style, based in technology similar to the Telescopic Staff, and may be any type of bow. The Bow can, by pressing a specific control, fold up to a length of about 18" long. The same control will cause it to unfold and be ready to use. Folding/Unfolding takes an action.



Gas Mask (Minor)


Requires : Organic Chemistry, Poisons


This is a device that protects the wearer against the effects of smoke, breathed in gas attacks and the like. It uses a charcoal filter and covers the entire face of the wearer. It prevents the use of many influence skills while worn, since the face cannot be seen, the voice is muffled and distorted etc.



Gas Gun (Major)


Requires : Mechanics, Chemistry (Organic or Inorganic), Machinist


The Gas gun is a useful device that can be loaded with a number of specialized ammunitions. It resembles a slighlt oversized pistol with a funnel-like muzzle. Generally the gun will have a single slide chamber into which is placed a small cartridge which contains a highly compressed chemical with a propellant that will be forced, when the trigger is pressed, thru the barrel outward in a cloud.


The gun is very quiet, an Observation Hearing at -10 roll is needed to hear the gun being fired within thirty feet, and it cannot be heard much beyond that range. Reloading the weapon can be done quickly, but not instantaneous, and will take an action. The Gas Gun's cloud is limited in range, covering a 5 meter range outward from the barrel in a cone. It disperses quickly and covering a much smaller area when there is ventilation or when used outdoors.


Gas Guns do not need any special skills to use, not even standard firearms skill, since they are not actually targeted beyond pointing them, and their firing mechanism is simple.


Tear Gas and Smoke Cartridges are the most common, based upon current technology, and can be considered available to the character at start. Smoke acts as an obscurement, as per the perception modifier rules.


Tear gas acts as an irritant to the eyes and respitory system (a character unprotected in a cloud of tear gas has their Sight and Smell/Taste Observation drop to base of 1 (not counting skill levels), and they will be at a -5 ranks (-25%) from success chance for all targeting skill rolls (bows, crossbows, pistols, rifles, thrown weapons) due to the irritation and pain that the gas occurs). Normal Gas Masks can protect against tear gas, as can advanced gas masks. The effects of Tear Gas will affect someone who has been exposed to it for more than 3 rounds, and will last for a full half hour after being gased.


It should be remembered that the gun user is not immune to the effects of the weapon in the case of a wind shift back at them, or if the enclosed area is too small not to include the area they are in. They might consider using a Gas Mask themselves to deal with this.


A Modified Gun design can be produced that does not look like a pistol, but instead is housed inside of a cane or umbrella with metal fittings (but is actually hollow) that conceal its workings.


Other uses and cartridges could conceivably be developed within the context of the game, if a player so desired and their character had the correct chemistry related skills. These would be seperate inventions.



Quickdraw Device (Minor)


Requires : Mechanics, Machinist


A Quickdraw device is a mechanical item that is worn under a long-sleeve short or coat. It can hold a derringer pistol, knife, or other small item, and when the muscles in the arm are flexed in the correct pattern will move the item from its hidden place in the sleeve into the hand. There is no measurable time delay to quickdraw an item in this manner, unlike the normal drawing of a gun from a holster. The drawback is that the hand with the device cannot be used for punching in a fight while it is loaded.



Shoe Blade (Minor)


Skills : Metallurgy, Weaponcraft, Leathercrafts


A shoe blade is installed in a pair of shoes or boots, and is designed so that a tapping of the heels of the footware together causes the blade to extend out from below the toes, extending about an inch outward. This blade can be used to help with attempts to escape from bonds, or it can be used in a fight to increase the damage from kick attacks (giving a +2 to the damage base inflicted by a kick). One or both shoes may be equipped with such a blade. Shoe Blades do not require Bladed Weapon Skills to use, just brawling.



Super Smoke Grenades


Rapid Replacement


Requires : Chemistry (Organic or Inorganic)


These are small devices, perhaps the size of a marble, or cleverly crafted so that they can be disguised as a piece of jewelry or even the cufflinks or buttons on a piece of clothing. When one of these is thrown with force against a hard surface they break, causing a chemical reaction that instantly releases a large cloud of colored smoke into an area. The smoke, unless it is a windy or well ventilated area, will last for a full minute. Super smoke grenades are useful for making a quick escape, or to make it difficult for gunfire to reach you.





Requires : Metallurgy, Machinist, Wacthmaking


This device may come in a variety of forms, but is usually highly concealable and compressed and launches an extremely thin, extremely strong line of cable in a pointed direction at a fast speed with a special minature grappling hook on the end that can lodge easily and allows the weilder to swing by the line in swashbuckler style. After reaching their destination there is some means to quickly disconnect the grapple and recall the line as an action. If the swing is used to perform an attack like action (such as bursting thru a window and toppling over guards) it requires a Dexterity roll or an Acrobatics skill roll (whichever gives the better chance of success). Swinglines are usually strong enough to carry two characters, if one is hanging on to the other.



Telescopic Staff (Minor)


Requires : Metallurgy, Weapon Crafting


This a high tech version of a quarterstaff, made of an unusual metal alloy. In its compressed form it's the size of a tobacco tin, but a small stud causes it to expand to a length of 6 1/2 feet. As a staff it acts as any normal staff in regards to weapon damage, except it's made of metal and can be used without risk of breakage against metal weapons. It can also be expanded, using a second stud, to a length of nearly twelve feet and is strong enough to be used as a pole vaulting tool. The metal is non-conductive, and does not rust and is not affected by magnets.



Thermite Paste (Minor)


Requires : Chemistry (inorganic or organic), Demolitions


Stored in a tube like toothpaste, this chemical, when ignited, will burn extremely hot, making it useful for welding, cutting thru metal (such as handcuffs, door locks, safes, etc.)



Universal Tool (Major)


Requires : Metallurgy, Machinist, Mechanics, Weaponcrafting


This little wonder is a rod about 9 inches in length and generaly made of what appears to be steel but is actually a special alloy. There is a small pair of numerically inscribed dials, numbered from 0-9 each, giving a hundred different settings. Its normal setting is a straight 00, which is the described appearance.


When the dials are turned the device changes shape and becomes one of a hundred different useful hand tools including: hammer, hacksaw, wood saw, carving knife, scaling knife, paring knife, sewing needle, awl, leather punch, pliers, wire cutters, ratchet, screwdriver (10 different sizes of both standard and 'phillips head'), adjustable wrench, C-Clamp, Pizza cutter, fork, tuning fork, trowel, mixing spoon, ladel, measuring cup, pry bar, hand drill, tongs, chisel, ice pick, small hatchet, lockpick, and a variety of others. None of its forms can produce electricity or heat, so they cannot include tools that need such (like sodering irons).



Warmth Suit (Minor)


Requires : Weaving or Tailoring, Organic or Inorganic Chemistry


A Warmth suit is a special skin-tight body suit that can be worn under normal clothing which protects from the ravages of arctic and antarctic temperatures, preventing frostbite and other problems associated with such conditions for upto a week without other protection or shelter. It also protects against hypothermia when in the water and acts as a very insulated 'wetsuit' for divers. It should NOT be worn in tropic weather conditions or desert conditions, as it will cause heat exhaustion and dehydration at an excellerated rate.

Comments (1)

Anonymous said

at 2:22 pm on Nov 6, 2006

I'm working to expand the possibilities for characters using the invention skill, and in the process to add to the 'weird science' concepts found in pulp adventure fiction in the setting.

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