From time to time, a GM will need to create an item from scratch. Items and equipment are useful objects that can be used as plot devices or to help a character group accomplish their goals. As is evident with the myriad lists of weapons, armor and equipment in Chapter Five, the potential array of possible items ranges in utility from the mundane to the extremely powerful. Creating objects is a tricky business and should be handled with caution. A new object can very easily unbalance the game once it's been introduced by giving whoever has the object an insurmountable advantage (for example, a device that completely nullifies all damage is too powerful). For this reason, creating objects is best performed as a collaborative effort. That's not to say that item building cannot be done as a solo activity (GMs preparing equipment might not be able to discuss an object with a group if it is going to be the centerpiece of their adventure, for example), it just helps to pool ideas and get suggestions from others. Particularly powerful objects should be designed with factors that limit their utility; they can be exorbitantly expensive, extremely heavy, or have an exceptionally limited number of uses. GMs have the final right to say whether or not a new item can be used in game and to make changes to its properties once it's in the game, performing a solution as discussed in Chapter 10.4.
Two procedures for item creation are presented in this sub-Chapter. The first of these is for creating mundane and extant objects, and (as might be obvious) works very well for items that already exist in real life or have limited game functions. The second, longer and more comprehensive item creation procedure is designed for objects that require more detail (such as in-game weaponry, Armor, and new pieces of vehicle and capital ship equipment). It works well for all other types of objects (i.e. those that don't exist in real life and/or may have significant in-game properties).
Creating Mundane and Extant Objects
Let's face it: there are a lot of things out there that can be classified as general "stuff", such as computers, pencils, cell phones, toilet paper, candy bars, shoes, and so on. Moreover, there tends to be more than one brand name for most of these things; there are usually generic versions of each item, but certain brand names indicate a higher (or lower) quality object. Then you've got stuff over different technological periods: a clay jar is an advanced piece of technology to someone living in a Stone Age society. Give them a cell phone and they're liable to stone you to death for practicing evil magic (if they have a sense of what constitutes magic, of course). Any item could very well be crucial to the outcome of an adventure. It should be needless to say, but if the idea of coming up with comprehensive lists for weapons and Armor was merely a Herculean task, trying to come up with a comprehensive list for items probably comes as close to impossible as it gets (at least not without the list accumulating enough mass for it to collapse into a gravitational singularity upon itself...).
Provided a non-existing item cannot be classified as Armor or a weapon, a GM can still try to generate the information necessary to include it in an adventure as is. All they need to do is gather information on a real life object of the same type (information on its rough size, weight etc.), come up with any in-game effects for it, and adjust its price. The exchange rate for items in WCRPG is 4.65 United States Dollars (USD, or just $) per credit (¤). For all intents and purposes, all other currencies used by all other species in WCRPG are equal to the credit.
Information on an item's size can be used to determine the size of the pocket required in order to carry it and its encumbrance class (see Chapter 5.4 for more details). For reference, any item up to 50 cubic centimeters in size takes up one slot and has an EC of zero. Objects above 50 and below 100 cubic centimeters take up two slots and have an EC of 1. For each additional doubling of the needed slots, the EC increases by one level (i.e. objects above 100 and below 200 cm3 require four slots and have an EC of 2, below 400 cm3 needs eight slots and has an EC of 3, below 800 cm3 needs sixteen slots and has an EC of 4, below 1600 cm3 needs 32 slots and has an EC of 5, and so on.)
An item's weight can be used to determine if there will be any additional penalties inflicted when carrying it. This is a fairly simple determination: for every five kilograms (or ten pounds) the object weighs, the object imposes a +1 HD/THD penalty. If the item will cause any restriction to its user's movement, Finesse Check penalties may be added as well with a penalty of up -25 for something really restricting.
Weight is also a good predictor for the number of motor appendages needed to utilize an item. In general, objects require an additional appendage for every additional point of HD/THD penalty they inflict. This is not necessarily true for all objects (for example, something like a Rubik's Cube™ is both very small and very light, but still requires two hands to operate - one to hold it, one to turn pieces). The designer is encouraged to use common sense when determining the required number of appendages.
Once all the data has been gathered on an item, its designer can complete the information available on it by considering any in-game effects it might have. This is where the warning on making objects too powerful applies; a designer should not hesitate to add limiting factors if they feel their item may be too powerful. Again, the best limiting factors are price, weight, and/or number of uses.
For the sake of a procedural example, let's say a designer wants to include an older, decent-quality MP3 player in an adventure, one that holds 4 gigabytes worth of music. To get the information they need, the designer will go check the website of a certain company that makes the most popular of these devices and find the specifications for one of their old 4GB models. Upon checking, they discover that the 4GB model weighs in around 49.2 grams, is roughly 23.7 cubic centimeters in volume, and has a price tag of about 150 USD.
That should sufficient information in order to create the object. 49 grams equates to roughly 0.05 kilograms...not a very heavy object at all, so no weight-related penalties will be added. The designer also decides to make this a one-appendage object based on its weight and how they envision the working of the controls. 23.7 cm3 is less than the 50 cm3 upper bound for a single slot object, so it will need one slot and has an EC of 0. Plugging 150 USD into a calculator and using the conversion factor of $4.65/¤ gives us a final value of roughly ¤32.26; the designer adjusts that down to ¤32.25 to make any math involving their item a little easier. It's a modern day object, so its technological level will be Industrial Age. The designer takes the time to consider its in-game effects, and comes up with the following:
|4GB MP3 Player||Industrial Age||¤32.25||0||1||One||A small, hard plastic rectangular prism with a liquid crystal display and "flywheel"-style control. Has an interface for making a USB connection to a computer as well as a port to hook up to a set of headphones or speakers. Can be used to carry up to 1000 songs or 4GB worth of pictures and/or video, and to play them back on command.|
While this may be somewhat of a mundane example, being able to play the right song at the right time may be crucial to the success of a campaign, depending on what its GM has in mind...
Creating New and Non-Mundane Objects
It may be that a designer wants to create an item or a piece of equipment that doesn't exist anywhere in the real world (this can be any kind of object, whether it's designed for a character's use or to be a new type of system installed aboard a capital ship). It may also be that the designer wants their item to have a level of detail greater than what is produced with the mundane object procedure. The following procedure may be used in order to produce the necessary information for these objects. What constitutes "necessary information" depends entirely on the item's intended usage.
The procedure for making new equipment is as follows:
- Compose the object's concept.
- Determine the object's type.
- Determine what information is needed for the object.
- Compare the object to other objects in its category (optional).
- Determine the object's effects.
- Determine the object's value.
- Determine the rest of the object's information.
- Name the object.
Bear in mind that this procedure is fairly generic and is designed to encompass as many possible objects for use with the WCRPG system as possible. Some items won't require more information than size, effect, value and name, while others will require substantially more information. Where an item of a particular type needs more information, it will be so noted. For purposes of this discussion, all items will be referred to as "objects".
Compose the object's concept.
Before the designer actually begins to build their object, they should take a minute or two to come up with a design concept. A concept can be a drawing, a set of desired stats, or anything else that helps the designer focus their thoughts and serve to direct them while they're creating their object. The designer needs to think about just what exactly it is they wish to create, answering questions about their creation and how they intend for it to function. The object creation system as laid out in this sub-Chapter has been designed to be as comprehensive as possible. Nevertheless, it's not perfect; there may be times when a player has to improvise. Odd circumstances can happen quite often, particularly if an object is of an unusual design. This is where having a design concept can come in handy; it helps a designer think about what they might be able to do in these situations.
What constitutes a good concept is generally up to the designer, but in general they should be able to answer these questions: what does the object do?, what is its required technological level?, how rare is it?, how powerful is it within its category?, and how similar is it to existing objects?. A creator that can answer these questions in the concept phase has a solid base from which to start working. It's still possible to create an object if the designer can't answer a question or two, but more decisions about it will need to be made on the fly.
Because there are many different types of objects that can be created with this procedure and since there are some differences in what information is needed for various objects, several examples will be provided for each step of the procedure. These examples won't cover every potential object type, but they should be enough to give object designers a good idea of how to work with the procedure.
We're going to make four objects. First, we'll do an example of a character-scale weapon, in this case a katana. Next, we're going to make a vehicle engine that allows for greater movement, perhaps at the cost of fuel efficiency. Third, we're going to create a piece of equipment that is designed to completely nullify the damage a vehicle takes from planetary weather. Finally, we'll create an artifact that allows a capital ship to instantaneously jump from one point within a star system to another without the use of a jump point.
So let's start answering questions in regards to the katana. The object is a melee weapon designed for making slashing attacks (i.e. quick removal of limbs, heads, etc.). Katanas originated in Japan's Muromachi period (1392–1573); this corresponds to the latter part of Earth's Metal Age. Considering the level of craftsmanship and dedication that was required for the proper manufacture of a single blade, it's likely that any such weapon existing in the 27th Century would be incredibly rare or of inferior quality. Its slashing ability would give it a little more kick than a regular long sword, though in most respects it would be identical to such a weapon.
The vehicle engine is designed to provide propulsion for a vehicle (obviously). It's going to require at least Industrial Age technology, but for this example let's say it requires Starfaring Age tech. If we say the engine is used commercially for vehicle racing, they might be relatively uncommon outside of racing circuits. We've already said that they're going to allow greater movement at the cost of fuel efficiency (which answers the question of how similar they are to existing engines, though whether or not they will count as "overly powerful" within the category of Engine is going to depend on how the final design turns out).
Our weather nullifier is designed to completely eliminate the threat of significant damage to a vehicle from planetary weather. This would probably require a specific type of shield, so Starfaring Age technology is indicated. We want to make this a piece of equipment (a vehicle accessory) rather than an artifact, so they'll be fairly ubiquitous. A device that eliminates the risk of weather damage is extremely powerful; truth be told, this is object is too powerful. We'll go ahead and create it this way on purpose. It doesn't compare well to any object currently in the system.
Finally, we have our "cap ship teleporter", which allows a ship to instantaneously jump from one point within a star system to another without the use of a jump point. Teleportation screams Starfaring Age technology (it also screams "not in-universe" but we'll ignore this little factoid simply for the sake of the example). Since we've said this will be an artifact, it's probably going to be extraordinarily rare; it could even be unique. It's boasting a very powerful effect - instant teleportation would allow a ship to bypass fleets, encounters, planetary defenses, and so on. We're going to make this fairly similar to a standard jump drive (or perhaps a Morvan drive). To keep it from being too powerful, we'll limit the number of times it can be used (either with a horrendous fuel requirement or simply a substantial safe time delay between uses).
Determine the object's type.
Once the designer has completed their concept, they can begin putting their object together. The first thing they'll need to determine is the kind of object they wish to create. Objects that can be created using this procedure fall into one of seven broad categories:
- Weapons are primarily designed to cause physical damage and/or specific detrimental effects to other objects (including living beings). Weapons come in one of four sub-types: melee, beam, projectile, or special.
- Defenses are designed to keep other objects (including living beings) from taking physical damage or experiencing effects that would significantly degrade their performance. Objects in this category include Armor and Shields.
- Engines provide locomotive and electrical power to a vehicle or capital ship. Most vehicles require an Engine in order to function properly.
- Equipment (also known as accessories) augments the abilities of another object (including living beings). Most objects fall into this general category.
- Modules are designed to attach to a mount-point on a capital ship in order to perform a specific function. Unlike other capital ship accessories, modules can be added or removed from a ship at will, provided it has a free mount-point capable of supporting the module and the necessary equipment available to mount/dismount it. Modules come in one of two types: permanent and expendable.
- Commodities are designed for the sole purpose of being bought and sold. Their function is to serve as a potential means of generating revenue for any party trading them. Commodities are grouped into ten broad categories: Comestibles (anything that can be consumed by a living creature to sustain their biological processes, such as food or liqueurs), Raw Materials (ores or unprocessed materials), Processed Goods (products directly purchased by consumers for personal or household use, such as food dispensers or household appliances), Capital Goods (manufactured goods whose purpose is to manufacture other goods, such as mining and construction equipment), Microelectronics (any device reliant on electrical power for its operation, usually with very fine circuitry, such as a computer or holographic emitter) Luxury Goods (goods whose purpose is superfluous to general survival needs, such as artwork and entertainment items), Contraband (illegal materials, such as slaves or recreational drugs), Weaponry (instruments used for attack or defense in combat or hunting activities), Fuels (substances that are consumed to provide energy for a specific purpose), and Special (any commodity object that does not explicitly fall into one of the first nine categories).
- Artifacts are extremely rare objects. While most are mundane, some have unusual, generally powerful properties. There are very few examples of this kind of object in the Wing Commander canon, though they do exist (the best examples are the Steltek Map from Privateer and the Nature Orb from the Wing Commander: Academy episode "Recreation").
While there are other objects within WCRPG's system (notably characters, creatures, vehicles, capital ships, communities, planets, star systems and Sectors), those objects have their own creation procedures already. All objects within the game that use this procedure must fall within one of these general categories, no matter how tenuous its connection. At the same time, it's possible that an object might fall into more than one category, and it's possible that the category of primary importance may change depending upon the situation. In that case, a primary category will need to be selected for the object. For example, a common Bos taurus can be categorized as a Commodity, a Lifeform, and (though a bit of a stretch) Equipment. If classifying a Bos Taurus as strictly an object, its primary category will be Commodity. When encountered on a planet's surface, its primary category will be Lifeform (until it is captured and stunned, when it becomes Commodity again).
We have some pretty good concepts for our four objects, so it should be relatively easy to categorize them. We've already said that the katana is designed for lopping off limbs, but we've also indicated that they are exceptionally rare in the 27th Century. It could therefore be categorized as either a Weapon or Artifact. It's probably best to categorize it as a Weapon, especially if the intention is for someone to be out in the field using it for self-defense. The racing engine is an Engine; that one's fairly obvious from the description we've given it. Both the weather shield and the cap ship teleporter could be classified either as Equipment or Artifact; the weather shield might even be classified as Defenses. Again, we've determined the types in the object concepts: the shield is Equipment, while the teleporter is an Artifact.
Determine what information is needed for the object.
With the object's type determined, the designer will need to begin filling in the statistical information required in order to build it. Before they can do that, they'll need to know exactly what information is going to be needed. There are a total of 27 different properties that may be included in an object's description; no object type requires all of them (most objects require less than ten). The specific properties that an object may have are outlined in the table below.
|Information||Description||Categories Required By|
|Appendages||Appendages refers to the number of motor appendages (see Chapter 5.4) that are required in order to successfully operate or manipulate the object.||Weapons, Equipment|
|Availability||Availability refers to the level of technology required by a species in order to manufacture and utilize the object. It can also refer to the minimum size of a community wherein the object might be bought or sold.||Weapons, Defenses, Engines, Equipment|
|Class||Class is a property that describes how well an object functions in comparison to variants of the same object.||Weapons, Defenses, Engines|
|Combat Move||Combat Move is a property that determines how many maneuvers a vehicle or capital ship may make during a round of combat.||Engines|
|Cost||Cost refers to the monetary value of the object.||All|
|Damage||Damage is a property that describes the amount of physical damage the object may inflict on other objects, or whether or not the object is capable of inflicting a given detrimental effect on other objects.||Weapons|
|Damage Reduction (DR)||Damage Reduction is a property that indicates an amount of physical damage by which a physical attack is reduced prior to any actual application of damage against the object.||Defenses|
|Deployment||Deployment is a property that indicates the amount of time in rounds that it takes for a defensive system to come on-line or to be wielded by a user.||Defenses|
|Effect||Effect refers to any non-classified additional properties the object may impart to its user.||All|
|Falloff||Falloff refers to any reduction in the object's functioning (usually a reduction in the amount of physical damage caused or an increase in a target's effective hit difficulty) resulting due to increasing distance between the object and its intended area of effect.||Weapons|
|Fuel Efficiency||Fuel Efficiency is a property which measures the amount of fuel expended by a vehicle or capital ship over a given travel distance.||Engines|
|HD Effect||HD effect refers to an increase or decrease in a vehicle or capital ship's hit difficulty levels due to the installation of the object.||Engines|
|Hit Points||Hit Points is a property that measures an amount of additional defense the object imparts to its user against physical damage.||Defenses|
|Initiative||Initiative is a property that measures a character's, vehicle's or capital ship's quickness and ability to react.||Engines|
|Magazine||Magazine is a property that indicates the number of times the object may be used before requiring recharging or reloading.||Weapons|
|Mountpoint||Mountpoint is a property that indicates a specific location upon which the equipment may be carried, either as a temporary or permanent attachment.||Equipment|
|Name||Name refers to how an object is referenced in common parlance.||All|
|Options||Options refers to a list of features that may be added to an object, each of which may change one or more of its basic characteristics.||Weapons|
|Penalties||Penalties is a property that indicates any negative effect the object imparts to its user's abilities or functioning.||Defenses|
|Pocket is a property that indicates how much space the object possesses for the purpose of storing other objects.||Equipment|
|Range||Range is a property that indicates the distance at which the object's effects start to degrade, or the maximum distance at which the object's usage will still have any appreciable effect.||Weapons|
|Recharge||Recharge is a property that indicates the amount of time that must pass between individual uses of the object.||Weapons|
|Regeneration||Regeneration refers to the ability and rate at which an object that has been damaged or has had its ability to function reduced is able to return to its full capabilities.||Defenses|
|Restrictions||Restrictions is a property that inflicts negative modifiers to any character, vehicle or capital ship that utilizes the object.||Equipment|
|Size||Size refers to the overall volume of the object.||Equipment, Artifact|
|Speed Effect||Speed Effect refers to the overall multiplier the object imparts to the base speed of a vehicle's chassis for the purpose of augmenting its speed.||Engines|
|Type||Type is a property that indicates to which "sub-category" the object belongs.||Weapons, Defenses, Equipment, Artifact|
To determine what information will be required for their object, the designer simply needs to go down the table and see what properties are needed by its primary category. A new object will require all of the information utilized by its primary category (even if some of that information winds up as "not applicable"). If the object can be placed in multiple categories, some or all of the information needed by the subordinate categories may be included at the designer's discretion.
We need to determine what information is going to be required by our objects. Let's start with the katana. It's a weapon, so we'll go through the table and check for properties required by the Weapons category. We'll need to generate information on Appendages, Availability, Class, Cost, Damage, Effect, Falloff, Magazine, Name, Options, Range, Recharge, and Type. We'll need to generate all this information even though it’s obvious from the katana's design that some of it won't apply (for example, the katana won't have a magazine and doesn’t need to recharge). Since it won't need any information from the Artifact category that isn't already being utilized by the Weapons category, whether or not we'd want to incorporate aspects of the Artifact category is a moot point.
The racing engine (an Engine) will require information on Availability, Class, Combat Move, Cost, Fuel Efficiency, HD Effect, Initiative, and Speed Effect. As an artifact, the teleporter needs information on its Cost, Name, Size, Type and Effect.
Our weather shield is primarily a piece of Equipment, so from the table it will need information on Appendages, Availability, Cost, Effect, Mountpoint, Name, Pocket, Restrictions, Size, and Type. Since it can also be classified as Defenses, we can add pieces of information for that category as well. Making a quick scan for the Defenses category and going off our concept, we'll go ahead and add DR and Regeneration to the information we're going to generate for the shield.
Compare the object to other objects in its category (optional).
Something a designer may elect to do once they know what information is needed for their object is to look at any available information on another object of the same category (if one exists). Preferably, the designer should look at an existing object that is as similar to their object as possible. Gathering this information will give the designer a baseline against which they can begin determining information about their object, which will allow them to know if what they're making going to be better or worse than "the norm". This part of the procedure is strongly recommended for objects in the Weapons, Defenses or Engines categories, or for any other object that is an upgrade/downgrade of an existing object.
Our example objects can all be compared to other objects in the same category. The katana, as we know from the object's concept, is basically a long sword. There are stats on long swords in WCRPG already; they're listed in Chapter 5.2. A unique aspect of this comparison is that the long sword itself is an Option of a more generic weapon, Blade. The long sword basically adjusts the number of appendages needed at various Blade Classes, increases the price, and increases the damage of the generic Blade type. The various properties available on Blades are listed in Chapter 5.2 and we'll make note of them for our katana. Similarly, the racing engine can be compared to the generic vehicle Engine listed in Chapter 6.2.3. Because the stats on those objects are readily available, they won't be repeated here, though designers following these examples may choose to reference those objects at any time to see how our new objects compare. Neither the Weather Shield nor the Cap Ship Teleporter can be compared to any extant item; that's alright, it'll just make it a little harder to compare these items to "the norm" (as there's no "norm" against which to compare them).
Determine the object's effects.
Once the designer knows what properties are required for their object, they can begin filling in that information. The first property that a designer needs to determine is their object's Effects. Along with a name and a monetary value, Effects is one of only three properties that are shared by all objects. The Effects property is crucial, since the object's Effects will directly determine just how useful it may be and will detail just what exactly how it is intended to be used. The possible effects an object may have are largely dependent upon its primary category. A designer should select effects that are appropriate to the object in question.
The Weapons category has a wide array of potential effects, each of which is designed to augment a weapon's normal capabilities. Weapons may be given one or more of the effects listed in the following table if a designer so wishes. Many of the effects listed are in a general form; it is up to the designer to fill in the specifics.
|Effect Name||Effect Description|
|Area Effect||The weapon's damage is spread out over a larger area, allowing it to affect multiple targets at the same time. Typically, a weapon with this effect will either have a higher power requirement or will cause a significantly reduced amount of damage as compared to a standard weapon of the same type. Area effects may also spread another effect over an area (such as a weapon that sprays fire or acid). The designer will need to be specific as to the size and shape of the area affected (cone, sphere, etc.).|
|Blast Effect||A special case of Area Effect, the weapon has a blast effect that spreads itself out in a spherical region around its hypocenter. Typically, a weapon with this effect experiences Falloff in both terms of reduced damage and hit difficulty bonuses with increased distance from the hypocenter. When determining if a target is hit with this kind of weapon, its BHD (or THD if it is on the character-scale) is used. The designer will need to be specific as to the weapon's blast radius and specific falloff statistics.|
|Bypass||The weapon is capable of bypassing parts of a target or its defenses without being blocked and/or without causing damage to that specific part. Parts that may be bypassed may include any shielding or armor on the target, specific systems, specific body parts, crew or passengers. The designer must be specific about what will be bypassed as well as whether the weapon will not be blocked by what it bypasses, and if it will not cause damage the parts it bypasses.|
|Condition Effect (Stun, Daze, Etc.)||The weapon imparts some kind of condition to its target upon impact in addition to any physical damage it causes. This can include such things as causing the target to become Dazed or immobilized, catching it on fire, "salvaging" damage (stealing hit points from the target and applying them to the weapon's wielder), and so forth. The designer must be specific as to the weapon's effect as well as the strength of that effect.|
|Delayed Falloff||The weapon's falloff effects won't apply until a defined range from the weapon's firing point has been reached. Weapons with this effect must have a definite falloff value either in terms of damage done, hit difficulty bonuses applied, or both. The designer must be specific as to the number of range increments at which the weapon's falloff begins to take effect as well as what aspects of the weapon's falloff are affected by the delay.|
|Different Damage Scale||The weapon's listed amount of damage is on a scale other than its own (a character-scale weapon that causes vehicle-scale damage or vice versa). The designer must be specific as to the circumstances under which the different damage scale applies.|
|Environmental Effect||The weapon inflicts an environmental effect upon the target or in its area of effect (for more on environmental effects, see Chapter 12.3). This can heat or cold damage, exposure to radiation, increased/decreased gravitational force or other physical effects, and so on. The designer must be specific as to the exact environmental effect as well as its intensity.|
|Environmental Restrictions||The weapon's functioning is reduced if certain environmental requirements are or are not met at the time the weapon's wielder activates it. Prohibitive environmental conditions may include things such as precipitation, cloud cover, smoke, presence/lack of an atmosphere, presence/lack of a certain gas in the atmosphere, and so forth. The designer must be specific as to the conditions under which the weapon may or may not be used at full capacity, as well as the amount of restriction that occurs when the environmental restriction applies.|
|Finesse Modifiers||The weapon induces a modifier to its wielder's Finesse attribute. Only character-scale weapons may have this effect. Typically, Finesse modifiers are penalties caused due to the weapon's weight; a Finesse Check penalty of -1 should be inflicted per kilogram of the weapon's mass. Should the designer wish for the weapon to impart a Finesse bonus, they'll need to be specific as to the circumstances under which the bonus applies (whether it's conditional or some kind of intrinsic quality of the weapon).|
|HD/THD Modifiers||The weapon induces a modifier to its wielder's HD and THD. Only character-scale weapons may have this effect. Typically, HD/THD modifiers are penalties caused due to the weapon's weight; an HD/THD penalty of +1 should be inflicted per two kilograms of the weapon's mass. Should the designer wish for the weapon to impart an HD/THD bonus, they'll need to be specific as to the circumstances under which the bonus applies (whether it's conditional or some kind of intrinsic quality of the weapon).|
|IFF Seeker||The weapon is able to discern friendly targets from hostiles and either will not target friendlies or won't cause them any damage whatsoever in the event of a hit. The designer must be specific as to which of these effects applies as well as any conditions under which the weapon won't be able to discern friend from foe.|
|Post-Impact||The weapon is designed such that its shots do not dissipate upon impacting and delivering damage to a target. Weapons of this nature may "shoot through" the first target, arc damage out to other nearby targets, or loop around to hit the same target multiple times. The designer must be specific as to the exact post-impact effect the weapon utilizes as well as the conditions under which the weapon's shots will finally dissipate.|
|Repeater||The weapon is designed to be able to fire multiple shots during the course of a single round. Weapons like this typically either spread out their damage between the number of charges it fires during the course of the round or have some kind of offsetting factor for increased damage potential (such as higher cost). The designer must be specific as to the exact number of shots the weapon may discharge during the course of a single round as well as any conditions under which the weapon may be limited to firing a single shot.|
|Selective Damage||The weapon is designed such that its wielder may select the kind of damage inflicted. This enables the user to decide whether or not the weapon will cause Non-Lethal damage, Lethal Damage, or Basic Damage. The designer must be specific as to which settings are available for the weapon, and should indicate if there is any kind of limit to the amount of damage caused on a given setting.|
|Specific Area Damage (sensors, engines, etc.)||The weapon is designed such that it causes damage to a specific system or body part, regardless of where it impacts its target. Weapons with this effect may be designed such that a specific amount of damage always occurs upon impact. The designer must be specific as to what system or body part is affected, as well as what kind of effect or damage occurs.|
|Stamina||The weapon has an effect which lasts for greater than one combat round. This can include any effect that the weapon produces or recurring amounts of damage (though ongoing damage usually has a very sharp drop-off over the period during which the weapon is still effective). The designer must be specific about which of the weapon's effects lasts over an extended period of time as well as the exact amount of time involved.|
|Target Re-Acquisition||The weapon has the ability to reacquire the same target in the event of a miss. Usually, a weapon with this ability imparts an HD bonus to its target on subsequent attempts to hit it and may only make a single attempt at a hit per round, with a final miss occurring if the amount of the HD bonus lowers the target's HD to zero or less. The designer must be specific as to the number of times the weapon may try to score a hit in a single round, the amount of HD bonus imparted to the target in the event of a miss, and under what conditions a final miss occurs.|
|User Skill Modifier||The weapon is designed such that its capabilities are augmented based upon the user's Skill levels. Alternatively, the weapon is designed such that one of the user's Skills is augmented while the weapon is being wielded (regardless of whether or not the weapon is involved in an actual attack). The designer must be specific about which Skill is being augmented as well as how much augmentation will occur.|
|Wound Modifier||The weapon is designed in such a manner that it is able to cause a greater number of Wounds to a character-scale target than normal. Modifiers can be set as specific amounts, die rolls, or multipliers and can be coupled with other effects to create particularly nasty Wounds or conditions that might be difficult for a medic to treat. The designer must be specific as to the modifier applied to the weapon as well as the conditions under which the modifier applies.|
Like Weapons, Defenses also have a number of specific effects (though not as many as the Weapons category). As with Weapons, the effects that Defenses may be given are listed out in a general form, leaving the task of filling in any specifics to the designer. Defense effects are outlined in the table below.
|Effect Name||Effect Description|
|Areal Coverage||The defensive system is designed to cover a specific area. This can be either a specific body part for a character-scale target, or a particular system for a vehicle or capital ship. The designer must be specific about what area is covered as well as any conditions under which the system may cover different areas, cover additional areas, or operate with reduced effectiveness.|
|Conditional Effects||The defensive system is designed such that it either produces a special effect when active or protects its user from certain conditions. These effects can include such things as making the user invisible, the ability to use the defensive system offensively, protection from negative environmental effects, and so forth. The designer must be specific about what special effect is produced or under what conditions the system will be able to protect its user.|
|Conditional HPR||If certain environmental or other conditions are fulfilled, the effectiveness of the defensive system is reduced (for example, normal capital ship Shields may not function as well in a nebula). The designer must be specific as to what conditions will result in reduced defensive capability as well as the degree of reduced capability.|
|HD/THD/BHD Penalty||The defensive system's design adds a large amount of weight to a character, vehicle or capital ship utilizing the system, resulting in a loss of some mobility. The designer must be specific about which HD ratings are affected as well as the degree of the penalty.|
|Maximum Damage Absorption||The defensive system's design limits the amount of damage it can absorb from any single attack. If the system takes more damage than the limit, the system either malfunctions or is completely destroyed. The designer must be specific about the exact amount of damage the system can take in a single assault as well as what occurs if that limit is exceeded.|
|Specific Weapon Treatment||The defensive system causes some kind of effect to a weapon. This effect can be to a specific weapon system (such as a slugthrower) or to a whole class of weapons (such as projectile weapons). Typically, these effects cause some kind of reduction in the amount of damage the weapon inflicts or imparts HD/THD modifiers to the system's wielder. The designer must be specific as to what weapons are affected as well as to the specific game effects that occur when the defensive system is hit by those weapons.|
The potential effects that can be associated with other objects are not as straight-forward as those for Weapons or Defenses, but a few general comments can be made on them. Commodities as a rule have no effects in and of themselves; simply put, their purpose is to be bought and sold. If a Commodity does happen to have an effect, it usually came from a subordinate category. Similarly, Engines have no specific Effect property, though there are a number of "effects" listed with their stats such as effects to a vehicle's HD ratings and maximum speed. A designer may set up an Engine in such a way that these effects are different from the norms outlined in Chapter 6.2; the new effects override the procedure in that case.
Equipment, Modules and Artifacts are all used as general "catch-all" categories. There are a few minor differences in the properties required for these different categories, but in general there's not much difference between them; the only real difference between Equipment and Modules is that Modules are specifically used by capital ships, and the only difference between Equipment and Artifacts is that Artifacts are much rarer and far more powerful than Equipment. There is no way to anticipate the effect of every general piece of equipment everywhere in the Wing Commander Universe, and so there are no effects lists for these categories. All items falling in the Equipment, Modules or Artifacts categories should be thoroughly tested before they are actually used in an adventure.
We're ready to assign some effects to the katana. The katana is primarily a Weapon, so we'll go through the list of Weapons effects and see what we can apply. Only three of the Weapons effects seem well-suited: Wound Modifier, Finesse Modifier and HD Modifier. To check on the Finesse and HD Modifiers, we'll need to determine the weight of a typical blade. After some research, we discover that a typical katana weighs in around 1.45 kilograms. This indicates that a -1 Finesse Check Modifier is appropriate, and that it is too light to apply any HD modifier. As for the Wound Modifier, we need to be specific about the degree of the modifier applied as well as the conditions under which it applies. To make things interesting, we'll say that a katana inflicts a number of additional Wounds equal to its Class instead of the single Wound normally inflicted when the target takes Lethal Damage. Further, we'll say that if the area hit is an unarmored cognitive organ, decapitation (i.e. brain death) occurs unless the target can make a successful Reflex Save. Both of these unique effects are nullified, however, if the target is in a Thick atmosphere or denser, or underwater.
The racing engine is an Engine, a category which does not have a specific effects list. We can go ahead and take the time to say what we'd like for it to do as far as HD and speed goes, however. For the HD ratings, we'll go ahead and keep the standard ±2 just like a regular Engine. We'll adjust the speed effect, however, to say that each Class above the default increases the vehicle's speed by 2.5 times rather than the normal two times, that lower Classes only decrease the speed by 75%, and that a vehicle equipped with the default Engine Class for its chassis adds 150 kph to its top speed (if applicable). We'll also give it a "burst mode", which allows a doubling of the vehicle's speed for a period of one minute at the cost of 5% its total fuel capacity.
Our other two objects, the weather shield and the cap ship teleporter, fall into two categories (Equipment and Artifact, respectively) that do not have specific effects lists. In this case, we can go back to our design concepts to determine their specific effects. The shield has Defenses as a subordinate category, so we can look through that list to see if any of those effects would apply well; the only one that might apply is Specific Weapon Treatment, with the "weapon" in this case referring to planetary weather and the specific effect being complete damage cancellation. We won't give the shield any further effects. Finally, the teleporter's effects are outlined in its concept: it allows a capital ship to instantaneously teleport from one point within a star system to another. To limit this effect, we'll say that the ship already has to be in interplanetary space in order to utilize it, it will use twice the number of fuel points as a standard jump in order to operate (i.e. it will use as much fuel in a single use as it would take to make two ordinary Akwende jumps), and it requires an hour to cool off when used.
Determine the object's value.
With the object's effects in place, the next order of business is the determination of its base value. This will determine a rough figure for how much it would ordinarily cost someone to buy the object and how much a seller can expect to get from it.
There are a few ways of determining an object's value. The easiest way is to compare its price to that of a similar object and either give it the same price or make an adjustment to account for any significant difference in its abilities. As a general rule, newer or more capable objects should be given a higher monetary value (up to ten times the value of the similar object). Similarly, a less capable object should be cheaper (down to one-tenth the value of the similar object). Alternatively, a designer may select a value from a specific range of prices that are typical for their object's primary category. To use this method, a designer simply needs to find the object's primary category on the table below and select a value that is within the indicated range for the scale and/or type required. A die roll is available for each of the indicated value ranges should the designer wish to make the value completely random. Additionally, each category has a value range (with die roll) that can be added to the object's value in the event that a given category is subordinate. Prices that are adjusted based on another object do not need to fit within the range given for prices that are selected manually. Finally, a designer may simply assign a random value to their object at their discretion. In all cases, the value indicated for an object may be in either credits or cost points.
|Category||Scale/Type|| Central Value|
|Primary Category Range||Subordinate Category Range|
|Vehicle/Light Ordnance*||¤2,762,372.33|| ¤357,000-¤595,000.39|
|Vehicle/Heavy Ordnance*||¤769,049,735.94|| ¤7,545,900.87-¤12,576,501.44|
|Capital Ship/Gun*||¤1,928,708.40|| ¤203,672.92-¤339,454.86|
|Capital Ship/Ordnance||¤2,556,333,333.33|| ¤1,917,250,000.00-¤3,195,416,666.67|
|Capital Ship/Special||¤8,516,666.67|| ¤6,387,500.00-¤10,645,833.33|
|Vehicle||30.00 CP (Either)|| 22.50-37.50 CP|
| 4.50-7.50 CP|
|Capital Ship||¤30,000.00|| ¤22,500-¤37,500|
|Engines‡||Vehicle||10.00 CP|| 7.50-12.50 CP|
| 1.50-2.50 CP|
|Capital Ship||¤10,000.00|| ¤7,500.00-¤12,500.00|
|Equipment||Character/Clothing and Container Objects*||¤1,641.78|| ¤22.69-¤37.81|
|Character/Tools and Wilderness Gear*||¤795.17|| ¤33.95-¤56.59|
|Character/Scanners and Computer Technologies||¤206.03|| ¤154.52-¤257.54|
|Character/Communication Technologies*||¤114.64|| ¤46.40-¤77.34|
|Character/Medicine and Medical Technologies*||¤237.47|| ¤121.72-¤202.86|
|Character/Weapon Accessories, Ammunition and Batteries*||¤157.11|| ¤47.13-¤78.55|
|Vehicle/Non Size-Based Accessories*||186.06 CP|| 70.20-117.00 CP|
| 14.04-23.40 CP|
|Vehicle/Size-Based Accessories**||628.00 CP|| 471.00-785.00 CP|
| 94.20-157.00 CP|
|Capital Ship/Non Size-Based Accessories||¤302.94|| ¤227.21-¤378.68|
|Capital Ship/Size-Based Accessories**||¤131.92|| ¤57.19-¤95.31|
|Commodities||Capital Goods||¤175.33|| ¤131.50-¤219.16|
|Processed Goods||¤161.12|| ¤120.84-¤201.40|
|Advanced Fuels||¤496.43|| ¤372.32-¤620.54|
|Luxury Goods*||¤177.00|| ¤43.38-¤72.31|
|Raw Materials*||¤177.40|| ¤57.38-¤95.63|
- †: The central price and range values given for objects in the Weapons and Defenses categories are for First Class objects only. To calculate values for higher subsequent Classes, the designer must multiply the value of the previous Class by a value between 1.5 and 3.0. The designer may use a die roll of 1.5 + (1d10*0.15) if they so desire. 'Sixth Class or higher objects have a value exactly twice that of the previous Class.
- ‡: Objects in the Engines category, like the Weapons and Defenses categories, also have the given central price and range values listed for First Class objects only and utilize the same range of multipliers to calculate the values of higher subsequent Classes. For the transition from First to Second Class, however, the value is multiplied by a value between 1.5 and 8.0 instead, with a die roll of 1.5 + (1d10*0.65) available for use by the designer if they so desire.
- *: Most objects in these categories tend to favor the lower end of the given value scale; objects on the higher end are either particularly rare or extremely large. The given die roll has been adjusted to account for the majority of objects in the scale, so the larger values must be selected manually.
- **: Objects in these categories will have their final overall value multiplied by the Size Class of any vehicle or capital ship upon which they are deployed. Most objects in these categories also favor the lower end of the value scale and the die roll has been adjusted to reflect this.
- ◊: Since no artifacts are actually listed anywhere in WCRPG, the values listed here are conjectural. Object creators should feel free to select a value outside of the given range for their artifact if they so choose.
To get a good idea of just exactly how expensive we need to make the katana, we should first take another look at the long sword (to which we compared it earlier). Per Class, a long sword costs 1.5 times the amount of a normal Blade. We've given the katana greater capabilities than a normal long sword and we've said that they are relatively rare. Because of these factors, we'll say that a katana costs 4 times the amount of a normal long sword, or six times the amount of a regular Blade (4 * 1.5 = 6). This gives us the specific price of a katana per Class. Note that this process gives us a range of values; it's possible that the designer was only looking to create a specific weapon. We might decide, then, that later we'll create a general "Japanese Sword" option with these figures and use the resultant Third Class stats specifically for the katana, using the other values for other types of Japanese blades (tanto, wakizachi, tsurugi, nodachi, odachi, and so forth). The Third Class calculation in this case comes out to ¤120. Note that this is quite a bit outside of the value range indicated for the primary category of Weapon: Character/Melee. This is perfectly fine.
Our racing engine fits into the general primary category of Engine. Since we intend for it to be used with vehicles, it corresponds to the Engine: Vehicle category on the chart. We can see that items in this category have a central value of 10 Cost Points and a primary category value range from 7.5 to 12.5 CP. A regular First Class Engine costs 10 CP and we know that our Engine is going to be more capable, so we'll go ahead and select a value of 12 CP manually for our First Class racing engine. We will need to go ahead and fill in a range of values for the other classes. For our purposes, we'll go ahead and just multiply out the regular Engine prices by 1.2 for Second through Fifth Classes and then double the values as normal afterwards. This gives us prices of 12, 36, 72, 120, 180, 360, 720, 1,440, 2,280 and 4,560 CP for our racing engine Classes.
Our Weather Shield is a piece of Equipment primarily, with Defenses as a subordinate category. Since it is being designed to be a piece of equipment used on a vehicle, we'll need to select one of the two vehicle equipment types. For the heck of it, we'll go with Non Size-based Vehicle Equipment. From the chart, we see that the category has a central value of 186.06 Cost Points with a range of values from 70.20 to 117.00 CP (this is one of those categories where the values of most of the items in it gravitate towards the lower end of the scale). Vehicle Defenses as a subordinate category will add a range from 4.50 to 7.50 CP to the final price. Let's say we want to make the shield relatively cheap. In that case, we can just select the prices manually from the ranges. We'll go with 95.50 CP from the Equipment category and 4.50 from the Defense category. The price of our TV Weather Shield is a nice, even 100.00 CP.
Finally, our stellar teleporter is an Artifact. These have a central value of ¤650,000.00 and a primary range from ¤487,500.00 to ¤812,500.00, though these are all just suggested values and we can in fact make it as expensive as we'd like. To keep things simple in this case, let's just use the prescribed die roll for the category, 487,500.00+(1d%*3,250). The d% roll results as a 48, so the final value of the stellar teleporter is ¤643,500 (48*3,250 = 156,000; 487,500.00+156,000 = 643,500).
Determine the rest of the object's information.
At this point, the designer has determined the object's effects and its cost. The next thing they need to do is to go through the properties that are required for their object's primary category and fill in anything that still hasn't been determined. While doing this, the designer should select information that is appropriate for their object. This might mean declaring some of the information as "not applicable"; this is perfectly acceptable, provided that doing so doesn't interfere with the object's intended function. If the designer decided to add properties from subsequent categories, they'll also need to fill in that information at this point. For specifics on how a property applies to a given object, the designer is encouraged to review how they are applied to other objects of the same type. This information can be found at various points in this set of rules.
We've filled in several pieces of information simply through the course of our discussion on our objects. For example, the katana is classified as a Weapon, so it needs information on its Name, Availability, Type, Recharge, Range, Appendages, Magazine, Falloff, Effects, Class, Cost, Damage, and Options (again, though the katana is also classified as an Artifact, there are no properties of that category that aren't shared by the Weapons category). We determined during the concept phase that the sword is a Metal Age object; this answers the question of its Availability. We determined that it's a character-scale melee weapon (its Type) early on by comparing it to another, similar weapon, the long sword. While researching its effects, we discovered a katana is a two-handed sword; this sets its Appendages. We set the Class (Third Class) while determining the weapon's Cost, so both of those have been determined. This leaves Recharge, Range, Magazine, Falloff, Damage, and Options to be determined. Because we're dealing with a melee weapon, it doesn't need to be reloaded or recharged and its range is limited to close quarters. In this case, we can knock off four of these remaining properties (namely Recharge, Range, Magazine and Falloff) simply by declaring them "not applicable". This leaves Damage and Options. We'll elect to not give the katana Options (somebody who wants to make a shinobigatana can create one on their own time), so that can also be declared "not applicable". As for Damage, we'll simply use the same amount as for a regular long sword; the katana, as a Third Class weapon, may inflict 18 points of Lethal Damage in addition to the extra effects we gave it.
The racing engine may be a better example of how the design process fills in information. It's a member of the Engine category, which requires information on Availability, HD Effect, Speed Effect, Class, Cost, Initiative, Combat Move, and Fuel Efficiency. We said in the concept that the engine is Starfaring Age tech, which fills in information on its Availability. HD and Speed effects were determined when we set the engine's effects. We filled in cost information for ten Classes. This leaves us with three pieces of information to determine for the racing engine: Initiative, Combat Move and Fuel Efficiency. We'll leave the Initiative ratings for the racing engine equal to those of a normal engine (equal to the Engine's class). We'll also set the Combat Move ratings equal to the Engine's Class. Finally, we'll reduce the engine's fuel efficiency by giving it a one-step penalty to terrain (it would use the Moderate Terrain difficulty ratings for Easy Terrain, etc.).
For the weather shield, we've determined Availability (during the concept), as well as Type (Vehicle Non Size-Based Equipment), Cost and Effect during the design phase. This leaves Appendages, Mountpoint, Pocket, Restrictions, and Size, as well as the two Defenses categories we picked earlier (DR and Regeneration). Since we're dealing with a Vehicle-scale piece of equipment, we won't need stats for Appendages, Mountpoint or Pocket; these can all become "not applicable". The way we've set up the shield's effects, its DR has been determined and Regeneration isn't needed, so these may also become "not applicable". This leaves Restrictions and Size to fill in. We'll arbitrarily say that there are no Restrictions and we'll set the shield's size at 0.25 cubic meters (not particularly small, but not particularly big either).
Finally, we come to our stellar teleporter. It's an Artifact, which means it needs information on its Size, Value, Type, and Effects. We assigned its Value and Effects earlier in the procedure, and from the concept we know that it is simply a general Artifact. This means the only thing we still need to determine is its Size; we'll set a value of 2.5 cubic meters, making it a reasonably large piece of equipment.
Name the object.
Once an object has been assigned all of the information necessary for its type, all that’s left is to give it a name (if it hasn't been given a name already). An object’s name should be unique as compared to the names of other objects. The name should also be appropriate to its function in order to give it credibility.
If it is possible for a GM to try out a new object before adding it to an adventure, they should go ahead and do so. This will entail the use of a quick "test" scenario wherein the object may be used under its normal operating conditions. By testing an object, a designer or GM might be able to detect early on whether it is too powerful. A designer or GM may not be able to test the object beforehand; this is fine as long as the GM is willing to make changes (perhaps drastic ones) in the middle of gameplay.
Since we named our objects at the beginning of the procedure, this step isn't strictly necessary in our case. However, we can go ahead and say that a GM put our objects through their paces. The objects turned out alright with the exception of the weather shield, which the GM thought was far too powerful. Perhaps the designer can try again, this time making the shield an Artifact instead of a common piece of Equipment.