Developing Technology

Researching, designing, and inventing new technology requires some amount of effort to achieve. In Paradiso, this is further complicated by the amount of scientific knowledge that was seemingly lost in the Apocalypse, and the disparity between how much has been recovered within different domes. For further information on the precise level of technological advancement in the world, see Technology.

Blueprints

All technology starts with an idea, and that idea is recorded in Blueprints. Blueprints define all the important features of a technology, and contain all the knowledge required to create it. The Academics skill is key in creating Blueprints - your level in that will define the thoroughness and detail of the plans, and certain items will be very difficult to design without having a certain level of Academics. Where applicable, other skills may be included to help inform the design - for instance, Combat when designing a fancy weapon - but Academics is a must.

Blueprints will typically take up to one Major Action to create, depending on the complexity of the item in question. Existing Blueprints may be extended, or incorporated or combined into larger plans. Once designed, Blueprints are free to copy and share, so long as you have access to the original set of Blueprints. This means it is possible to share your designs with the world if you are feeling kind of heart, or alternatively to have your designs stolen by unscrupulous persons.

Resources

Of course, an idea is usually not enough - you'll also want to actually build your designs once you've created them. For this you'll need Resources - be they raw materials, other existing technology, or particular artefacts (or some combination thereof). The Resources required for a given design will be specified by the Blueprints, and you'll need both access to the Blueprints and all of the Resources they specify in order to actually build the thing.

Common Resources can usually be obtained as a portion of a Major Action if you don't already have access to them, however rarer items may require more effort to find. In particular, other technologies may be prerequisites of certain designs. For instance, if creating a powerful portable lighting system for exploring the Wilderness at night, the Blueprints will probably call for some sort of portable power supply. You could design one, find designs for one from elsewhere, or perhaps just buy (or otherwise 'obtain') a power supply from someone with access to one.

Building

Once you have the Blueprints and Resources, you can set about building whatever it is the plans lay out. The primary skill required here is Craftsmanship - the higher the better, with more complicated Blueprints requiring a certain minimum level of Craftsmanship in order to succeed.

Time taken in construction will vary depending on the complexity of project, but will typically be proportional to the effort taken to produce the Blueprints. For simple projects in the hands of skilled characters, it might be possible to design the Blueprints, gather the Resources, and construct the item all in one action. For more complicated designs, it may require an entire Major Action to be set aside for construction alone. The GMs will be happy to provide estimates for projects if you are uncertain of how long they might require.

Mass production is very limited in its capacity. Uncomplicated items that can be created by manual labour with the assistance of simple processes, such as tools or newspapers, can be manufactured in bulk if the workforce and resources can be sourced. However, anything more intricate or requiring complex (or generally automated) machinery to build is going to be very time-consuming to set up - if you need a machine to automatically build an item, then the machine itself will require Blueprints and construction first. In the event that you do require mass-production of something, it is likely to be easier to use a large workforce rather than trying to automate entirely.

Teamwork

It is perfectly viable to go it alone when working on new technology, but collaboration between multiple characters is also possible, and may be necessary to help speed along larger projects. For instance, an Academically-oriented character could spend an action drawing up Blueprints, then pass these on to another character skilled in Craftsmanship to build in the same turn. Alternatively, multiple characters could work together on each part, all contributing to a set of Blueprints and the various aspects of construction. Note that, while this works easily with PCs if you can convince them to help you, NPCs are a bit more situation dependent: NPCs you have via positive traits can be used to help, as can NPCs you successfully persuade in session. However, you cannot just assert that a bunch of NPCs living across the hall from you come and help you out with your latest project if you have barely interacted with them.

Similarly, there is scope for sabotaging other people's plans: stealing their Blueprints, or perhaps introducing a subtle but crippling change into their designs (although be aware that introducing non-subtle changes will probably be noticed and corrected by the person who originally drew up the Blueprints!).

Examples

For demonstration purposes, let's say that Amy Faxwell, who has Academics 4 and Craftsmanship 4, wants to create various new technologies of varying complexity.

Simple: Rotating Bookshelf

Amy wants to build a bookshelf that rotates in place to reveal a hidden passage when a certain book is pulled, in order to enhance her legitimate place of business. Academics 4 is more than enough to design the mechanisms for the Blueprints, and the only Resources required are wood and books, which Amy has readily available. Given her Craftsmanship 4, building the bookcase from these designs is also pretty straightforward, and so the entire process from start to finish can be completed in a single Major Action.

Complex: Steam-Powered Boat

Amy wants to build a boat powered by a steam engine. Even with Academics 4, this is a somewhat more complicated project as there are many parts to design, and so drawing up the Blueprints takes an entire Major Action. Once complete, the Blueprints call not only for metal and wood to construct the boat from, but also a steam engine to power it. The construction materials are relatively straightforward to obtain through her contacts, however she has multiple options for the steam engine - the technology already exists elsewhere, but she doesn't have immediate access to it. She could:

  • Draw up her own designs for a steam engine separately, and build one.
  • Obtain pre-existing steam engines Blueprints and build from those.
  • Obtain a pre-built steam engine via other channels.

Depending on which option she goes with, and what other arrangements she already has in place, this process of Resource gathering could take another Major Action. Finally, it would take another Major Action to construct the entire ship - and even then, she might require help from others in order to get it done in a timely fashion.

tech_system.txt · Last modified: Thu 2 Oct 2014, 23:01:21 UTC by gm_cameron
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