Scientists

Scientists push back the frontiers of knowledge, devise ingenious inventions, solve problems with know-how and duct tape, and learn things that Man Was Not Meant To Know. Scientists get 1d6 HP per level.

Level Attack Critical Science Die Action Dice Ref Fort Will
1 +1 1d8/III 1d3 1d20 +1 +1 +1
2 +2 1d8/III 1d4 1d20 +1 +1 +1
3 +2 1d10/III 1d4 1d20 +2 +1 +1
4 +3 1d10/III 1d5 1d20 +2 +2 +2
5 +4 1d12/III 1d5 1d20+1d14 +3 +2 +2
6 +5 1d12/III 1d6 1d20+1d16 +3 +2 +2
7 +5 1d14/III 1d6 1d20+1d20 +4 +3 +3
8 +6 1d14/III 1d7 1d20+1d20 +4 +3 +3
9 +7 1d16/III 1d7 1d20+1d20 +5 +3 +3
10 +8 1d16/III 1d8 1d20+1d20+1d14 +5 +4 +4

Science Checks

When making a Science Check the roll is d20+Int Bonus+Level.  Neutral Scientists add their Luck bonus as well as their Int bonus.

Science, Super Science and Weird Science

Science is what we can do and what we know in our world, with small extrapolations (e.g. rockets that can go to Mars but need to burn fuel or use solar sails).  Super Science is science that might appear in SF stories: perhaps impossible, but vaguely plausible or sanctioned by tradition (e.g. starships that travel FTL by going into hyperspace to avoid the known limits on FTL in our universe).  Weird Science or mad science is magic with the trappings of science: rather than attempting to be plausible it places emphasis on effects and causes that are bizarre, inexplicable or discredited (e.g. travel to distant solar systems via astral projection, or the rays from “Element X”.)  Science and Super Science are covered by the “normal” science skill such as Invent Device or Exploit Principle.  The GM and players should make an effort to keep it science-fictional, or at least science fictional given some particular changes that describe the alternate universe the game takes place in. For instance, in the game, Venus might be covered with jungles, and Mars have a breathable atmosphere and four-armed green men living there.  It’s not true in our universe, but it easily could be.  Weird Science covers everything else: things that can only exist or happen in an almost-anything-goes setting, e.g. reanimating corpses, transforming one creature into a creature with completely different DNA or even different mass, perpetual motion machines, elements or chemicals with mysterious properties that grant super powers, etc.  Exactly where the line is drawn might vary from setting to setting: in one setting ESP might fall on the super science side of the line, where in another it would be strictly weird science.

Weird Science

Weird Science skills are marked with an asterisk.  When using Weird Science skills an additional Bonus/Penalty of negative the Scientist’s Sanity bonus is also applied.  So, e.g. a Scientist with a Sanity bonus of -1 would get a +1 on rolls to Pervert Nature, while a Scientist with a +2 Sanity bonus would get a -2 on the same roll.  Any alignment of Scientist can make use of Weird Science, but Scientists with low Sanity scores are better at it.  Chaotic Scientists have a slight edge because because of better bonuses for Weird Science and because low Sanity helps them with all science, not just Weird Science.

Sanity

Scientists have an extra Stat: Sanity.  Sanity starts at 3d6 (rolled when the Scientist class is chosen), and has the same modifiers as any other stat. Scientists apply their Sanity modifier to any Will saves.  Loss of Sanity tends to express itself first as compulsiveness towards completing a project or experiment, then as a fixation or monomania towards a particular approach to science, and eventually paranoiac or megalomaniac tendencies. Even really low positive Sanity scores don’t necessarily indicate full-blown madness; being reduced to 0 or less is definitely at least temporary insanity.

Sanity can be burned for improved science rolls: 1 point of Sanity adds their Science die to their roll on a Science skill  (similar to Thieves’ spending Luck to apply their Luck Die, except it can only be applied to Science skills).  If they spend Sanity on a roll that is improved by low Sanity (Pervert Nature, Forbidden Knowledge, Xeno-Science, or Rube Goldberg), apply their Sanity bonus based on the new value after they spend their Sanity.  Chaotic Scientists treat all Science skills as being improved by low Sanity and harmed by high Sanity (they use the negative of their Sanity modifier on all their science rolls).  They still apply their Sanity modifier normally to Will saves, so a Chaotic Scientist with very low sanity has very bad Will saves.

Lawful and Neutral Scientists recover Sanity at a rate of their level per night, up to their natural maximum.  Chaotic Scientist recover one point of Sanity every time they fumble a Science skill check. Every time they fail a Science skill check the fumble range increases by one; the fumble range resets once they regain a point of Sanity.  Chaotic Scientists may also regain Sanity through a course of treatment, at one point of Sanity per week of treatment in a sanitarium or the equivalent.

Science Skills

Invention and Weird Science Failures

On a roll of 1 when Inventing a Device or using Weird Science there has been a failure, and perhaps worse.  Roll 1d6, modified by Luck: 0 or less: mishap + minor mental corruption + lose 1d3 Sanity; 1-2 minor mental corruption; 3 lose 1d3 Sanity; 4+ mishap

Mishaps

  1. Shower of sparks, some piece of equipment is broken.
  2. Small explosion; researchers take 1d3 damage.
  3. Line of Research is set back: return to the beginning of research chart.
  4. Experiment sets off an adventure. Perhaps the researcher is split into a good version and a bad version, or it attracts a mischievous or hostile entity through a spacio-temporal rift, or the ship is hurtled back in time or to a different quadrant of the galaxy.
  5. Sudden insight: advance 1d3 steps of your choice on the research chart.
  6. Serendipity! You’ve accidentally discovered something else entirely. Go to end of research chart, but effect is of the GM’s choosing.

 

 

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Lawful Scientists

Bonus for Lawful Scientists
Skill 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Invent Device d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20 d20 d20
Calculate +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Analyze Tech +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Hypothesize +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Experiment +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Recall Fact +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Exploit Principle +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Jury Rig d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Reverse Polarity +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Rube Goldberg* +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Xeno-Science* +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Pervert Nature* d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Forbidden Knowledge* +0 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8

 

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Neutral Scientists

Bonus for Neutral Scientists
Skill 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Invent Device d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Exploit Principle +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Jury Rig d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20 d20 d20
Reverse Polarity +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Rube Goldberg +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Recall Fact +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Calculate +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Analyze Tech +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Experiment +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Hypothesize +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Xeno-Science +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Pervert Nature d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Forbidden Knowledge +0 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8

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Chaotic Scientists

Bonus for Chaotic Scientists
Skill 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Invent Device d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Forbidden Knowledge +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Pervert Nature d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20 d20 d20
Xeno-Science +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Rube Goldberg +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +11 +12 +13 +14 +15
Recall Fact +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Exploit Principle +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Analyze Tech +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Reverse Polarity +1 +3 +5 +7 +8 +9 +10 +11 +12 +13
Experiment +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Calculate +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8 +9
Jury Rig d10 d10 d12 d12 d14 d14 d16 d16 d20 d20
Hypothesize +0 +0 +1 +2 +3 +4 +5 +6 +7 +8

Skills

Invent Device

Invent a brand-new device.  GM chooses the research chart for the device, based on its complexity, as well as unit of cost and unit of time, and the Scientist succeeds in building the device once progress has advanced to the final step in the chart.  The Scientist may spend Sanity, representing stress and overwork (getting the Science Die per point spent) to improve the chances.

Calculate

Precisely calculate a figure in your head, such as the volume of a room, the weight of an object, the odds of making a shot.  Your encyclopedic knowledge and keen observational skills will help fill in any missing variables such as the density of something you’re trying to estimate the weight of.  Number of digits of precision is equal to your level.

Analyze Tech

Analyze unknown technology to determine its probable function and how to operate it.  The GM should roll secretly, since a fumble can result in misinformation.

Hypothesize

Construct a chain of reasoning from the observed data to a perhaps startling but “logical” conclusion: on a successful (secret) roll the GM should deliver to you a conclusion that is the result of your cogitation, for instance a detailed enough insight to the mechanism behind a trap to allow you to bypass or disable it (though doing so might require tools or techniques that you don’t have) or perhaps a description of the likely physical characteristics of a murder suspect based on forensic evidence at the crime scene such as angle and placement of the wounds, size of stride in the muddy footprints. A failure will result in a hypothesis that is congruent with the observed facts, but happens to be wrong.  This skill shouldn’t replace the player’s having to think, but should allow the player supplementary information that wouldn’t otherwise be evident much like the way a successful pick locks roll would allow access to the evidence in a safe or a spot secret door roll reveals the presence of a door that otherwise would escape the player’s notice.

Experiment

Devise and perform an experiment to distinguish the truth between two possible hypotheses.  As with Hypothesize, this skill should grant the player information about the world that would not be readily apparent to the character without performing the experiment, but unlike Hypothesize the experiment should yield a definite yes/no answer, and a failed experiment will be known to be inconclusive rather than yielding a false result, unless the failure was a fumble.  Also, unlike Hypothesizing, experiments take at least some time and may cost some money. Determine this using the Research charts, but always using a d20 plus the Scientists Experiment bonus.

Recall Fact

Recall some salient scientific fact that the player otherwise wouldn’t necessarily be aware of.  E.g. the density of mithril, or the orbital period of a planet, the average annual rainfall in Patagonia, or the three types of poison that have the observed effects and where they come from.  This should be a roll only if it would give the players an advantage, otherwise the GM can just use the Scientist’s ability to Recall Facts as justification for providing the players the information they need to make a meaningful decision.

Exploit Principle

Do something practical with a vaugely plausible sounding scientific principle. E.g. water expands when frozen: can you actually use that to bust open the safe when you have a bucket of water and some liquid nitrogen?  Or maybe use that same liquid nitrogen to make the lock brittle?  Roll your Exploit Principle check to find out.

Jury Rig

Cobble together some new machine out of what you have handy. As Invent Device, but requires existing parts and generally must accomplish some well-understood thing even if the machinery used isn’t designed for the purpose.

Rube Goldberg

Create an elaborate cause-and-effect chain to accomplish your goal.  This is the skill used to precisely plot how to get the chandelier to drop on the villain three rounds after the candle is first knocked over.  Plus 1 to the roll for each step in the chain, which must be described; each step delays the final goal by one round.

Reverse Polarity

Devise a way to undo the effect of one super-science or weird science phenomenon.  If, by the GM’s call, it’s not a simple one-step process, then uses the research charts to determine how long and costly it will be, but with a d20 and bonuses (as with Experiment).

Xeno-Science

Divine the principles and methods behind some completely alien science, something that might even seem like magic according to known science. A successful Xeno-Science roll will let you understand the purpose of an alien device; use the research charts (with a d20 and bonuses) to figure out how to operate alien equipment.  Building new equipment on alien principles requires a Xeno-Science roll, and then Pervert Nature.

Pervert Nature

Build a mad science device: as with Invent Device, but following the principles of Weird Science.  This generally allows a much greater range of effects than even super science, but comes at a higher price: when corruption is rolled on a fumbled Pervert Nature or “Boom” result in research, there’s a chance of rolling on the magical Corruption charts instead of the more mundane mental corruption.  Roll 1d6 0 or less: major corruption; 1-2 minor corruption; 3-6 mental corruption.

Forbidden Knowledge

Know what man was not meant to know.  As Recall Fact, but for mad science and magic.

Research Charts

When the Scientist declares what is being researched, the GM should decide what a unit of time and a unit of cost represents according to how difficult the end goal seems and what the available materials are.  Costs need not be monetary, but may be measures in terms of limited supplies of things like rope, lamp oil, dilithium crystals, or whatnot.

And easy/quick task might be measured in rounds, or even actions, and might have costs in terms of pieces of carried gear sacrificed.  A more difficult task might be in terms of hours and shares of the party treasure (e.g. ruining expensive goblets with noxious chemicals, melting gold to coat equipment with a non-reactive surface, wiping and re-purposing somebody’s hand-computer into a single-use controller, etc).  A hard task might take days and hundreds of gold in specially-purchased or custom-built equipment that can only be obtained in a major settlement.  And so on.

Each roll on the appropriate chart costs 1 money unit and 1 time unit. Most spaces offer a choice of arrows to the next space: to move to the next space you must succeed at the appropriate roll for the kind of research you are doing (with whatever die is specified for that skill) vs. the DC listed next to the arrow. The roll is dWhatever + Int Bonus +/- Sanity Bonus where appropriate + Luck Bonus if Neutral vs. DC.  You may spend Sanity for additional Science Dice added to the roll, or Luck for additional points.

If you fail, you stay on the space you’re currently on: you don’t get to change your mind and follow a different arrow even if the roll would have been good enough.  Exception: if there is a Failure Arrow leading from that space you must follow the failure arrow if you fail the check. Clock and Dollar spaces allow you to trade a 1d3 more units of time or money for getting to add your Science Die to the roll to go to the next space.  You must decide whether to spend the extra time/money before you see the roll, and you can only add one roll of the Science Die per attempt.  You may wait until after all the rolls before you decide to spend Sanity or Luck.

Boom” results are a Failure (roll on the Invention and Weird Science failures) plus there’s a 50% chance that the device is ruined/the line of research being pursued is a dead end.  If it’s not, then you may re-start from the beginning if you wish, though if the device has charges it loses 1d3 charges.

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