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Supplementary Rules for Technomancy:by Ethan Deneault
Magical Physics (Intelligence): This skill is the ability to understand the workings of a complex device based on a magical-technological theory. This skill is the pre-requisite to Advanced Magical Physics, and any other "physics" skill, and cannot be learned at first level.
Advanced Magical Physics (Wisdom): This skill is the ability to design a complex device based on a magical-technological theory. Advanced Magical Physics is based on a form of real-world physics, taking into account magical effects. This skill cannot be taken until name level, and costs two skill slots.
Technomagical Engineering (Intelligence): This skill is a more refined form of the Gnomish Machine Building (see PC 2) skill. It is the practical complement to Advanced Magical Physics. This skill allows the Technomage to implement the ideas learned in Advanced Magical Physics and build complex devices using magic and technology. This skill can only be taken after 15th level.
Technomancers learn their craft uniquely at the Citadel. A technomancer always gets the following skills in this order: Magical Physics, Fantasy Physics, Machine Building, Advanced Magical Physics, and Technomagical Engineering.
Important note on Gnomes and Technomancy:
Gnomes are not automatically technomancers! It may seem to be the contrary, but the gnomish design skills are not up to the task of designing or building the electromagical items that technomancy is based on. For a real world example, the Gnomish Fantasy Physics and Machine Building would be perfect for car engine repair, or building steam powered trains, but they would fall short if they tried to understand a solid state circuit board, or a laser. This is where Magical Physics is used.
Important note on Technomancy and High Tech:
Technomancy is not truly high technology. Technomancy is a bastardised form of high tech that melds real world Quantum Mechanics with Magic. As such, it isn't as powerful as purely high tech devices, or purely magical devices. However, these devices are more versatile than either. On worlds where either high technology or magic doesn't exist, these devices are invaluable, as a particular side effect of the mixture of magic and high tech allows these devices to work under any conditions.
Building a Technomantic Device:
Stage 1: What is the device for?
Decide exactly what the device is supposed to do, it may be intended for more than one function, but simpler devices are easier to make.
Stage 2: Planning the design.
The player must come up with the basic principle of how his device will work. The basic principle is the central idea behind the machine's functioning. This need not be a complete description of how it works, though some eccentric details are always permissible. The point is that the functioning only has to sound reasonable, the details do NOT matter.
Stage 3: Determining whether the design will work
The DM must decide whether or not the device should function exactly as designed. This is a common sense interpretation of the Advanced Magical Physics skill. If the design works with a little imagination, then the DM should allow the design to be workable. On the other hand, it might not be able to be built!
Stage 4: How difficult will this be?
Now, the DM needs to figure out how easy or difficult this design will be, the tables below list modifiers that will affect the character's chance to successfully construct his design
Design Complexity Skill Modifier Time Required Easy -2 2d4 days Simple None 2d4 + 2 days Tricky +2 6d6 days Difficult +4 10d6 days Very Difficult +8 60+10d12 days Extenuating Circumstances Modifier No Advanced Magical Physics Skill Cannot design device No Meddling Box (see PC2) +2 Distractions +1 to +4
Design Complexity: To determine an invention's difficulty level, the DM needs to decide the difficulty of putting the design principle into practice. Much depends on the size of the device (a desktop computer is much more complex than a flashlight), and how radically this device will affect his campaign (a computer may be a bit more unbalancing!). To design something large and powerful is more time consuming than designing something smaller or more conventional. The time required is the time that the technomage must spend designing his project. He/she doesn't have to spend every waking hour working, but he/she cannot spend much time doing anything else, and will need a quiet place to do work.
Stage 5: Does it work?
Having determined the total modifier on the roll, the DM should roll a secret Wisdom check, applying the total modifiers. Importantly, the Mage always assumes his device is sound, only the DM knows. Don't tell the player!
Stage 6: Building the device
While the Magical Physics skill is important in designing the device, the Magical Engineering skill is important to actually constructing the device. While the designer does not have to be the chief builder, it is important that the designer be involved with its construction.
All technomantic devices require a specific set of parts and magical paraphernalia, just like constructing a magical device. The parts used in the construction of the device are usually made specifically for the device itself. Spare parts from elsewhere can be used with a penalty. The DM should determine how many parts and magical items are needed for the device.
Again the DM must decide how the project it to be constructed. First consider the scale of the project. If it involves a large scale machine, or an extremely intricate device, the DM may want to break the construction down into stages, each of which requires a separate ability check.
Apply these modifiers, as appropriate, to each Intelligence check:
+6 if the chief builder doesn't have Magical Engineering
-1 for each Magical Engineering skill above the basic
+2 if the chief builder is not the designer
-1 if the designer can build the machine on his own.
Halve the design complexity modifier
+3 if this is a rush job
+3 if off-the-shelf parts are used.
-1 if the off-the-shelf parts are Blackmoorian (or similar)
There does not have to be one chief builder, a group can separate into teams, each with its own chief builder. Doing this reduces the total construction time to 3/4 it's normal value. However, if this approach is used, roll a Wisdom check of the chief builder after each part is completed to see if it is compatible with the other parts, failure means the team has to start again (with a -2 cumulative modifier to roll).
Stage 7: How long will it take?
The time required is also important. Each stage in constructing the device takes 20 + 2d20 working days as a base figure. One mage working for one day is a working day, 10 mages working for 1 day is 10 working days. Add 5 days for every part that needs to be made. The DM should adjust the time accordingly if there are some rare components required.
Stage 8: What is this going to cost?
The matter of cost is paramount to the completion of the task. Building at each stage requires a lot of raw materials, and use of laboratories and studios. Some designs will require hard-to-get components which will cost the builder time or cash.
Stage 9: Why didn't it work?
If the result is failure, then the builders can give it another shot. Even if the second result is success, the design itself may be flawed. The DM can reveal this fact when the device is first used, or by then and there revealing the secret roll he/she made back in step five - back to the drawing board (stage 2!)
Technomancy is powerful, and can be a game breaker if overused. The DM should rule on certain restrictions on a character's device, such as a massive power drain requiring expensive recharges, or a percent chance that the device could break down under stress. The DM shouldn't place too many restrictions, but DM's should be aware that machines should not dominate a campaign.
What happened to Blackmoorian Tech?
This is a topic of hot debate on the Mystara Mailing List and the Mystara Message Board, with many sides to the same issue. The whole story is up to the DM, but here are a few ideas:
When the Nucleus of the Spheres (NoS) was transformed by the Old One, it brought about a powerful corruption: normal physics no longer worked in Mystara-Space. Thus, Blackmoorian, or any technological device slowly corrupts to uselessness, repairable only by technomancy.
Technology has never gone away, only wear and tear over thousands of years causes it to break down.
The World Shield of Mystara causes a corruption or some other restrictive effect.
The Immortals cast an anti-high technology spell on Mystara after Blackmoor blew up, preventing the repair of artifacts without using magic. This spell would prevent another Blackmoor from destroying the world.