(This page is currently a Work-In-Progress)
Magitech, Psitech, Hypertech, and Lowtech
Many different types of technology exist in this setting, categorized as either
- Magitech: Technology that is partially or completely suppressed when in an antimagic field, such as antique models of mecha and wand guns.
- Psitech: Technology that is partially or completely suppressed when in a null psionics field, such as antique computers and communication devices, and dorje guns.
- Hypertech: Technology that uses magic and psionics together, but is so hyper-specialized that its spell or power level drops far below zero, such that it doesn’t even register as either magic or psionics anymore and works properly in both kinds of suppression fields. All modern computers and electronics are hypertech.
- Lowtech: Technology that doesn’t use magic or psionics at all, such as renaissance-era firearms, and most improvements to mundane weaponry such as changes to metallurgy, elastics, and construction. Most consumer and martial objects in the world are lowtech.
Most normal people don’t use these terms, usually they’re only used by anthropologists, tech-heads, military, scientists, and politicians. For most people tech is just like any other tech. However, there are a few exceptions. The Hyperion Federation is a society in which magic and psionics made the impetus for certain kinds of discoveries practically non-existent (aside from by pure accident), and many forms of Hyperion technology are reverse-engineered from the planets they federated:
- The computer screen was invented before the printing press (which exists now but is largely unused).
- Consumer electronics were invented before the light bulb (which exists but is basically useless).
- The ray-gun was invented before gunpowder (which exists but is equivalent to our renaissance era).
- The spell grenade was invented before high-explosives (which exist but are still in their infancy).
- FTL space travel was invented before the aerofoil (and the internal combustion engine is still undiscovered).
- Temporary sterilization was invented before the contraceptive.
- Suspended animation exists but local anesthesia does not.
- The stim-pack has been discovered but not antibiotics.
- The internet exists but the telegraph does not.
- The perfect hangover cure has been proven but not the molecule.
- Radiation and the electromagnetic spectrum largely remain undiscovered.
A number of technological marvels have been invented in the 3000 years since the typical D&D setting.
Like the legendary weapons rules, the item familiars variant system presents a method by which a character, even a non-spellcaster, can find himself linked to a particular magic or psionic item for a large part of his career. These items gradually gain in power and sentience, and often fulfill small roles similar to those of living familiars, but sometimes they become powerful entities in their own right.
Many Hyperion police use auto-extending aluminum-steel alloy 10-ft mancatchers (CW p157) for nonlethal take-downs, although other auto-extending polearms are also common in general-use. Guns are relatively uncommon in the police force unless the user is a psionicist, a spellcaster, or has racial spellcasting which regardless allows the Hyperion template. Hyperion police also commonly use expendable sleep grenades.
Most kinds of futuristic ordnance are available in this setting (although with somewhat unusual effects and mechanics) by using magic and psionics. Some of the categories below also have non-magical “firearm” counterparts that can be found in Dragon Magazine #321 pp30~38.
Each of the following is a separate category for the Weapon Focus feat.
- “Pistols” are wands or dorjes with the “ gun template” that utilize spells and powers of levels 0th~3rd.
- “Rifles” can be found as “guns” of levels 4th~6th (although wand guns only go up to 4th level).
- “Rocket Launchers” are “guns” of levels 7th~9th.
- “Grenades” are wands or dorjes with the “ grenade template”.
- “Grenade Launchers” are simply “guns” that fire a “ grenade-like” effect.
Other weapons not eligible for the Weapon Focus feat include:
- “Mines” are one-use magical or psionic traps that have been designed to be mobile.
- “Bombs” are mines that have been set up on a timer or some other method (although there are also explosives).
- “Turrets” are auto-resetting magical or psionic traps that often are designed to be mobile, or are simply mounted “guns”.
A “gun” is a template that can be applied on any wand or dorje that meets certain prerequisites. Essentially, a gun is a wand (a “wand gun”) or dorje (a “dorje gun”) that has certain extra properties.
A grenade is a new kind of splash weapon that contains a spell or power. Mechanically, “grenade” is a template that can be applied on any wand (making a “spell grenade”) or dorje (making a “power grenade”) that meets certain prerequisites.
Armor and Shields
Hyperion Voyages presents new types of armor appropriate to the setting. Many of these armor types have identical stats as a core counterpart except that they don’t count as being that core armor for the purposes of effects and rules that affect a specific kind of armor (such as a chain shirt) unless the entry specifically says otherwise.
Hyperion Voyages also presents new types of shields appropriate to the setting. Many of these shield types have identical stats as a core counterpart except that they don’t count as being that core shield for the purposes of effects and rules that affect a specific kind of shield (such as a heavy wooden shield) unless the entry specifically says otherwise.
Many devices in this setting have little use in-combat but enable new kinds of gameplay.
Most consumer electronics are computers.
Hypertooth is a more advanced equivalent of Bluetooth .
Neural Interfaces are a direct brain-computer interface only available to biological Hyperions. Hyperion neural interfaces are necessary for a similar reason as why a “fleshy” is required to pilot slipstream in Andromeda™.
A neural interface is essentially an item familiar construct NPC that is always considered “helpful” to its owner. However, a neural interface may normally interact with other technology within its network of systems that are not automatically helpful (to the neural interface or the owner).
Other than devices that are physically connected to it, neural interfaces can only communicate with other neural interfaces or neural-compatible devices, and only telepathically when doing so. The owner of a neural interface can telepathically command it to attempt specific tasks. The neural interface may in-kind relay any message that it needs to deliver to the owner as part of attempting that task. Neural interfaces otherwise cannot communicate with the owner until they gain the communication ability and later the increased sapience ability.
A neural interface is the primary way a psiodine ship’s pilot controls the ship and its Active Telekinetic Defense (ATD).
(This section is a Work-In-Progress)
Not all voyages have to happen in outer space.
Force Field Descriptor
Force fields are objects that like holograms are only tangentially related to magic or psionics.
If any force effect or shadow has the [Force Field] effect descriptor, it gains the following properties:
- It cannot be detected by detect magic or detect psionics . It cannot be destroyed by a Mage’s Disjunction, a Rod of Cancellation, a disintegrate spell, or a sphere of annihilation. However, it can be targeted and dispelled with dispel magic or dispel psionics effect depending on the source of the effect. Force fields are immune to antimagic and null psionics effects.
- When it’s targeted by or whenever it’s in area of a damaging effect, it can potentially be disrupted, temporarily disabling the force field. Time spent disabled does not count against the normal duration of the effect. Below is the list of conditions that can disrupt it. Roll a d% whenever any of these conditions occur (and each round if the effect is continuous). If any combination of these conditions reaches a +50% on a roll, the entirety of the force field is visible as white noise (regardless of any hologram on it) for 1 round regardless of the roll or any hologram displayed over it. If the roll exceeds 80%, the force effect is disrupted for 1 round + 1 round for every 5% rolled exceeding 80%. At the GM’s discretion, the force field may get a varying untyped bonus or penalty to either of these thresholds depending on circumstances such as how much power is supplied to it.
- +2% for each 5 lethal damage that hits it (treat fall damage or damage dealt to a hurled object as also damaging the force field for this purpose)
- +10% if hit by at least one sonic effect
- +25% if hit by at least one electric effect
- Unless it is also incorporates a hologram, force effects with this descriptor are invisible and can be seen through as if they weren’t there. If it does incorporate a hologram, only the holographic parts of the force field are visible.
All force fields must have a power source that generates the force field (which can be itself if the effect is described as not being a spell or power but still in effect). The source must be within line-of-effect of the force field’s intended location to project it. In all other matters, it’s restricted only by the caster level or manifester level of the force field.
Holograms are illusions that almost entirely mundane in origin except for a sliver of magical or psionic power.
For any visual illusion with the [Hologram] effect descriptor, the visual component of the effect does not end if someone else knows it’s an illusion, but the illusion could still be interacted with normally (by touch) to stop being fooled by the illusion from the perspective of that person. The effect does not truly end unless the means by which the illusion is created is stopped. Only figments, glamers, and shadows can be holograms. Detect magic and detect psionics cannot detect a hologram. Seeing through a hologram as if it weren’t there requires a second check, which is a DC 15 will save, spot check, or search check as relevant:
- DC -5 if the hologram is intermittently unstable (reacts to passive will saves and passive spot checks on sight)
- DC -10 if its very unstable (stacks with intermittence)
- DC -5 if it’s mildly unstable (stacks with intermittence)
- DC +5 if it’s using a separate additional power source (can be applied multiple times appropriate to the power source)
- DC +10 if it’s flush with a surface and only obscuring details of that surface (such as obcuring a door in a wall)
- DC +15 if it’s backed by an appropriately-shaped force field (see above)
All holograms must have a power source that generates the hologram. The source must be within line-of-effect of the hologram’s intended location to project it. Otherwise, it’s restricted only by the caster level or manifester level of the hologram.
The sheen are an uncaring robotic menace to civilized worlds, and are a primary antagonistic force in this setting. However, great adversity begets great innovation.
There exist powerful constructs called “superdevices” that require a derivative of rare “subsistium” crystal for power. Raw subsistium crystal is useless until refined. It can be refined into either magenta-colored “magine” (for magic superdevices) or cyan-colored “psiodine” (for psionic superdevices) at a refinery that specializes in magine or psiodine. Once subsistium is refined into magine or psiodine, the change is permanent.
Subsistium, once refined into magine or psiodine, exists as discrete 2-inch, 1 pound cubes. These cubes are as hard as adamantine and have 80 hit points, but resist attempts to forge or reshape them, making them useless as weapons or ammunition. Sundering a cube of magine or psiodine deals 1d20 untyped energy damage to all creatures and objects within 5 feet. Subsistium, magine, and psiodine are precious resources that are tightly controlled by the Hyperion government. As such, they cannot be bought or sold, and are always classified with Illegality Code B or C in Hyperion space. Even on the black market you’re more likely to be mugged by a kingpin’s minions than ever find a buyer.
There are relatively few subsistium mines in the known galaxy, and so conflicts over subsistium, magine, and psiodine supplies as well as control of existing refining facilities are the most significant cause for warfare in this setting. Shipments of subsistium, magine, and psiodine are often kept secret or they risk being hijacked by pirates. Almost all subsistium refineries in Hyperion Space are for psiodine, and there are rumors that the Hyperion government is sabotaging, buying out, and repurposing the remaining few magine refineries in their domain. Most subsistium refineries outside of Hyperion space are for magine.
|GM’s Note: Subsistium, magine, and psiodine are phlebotinum . You can use the collection and protection of these substances to drive the campaign or player greed.|
With the advent of superdevices such as spaceships, two new size categories become necessary. The height, length, and weight values of the Colossal size category are capped at the minimums for the Planetary size category. (“Colossal+” and “Colossal++” are replaced by these categories.)
|Table: Additional Size Categories|
|Size Category||Size Mod||Grapple Mod||Hide Mod||Height or Length||Weight||Space||Reach (Tall)||Reach (Long)||Construct Bonus HP|
|Table: Superdevice Passenger Capacity|
|Superdevice Size||Passenger Capacity (seated comfortably, including the pilot2)|
|Tiny||1 Fine creature.|
|Small||1 Diminutive or 4 Fine creatures.|
|Medium||1 Tiny, 4 Diminutive, or 16 Fine creatures.|
|Large||1 Small, 4 Tiny, 16 Diminutive, or 64 Fine creatures.|
|Huge||1 Medium, 4 Small, 16 Tiny, 64 Diminutive, or 256 Fine creatures.|
|Gargantuan||1 Large, 4 Medium, 16 Small, 64 Tiny, 256 Diminutive, or 1024 Fine creatures.|
|Colossal||1 Huge, 4 Large, 16 Medium, 64 Small, 256 Tiny, 1024 Diminutive, or 4096 Fine creatures.|
|Planetary||Varies anywhere from 1 Gargantuan to 1 Colossal, or 4 Huge to 4 Gargantuan, etc.|
|Astronomical||At least 2 Colossal creatures, or at least 4 Gargantuan, etc.|
2 If alone, a pilot could fit into a superdevice one size category larger than that pilot, although it would be a tight fit and count as “squeezing”.
Yes, there are giant mecha in this setting.
The original grafts system in D&D 3.5 was clunky, overpriced, and although it improved, didn’t do anything to address the bad choices in the first of the two versions of the system. Therefore, I’m rewriting the whole thing. While new material will be ideal, the priority will be to include all of the original material for grafts (such as the grafts themselves) but with adjustments as-needed.
I will work to address the accessibility of grafts to adventurers in the following ways:
- Grafts should be upgradable in stages or self-merging upgrade trees.
- The first stage (or stages, if there’s multiple choices for the first stage) of a graft should be cheap, even if it does next to nothing aside from be a rich kid’s toy and only apply its true benefit in specific situations (e.g. “+1 on climb checks to climb rope whenever you can take 10 on the check”).
- The progressive stages of a graft should steadily increase in power and price in a way that makes upgrades viable and attractive to players (by taking advantage of the Item Rarity system).
- Some graft upgrades should also have a “special component” requirement controllable by the GM (similar to how rituals have a “ritual procedure document” which the GM can make a special reward for a quest) to help make sure the graft doesn’t become too powerful for the character’s level. For example, if the next upgrade for a graft would make its Item Level too high, they can hold off on acquiring that “special component” until the character is at the appropriate level.
- The final stage of a graft should be reasonably priced.
- The Grafts system should address the cloning profit problem (if any).
Some brainstorming examples:
- Gives a simple bonus to a skill or set of skills, like leg grafts that give +1 to Move Silently.
- Gives a simple bonus to a skill or set of skills, but only when pressing your luck.
- Requires you lose save points or take strife as a cost to use a benefit
- Requires use an action point to use a benefit
- Lets you roll your 3d6 on a skill check up to twice (or more) and take the last result
- Lets you roll your 3d6 on a skill check twice (or more) and take the better result
- Lets you roll an extra d6 when rolling your 3d6 and drop the lowest
- Lets you roll 4d6 (or more) when rolling your 3d6
- Lets you roll your variable modifier up to twice (or more) and take the last result
- Spends a swift/immediate action to do a thing, whereas normally it would be a free action
- Spends an swift/immediate/move/standard action to do a cool thing
Outer space does not behave like the phlogiston™ seen in Spelljammer™.