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Vehicles in Psi-punk

Vehicles

Some people define themselves by the vehicles they drive. Whether it’s a sports car or a one-ton truck, a person’s choice of transportation is in some ways as important as the clothes on a character’s back or the skills he possesses.

As a character-centric game, Psi-punk’s vehicle rules have a narrow focus. In this section, we’ll detail options for personal vehicles that may be chosen at character creation or purchased later.

When crafting a vehicle for your character, consider its purpose and how its design fits in with your character’s theme. It may not be necessary to even buy a vehicle for your character—many people nowadays get along just fine using public transportation, taxi cabs, and the like.

Characters who decide to purchase vehicles are often (though not always) those who fit the “Wheel Jockey” archetype. For these characters, the vehicle is every bit as much a part of their personality as any other piece of equipment they may have.

The following terms will be used to describe the traits of all vehicles:

Size: the vehicle’s relative size.

Speed: the vehicle’s speed relative to other vehicles of its size.

Handling: a vehicle’s maneuverability rating relative to other vehicles of its size.

Weapons: some vehicles have built-in weapon systems; this value represents the vehicle’s Offensive Damage Factors. Individual vehicles may have different types of weapons, from guns to bladed hubcaps, but the weapon’s Damage will be equal to its Weapons trait unless altered by a Gift or Fault.

Durability: how durable the vehicle is; in effect, the vehicle’s armor bonus, or its Defensive Damage Factors.

Gifts/Faults: as with anything, vehicles may possess both Gifts and Faults.

Cost: The total of all Wealth Modifiers determines a vehicle’s final Cost (in Wealth).

Vehicle Attributes

Size

Vehicles are listed in terms of their relative size, ranging from the smallest one-user personal vehicles to larger, multi-passenger military machines and even space ships. Most player characters will never own, much less pilot, very large vehicles (Superb or larger size) but stories do occasionally call for such options.

A vehicle’s Speed and Handling traits are relative to other vehicles of the same size. For example, a sports car with Superb Speed and a fighter jet with Superb Speed would not even be close in a race since fighter jets travel far faster than even the fastest land-based vehicles. However, a Superb Speed sports car could out-run a Good Speed sedan on any straightaway.Likewise, a vehicle’s Weapon and Durability ratings are relative to other weapons and armor of their size. For example, a Great sized truck with Good weapons would deal Good damage to another Great sized truck. However, if that same truck were to attack a Fair sized motorcycle with its weapons, the impact would be more severe.

For each Size level above or below Fair, add or subtract one point from the Weapon and Durability ratings of the vehicle. Because two vehicles of the same Size will always even out, you don’t need to bother with this step for circumstances in which two same-sized vehicles are in combat.

Continuing with the example above, a Great sized truck with Good Weapons attacks a Fair sized motorcycle with Good Durability. The truck would add its Great (+2) Size to its Good (+1) Weapons value for a total Offensive Damage Factor of Superb (+3) against the motorcycle’s Good Durability.

Note that for the purpose of these rules, humans and all of their equipment are of Fair Size.

Wealth Modifier: A vehicle’s Size is often proportional to its cost; larger vehicles tend to cost more money than smaller ones. Add the vehicle’s Size modifier to its overall Cost on a one-for-one basis (i.e., its Wealth Modifier is equal to its Size). Remember that the Cost is equal to the sum of all Wealth Modifiers.

 

Table: Vehicle

Sizes

 

Vehicle Size

Examples

Abysmal

Roller skates

Poor

Skateboard, snowboard, hoverboard

Mediocre

Bicycle, moped

Fair

Motorcycle, ATV, human

Good

Cars (sedan, sport), minivans, small trucks, SUVs

Great

Large pick-ups, full-size vans

Superb

Small busses, RVs, industrial machinery

Wonderful

Semi-trucks, city busses, tanks

Phenomenal

Helicopters, fighter planes

 

Extraordinary

Cargo ships, passenger jets

Astonishing

Aircraft carriers, space ships

 

Speed

As noted above, a vehicle’s Speed is relative to other vehicles of its Size. If two vehicles of the same size are racing on a straight path, the faster vehicle will always win (barring external forces).

However, vehicles of different sizes operate on different scales of Speed; Good roller skates will never be able to outrun a Good truck.

Some vehicles are slower than comparably-sized vessels. Tanks, for example, tend to be slower than smaller cars and trucks. For such vehicles, add a Fault such as “Sluggish” and let it ignore the vehicle’s Size when comparing its speed to others.

Finally, note that humans are not as fast on foot as motorcycles and mopeds. This does not mean that all humans have the Sluggish Fault; humans simply operate on another Speed scale entirely and are an exception to this rule.

In the end, use your common sense when comparing the relative speeds of two vehicles with drastically different qualities.

Wealth Modifier: Add the vehicle’s Speed modifier to its total Cost on a one-for-one basis, as with Size.

Handling

Some vehicles maneuver better than others. A vehicle’s Handling trait determines just how well it maneuvers around obstacles or through tight spaces, but the vehicle’s Size also has something to do with it; larger vehicles tend to be harder to control.

Add the vehicle’s Handling bonus to the operator’s Vehicles skill check whenever you need to determine how well the character can maneuver the vessel, but subtract its Size bonus from the check as well.

For example, Mitch is Good at operating vehicles and he is driving a sports car with Great handling. He’s being chased and needs to squeeze his car down a tight alleyway to avoid his pursuer.

Mitch makes a Vehicles check to determine whether or not he can enter the alleyway without crashing into too many obstacles along the way. Thanks to the car’s Great Handling score the task is made simpler. However, the car is also larger than a human and won’t squeeze past obstacles as easily as a smaller object would, so he subtracts the car’s Good Size from his check as well.

In total, Mitch’s bonus on the check will be 1 (Good Skill) + 2 (Great Handling)—1 (Good Size) = +2 (Great). Mitch rolls +1 on the dice for a total result of Superb and manages to slip into the alleyway without disturbing the scenery!

Wealth Modifier: Add the vehicle’s Handling modifier to its total Cost on a one-for-one basis, as with Size.

Weapons

Not all vehicles come equipped for combat, but those that do have a Weapons trait. Vehicles without this trait simply lack any form of built-in attack method and it’s up to the operator to provide the guns.

Add a vehicle’s Weapons trait to its Size trait to determine its total Offensive Damage Modifiers.

Operators may use their Vehicle skill or their Combat (Ranged) skill (if appropriate) when making attacks with a vehicle’s Weapons.

It is up to the owner to determine the nature of the vehicle’s Weapons. For example, they could come in the form of guns hidden behind a car’s headlights or a tank’s cannon. In any case, the Weapon trait still dictates how much damage the weapon can deal. Any extra special effects should be handled by means of Gifts.

Note that vehicles which lack weapons can still be used in combat. It is possible to simply try to drive over someone using just the Size trait as its damage modifier to the Vehicles skill check. Some vehicles, such as cars with windows, may allow characters to fire guns out of them using the attacker’s own weapons and Combat skill checks (as appropriate).

Wealth Modifier: Add the vehicle’s Weapons modifier to its total Cost on a one-for-one basis, as with Size.

Durability

Some vehicles are capable of taking a bigger beating than others. A vehicle’s Durability rating is what determines how tough the rig is and how well it can fend off attacks.

Treat a vehicle’s Durability level as if it were armor on a player; that is, apply this rating to the vehicle’s Defensive Damage Factors before determining the wound level a vehicle takes from any given attack. In addition to the vehicle’s Durability score, add its Size modifier to DDFs.

For example, a Good sized sports car with Great durability would have total Defensive Damage Factors of Superb (+3) because of its Good (+1) Size and Great (+2) Durability. Add these modifiers to the driver’s Vehicle skill check when opposing an attack.

Wealth Modifier: Add the vehicle’s Durability modifier to its total Cost on a one-for-one basis, as with Size.

Vehicle Damage

Vehicles use a wound track similar to that of a player character to determine its overall “health,” or state of repair. Its mental track represents on-board computers, GPS, tracking systems, and other electrical, rather than mechanical, functions. That wound track looks like this:

 

 

 

Table: Vehicle Damage

Physical:                      Dinged      Damaged                                        Very Damaged                                        Broken

Down

 

Destroyed

 

Mental (Computers):

None Glitched    Damaged    Very Damaged                               Fried            Destroyed

 

 

 

Attempting to operate a Damaged vehicle imposes a -1 penalty on the operator’s Vehicle check, while attempting to operate a Very Damaged vehicle imposes a -2 penalty. Broken Down and Destroyed vehicles may not be operated.

Repairing a vehicle works like healing a character (see Wounds and Healing in Playing the Game for more information) except that instead of making a Medical skill check the player would make a Tech- nical or Vehicle skill check. It takes 1 hour per wound level to repair damage unless the control inan- imate power is being used, in which case it takes 1 minute per wound level and constant contact with the vehicle. Unless they possess special Gifts which would allow them to do so, vehicles never repair damage over time on their own.

 

Gifts

Like anything, Vehicles can have both Gifts and Faults to set them apart from the crowd. Gifts represent special powers or perks that are added to a vehicle to improve its functionality in some way. Faults represent issues the vehicle may have, from computer problems to old age.

In many cases, Gifts are magical in nature. Vehicles commonly make use of magic to perform a variety of functions, from attacking others to masking their own presence. Other vehicle Gifts are technological in nature, and can be as simple as having reinforced tires to as complex as high-end on- board computer systems.

Note: many of a vehicle’s options come standard with the machine and do not add anything to its cost. Such standard features include GPS and maps, auto-pilot (with option to switch to manual mode), in-car audio and calling capabilities, and biometric (fingerprint) locks or ignitions. Unless it wouldn’t make sense for the particular vehicle to have these features (roller skates and skateboards would likely not have them) you can assume the vehicle comes pre-equipped with all of these features and any others you and your GM deem appropriate.

Each of the example Gifts listed below will indicate an associated Wealth Modifier. Generally speak- ing, Gifts with limited functionality have a Good modifier, better Gifts have a Great modifier, and superior Gifts have a Superb modifier.

Ice Slick

Vehicles equipped with this cryokinesis unit are able to produce an ultra-slippery sheet of ice behind them, useful for getting rid of pursuers. Anything attempting to cross the ice slick must make a Superb skill check to do so (a Vehicle check for a vehicle or an Athletics check for a person).

Optionally, this slick can be placed in front of or on the side of the vehicle as well. It is possible to make a bridge using this ice slick, but the standard -2 penalty applies to skill checks when trying to cross the bridge.

Wealth Modifier: Great [+16]

Invisibility

A photokinesis device has been installed in this vehicle, granting it the ability to turn itself invisible. This ability is limited in its use of photokinesis such that invisibility is the only option it possesses.

This device confers no special benefits other than to allow the vehicle and all of its passengers and cargo to pass unseen. It may still leave a trail, noticeably disrupt the environment, produce audible noise, generate a heat signature, etc.

Wealth Modifier: Superb [+32]

 

Matter Mover

Using embedded telekinesis technology, vehicles equipped with this device are capable of moving large amounts of material out of their way. This power comes with several different power ratings.

PR1 can lift human-sized objects or smaller. PR2 can lift objects the size of a large truck. PR3 can lift objects the size of a semi-truck.

Like other magic devices, use this device’s Power Rating to determine its offensive modifiers (see Magic). Creatures are allowed an opposed Mind roll to resist being moved by this effect, while the drivers of other vehicles may make an opposed Vehicles check to avoid being moved. Unattended objects (those not being held or occupied by a person) may not resist the attempt to move them.

Using this ability effectively requires concentration on the driver’s part. Unless the driver has a co- pilot to operate this device independently, he takes a -2 penalty on all Vehicle checks while this device is active.

Wealth Modifier: Good [+8] (PR1), Great [+16] (PR2), Superb [+32] (PR3)

Reinforced Wheels

The wheels and tires of this vehicle are exceptionally durable. They may drive over nearly any terrain without being damaged and indeed may be self-repairing. The wheels themselves have +2 to their Durability, giving them a bonus on their DDFs whenever someone would try to shoot at the tires specifically.

Wealth Modifier: Great [+16]

Self-Repairing

With a large up-front investment, your vehicle may be outfitted with a control inanimate device, paired with sophisticated diagnostic software, which repairs the vehicle’s damage over time. Damage is repaired at a rate of one wound level per day, starting with the most severe wound.

For an even greater cost, a more advanced form of this device repairs the vehicle’s damage at a rate of one wound level per hour, starting with the most severe.

Vehicles which are Destroyed may not be repaired in this manner.

Wealth Modifier: Superb [+32] (for the slower version) or Wonderful [+64] (for the faster version)

Shifting

Making use of a control inanimate device, vehicles equipped with this feature are able to change some of their aesthetic elements. These vehicles can alter their color, both interior and exterior, tire tread (where applicable), their license plate, and the tint of their windows.

Wealth Modifier: Good [+8]

Sound Dampener

Vehicles with this embedded sonarkinesis device may suppress all noise within a very close radius (about 3-feet) of the vehicle. It isn’t capable of producing other sonarkinesis effects, but it does suppress any sound the vehicles or its passengers make to about 5 decibels (such that augmented hearing would be required to detect it).

Wealth Modifier: Great [+16]

Transformation

This incredibly powerful control animate module allows the vehicle to alter its size and structure. The vehicle may alter its Size up or down by one level from its original (so a Good Size vehicle may change between Fair and Great sizes). The vehicle changes into another appropriate for its type (a car into a motorcycle or truck, for example). All of the vehicle’s other traits, including Speed, Handling, Weapons, Durability, Gifts, and Faults, remain the same.

These drastic transformations take time to complete. Altering a vehicle’s Size takes five full minutes per Size level (five minutes to change from Good to Fair, but ten minutes to change from Fair to Great) and may not be performed while the vehicle is in operation.

Vehicles with this Gift gain the Shifting Gift (see above) for free.

Wealth Modifier: Superb [+32]

Faults

Vehicles may possess Faults which reduce their overall cost. The Wealth modifier listed with each of these example Faults reduces the vehicle’s final Cost.

Electrical Problems

None of this vehicle’s electronics seem to work properly. It may have been hit by EMPs one too many times or the wiring may just be faulty. Either way, the car’s windows, locks, GPS, auto-pilot, in-car audio and electronic controls simply don’t function.

The vehicle may still have a functioning electric engine, but its auxiliary electronics don’t work. You may still operate the vehicle without penalties, but conveniences such as those listed above are not available until time and money has been spent to have them repaired.

Wealth Modifier: Good [-8]

Prototype

Highly advanced vehicles may be prototypes or contain some new prototype technology. While the new equipment they have installed may be represented by Gifts, they come with a few drawbacks.

Not only are prototypes rare, often one of a kind (and thus irreplaceable), they often have defects— bugs that still need to be worked out.

Whenever the prototype equipment in question would be used (whether it is a weapon with special bullets, armor attempting to absorb psionic force, or speed boosters kicking into overdrive) make the check as normal. If the natural roll (see Playing the Game for more on natural rolls) contains three minuses (-), a glitch occurs and the equipment ceases to function momentarily (for that action). If the natural roll results in four minuses, the prototype malfunctions permanently (until repaired). If use of the prototype equipment would not normally require a check, roll 4dF and simply observe the natural roll.

Vehicles with this Fault may not also have the Used or Sub-modern Faults.

Wealth Modifier: Great [-16]

Sluggish

This vehicle’s Size is not added into its Speed. This Fault is ideal when trying to represent large vehicles with lower top speeds, vehicles such as tanks.

Wealth Modifier: Good [-8]

Stolen

Whether or not you know it, this vehicle has been stolen from its previous owner. There may be a police bulletin out on it or there may be some very unhappy ganger who wants it back.

The existence of abilities that can alter a vehicle’s appearance makes it difficult to prove (or even spot) that a vehicle is stolen, but most modern vehicles have built-in GPS devices that can be used to locate them and modern tracking systems are not easily fooled or hacked (Phenomenal difficulty).

Stolen vehicles may have other, less obvious problems of which the new owner is unaware. GMs are encouraged to pick another Fault to add to the vehicle, without further reducing its Cost.

Wealth Modifier: Good [-8]

 

Sub-Modern

This vehicle doesn’t possess certain features that have become standard-issue for vehicles of its type. The vehicle may lack built-in GPS and maps, biometric locks, in-car audio and calling features, auto- pilot, etc.

Use your best judgment before applying this Fault to a vehicle. Roller skates would never have any of these features to begin with so it is not an applicable Fault, for example.

Sub-modern vehicles should likewise not come equipped with any Gifts which would include new technology, such as magic. These vehicles should be bare-bones and may not even include built-in weapons or defense systems.

Wealth Modifier: Great [-16] (if it possesses no other Gifts or Weapon/Durability ratings of Good or lower) or Good [-8] (if the vehicle still has some modern features, such as high-tech weapons units)

Used

This vehicle was previously owned and may be prone to breaking down. Whenever the vehicle’s operator makes a natural roll of three minuses (-) on a Vehicle check, the vehicle takes a Damaged wound as if something had malfunctioned, misfired, or worn out. If the operator rolls a natural result of four minuses the vehicle takes a Very Damaged wound instead.

Damage caused as a result of either of these checks may be repaired as normal.

Wealth Modifier: Good [-8]

Example Vehicles

Following are a few example vehicles to get you started.

 

Hoverboard

Size:

Poor [1]

Speed:

Great [16]

Handling:

Fair [4]

Weapons:

Durability:

Cost:

Great [21]

 

Motorcycle

Size:

Fair [4]

Speed:

Good [8]

Handling:

Good [8]

Weapons:

Durability:

Cost:

Great [20]

 

Pick-up Truck

Size:

Great [16]

Speed:

Mediocre [2]

Handling:

Fair [4]

Weapons:

 

 

 

 

Sports Car

Size:

Good [8]

Speed:

Great [16]

Handling:

Good [8]

Weapons:

Durability:

Cost:

Superb [32]

 

Convertible

Size:

Good [8]

Speed:

Good [8]

Handling:

Good [8]

Weapons:

Good [8]

Durability:

Gifts:

Transformation [32]

Cost:

Wonderful [64]

 

Used Sedan

Size:

Good [8]

Speed:

Fair [4]

Handling:

Fair [4]

Weapons:

Durability:

Faults:

Used [-8]

Cost:

Good [8]

 

Prototype Mini-Tank

Size:

Great [16]

Speed:

Good [8]

Handling:

Fair [4]

Weapons:

Great [16]

Durability:

Superb [32]

Gifts:

Antipsi weapons, PR 2 (Cost: Great [+16]); option to deal no damage but negate psionic powers of target person or vehicle

Faults:

Prototype antipsi weapons (use of antipsi runs risk of malfunction) [-16]

Cost:

Wonderful [76]

 

Combat Helicopter

 

Size:

Phenomenal [128]

Speed:

Good [8]

Handling:

Good [8]

Weapons:

Great [16]

Durability:

Great [16]

Gifts:

ESP co-pilot’s HUD, PR 3 (Cost: Superb [+32]); grants the co-pilot and wearer of this special headset the ESP power, allowing them to observe conditions outside the helicopter

Cost:

Phenomenal [208]