Need to slam your players with a Linear or Gated Challenge to keep them busy during a game? Want to toss in an Extended Task to make their lives miserable? Don’t have time to whip up plausible technobabble? Welcome to Scotty’s Tech Manual, a handy resource to help you keep your games rolling while everything is blowing up around your characters.
Maybe a key system has suffered a breach. Perhaps you have been hoarding threat and need a cool place to spend it. This is a creative way to create complications, stacking them on each other to form a Linear or Gated Challenge. As per the game rules, it costs 2 Threat to create a complication, so each step in the challenge costs a minimum of 2 Threat +1 more if the difficulty range is above 2 on any steps in the challenge. [Note: Tasks listed with letters (ex. 2a and 2b) mean that both items must be completed before moving onto the next step.]
How to use this resource
- Determine the ship system that you want to vex. (This may be because of a recent breach.)
- Select one of the challenges below.
- Decide on the length of time (rounds, minutes, hours, days) for each task to take. (Use this to create suspense and make Time into a condition for your campaign.)
- Inform your players about the steps. (This is LaForge saying, “Captain, I can get computers back online, but it’s going to take me at least a day.”)
Sample Linear and Gated Challenges for Computer Failures
Isolinear Circuitry Fused in Engineering (Linear Challenge)
1. Identify Affected Areas. Insight/Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty 2.
2. Decouple Isolinear Co-processor. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
3. Replace Damaged Isolinear Circuitry and Reboot System. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 6
Sickbay Computers Cascade Failure (Gated Challenge)
1. Reroute Secondary Resonating Reaction Controller. Reason + Engineering/Medicine with a difficulty 2.
2a. Reverse Back-up Ionic Manifold. Reason + Engineering/Medicine with a difficulty of 2.
2b. Fix the Overloaded with Pulse Regulator. Control + Command/Engineering with a Difficulty of 2.
3. Debug the Auxiliary Data Unit. Insight/Reason + Engineering/Medicne with a difficulty of 3.
4. Initialize Optronic Feedback Core. Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 11
Antimatter Particle Trace in the Computer Core Casing (Linear Challenge)
1. Shutdown Main Systems and Utilize Auxiliary Back-ups. Presence + Command with a difficulty 2.
2. Clean the Electro-Ceramic Casing. Insight + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 3.
3. Re-attenuate the Primary and Auxiliary Charge Centrifuge. Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 7
Primary and Auxiliary Antigravity Autosequencers Offline (Gated Challenge)
1a. Direct Crew to Observe Null Gravity Protocol. Control/Presence + Command/Security with a difficulty of 2.
1b. Re-route Emergency Power to the Port Antigravity Node. Control/Daring + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 3.
2. Purge the Ventral Polar Repeller. Control/Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 3.
3. Resynchronize the Magnetic Torsional Inducer. Control/Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 10
All Computer Interfaces Non-Responsive (Gated Challenge)
1. Order all Stations to Engage Manual Override Procedures Control + Command with a difficulty 3.
2a. Access Manual Control Panels and Perform Level 1 Diagnostics. Reason + Engineering (or applicable station Discipline) with a difficulty of 2.
2b. Conduct Physical Inspection of all Decks to Ensure Safety of Crew. Fitness + Security with a difficulty of 3.
3. Gather Appropriate Parts to Replace Interface Sequencers. Insight/Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
4. Manually Install Failed Components. Control + Engineering (or appropriate station Discipline) with a difficulty of 2.
5. Reinitialize Station. Reason + Engineering (or applicable station Discipline) with a Difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 14
Sample Extended Tasks for Computer Failures
“Unlike normal Tasks, Extended Tasks cannot be overcome in a single attempt. Extended Tasks should be used sparingly, and only in situations where there is additional pressure or tension, such as during combat, or when there is only a limited amount of time to succeed. Extended Tasks use a mechanism similar to how damage is inflicted in combat, to represent activities that will take an uncertain amount of time and effort to complete, which is ideally suited to situations where there is an increasing peril or risk of harm the longer the activity takes to complete.” [Core Rulebook page 90.]
Unlike the Linear and Gated Challenge, I don’t think a GM needs to spend Threat for this. The Gamemaster and Players can negotiate the appropriate Attributes and Disciplines to use.
The Gamemaster decides how long they have to complete this Extended Task.
(For example, the bio-neural gel packs have taken on an alien parasite that is feeding off of the isolinear chips causing cascade failures all over the ship. The crew must isolate the infected gel packs and transport the lifeforms into containment fields in the medical bay to determine if this is a first contact situation. And they have only 30 minutes before all isolinear chips are rendered inert!)
Isolate Living Computer Virus in Sickbay
Work 15. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 3.
Here are some other Extended Tasks that you could throw into your game:
Restore Shuttle’s Computer After Run In With Ion Storm Before Getting Pulled Into Black Hole
Work 14. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 2.
Hack Enemy Vessel’s Computers To Shut Down Their Weapons Systems
Work 15. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 3.
Repair Computer Core After Electromagnetic Dispersion Field Causes Processing Problems
Work 16. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 3.
Isolate Binary-Based Assassin Who is Targeting the Captain
Work 19. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Download An Entire Starbase’s Database Before it is Destroyed in Sector-Wide Temporal Event
Work 20. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Construct a Computer from Scratch After Being Trapped in Alien Prison
Work 20. Magnitude 4. Resistance 4. Difficulty 4.