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 Torres saying, “Captain, I can get impulse engines back online, but it’s going to take me at least 12 hours.”)
Sample Linear and Gated Challenges for Engine Failures
Impulse Reaction Chambers Clogged with Veteron Particles (Linear Challenge)
1. Shutdown Impulse Drive Without Causing Radiation Surge. Daring + Engineering/Science with a difficulty 2.
2. Decouple the Deuterium Fuel Supply. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
3. Unclog the Reaction Chambers and Vent the Veteron Particles. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 6
Both Driver Coil Assemblies Bear Micro-Fractures (Gated Challenge)
1. Reroute Energy Distribution to Backup Generators. Reason + Engineering with ship’s Structure + Engineering with a difficulty 2.
2a. Direct Repair Teams to Scan Port Drive to Locate Micro-Fractures. Control + Command/Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
2b. Direct Repair Teams to Scan Starboard Drive to Locate Micro-Fractures. Control + Command/Engineering with a Difficulty of 2.
3. Formulate Action Plan to Repair Fractures Using Quartz Harmonizer. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 3.
4. Reinforce Driver Coil Assemblies. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 3.
Total Threat Spend = 12
Load Balancing and Emergency Circuits Slagged (Linear Challenge)
1. Nullify Polynodal Ionic Induction Relay. Daring + Engineering with a difficulty 2.
2. Reconfigure Linear Thermionic Flux Inhibitors. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 3.
3. Reset Secondary and Tertiary Thermal Displacement Stabilizers. Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 7
Impulse Power Controls Offline Due to Sabotage (Gated Challenge)
1a. Amplify Nano-Resonating Conversion Catalyst. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
1b. Nullify Invasive Computer Lockdown Program. Control/Daring + Security with a difficulty of 3.
2a. Trace and Isolate Virulent Source Code Back to Source. Control/Reason + Security/Science with a difficulty of 3.
2b. Prep Impulse Engines for Emergency Start Once Security Gives the Thumbs Up. Control/Reason + Conn/Engineering with a difficulty of 2
3. Actuate Master Osmotic Reaction Sustainer and Restart Engines. Control/Reason + Conn/Engineering with ship’s Engines + Conn/Engineering a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 12
Dilithium Fractures Due to Errant Subspace Tachyon Fissure in Main Warp Drive Manifold (Gated Challenge)
1. Order Emergency Shutdown of Warp Drive. Control + Command with a difficulty 2.
2. Evacuate Non-Essential Personnel from Engineering Decks. Control + Command/Security with a difficulty of 2.
3. Erect Emergency Force Fields Around Engineering. Control + Command/Security with ship’s Structure + Security a difficulty of 2.
4a. Perform Localized Baryon Sweep to Prevent Catalyst Reaction. Insight/Reason + Conn/Engineering with ship’s Structure + Science with a difficulty of 2.
4b. Seal Tachyon Fissure by Emission of an Inverse Resonance Pulse from Main Deflector. Reason + Engineering/Science with ship’s Structure + Engineering with a difficulty of 3.
5. Isolate Faulty Dilithium Crystals and Use Recrystallization Process 9-A24 in Clean Room Environment. Reason + Engineering/Science with ship’s Computers + Science with a difficulty of 3
Total Threat Spend = 14
Sample Extended Tasks for Engine 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 warp core has lost containment after hitting a pocket of two-dimensional subspace. The warp field is hyperextending, threatening to pull the ship apart molecule by molecule. The engineering team must shut down the warp core, extract the ship from the subspace pocket, and use impulse engines to get clear of the anomaly. And they have only 6 hours to do this before the ship is turned into atomic bits!)
Escape a Two-Dimensional Pocket of Subspace
Work 18. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Here are some other Extended Tasks that you could throw into your game:
Remove Fragment of Super-Heated Plasma Transfer Conduit From Command Deck Before It Explodes
Work 14. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 2.
Replace Intercooler Interface While Traveling at Warp
Work 15. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 3.
Maximize Power to Impulse Engines to Win Interspecies Racing Competition
Work 16. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 3.
Free Trapped Crewmen from Plasma Dump-Vent Assembly Before They Are Vaporized
Work 19. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Restore Collision Avoidance Beacon So That Ship Can Escape Asteroid Field Before Local Star Goes Supernova
Work 20. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Reconstruct Stolen Bussard Collectors Before More Pirates Arrive to Strip the Ship
Work 20. Magnitude 4. Resistance 4. Difficulty 4.