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 Ensign Kim saying, “Captain, we just lost the aft sensor array. I can get it back in two hours.”)
Sample Linear and Gated Challenges for Sensor Failures
Subspace Differential Pulse Rendering Sensors Inert (Linear Challenge)
1. Stabilize Forward Sensor Array. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty 2.
2. Align Deflector Matrix with Sensor Grid. Reason + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
3. Reboot Sensor Array. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 6
Class 5 Reconnaissance Probe That Can’t be Transported Due to Crash Location on Pre-Warp Planet (Gated Challenge)
1. Locate Probe on Surface. Control + Conn with ship’s Sensors + Conn/Science with a difficulty 3.
2a. Form Strategic Plan to Retrieve Probe; Prepare Transporter Enhancers. Reason + Command/Security with a difficulty of 2.
2b. Disguise Away Team for Insertion on Planet. Daring + Command/Medicine/Security with a Difficulty of 2.
3. Transport to Planet Surface. Control + Engineering Task with a Difficulty of 3, assisted by the ship’s Sensors + Engineering.
4. Travel to Probe Location Unseen by Natives. Daring + Conn/Security with a difficulty of 3.
5. Set Up Transporter Enhancers and Return with Probe to Ship. Control + Engineering/Science with a Difficulty of 2, assisted by the ship’s Sensors + Engineering.
Total Threat Spend = 15
Neutrino Imaging Scan Needs Fine Tuning (Linear Challenge)
1. Take Neutrion Scanning Array Offline. Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty 2.
2. Perform Manual Diagnostics Utilizing Starfleet Engineering Protocol. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
3. Reinitialize Scanner. Reason + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 6
Polythermal Image Giving False Sensor Readings of Cloaked Vessels (Gated Challenge)
1a. Order all Stations to Be on Battle Alert in Case Readings Are True. Control + Command with a difficulty of 2.
1b. Access Polythermal Imaging Computers to Detect Anomolies. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 3.
2a. Engage Auxiliary Sensors to Determine That There Are No Cloaked Ships. Control/Reason + Security/Science with a difficulty of 3.
2b. Reboot Imaging Computers to Original Settings. Control/Reason + Conn/Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
3. Stand Down Red Alert and Resume Normal Passive Scans. Control/Reason + Command/Engineering with ship’s Sensors + Science a difficulty of 2.
Total Threat Spend = 12
Use Quantum Resonance Scan to Locate Micro-Wormhole that Threatens to Destroy Colony (Gated Challenge)
1. Fine Tune Resonance Scanners to Plausible Range of Quantum Anomoly. Control + Engineering/ Science with a difficulty 2, assisted by ship’s Computers + Science.
2. Bring Ship Into Range to Effect Micro-Wormhole. Control + Conn with a difficulty of 2.
3. Remodulate Deflector to Appropriate Frequency. Control + Engineering/Science with a difficulty of 2.
4a. Direct Colonists to Shelter in Place. Presence + Command with a difficulty of 2.
4b. Maximize Power to Deflector Grid. Reason + Engineering/Science with ship’s Structure + Engineering with a difficulty of 2.
5. Seal Micro-Wormhole with Graviton Pulse. Control + Engineering/Science with ship’s Weapons + Science with a difficulty of 3.
Total Threat Spend = 13
Sample Extended Tasks for Sensor 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, all of the sensors arrays have been blown out after the vessel passes through a temporal wave that leaves them drifting toward a secondary wave that will spell their doom. The operations team must get the sensors back online, locate the incoming secondary wave, and provide conn with accurate readings to evade the event. And they have only 2 hours to do this before they are lost in time forever!)
Restore All Sensors
Work 20. Magnitude 4. Resistance 4. Difficulty 4.
Here are some other Extended Tasks that you could throw into your game:
Utilize Fluidic Sensor Diagnostic to Locate Microscopic Quantum Detonator Planted in Cryogenic Tanks
Work 19. Magnitude 4. Resistance 2. Difficulty 3.
Perform Geological Scan to Find Dilithium on Volcanic Moon
Work 17. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 2.
Complete Recalibration Sweep to Correct All instrumentation
Work 16. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 3.
Initiate Tachyon Scan to Find Cloaked Vessel
Work 19. Magnitude 2. Resistance 2. Difficulty 5.
Initilize Microscan to Locate Invasive Nanotechnology
Work 20. Magnitude 3. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.
Perform Long Range Sensor Scan to Locate Runabout Trapped in a Star’s Corona
Work 16. Magnitude 2. Resistance 3. Difficulty 4.