Thursday, April 28, 2016

Human Computers

Super intelligence is a difficult to game ability. It's very hard to roleplay as someone much smarter than you (despite what some people think). Moreover it's unlikely any military will allow someone who can cobble together death rays and rocket packs anywhere near the front. Then again a person with a higher intelligence would be able to hide it from their colleagues.

Super intelligence is represented (in part) as a huge body of facts and study in a wide variety of subjects. In practice the player character could be allowed an intelligence roll to provide exposition on some obscure facts and be provided any information the referee would expect them to know. In addition the character can be considered to have an intelligence of 18 for most mundane purposes (their stat number is just used for genius stuff). In addition the character is a skilled technician able to tinker, cobble and kitbash a variety of devices from whatever is at hand.

Again note that being a fricking genius does not make you bulletproof.

Low: (still within human levels but uncanny. Think Sherlock Holmes.) The character has normal human senses but is capable of finding a wide variety of clues less intelligent people would never put together. He can easily improvise a weapon doing 1d6 damage given a few minutes and commonly available parts. Inventions have a usage die of 1d4. Standard equipment can be improved by increasing damage or usage die to the next size die.

Paranormal: (not within human limits, think Lex Luthor). The character subtracts 5 from any research related rolls. He can easily improvise a weapon doing 1d8 damage given a few minutes and commonly available parts. Inventions have a usage die of 1d8. Standard equipment can be improved by picking two of these three benefits (benefits may not be doubled up):

1) increasing damage die to the next size die

2)  increasing usage die to the next size die

3) give a -2 bonus to rolls

4) miscellaneous (for example, the device is miniaturized or concealable)

Inhuman: (think someone who could beat Lex Luthor at chess). The character subtracts 10 from his research related rolls. He can easily improvise a weapon doing 1d6 damage given a few minutes and commonly available parts. Inventions have a usage die of 1d12. Standard equipment can be improved by picking two of these three benefits (increasing damage or usage dice may be done twice). New equipment can be created to give either a bonus to the character or penalty to targets' rolls (for example a net gun that requires an ST at +4 to escape.)

1) increasing damage die to the next size die

2)  increasing usage die to the next size die

3) give a -4 bonus to rolls or a +4 penalty to targets' rolls

4) miscellaneous (for example, the device is miniaturized or concealable)

Inventions
Improvised weapons have a usage die of 1d4 or 1d6 depending on the quality of the materials, time spent working on it and the GM's judgement.

If the character has access to a workshop or lab and several weeks (GM's judgement but at least 1d6 weeks) they can make a prototype invention or improve a piece of standard equipment. These devices are eccentric to say the least and any characters other than the inventor using them do so at a +4 penalty (bonuses are not counted). After several missions using the invention this penalty can be waived. Optionally the usage die is automatically decreased by one for new users to represent rendering the device SNAFU.

For example the character with Paranormal Super Intelligence might decide they want to make grenades smaller and more portable to let them carry more and throw them further and comes up with a new design looking much like paper airplanes. He increases the usage die to 1d8 and takes a -2 bonus to hit with them. During a mission he is wounded and OoA. His squadmate grabs the special grenades but is at -4 to hit with them. The usage die was 1d6 but it is now 1d4.

Other Limitations
A GM can also rule that unique materials and research is required to create inventions ("We need some red mercury from the Soviets for this ray cannon!")

I need a better descriptor than 'low'. Low Super Intelligence just sounds silly. You're a genius the other geniuses call 'dummy'? That's just weak.