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How do extended tests and crafting work?

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#1 Droma



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 05:37 PM

I'm starting a new game and one of my players decided to play a tech priest. One of the uses of the Tech Use skill is crafting armour and weapons. My player asked me how does he is supposed to go about crafting something and right now I don't have a good answer for him.

So first I look at page 91 that has the side bar on crafting using Tech Use. It says the time, difficulty, and materials very greatly depending on the complexity of the item, the type of workshop they have, and their access to secrets of the Mechanicus. It then says to see the Crafting Sidebar on page 74.

Ok so now we look at page 74. Under Tech Use it just gives a description of the type of items that can be created using the skill. Materials actually gives specifics. My player needs to make a logistics test in order to obtain materials to build the item. The availability of the items is one step below the availability of the item we are trying to create.

Now we move onto the part about time. It says it is an extended test determined by the GM but gives a table of guidelines. So lets say he wants to create some armour. The table says it takes 1d10 hours and 6 Extended Test Successes.

So now I ask myself how do extended tests work? So we look at page 9 under Extended Tests. And it says some tasks take a long period of time to complete, in cases such as these the Game Master may require multiple Skill Tests to complete the task. This is known as an extended Test. In general, each Skill states within its description whether it requires an Extended Test. However, the Game Master may adjust the time represnted by each Test to best suit the situation and the needs of his campaign.

So that told me pretty much nothing. Given the example lets say my player has the materials and I rolled the dice and it's supposed to take him 6 hours to craft the armour. How does the extended test work? Do I have him roll Tech Use 6 times? What difficulty should the tests be set at? If he fails one of the tests does he fail to craft the armour? If he does fail do the materials get destroyed?

The whole thing is rather vague and I'm not sure how to handle it. I looked in my Dark Heresy and Death Watch books to see if they have better examples of extended tests and both of those were equally vague. So if anyone can tell me how this is supposed to work I would appreciate it.

#2 KommissarK



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 06:28 PM

Extended tests require a bit of GM arbitration. They consist of two main parts: the target threshold, and the interval.

The GM needs to set both of these. The target can be something like 10 total DoSs, 15, 20, 30, etc. As high as you need it to be to represent the difficulty at hand. I don't have any good examples to give ya, but at minimum for something crafted, 10 should be the starting point.

Second, you must define the interval. It could be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc. Pick what you feel would at least be the minimum time it takes to complete the task. The PC must be able to work about an 8 hour day on the project to make a test on any given day

In general, with crafting, one must also have the needed materials. This could come from logistics tests, the result of taking parts from gear on hand (perhaps somebody forgot to return comrade Joe's lasgun to the quartermaster after his face was introduced to that Ork's choppa). Obviously, in this case, the parts being used should reasonably have something to do with the intended product.

In fact, determining the qualities of the finished product should be your chief concern. Is the player pointing at an item in the book and saying "I want to craft that," or are they coming up with some new piece of gear ("I want to make a speargun that can shoot hunting lances"). What is the intended craftsmanship? Also, while you mention Tech Use, it is still more for electronic gear and demolitions. Trade(Armourer) might be a bit more apropriate when trying to make weapons and armour.

Generally, for any "gear" on the order of weapons or armour, I would go with a 1 week interval, and bare minimum, a 10 hit threshold (this is for something like say a flak vest or a laspistol). I would consider the parts for these to be Ubiquitous (if a logistics test is needed), or generally available from any amount of salvage from a battlefield. As items increase in size/complexity, I would start increasing the threshold by 5, or the interval by one "step" (e.g. 1 week -> 2 weeks, 2 weeks -> 1 month).

Its difficult to say what is and is not appropriate. In theory, anything is possible, but often times, the interval would be crazy high.

#3 Droma



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 07:00 PM

I get what you are trying to say but many of the examples you describe go specifically against what is stated in the book. I did make my own mistake in my example. According to the table in the book armour created using Tech Use takes 1d10 days and requires 12 successes.

For example you said that trade armourer would be more appropriate however under crafting it specifically says the only three skills capable of crafting are Chem-Use, Survival, and Tech Use. Second you describe how you would obtain materials and that also goes against what is stated in the book.

I would also like to know where you got the parts of an extended test. The book says nothing about threshold or interval. It does say it takes a certain amount of time so lets assume this equates with interval. However it says nothing about threshold and it certainly doesn't mention degrees of success. It seems to be suggesting a certain number of individual skill tests.

So once again lets go with my specific example of my player is trying to craft himself a suit of storm trooper carapace. It is very rare so the materials for it would be rare. It takes 1d10 days and requires 12 successes to craft. I roll and it takes 8 days. Given this example how would the extended test work for it?

#4 KommissarK



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 08:50 PM

Its only vaguely described on page 9. Mainly, there isn't that much to say as its intended to be a GM abstraction; there are no hard rules on the matter. All it says is the GM comes up with a target number, and a projected length of time. It references "multiple skill tests," and this is what the concept of the interval and threshold essentially are.

As for skills, the Trade skill does state that it is used for creating things. It does appear to either be an oversight or outright mistake to make no reference to it in the crafting sidebar. On its own, crafting is still such an abstract thing in the system that there really is no set way for it to be handled. It would seem rather gamey to say that someone who spends all their time crafting weapons and armour has no need to be skilled in Trade (armourer).

In your example, the interval is 1d10 days, and 12 successes. To do this, I would handle it as being start by determining the first interval, in the first case, 8. Roll the appropriate test. Get 5 DoSs (8 days have passed). Roll the 1d10 again, get a 6. Roll the skill check, 4 DoSs (9 DoSs, 14 days have passed). Roll 1d10 again, get 3. Roll Skill check, get 6 DoSs (15 DoSs, 17 days have passed). At this point the 12 threshold has been hit, the work is complete.

#5 Droma



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Posted 16 August 2012 - 09:16 PM

Gotcha. I appreciate the clarification although I wish the rules were slightly more concrete or at the least provided an example of an extended test.

Thanks for taking the time to answer.

#6 Andor



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Posted 17 August 2012 - 03:50 AM

As for your question about failed rolls, they go into the net success pool.

So suppose your techpriest had aquired the components to make an inferno pistol, somehow. And you decided he needed 25 successes with a 1 week interval, and that the test is hard (-20).

After the first week he rolls and gets 2 degrees of success. Progress.

Next week he rools and adds another. Progress.

On the 3rd weeks he fails by 2 degrees, and now only has 1 net success. This may take a while. Welcome to the 41st millenium.

If net successes drop into the negatives I would be inclined to rule that some of the materials were destroyed and some more creative requisitioning is called for.

Looking at the Trade skill is does appear to be strictly weaker than Tech-Use. It is clearly intended to be a crafting skill although it's 14 individual skills instead of 1 uberskill. (Although Trade: Chymist appears to be equal to Chem-Use and Archeologist, Cryptographer, Cook, Explorer, Linguist, Remembrancer, Soothsayer and Voidfarer are not covered by Tech-Use.) Plus Trade is easier to learn than Tech-Use (having one general apptitude.) Also it has a lore component that differs from what I would allow you to learn from Tech-Use.

But Tech-Use does seem to entirely enclose the craft aspects of Trade: Armourer, Astrographer, Scrimshawer, Shipwright and Technomat.

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