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Tech-Use in a non-Tech-dominated world

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#1 Tectorman



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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:05 PM

I'm working on a campaign world using the Anima game system. It's got magic, summoning, ki, psychics, all of which translates to pretty much any campaign setting, but I want to include tech-use as a viable and steady option in mine. The setting has areas with high technology available both from the scavenging of ruins and its utilization in some of the nations of the globe.

The tech-use in question is typically comparable to what was seen in The Legend of Korra, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (not the comic), Wild Wild West (Will Smith), with certain more advanced examples being Ghostbusters, Transporter Rifles, the Delorean, and John Carter the movie.

People the world over are able to use technology up to about what America had mid-1800s (things with few precision moving parts), but steam engines, machine guns, Tron-lightcycles, airships, chainswords, etc. require the character to be "Tech-Blessed". Nonadventurers use this gift to maintain their societies according to their gifts (think Magewrights in Eberron or the Fire/Lightning-Benders regularly juicing up the power grid in Legend of Korra). Adventurers use it to travel abroad, kill things, and take their loot, of course.

Alright, there's the setup. Here's the question.

Not all of the world has nations with this level of technology available for purchase/stealing, nor are there ruins of old tech everywhere. Presence or lack thereof of equipment isn't an issue with the other major "power sources" in the Anima game system (not even mundane combat, thanks to the robust martial arts rules), and I don't want it to be one for "Tech-Use". So how do I structure the rules to accomodate this?

I thought about tying this "Tech-Use" to nanites within certain members of the populace (yes, thanks to something akin to a "Nanite Event"). I could then have Tech-Blessed characters have the ability to transmute (similar to FullMetal Alchemist) certain materials into gadgets, widgets, sprockets, doohickeys, and other things to later be assembled into the plethora of devices they'd be using (from remote-controlled shuriken or batarangs to rocket packs to prosthetic limbs). The certain materials could start from metal objects or metal ores found in the earth, and then progress to rocks, then any solid objects and eventually, the very air itself. A possibility, but I'm trying to evoke a sort of steampunk flavor and nanites seem like a stretch (I don't want them to be midi-chlorians, after all).

Or I could bite the bullet and accept that this power source just has an inherent disadvantage compared to magic or ki or psychics. Tech-Blessed characters are the only ones who know how to make or use or empower high-tech items, devices, vehicles, and city-wide structures, but the wherewithal to have these items available for their use must come from outside the Tech-Blessed.

Can anyone think of a third option? Or a better refinement of the first two?

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