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Desslok

What can Utility Belt™ do for you?

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A destiny point can be flipped for things you could reasonably thought of before hand or in the area the character is in. IE you could flip a dp for a breath mask in a space station corridor. but not in the jungle. With utility belt talent you can still do it in the jungle. 

 

I prefer my own adjudication, for the reason that those things you could not reasonably thought of before can cause the game to grind to a halt. That's what deus ex machina is meant to avert.

On the other hand, rules-lawyery players can - and will - make the case, at ridiculous length, why their character could have foreseen the need for said item. That's also a debate that grinds my game to a halt. I'd rather move on with the game than think if the characters could reasonably have thought of thinking the think... thing. ;)

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In my book, the distinction between the regular use of a Destiny token flip for "Deus ex Machina" and the Utility Belt talent is the following:

The purpose of the former is to advance the plot. If it doesn't, you can't do it - unless you have Utility Belt.

 

Great list, OP.

 

Edit: What I would like to know if you have people pay for the equipment they "bought offscreen and forgot to mention" in either case.

 

This is my main distinction between the two: if you flip a Destiny Point, you bought the item at some point and just happened to have it on you, so you get the item, but you have to pay for it.  With the Utility Belt talent, you don't have to pay.  This is along with the aforementioned plot/vs. whim distinction.

 

Since Utility Belt is a Tier V talent, it needs to have some good advantages to go along with it.  Not to say it doesn't just by its nature, but, you know...

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I believe the Devs added the "Limited Ammo 1" restriction has a way to tell the players that the object produced by the Utility Belt talent is a one shot only item. I would have preferred if they just wrote it so.

To me, if a character wanted to produce, using the Utility Belt talent, a hand-made blaster to escape Trandoshan slavers who locked them in the cargo hold, I'd allow it with the restriction of it having "Limited Ammo 1". But i'm sure I could find a Blaster with Limited Ammo 1 in one of the books anyway.

 

 

The Deus Ex Machina DP flip can be used to circumvent player/character oversight, help with Dumb luck or add a believable story element. Some good examples have been made but i'll list a few anyway.

 

- The players know they are going to a toxic atmosphere planet but forgot to buy rebreathers ; DP flip, spend some money and they have them on hand.

- The players didn't find anything on the doorman they just knocked out ; DP flip and they find the access code written on a piece of paper because he doesn't have good memory. (i'd allow that once at most)

- The players are waiting for an opportunity to slip pass a guard ; DP flip and the guard has to take a leak and leaves his post for just enough time for them to pass under the security cam unnoticed.

 

 

The Utility Belt talent DP flip doesn't have to be believable, doesn't have to be explained by the players, he just makes it up with the spare parts he had in his satchel.

 

- The players pursue a Nemesis who just locked the door behind hum, cutting of the players. Instead of going around, the player uses his Utility Belt talent and a DP flip to produce an Explosive from a spare power flux coplink with a blaster pack.

- The players need to go down a corridor watched by a Security Cam ; the player uses his Utility Belt talent and a DP flip to produce an Interfero-Wave emiter using a aluminum dish with some high-intensity wave emiter and some scrambler matrix from a datapad.

- The players face off against a battle droid Nemesis ; the player uses his Utility Belt talent and a DP flip to produce a restraining bolt to incapacitate the droid.

 

Remember that you can always ask the player to make a skill roll to use his Utility Belt produced object. Like placing the explosive made, or adjusting the correct wave frequency to jam the security cam, or brawl to put the Restraining bolt on that huge battle droid.

 

 

The Deus Ex Machina is more of a helpful tool where you have to convince the GM it's possible.

The Utility Bel talent is more of a way to go around an obstacle, to outsmart the GM... Some GM might not like it, but you learn to face the players on even ground eventually.... Remember that Nemesis Battle droid you used that Restraining bolt on, but had to run away fast because his reinforcements coming through the door, now he's back with Rocket Launcher and he's MAD :P

 

Just my 2 cents.

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The Utility Belt talent DP flip doesn't have to be believable, doesn't have to be explained by the players, he just makes it up with the spare parts he had in his satchel.

Actually, there’s a different talent for that. I think it’s called “Contraption”.

IMO, the “Utility Belt” talent is for use in producing some small something that you own, but which you did not have written on your character sheet as being something that you were bringing with you. Maybe it’s a special type of tool which would normally be found on the ship.

For me, this is distinct from the DP flip in that it can be used more than once, and I’d give it more leeway in terms of what I would allow to be produced.

Either way, if you hadn’t actually already bought the item in question, then you’d need to also retcon the spending of the money to buy the item in question. But then you would have it, and you could potentially use it again.

But maybe that’s just me and my game. YMMV.

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Contraption is specifically said to be single use only, unless [stuff]. Utility belt has no such qualification. You could argue that this makes the item you pulled out of thin air reusable by default (unless it's a weapon, due to the separate limited ammo quality)

 

here's how I handle these options.

 

"deus ex machina" - GM says no if it doesn't advance the plot; only if GM says yes, DP flip

Utility Belt - GM says no if the item doesn't fit the constraints (item too big, too rare, or comes with too much ammo); only if GM says yes, DP flip

Contraption - GM says no if the check fails (upgrades and adds setback to taste); the once per game session attempt to build a contraption is spent even if the check fails.

 

Currently neither of the three costs money in my book, but I'm not sure about that. Am I too permissive?

 

Desslok, something you might want to add to your list - Attachments have a rarity and a price, and they should be mostly small enough. I think it's intentional that the Outlaw Tech can draw random attachments out of his greasy coverall pockets and tinker with tech if he feels like it.

 

Edit: Something else comes to mind. I will use deus ex machina as a fallback without telling the players if it moves the plot along. If a player asks for something beyond the limits of Utility Belt, I will occasionally allow it. It actually is deus ex machina in that case, but why tell a player who is feeling awesome about his talent. Same with contraption. Sometimes, I might rule that they need to set up more favorable circumstances to build a contraption - specifically, to compensate for missing tools or spare parts. This is where the player with Utility Belt starts to smile (and I won't ever tell him that he doesn't need Utility Belt, as deus ex machina would suffice.) Also, people, have a look at the Careful Planning talent. I allow players with Careful Planning and Utility Belt to mix and match the effects.

Edited by GranSolo

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The Utility Belt talent DP flip doesn't have to be believable, doesn't have to be explained by the players, he just makes it up with the spare parts he had in his satchel.

Actually, there’s a different talent for that. I think it’s called “Contraption”.

IMO, the “Utility Belt” talent is for use in producing some small something that you own, but which you did not have written on your character sheet as being something that you were bringing with you. Maybe it’s a special type of tool which would normally be found on the ship.

For me, this is distinct from the DP flip in that it can be used more than once, and I’d give it more leeway in terms of what I would allow to be produced.

Either way, if you hadn’t actually already bought the item in question, then you’d need to also retcon the spending of the money to buy the item in question. But then you would have it, and you could potentially use it again.

But maybe that’s just me and my game. YMMV.

 

 

You got me there... completely forgot about that talent and mixed the 2...

:(

After reading the talent again, i'd probably print the list the OP made and stick with those items to be produced.

Thinking about it.... it kinda looks like Hermione's bag in Harry Potter that she used to pull out things that where needed at the time.

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Hey Desslok, your list not only lacks attachments,  but also (some) droids. There's at least one other droid that's small enough, the Mini Med from Far Horizons. Rarity 3, gives you one rank of the Surgeon talent. :)

Edited by GranSolo

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While still RAW, attachments may be outside the scope of the talent. They're not cheesy one-off items. They are very much permanent and any GM can and should veto an attachment pulled from a utility belt.

 

They should veto permanent, non-cheesy items?

...

Strongly disagree.

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While still RAW, attachments may be outside the scope of the talent. They're not cheesy one-off items. They are very much permanent and any GM can and should veto an attachment pulled from a utility belt.

 

They should veto permanent, non-cheesy items?

...

Strongly disagree.

 

They certainly aren't small tools, so I'd poo poo it for that reason.

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Yeah, attachments and some cybernetics could fall under the Utility Belt as written - but then we have to invoke the Signature Ability: Common Sense. Both of those, at least to me, seem to go against the spirit of the talent. One off simple tools? Sure. Something that affixes to a weapon for long-term usage? Not so much.

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Yeah, attachments and some cybernetics could fall under the Utility Belt as written - but then we have to invoke the Signature Ability: Common Sense. Both of those, at least to me, seem to go against the spirit of the talent. One off simple tools? Sure. Something that affixes to a weapon for long-term usage? Not so much.

Though a caveat could be made for Droid heroes with the talent to be able to pull some attachements/cybernetics. The item could be prototype device that burns out. Think the attachments that D-Squad from Clone Wars had installed.

Also what book is that signature ability in? What upgrades. I know a lot of people who should take it. Sadly they take the "but it doesnt say I cant" signature ability. Or the "I can loot that!"

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After reading the talent again, i'd probably print the list the OP made and stick with those items to be produced.

Thinking about it.... it kinda looks like Hermione's bag in Harry Potter that she used to pull out things that where needed at the time.

 

If anyone remembers Tales from the Floating Vagabond, there was the almost identical effect:

 

  • The Trenchcoat Effect gives you a chance to pull any mundane item out of your trenchcoat, but only if a different party member has already brought up the need for that item.

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I don't think it is a problem if the items produced by this talent are permanent - there are other talents that produce "permanent equipment", like Sound Investment. You could ask the player to just buy the item in question if it turns out to be too expensive, but I think the general knee-jerk reaction against attachments i've seen here is not warranted.

 

The Outlaw Tech spec is very much geared towards tinkering with items. Imagine a player (Outlaw Tech) meeting another player for the first time:

"Interesting gun you have there. May I have a look at it?"

(tinkers with it for a couple of minutes)

"There. I tuned and oiled it and also added an infrared scope I had lying around, I'm sure it will be useful for when we need to sneak into that compound later at night."

 

I mean, come on. That is awesome, isn't it? I also doubt it is unbalancing, as attachment below rarity 4 are rarely beyond the 500 cred mark.

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Oh my god, so much potential in Utility Belt with the release of Special Modifications! The Multi Goo Gun alone is worth the price of admission! Need a black to slow down the Imperials chasing you? Multi-Goo Gun the floor behind you! Or set the floor on fire! Or how about a Hand Grinder? Yeah - that could be fun too!

 

Okay, off to update the list.

 

** EDIT **

Aw damnit, the Goo Gun doesn't have a Limited Ammo Quality, so the belt can't get it. Ah well.

Edited by Desslok

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I've had the talent on my sheet for a while, but last week was the first time I really got to put Utility Belt to the test. The ship we were traveling on was shot down, leaving the group (plus a bunch of Imperials we were traveling with) stranded on a remote and distant planet. Time for my mechanic to really shine.

 

"So we're in the mountains on an arctic planet? I just happen to have a thermal cloak with me!"

 

"Oooh, it's getting really cold in the pod at night. Fusion Generator anyone?"

 

"There's a monster perched on the escape pod waiting for us to come out? Hang on, I think I have a stun grenade somewhere in my satchel. . . "

 

"Need to check out that unknown native village? Here, have some microbinoculars."

 

Yeah, in short this talent is AWWWW-SOME. My only problem was that I had too many things I could have used it on and I didnt want to hog all the DPs. And yeah, it's way more versatile than just 'flip a point to get some forgotten equipment'.

Edited by Desslok

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Utility belt is an awesome talent. It is a gear fountain, and players will build up a ton of random gear over time using it. The real balancing factor is encumberance.

 

I've let players pull out a relevant book,  attachment night vision scope), a landmine,  a poison antidote,  a tiny survalience droid.  With utility belt my default answer is yes with DP I'd say its 50/50 and the items don't last.

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