Jump to content
Seam

Mechanics checks for Mods

Recommended Posts

Hello!

If players want to mod their equipment, do you insist that the players do the Mechanics check themselves, even if there is no dedicated Mechanic in the group? Or do you have some rules that a NPC does it for them (successfully every time and thus raising the cost significantly, or a NPC with some mechanic oriented stats and making a "real" roll and thus raising the cost not as much, or...)?

Thanks for any advice!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to get this straight, this is whether or not characters can take their weapons to NPCs for the purposes of modification and the Mechanics roll?

I'd be willing to go with that, but I'd probably still have them roll using an NPC stat block. In fact, I'd probably have some amount of randomization, so they wouldn't know how good the tech is until after they've paid. However, if they find a good one, I'd probably let them go back there. But modifying weapons is in the realm of outlaw techs, so I could also see myself playing with the law a little, like maybe the tech gets raided while working on the item, or while the PCs are there dropping off the goods or something.

In short, if there's no tech PC, I'd let them use an NPC, but there'd be more to it narratively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How I do it:

  • A player may always attempt to mod their equipment themselves.
  • Another party member may attempt to mod any other party member's equipment (with consent).
  • Party NPCs typically will not mod a party members equipment. (But specific story/campaign/adventure situations may override that)
  • Players typically cannot take their equipment to/hire NPCs to be modded. (Specific story/campaign/adventure situations may override that, but I'm even more picky than I am with Party NPCs)

Reasoning: 

Having a Techie is the same as having a Forcee, or a Face, or Pilot, or a Gunner, or whatever in the party. While Star Wars thankfully doesn't stress party member roles like other systems do, there should be benefits and drawbacks to having and not having certain roles filled. In the case of modding gear, it's not even a little bit required for play. You can go an entire campaign without modding a single item and be totally fine. So, one of the benefits of having a techie is you can really get your gear tricked out, in exactly the same way that having an Entrepreneur in your Smuggler campaign can allow you to  make some extra money on the side.

Also, I've been treating gear less like an extension of the player character lately. So while I won't actively plot to remove a players gear, I also won't bend over backwards to prevent them from losing it either, especially if the plot will benefit from it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
49 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

Special Modifications specifically allows this to be done and has the service on a price list in the back of the book. Cost is 500 x Difficulty (plus 100 for parts) for personal gear, 1000 x Difficulty (plus 1000 for parts) for starship/vehicle mods. 

Man, how'd I not see that?

 

Though at that rate... yoiks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 minutes ago, HappyDaze said:

It's crazy expensive, but guaranteed success. For groups without a techie, it's an option but it's not going to be an easy one.

Which isn't that bad.

Sure, you can increase your blaster's damage by 1... or you can buy an entirely new and different make and model of blaster for the same price.

 

Though this get's me thinking... how many times have film characters needed to replace a lost weapon? Anakin perma-loses his saber at least once. Han perma-loses his blaster pistol at least once. Luke perma-loses Anakin's saber, Rey loses a blaster pistol, and super-perma-loses Anakin's saber...

Edited by Ghostofman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Seam said:

Hello!

If players want to mod their equipment, do you insist that the players do the Mechanics check themselves, even if there is no dedicated Mechanic in the group? Or do you have some rules that a NPC does it for them (successfully every time and thus raising the cost significantly, or a NPC with some mechanic oriented stats and making a "real" roll and thus raising the cost not as much, or...)?

Thanks for any advice!

We do both. The dedicated mechanic has too much things to do, and not always enough time. Additionally, he is not always motivated to put in his effort for all the other characters.

One GM in our group once tried to have NPCs roll for checks, but quickly found that none of the characters would not pay anything for botched work (which makes a lot of narrative sense). If I want a grenade launcher installed, I'm not paying for someone 'attempting' to do it. Maybe as a player, I can understand that, but my character certainly won't! How would a character ever know if he tried his best or even used proper equipment? Otherwise my non-mechanic character would also open a modding shop, fail all the rolls and still rake in the cash. Give me this amount of credits, but I cannot garantuee any results sir. That wouldn't make any sense. It would be like blasters that aren't garantueed to actually shoot and have the seller ask full credits.

High skill NPCs make more profit, because they lose less on botched attempts. Low-skill NPCs might simply refuse some jobs as being 'too difficult' or ask way too much credits to compensate for their failure (which also tends to turn customers away).

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Aramur said:

We do both. The dedicated mechanic has too much things to do, and not always enough time. Additionally, he is not always motivated to put in his effort for all the other characters.

One GM in our group once tried to have NPCs roll for checks, but quickly found that none of the characters would not pay anything for botched work (which makes a lot of narrative sense). If I want a grenade launcher installed, I'm not paying for someone 'attempting' to do it. Maybe as a player, I can understand that, but my character certainly won't! How would a character ever know if he tried his best or even used proper equipment? Otherwise my non-mechanic character would also open a modding shop, fail all the rolls and still rake in the cash. Give me this amount of credits, but I cannot garantuee any results sir. That wouldn't make any sense. It would be like blasters that aren't garantueed to actually shoot and have the seller ask full credits. 

High skill NPCs make more profit, because they lose less on botched attempts. Low-skill NPCs might simply refuse some jobs as being 'too difficult' or ask way too much credits to compensate for their failure (which also tends to turn customers away).

 

That's why you have the players pay for parts and 25% to 50% up front.  If the NPC fails, they've paid for the parts that were used and the effort put forth.  Most mechanics aren't going to purposefully botch the roll to save time.  Their reputation would go down the drain and they would be hard pressed to get any work.  There's also the problem of botching the work for someone who wouldn't blink about killing you for it.  Depending on the outcome of the roll I may not even tell the player.  "It looks good, but fails on the first attempt" type of thing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Ahrimon said:

That's why you have the players pay for parts and 25% to 50% up front.  If the NPC fails, they've paid for the parts that were used and the effort put forth.  Most mechanics aren't going to purposefully botch the roll to save time.  Their reputation would go down the drain and they would be hard pressed to get any work.  There's also the problem of botching the work for someone who wouldn't blink about killing you for it.  Depending on the outcome of the roll I may not even tell the player.  "It looks good, but fails on the first attempt" type of thing. 

What would you do if you went to the garage IRL to get new hubcaps installed on your car and you had to pay for parts up front and then the car comes back without hubcaps and the mechanic telling you 'sorry man, didn't work out this time' and then ask you for the rest of the money for the job? You would likely be livid and demanding your money back. And what would you do if the hubcaps fell off after your first trip after looking good initially? Would you shrug and say 'ah well, it was always a risk?'

Getting something installed is not a lottery as far as the customer is concerned, even though it might be so mechanically. Characters don't care about the mechanics of the game. If one of my characters wants to get something installed, and the mechanic tells him he is basically buying a lottery ticket while also cannot inform him of the odds, then I would go tell them to **** off. The seller should make a reasonable price depending on how much effort and parts he (as the expert) estimates are needed to produce a success. That is what I'm paying for. Not some lottery ticket.

Edited by Aramur

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll go with the rules from Special Modifivations, which is on pre-order as it is sold out in Germany.

Edit: Is a Streetwise check or somesuch necessary to find the mechanic NPC?

Edited by Seam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, HappyDaze said:

Special Modifications specifically allows this to be done and has the service on a price list in the back of the book. Cost is 500 x Difficulty (plus 100 for parts) for personal gear, 1000 x Difficulty (plus 1000 for parts) for starship/vehicle mods. 

D'oh! Definitely missed that. Fortunately I haven't actually done this yet. I still like potentially using some of my suggestions for situations where PCs ask if there are cheaper options... dodgy backyard mechanics anyone?

And people have raised a lot of good points with regards to paying for services not performed. It's akin to having a mate fix it, vs. professionally fixed. If your mate fixed the wheel and it comes off, woe be to you for skimping on your chosen craftsman, while if you pay the mechanic to fix it and it falls off, you're definitely going to have 'words' with the mechanic.

Edited by Roderz

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Aramur said:

What would you do if you went to the garage IRL to get new hubcaps installed on your car and you had to pay for parts up front and then the car comes back without hubcaps and the mechanic telling you 'sorry man, didn't work out this time' and then ask you for the rest of the money for the job? You would likely be livid and demanding your money back. And what would you do if the hubcaps fell off after your first trip after looking good initially? Would you shrug and say 'ah well, it was always a risk?'

Getting something installed is not a lottery as far as the customer is concerned, even though it might be so mechanically. Characters don't care about the mechanics of the game. If one of my characters wants to get something installed, and the mechanic tells him he is basically buying a lottery ticket while also cannot inform him of the odds, then I would go tell them to **** off. The seller should make a reasonable price depending on how much effort and parts he (as the expert) estimates are needed to produce a success. That is what I'm paying for. Not some lottery ticket.

I'm looking at it differently.  The hubcaps are an attachment that are so easy to install that it can't fail.  Now, if I took my car in with brand X hubcaps (the attachment) and asked the mechanic to fit them to the car and after trying they simply didn't fit, I'd expect to still have to pay for labor.  If there was damage to my car (bad roll) I'd expect the mechanic to fix it or pay to have it fixed.  If that damage wasn't obvious (really bad roll) I'd have to come back and try to force them, which could mean going to court, and star wars courts take longer than the senate.

The real analogy would be to take in some rims (attachment) and ask the mechanic modify them to tilt slightly when turning (a mod) for a better grip on the road and better handling.  The mechanic tells me what he's going to need for parts or just a flat amount (100 or 1000 credits) and that it's a tough job that has some risk of not working but he'll give it his best and asks for X amount (25-50%) up front and the rest on successful delivery.  He's a well renowned and high quality mechanic so I take that chance.  The roll goes bad and I still paid for the parts and the labor.  On a failed roll and he simply tells me that it didn't work but the rims still function, even if they're not as pretty anymore.  With some threat it doesn't work right and for the first few hours of driving there will be a wobble throwing things off (small penalty on the first use or something appropriate for some threat).  A despair may mean that the first time you use it it fails completely or some other despair worthy event.  With the threat and despair, if it was a success it can be adjusted and work after that first use, but if the ultimate roll was a failure the mechanic may not know, or may not say anything about the flaw, but it'd still be correctable after the first failure because I'm not a mean GM.

However the rules in Special Modifications take care of this if you don't want to have your players worry about it.  But they're going to pay out of the nose for it.  Guaranteed customization work is expensive.  Pay the money or spin the wheel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Seam said:

Edit: Is a Streetwise check or somesuch necessary to find the mechanic NPC?

I'd assume Negotiation as per the usual shopping rules, Your'e shopping for a service instead of an item, but it's still shopping.

Success means you found someone to do it, Advantage/Triumph to talk down price or add other details. 

Though by extension, if you're modding a really shady/illegal weapon, like with black market shopping, Streetwise would be a good option. I suspect showing up at Wumba's Sporting Goods and asking for tweaks to your Disruptor Rifle or Missile Launcher might not go over so well...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/17/2018 at 10:20 PM, Ghostofman said:

Though this get's me thinking... how many times have film characters needed to replace a lost weapon? Anakin perma-loses his saber at least once. Han perma-loses his blaster pistol at least once. Luke perma-loses Anakin's saber, Rey loses a blaster pistol, and super-perma-loses Anakin's saber...

If we include Clone Wars cartoon, Anakin loses a saber almost every episode. It was basically a running gag.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ahrimon said:

I'm looking at it differently.  The hubcaps are an attachment that are so easy to install that it can't fail.  Now, if I took my car in with brand X hubcaps (the attachment) and asked the mechanic to fit them to the car and after trying they simply didn't fit, I'd expect to still have to pay for labor.  If there was damage to my car (bad roll) I'd expect the mechanic to fix it or pay to have it fixed.  If that damage wasn't obvious (really bad roll) I'd have to come back and try to force them, which could mean going to court, and star wars courts take longer than the senate.

It is a valid way too look at it. It is just not the way my Trandoshan Marauder would look at it. And he definitely isn't taking anyone to court. There are more efficient ways to handle such matters.

But yeah, if the mechanic sells his service as a lottery ticket, then that is what you would be buying. Can be simply part of the price negotiation. But getting an actual quote might enable you to gauge the risk better. If the tech is going to mod a 5,000 credit attachment, it serves to be more careful when negotiating prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I don't have all the books, and many are not available in Germany at the moment:

Is there any equipment that aids in mechanics checks (a workbench or somesuch), and if, in which book are they described?

Edit: And if a player character would make a mechanic check for a mod, would you allow an assist thus adding a boost?

Thanks!

Edited by Seam

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Seam said:

As I don't have all the books, and many are not available in Germany at the moment:

Is there any equipment that aids in mechanics checks (a workbench or somesuch), and if, in which book are they described?

Edit: And if a player character would make a mechanic check for a mod, would you allow an assist thus adding a boost?

Thanks!

Yes, there is. Special Modifications has rules on setting up a workshop, including a shipboard workshop, which comes with all of the tools necessary to aid in the particular skill it’s devoted to. Keeping the Peace has a special tool kit for lightsaber construction, which adds Advantage to any Mechanics check to craft or reapin a lightsaber, and either Lead by Example or Desperate Allies has rules for creating a base, which also includes an armory for the construction and maintenance of weaponry and a hangar, which includes all of the equipment for the maintenance of ships. Also, Disciples of Harmony has a Jedi training ship called the Crucible, which has a lightsaber construction workshop as well, which grants several benefits for constructing lightsabers. It also provides ideas on how a GM could adapt the ship for one of their own creation. And, of course, all of the core rules have standard tool kits, which is really all that is needed in order to fulfill the Right Tools for the Job requirements to use the Mechanics skill.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, Darzil said:

If we include Clone Wars cartoon, Anakin loses a saber almost every episode. It was basically a running gag.

Yeah, but it's rarely perma-lost.

On the other hand Han loses his DL-44 in ESB forever, and Luke Loses Anakin's Saber "forever" since we don't see it again until Luke has graduated to NPC status.

 

Which is really what I was getting at... Modding out your gear is great, but I wouldn't blow too much money on it, as gear does get lost reasonably often in the source material, so it's OK to lose it here too.

Edited by Ghostofman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I took away a characters prized shatter rifle on a 2 despair roll.   Dropped it when she was trying to hang on to a shuttle that was taking off while also trying to fight off a rakhghoul and push it off the ramp.  The player was super upset.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...