Page 633 - Hacking Skills, Part 3

13th Aug 2015, 6:00 AM in Intermission 6
<<First Latest>>
Hacking Skills, Part 3
Average Rating: 5 (3 votes)
<<First Latest>>

Author Notes:

Newbiespud 13th Aug 2015, 6:00 AM edit delete
Author: Digo

Guest Author's Note: I rarely see crafting skills come into play in a table-top RPG. Legendary weapons and ancient monuments don't build themselves. I like to encourage players to make things that can help them in the adventure. Sometimes these inventions get a reputation when they become reoccurring tools. Have you ever built something that got several uses during the adventure?

Notice: Guest comic submissions are open! Guidelines here. Deadline: January 27th, 2023.



Guest 13th Aug 2015, 6:02 AM edit delete reply
Why is it that every time I try that, I end up blowing up whatever is inside? Anyway, DM should have known better than to taunt their players with the idea that there is loot within react and no way to get it.
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 6:05 AM edit delete reply
I will fess up that i'm the kind of GM that does a little taunting, but I usually hope that it'll inspire the players to think outside the box and get their loot.

Generally doesn't end with the dungeon blowing up though. ^^;
Mykin 13th Aug 2015, 6:15 AM edit delete reply
Generally it doesn't end with the dungeon blowing up for me either. Generally it just burns to the ground... along with the surrounding area.
TheStratovarian 14th Aug 2015, 3:04 PM edit delete reply
Not directly, but one of our group. In both our dresden files game, and CMC Troop 185 one, well..

The honorable Winged Cat of these pages, has managed to engineer some amazing things (many a device, such as a portable airship remote), feats, and such massive terrain destruction (Blowing up a volcano) or creation (Yaggdrissl) that well...

He could macguyver his way out of a fortified bunker from a prison cell with a little time. And I give such in the highest praise from the lowly position of bardic historian to witness both.

As for Dresden, well, he's managed to pick up a hummer as a geomancer of some skill. Just in the first little skirmish, running that thing down a 10ft alley, and over and on top of a vampire, let alone fixing the city one brick at a time. Its only a matter of time until he manages to one up the previous game.
Mykin 13th Aug 2015, 6:06 AM edit delete reply
And of course I'd forget to log in. Anyway, never actually built anything myself since that has never been an option in almost any of the games that I've played. But I do recall someone creating a magical item that acted like a little tag you stick on to people and they end up getting teleported to a nearby lava pit once you said the catchphrase. Suffice to say, it was short-lived when the DM used it against the party.
Raxon 13th Aug 2015, 6:09 AM edit delete reply
The last time I was allowed to blow a safe, it ended up raining molten dildos.

For reference, no. Succubi do not fill their vaults full of gold bars.
Zodo 13th Aug 2015, 6:47 AM edit delete reply
I wonder if you perhaps misheard the instructions when you were told to blow the succubus's safe?
Kale 13th Aug 2015, 12:32 PM edit delete reply
Of course not, gold is too soft a material. It would get all limp and lose it's shape under the extreme heat.
Fix it Felix! 13th Aug 2015, 8:50 AM edit delete reply
I usually do well as a GM to litter scenes with objects that sound useful. I generally don't have a plan, but the players manage to come up with something that sounds useful out of them anyway.

My current group, though, is having trouble. I've resorted to being pretty obvious about it. In the current scene, still playing out, I've supplied them with a small squadron of biomechanical hunter-killers. There are at least two characters who could take control of them and use the things to help assault the pirate ship they're invading.

So far, nobody has picked up on that. Disappointing. I may have to let them out of the cages as a method of negative reinforcement.
Kale 13th Aug 2015, 1:08 PM Teaching by Example edit delete reply
Well, sometimes people must be shown how to do certain things. I sometimes remind my players about potions by saying they find a couple empty potion vials on an enemy when they ask about the loot.

Hm, I need to throw Jackie Chan at a party at some point. That'll teach them to use the environment.

Maybe make sure you put some extra emphasis on them when you're describing the scene to them for next time. Maybe even ask them to make knowledge checks and tell them what exactly they do.
Fix it Felix! 14th Aug 2015, 8:14 AM edit delete reply
Oh, I did at the beginning of the scene, yes. I spelled out exactly how they were used by pirates. I specified that they were programmable.

One player certainly has the skills to hack them. Without even touching them. Another could probably hack them as well, but he'd have to touch them first.

I don't blame him for not wanting to do that...

I also explained that they're simple minded, organic, and obedient to their masters. A third character is playing a psychic who could easily dominate them mentally.

A fourth character even has experience with them -- as a doctor who has seen them in action.

It's always possible that I made them too vicious, and that the group now fears them...
Toric 13th Aug 2015, 6:03 AM edit delete reply
Well, one of our more eccentric players built a bag of holding out of several mundane sacks. I say sacks, but that doesn't adequately describe them. They were small bags constructed from skin shaved from the genitals of multiple sentient races and stitched together. Once it was enchanted, he proudly called it the "Sack-sack"
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 6:24 AM edit delete reply
I ran one D&D campaign where I allowed players the option of altering/improving magic item properties. They were very high level at the time and had both a lot of spare funds and several item creation feats among their casters.

The party ranger and wizard teamed up to create a longsword I personally nicknamed 'The CamPain Trail'. What started out as a +1 longsword slowly grew to a +3 and had about SIX different Bane properties on it. Some players referred to it as the sword that hated everybody.

I was very close to giving it a personality like that, because the ranger tended to roll well on top of the big bonuses the sword granted on attacks and damage. :D
Zodo 13th Aug 2015, 6:34 AM edit delete reply
In a Star Wars campaign (waaaaaay back when it was just d6s, with no wild dice), my big lizard guy narrowly dodged a trap rigged in a door, that happened to be five blaster rifles strapped together.

With a big toothy grin, he picked it up off its tripod and carried it off. He later went to the engineer and said he wanted two things done to it.

First, he wanted it rigged so that there was a single trigger to make all five rifles fire at once.

Second, he wanted a slide put on the bottom, that did nothing but go chik-CHAK!

Bonuses to intimidation rolls to see a 2.2 meter tall lizard holding a five-barreled blaster, who slides it with loud chik-CHAK.
Someone 13th Aug 2015, 6:36 AM edit delete reply
Why does Switchblade's attitude dangerously remind me of Powder Keg?
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 7:26 AM edit delete reply
The love of explosives is quite common among PCs. :D

The character of Switch was inspired by a combination of actress Wanda Sykes and a former lady player in my old group who liked to play intelligent melee builds.

Thinking about it, I guess Powder shares a similar attitude with Switch.
The Old One 13th Aug 2015, 10:47 AM edit delete reply
Gah, tell me about it. I played briefly in a call of cuthulu game where the party was inexplicably well stocked with dynamite. Apparently servants of things man was meant to know are vulnerable to high explosives.
LegendofMoriad 13th Aug 2015, 4:45 PM Never too much explosives edit delete reply
I had a fellow player once use an entire duffel bag of TNT to take out a Shoggoth. It took out a sizable section of roadway, and the Shoggoth just kept coming!
Digo 14th Aug 2015, 12:58 PM edit delete reply
Yikes. That's when you get in the car and drive to another time zone. O.o
Winged Cat 13th Aug 2015, 1:08 PM edit delete reply
My Star Wars PC once found a way to assemble a small crate, not even knee-high, with enough explosive power to set a capital ship self-destructing if set off in just the right spot.

For some reason - perhaps she was smiling too much, with too much joy in her voice as she asked the others for permission to buy the parts with the group's funds (just a few hundred credits, when we had tens of thousands) - the rest of the party unanimously ICly objected to her stowing the crate in her quarters on the party's ship. Or anywhere on the party's ship, for that matter.
Zeeth 13th Aug 2015, 6:58 PM edit delete reply
"Magic devices are volatile, right?"
Sounds like Switchblade is pretty volatile herself.
Digo 14th Aug 2015, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
She can be, not having a firm grasp on when enough force is "enough". :3
Mykin 14th Aug 2015, 6:13 PM edit delete reply
Isn't that the way things typically go when dealing with explosions? I mean, I personally wasn't expecting my one fireball to level an entire mansion. Sure it was old and the stability of it all was weakened by that ice storm spell, but I still thought it was enough force given the situation.

Sure, our halfling monk might say otherwise. But we managed to dig him out of the rubble before the guards arrived, so I don't know what his deal is.
Digo 15th Aug 2015, 6:28 AM edit delete reply
I remember from an old D&D campaign one player's character of 'Tatum'-- a wizard what specialized in Evocation magic. Trigger-happy young spellcaster that loved to just blow stuff up with magic. She was hilarious to game with. XD
FanOfMostEverything 13th Aug 2015, 7:03 AM edit delete reply
A good lesson for any GM: If you tease your players with unattainable loot, you should expect fireworks. Ground-level ones, generally.
Rokas 13th Aug 2015, 7:20 AM edit delete reply
In a sci-fi RP I was in my character basically fine-tuned the missile warheads on the space ship to give them a bonus on the to-hit rolls. Was quite nice, and really helped against some particularly nasty folks.
Haledrake 13th Aug 2015, 7:24 AM edit delete reply
Welp, I guess that's how the bottlecap mine was invented.

No one would have given a crap about another makeshift explosive except this one uses a LUNCHBOX and CAPS!

I think using a computer as an explosive might get some attention.
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 7:27 AM edit delete reply
Didn't John McClain use a computer as part of an explosive in Die Hard?
The Old One 13th Aug 2015, 10:50 AM edit delete reply
Kinda. He tied a monitor to a chair with plastique sandwiched between. I assume that the monitor breaking was supposed to provide the electical charge that would trigger the detonators and set off the explosives.
random 13th Aug 2015, 11:12 AM edit delete reply
Not quite. He strapped the monitor(CRT) to a chair with C4 to give it more mass, so that when he kicked it forward toward the glass it would keep going vs. stop prematurely.

And yeah, I noticed that the CRT was glued to the wall in the strip as well, not a computer. Unless it was designed to be like the early Apples or an iFruit whatever those were called in the 90s.
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 11:53 AM edit delete reply
Okay, a CRT and C4. It's been a while since I seen the movie... which means time to go dig up my DVD and watch it again. :D
Space Jawa 13th Aug 2015, 7:32 AM edit delete reply
One word: "Distractigon"
j-eagle12212012 13th Aug 2015, 8:32 AM edit delete reply
Lol yes this. I just started listening to the sessions last week (just finished listening to session 10 yesterday) I'm loving the charecters all of them but Flotsam is my favorite she's just so cute
Masterweaver 14th Aug 2015, 5:49 AM edit delete reply
It's spelled Distractagon. A combination of Distract and Octagon. For some reason.

New headcanon: Powder Keg has some mysterious connection to the number eight.
Someone 14th Aug 2015, 8:06 AM edit delete reply
Powder Keg is actually a Discworld Mage.
Digo 14th Aug 2015, 12:59 PM edit delete reply
Or stop signs.
Serpens 13th Aug 2015, 8:43 AM edit delete reply
Alas, I still don't understand how a non-unicorn pony could possibly use a gun.
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 11:58 AM edit delete reply
Well the original Fallout Equestria method if I remember is that the guns were held by a custom mouth piece and to fire the gun, you push against the trigger on the mouth piece with your tongue.

I didn't like that idea (sounds like everyone would have broken teeth), so I've been working on my own design which is strapped to a pony's leg and they would "fan the hammer" with their other hoof to shoot.
Winged Cat 13th Aug 2015, 1:28 PM edit delete reply
While not technically a gun, a pegasus I played was working on a back-mounted crossbow. It folded to a shaft when not in use. When deployed, the wings could stabilize it (or flap, but they couldn't go above the shoulders so flying would be a bit harder), and sights would descend in front of the eyes. Turn the entire body for gross aim; neck movements (thus, head positioning) provided fine aim. Pulling the trigger and reloading were handled by the tail (with a little mechanical assistance for reloading).

In theory an earth pony or a unicorn could use it too. In practice he was designing it for two specific pegasi.
daftdeafdave 14th Aug 2015, 12:28 AM edit delete reply
I always thought "the same way an earth pony can bake a cake" was adequate explanation.

Not that I'd discourage sweet quadruped gun designs.
Digo 14th Aug 2015, 1:01 PM edit delete reply
Yeah, I like when ponies get inventions that suit their body build better than human devices. :D
Specter 13th Aug 2015, 10:20 AM edit delete reply
Improvised overkill explosives!

Although, in seriousness, it was all for a bottle of Sparkle Cola, which in hind sight seems rather in-par with my own tiny wants in life/games. It sadly reminds me of why players sort of enjoy it when I'm the GM.

In most cases, I forget almost instantly what some characters can do, which becomes my down fall when I bring up challenges or something for them to overcome. One instance was during a campaign set in the pre-fallout Equestria world, with the players doing things that led to the events of the apocalypse (or something to that nature). In a zebran complex, they were found out after they acquired their information (despite leaving their hacking device behind). The building was surrounded on all sides (including roof and underground access tunnel), and the floors were being searched one by one.

I had forgotten two important things they had. They had enough stealth cloaks for the whole team (all nine of them), and that they had brought their plane with them. The first item, rather obvious use. Turning invisible, and taking the stairs down. The second item came in after they left. They had two other party members who didn't show up that day, so their characters were chosen to watch the plane till they got back. Well, through the magic of radios, they got a message to fly over the complex, and unleash the plane's arsenal upon it.

... The plane was an AC-130, with modified cannons that used a combination of High-Explosives, and Napalm.

I feel like my players are trying to cook me with my own forgetfulness, rather then the game.
Digo 13th Aug 2015, 12:01 PM edit delete reply
Wow, an AC-130 is not a plane you take lightly when it comes flying over you. How did they acquire that? :o
Specter 13th Aug 2015, 12:45 PM edit delete reply
Had enough bits to buy a prototype version from the Wartime Technologies. They were searching around for some extra fire power at a 'yard sale" like bidding thing the company had going on, and I forgot they had about 3 million bits in surplus after never spending a dime on anything.
Digo 14th Aug 2015, 1:05 PM edit delete reply
That'll do it. I once found an actual aircraft carrier for public sale. Just 4 million dollars.

At the time I was running a modern spy campaign and the PCs were wondering how they could convince the government to let them purchase it as a "Business expense". XD
Kale 13th Aug 2015, 1:14 PM Technomancers edit delete reply
One does not taunt a mad scientist, nor mechanic, alchemist, pretty much anyone that tinkers.
*Sigh* 13th Aug 2015, 3:44 PM edit delete reply
Unfortunately I had the kind of GM that would actually discourage chain-of-logic tool usage in our games by just flat out denying it with real-world logic. Like, yes, I know that's not how this would work in real life but this is a magical realm with different properties from our own...
Malroth 13th Aug 2015, 5:07 PM edit delete reply
This Dm's, is why you allow a Science roll at -4 to hack the magic computer that normally takes arcana.
Someone 14th Aug 2015, 3:58 AM edit delete reply
They'd probably blow it up anyway.
Akouma 13th Aug 2015, 10:08 PM edit delete reply
My favorite alchemist character had a couple of pet projects he was working on, but never finished before the game petered out. He was working on "Potion of Cure [X] Emotional Wounds" and a magic-powered radio.

People made fun of the emotional wounds thing, until someone pointed out that shoving one of these down the throat of any given big bad would probably pacify him or better instantly.
Lokyar 13th Aug 2015, 10:28 PM edit delete reply
I didn't personally build this but I did make it a plot point. During an infiltration mission into the Big Evil City where a merchant with Vital Information was stuck I posed as the mayor of a nearby tourist village who had come to complain about the giant evil stormcloud over the city(This is absolutely RUINING our vistas!) and two party members impersonated guard. I was given an escort to 'protect' me, which meant I couldn't go find the merchant. So I started insisting on a guard finding me a clean set of clothes to replace what had been lost on their unsafe roads and one of those party members was able to travel largely free through the city. They got the info but had to pretend to be in that shop buying something, ended up buying a set of three unicorn figurines. Two missions later when we recovered a shard of crystalized demonic essence I used these unicorns as part of a magic circle to contain it's influence. As the campaign went on I began subtly making more and more things dependant on this containment circle. At this point the Unicorn Defense Network protects the city of Solomon's Keep and is the only force that the BBEG cannot open portals through or teleport his minions into. I'm pretty sure I saw something in the DM's soul break when he realized I had turned his throwaway nicknack into a plot device that the party had more interest in than any of the actual plot devices he'd planned out.
Edgewalker_001 14th Aug 2015, 4:54 AM edit delete reply
The first recurring tool I ever invented was the tinkerer's gloves. Basically, if you play an artificer you want a high use magic device skill right? So after finding out how cheap skill boosting equipment really is to make in DnD, my character set out to make a pair of gloves (normally a very unusual equipment location for anything you want to equip in a hurry that's not bracers of armor or something.) with as high a skill bonus to use magic device as possible and every cost reducing limitation the DM would allow. Which basically left him with a pair of gloves that doubled his bonus and could only ever be used by him.
As the campaign went on he just kept crafting more of them with higher bonuses and more outrageous effects until we started joking that some other group would come along after we'd gotten rid of them and try on their new magical loot just to find it completely useless.

The next pair of gloves was subsequently made to only function for him, and act as a cursed item for anyone else, reducing their skill instead. =p
Xencarn 14th Aug 2015, 3:11 PM Phase step edit delete reply
Doors? Who needs to explode a door when perfectly non magical walls will allow you to do all the entering and exiting you need! At least occasionally...
Robin Bobcat 15th Aug 2015, 10:58 PM edit delete reply
Yep... Heavy steel door, triple locked and barred. With cinderblock walls.

Or worse, only extending up to the false ceiling crawlspace.
Stranger 14th Aug 2015, 7:22 PM edit delete reply
Oh, yes, ye olde "Dwarven Lockpick" method of getting through doors.
KennyCelican 15th Aug 2015, 10:44 AM edit delete reply
We had a Pathfinder game where our mage was very little *other* than crafting skills. Not only did he outfit the group with the typical stuff, he made all kinds of utility items, like self-washing clothes.

And then he built a TARDIS. I kid you not. Blinking light on top and everything.
Robin Bobcat 15th Aug 2015, 10:53 PM edit delete reply
The Old WoD Changeling game had a very byzantine crafting system. My Pooka (those who have played are now cringing) was actually a master gunsmith (those who have played are now saying 'Wait, NOT a Nocker?'). He had some rather... amusing items.

The first allowed the use of the Heather Balm/Holly Strike spell. Basically a gun that could either heal or harm the target. It did so by firing hypervelocity cotton bandages. Yes, it was a Gauze Rifle.
The second was an elaborate device for stealing sunbeams, and loading them as ammunition into a crystalline revolver. Most guns have the negative trait 'loud'. This one had 'bright' instead - it was as bright as a gun is loud. It did the same damage as a regular gun, just as a sunbeam. Note that since this was an actual sunbeam that I had grabbed and fitted inside, it did rather horrific things to vampires.
Robin Bobcat 15th Aug 2015, 10:56 PM edit delete reply
We had a problem with a thief stealing magical items.

-1 Bag of Holding
-1 Delayed Blast Fireball
-1 half-ton of wet manure

"Hey, what's in this bag...? *KER-BLORT!!*