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Electronic Degradation
If cars and weapons break, why can't tech break too?

Hey everyone!

Just wanted to put an idea out there to see how well received it might be about giving some added function to the Techie 'Archetype' beyond the scope of what is currently available to them in game.

As of my current understanding of technology within SD we have many different electronic devices. From handheld GPS, to QuickTerms, to Detectors of various types etc. Judging from the Theme/Canon of the game many of these items (SHI items come to mind) are created by low-wage factory workers with minimal training to perform their part of the assembly process. When electronics are introduced to adverse/sub-optimal environments or situations, they have a likelihood of failing.

As of present, and as far as I understand, there is currently no chance of degradation in these electronics items, causing them effectively to be one stop shopping. Guns Jam and Get Dirty, Blades Break, why not let Electronics be subject to the same principles so Techies can get some business (and return business), and as well spread out where they can be useful (i.e. Techies more prevalent in the mix as compared to being occasionally needed for the one mixer rollin' in the dough)

Obviously what follows is my own opinion on how the system should work in which input, feedback, and suggestions are greatly welcome.

The basic framework I have behind this would be as follows:

Failures: How Shit Breaks

As of the current state of SD, we have weather, electricity/lightning, temperature fluctuations, desert conditions, etc.. Depending on the electronic item in question, it may or may not operate well in said environment.

As well, we have other forces that can potentially do a number on electronics. Shock impact from falling, Shock impact from combat, Bullets, Explosions, EMP..

I will leave this up to the judgment of the coders/gm’s but what I would like to see is all (or at least a majority of) electronic items, from the cheapest gridphone, to the most expensive electronic device be susceptible to damage from the atmosphere and external forces.

For example: Let’s say you have corpie X on the roof of some random building in red and decide to throw them off the roof. They plummet to their death and you go down to strip them bare. You find out they had an e-note stashed away and try to turn it on. Nothing happens. You bring the e-note to the techie on your payroll and they tell you the data is recoverable but the circuit board got fucked up when it hit the pavement doing the same speed as the corpie.. good news though, they can repair it.

Lets say in another instance, you’re fighting someone and have a nice pair of thermoptic goggles on your head.. they come in to whack your head but end up hitting your goggles.. they absorb the damage and you live to fight another day but now your goggles aren’t working. Time to source out a techie.

Lastly, lets say you get yourself a nice gps handheld and want to get out of the dome for a bit… your out there roughing it and a sandstorm comes along. Due to the shoddy design, the unit malfunctions.. hope you know how to find your way home.

Obviously this won’t happen –all- the time.. I imagine it would be based on percentage of failure.. but things –should- fail on occasion, and just like anything else in SD, every so often they’ll fail when you least need them to.

So now you’ve got this broke ass piece of tech, what to do with it? Well there’s a few options I’ve had in mind:

-NPC’s… Bringing back Vigel’s Tech Shop on Gold and maybe giving Hakam or Olga the ability to do this and maybe another NPC in the badlands and on green.. They’ll do the repairs for you, but at a disadvantage to strumming up RP and working with a Player techie the following disadvantages would be useful: 1) They charge more for their services (which is the norm for most NPC’s) 2)They need time to fix your item (depending on the item needing repair, it may require more time.. they do have other things to do in their lives after all) 3) Depending on the legality of the item being repaired, some npc’s might outright refuse (and even report you) or require a bribe on top of the item repair cost to keep quiet

-Player Techies – Techies with the appropriate skills and items (which will be discussed later) will be able to evaluate and repair the broken electronics, some requiring more skill than others to repair.

-Turn in the broken item for salvage and payment: Along the lines of the WCS Reclamation Chutes, there will be areas (likely another function of the repair NPCs) to turn in broken tech and payment delivered to the character based upon the amount of salvageable “ingredients” based in the item (suggest up to 10% of the items value)

With that in mind I can explain how the system would work for a Techie

Getting that tech back in working order

Since I am aware that item bloat is an issue I was thinking of a way to best approach this without creating too much additional bloat while adding a meaningful and relatively realistic way of economic stimulation through this medium.

As the toolbelt is needed for the tools of the trade, I was thinking perhaps of the creation of an Electronics Repair Kit. As the damaged electronics will no doubt need new components to be installed to fix the damage, I was thinking the ‘components’ unlike how car repair/upgrade works with individual items could be represented by a numerical value attached to the repair kit itself. (i.e. Person Looks at Repair Kit and sees: This is an Electronics Repair Kit, It appears to have (x) components available to do repairs.)

On the initial purchase of a –new- repair kit, it will come with a certain amount of components to perform repairs. Once those components have been used up, the player can take their repair kit to either an NPC or a Kiosk to replenish their component supply (Creating a money sink and not leaving the techie with 100% profit after their initial purchase of the kit) or perhaps even Cannibalize a piece of tech that has been destroyed for components.

Having that out of the way brings us to the actual repair of the item itself. Depending on the item (based on cost, complexity, etc) it will have an associated skill check to the success of the repair. An un/under-skilled person trying to repair something will likely end up damaging it more, even possibly destroying the item completely rendering it only good for salvage (and some dicey RP if it belonged to someone else). Low skilled individuals may end up taking several trips to replenish their kit to get something repaired. Mid-Skilled Individuals will still use more components but not as much as low skilled individuals.. and lastly Highly skilled individuals will require the least amount of components to repair something (which should be expected).

In the event that the item is destroyed (which likely means the person wouldn’t be skilled enough to cannibalize the object) it can be taken to one of the NPC’s to salvage the remaining components and pay the player the for the components salvaged (minus the cost of them cannibalizing) allowing the item to recycle and eventually find its way back into the world.

Final Thoughts

Aside from giving techies a new way to be useful and creating a way to stimulate the economy, this will also add some interesting choices that every character will have to make now when stepping out into the world with their shiny piece of tech. Please feel free to hit me back with comments, likes, dislikes and constructive criticism. Thanks!

FYI : Cars don't degrade. You can leave them standing in hailstorms all day and they will still be brand new.

Other than that , this seems like a great idea to extrapolate to cameras hanging around in the street needing maitenance.

Cars can be damaged in crashes, though. It would be interesting to see weather affect cars. As well as just general wear and tear. Even if you drive a car perfectly, never getting in any accidents and avoiding potholes, eventually something is going to go wrong. This could add more potential jobs for mechanics as well. From routine maintenance and fixing flats, to repair hail damage or fixing a broken transmission.
While we are on the subject :

Maybe allow people to "attack" certain objects ?

Taking a baseball bat to a camera in the hopes of taking it out before you rob a store. Or putting your machete through a chummers ride.

It would give way to cameras/tires with added security that can send shocks through objects attacking it. Run of flat tires that will fry any chummer that could try to stab your tires. Door panels that detect attacks and sends out a shock or an alarm to deter attacks on the vehicle. (Or even correlate it to your security system).

Low tech emp grenades that are less effective and more risky.

The issue of abuse would come up if items could be directly attacked, as has been previously referenced in regards to the vandalizing of vehicles. Although in some thoughts it would be possible to subject the objects to forces without needing the objects to be on the character.. (thinking along the lines of grabbing their crap and throwing it from a rooftop)

But as much as the automobile discussion is relevant, I'd like the replies to remain more central to the topic at hand which deals directly with electronic gadgets.

Like, like like a lot. I think the ability to destroy or "attack" these things (As well as cars tho) is integral to the idea. Say a J's coming up to you and you just got a text from your Don. Ah fuck, you think and crush your phone under a boot heel, or snap it in half, or (for super high end phones maybe) Activate the purge button, thereby rendering any paydat on it unrecoverable.