Techno Bard - ROM, 17/Jun/05

Requisites: INT 15+, DEX 12+, CHAR 13+

A variety of bard who has knowledge of matters technical, and gains some abilities to repair or even make technological devices, rather than having knowledge of magical items, and in place of limited spell casting. This is considered to be a variety of Rogue. They may construct devices as a Technologist (Tech) of two thirds of their level, without having the option to 'Level Push', though their training may make them better than this. If it suits a DMs campaign they may be given the same Meddle/Unwise Action chance as Techs, with the same WIS modifiers.

Note that a Techno Bard's Understand Machine (UM) chance is typically better than that of a Tech of the same level, as it incorporates what would be Lore for a more normal Bard. Where it comes to understanding the details of myths and legends which involve technological situations, Understand Machine is used, and Techno Bards take considerable interest in persuading people to accurately recount their experiences with technology.

Whereas Bards influence people's reactions by performing, Techno Bards do so by explaining a situation (in a way which may or may not be true). This explanation is almost always verbal, but may include gestures, and the use of props, such a drawings, or Tech devices. Otherwise the rules mechanics are as a Bard. Typically they are not inspirational before large battles, concentrating if at all on small unit actions, where they may give rousing speeches about the (technical) strengths and weaknesses of each side; use the same rules mechanics as Bards.

Techno Bards are fully literate in their native tongue, if this has a written form, and can speak, read and write, Unglas, the secret language of technology, without any cost in proficiencies. They must spend at least two of their non-weapon proficiency (NWP) slots on the Tech NWPs 'Force Field Theory I' and 'General Technology I'. Before they can start building devices they must also have at least 'Mechanical Theory I', 'Magical Theory I', '(Al)Chemical Theory I and II' and 'Force Field Theory II', at a further cost of five NWP slots. At the minimum INT of 15 only a total of seven NWP slots are gained, so there will be no spare slots (unless Tech Skill is taken).

Additional Tech NWP are gained, as a Tech of two thirds level, i.e. +1 at 6th, 10th and 18th, +2 at 14th, 24th and 28th. Note that Tech Skill causes these to be gained at the same level a Tech would. NWP slots gained for being a rogue may be used as Tech NWP.

Skills Available

 1) Open Locks            15%  - DEX
 2) Find/Remove Traps     10%  - INT/DEX
 3) Read Languages         0%  - INT
 4) Understand Machine     0%  - INT
 5) Repair/Modify Machine  0%  - DEX
 6) Tech Skill             -   - N/A

Acquiring Skills

A maximum of four skills may be taken initially and a minimum of two; Understand Machine must always be taken. Initially divide 30 percentage points between skills, maximum value 25%, minimum value 5%; this must be done in multiples of 5%.

For each level above the first 20 percentage points are divided between skills, with a maximum of 10% and no minimum (again this must be done in multiples of 5%). A new skill may be started at 5% by using 15 points, at 10% for 25 points or at 15% for 35 points; this is +5%/+10%/+15% if the skill has a base value. The division will usually be based on activity during the last level such as significant use of the skill or training. As an alternative 5 points may be divided for every 25% of experience points towards a level; points may be saved. Abilities which cost a minimum of 10 points may have 10 or 20 spent on them, not just 10.

 15    -     -    +5%
 16   +5%    -    +5%
 17  +10%    -   +10%
 18  +15%   +5%  +15%
 19  +20%  +10%  +20%

 20  +25%  +15%  +25%
 21  +30%  +20%  +30%
 22  +35%  +25%  +35%
 23  +40%  +30%  +40%
 24  +45%  +35%  +45%
 25  +50%  +40%  +50%

INT  F/RT    RL    UM
 16   +5%   +5%   +5%
 17   +5%  +10%  +10%
 18  +10%  +15%  +15%
 19  +10%  +20%  +20%

 20  +15%  +25%  +25%
 21  +15%  +30%  +30%
 22  +20%  +35%  +35%
 23  +20%  +40%  +40%
 24  +25%  +45%  +45%
 25  +25%  +50%  +50%

If a roll exceeds 95% after all modifiers have been applied then for each 5% above 95% add 1%; e.g. a 12th level Techno Bard with 17 INT has a 100% Understand Machine +15%, hence 99% (95%+20/5%). The maximum percentage chance is 99% anyhow.

Explanation of Skills

Open Locks

is a base 15% even if this ability is not taken. Otherwise it is as the thief skill.

Find/Remove Traps

is a base 10% even if this ability is not taken. Otherwise it is as the thief skill.

Read Languages

is as the thief skill but the chance is based on the percentage points used, rather than a flat chance.

Understand Machine

is as the Tech skill, except instead of being a fixed value set by level, it may be chosen how good it is. This skill must always be taken.

Repair/Modify Machine

is as the Tech skill, except instead of being a fixed value set by level, it may be chosen how good it is. However, the maximum for this skill at 1st level is 15%, and it may not be increased by more than 5% at any one level.

Tech Skill

is the construction of devices as a Tech of two thirds of own level unless the Tech skill is taken, each level of Tech uses 10 percentage points with a maximum Tech level of own level. Tech skill gives full Tech abilities, such as the extra Tech NWP (above 1st level; eg: +1 at 4th and 7th, +2 at 10th), including 'Level Push', and the option to become slightly mentally imbalanced at 10th+ level. At first level this gives one extra Tech NWP. Multiple attacks with Tech weapons are not gained, nor is the Extraordinary STR option. If Tech skill is not acquired initially it costs 30 points.

Sample Techno Bard Characters

The two tables below may be useful in developing techno bard characters.

Techno Bard Skill Points:
 1st- Understand Machine

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Open Locks               15%    -    
Find/Remove Traps        10%    -    
Read Languages            0%    -    
Understand Machine        0%    -    
Repair/Modify Machine     0%    -    

Tech Skill                 -    -    

Catty is a female human, trained at the "Trans World Polytechnic". She has STR 12, INT 17, WIS 10, CON 13, DEX 15, CHAR 13. Her stats are quite good enough to be a Tech, but, maybe the long period of intensive training did not suit her, or she decided her profession rather later in life.

Techno Bard Skill Points:
 1st- Understand Machine(15), Repair/Modify Machine(10), Read Languages(5)

Skill                   Roll  Bonus  Notes
Open Locks               15%    -    
Find/Remove Traps        10%   +5%   
Read Languages            5%  +10%   
Understand Machine       15%  +10%   
Repair/Modify Machine    10%   +5%   

She is initially ignoring the rogue abilities, and is not taking Tech Skill, so presumably building devices is not a priority for her. Even at first level her Understand Machine is quite good. Note that she has three NWP from being a rogue, and six from her 17 INT, so if she takes the full set of seven Tech NWP required to be able to (eventually) build devices, this gives her two to spend how she likes. However, it is more likely she would take these to ensure she can understand devices at least as well as a Tech.

(c) Rory O. McLean, 1980 - Jul. 2005
    Permission granted to use for non-profit making purposes