Local Tech

The equipment section of Stars Without Number Revised mentions briefly that there could easily exist local variants of the listed equipment, or entirely new pieces of techno-goodness. With the skewered, sometimes post-apocalyptic tech distribution of the default SWN assumptions, it seems completely plausible that some worlds, or even sectors, wouldn’t conform entirely to the presented list. Some equipment might be better, some worse, some just a little different, marked by the imperfections of culture, material conditions and production methods that creates them.

One of the appeals of SWN is in its simplicity. So adding new or local variant tech shouldn’t introduce too many subsystems or fiddly rules. For all-out weapon stat orgies, there’s always Shadowrun or Traveller.

With that said, here are some (probably half-baked) ideas for local/sectoral tech variants.

Ariel Perez makes absolutely stunning material sci-fi art. Check out their stuff at https://www.artstation.com/arielp. Ariel Perez 2016.

Bahrami Laser Technology

Laser weaponry in the Bahram Sector relies on ionized prismatic glass (‘prisglass’) to function properly, and the methods of creating this material is restricted to a few production spots. Thus the majority of laser weaponry makes do with less-durable substitutes. Laser weapons with genuine prisglass function as normal, but cost four times as much. Laser weapons that use substitute materials (‘subglass’) have a 1-in-20 chance of malfunctioning every time they fire (5-in-20 chance if using burst fire), requiring at least a Main Action and a Difficulty 8 Fix/Int check to get back in order. A malfunctioning subglass weapon can still fire, but if it malfunctions again, it explodes and deals 2d6 damage to the holder.

Yumati Heat-Suits

The burning world of Yumati demands much of its inhabitants, who labor under its brutal sun and within its searing atmosphere. Vacc suits built on Yumati are adapted to local circumstance. They function as normal vacc suits, with the follow modifications: They include sophisticated cooling technology and highly heat-resistant coating (if relevant, reduce damage from fire-based weaponry by 10). However, they are less adapted for zero-g environments, and the -2 penalty for cumbersomeness always applies.

Renozadan Shock Whips

On the harsh world of Renozad, electronic technology is rare, and often coveted. The shock whip is a weapon created to assist in the capture of such equipment. The resemble somewhat black-blue leather mesh whips with slightly oversized handles, connected to a power package worn on the wielder’s hip. Shock whips function as medium advanced weapons, with the follow modifications: They require a type A power cell (can function for two weeks on one such cell), and when they hit an opponent or when they deal Shock damage, the whip’s wielder can choose to forgo that damage and instead try to neutralize some of the target’s electronics by sending an overcharged electricity burst through the whip. This triggers an Evasion saving throw for the target. On a failure, a random piece of electronic equipment on the target is overcharged and ceases to function for one hour (or until fixed with a difficulty 10 Fix/Int check).

Canis Armor

The iconic armor of the elite commandos of House Lothar, Canis Armor has a great number of non-intrusive embellishments that suggest hound-like jaws, eyes, ears and claws. Canis Armor functions like a standard combat field uniform, but it provides the wearer with enhanced smell roughly equal to that of a trained hunting dog, albeit with a crispy electronic tinge. Canis Armor can usually not be bought on the open market.

Axe-Shield of Kor

The grand arena of Kor on the planet Samanis XI draws spectators from every corner of the sector, eager to see its famed gladiators fight to near-death in the ancient sands of the pits. The axe-shield is the most famous implement of this bloodsport, and resemble wickedly spiked crescents of bronze-colored material. They function as normal shields, but can, as an Instant Action, be changed into an elongated, axe-like weapon – in effect, a large advanced weapon. It takes an Instant Action to change back to shield configuration as well.

3 thoughts on “Local Tech

  1. Pretty cool equipment; ranging from worse than standard to better than standard is important to keep balance. My only concern is with the Axe-Shield of Kor; since there are normally no restrictions on the number of Instant Actions and they can be called out of initiative, that equipment is, effectively, a weapon all of the time and a shield all of the time. Let me explain.

    Consider character A is holding an Axe-Shield and is fighting against two opponents in melee, B and C, which have initiatives in that order. As the first to go, A decides to attack B; if his weapon is in shield-mode, they would now use an Instant Action to switch it to axe mode and attack. B comes next, and attacks A, which spends an Immediate Action to switch his weapon to shield mode for the armor class boost. After the attack, B decides to run away and moves off, giving A a free melee attack. They spend an Immediate Action to switch the shield back to axe mode and strikes. Finally, C gets their turn and attacks, prompting A to spend another Immediate Action to switch the weapon back to shield mode.

    Most Immediate Actions in the official material include further limitations on their use to stop these kinds of shenanigans, either by consuming some other action or by relying on a specific trigger. I recommend using up the Move Action, which is used on the standard Club Up a Weapon action.


    • Thanks! Good point on Instant Action. There’s probably a thematic limitation that could work here. I was imagining the panicked switching between modes in a gladiatorial fight, but without some kind of limitation, it does become rather ridiculous.


  2. For all-out weapon stat orgies, there’s always Shadowrun or Traveller.

    Only War (WH40k RP) has tons of tweaks without excessive complication, IMHO. =)

    but it provides the wearer with enhanced smell

    This would require a better interface than HUD… so either a local specialty implant, or something not surgically invasive, i.e. specialized nanites (which is TL5). But it would not stop here… Though “sensory interface nanites” sounds like an interesting specialization for TL4+ industry.
    To think of it, lots of tweaks for “local color” of TL4+ can be derived via very sparingly milking trinket tables from The Dust. This case could be a variation of

    1d12 Data Output Method
    5 Skin-transferred direct neural feed


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s