Tales From Earth:Perplex City D20 Module

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This is part of the compilation created for the book Tales From The Third Planet, created by the Cubehunters on Earth, and printed by Lulu. Anyone can buy it here, with proceeds to go to unfiction! :)


Introduction

Prologue

Danger and Intrigue; Puzzle Bars and Halls of Learning; Secret Societies and a continual struggle to know what is right and what is wrong. Welcome to Perplex City!

It is the year 268 AC. The Receda Cube has been stolen, but there's nothing you can do about that. The city is, as ever, in tumult over the usual variety of scandals and busy-bodies. City Council elections next year are already causing political discord, while people are continually fascinated with Earth fashions.

This module is, I hope, both enjoyable and engrossing. There are probably aspects of game play that have not been considered. A full campaign setting has not been described here, as that may come as a later work. This text is intended to describe characters, the world in which they operate, and how they relate.


The City

Perplex City is a huge metropolis of urbanization. With a population of around 5 million, and a total land area of around 900 square miles, the City sits alone on the Mazy River. The City has no neighbors, having laid waste to the land in all directions in wars at the end of the last era, 268 years ago. The city is riddled with riddles, and secreted away with secrets. Beneath the city is a massive network of labyrinthine catacombs. They are quite old, and quite dangerous. Many gamers using this setting will find some comfort in typical game play taking place in these catacombs, as they are largely unmapped, and are able to bend the standard rules of the working world above without much difficulty. However, Perplex City is a vibrant and exciting place filled with many unique people and places, and gamers are invited--nay, welcomed into this enticing new place.


Design and Intent

It is the goal of this module to be useable and approachable by as many people as possible. D20 was chosen for the simple fact that it is probably the best-known, most accessible gaming system. "D20" specifically refers to the gaming system used by Dungeons & Dragons™ 3rd Edition. To be brief, within this system, it is always desirable to get a higher number on a die roll, and die rolls are most commonly done on a 20-sided die. Also note, this document is intended to be as openly defined as possible, and should convert fairly easily to any other system, such as GURPS or Tri-Stat, using the appropriate mechanics. Lastly, where this document fails to answer the most subtle questions about a certain aspect of the City, the reader is invited to seek answers on the web. The Perplex City Wiki is a font of knowledge, while many organizations within the City have their own pages that may contain more up-to-date info than is available here.


Special Adaptations

Standard d20 gaming systems should work quite well within the Perplex City setting. Obviously, certain classes and feats will be non-sequiturs in this setting. Magic in particular should generally be replaced by technology, or else avoided altogether. Magic ers will be seen as absurd and out of place, perhaps mad lunatics in the City. Their magic will not work at all like they expect, or perhaps not at all. The skill "Use Magic Device" should be considered to be "Use Magic/Technological Device", and "Spellcraft" should be considered "Spell/Tech Craft". Clerics in Perplex City all follow the religion of Cubism (see Religion, below). Players should bear in mind the following: Because magic doesn't generally work out, and many fighting skills may not be called for very often, a character should be written and thought out more in terms of a character with a story-line, rather than a set of numbers which will garnish many die-rolls. Some seasoned role-players may require some adjusting to this particular gaming style. Also note that experience points are typically handed out at a fairly slow rate, with characters leveling only now and then. Since Perplex City denizensare already fairly impressive, benefiting from advanced medical and research skills, anyone can be a hero, and even a 3rd-level character (a fairly low stature by common practice) will exhibit fairly impressive skills.


License

This work is licensed to Seaside Press under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.5 deed (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5/). Reference to the d20 system, a copyright owned by Wizards of the Coast, within this document is meant only to be a reference to a distinct and commonly recognized system. This document in no way uses, recognizes, or explicitly refers to any material covered by the Open Gaming License in any more than a general or comparative way.


Creating A Character

As stated, this overview is not intended to explain all the subtle intricacies of role-playing. The player should have some familiarity with how to create a character, play a game, and operate within chosen game mechanics. However, Basic Character Creation will be addressed here.

First, players should determine which class they wish to play. Classes may include any of the ones listed in this setting or any other compatible d20 system class (at the GM's discretion). Bear in mind, the physics which work in Perplex City are not quite the same as in many other settings, so a 10th level wizard may not have much actual power. However, players are welcome to try playing, for example, a Rogue or Druid. Bear in mind, there may not be very much active fighting in a Perplex City Campaign, and the classes created for this setting will be most suited for Perplexian environments, but you are welcome to play whatever suits you best.

After selecting a class, players should determine the vital characteristics of their characters. Using the d20 system, this will include Strength (STR), Dexterity (DEX), Constitution (CON), Intelligence (INT), Wisdom (WIS), and Charisma (CHA). T these are generally determined by rolling dice, but there are other more interesting methods, which we won't get into here, that the player is welcome to try.

Next, players should assign skill points. Skill points in a d20 system are applied to a wide variety of skills, and determine how good a character is at doing specialized things. This includes things like riding a horse, intimidating opponents, or sneaking around. Characters receive (4 + INT modifier) x 4 skill points at 1st level, and( 4 + Int modifier) skill points at each additional level. Skill points may be divided up any way the player likes.

A player should also choose feats. All characters get one bonus feat when they reach 1st level, 5th level, and 9th level. Most classes acquire some feats on their own as they progress upward through levels. Characters may use feats from other compatible d20 systems (at the GM's discretion); but, again, players are reminded that the feats listed here are designed to work within Perplexian physics, and outside feats often won't be useful here.

Finally, (though it need not be the actual last thing a person decide on) characters will need an alignment (explained below) and perhaps membership in an organization. All of this -- and in fact a proper backstory -- should be determined before the first session of game play. In some ways, these things are the most important factors to work out. Perplex City is intended primarily to be a story-driven game. While an adventuring party may decide to discover hidden treasures in the catacombs, or explore distant islands, or seek ancient ruins in the Tanraga Mountains, Perplex City is, on the whole, not about combat situations and rolling dice and trying to get the best, shiniest weapon. Motivation, where a character is coming from, where a character is going, agenda: these are the elements which should always be the guiding light in how a character is developed. But then again, sometimes it's nice to just fight bad guys. Choose your path wisely.


Alignment

Alignment refers specifically to whom you trust and where your loyalties lie. Alignment is measured along two axes: lawfulness/chaos, and good/evil. In Perplex City, it is never easy to know where one person stands in relation to another. In fact, when playing a role-playing game along these lines, it can be downright impossible to determine whose side you are supposed to be on. Generally, all citizens wish to exude a sense of goodwill, while a great deal of the populace also wishes to evoke a sense of mystery. This does not mean, however, that all people are Lawful Evil. When creating a character, a player should choose an alignment to be a moral compass for their actions.


Lawful Good

A lawful good character would be considered to have a heart of pure gold. If a character with this alignment sees wrongdoing around them, he will work to end it. This does not mean adopting a 'Dudley Do-Right' stance and marching off to the police. Careful consideration will be given on how to handle the situation, with appropriate acts to follow.


Lawful Neutral

Characters with this alignment may seem somewhat inflexible to those around them. The lawful neutral character is not as concerned with morality or acting for the greater good, as ensuring that in all situations rules are upheld, such as they are. They generally will not break laws, flout order, or challenge social norms. A lawful neutral character might make a good judge, games player, or government official.These individuals will certainly pursue their own goals, and that might mean stepping on some toes, but never beyond the dictates of their perceived societal code.


Lawful Evil

Lawful evil archetypes will always work within expected social limits to meet very lofty goals, which often involve rulership and absolute power. Darth Vader, for example, was lawful evil. He broke no laws, but he did manage to spearhead an Empire into a state of war. This alignment can be difficult for a player character, but it can also be very liberating. A primary goal is to never get caught, and never be seen as insidious. Lawful Evil characters have an agenda, and like to work within an established order.


Neutral Good

Neutral good characters will do what they believe is best, at the expense of all else. They have a hard time joining any organizations, for the simple fact that it means taking sides. This sort of person will, whenever possible, lean towards benevolence, but in measured doses. If they belong to an organization, it is because that organization also leans towards measured benevolence.


Neutral

A person who is true neutral is a strong believer in balance. For everything good that happens, there should be something bad that happens also. That doesn't mean they have to cause it, but they do have an active interest in the outcome. According to a neutral person, laws are meant to be followed, but they should really be challenged more often. They seek truth more than anything else. In some ways, this personality can be internally conflicted, and trying to seek an alignment in the world around them. An entirely neutral character also might be unable to decide upon a personal code of ethics, and find it preferable to act in a manner according to his or her desire.


Neutral Evil

Typically, this archetype is reserved for enemies and non-player characters. A person fitting this description will swear allegiance to many groups, but may not be a True Believer in any of them. They can be Informants and Advisors, if you treat them fairly. But just as they do not stand by their employer, so they do not stand by you, either.


Chaotic Good

This sort of person is largely misunderstood. There is a law, and there is order in the universe, but this sort of person walks around it. Not because they have their own agenda, but because, in their minds, the law doesn't always work quite as effectively as it could. Mercenaries and vigilantes usually fit this bill, but to a much more reasonable extent, Academy drop-outs and hermits are applicable to this alignment.


Chaotic Neutral

The chaotic neutral archetype serves no one. They are good at being themselves, and tend to swear allegiance to no-one. They may practice random acts of either kindness or malevolence. One day might be spent attending lectures and influencing young minds, and the evening spent painting the Academy Founder's Hall Sculptures yellow.


Chaotic Evil

A person with this alignment is nefarious in the classical sense. This does not necessarily mean they go rampantly killing and destroying. They simply reject order and build their own set of rules, then will often ignore those as well. Typically, this archetype is reserved for enemies and non-player characters.



Organizations

The Academy

There are numerous schools and universities within Perplex City. The Academy is like none of them. The Master of the Academy is one part politician, one part professor, one part experimentalist. Work that goes on at the Academy is both practical and theoretical. Studies include both puzzles and problem solving, as well as more traditional areas of learning and focused teaching. The delicate balance between the two schools of thought has drawn a schism across the faculty since almost the Academy's founding. Students are only admitted after having completed one full university degree at another institution within the City (Other schools include Marmalejo College, the Besley Schools, and Perplex City University). Academicians typically attend for two years, and many will opt take a "Games Year". Of some note, the Academy is the only facility in the City known to have access to the link to Earth, which is controlled by the Center for Reality Research.


The PCAG

The Perplex City Academy Games (PCAG) is essentially a sub-organization within the Academy. In truth, it is much more than this. The games are the most anticipated, most watched competitive event in the City. All other activity comes to a crawl as the games become more and more exciting throughout the end of the year. Anyone in the City may play in the games, but to become the year's champion takes very great stamina and endurance. The games are comprised of many matches of sundry games and puzzles, especially the card game Clash. Each match is between two players, and will last 7 rounds. Whoever wins the most rounds wins that match. Matches are officiated by Academicians who have chosen to take a Games Year. The PCAG is a very well-respected organization, and people who do take a Games Year are typically favored in the community.


Government

The City is run by a Council of nine people, headed by one Leader (who is counted in the nine). All members of society over the age of 18 are allowed a vote. In all capacities, the Council operates on a more or less basic political structure, handling the day-to-day affairs of the City. There are a number of departments, committees and sub-committees which answer to the Council, as well as a moderate military defense force and a sharp police department. The Council has close ties to the Academy, but these are mostly for the purposes of funding, education, research, resource allotment, etc. However, the Academy in particular operates a number of specific functions which make it of some interest to the overall government (and the City at large): specifically, the link to Earth.


Farm and Agricultural Consortium

Because Perplex City is almost entirely self-sufficient, all crops are grown locally in or near the City. The Farm and Agricultural Consortium oversees the interests of all organic food production for the City. This makes them a rather powerful organization to deal with.


Perplex City Exchange (PCX)

Perplex City's currency is the Leck. Lecks are only ever really electronically transferred, often using Keys (see article on Keys). Many companies are publicly traded, with investors buying and selling investments on the PCX. Naturally, the PCX is remarkably powerful, and more or less controls the value of a Leck, and thus, everything else in the City. The people of the City put great amounts of faith in the PCX.


Harris Exploration Society

Almost all of the great explorers of Perplex City have been members of the Harris Exploration Society. From its foundation several centuries ago, the society has supported expeditions all over the world and continues to do so today.



Religion

Cubism is the predominant religious movement in Perplex City. The underlying belief of Cubism is an unending fervent belief in the great truth and universality of The Cube. The Cube is one with the universe, and the universe is defined by the Cube. The movement has a prophet named Gyvann, who ascended to enlightenment, and is said to have become one with The Cube. Note that in this sense, "The Cube" does not refer to any specific literal cube, but rather a theoretical concept of "Cube as God." Often, Cubists will point to any cube-shaped object in the world around them and see in it a divine vision. Cubist temples have an underlying theme of cube geometry, found in meditation rooms, foods, and even hats. Revered activities include 'Building', clean living, and meditation.

Cubist dogma includes:

  • Getting mixed up in drink and drugs is no way to have fun. Understanding the mysteries of the universe will open your mind wider than any substance.
  • Meditation is an important part of our faith, but there's so much more. The Cube can give you life today, tomorrow, and for ever.
  • The Cube is the perfect, stable object. It symbolizes equality and freedom, without boundaries.
  • True happiness means finding truth and meaning. There is more happiness than you know, just waiting for you.

There are many holidays which are important to active Cubist belief. Key Cubist Holy Days which are celebrated throughout the city are:

  • The Builder's Celebration -- Celebrated at the Spring Equinox; this is, among other things, considered a time to lay foundations to new buildings, as in Gyvann's great teaching.
  • Gyvann's Day -- Celebrated at the Summer Solstice; a cheerful celebration with burning torches and feasting. There is usually a very highly anticipated summer celebration throughout the city, involving hikes, strawberry festivals, fun at the beach, and so on.
  • The Lighting of the Way -- Celebrated at the Autumn Equinox; the festival of re-affirming a dedication to the Cube and of witnessing Gyvann's message to the world.
  • Restitution of the Cube -- Celebrated at the Winter Solstice; consists of three days of prayer and meditation. It is traditional to light cube-shaped candles at this time. There is a kindling of the flame ceremony as well. Traditionally, the PCAG centered their festivities around this holiday, but this has since expanded into an August-through-January affair.


The Brotherhood of the Six

The Brotherhood is the oldest and largest Cubist sect in Perplex City. They are broadly seen as a nice society of quaint old beliefs, the likes of whose services you might take your grandmother to attend. Their holiday celebrations are renowned for being full of song, and quite delicious cube-shaped cakes. Brotherhood services tend to be pleasant affairs. While the preachers in attendance may not be the most connected to current societal trends (which is most unusual in the city), they tend to be kind, fair hearts.


The Reconstructionsts

Reconstructionism is an off-shoot Cubist sect whose adherents believe that Cubism, as it practiced in the City, is far too lenient to the teachings of Gyvann. It is unclear when exactly the Reconstructionists split off from more mainstream teachings, because they were long known to take a different approach to the ancient texts of Gyvann. A specific schismatic event occurred at some point which is directly attributed to driving them apart. Subsequently, they established a compound south of the City; a serene cloister of fundamental living and simple ways. The architecture has been built in very clean organic-yet-cubist shapes. The Reconstructionists can be a bit too radically minded for some in the City, and have been known to state certain threats against the Academy and the City's government. Mostly these come in the form of harmless threats with no real action. Publicly, Reconstructionists are seen as perfectly acceptable religious people. Privately, however, most people tend to give them a cold shoulder, sometimes regarding them with an element of complete distrust. Of particular note is the issue regarding the theft of the Receda Cube. Based on their past threats, the Reconstructionists were initially the most obvious suspects, causing many in the city to distrust them even more. Eventually all charges were dropped for lack of evidence, but there are still many Perplexians who mistrust this very private sect.


Other Groups

There are numerous other Cubist societies in the City. Ancient and secretive groups believed to be long expired include the Third Power, the Quadrillists, the Archers of Dawn, and others (though it is possible they may not be so ancient or expired). Other modern, lesser groups are numerous.



Classes

When creating a character, a player should choose at least one class to work from. Each class comes with its own special abilities. For those who are not familiar with the idea of playing classes, think of it as a sort of occupation, or life path down which you are adventuring. Certain classes bring particular rewards or bonuses, but may also have limitations.


Academician

All Academicians work and/or study at the Academy. Many students live on campus, though many do not. The Academy provides more-than-adequate living services, so many Academicians find themselves engrossed in campus life to the exclusion of all else. Many, of course, will take on more interesting and diverse activities. At various levels, Academicians get all sorts of useful feats.


Table: Academician

Level   BAB*  Fort  Ref  Will  Special

1       +0     +0   +0    +0   Sharp

2       +1     +1   +1    +1   Technician

3       +1     +2   +2    +2   Improved Technician

4       +2     +3   +3    +3   Games Year

5       +2     +4   +4    +4   Diplomacy

6       +3     +5   +5    +5   Improved Diplomacy

7       +3     +6   +6    +6   Earth Contact

8       +4     +7   +7    +7   Heroic Aura

9       +4     +8   +8    +8



Student

Students are not Academicians, and Academicians are not students. Students must, of course, belong to some educational institution. This may (dependent on age, of course) be a university; or a primary, secondary, or grammar school. Students will have limited feats; however, they are natively granted much higher saving rolls and bonus skill points.


Table: Student

Level   BAB*  Fort  Ref  Will  Special

1       +1     +3   +3    +1   Sharp

2       +1     +4   +4    +1   +2 to any 4 skills

3       +2     +5   +5    +2   +2 to any 4 skills

4       +2     +6   +6    +2   +3 to any 3 skills

5       +3     +7   +7    +3   +3 to any 3 skills

6       +3     +8   +8    +3   +4 to any 3 skills

7       +4     +9   +9    +4   +4 to any 3 skills

8       +4     +10  +10   +4   +10 to any one skill

9       +5     +11  +11   +5   +10 to any one skill



Cubist

Most mainstream Cubist clergy stay very much to their prayers and meditation, living either on a farm with others of their sect, or in some community living space; or else simply leading very egalitarian lives. Then there are others who are much more flamboyant. True Believers can be a very insurmountable force. Cubists can lean towards being anything from fanatical cultist to inspired agnostic. At 6th level, a Cubist Cleric gains an additional attack per round, due to his formidable spirit and fervor.


Table: Cubist

Level   BAB*     Fort  Ref  Will  Special

1       +1        +2   +1    +2   Gyvann's Blessing

2       +1        +3   +2    +3   Conviction

3       +2        +4   +3    +4   Identify Nature

4       +2        +5   +4    +5   One with the Cube

5       +3        +6   +5    +6   Obfuscate

6       +3/+1     +7   +6    +7   Diplomacy

7       +4/+1     +8   +7    +8   Sharp

8       +4/+2     +9   +8    +9   Holy Relic

9       +5/+2     +10  +9    +10



Literarian

Literarians, in a broad sense, are one of any number of occupational people who deal with literature. These may be writers for the Sentinel newspaper, librarians, authors, and so on. While on Earth these may seem like somewhat dull jobs, in Perplex City they are dull jobs with exciting people behind them. To put the role into an understandable context, think of an investigative journalist, or a famous and charismatic writer. Literarians are always learning new things, and must be always on their toes.


Table: Literarian

Level   BAB*  Fort  Ref  Will  Special

1       +2     +1   +1    +1   +1 to initiative

2       +2     +1   +1    +1   Any one bonus feat

3       +3     +2   +2    +2   +1 to initiative

4       +4     +2   +2    +2   Any one bonus feat

5       +5     +3   +3    +3   +1 to initiative

6       +6     +3   +3    +3   Any one bonus feat

7       +7     +4   +4    +4   +1 to initiative

8       +8     +4   +4    +4   Any one bonus feat

9       +9     +5   +5    +5   +1 to initiative




Law Enforcement

Characters in this class may belong to one of any number of law enforcement agencies, defense organizations, or none at all. All characters with an alignment of 'Lawful' with this class must join some very legitimate law enforcement agency, such as the Police Department (PCPD). Others may work for one of the tech-securities companies such as Key Surety or Centrifuge, or perhaps for the cryptography labs at the Academy. Chaotic-aligned characters may NOT be part of any such organization in any but the most oblique ways. At 4th level, a Law Enforcement Agent gains an additional attack per round due to his impressive strength and training , and at 7th level he gains yet another attack per round.


Table: Law Enforcement

Level   BAB*     Fort  Ref  Will  Special

1       +1        +2   +1    +2   Sharp

2       +1        +3   +2    +3

3       +2        +4   +3    +4

4       +2/+1     +5   +4    +5   Heroic Aura

5       +3/+1     +6   +5    +6

6       +3/+2     +7   +6    +7

7       +4/+2/+1  +8   +7    +8   Technician

8       +4/+3/+1  +9   +8    +9

9       +5/+3/+2  +10  +9    +10


" B.A.B.: Base Attack Bonus. When rolling for attacks, add this number to your d20 roll, plus any other bonuses you may have going for you.


Feats

Conviction

You are an avatar of the Cube, a messenger of the word of Gyvann. People respect you, and are less likely to not like you. When invoked, you have the power to make people who would be otherwise indifferent to you become temporarily your friend, and people who otherwise be aggressive to you become neutral towards you. This is done by measure of comparing the subject's given DC with 1d20 + (CHA or level). Turning people from Neutral to an Ally will have a DC of 10. Turning people from an Enemy to Neutral will have a DC of 15. During combat, this has a DC of 20, and can only last 2 rounds. Turning an ally does not mean someone will do something they would otherwise never do, such as attack their own natural ally. This ability cannot be stacked. That is, once you have made someone neutral to you, you may not then make them your ally with this ability.


Diplomacy

Required: INT > 11. Diplomats have to be able to bluff convincingly and make the public think a lot of things they might not otherwise. +3 to all Bluff checks. +2 to all Diplomacy checks.


Improved Diplomacy

Required: Diplomacy, INT > 13. +5 to all Bluff checks, +2 to all Intimidate checks, +2 to all Diplomacy checks.


Earth Contact

Grants you the ability to contact people on Earth. This may be by way of e-mail, a blog, or other media. How you use this contact is entirely up to you. People on Earth should be regarded as NPCs.


Games Year

Required: 4 levels of Academician. This feat specifically makes a character favored within the City, granting them an inherent +1 bonus to their CHA modifier. Also you have the ability to call in favors from others in the city and their extensive contacts. By making a favor check, you can call upon contacts to gain important information, or loan equipment or documents from influential acquaintances. To call in a favor, you make a favor check, which will be equal to d20 + your character level. The GM sets the DC based on the scope of the favor being requested. You may generally only call favors which will make things easier on you, but not favors which allow you to entirely bypass the current adventure.


Gyvann's Blessing

Gyvann is with you always. Invoking this feat means you pass on your strength and virtue to others who are with you, yielding +2 bonuses to all checks and saves for 1d20 minutes. (This does not apply during combat scenarios)


Heroic Aura

Your very presence evokes a spirit of strength and nobility. When invoked, this feat adds +2 to your and all allies' attack rolls. This lasts for 1d20 rounds, or until you are injured in any way.


Holy Relic

Required: Cubist or 8th level. The player acquires a sacred relic. The nature of this relic must be determined when you gain this feat -- meaning you must decide what sort of relic it is, such as a talisman, a staff, etc. This relic is imbued with your own spell-like abilities. You may place the relic in any location, and it may act on its own, with all the abilities you have. It may not move on its own, nor may it speak, or attack, or anything else of the kind. However, if you have, for example, the Obfuscate ability, you may activate an Obfuscation wherever the relic is at that time. If another person carries your relic, they gain whatever benefits you would normally gain from any such activation.


Identify Nature

Required: Cubist. You effectively gain a +15 to an instant Search check when searching for people and animals. In more verbose terms, you quickly find everyone you can in an area, identify their alignment, and determine if they are hostile or friendly.


Obfuscate

You project a sense of distortion around yourself, for 10 feet in all directions. If you (and those around you) are hiding, your skill level on Hide and Sneak checks goes up +10. Your alignment cannot be discerned under any circumstances.


One with The Cube

Required: 5th level character OR 4th level Cubist. You are one with the Cube. You are of strong mind and body. Your armor class receives a +6 bonus.


Sharp

Simply speaking, someone with this feat pays attention. They receive the following bonuses: +3 to all Listen checks, +3 to all s\Spot checks, and +3 to all Search checks.


Technician

Technicians are, by their very nature, capable of operating or modifying many advanced, obscure, or otherwise difficult pieces of technology. A character with this feat may make checks at any time to attempt to build or modify various devices around him. To attempt a task, add Spell/Tech Craft + INT + 1d20. The player is successful if this total is higher than the difficulty class (DC) of the desired task. A DC of 5 indicates a simple task, whereas a DC of 10 describes one that is moderately simple, a DC of 15: quite tricky, a DC of 20: remarkably hard, and anything above should require a master of technics. These checks should work the same for either hardware or software systems. If a character does not typically work with hardware, hardware checks should be considered to have a higher DC (and, of course, the same can be said of software-based checks.)


Improved Technician

Required: Technician Feat, must be at least 3rd level with at least one level of Academician. As 'Technician', except add (Spell/Tech Craft + INT) x2 + 1d20.


Technology

There is typically no magic in Perplex City. It is up to the DM to decide if a certain magical event is allowable; however, it should always be the exception, not the rule. There is, however, plenty of high level technology.


Keys

Keys are the ubiquitous communication devices in Perplex City. They are fairly impressive machines that broadcast news feeds, communications, media, and can be modified to perform a wide variety of tasks. Typically, keys will act as personal data devices, containing various files and documents a person might want or require. (Bear in mind that throughout much of the City, paper and books have been replaced by electronic devices.) Keys can also be programmed to broadcast continual data streams, monitor personal vital statistics, signal for emergency help, and perform plenty of other potential tasks. Modifying a key is quite common in the City, and a simple modification by a trained user should not require a very high DC. Keys are popularly designed by two major corporations in the City: Key Surety Inc (KSI) and Centrifuge. The two have begun a merger, with a new startup, Locus Technology, leaning into the consumer market as well.


Center for Reality Research (CRR)

All known connections to Earth must pass through here. There is exactly one known link to Earth, and the Academy's CRR operates it. In theory, this link can be recreated or somehow hijacked by outside sources, but this would be extremely difficult (having a DC of at least 40.)


Ascendancy Point

The Point is a major feature within the City, a shining example of Perplexian technology. Standing 170 floors tall, Ascnedancy Point is a veritable city in its own right. Within the Point are numerous high-class and middle-class residential and commercial areas. Apartments, theaters, restaurants, and communal spaces all are designed to co-mingle with beauty and comfort. The engineering plan of the Point calls for all internal systems to be linked together, (including climate control, internal finance, entertainment, and more) providing the height of responsive environments. Of course, this system does not always work as it should, and is sometimes subject to system errors and hacking.


Pills & Stimulants

Available within the City are a number of drugs, some available over the counter, some available by prescription. Standard effects will typically last about 24 hours. Ceretin, a popular stimulant, is available by prescription, and temporarily gives a +4 bonus to INT. Halcyon, a less common, more expensive antidepressant, gives a +4 bonus to CON and +1 to Will saves. Ingesting Mnemosyne allows a person to remember things they normally might not (which may take the form of the GM informing the player some fact they may be overlooking, or adding a +10 to Knowledge checks). Pharmaceutical giant Cognivia also produces many other less commonly available pills.