Hardware

Technology is indistinguishable from magic as soon as the manual goes missing.

Montage of oil derricks, atom symbol, gun and bow.

EXP’s headline is "The Game of Technological Chaos." This title reflects a rule system where one can expect any device to exist alongside any other device. Is the laser pen mightier than the vibro sword? Can a low-tech culture devote all its resources to make a time machine? Can a high-tech culture devote all its resources to make itself feel sad and pathetic? Add a bit of humour, and these explorations are what EXP is all about.

Technological indicates a mix of unknown devices.

In our mundane terra’s olden daze, there was a game show dedicated to identifying things. This game show broadcast on a one-way colourless video device called a television. Hardware in EXP is like a similar to that ancient game show. Personas do not know what they are looking at.

More than 70 years later, neither this game show nor the television exists. A handheld piece of glass with high-resolution full colour interactive text and pictures has replaced the television. This evolution of the television took four generations on mundane terra.

The chaos arises from the randomness of the system that generates technological objects in EXP. The hardware section has many equipment categories, and they are designed for random artifact generation. The hardware section also makes a decent reference catalogue for technomagical devices.

The Technological Object Yield System (TOYS) is where the technological chaos begins. The TOY System generates random artifacts. These artifacts can vary from worthless junque to sun hopping starships. The randomness is the root premise of The Game of Technological Chaos.

Nomenclature

Calling technological devices artifacts is a twist on the archeological nature of their discovery. These discovered artifacts represent the detritus of a technologically advanced civilization. Everything old is new again. EXP artifacts are usually found by personas while on an expedition. There is no reason that the expedition could not purchase them from a local junk store, print catalogue or computer store.

TOYS or TOYs

Technological Object Yield System. The TOY system is the ruleset for generating random tech. The TOYS ruleset is the entire Hardware Section.

Toy

Anything that the TOYS generates is a toy. A toy can be powerful or useless. Most toys are somewhere in between. An unidentified toy can be called an artifact. An identified toy is often still called a toy.

Artifact

An unidentified potentially technological device. An artifact can be powerful or useless. Most artifacts are somewhere in between. Useless artifacts can be called mundane equipment.

Startifact

Start plus artifact. An artifact that the persona starts the game with.

Mundane Equipment

Mundane equipment is the boring practical stuff of life. Personas can usually purchase mundane equipment in a local shop. Sometimes what was once an artifact is demoted to mundane equipment.

Toy Types

A quick introduction into the types of artifacts that the TOY system can yield.

TOYS Department Explanations Table
Cheeky descriptions of the different types of TOYS.

Department

Description

Aerosols

Canisters that eject damage and destruction.

Armaments

Gadgets that inflict damage and destruction.

Armour

Personal damage protection.

Artillery

Military scale point and shoot damage and destruction.

Biomech

Personal robotic extension. Powered armour.

Biorepair

Gadgets that repair biological damage and destruction.

Bombs

Military scale area of effect damage and destruction.

Devices

Gadgets that don’t damage or destroy.

Grenades

Personal scale area of effect damage and destruction.

Guns

Personal scale point and shoot damage and destruction.

Junque

Random things that appear to be useful.

Materiel

Stuff that makes artifacts go. Batteries, ammo, bullets.

Mundane

Equipment ready for persona purchase. Non-artifact.

Pharma

Biomagical medications.

Robots

Personal referee persona robot.

Spacecraft

Vehicles for outside the atmosphere. Spacecraft.

Treasure

Tools of capitalist damage and destruction.

Vehicles

Vehicles for inside the atmosphere. Cars and such.

Ref’s Own Table

Or referee’s choice. Or player’s choice.

Department

Description

Materiel

Materiel is stuff that is needed to run the equipment. Materiel ranges from manuals to ammunition and from batteries to software. Materiel is ineffective on its own but essential to another device. Jump to Materiel for more details.

Tech Level

Tech Level is a numerical measure of how well crafted an artifact is. The higher the Tech Level (TL), the better the artifact. An advanced artifact does not automatically arise from an advanced civilization. A culture may focus a disproportionate amount of energy on a particular device.

Higher tech level artifacts are more durable, lighter, more efficient, etc. Tech level can also change the shape and appearance of an artifact. A flotto laser rifle may look like a stick. A psionic headband may look like a necklace. Very high-tech items can appear to function like magical items.

Low tech level items can be equally confusing to personas. A large building may represent a society’s best calculator. Compare a water pump of today from the waterwheel of yesteryear.

Jump to Tech Levels for more details.

TOY Record

Artifacts in EXP are like snowflakes. Each one appears different and functions differently. If the device was worth generating, it is worth writing down. Keeping artifact records results in quicker gameplay and fewer 'oops' moments.

Example Toy Record
  • Desc: dark blue pipe with button and dial setting

  • Toy: Gun, 16 full-auto lazer rifle (flotto)

  • Wate: 4.0kg EXPS: 760 Value:

  • Tech Level: 19 (see below Adjustments)

  • Wate: 0.8kg EXPS: 1120 Value: 85000 (adjusted to tech level)

  • Support Eq..: 3 x Liquid batteries.

  • Info: Shoot, Flotto; 120h 60; 3-30 MP; +50

  • Owner: Ester Drone (canine) Date: 19/Oct/64 Serial: yrul2

If the spirit of the unknown artifact is part of the milieu, the players will only know the description and wate of the equipment.

Toy Story

The referee can use post factualization to explain the how and why of an artifact. An artifact can also be a tool for explaining the culture from which it hails. Most artifacts will simply be equipment, but some artifacts will become part of the campaign itself. Some artifacts have Intelligence and attitude.