Scientific Research

To conduct scientific research, you must first make an extended Intelligence + Science check, followed by an extended Intelligence + Engineering check. The given Difficulty applies to both rolls. The listed number of successes must be achieved on each roll.

Each roll requires one Downtime. A botched research roll results in the loss of all accumulated successes. You cannot receive Study Points or teach or be taught by another character in any Downtime in which you conduct research.

If you spend your Downtime in research, you begin the next Game at half Willpower, as you spend Willpower on a daily basis in the course of your research.

Improving a Device

Type of Device Difficulty
Best commercial quality 8
Custom-made 9
Cutting-edge prototype (unusual and extraordinary devices) 10
Degree of Improvement Successes
Minor (up to 20%) improvements in speed or other easily modified characteristics 5
Maior (50-100%) improvements in some easily modified characteristic 10
Adding new capabilities to the device 20

Inventing a Device

Inventing a Device Difficulty Successes
moderately improved version of existing cutting-edge device 8 5
significantly improved version of existing cutting-edge device 9 10
device based on completely new and revolutionary principles like the first laser or transistor 10 20

Building a Device

Building a device requires an extended Dexterity + Crafts check, with the same rules as above.

Building a Device Difficulty Successes
Complex mechanical or electric device (automobile, complex clockwork device) 7 5
Personal computers or other complex electronic devices 8 10
Very large, extremely complex device (mainframe computer, jet fighter) 9 20
Complex experimental prototypes (Unusual and Extraordinary Devices) 10 30

Similar rules are used for other types of research (psychic, Mythos magic, etc.).

These rules are suitable for creation of a single device, but not for mass production. Mass production must be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Note that research is limited to what is possible within the field and within the setting. For example, it cannot be used to produce Black Tech, unless an exception is detailed by the GM – in which case the character would need to develop multiple incremental improvements of each component and each technology involved. Such a character must have rank 6 in all relevant Abilities, and is likely to expend huge amounts of downtime.

For example, a player wishing to develop the James Webb Space Telescope must identify each component and each technology involved, and must then research each component and each technology. From Universe Today (9/2/2011) :

“Ten technologies that are required for JWST to function did not exist when the project was first planned, and all have been successfully achieved. These include both near and mid-infrared detectors with unprecedented sensitivity, the sunshield material, the primary mirror segment assembly, the NIRSpec microshutter array, the MIRI cryo-cooler, and several more,” said the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deputy Project Scientist Jason Kalirai. Kalirai holds a PhD in astrophysics and carries out research for the Space Telescope Science Institute. “The new technologies in JWST have led to many spinoffs, including the production of new electric motors that outperform common gear boxes, design for high precision optical elements for cameras and cell phones, and more accurate measurements of human vision for people about to undergo Laser Refractive Surgery.”

“… The James Webb Space Telescope was initially estimated at costing $1.6 billion. As of this writing an estimated $3 billion has been spent on the project and it is has been estimated that the telescope is about three-quarters complete.”

(Estimates indicate the cost of the telescope may exceed $8.7 billion, including five years of operation.)

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