View Full Version : Technology Skills

2009-03-16, 02:41 AM
Knowledge: Science and Technology

This skill is associated with knowledge regarding all known science and technology within a setting. It can include theorems, mathematical concepts, techno-fads, known figures in the academia, etc.

Ie. A Knowledge: Science and Technology check is useful for determining what is most convenient in a specific situation, like the materials needed to craft a specific non-magical/non-psionic item.

Knowledge: Nature, Craft: Trap Making, and Techcraft apply synergy bonuses to this skill.

Scenario: In regards to the Apparatus of the Crab in the SRD (if it were technological instead of magical), knowing what it is and is useful for would be a Knowledge: Science and Technology check. Even if it has magic, such a check would discern that it 'has been known' to contain magic as well but would need a Spellcraft check to discern the actual magic.


This skill is associated with determining the nature of a specific piece of technology at a glance.

Techcraft can also give a bonus to certain craft checks, when the actual check to craft involves a product that is potentially blurry (in conjunction to the craft skills the character is using). The same thing applies to repairing items. For settings that offer a very wide range of accessible materials, Techcraft can instead offer a temporary synergy bonus to this check at GM discretion. If this is the case, then others might be allowed to use aid another with a techcraft check for such a circumstance.

Knowledge: Science and Technology and Craft: Trap Making is a synergy bonus to this skill.

Scenario: In regards to Apparatus of the Crab in the SRD (assuming it is mostly technological instead of magical), knowing how to get inside by way of the hatch might be a DC 10 Techcraft check instead of a DC 20 Search check.

In addition, a successful Techcraft check will have the GM tell the player some or all of the functions the Apparatus can perform depending on how successful it was, without the need for prior experimentation.

Use: Technological Device

This check involves use of a device associated with technology that requires some expertise to do with its functioning. Not knowing the exact nature of the device results in an improvised check.

Search and Techcraft are synergy bonuses to this skill.

Scenario: Assuming a techcraft check were made previously (thus providing a circumstantial modifier to this check), using an Apparatus of the Crab in the SRD (assuming it's mostly technological instead of magical) could involve a Use: Technological Device check. If the crab only had two levers (one for each operator), instead of the ten listed in the SRD, with a lever performing a random function with a roll of 1d10, then a successful check would allow the user to choose which function she wishes to perform, instead of taking her chances on a d10.

If the Apparatus requires two operators for maximum efficiency, then a high enough check can allow a single character to act as two operators.

The character can also kludge the Apparatus to perform beyond ordinary capability (ie. move faster) with the same check.

If the Apparatus of the crab had ten levers, with each performing a specific function, than normally only a Techcraft check would be needed to discern all functions. The complexity of an item in comparison to the setting is at GM discretion.

Note: At GM discretion, performing a certain function with an item/object/construct/creature that is disabled in some way (when under ordinary circumstances, it could perform such a function) will be impossible no matter how high a Use: Technological Device check is rolled. Also, items not made to perform a function are quite similar to the circumstances in which a character bluffs another with an 'incredible story', often with even higher DCs depending on how far off its use is.

Further Example: Using a rifle to write a poem would be an improvised associated craft check with some greater circumstantial penalties (the rifle is large and unwieldy in regards to writing a poem and does not contain ink), perhaps destroying the parchment and ruining the entire poem on a degree of failure.

However, using a rifle to interface with a gnomish computer would be a gross circumstantial Use: Technological Device check and at GM discretion might destroy said device.

- Taking control of a golem created by technology might be a Use: Technological Device check opposed by the golem's will save + ECL.


- A Use: Technological Device check does not factor in time. Figuring out the ins and outs of a gnomish computer might take hours in comparison to pulling a lever that has a seemingly random function. In most cases, Use: Technological Device can Take 20 and in others it cannot (when a golem fights back, ie.). Rushing a check is just like the Open Locks skill.

New Feat


You have a keen idea of what it means to put two and two together.

Receive a +2 bonus to Techcraft and Knowledge: Science and Technology.

New Item

The toolbox, similar to the thief's tools, is required for a Use: Technological Device check except in circumstances in which the tools would not be considered necessary; in such circumstances, the tools might even provide a +2 circumstantial modifier, and in others have no affect on the outcome whatsoever. In situations in which they are considered necessary, they protect a character from using improvised tools (-2 penalty). Toolboxes are said to contain all the necessary tools for most devices of this nature, unless the device in question is particularly exotic.

Toolboxes are usually cheaper than thief's tools, as they contain mostly conventional utensils that can adapt to a situation (adjustable wrench, ie.), compared to the specialized items contained within a kit of thief's tools.

In situations in which such items contained in a toolbox would be exotic, making use of a toolbox requires a certain modifier to Knowledge: Science and Technology at GM discretion, and will often cost more.



The concept of experimentation involves a list of actions performed over a period of time. Knowledge checks might allow the GM to rule that a character may have 'known' this is or that and thus made more progress in a specific area, if the case of a campaign involves the passing of weeks or months in terms of game time.


The same thing applies to research. Research is often longer and more arduous than experimentation and can take years (at GM discretion), enough time to take away from someone's career as an adventurer (unless lengths are taken by players to bypass this boundary). The results of research and experimentation are always at GM discretion, just like everything else in terms of the plot concerning a campaign.

Information Assist

Knowledge checks normally cannot be aided by other creatures, however items and objects can aid such a check. Some items do not provide a bonus to the check, they simply contain a set of information.

Depending on how much information there is and a search check (or a similar check made) at GM discretion determines how much information can be gleaned from a source and the time consumed therein. The information provided is at GM discretion and represents knowledge that the character acquires from studying said information; it does not factor into a knowledge check.

All skills provided use INT as their attribute bonus.

2009-03-16, 04:12 AM
Looks interesting, although I'd be very curious to see some items you plan to include in your game that would fall under these skills.

Also, I'd probably have Craft (Alchemy) give a synergy bonus to Use: Technological Device, and Craft (Alchemy) and Knowledge: Science and Technology would probably give synergy bonuses to each other. This would be especially true if you're planning on including any primitive gunpowder weapons.

2009-03-16, 05:33 PM
Except that alchemical ability requires the ability to cast spells as well, so alchemy is magical.

Also, I was kind of hoping to include some modern/sci-fi elements in 3.5.

2009-03-16, 05:37 PM
You know, I like this start you have here, but I was wondering if you've checked out the Warcraft d20's take on technology? If you haven't you might want to check it out and see if you likey. Note that it's not the WoW d20, but the actual Warcraft d20. :smallwink:

2009-03-16, 06:14 PM
Could you link it?

2009-03-16, 06:22 PM
Check thy PM's.