Used Starship Systems


Banded Mongoose
So my players need a new jump drive for their ship after an unfortunate incident destroyed their existing one. They will have to buy a used one and I was trying to come up with some quirks/issues with the new 'used' drive. Came up with some quirks and wanted to see if anyone else had any ideas. My thought was to roll 2D6 and spend those as points to buy the quirks (where the Max value comes in).

Potential problems with used jump drive
  • Makes loud buzzing sounds the entire time it is powering up that can be heard throughout the ship – no game effect (max 1)
  • Consumes a random amount of extra power (1d10%) each time it is used (max 5)
  • Needs to be 10% further away from a gravity well than normal (max 5)
  • After jump maintenance takes 25% more time (max 4)
  • Improperly calibrated – apply a -1 modifier when rolling to activate (max 3)
  • Cantankerous – any repairs suffer a -1 to the test (max 3)
  • Glitchy – if a double is rolled when activating the drive, the jump aborts at the last second before consuming the fuel and 'after jump maintenance' must be performed on the drive before it can be used again (max 1)
  • If not making a maximum jump (ignore of a jump 1 drive), the drive consumes 2d10% more fuel when it activates (max 5)
You could always bring forward the old jump governor thing: Always requires the maximum amount of fuel to make a jump - worse than you last bullet, so probably something that should come up on a roll of 2 or 12.
If you're using the Companion rules for bad jumps (p.151-2 in the new edition), then you could increase the odds of a bad jump and the detrimental effects on crew END and INT.
And if you're really mean:
  • Roll 2D: on a 10+ (okay that's the same odds as a 6 on 1D, so adjust according to meanness - I guess you could use the max value and start with a 12+ then make it worse from there) you exit jump one week later at the same place you entered.
Increase the difficulty of the astrogation roll, even if using jump tapes you may be further out from the planet then normal.
  • After jump maintenance causes unexplained physical (or mental (or if you want to be really mean, radiational)) symptoms in whoever works on it.
  • The ship's computer randomly dumps one program whenever the ship emerges from jumpspace and it takes 1 minutes per level of bandwidth to get it back.
  • The sensor ping when the ship arrives in system is that of a ship ten times its size.
Are they getting a discount on the drive? "Quirks" are something that comes with buying on the cheap.

Also keep in mind that these sorts of "fun" things are going to get tiresome very quickly if they're constantly affecting play, and one like Glitchy could cause an arbitrary Game Over depending on when/where it happens.
For the most part, I wouldn't touch the operating parameters. Used jump drives should operate within the normal parameters of a new one. If you wanted quirks I'd keep them relatively tame - a slightly higher cost in parts and maintenance times, or maybe "unplanned" events such as not activating when the engineer pushes the button (causing them to have to chase down where the fault lies).

Eventually they should be able to resolve most of the issues via gruntwork and a few extra credits. Old and serviceable is probably synonymous with most PC vessels.
Or most of my fellow players...

I agree that it is rude to kill off the PCs without warning because they had no choice other than to buy a used jump drive, but having the ongoing subplot of trying to get the damned thing working properly sounds like a worthy thread for the campaign.
Very much so. Depending on your campaign specifics, you could actually get them making doing multiple things to get what they need to fully fix the drive. If they are out on the frontier a mcguffin part might be pretty rare, but a contact "knows a guy" who "might" have one. A few jobs/adventures later and they have the part. One could also have a very tenuous cobbled-together jump drive that needs a real shop to fully fix - only it's parsecs away and getting their is a series of adventures.

The only real limitation is how you want to do your gaming sessions.