Stars Without Number
With this optional rule, you can create and repair jury-rigged items with relatively portable equipment. Home-made items are less reliable, though, and risk failing if made carelessly.
Designing and making items in a factory setting or a well-stocked, well-supplied workshop isn’t covered by these rules. This is best represented as a simple discount on items, since it relies on a powerful but immovable asset – same as a friendly merchant or wealthy patron would. Instead, use these rules if you want to create something on your own, without relying on such resources.
First, you must acquire the necessary materials. Cost of these is dictated by the GM as appropriate to the planet, and many may be McGuffins of their own, especially on low-tech planets. The cost defaults to one-half the price of the object; it may go up or down drastically depending on the environment.
A metatool or ship’s workshop is usually sufficient to create items, but again, the GM may dictate that you need certain equipment for the task as well, which may be available free, very expensive, or only obtainable through adventuring, as appropriate.
Write down the crafted item on your character sheet. Note down that the item is home-made, and what the TL of your available tools and resources was. The first time the item is used in a significant way (usually associated with a roll), roll your appropriate Tech skill first. The difficulty depends on the complexity of the item:
TL 0-2: Success is automatic. These items have few moving parts and are simple enough to make for anyone with the Tech skill.
TL 3: Difficulty 6
TL 4: Difficulty 8
TL 5: Difficulty 10
TL of tools lower than TL of object: +4 per step difference
TL of tools higher than TL of object: -2 per step difference
If the roll fails, the item is poorly made. If the item was single-use, it simply fails to function at all and is rendered useless. If it’s a lasting object, it incurs an immediate -2 to all rolls or malfunctions with some drawback as the GM dictates; while technically functional, such items always have serious flaws or errors.
Player characters cannot identify the flaws ahead of time unless their Tech skill is higher than the crafter’s, in which case they may automatically identify it – immediately check whether the item is malfunctioning as soon as they inspect it. NPCs may notice flaws if appropriate, and if so the GM makes the Tech roll secretly.
Home-made items that malfunction were poorly designed; there’s no repairing them, but the material can be recycled. Stripping them down returns some of the materials as appropriate, default to one-half the resources used to build it.
It’s assumed that any mechanic will test their item as part of the creation process and amend any flaws he or she can detect. Therefore, this cannot prevent the item potentially breaking at a critical moment – a gunsmith may have tested the gun extensively in a lab, but forgotten to account for metal fatigue, which causes the gun to explode in a live situation. It is always the GM’s call to dictate when the true test of the item comes.
Repairing items functions much the same as creating them, save that the materials cost is usually much smaller (but not always, if some vital and expensive component was damaged or is missing).