Expanse Extra: Qualities & Flaws
Today I've got another Expanse Extra for you. This installment covers qualities and flaws. In a few days I'll be posting the final Expanse Extra, which gives you a taste of spaceship combat!
Qualities and Flaws
Not all things are made equally and, much like Expanse characters have their focuses and talents, items they use may have qualities that reflect certain improvements over common items of that type, or they may have flaws, which are drawbacks or problems compared to common items. Being able to afford flawless equipment, much less items of high-quality, is a common goal for Expanse characters when they are starting out and have to make do with whatever they can get.
As a general guideline, each quality an item has increases its Cost for income tests to acquire it by +1, while each flaw decreases Cost by –1. The GM decides if a particular quality or flaw can apply to a particular item, as not all of them may be appropriate for all items. Some special qualities and flaws are listed alongside specific types of items in The Expanse as well, particularly weapons, armor, and ships (which also have their own qualities and flaws).
Durable: The item is built to last. Under normal conditions, it lasts twice as long and for tests involving damaging it, it has a +2 Toughness.
Effective: The item works better than a regular item of its type, gaining a +1 bonus to one of its abilities, such as damage, armor bonus, or some other ability used for outcome or effectiveness but not for tests (see Fine, following, for that quality) or a 50% improvement in overall output. A Very Effective item has two qualities and provides a +2 bonus or a 100% improvement.
Fast: The item works fast. It takes half the usual time to use a regular item of its type. For something using during action time, the character gains a +2 bonus to initiative when using the item.
Favored Stunt: The item is either especially well-suited for performing a particular stunt, granting a –1 SP modifier to its cost, or else the item grants access to a unique stunt the character can perform while wielding or using it. Each favored stunt is a separate quality and an item can have more than one.
Fine: The item’s quality is such that the character gains a +1 bonus to tests for using or wielding it. Very Fine items have two qualities and provide a +2 bonus.
Impressive: The item’s quality is clearly apparent, providing a +1 bonus to social and roleplaying tests where such things are noteworthy, such as trying to make a good impression while wearing an Impressive outfit or intimidating someone with an Impressive weapon. Very Impressive items have two qualities and provide a +2 bonus.
Light: The item is lighter and more compact than normal, reducing any normal penalty to Dexterity and Speed by 1. Very Light items have two qualities and reduced penalties by 2.
Fragile: The item wasn’t made to take much punishment. A deliberate attempt to break it always succeeds. Furthermore, when a test to use the item fails, and the Drama Die is 3 or less, the item breaks.
Heavy: The item is heavier or bulkier than normal, imposing a –1 penalty to the Dexterity and Speed of a character carrying or wearing it. Very heavy items have two flaws and impose a –2 penalty to Dexterity and Speed.
Ineffective: The item can’t inflict damage as easily as a proper weapon, imposing a –1 or –2 penalty to damage rolls, with a minimum damage roll of 1.
Poor: The overall poor quality of the item imposes a –1 penalty to tests using or wielding it. Very Poor items have two flaws and impose a –2 penalty.
Shoddy: The item’s flaws are glaringly apparent, imposing a –1 penalty to social and roleplaying tests where such things are noteworthy, such as trying to intimidate someone with a Shoddy weapon, or make a good first impression in a Shoddy outfit. The GM may adjust the penalty, depending on the circumstances, but it is always negative.
Slow: The item works, but not fast. It takes twice as much time to use as a regular item of its type. For something that can be used with a Major Action during action time, a Slow item requires a Ready action after it is used each time to prepare it to be used again.
Unreliable: The item works...sometimes. When a test involving the item fails and the Drama Die is a 3 or less, the item stops working. If the item does not require a test to use, the GM should roll 3d6 when the item needs to work. On a total roll of 10 or less where the Drama Die is a 3 or less, the item stops working. Getting an Unreliable item working again takes either an interlude to fix it or, during action time, a TN 13 challenge test with a success threshold of 10 and a time increment of 1 round.