Another preview from The Frontier Companion vol. 1, which is now available at DriveThru RPG. This time let’s take a look at the mysterious Promethean artifacts that can be found in the ruins scattered across The Frontier. These fantastic devices can be extremely powerful, but usually feature limited uses and cannot be recharged by human technology.
Promethean technology is not only extremely advanced but was also designed by an alien civilisation with vastly different aesthetic and functional paradigms. Thus, the purpose and operation of an artifact is usually not immediately known upon its discovery (unless you’ve used a similar artifact in the past) and has to be learned before you can use it.
Understanding an artifact requires a period of examination and experimentation lasting 1d10 hours per grade of rarity (2d10 for uncommon artifacts, 3d10 for rare artifacts and so on) and a Brains roll versus the artifact’s Insight DF. A successful roll allows you to understand how the artifact operates and the effect it will produce. If you fail the Insight roll, you’ll have to wait for 1d6 days clearing your mind and contemplating on what you’ve learnt before trying again.
Once you have learned how to operate an artifact, you can teach this knowledge to other people and you automatically understand all artifacts of the same type (e.g., if you learn how to use a lifestone, you know how to use all lifestones that you subsequently encounter).
Some Promethean items are reusable, but feature a finite power source, having a number of charges that have to be expended when the item is used. The charges left in such an item are randomly determined when the item is first found; check its description to see how many charges are left. There is no human technology that can recharge a Promethean artifact, so choose carefully when and where to use a charged item.
Uncommon artifact ($11,000, Insight DF 14)
This small canister contains a thin blue liquid that is apparently inert. When it is poured over a charged artifact however, it is quickly absorbed by the device. An uncommon or rare artifact gains 1d3 charges, while an exotic artifact gains 1 charge. The juice is not powerful enough to recharge legendary artifacts.
The canister only holds a single dose of the empowering juice.
Rare artifact ($12,500 per charge, Insight DF 16)
This wand-shaped device has 1d8 charges when found. While touching a solid barrier (like a wall or door) with it, you can spend a charge as a move to instantly create an opening through the barrier. The artifact produces a 5-foot wide and up to 10-feet deep circular “window” by turning any solid matter in that area completely translucent and able to be traversed as if it was air. This has no effect on the structural integrity of the barrier or the surrounding structure (i.e., a wall or arch will not collapse after part of it is affected by the artifact). The opening remains for 1 minute or until the wand is used again on it (reversing the effect doesn’t require a charge), at which point the barrier becomes solid again.
Rare artifact ($25,000, Insight DF 16)
This smooth, flat grey stone fits in the palm of a hand and features several symbols carved on its surface. It can be activated as an action by pressing the correct series of symbols and holding it tight with one hand. After doing so, you immediately recover all lost Health and your body is purged from all poisons and diseases (including chronic conditions).
If a lifestone is used on a recently deceased character whose Health was not reduced below -50, it has a chance to resuscitate him. The dead character rolls Toughness versus 10 + the number of minutes that have passed since his death. On a successful roll, the character returns to life (and all of his lost Health is restored).
Lifestones can only heal living, organic creatures. Each lifestone can be used once only, becoming a useless, mundane stone afterwards.
Rare artifact ($12,500 per charge, Insight DF 14)
This pistol-like device has 1d8 charges when found. It is treated as a pistol for attack purposes. Spend a charge as an action to fire a ring-shaped burst of purple energy at a target up to 300 feet away. Roll Reflexes versus Evasion to hit; the broad-shaped front adds a +2 bonus to your attack roll. If the target is hit, he must roll Muscles versus 20 to avoid being pushed 2d6x10 feet back by the repulsion force. A target that is pushed into a solid object suffers 2d8 physical (if that obstacle is another creature, both take the 2d8 damage).
Large creatures are pushed back 2d4x10 feet only. Huge or larger creatures are pushed back 2d4x5 feet.
Uncommon artifact ($4,750 per dose, Insight DF 14)
This small tube contains 1d6 applications of a clear gel. When a dose of gel is applied on skin, it will spread over the entire body in a process that takes 5 rounds to complete. The gel forms a transparent protective coating that is able to absorb a total of 10 points of damage (except from psionic damage) before it affects your Health. Once it has absorbed 10 damage or if 6 hours have passed since its application, the gel falls off your skin. You can only have one layer of steelskin gel applied at a time.
Uncommon artifact ($36,000, Insight DF 14)
This tiny pellet establishes a psionic link so that by concentrating on it as an action, you can see and hear things as if you were standing where the stone is. You are unable to take any other actions while focusing on using a watchstone and you are oblivious to what’s happening around you. The link between you and the artifact can extend to a maximum of 100 miles.
When placed somewhere, the artifact changes its surface pattern to match the background and becomes very hard to detect (DF 20 Perception roll).
At the end of each day in which you’ve used the watchstone for more than 4 hours in total, roll 1d6. If you roll 1, the watchstone runs out of power and cannot be used again.