How to Improve Your Chances of Making an Artifact Check

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Melfast
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How to Improve Your Chances of Making an Artifact Check

Post by Melfast »

Fellow Wanderers on The Waste

A postscript of sorts to my other posts about artifacts.

(If you are curious, here is a table that shows your chance of succeeding an artifact check based on your artifact check total modifier and the complexity modifier of the artifact as number and percentage, along with your chance of breaking the artifact and doing damage to yourself in the process: https://1drv.ms/b/s!Ak88KIALsgrVioFHpNe ... Q?e=LKG4n5 )

The base check to understand an artifact so that you can use it is 12 plus its Complexity Modifier. As mentioned in my previous posts, that generally means you need to roll a 16 because the average artifact Complexity Modifier is 4. (This is a 25% chance of success.)

If you roll 4 or more under the artifact check number, you break the artifact and take damage. Since as noted above the base check is a 16, this means your base chance to break the artifact and do yourself damage is usually a roll of 12 or less. (This is a 55% chance to fail and do damage to yourself.)

If you fail your artifact check by 3 or less, then you don't take damage but your artifact is broken but reparable. To repair it, you will need to make a DC 12 Intelligence check to replace a part and make it work again. This roll is not modified by your genotype or class, but it can be improved with Luck, and by using a Multitool (which will give you a +5 to repair an artifact). Note that the Multitool is a Tech Level 5, Complexity Modifier 5 artifact, so learning it will require a character with a 15+ Intelligence, or one who is at least 5th level. Complexity Modifier 5 is higher than average, so it is a difficult artifact check.

There are three basic things that increase your chances: If your Intelligence is 13+, you will get a bonus; if you burn Luck, you will get a bonus; and if you are Level-1 or above, you will have an artifact check bonus that you can add based on your class.
-- PSH get this bonus from Level-1.
-- Mutants don't get a bonus until Level-2.
-- Manimals don't get a bonus until Level-3
-- Plantients have a -1 to their checks at Level-1 and don't get a bonus until Level-4

Characters with a high Intelligence will also be able to do artifact checks on items with a higher Tech Level sooner than other characters. What Tech Level you can use is based on your Intelligence or your level. Once you are Level-5, you can use pretty much every artifact in the game.

If you want to be better at using artifacts, you will benefit from a high Intelligence. The party will generally want to have either 1) expendable characters try and use artifacts (especially at Level-0), or 2) the characters in the party with higher Intelligence do the artifact check. These players can also collaborate to make the check easier -- up to three other characters with an Intelligence of 13+ can help with this roll, each helping character providing a +1 to the roll.

You can influence your ability to use artifacts through your class selection. As indicated above, PSH are the class with the best artifact check bonuses. Plantients are the worst.

You can also influence your ability to use artifacts later in play by joining the the Curators Archaic Alignment. As a member of the Curators, you get a +1 to all artifact checks. This is a very good Archaic Alignment for PSH. The other genotypes have Archaic Alignments specifically tailored to them, but PSH do not, although it is good to have someone aligned with the Clan of Cog. PSH dominate the Curators, but other genotypes can join.

The biggest wild card is using Luck. Plantients are generally the worst choice to make an artifact check. They are, however, the best class to have around when you need some extra Luck to help you out. They generate 2 points for every 1 point of Luck spent, and they can give those Luck points to their friends. And, they regenerate them at 2 per day per character level, which is twice the rate of the DCC Thief. (They are also great to have around when your Shaman is making their Invoke Patron AI check.) PSH are the next best at using Luck for artifact checks, because they also regenerate Luck, so they can be a little freer with it when doing artifact checks. (They also don't need to save their Luck to have to boost mutation checks, although Shaman are similarly constrained.) Rovers, like Plantients, regenerate 2 points of Luck per day, so while they are not quite as good at artifact checks as Shaman, they can afford to spend more Luck than a Shaman on making an artifact check.

Luck also plays a part in Combat Artifact checks. In fact, the only way to modify a Combat Artifact check is to spend Luck. Normal artifact checks take three turns (30 minutes). Combat Artifact checks take one round, but cost 1 point of Luck in order to make the attempt. You cannot add any bonuses from genotype, level or ability modifiers. Oddly, this could make the Plantient the best character at doing Combat Artifact checks, although they are even better at helping someone else make a Combat Artifact check. Level-0's are probably the next to get the most benefit out of Combat Artifact checks. They do not have genotype/class bonuses, so their regular artifact checks and their Combat Artifact checks have the same chance of success (unless they have a positive Intelligence bonus), and if you have a character that is expendable, you can burn all of their Luck to make the check. For Level-1 and above classes, PSH will generally be the best at Combat Artifact checks after Plantients, with Rovers being the best among the PSH, because of their improved Darwinian Luck.

So, to maximize your chance of making a successful artifact check, use your party synergy. Start by having the character with the best combination of Intelligence and class bonuses make your party's important artifact checks. Then if your party has a Plantient or multiple people with 13+ Intelligence, have them help the person making the artifact check. This can make a big difference.

Here's a comparative example using a Mutant and a Shaman character, starting with the standard 16 DC, which could represent an artifact check to understand a Dazer Pistol, Lazer Pistol, Force Field Belt, Fusion Torch, etc.

-- Level-1 Mutant with Intelligence 13 making a standard artifact check (Complexity Modifier 4) = 15+ to succeed, 11 or worse breaks the artifact and the Mutant takes damage. (The base 16 DC was reduced to a 15 due to their +1 Intelligence bonus for having a 13 Intelligence.) This is a starting 30% chance of successfully making their check.

-- Level-1 Shaman with Intelligence 13 making a standard artifact check (Complexity Modifier 4) = 12+ to succeed. 8 or worse breaks the artifact and the Shaman takes damage. (The base 16 DC was reduced to a 15 due to their +1 Intelligence bonus for having a 13 Intelligence, and then to 12 due to their +3 artifact check bonus for being a Level-1 Shaman.) This is a starting 45% chance of making the check.

-- If they burn 3 points of luck, the Mutant only needs a 12 to succeed, and the Shaman only needs a 9 to succeed.

-- If their friendly-neighborhood-Plantient helps by burning 2 points of Luck, they each would have received 4 more points of Luck on their roll. The Mutant now only needed to roll a 8 to succeed, and the Shaman only needs a 5 to succeed.

-- If the party has two additional characters with 13+ Intelligence who help with the artifact check, now the Mutant only needs to roll a 6 and the Shaman a 3 in order to succeed.

You can significantly improve your chances of making an artifact check by using some planning. In the example above, the Shaman's check DC went from the base of 16 down to a 3 ( a 90% chance of success). The Mutant's check DC went from a 16 down to a 6 (75% chance of success).

Hope this helps.

Happy gaming...

-- Melfast

Edited on 12/31/20 to add information about the Curator Archaic Alignment, and about artifact breakage and repair.
Last edited by Melfast on Tue Feb 23, 2021 1:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
RD7902
Gongfarmer
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Re: How to Improve Your Chances of Making an Artifact Check

Post by RD7902 »

Would a judge also have the ability to improve chances of a character by giving them lower CM because they already understand a similar artifact? Also, how might CM be adjusted if a character wants to attempt using an artifact one level above their TL? Seems they should be able to at least try. Maybe even a lower CM if the artifact is at a lower TL than the characters.
The Disgruntled Poet
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Re: How to Improve Your Chances of Making an Artifact Check

Post by The Disgruntled Poet »

RD7902 wrote: Sat Jan 30, 2021 8:59 am Would a judge also have the ability to improve chances of a character by giving them lower CM because they already understand a similar artifact?
Yes please. Example: In an adventure I am running a lot right now, there's an elevator and I generally assume that 3rd / 4th level seekers have seen these relatively common conveyances before. Imagine also using a pistol... you may not know the exact end result but once you've fired a few of them, the general principles will be understood. In theory this is factored into the escalating artifact checks as PCs progress, but that's pretty gradual.

I think that old saw of GM advice makes sense-- use common sense and make easy stuff easy.

In the spirit of DCC/MCC though.. give them a +2d rather than a +4 :D

Also: probably the best option is to just have them describe what they do and tell them the result with no artifact check... probably will save a lot of time, but.. the PCs will find a few surprises along the way no doubt.
Melfast
Far-Sighted Wanderer
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Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2020 10:40 pm
FLGS: Empire Games

Re: How to Improve Your Chances of Making an Artifact Check

Post by Melfast »

Hey RD7902

Like @The Disgruntled Poet, I would give the character an improved chance in the situation you described. For example, if a character has learned how to use two or more pistols, they probably understand the basic functions. However, If the new pistol they find has multiple settings when the last ones they learned didn't, they might only learn one setting at first if they rolled lower than the CM before I gave them the bonus. I would be especially inclined to give them the bonus if it lined up with a PSH class artifact specialty -- for example a weapon for a Sentinel, or a medical artifact for a Healer.

Similarly, for some routine artifacts like elevators, doors, and simple machines, I would approach it like the Poet suggests at the end of his post, and let the characters describe what they do and then decide if they need a roll and what happens.

Happy gaming...

Melfast
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