Friday, July 22, 2016

The Hurt Locker: Climbing Lines and Auto-Grapnels


I've been kind of chewing on this one for a while - it originally came up in a Dungeon Fantasy game I was in and I came up with an imbuement to make it work (which is fine), but I got to thinking: How does Climbing Line work? Sure, I could just say "It works!" but it's kind of like how Generator works (but in reverse) - what's a power cell's wattage? Who can say.

Climbing Line as an Advantage
Climbing Line is in multiple sources (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks and GURPS Supers and likely others), but I'll just repeat it here for ease of use:
Climbing Line
You can generate a climbing line at will, in the form of a silk thread, spider web, or similar. This gives you improved climbing ability (p. B349) and can also be used with Swinging (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks, p. 16). Buy Binding (p. B40) if you want to entangle foes.
So thinking on this a bit more a couple of things we'd need to know about the generated line would be the following:

  • How much weight can it hold? It would need to be able to hold your weight plus a specified amount.
  • How long is the line generated?
  • How quickly does the line retract? (If it's retractable in the first place.) If it retracts how much can you carry and have it retract?
  • At what point does the rope break?

If we assume that a Climbing Line is the equivalent of a normal 10 yard section of 1/4" rope appropriate to the TL that can hold half it's listed weight (a dynamic load), then this gives us a dynamic load of 250 lbs. for TL8 1/4" Rope (GURPS High-Tech, p. 56). Since a SM 0 human is approximately 200 lbs. that suggests that a climbing line could support an extra 50 lbs. Average ST is 10 and Basic Life is 20 lbs., so you could further infer that Climbing Lines support the character plus their Basic Life x 2.5. How long is the line? Let's assume it's equal to your ST in yards since we're using a 10 yard as a base amount.

That leaves the last part - how quickly can your line retract? If we assume you can expand or contract your line fully out of combat and use the same rules for Jumping outside of combat (p. B352) we could then say you can retract 1/3 of your line in one second. Since a Winch (Action 1: Heroes, p. 29) allows you to reel in 3 yards/second, that seems about right. This would increase with the length of your line, of course.

The latter would likely be it's own perk with reduced effectiveness for what could be held or perhaps another level for the Climbing Line perk.

Lastly, at which point does your line break? Most literature suggests that more than 10x your load is enough to snap the line. It could be fairly ruled then that each 2.5 your Basic Lift over your additional load of Basic Lift x 2.5 requires a HT roll every (HT in seconds) with a -1 penalty per increment. Failure means your line snaps and takes another minute before you can generate another one. Critical failure means you take a point of injury and cannot generate a climbing line for an hour.

So, modified the new perk would look something like this:

Climbing Line
You can generate a climbing line at will, in the form of a silk thread, spider web, or similar. This gives you improved climbing ability (p. B349) and can also be used with Swinging (GURPS Power-Ups 2: Perks, p. 16). Buy Binding (p. B40) if you want to entangle foes. The line's length is equal to your ST in yards and can hold your weight plus your Basic Lift x 2.5. You can exceed this weight, but every Basic Lift x 2.5 lbs. requires you make an HT roll at -1 per increment every (HT in seconds). Failure means your line snaps and takes another minute before you can generate another one. Critical failure means you take a point of injury and cannot generate a climbing line for an hour.

Your line can be retractable if you wish at a rate of (ST/3 per second, round down), but can only hold your Basic Lift in additional weight. This rate is reduced by 10% per 10% by which your exceed your maximum load. Optionally, you can hold your normal weight if you pay an additional point - this is effectively a second level. If the GM wants to treat this as a leveled trait, each additional level increases your ST for the purposes of this perk by two or increases the speed of retraction (for retractable lines) by one increment (an additional ST/3 per second, up to your maximum length) or increase your total line length by ST in yards.


Metatronic Generator: Electromagnetic Grapnel Pistol
Here's a grapnel pistol that always seems to be in the superhero's arsenal.

Electromagnetic Grapnel Pistol (EGP) (TL8^)
This blocky looking pistol is sleek and matte black. It allows you to shoot a line up to 100 yards to any point you can see with an Acrobatics, Climbing, Per-based Electronics Operation (Metatronic), or Observation roll. If your skill is 16 or higher you don’t even need to roll! Once attached you can pull yourself (up to 200 lbs.) and another 200 lbs. to where your line is attached (typically a vertical surface). Your line retracts at a rate of 13 yards/second. You can exceed your weight limit, but every 200 lbs. by which you do requires the generator to make a HT roll (it has a HT of 12) at -1 per 200 lbs. increment. Failure causes the line to snap. Fixing this requires a minute of work and an Electronics Repair (Metatronic) skill roll. Critical failure causes a major breakdown instead (p. B485)! As long as the lines are not released this can be reused. This generator acts as basic equipment for Climbing.
            This can be used offensively by attacking a target. This is a Binding (p. B40), except that you can retract it with a Ready action using the better of your ST or 15. Moreover, you can attach this line to another target via a microspindle with a powerful adhesive. The spindle can then be operated by controls on the pistol. This can be done at most twice after which it must be reloaded with new spindles and line. Small, $375,000, 1.5 lbs. XS/6 hours or 2 shots. LC3.

GUNS/TL (PISTOL) (DX-4 or other Guns-2)
Weapon
Damage
Acc
Range
RoF
Shots
ST
Bulk
Rcl
Notes
EGP
Binding
3
–/100
1
2(3i)
4
-3
2
[1]
[1] The Binding ST for this is 15 and the Binding line can be retracted with a Ready action using the higher of your ST or 15. You pull your target 1 yard to you for every point by which you succeed.

Statistics: Accessory (Climbing Kit) [1] + Accessory (Grapnel) [1] + Binding 15 (Conventional Firearm, Shots 2, Slow Reload, -30%; Cosmic, Can attach binding point to another target, +50%; One-Shot, -10%; Retractable, +100%; Superscience, -10%) [60] + Climbing Line (Retractable ST/3 x 2, ST +10, Length STx5) [12] + Swinging [1]. Notes: The Cosmic modifier allows the Binding to be attached to a specific target other than the grapnel gun if the wielder wishes. As a special effect, the Binding’s total length is based on the Climbing Line’s. The Climbing line uses a static ST of 10 as a feature. This has the Compact modifier (+1 CF) which reduces the weight by half and reduces the bulk to -3.

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