Engineering to solve problems is a common trope in the science fiction genre. I can't count the number of times in sci-fi movies, books or TV shows that I've seen characters whip up a technological solution to the problem at hand through the expert use of improvisation and engineering know-how.
Shadows Over Sol supports this common genre trope through the engineering subsystem. This system allows players to design, assemble and use new technology of their own design. Sometimes these solutions work as designed, sometimes there are bugs that cause unforeseen complications and sometimes these designs can fail spectacularly.
Mechanically, engineering is divided up into two stages. The first is the design stage. In this stage the player describes what she is trying to achieve. The GM then assigns the task a difficulty, timeframe, cost and other requirements. The player then makes an action to perform the actual design work, draw up the blueprints, do the required math, etc.
The second stage of the engineering subsystem is the prototype stage. In this stage the character gathers the necessary components and then does the actual assembly. Engineering jobs can be rushed, which reduces the required time, but increases the difficulty. Players may also choose to only use whatever makeshift components are on hand, which reduces cost and increases the possibility of complications.
Throughout this process there is the possibility that the design or prototype will work, but still have unknown bugs. These issues can provide further complications when the technology is used. This can make for a fun narrative hook as characters deal with the unforeseen consequences of their untested tech. This also makes a good hook for the horror genre tropes in the game. The technology may be successful, but at what cost?
Shadows Over Sol is our upcoming science fiction horror RPG. Its Kickstarter is scheduled to begin September 1st. In the meantime, you can download the free Quick-Start, or sign up to be notified when the Kickstarter is ready.