Computers and Consumer Electronics
|Film developing (roll)||—||—||3||—|
|Digital audio recorder||Tiny||1 lb.||10||—|
|Portable satellite phone||Small||2 lb.||17||—|
|Portable video camera||Small||2 lb.||16||—|
Rules for operating computers appear under the Computer Use skill. Some of the items in this section have monthly subscription costs as well as initial purchase costs. The purchase DC accounts for both costs; once a character has obtained the item, he or she doesn’t have to worry about ongoing subscription costs.
Still cameras let a character capture a record of what he or she has seen.
35mm: The best choice for the professional photographer, this camera can accept different lenses and takes the highest-quality picture. A camera is needed to use the photography aspect of the Craft (visual art) skill. The film used in a camera must be developed.
Digital: A digital camera uses no film; instead, its pictures are simply downloaded to a computer as image files. No film developing is necessary.
Disposable: A 35mm camera with film built in can be purchased from vending machines, tourist traps, drugstores, and hundreds of other places. Once the film is used, the entire camera is turned in to have the film developed.
Film: The medium upon which photographs are stored, film comes in a variety of sizes and speeds. The purchase DC represents the cost of a roll of 24 exposures of high-speed (ASA 400) film.
Film Developing: In most areas, drugstores and photo shops provide 1-hour service; in others, it takes 24 hours. In really remote areas, film may have to be sent away for developing, taking a week or longer. The purchase DC represents the cost of getting two prints of each shot on a roll of film, or one of each and any two also blown up to a larger size.
A digital communications device that comes in a hand-held model or as a headset, a cell phone uses a battery that lasts for 24 hours before it must be recharged. It works in any area covered by cellular service.
Whether a desktop or notebook model, a computer includes a keyboard, a mouse, a monitor, speakers, a CD-ROM drive, a dial-up modem, and the latest processor. A character needs a computer to make Computer Use checks and to make Research checks involving the Internet.
Desktop: Bulky but powerful, these machines are common on desks everywhere.
Notebook: Slim, lightweight, and portable, notebook computers have most of the functions available on desktop computers.
Upgrade: A character can upgrade a desktop or notebook computer’s processor to provide a +1 equipment bonus on Computer Use checks. Increase the purchase DC of a desktop by +1 or a notebook by +2 to purchase an upgrade.
Digital Audio Recorder
These tiny recorders (about the size of a deck of playing cards) can record up to eight hours of audio and can be connected to a computer to download the digital recording. Digital audio recorders don’t have extremely sensitive microphones; they only pick up sounds within 10 feet.
A modem allows a character to connect a computer to the Internet. To use a modem, a character must have a computer and an appropriate data line (or a cell phone, in the case of a cellular modem).
All computers come with dial-up modems, which allow connection to the Internet but without the speed of broadband or the flexibility of cellular. A dial-up modem uses a standard telephone line; while it’s connected, that telephone line can’t be used for another purpose.
Broadband: Cable modems and DSL services bring high-speed Internet access into the homes of millions. A broadband modem gives a character on-demand, high-speed access to data, allowing Computer Use and Research checks involving the Internet to be made in half the normal time.
Cellular: A cellular modem allows a character to connect her notebook computer to the Internet anywhere he or she can use a cell phone. However, access speed is slow, and any Computer Use or Research check involving the Internet takes half again the normal time (multiply by 1.5).
Personal data assistants are handy tools for storing data. They can be linked to a notebook or desktop computer to move files back and forth, but can’t be used for Computer Use or Research checks.
Portable Satellite Telephone
This object looks much like a bulky cell phone, and functions in much the same way as well. However, because it communicates directly via satellite, it can be used anywhere on earth, even in remote areas well beyond the extent of cell phone service.
Portable satellite phones are very expensive to use. When used in a place not served by regular cellular service, each call requires a Wealth check (DC 6).
Portable Video Camera
Portable video cameras use some format of videotape to record activity. The tape can be played back through a VCR or via the camera eyepiece.
The color inkjet printer described here is suited for creating hard copies of text and image files from computers.
A color flatbed scanner allows the user to transfer images and documents from hard copy into a computer in digital form.
This hand-held radio transceiver communicates with any similar device operating on the same frequency and within range.
Basic: This dime-store variety has only a few channels. Anyone else using a similar walkie-talkie within range can listen in on the character’s conversations. It has a range of 2 miles.
Professional: This high-end civilian model allows a character to program in twenty different frequencies from thousands of choices—making it likely that the character can find a frequency that’s not being used by anyone else within range. The device can be used with or without a voice-activated headset (included). It has a range of 15 miles.