The Secret of the Key Islands – Oz Kits
Since writing the campaign overview last week, I’ve worked up some more detailed information on how I think Oz Kits should work in Savage Borderlands. I’m going to be basing the Oz Kits on what Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel created. Of course, because Savage Worlds doesn’t work exactly the same way as a video game, I’ve had to make some modifications.
Oz Kits in the Pre-Sequel
Oz Kits were introduced in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel. Because the game is largely based on a moon without atmosphere, having a source of oxygen was a valuable and interesting way to introduce some new mechanisms. In the video game, Oz Kits allowed players to double-jump, “butt-slam”, and applied several special effects. Oz Kits granted the added benefit of allowing players to damage enemies over time by getting head-shots and forcing the enemies to go without Oxygen.
Oz Kit Basic Mechanisms
Because I wanted to keep the Oz Kits as close to the ones in the video game as possible, I’ve implemented two basic stats for use in Savage Borderlands. These are:
- Capacity: Measures how much oxygen the kit can store.
- Special Properties: What additional stuff the Oz Kit allows the character to do.
Of course, all Oz Kits have some things in common. Every Oz Kit stores oxygen which is depleted at a rate of 1 unit per action. Free actions don’t consume oxygen, but anything else does consume oxygen, including movement. Outside of combat rounds using actions to deplete oxygen supplies doesn’t work so well. Instead, assume that everyone uses 5 units every in-game minute (which equates to 300 units per in-game hour). What that generally means is that travelling on the surface or in a submersible is a far safer bet than trying to go any real distance relying on your Oz Kits.
Once an Oz Kit’s capacity reaches 0, every character has only as much Oxygen in their lungs as their Toughness. Even then, every action a character takes reduces their Toughness by 1 unit. What that means is that when you’re relying on Toughness to survive underwater, you are far easier to hurt. When your Toughness reaches 0, you automatically become Shaken. Then, for every subsequent turn you take you will receive one Wound.
Running out of oxygen is incredibly dangerous. Of course, there are many methods to make sure that your characters don’t have to face that terrible reality. The instant your character reaches an oxygen-rich environment – usually above the surface of the ocean – your Toughness is restored to its normal value and your Oz Kit’s capacity returns to its maximum value.
One astute proof-reader noted that Savage Worlds already includes rules for drowning, involving the use of Fatigue. While this is true, those rules tend to cover when a character is trying to keep her head above water, not the opposite. Additionally, the method I’ve planned out has the benefit of being consistent with the way the capacity of the Oz Kit is reduced. It’s awesome feedback, but ultimately, I decided to go with the way I planned.
There are vents that can serve to refill Oz Kits, but those often restore oxygen at a far slower rate. To be safe, be sure you keep an oxygen-rich environment nearby.
Oz Kit Side-Effects
Oz Kits, as a natural side effect of being used underwater provide both a few benefits and a few problems. Some of the benefits include:
- You get to breathe underwater. Pretty significant, right?
- Shock and Explosive Damage now deal area damage in a Small Blast Template or SBT. If your weapon already uses a blast template, increase the size. (The maximum size is still a Large Blast Template or LBT)
- Pulling of a Called Shot to a human enemy’s head automatically reduces their Oz Kit capacity to 0.
Unfortunately, those benefits come with a couple of problems.
- Incendiary and Melee Damage is decreased by one die type.
- Gun Range is halved when shooting at a target that’s in the water. Unless, that is, you have a gun that shoots rockets. For instance, some Torgue guns and Rocket Launchers.
- When an enemy manages to pull off a Called Shot to your head, your Oz Kit capacity is automatically reduced to 0, and you’re in trouble. Fair’s fair, after all.
Oz Kit Special Properties
Similar to how Oz Kits in Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel work, I intend to have a number of special properties that Oz Kits grant. In addition to some of the modifications each manufacturer gives, like Dahl’s Oxygen Boosters, or Pangolin’s increased capacity, many kits will also have an Underwater Effect as well as a Surface Effect. Some effects include increased range, increased movement speed, reduced damage of a specific type, or even changed damage types.
Some examples of these effects and how they might interact follow:
- Underwater: +2 Pace; Surface: -1 Pace
- Underwater: Gun Range x2; Surface: Gun Range x0.5
- Underwater: +1 Level Shock Damage; Surface: +1 Level Incendiary Damage
Other kits will provide more straightforward bonuses, like:
- +2 Pace
- +1 Level Corrosive Damage
- Immune to Shock Damage
Feedback is Welcome
I’d love to hear any feedback you would be willing to give. Simply comment below, or contact us. I’m very open to suggestions on changes to the mechanisms, or ideas for Legendary Oz Kits.
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