Vcutter
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Joined: Sat 23 May 2020, 09:55

Battery drain

Sat 01 Oct 2022, 20:05

Been thinking on how to implement battery drain into the game so as to make them matter more as a resouce. I also run a bit more modern campaign so electronics play even larger role.
Realismwise battery drain varies a lot between equipment: the battery of a drone might be 15 minutes of flight time whereas the battery of a red dot sight with power saving modes might easily be well over thousand hours.
So far I have come up with the following:
- Batteries are "universal", they fit all gear unless storywise it makes for a meaningful twist. No need to complicate things by varying between the drone and red dot battery.
- Batteries are sometimes drained as a consequence of a failed roll, especially if one of the dice rolled was one (regardless of pushing). So yeah, bit of a GM fiat here.
How do you handle battery drainage in your games?
I want to avoid a) book keeping regarding the battery life and b) additional die rolls, like resource dice etc,
 
Midnightplat
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Joined: Mon 13 Jun 2022, 09:48

Re: Battery drain

Sun 02 Oct 2022, 00:12

I can't think of any mechanical matters to put in, although I think you're on track with sometimes batteries failing or depleting faster than expected due to dice. I don't know about universal batteries. I honestly don't know anything about battery standards other than what I see in the U.S., there would be a big difference between an optic's and a drone's battery, and I don't know if there's like NATO/Warsaw or U.S./Europe/Soviet standards issues. I'd actually go that granular on batteries, characters might be more willing to use them as barter currency than they might ammo for instance.
 
Oddball_E8
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Re: Battery drain

Sun 02 Oct 2022, 06:26

I know you wanted to avoid rolling dice, but the solution I'm using is that every time the PC's use anything with batteries, they roll a die and on a 1, it runs out of batteries after (or if dramatic, during) the current use.
It stops them from overreliance on battery driven equipment like NVG's and stuff like that. It's saved up for those moments where they *really* need to use it.

It's easy, it requires no bookkeeping and it doesn't really add *that* much rolling, since it's just one simple die used whenever the item is used.

(That said, something like a red dot on power saving might not need any rolls and just make it one of the consequences of rolling a certain number of 1's on the ammo dice or something)
 
pfarland
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Re: Battery drain

Sun 02 Oct 2022, 08:49

A little bit more bookkeeping, but...
Add an extra Reliability level for battery use. You could make a simple device roll every time it's used. If it fails, the "Battery Reliability" level drops one. How efficient (or not) would be whether that roll is every Round, Turn, or Shift. A '1' could end up with a bad battery (loss of additional reliability) or even loss of efficiency.
"Load up, strap in, lock and load, and save the last bullet for yourself."
 
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omnipus
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Re: Battery drain

Mon 03 Oct 2022, 18:34

After several years without NEW batteries or without a reliable electricity network, many batteries are going to be showing major signs of wear. You're not very likely to get that 15 minutes of drone flying time if it's been used often.

That said, I think I'd use usage dice for this, a slightly different form of what Midnightplat said: you roll dice similar to skill levels for the battery level after each use (d12 for a very long lasting battery in good condition and full charge, d10 below that, d8 for typical, d6 for a battery with little useful life left, d4 on its last legs). Any roll of a 1 or 2 degrades the battery to the next lower die. If it goes below d4, it's dead. Note that because of the die curve the bigger dice are several times better than the lower ones. Ie a d4 is 50/50 to be dead but a d10 could definitely give you 20-30 uses before it dies.

The best way to track this is probably to just add a second reliability number to the object, for the battery life, but you could go more abstract. Or for some items it might be the only number needed. All of this assumes the characters have some way to check the battery level or some idea of what it is. You could roll in secret instead or just give it a die size and say that's it.
Author, Central Poland Sourcebook -- now available on DriveThruRPG
 
Midnightplat
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Joined: Mon 13 Jun 2022, 09:48

Re: Battery drain

Tue 04 Oct 2022, 02:10

Yeah, I like what ominpus is putting out there, though I'm liking the dice tied to usage. End of the day we're not playing an IEEE simulation but trying to capture the use of battery powered tech in an environment where much of the industrial infrastructure that maintained the presumptive reliability of battery and tech is falling apart or has fallen apart.

Even in the "well maintained" world of the 1990s-today, outside of combat zones, I can tell stories of hand held radio units, should mics, handheld and gun lights etc., where you'd have say dozen units in circulation and some are just tossed because though they're identical to the other 11 units for some reason ranging from manufacturer defect to some wear and tear issue the operator does not have the capacity to resolve the unit's just a "vampire." In a T2K4E environment, things are just exponentially worse so buggy battery/tech issues would get rampant for fighters orphaned by the 5th. T2K4E war fighters are also generally exhausted, that's where you start getting operator error when it comes to power management, leaving things powered on when they should be conserved etc. I've never thought about it, but I'm imagining gunfire exposure could mess with mics and speakers and am now rethinking some inventory issues from another life.
 
Vcutter
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Joined: Sat 23 May 2020, 09:55

Re: Battery drain

Tue 04 Oct 2022, 12:08

I was thinking of going the "resource die" mentioned by Omnipus at first. But I really would like to come up with an option that does not involve another die roll. Yeah it is just one die roll, but then again it is just one small battery in the post apocalyptic wasteland too, not really worth a roll.
And as exciting as the world of different battery types and their lives and chargers and adapters can be, I am sure post-WW3 setting can offer much more fun things to focus rolls on, so I am hoping to come up with something else for now.:D
I haven't done the math but since most TW skill rolls involve two dice there is "rolling doubles and failing" but the really nice exploding logo on "1" tempts me to use that.
Oh well, I can always fall back to the failing forward: "you didn't really fail in you RECON -attempt, it's just that the batteries in your NVG failed you." Worked okayish so far despite driving the GM fiat pretty hard.
Thanks everyone for the ideas!
 
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omnipus
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Re: Battery drain

Fri 14 Oct 2022, 00:32

I think that's a good idea as long as you can reliably tie the battery usage into some other skill roll, without overusing those. I agree that eliminating needless dice rolls is generally a good thing (and something this system does well!) But, like, I wouldn't generally require a skill check to make a radio call under good conditions, but that battery is still getting drained...
Author, Central Poland Sourcebook -- now available on DriveThruRPG
 
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FatherJ_ct
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Re: Battery drain

Mon 17 Oct 2022, 01:50

Tracking battery RELs adds crunch and the book doing the roll of 1 is to avoid that. I think the die size difference to reflect longevity is a nice easy touch.

Personally I wouldn't want to get into the crunch minutiae of catalog listing all the various batteries and seeing who has them or not. The universal battery concept is nice but I feel waves the hand at availability difficulties.

Like the old system of Common/Scarce/Rare....you could have batteries as "universal" one list of category, but then have the c/s/r factor in. Merchant has batteries, yup....oh..for that telescopic sight of yours that is R....rolls...nope...none here.

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