The Haarlock Legacy Campaign
A manifold is a term used to describe any data connection in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Whether this applies to two single units being connected together or a great number of units arranged in a network, the manifold is still used to describe the system of connections. Although the technological focus on reproducing standard pattern devices and then jury-rigging modifications, there is no evidence of a general-purpose high-level programming language or a standard network protocol, just a mass of individual protocols used by specific technological units.
The ability to connect to any given technological unit therefore depends on the applicant’s ability to adapt protocols that enable communication between such units using whatever knowledge, system, tools and protocols known. This means that employing a manifold is typically limited to those who are supported by bioware components that enable them to store and employ the data necessary to perform such an action.
However, such connections are established for a purpose. Manifold use is therefore something that is done as a means to an end, whether that is finding and retrieving a piece of information or sending a command signal, etc. These tests are therefore typically represented as a Linked Skill Test is Dark Heresy. The first skill is usually a Tech-Use Skill Test to establish and use the manifold, while the second skill test relates to whatever the character is attempting to achieve. This could be any skill, such as Logic, Security, Inquiry, or Deceive.
In order to establish the difficulty and time consumed using a manifold, three things need to be considered: The type of manifold available, the size and complexity of the manifold system, and what the character intends to use the manifold to achieve.
The better the manifold type, the easier it is to establish a good connection and enjoy a decent bandwidth. A dedicated data-port is far easier to use than a rusted power-socket or an intermittent radio transmission signal.
The size and complexity of the manifold system will first and foremost be an indication of whether the character can feasibly get a signal to or from whatever unit he needs to reach, in order to achieve his goal. However, even if a connection is theoretically possible, it might be quite difficult and time-consuming to establish a functional connection. For instance, finding the protocols that enable a character to access a data manifold through a powergrid – via a vox line – would not only be quite a challenge, it might also take quite some time.
What the character intends to do will also put certain strains on the type of connection achieved, and thus have an effect on how difficult the process becomes. Connecting to an elevator through a power grid to activate the lowering mechanism would for instance be a lot easier than trying to data-steal a large amount of protected data through an encrypted vox-channel.
The difficulty of the Skill Test is established by the GM by considering an evaluation of these circumstance and any relevant strategies the character suggests in order to facilitate his success.
|Easy||+30||Using a Best Quality dedicated MIU interface|
|Noospheric Interface Protocols|
|Transmitting a simple data command|
|Routine||+20||Using a Good Quality dedicated MIU interface|
|Mechanicum/Military-grade Interface Protocols|
|Retrieving publicly available information|
|Ordinary||+10||Using a dedicated MIU interface|
|Using an organized and dedicated data network|
|Uploading a set of commands|
|Challenging||+0||Using a Poor Quality dedicated MIU interface|
|Using an random, non-dedicated data network|
|Searching a network for some stored information|
|Difficult||-10||Interfacing through a random data transmission signal|
|Using non-standard networks of limited complexity|
|Searching for some unknown data protocols|
|Hard||-20||Interfacing through a quality vox transmission or power signal|
|Using non-standard networks of moderate complexity|
|Executing a complex series of commands|
|Very Hard||-30||Interfacing through a random vox transmission or power signal|
|Using non-standard networks of high complexity|
|Re-writing executives routines in a data system|
These are just guiding examples of how a target number is established based on the situation at hand. The character’s approach to the task and the tools he uses may also affect the target number, as well as whether or not he receives assistance etc.
The duration of the task is also based on the complexity of the situation, and needs to be established by the GM. The tale below offers a basic guideline, and the established time should be reduced by the number of successes.
|Task Complexity||Approximate Duration|
|Simple||2-20 (or 2d10) minutes|
|Basic||5-50 (or 1d5 x10) minutes|
|Drudging||1-5 (or 1d5) hours|
|Taxing||2-10 (or 2d5) hours|
|Arduous||6-24 (or 2d10+4) hours|
|Involved||1-5 (or 1d5) days|
|Labyrinthine||2-10 (or 2d5) days|
Note that for manifold use during combat time, given that the task attempted is appropriately simple, the duration of the task can be measured in terms of an Extended Skill Test. This, as usual, is up to the GM’s discretion.
Example: Tybalt finds himself in an illuminated area, and he wishes to switch off the lights. Quickly locating a panel behind which there are some wires, the Techpriests wishes to interface with whatever he finds there and hopefully dicover a means by which to turn off the the lights.
He is interfacing through a random vox transmission or power signal (-30) and attempting to use a non-standard networks of limited complexity (-10) in order to transmit a simple data command (+30), and so the GM establishes the task as Difiicult (-10). The task seems simple enough, so the GM rolls 2d10 and gets a “7” and a “5”, so a base time of 12 minutes.
Tybalt adjusts the target number in accordance with his skills, talents and equipment, rolls, and gets 3 successes! So 4 minutes after Tybalt started prodding his mechadentrites into the wall, the lights go out!
Example: Tybalt wants to hack the data-stacks of the local Arbitrator precinct-fortress and retrieve files on a case of interest. However, he suspects that there are security measures and encryption in place, so he needs to be careful. Hoping to establish a path into the system through the various vox-transmission signals, data relays and power grid connections to the precinct-fortress, Tybalt connects through a quality power signal which he connects to in a power relay station that he has broken into nearby.
So he is interfacing through a quality power signal (-20), using non-standard network of high complexity (-30) and Searching for some hidden data files (-10). That presents Tybalt with a daunting -60 modifier before applying any of his sill, talent and equipment modifiers. Furthermore, the GM considers this a task of Arduous complexity and rolls up a base time of 18 hours!
Furthermore, the GM calls out a difficult (-10) linked skill test with security in order to beat the security measures associated with the files. Tybalt better be on his game!