Advanced technology remains a mystery to most. In places where these wonders lie abandoned, such as the wrecks of the crashed starships and unstable power sources can coax circuits back to life. GMs might consider using these same rules to handle other advanced magic and technology, such as a malfunctioning sky city or a newly uncovered marvel of electro-thaumaturgy.
The animating force behind technological surges is not life energy, but electricity. As such, technological surges cannot be harmed with positive or negative energy. Instead, stopping them requires shutting down their function. Anyone trained in Disable Device can use the skill to attempt to disrupt the surge, and characters with the Technologist feat can use Knowledge (engineering) instead and gain a +5 bonus on either skill check. The DC of the skill check is equal to 15 + the haunt’s CR. Each successful check deals 5 points of damage plus 1 additional point of damage per point by which the result exceeds the DC. A discharge or greater discharge spell (Technology Guide 9) that targets a technological surge inflicts damage equal to the spell’s caster level (for discharge) or 1d4 points per caster level (for greater discharge). Electromagnetic effects, such as those caused by an EMP pistol or rifle (Technology Guide 23), inflict normal damage to a technological surge.
Other similar effects may well have an impact on a surge at the GM’s discretion.
A technological surge’s caster level represents its strength. Technological surges are completely non-magical. Their effects cannot be disrupted with antimagic field, dispel magic, or similar abilities, even when they replicate spell effects. All technological surges are neutral aligned.
The wards guarding priceless artifacts can persist long after the treasures they protect have faded into obscurity.
Whatever safety measures once kept these ancient wards in check are long forgotten, and those foolhardy enough to explore the ruins of technologically advanced civilizations face the remnants of their defenses.
CR 9 / XP 6,400
On the first round, a network of lasers detects all corporeal Diminutive or larger creatures in the area, excluding invisible creatures. Heavy blast doors drop to bar creatures from exiting the room (break DC 35).
On the second round, one laser activates for each creature detected and fires concentrated beams at its targets (+12 touch, 5d6 points of fire damage). The lasers fire each round for 5 rounds unless disabled or destroyed.
Disabling the surge is sufficient to stop the network from reactivating.
When an ancient starship crashed millennia ago, countless robots emerged, terrorizing anyone unfortunate enough to cross their paths. Some robots still lie dormant within the scattered wreckage, waiting for a signal or a stray surge of power to reactivate.
CR 8 / XP 4,800
A whirling cloud of miniature repair robots animates and reactivates a dormant myrmidon robot. The repair robots follow the myrmidon and augment its defenses. The myrmidon’s force field improves to 75 hit points with fast healing of 15, and the myrmidon gains a +2 bonus on all saving throws and to AC.
Destroying the myrmidon prevents this technological surge from recurring.