Not every character in the wasteland is going to have access to SATS; many characters, player characters included, won’t ever have a pipbuck or suit of SATS-capable powered armor, or might have reasons for not using these advantages if they do. This is not the section for them.
What this section is for is describingwhat exactly SATS does, and how to make use of it to your advantage.
SATS is the common abbreviation for the Stable-tec Assisted Targeting Spell, a powerful utility spell built into all pipbuck models after the Pipbuck-1000 line for use in the personal self-defense of the wearer. Its versatility and usefulness in combat situations was so great that most power armor suits had some level of integrated SATS support by the end of the war. When activated (costing a single action in combat), it temporarily slows down time to an almost stand-still, while simultaneously calculating and providing accurate targeting and usage data for whatever weapons, items or spells the wearer has at their current disposal. Because of the pipbuck’s integrated inventory management and personal health monitoring spells, SATS is capable of instantly obtaining any necessary data on weapons or usable items and displaying it in a format that allows ponies to queue up and perform actions with super-equine speed.
When using SATS, every character has a set amount of Action Points, or AP, which represent how fast they are physically capable of acting while under the influence of the spell. Characters have a maximum ‘pool’ of AP, represented on the character sheet by the SATS slider bar, equal to 40 + 5x their agility attribute score. While the spell is in the process of slowing down time for that character, they may choose to how to allot their AP to perform tasks. Such tasks can include injecting drugs, giving items to other characters, casting spells, or using or firing weapons and certain tools, and each task carried out (or attempted) depletes their AP pool by a set amount that varies from task to task. SATS is generally not capable of queuing up any sort of action that requires the character to move more than five feet to perform – while you can ready a block or a defense using SATS (use the ‘Rock’ for improvised items SATS cost), you cannot queue up any sort of attempt to dodge incoming fire.
If the SATS AP pool no longer has enough points left in it to perform an action during your character’s round, or if all of the queued actions have been attempted, then that session of SATS ends. The pool will replenish at a rate of 5 AP per combat round, a process which can be accelerated by the use of certain chems (such as Dash or Rainboom) or perks.
Now what does this all mean in terms of what SATS can actually do for you? It means three main things:
- When using SATS, characters may ignore any and all situational targeting penalties from their environment (such as smoke, fog, or non-DT-granting barriers), or from time-pressure, such as those penalties associated with firing a ranged weapon in melee. MFD penalties to hit from distance and other sources are not affected.
- SATS is capable of calculating your odds of success before you decide to take any actual shots, conserving your ammo and giving you a quick and easy way to determine how difficult opponents are to hit. This can be either helpful or discouraging from a character’s perspective, and occasionally it’s both. Because players technically already have the odds presented to them when they roll for all actions, this is mostly a role-playing effect. (This function also allows GMs to take opportunities to call out hit percentages on particularly difficult opponents or for one-in-a-million odds trick shots; used properly, this can heighten dramatic tension and create a very cinematic atmosphere during combat.)
- SATS users can queue up multiple attacks or actions to be performed within the span of a single combat action, giving them a massive boost in terms of combat potential.
On its own, SATS does not actually grant any bonuses to hit – it just negates penalties – but there are a multitude of perks that grant characters increased accuracy in SATS with specific weapons or under certain conditions.
Oh and before we forget: SATS also boosts a character’s abilities in close combat. With melee and unarmed weapons, the use of SATS enables special attacks that would otherwise not be possible. Not all weapons have special abilities associated with them – they’re listed as effects associated with the weapon in the equipment section above. Critical hits made with melee or unarmed weapons in SATS always do twice as much damage as they would on a normal critical strike outside of SATS.