Ah, technobabble, the duct tape of science fiction – when you need to tie an action and a resolution, and hope that people don’t examine the connector too closely, this is what you use. After all, it’s not important that people know what “multi-modal reflection sorting” or “de-polarizing the phase discriminators” actually is; what’s important is that it’s an excuse to move the scene along.
This can often be the case in sci-fi RPGs, where the PCs need to make a particular skill check regarding some futuristic system. When you’re developing a cure for an alien plague, for example, which sounds more fun? Saying that you’ve made the skill roll, or saying that you’ve successfully utilized an astrophysical tetryon mutation? That’s where this product comes in.
Russ Morrissey’s 1d100 Technobabbles is pretty self-explanatory in its title. The brief introduction quickly takes us to the table of technobabbles, which are laid out in no particular order that I can see. Most of these appear to be nouns – that is, these are things that you use, rather than things that you do. Of course, that’s not really a barrier to a creative player, since it’s easy enough to turn a “photonic quantum disturbance” into “I’m disturbing their quantum photons,” etc.
Other than that minor presentation issue, what’s here is, well, about as plausible as any other technobabble you’ve ever heard. More relevant is that it can be surprisingly difficult to come up with good technobabble, especially on the fly. It’s instinctual to want to make sense of things, so coming up with nonsense that sounds at least somewhat plausible can be surprisingly difficult. Having it done here for you can be more helpful than you’d think.
Pick this up and start working on your phased dampening signal today!