Equipment In Actions

To take advantage of an item of equipment in an action, the player uses potential on it. The equipment must be available and appropriate for the action, and its dice value is added to the action's dice. If any of the equipment's keywords are relevant, such as Range (x), these are counted in determining situation bonuses. Any special effects detailed in the item's description, such as knockdown or potential damage, are also applied.

Character & Mundane Equipment

Character equipment (equipment that the character has spent character points on) has several benefits over mundane equipment. Mundane equipment is always worth 1d6+0 in an action whereas character equipment has a dice value set by the CP spent on it, just like any other advantage. Additionally, characters cannot anticipate with mundane equipment, nor can it be used as a free resist.

Mr L. Pliskin has spotted a nest of acid-spitting alien frogs. Not wanting to get too close or risk any of them escaping, he chooses a hand grenade for his attack. He spends one potential on each of his Throw (1d6+1) and Manual Dexterity (1d6+2) plus hand grenade (1d6+0 because it is mundane equipment), giving a total of 3d6+3. The target is three squares away but his Throw has the Range (1) keyword and the grenade has Range (2) which combine to become Range (3). This puts the target in the first range step and give no situation bonuses to the target.

Using Equipment Without Potential

The vast majority of equipment is dynamic, though a few high-tech or magical devices may use static potential. Without spending the appropriate potential on an equipment advantage the action does not benefit from its dice values, keywords or gain anything else from its use. However, characters do use equipment without potential all the time. Clothes, shoes and similar items are used but because the character is not spending potential on them they add nothing to the action.

Situations may arise where a character may wish to use an ability or life advantage, such as Weapon Expertise or Brawn, together with a weapon, without spending potential on the weapon. This is most common when the character has just one potential left and their ability advantages have better dice values than their equipment. There is nothing which prevents this but it has its own disadvantages. Equipment only adds keywords to an action if potential is spent on it and, without the keywords, the equipment may be pointless. Guns, for example, have the Range (x) keyword. Unless another advantage in the action has a Range (x) keyword, the action will count as Range (0). This will add a significant number of situation bonuses to the resistance. For weapons such as swords with few keywords this drawback is less significant.

While potential is needed to get the good things from an equipment advantage, the downsides always apply. Ammo is always used whenever the equipment is used, even if no potential is spent. Its use also counts against any Freq. (Specify) limitiations and if it is a single use item, the equipment is discarded.

Multiple Equipment Advantages

Unlike life and ability advantages, there are no restrictions on the number of identical equipment advantages a character can have. Neither is there a restriction on the number of items a character can use at once. A player can spend all their potential on different equipment advantages in a single action.

However, characters have a limited number of hands (tentacles, claws or whatever) and common sense should be applied. Keywords such as Two-Handed give guidance about how awkward an item is to use, but for invented technology and magical items it is left to the group to decide. Some items such as speciality ammunition, telescopic sights or signal boosters only make sense when used in conjunction with other equipment. They do not need extra hands to use but there will be common sense limitations as to how many can be used in an action.

Ad-Hoc Equipment

Equipment is sometimes used in ways it was not intended - a saucepan as a weapon or a bent paperclip as a lockpick. This is known as ad-hoc equipment and is used in the same way as other equipment advantages except it is only worth 0d6+2 in the action. Also items being used in an ad-hoc fashion cannot be anticipated with. Both these limits apply even if they are character equipment advantages.

His last bullet had struck the alien just above its eye, or at least what Mr L. Pliskin thought was an eye, but it made little impact on the charging beast. Now with the alien is right on top of him and, with an empty gun, Pliskin decides to take an old-fashioned approach to the problem.

Grabbing his rifle by its barrel, he spends two potential on his Brawn (1d6+1) and Manual Dexterity (1d6+2) plus one on his gun, now only worth 0d6+2 as ad-hoc equipment. With an action worth 2d6+5, Pliskin swings the rifle and catches the alien right under the chin.

It is not always obvious if an item is being used in an ad-hoc way. Gun butts make effective clubs and shields can be used as offensive weapons but are they ad-hoc? The rule of thumb is that items of equipment are intended for a single purpose and any other usage is in an ad-hoc fashion. A gun is designed to shoot bullets and a shield is designed to stop blows so using them as melee weapons qualifies as ad-hoc.

Some advantages such as Dirty Fighting allow characters to use ad-hoc items as 1d6+0 advantages or otherwise reduce the penalties for ad-hoc usage.

Retrieving and Reloading Items

In narrative play a character has time to take items from their backpacks and pockets before acting, but in combat every second counts. Commonly-used weapons and combat equipment are assumed to be easily accessible and can be retrieved as a free action. Fragile equipment, items that need special handling or that are simply buried at the bottom of a bag require an action before they can be used.

To retrieve or ready equipment, a character needs to beat a fixed resistance score. For simple tasks, such as picking a sword up from the ground or taking an item from a bag, the resistance is just one. For more awkward items the resistance may be set higher. Players may make a Potential Action, spending a single potential for a roll of 1d6+0, or use one or more potential on a standard action. Success means the equipment is ready to use.

Reloading a weapon in combat is handled in the same manner as retrieving an item. Weapons have the Reload (x) keyword where x is the resistance score for the action. For modern magazine-fed weapons this will be just one or two but for primitive black powder weapons it may be 30 or more. Such high scores will need extended actions to achieve and reloading is often unfeasible in combat. Players can use a potential action for 1d6+0 in a reload action or one or more potential to activate advantages. Abilities such as weapon expertise or relevant character path advantages can be used and will often ensure that the gun is reloaded using the minimum spent potential. Weapons are generally assumed to be loaded all the time and ready to use when combat starts.

The Reload (x) keyword is used on weapons where a single action will reload the gun up to its Capacity (x) (or otherwise fully charged and ready to use). Weapons and equipment where each bullet or charge is loaded separately use the Reload (x ea.) variant of the keyword. Separate actions can be performed to load each bullet, with each action beating the resistance; or a single action can be attempted to load multiple bullets. The player decides how many bullets they will attempt to load and the resistance is the (x ea.) multiplied by the number of bullets. Failing any type of reload action has no other drawbacks other than that potential has been spent and that the weapon has not been reloaded.

Judging from the alien's reaction, what Pliskin thought was a chin might have been the alien's genitals. As the alien lies writhing on the ground clutching its who-knows-what, Pliskin takes the opportunity to reload his gun.

His rifle is the Maxdine Corporation Rx5, an excellent long-range hunting rifle, but the magazine is very tricky to reload in a hurry - a fact reflected in its Reload (5) keyword. Pliskin uses one potential on his Weapon Expertise (Rifle) for 1d6+2 and considers spending a second on his Manual Dexterity just to be on the safe side but decides against it. Mr L. Pliskin is feeling lucky.

Rolling a three for a total score of five, he fails to beat the Reload resistance of five. Cursing the idiot who designed the gun's magazine release switch, Pliskin is left with an empty gun and just one potential left. With no better options, he takes a deep breath, spends his last potential and tries again with his 1d6+2 worth of Weapon Expertise.

Some specialised or heavy equipment may also need preparation before use even in non-combat situations. This is indicated with the Prepare (x) keyword which works identically to the Reload (x) keyword.


It is assumed every character has enough money or resources to keep themselves in a manner appropriate for the character and setting. However, to use their wealth they must acquire advantages with the Wealth keyword.

Wealth is not the same as money though they are closely related. Wealth can come from advantages such as Family Wealth which represents the family's general financial standing (e.g. aristocracy) or the character's ability to sponge off rich relatives. These can be purchased with CP but wealth can also be equipment with the Wealth keyword that has been looted from defeated foes or given as a reward by grateful employers.

Characters are assumed, as part of their mundane equipment, to have enough cash to cover day-to-day expenses appropriate to their social position and the game's setting. This can always be used as a 1d6+0 advantage. Thus a prince and a pauper may have very different lifestyles but unless either has invested CP in equipment or other advantages with the Wealth keyword, or has gained additional mundane wealth advantages through adventures, they have the same buying power.

Wealth Equipment Advantages

Wealth equipment advantages generally have the Discard keyword and, like money, once they are used they cannot be used again. Advantages that represent the character's line of credit, such as Family Wealth, are reusable. Each type of wealth has its own advantages. Sometimes a character may need the ready cash and at other times it is a solid and long-established financial background that is useful.

Wealth advantages can be played as part of actions when appropriate and available. Generally they are used to influence other people with bribes or to give the impression of power and prestige. If the wealth is being used in an attempted transaction, such as in an attempt to bribe a guard, then should the action fail any wealth advantages with the Discard keyword are not discarded. The transaction was not completed so there is no reason why the wealth would be lost.

Lord Peter needs to quickly exchange his Aston Martin sports car for something far more discreet before the suspect spots he is being tailed. Pulling into the car park of a roadside cafe he runs up to the driver of a beat-up old Ford and offers to swap the Aston Martin for the Ford. The driver is confused and suspicious of such unlikely offer.

Desperate, Lord Peter plays his Charm (1d6+2) and argues that his expensive sports car should be treated as a wealth advantage and included as mundane equipment worth 1d6+0. The group agrees this makes sense. Additionally Lord Peter uses his Family Wealth advantage (1d6+1) as he points out how the hand stitched seat leather includes his family crest. His action is worth 3d6+3. If he is successful he will permanently cross the sports car off his character sheet but he will be able to add a beat-up old Ford.

Mounts, Animals & Henchmen

Equipment advantages cover anything external to the character and this includes mounts, guard dogs, pets and henchmen. These are known as living equipment and are used exactly the same as other equipment. They require potential to use and add 1d6+0 to an action unless they are character equipment advantages.

Because they are separate entities, mounts and henchmen can act independently of the character and be in different places. A level of loyalty is assumed but if treated badly or tempted by a better offer, they may run off or betray the character. However generally they obey the character exactly and can be used as a proxy for the character.

Should living equipment find itself in combat, it is treated as a mook worth 1d6+0 or the advantage's dice value. They have a free resist as per mooks but to act, the player must spend potential. A single point of life damage, potential damage or other effects knocks living equipment out of combat. This does not mean it is dead, just hurt or disabled in some way. The Game Leader can decide a creature is injured and needs healing before being used again. This may force a player to either abandon the creature or wait until it has recovered. Living equipment can be killed outright at the Game Leader's discretion. A replacement animal or henchman may be acquired at a suitable town or resupply point.

Characters may have several living equipment advantages and use a pack of hounds or band of henchmen as a screen of bodyguards. Each creature requires potential to act and this limits the usefulness of this strategy.

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open/mechanics/core/equipment_in_actions.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/05 11:07 by tregenza
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