Tuesday, October 28, 2014

d20 Rifts - Gear Selection

I happen to be really happy with the system I came up with for gear/wealth. But I'm concerned that it is a bit too complicated. I actually think that it's more complicated to explain than it is to use. Most of the complexity is up front, in placing points during character creation or leveling up. This then allows the group to hand-wave a lot of bookkeeping during actual play. I'd be very interested in comments on this section.

Each character receives a number of Gear Points equal to: BP + Cha Mod + Special + X. Budget Points (BP) are the points you receive from your class each level. Special indicates bonuses from feats, class abilities, or the like. (X is a base amount to be determined through playtest, but I'm currently leaning towards 10.)

Gear Points are then distributed among the various Wealth categories. The basic Wealth categories are Lifestyle, Spending Cash, and Possessions (which is then broken down into several subcategories, including Weapons, Armor, Vehicles, and Tools). Wealth ratings typically range from 1 to 10, though special abilities can increase that upper limit.

Lifestyle represents the general quality of life that the character enjoys. This affects the quality of gear that does not have a direct mechanical application, such as clothing and jewelry. It also affects the quality of lodging, food, and other services the character typically commands. A character with a Lifestyle of 0 is seen as unkempt, probably filthy, and poor. A character with a Lifestyle of 10 is seen as dazzling, and will attract hangers-on who simply want to bask in the reflected quality of life. Your ranks in Lifestyle are added to certain Cha-based skill checks, and to all favor checks. Also, you heal an additional number of vitality equal to your Lifestyle rating each day that you are on bedrest.

Spending Cash represents the general amount of liquid assets that you have on hand. This is over and above credits spent on general living expenses (which is covered by Lifestyle) and maintenance (which is covered by Possessions). It also represents how much you have handy, rather than how much you have total. So, selling off a captured Spider Walker and pocketing the proceeds won’t necessarily increase your Spending Cash. You cannot, as a character, use those credits as liquid assets until you increase your rating. You can use Spending Cash to make bribes, hire specialists, rent equipment, pay fees for services, or gamble. You receive a number of credits each session equal to your Spending Cash rating squared, times 100. Any unused credits go back in the general account at the end of the session, and all proceeds from purchases disappear unless renewed.

Possessions represents all of the gear that the character carries to do his job, whatever that may be. Each subcategory covers a specific type of possession. You may have a certain amount of gear in each category based on your rating in that category (see below for details). If you carry more than that amount of gear, each piece of gear in that category acquires one point of Wear each day, as you prove unable to keep up with the required maintenance (though, see Stowed Gear below). To determine the amount of gear you can carry, multiply your rating by 10. You can carry any items, such that the sum of the squares of the Calibers are less than or equal to this number. E.g., if you have an Armor rating of 5, you can have one Caliber VII item (72 = 49 < 50), two Caliber V items (2×52 = 2×25 = 50), or one Caliber V item, two Caliber III items, and one Caliber II item (25 + 2×9 + 4 = 47 < 50).
The standard Possession categories are Weapons, Armor, Vehicles, and Tools. With special abilities, you can gain additional ratings, such as Animal and Cyberware.


Julian is a Juicer/Fixer 3. This gives him 12 BP from his Fixer levels, his Cha of 13 gives him +1, and he gets 10 from the base amount. So he has 23 Gear Points. His concept is of a mercenary on the run, so his resources are scarce, but he values his gear.

He distributes his Gear Points as follows:
  • Lifestyle: 2 (scruffy, and generally sleeps in barns rather than inns)
  • Spending Cash: 1 (always scraping for cash)
  • Weapons: 7
  • Armor: 6
  • Vehicles: 4
  • Tools: 3
His Spending Cash means that he will start each session with a mere 100 credits. 

With his 6 ranks in Armor, he wants to go with one really nice suit rather than a bunch of piecemeal options. Unfortunately, 6 rating is just shy of what he needs to get the Caliber VIII Mega-Juicer Armor. So instead he will get the Caliber VII Juggernaut, and add a Caliber III Sealed Helmet (to protect against airborne toxins). The Caliber VII is 49 and the Caliber III is 9, bringing his total to 58, less than the 60 from his rating.

He wants several different Weapons, and a rating of 7 gives him a lot of options. He'll pack a pistol on each hip, a Bandit "Eye-Pie 10" (Caliber III ion pistol) and a Bandit "BB-6" (Caliber I slug pistol). His big purchase will be the WR-17 Double (Caliber VI ion/laser rifle). Juicers LOVE melee combat, so we need two vibro-swords (Caliber III) and two vibro-knives (Caliber I). He also picks up the Wilk's Laser Wand (Caliber I) and three Caliber I spare e-clips. The math is 9 + 1 + 36 + 18 + 2 + 4 = 70.

His vehicle is a Caliber IV Wastelander motorcycle, but with a Caliber IV nuclear engine upgrade. (Don't ask how you put a nuclear engine on a motorcycle. This is Rifts, it happens. People put nuclear engines into power armor, meaning it's strapped right over your kidneys.) He also adds a Caliber II weapon mount for his rifle, and a Caliber II sensor suite. That is 16 + 16 + 4 + 4.

Tools are done the same way. As he spends so much time between towns, he picks up a Caliber III camping kit. He picks up four Caliber II kits for his skills that require them. He then picks up a Caliber II crowbar (made of MDC metal), a Caliber I flashlight, a Caliber I tablet (like an iPad), and a Caliber I radio system. As above, we get 9 + (4x4=) 16 + 4 + 1 + 1 + 1 = 30.

Party Gear

Parties are, in some senses, entities of their own. As such, they can have communal gear, through the use of a party pool. If a character contributes a rating point to the pool, the character may not use that rating point for his own gear. E.g., Jack has a Vehicle rating of 5. He only wants a fancy jet pack for himself, a Caliber IV item. He can afford that with a Vehicle rating of 2. So, he contributes his remaining 3 points to the party pool, allowing the party to afford to upgrade their Big Boss to a Mark V APC.

The party gear can also contain Stowed Gear. This is gear that is carried with the party against future needs, but is not in a state that is ready to be used. It may be disassembled, packed, or discharged. Any stowed gear does not count against anyone’s Wealth ratings, for purposes of determining whether Wear should be accrued. It requires a minimum of 1 hour to unpack stowed gear and make it ready, and 1 hour to stow a piece of gear (this may be greater at the GM’s discretion). The amount of gear that is ready at the end of the day is used to determine Wear, no matter how much equipment was packed or unpacked during that time.

A vehicle can be stowed. Typically, this means that the power system is drained or disengaged, and the vehicle cannot move under its own power. It can be towed, or carried. Under certain circumstances, most particularly salvage, a “stowed” vehicle can be driven on its own. However, it operates at reduced capacity. It cannot perform any maneuvers, has no active weapons, and cannot be used to recharge items or e-clips.

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