As stated above, the goal of the Spycraft 2.0 gear system is not to define every possible item your character might possess or own, but rather to streamline the process of defining gear, keeping it specific enough to retain game balance and fluid enough to avoid cumbersome bookkeeping. Important and especially useful items are closely tracked and given detailed rules, while items with limited functions and complexity, as well as some broad elements of the characters’ backgrounds, are largely left to the GC and players to define.
One thing that might throw veteran roleplayers is that the system intentionally limits the number of items characters can carry around. This isn’t supposed to represent what characters could possess, or even what they might plausibly possess. Of course characters can carry around more, and in some cases they probably would, but two things happen when gear becomes this important. First, the characters become less important, and second, the game slows down. These issues are exacerbated in a modern day setting, where gear is ubiquitous, highly detailed, and so powerful that it frequently renders characters impotent in comparison.
Instead, the Spycraft 2.0 gear system encourages players to think of gear in cinematic terms. Sure, secret agents, the police, and any number of other character archetypes are known to carry around car-fulls of high-tech gear in the movies, but how often is it actually used? Why spend half a session choosing dozens of pieces of gear, and waste hundreds of pages of rules detailing the most banal of functions, when most of it will never actually see play? This gear system focuses on the most complicated, the most useful (not necessarily the most used), and the most highlighted gear of the modern age and lets everything else fade into the background until and unless it’s needed. It also limits the number of those highlighted items each character can take into the field, keeping each character focused on his specialties and his background. In these ways, gear becomes what it should be in an RPG — a tool rather than a crutch or an impediment.
The Spycraft 2.0 gear system handles equipment in three ways — with gear picks, Common Items, and Wealth.
Gear picks are the aforementioned “highlights” of modern gaming — the weapons, the vehicles, the gadgets, and the myriad other things that are too useful or complicated to hand-wave.
Common Items are all the other items a character might have on him at any time. They’re not worthy of a full gear pick, usually — but not always — because they’re inexpensive or so simple they don’t deserve scripted rules. Common Items include things like lighters, cell phones, compasses, and the like.
Wealth is an abstract representation of a character’s personal, holdings — the stuff he deals with when he’s not on missions, like his home and his private vehicle. Some of a character’s Wealth does spill into the mission, however, like his personal gear, his available cash, and his appearance, which includes his clothes, accessories, and general style.
Gear picks and Common Items are detailed in the following sections. Wealth is detailed in the Using the Gear System section, under At Character Creation and When You Gain a Level.
Spycraft 2.0 features seven categories of gear, each abbreviated on the class tables and elsewhere by its starting letter — (E)lectronic Gear, (G)adgets, (R)esources, (S)ecurity Gear, (T)radecraft Gear, (V)ehicles, and (W)eapons. The alphanumeric codes on the class tables show the number of gear picks the character has in each category.
Example: A Level 10 Snoop’s Gear column reads “3T, 3G, 2R, 1E.” This translates to 3 Tradecraft gear picks, 3 Gadget picks, 2 Resource picks, and 1 Electronic gear pick.
Another major aspect of the gear system is a mission’s Caliber. As discussed in the Mission Design section (see page 429), a mission’s Caliber defines its importance to the character, his organization, or his network, as appropriate to the character’s Faction/Freelance choice and the current storyline. This in turn determines the character’s investment, or that of his organization or network, in accomplishing the mission’s objectives. It’s assumed that neither the character nor his backers can throw their entire weight against most problems — the character probably doesn’t have time to keep all of his gear prepped and his organization or network is usually working several missions at once. As in the case of Possessions (see page 216), the game system also frequently assigns Caliber when granting a character additional gear. The GC and players may put forth additional reasons, though they’re rarely important and usually aren’t detailed in play.
In game terms, though, Caliber plays a vital, well-defined role. It establishes the available pool of gear in each category. A mission’s Caliber ranges from I to V and as you can see on each of the gear tables on pages 226–275, all gear picks are divided into these five Calibers as well. How does it all come together, you ask? That brings us to…
When a character is permitted to make a gear pick, he simply scans down the table corresponding to the appropriate gear category and chooses 1 item from that table in any Caliber up to the mission’s current Caliber. There is no cost or spending involved — all that matters is the category in which the pick may be chosen and the mission’s current Caliber.
Example: Kevin may choose 1 Electronic gear pick during a Caliber II mission. He may choose any 1 item in the Caliber I or Caliber II sections of the Electronic Gear table.
This process repeats for every gear pick the character is permitted to make.
Some items — usually vehicles and weapons — come with 1 or more upgrades. These are special options that enhance the chosen piece of gear, such as improved handling or specialty tires for a ground vehicle or a targeting sight or specialty ammunition for a rifle.
Upgrades are not subject to mission Caliber. When a character chooses a gear pick that comes with 1 or more upgrades, he may simply choose each upgrade from the accompanying upgrade table.
Example: As shown on Table 4.36: Backup Pistol Picks (see page 253), the Walther PPK backup pistol comes with 1 upgrade. Kevin might consult Table 4.60: Weapon Upgrades (see page 272), gaining a suppressor or a concealed holster. Each of these options requires 1 upgrade. Alternately, he might consult Table 4.62: Ammunition (see page 274), gaining 1 additional stockpile of FMJ ammunition, or converting his first stockpile to armor-piercing ammunition. A character need not choose an upgrade just because an item comes with one. A cover operative’s mission plan might call for an unmodified weapon, for instance, or a driver might find none of the available upgrades for his vehicle appealing. In all cases, unchosen upgrades confer no additional benefit; they are simply lost. Upgrades may only be applied to the gear item with which they’re gained.
Example: Kevin uses 1 Weapon gear pick to choose a Ruger Mark III (which comes with no upgrades) and a second Weapon gear pick to choose a Walther PPK (which comes with 1 upgrade). The upgrade gained with the Walther PPK may only be applied to the Walter PPK, not the Ruger.
Finally, when upgrades are available in a gear category, the character may trade in any number of gear picks to gain additional upgrades in that category. For each pick sacrificed, the character gains a number of same-category upgrades equal to twice the mission’s current Caliber. When upgrades are gained in this fashion, or in any other way independent of the gear pick tables, the upgrades must immediately be assigned to one or more items in the appropriate category. All upgrades not assigned are forfeit.
Example: Following the previous example, during a Caliber III mission, Kevin trades in 1 Weapon gear pick to gain 6 Weapon upgrades. He may assign all 6 of the upgrades to either the Ruger of the Walther, or split them between the weapons as he wishes (e.g. 2 to the Ruger and 4 to the Walther, 3 to each weapon, 5 to the Ruger and 1 to the Walther, etc.). If he chooses to assign 4 upgrades to the Ruger and 1 to the Walther, the last upgrade is lost.
Another fundamental of the Spycraft 2.0 gear system, Common Items are equipment that isn’t listed in any gear category, not worthy of a full gear pick. Some Common Items are inexpensive items readily affordable to the average person, while others have single, obvious functions. Others are simply not useful enough to warrant a gear pick.
All Common Items share the following limitations.
- A Common Item may not grant a gear bonus greater than +1 nor inflict a gear penalty greater than –1.
- A Common Item may not be used to attack as anything other than an improvised weapon (see page 346).
- A Common Item may have no more than 1–2 very simple rules beyond its “common sense” application, as determined by the GC.
Some examples of popular Common Items include…
Binoculars: When a character uses a pair of binoculars, he ignores the penalties applied by his second and fourth visual range increments.
Fatigues: When wearing this outfit, the character benefits from a modified camouflaged (CMF) vehicle quality that grants only a +1 gear bonus with applicable skill checks in 1 terrain type. Note that the use of face paint does not increase this bonus.
Flashlight: A flashlight improves a character’s vision in dim or no lighting, and with a successful half-action ranged attack, may inflict a –1 penalty with all actions involving the Vision tag. Tactical/Headset Radio, Basic: This Tiny, 1-handed radio has a Signal Power Rating of 1, a range of 1/4 mile, a battery life of 4 hours, a Damage Save bonus of +5, a Complexity of 15/+1, and weighs 1 lb.
The GC defines all uses and rules for Common Items, either as they’re introduced or as they’re used (at his discretion). The players are encouraged to make suggestions for uses and rules, but the GC has final say. Further, the GC must approve each character’s Common Item choices before they enter play (in part making sure that none of them is already a gear pick, or that they shouldn’t be a gear pick in his setting, and in part ensuring that they meet his interpretation of the criteria for Common Items).
saMple CoMMon IteMs
Sample Common Items include altimeters, air conditioners, art supplies, batteries, binoculars, blankets, canes, camera tripods, camelbacks, canteens, caving ladders, cell phones, chemical body warmers, compasses, computer peripherals (AV feeds, black boxes, CD burners, DVD-ROM burners, fax machines, modems, printers, projectors, scanners, etc.), containers (attaché cases, backpacks, luggage, etc.), courier pouches, crowbars, dead drop spikes, depth gauges, dice, document shredders, duct tape, entrenching tools, face paint, fire extinguishers, flares, flashlights, Geiger counters, glass cutters, glow sticks, clear goggles, handcuffs, heaters, ionized water, Leatherman multitools, load-bearing gear, luggage, magnifying glasses, matches (1 box per Common Item), media (CDs, DVDs, film rolls, video tapes, paper, etc.), metal detectors, standard microphones, microscopes, MP3 players, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), musical instruments, netting (including camouflage netting), notebooks, oven cleaner, padlocks, PDAs, pocket knives, radiation monitors, portable rams, RC car, road flares, ropes and chains, rollerblades, seismometers, signal mirrors, skates, skis and snowshoes, sleeping bags, slim jim car door openers, snacks and vices (chewing gum, cigars, cigarettes, lollipops, publicly available books, etc.), snorkels, snowboards, sports equipment, sunglasses, surfboards, stretchers, swimming fins and masks, Swiss Army knives, low-magnification telescopes, tents, video game systems, watches, water filtration tablets, weight belts, wire (barbed, concertina, or razor), zip ties (20 per Common Item), and the vast majority of the Items listed under Kit Contents (see below).
Special Note: Except for specialty clothing like fatigues, which offer a specific benefit under certain circumstances, a character’s dress and accessories are not Common Items, but rather part of his Lifestyle (see page 215).
The final fundamental of the Spycraft 2.0 gear system, kits are professional gear packages that support skill checks in Chapter 2. Each kit is also a convenient collection of Common Items that a character can acquire with just 1 gear pick.
Each kit is presented in 3 grades, and though the contents of each set of kits varies widely, all kits share the same rules.
- Grade I: This bare essentials kit negates the –4 penalty with skill checks possessing the corresponding Gear tag.
- Grade II: This specialized field package confers the benefits of the Grade I kit and grants a +1 gear bonus with skill checks possessing the corresponding Gear tag.
- Grade III: This expert tool suite confers the benefits of the Grade I and II kits, and also increases the result cap with checks possessing the corresponding Gear tag by 5. Often, however, Grade III kits are too large or bulky for easy transport.
A character may gain a Grade I kit with any Caliber I or higher gear pick (of any category), he may gain any Grade II kit with any Caliber II or higher gear pick (of any category), and he may gain any Grade III kit with any Caliber III or higher gear pick (again, of any category).
The location of any non-mobile kit must be determined when it is introduced. If a character acquires the kit, he determines its location.
Appraisal Kit I (Small, 5 lbs.): Lighted magnifying glass, jeweler’s loupe, tweezers, calipers, tape measure, UV flashlight (for detecting repairs and cracks), magnet (to test metals), sketch pad and pencils, linen and latex gloves.
Appraisal Kit II (Medium, 20 lbs.): Appraisal kit I + digital scale, high-intensity halogen lamp, black and white drop cloths (for a neutral photographic background), insulated airtight storage bags, auction catalogues (CD-ROM or hardcopy, for estimating relative values).
Appraisal Kit III (Large, non-portable): Appraisal kit II + microscope, spectrometer, nitrogen atmosphere storage case, illustrated art history textbooks (CD-ROM or hardcopy).
Architect’s Kit I (Small, 6 lbs.): Drafter’s sketchbook, vellum tablet, protractor, aluminum color-coded triangular scale, compass and bow dividers, straightedges of various lengths, clear plastic triangles of various sizes, various pencils, pens, and erasers, shading tools.
Architect’s Kit II (Medium, 60 lbs.): Architect’s kit I + drafting table with angling arm lamp, large white board with integral fullwidth straightedge.
Architect’s Kit III (Large, 100 lbs.): Architect’s kit II + CAD software (CD-ROM), laser printer, airbrusher, model building supplies (foam-core board, cutting and edging tools, and props like tiny trees and mirror pieces).
Authentication Kit I (Small, 10 lbs.): Hand-held microscope, magnifying glass, personal standard and black lights, infrared viewer.
Authentication Kit II (Medium, 75 lbs.): Authentication kit I + document scanner, chemical analyzer, 3D modeling and comparison software, signature analysis software (CD-ROM).
Authentication Kit III (Large, non-portable): Authentication kit II + video spectral comparator (with built-in microscope, video camera, and high-resolution color printer), back-illuminated comparison table.
Chemistry Kit I (Small, 30 lbs.): Personal microscope, scale, test tube stand, analytical and precision balances, multiple various-volume beakers and styrene cylinders, alcohol lamp, digital multimeter, 12-in. thermometer, ten shallow 4-in. dishes, plastic funnel, legal chemical samples.
Chemistry Kit II (Medium, 75 lbs.): Chemistry kit I + professional burner, professional microscope with integral camera, ultraviolet examination lamp, personal centrifuge, water bath, flash evaporator, licensed chemical samples.
Chemistry Kit III (Large, non-portable): Chemistry kit II + wide-angle dissection microscope, electric muffle furnace, draft and vacuum ovens, chromatogram viewer, professional centrifuge, illegal chemical samples.
Cleaner Kit I (Small, 10 lbs.): Jumpsuit, painter’s drop cloth, paper towels, trash bags, commercial cleaning chemicals, latex gloves, cable ties, duct tape, super glue, cigarette lighter, pinescented over cleaner spray (to remove fingerprints), spray bottle of ammonia solution (to destroy DNA evidence in blood)
Cleaner Kit II (Medium, 30 lbs.): Cleaner kit I + police scanner, entrenching tool, carpet knife, body bags, baling wire, tear gas powder (to prevent animals from digging up evidence), crowbar, handheld vacuum cleaner, gasoline, road flares, map of local landfills and HAZMAT dump sites, USB flash drive with virus-infected software.
Cleaner Kit III (Large, 75 lbs.): Cleaner kit II + chainsaw, hacksaw, high-concentration nitric acid, charcoal briquettes, illegal drugs (false evidence), melee weapon linked to an unrelated local crime (more false evidence), chemical fire extinguisher, portable shower.
Climbing Kit I (Small, 15 lbs.): Backpack or butt-pack, rope (150 ft., rated for 1,200 lb.), wristwatch altimeter, backpack, climbing harness, leather gloves and finger tape, rock shoes or strap-on foot spikes, carabiners, various markers.
Climbing Kit II (Medium, 30 lbs.): Climbing kit I + belayers, cams, quickdraws, ascenders, cordlettes, chalk bag, pitons and hammer, crampons, ice axe and boots.
Climbing Kit III (Large, 180 lbs.): Climbing kit II contents for a team of 6.
Construction Kit I (Small, 50 lbs.): Sledgehammer, power drill, power saw, nail gun, chalking gun, shovel, hard hat, work gloves, safety goggles, tool belt, trowel, steel-toe boots, stud finder, duct tape, sand paper, tape measure, and building supplies (cement and drywall mix, lumber, glass, and so on, as needed), paint and painting supplies (brushes, mixing tins, etc.), Do-It-Yourself handbook.
Construction Kit II (Medium, 500 lbs.): Construction kit I + drill press, grinder, lathe, table saw, sawhorse, cutting torch, shop vacuum cleaner.
Construction Kit III (Large, 2,000 lbs.): Construction kit II + mini-bulldozer, cement mixer, portable generator, two-wheel transport trailer (for use with any non-personal ground vehicle).
Demolitions Kit I (Small, 5 lbs.): Dentist’s mirror, non-conductive simple tools (sticks, tweezers, dull blades), wire crimper/cutter/stripper, needle-nose pliers, folding knife, cigarette lighter or waterproof matches, tape (duct, masking, and electrical), grease pencils, chem lights, flashlight, good-luck charm.
Demolitions Kit II (Medium, 40 lbs.): Demolitions kit I + hand-held blasting machine, blasting caps (10 each electric and non-electric), electrical wire (500 ft.), non-electric fuse (500 ft.), marker flags.
Demolitions Kit III (Large, 60 lbs.): Demolitions kit II + fiberoptic probe, spectrometer, Geiger counter, miscellaneous hand tools, explosives reference manuals (CD-ROM or hardcopy).
Disguise Kit I (Small, 20 lbs.): Makeup base (flesh tones, shadows, highlights, rouge, etc.), pigments, makeup binding compound (to prevent sweating off of the disguise), putty and liquid latex compound (for sculpting scars, boils, warts, etc.), spirit gum adhesive, clear adhesive surgical tape, assorted fake facial hair, makeup brushes and sponges, facial cleanser, general personal grooming items (hairbrush, comb, toothbrush, nail clippers, tweezers, razor), lighted makeup mirror.
Disguise Kit II (Medium, 35 lbs.): Disguise kit I + 2 or 3 changes of light street clothing, colored contact lenses, wigs, incidental props (eye patches, gold teeth, glasses, etc.), hair net or bandanna, soap and hand towels, hair dyes and colors (whitener, highlights, etc.).
Disguise Kit III (Large, 50 lbs.): Disguise kit II + wound and deformity prostheses with fake blood, full-face latex mask molds, detailed photographic records of potential subjects, minor props (canes, height-altering shoes, etc.), digital photo makeover software.
Electronics Kit I (Small, 20 lbs.): Wire crimper/cutter/stripper, screwdrivers (assorted small sizes), needle-nose pliers, soldering iron and roll of solder, electrical tape, epoxy glue, voltage meter, circuit tester, compressed air duster, wire (varying lengths and widths), assorted spare components (resistors, capacitors, screws, LEDs, etc.), assorted spare batteries, pocket reference of component color codes and mathematical conversions.
Electronics Kit II (Medium, 200 lbs.): Electronics kit I + electrostatic mat, de-soldering iron/vacuum, personal oscilloscope, signal generator, table arm lamp with magnifying glass, common schematic manuals.
Electronics Kit III (Large, non-portable): Electronics kit II + 2-person clean room, EPROM burner, oscilloscope, microscope, RF meter.
First Aid Kit I (Small, 5 lbs.): Adhesive bandages (various shapes and sizes), gauze (pads and rolls), elastic compress bandages, blister pads, wooden splints, tourniquets, latex gloves, thermometer, tweezers, razor blades, safety pins, cotton swabs (dry and alcohol-saturated), antibacterial soap, antiseptic solution, antibiotic cream, surgical tape, painkiller pills, antihistamine pills, antacid pills, salt tablets.
First Aid Kit II (Medium, 20 lbs.): First Aid kit I + CPR mask, stethoscope, shears, forceps, surgical needles and roll of suturing thread, burn gel, sedative pills, folding stretcher, antivenin solution, disposable syringes, blankets, stuffed animal, medical reporting forms and waterproof marker.
First Aid Kit III (Large, 80 lbs.): First Aid kit II + portable defibrillator, intravenous blood expander and fluid packs, oxygen tank and mask, backboard, cervical collar, local anaesthetic solution, field surgical tools (treat as a Surgery Kit I).
Forensics Kit I (Small, 10 lbs.): Latex gloves, plastic safety goggles, filter masks, chalk, pens, permanent markers, marking paint, calculator, distilled water, ballistic probes, protractor and compass, laser pointer, scalpel, box cutter, scissors, magnifying glass, hand mirror, thermometer, tweezers, ruler, tape measure, glass vials with rubber stoppers, microscope slides and slide protectors, plastic baggies (various sizes), tape (clear, masking, colored, and crime scene barricade), colored string, disinfectant solution, sterile gauze and swabs, sexual assault evidence supplies, fingerprint tools (powders, brushes, glue, lift cards, measurement scale), blank forms (incident report, search authorization, consent), sketch paper pad, flashlight.
Forensics Kit II (Medium, 20 lbs.): Forensics kit I + plastic tarp (to protect evidence from weather), gunshot and blood residue testing chemicals, narcotics test reagents, paper towels, garbage bags, ethanol, hand-held vacuum cleaner, UV flashlight.
Forensics Kit III (Large, 50 lbs.): Forensics kit II + coveralls, microscope, metal detector, casting kit (plaster mixes), wet-dry shop vacuum, portable floodlights, ballistic penetration probes, keyhole saw, forensics software (ballistic trajectory reconstruction, blood splatter calculation).
Forgery Kit I (Small, 15 lbs.): Fine-edge knife set, ink pads with various inks, blank stamps, colored pens, paint and fine brushes, stencils, magnifying glass, disposable camera, scale, calipers, tweezers, fine-grain sandpaper.
Forgery Kit II (Medium, 30 lbs.): Forgery kit I + document scanner, laminator, foil press, shrink wrapper, table arm lamp with magnifying glass, holographic film, currency/document manual, display case.
Forgery Kit III (Large, 400 lbs.): Forgery kit II + personal printing press, casting supplies and various molding materials (plaster, plastic, etc.).
Lockpicking Kit I (Tiny, 1 lbs.): Picks and shims (assorted sizes and shapes), tweezers, stethoscope, screwdrivers (assorted small sizes), penlight.
Lockpicking Kit II (Small, 25 lbs.): Lockpicking kit I + slim jim auto entry tools, keyhole saw, glass cutter, power drill, ball-peen hammer, metal files, stethoscope.
Lockpicking Kit III (Medium, 150 lbs.): Lockpicking kit II + key blanks, key grinder, lock samples (for practice, disassembly, and analysis), fiber optic probe, library of lock manufacturers’ catalogues.
Mechanics Kit I (Small, 30 lbs.): Tool box, car jack, screwdrivers (assorted sizes), wrenches (assorted sizes), socket set, pliers (regular and needle-nose), metal file, hammer, measuring tape, flashlight, pressure gauge, waterproof markers, baling wire, epoxy glue, tape (duct, masking, and electrical), machine oil, wax, work gloves, safety goggles, professional solvents/cleaners, rubber gaskets, tarp, electrical wires and tubing, clamps, tap and die set, jerry can with 1 hour’s fuel.
Mechanics Kit II (Medium, 100 lbs.): Toolkit I + diagnostic machine, timing light, electric drill, hacksaw, shop lights, hot glue gun, air blower, crowbar, snake light, paint sprayer.
Mechanics Kit III (Large, 4,000 lbs.): Toolkit II + 1-ton crane, hydraulic car lift, bench lathe, bench vise, rotary saw, welding torch, air compressor, angle grinder, block and tackle.
Surgery Kit I (Small, 15 lbs.): Latex gloves, surgical scissors, scalpels and extra blades, surgical needles and suturing thread, forceps, disposable syringes, gauze (pads and rolls), sponges, surgical tape, cotton swabs (dry and alcohol-saturated), disinfectant solution, sedative pills, head-mounted flashlight.
Surgery Kit II (Medium, 25 lbs.): Surgery kit I + surgical masks, sterile draping cloth, plastic safety goggles, surgical staple gun, local anesthetic (injected), antibiotics (injected), blood coagulant solution, suction bulb, clamps, intravenous blood expander and fluid packs.
Surgery Kit III (Large, 200 lbs.): Surgery kit II + rib spreader, bone saws, heart monitor, defibrillator, intravenous blood packs, anesthesia tank and mask, oxygen tank and mask.