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Gear, weapons, and other equipment
- 1: Concealing gear
- 2: Direct Neural Interfaces (DNI)
- 3: Electronics, commlinks, cyberdecks, etc
- 4: Firearms accessories
- 5: Drugs
- 6: Cyberware
1 - Concealing gear
These rules are not yet canon for my current campaign.
Taking heavy inspiration from Blades in the Dark:
- Before any scene, players declare a load level in terms of the table below.
- During the scene, players may dynamically decide that they have brought an item of equipment, subject to limitations as set out below.
- The second column is the penalty or bonus applied to a Perception check for anyone to notice your gear.
- Note that someone noticing your gear isn’t automatically an issue, of course, it depends on context.
- Wearing a lined coat or having a conceal holster at levels Medium or below imposes an extra -2.
- You may carry one piece of equipment at your declared level. For example, if your level is Medium, you can have a heavy pistol or a cyberdeck, but not both.
- You can carry two items of gear chosen from the level below your declared level. So if you declare Medium, and you declare that your heaviest item of kit was a heavy pistol, you might later decide you have two additional magazines for it, or one magazine and a low-rated medkit.
- You can carry four items chosen from the tier below that.
In theory I could keep doubling here, but I plan to handwave it away at some point. Don’t take the piss and declare that because you have a machine gun you also have 10,000 knives, or I will engineer the situation so you really wish you had a spoon.
Here’s some common items of gear grouped into load levels. Some GM moderation will be necessary to slot other items into this list as they come up.
|Level||Perception modifier||Weapons & ammo||drones||Electronics and other gear|
|Always hidden||micro drone||RFID tag, bug, slap patch, credstick, chips|
|“Naked”||-8||Hold-out pistol. Knife, sap. Revolver speedloader. Throwing knife, shuriken.||Commlink, jammer, lockpicks, goggles|
|Light||-4||Light pistol. Monowhip, collapsible baton. Magazine. Microgrenade.||mini drone||medkit (R1-2)|
|Medium||0||Heavy pistol, machine pistol (stock folded). Club. Extended mag. Grenade, flashpak.||Cyberdeck, RCC|
|Heavy||+4||SMG, sawn-off shotgun (stock folded). Sword. Ammo belt/drum.||small drone||medkit (R3-4)|
|Loaded for bears||+8||Sport / assault rifles, shotgun, grenade launcher, crossbow. Katana.|
|Loaded for dragons||Always spotted||Sniper rifle, machine gun, rocket launcher. Claymore, staff. Bow.||medium drone||medkit (R5+), metahuman body|
- maybe tie armour into this somehow too
- write up some chemsniffer rules that balance APDS/ex-ex
2 - Direct Neural Interfaces (DNI)
Direct Neural Interfaces are the process of extending a user’s neural commands onto a generic system that can then be used to control arbitrary electronic devices. Basically, you think it, and the machine does it. What’s not to like about that?
Note that although many cyberware systems - for example, replacement limbs - are controlled via neural shunts, they do not count as DNI. They have their own bespoke cabling into your nervous system. However, in some circumstances, having DNI can help two systems that would otherwise conflict interact more harmoniously, for example Wired Reflexes and Reaction Enhancers.
In game terms: replace all “wireless bonuses” with “DNI bonuses.” DNI bonuses apply whenever the character has a direct neural interface connection to the item of gear, and hence can control its full funtionality via mental commands. You do not need to maintain any access to the wider Matrix to use them, but you do need either a wired or a wireless connections between the devices and your datajack.
In real world analogy terms, think of DNI as being like USB combined with Bluetooth, with one end plugged directly into your brain. Just about anything you own can hook into it and work with anything else, and your brain can command anything hooked into it.
There are two main ways to handle the interface between your gear and your brain matter:
- Trodes are a small net of sensors you fix around your head. They’re pretty crappy, and they lose connection easily if jostled but they work alright if you don’t move around too much.
- Datajacks are far superior, although they do involve drilling a hole in your head and letting someone stick wires into bits of your brain. Datajacks have an actual jack (hence the name), but also a wireless comms module. You can use either interchangeably.
More than half the population have datajacks fitted, and if you exclude the SINless poor that rises to more than 75%. They are cheap and common.
Several items of common cyberware include a datajack for free:
- implanted commlink or cyberdeck
- vehicle control rig
- internal router
Wireless vs wired
Your datajack can connect to stuff over a wired connection or a local wireless one. Both offer the user equivalent levels of control over their gear. Wireless, however, has the risk of getting hacked. Wireless devices can be targeted by hostile deckers with a variety of offensive Matrix actions.
In game terms, these are largely interchangeable, and you get any DNI bonuses whether you use wired or wireless connections. However, it can require an extra Simple Action to plug cables in if you want to avoid wireless.
3 - Electronics, commlinks, cyberdecks, etc
These rules are canon for my current campaign.
Cyberdeck prices are reduced to 25% of RAW.
Contacts can no longer accept any vision mods other than image link. For avoidance of doubt, mages can cast spells through these, as the contacts allow natural light to pass through with AR content overlaid. Obviously, contacts must be wirelessly connected.
Smartlinks are now changed to a piece of headware, so are no longer eligible for addition to contacts/glasses/goggles/etc.
Other than that, glasses and goggles are unchanged. Mages cannot cast spells through glasses or goggles when using enhanced vision modes (eg low-light, themographic, magnification, etc) as these rely on electronic post-processing.
Prices and availabilty in RAW are for permanent fake SINs. These last until they are burned.
There is a cheaper option: burner SINs. These will only last a few days before being discovered by routine scans in the SIN database. These are good choices when a criminal needs a good-quality SIN for a mission but doesn’t need it to last a long time.
In game terms, a burner SIN is subjected to an escalating dice pool of verification checks each day: 1 die on the first day, 2 dice on the second day, 3 dice on the third day, etc until it is discovered. The user will receive no warning it has been discovered until they try to use it.
|Fake SIN (Rating 1-6)||(Rating × 3)F||(Rating × 2500)¥|
|Burner SIN (Rating 1-4)||(Rating × 2)F||(Rating × 1000)¥|
|Any licence for fake/burner SIN||9F||500¥|
4 - Firearms accessories
- Concealable Holster: -2 to weapon concealability. Only for pistols/tasers. Weapon takes a Complex action to draw.
- Arm slide: Only for holdout/light/taser pistols. No change to concealability. Weapon takes a Free action to draw.
- Quick draw holster: +1 to weapon concealability. Only for pistols/tasers. Weapon takes a Free action to draw.
- Standard holster: suitable for any handgun (up to SMGs). Weapon takes a Simple action to draw.
- Strap: lets you wear a gun on your shoulder. Weapon takes a Complex action to ready. It might be (just about) concealable, if you’re wearing bulky clothing.
- Tactical sing: suitable for any long gun. Holds weapon around your chest. Weapon takes a Simple action to ready, but it cannot be hidden.
- Imaging scope: can hold up to Capacity 3 of image enhancements.
- Low-light vision, flare compensation, thermographic vision, image magnification - halve the penalties to shooting from darkness, glare, or range.
- Laser sight - increases weapon accuracy by 1. Not cumulative with smartguns.
- Smartgun - see below.
Recoil compensation (RC) mods:
- Bipod: 2 points of RC. Requires 1 Simple Action to set it up and get into a firing position, which must be repeated each time the firer moves.
- Shock pad: 1 points of RC. Only usable on weapons with stocks.
- Gas-vent system: 2 points of RC.
- Gyro mount: 6 points of RC.
- Suppressor: -1 DV to weapon, -4 dice pool to anyone attempting to notice the shot or locate the firer. Complex Action to attach or remove.
- DNI: By electronically moving the suppressing baffles, firer can choose whether to use the suppressor or not on each individual shot, without having to attach/remove it.
- Airbust link: reduces scatter of launched greande by 2m/hit instead of 1m/hit. Does not function without DNI.
All guns are one of three kinds:
- Unwired / throwback - no electronics at all
- Standard - limited onboard electronics
- Smartguns - fully integrated electronics with motorised components
Standard guns, when connected to the user via DNI or cabled directly to goggles or glasses, can use augmented reality to communicate with the user:
- Display an ARO with current ammo count and selected fire mode
- Pop-up alert AROs to remind the user of the gun’s maintenance schedule or warn of jams
- ARO-enhanced holographic sights
Hacking standard guns has limited effect; it can change or disable the AROs but that’s about it.
Smartguns have a full suite of internal sensors and motorised components, including a rangefinder using time-of-flight radar and a tiny gun camera.
With DNI to a smartgun, any user gains the following benefits:
- +2 to weapon accuracy due to trajectory computation enhancing the targeting AROs.
- Can use mental commands to change fire modes or eject the clip as Free Actions.
- Can use a mental command to fire, bypassing the physical trigger (although it typically remains on the gun as a back-up)
- The weapon gains optional Friend-or-Foe detection that works across everyone in the same PAN or WAN and can lock out the fire feature when there is a chance of friendly fire. (Shadowrunners usually disable this, and sneer at people who use it.)
- The same status AROs as normal guns, plus further things like barrel temperature and weapon material stress.
However, to really unlock the full potential, the user has to have DNI and also get the smartlink cyberware. With DNI to a smartgun (wired or wireless), a user with a smartlink gains:
- Everything in the above list.
- +2 dice to all attacks with the gun.
- Integration of the gun camera into their AR setup, meaning the can blind fire (eg around corners or from full cover) at -4 dice pool.
- The ability to use a powerful multi-target attack action.
5 - Drugs
These rules are canon for my current campaign.
Banned. This stuff is terribly OP.
6 - Cyberware
Characters can upgrade cyberware or bioware systems in-place, eg. from Wired Reflexes 1 to 2, by paying the difference between the ratings (in nuyen and Essence.)
Removing augmentations leaves an “Essence hole”. Your Essence doesn’t go back up, but you can now get further augmentations installed without reducing your Essence further until the “hole” is filled.
Cyberware that includes datajacks
The following items of cyberware include all the functionality of a datajack, including giving the user DNI and a port for direct wired connections:
- Vehicle control rig
- Implanted commlink or cyberdeck
- Internal router (see below)
Clarification of cyberware & the role of wireless connections
All basic cyberware comes with a constantly running wireless Matrix connection. This applies even for ‘ware like cyberlimbs, where all the control the user needs is done via a direct neural shunt, so the wireless connection isn’t needed to use it directly.
This wireless connection is used for downloading firmware updates, running diagnostic routines, and communicating status and error reports back to the user (it’s hard for a cyberarm to tell its user its time for a maintenance routine without this connection. Although some corps have experimented with persistent itching sensations in particular spots, but it has not been popular.)
Where a piece of cyberware has no listed wireless/DNI bonus, a character can disable this wireless connection without penalty. This offers protection against interference from hostile deckers. However, it might attract attention from the authorities if the cyberware is visible but not wirelessly active, as that raises questions.
Corps do not encourage this behaviour in their own security personnel, as they prefer to keep a close eye on their wageslaves - especially the ones with guns, as wireless PANs and friend-or-foe tagging is key in preventing friendly fire incidents when the undertrained and underpaid guards get trigger-happy. Only the most elite troops, above HTR grade, are likely to engage in combat with wireless disabled.
- Cost: 15 k¥
- Essence: 0.5 [^1]
- Availabilty: 12
The internal router is the device for streetsams who want to make themselves hacking-resilient without relying on a decker. It replaces the use of ubiquituous wireless connections to link together all your equipment with alternatives wherever possible. Internal cyberware systems are linked via subcutaneous wiring. Induction pads in the users palms are used to communicate with smartguns. Several discreet additional datajacks are included at the wrists, ankles, and base of the spine, for more convenient connection of wired gear.
The internal router also includes processing systems to mediate between otherwise-incompatible cyberware from different manufacturers.
In game terms, the user can benefit from all the usual bonuses for DNI without having to have most devices exposed to wireless hacking via the Matrix. An internal router system includes a datajack for “free”.
Grey/used/basic grade internal routers are extremely obvious to anyone looking at you, as they use visible subcutaneous wiring over large portions of your upper body, including the face and hands. This wiring becomes less visible in alpha and betaware, and is almost undetectable in deltaware. Although internal routers are not illegal, they are commonly used by heavily cybered (ie. dangerous) individuals and so likely to mark the user out for further investigation if openly displayed.
- type: headware [^2]
- Cost: 4 k¥
- Essence: 0.2
- Availabilty: 8R
The smartlink is a headware module and software suite that offers an interface between the user’s nervous system and a smartgun. It can only function with DNI to the gun, although this can be wired or wireless.
It offers an advanced co-processor for realtime targeting calculation, 3d modelling of the environment built from the user’s senses, trajectory tracking for each round fired that feed back into the system to make future shots more accurate, and integration from the user’s nervous system into the targeting computation that automatically corrects for movement, hand microtremors, and body posture.
[^1] Reduced from 0.7 in RAW. [^2] No longer eyeware, as in RAW; smartlinks can only be implanted now, and not built into gear or into cybereyes.