In the Federation-Apocalypse setting the “Gadgets” skill covers the number of personal devices that you can haul around with you and – usually – extend your personal ability to adapt to new realms to. Some of the more common gadgets are listed below, starting off with what may be the most ubiquitous of all…
Smartclothes can alter their fit, style, and color in a variety of ways, as well as providing personal-computer and HUD functions, visual enhancements (IR, UV, Low-Light, Magnification, and Flash Suppression), personal and environmental monitoring, communications, and limited life support (12 hours of air, comfortable from arctic to tropical desert tempertures, limited space-survival functions). They do not restrict movement but, sadly, usually count as three gadgets – one for the protective functions, one for the computer functions, and one for the sensory enhancements.
|Standard Civilian||Standard Military||Special Forces|
The Skill Bonus applies to Climb, Disguise, Listen, Spot, Stealth, and Swim checks.
The Save Bonus applies to sensory overloads, stabilizing while dying, and chemical exposure.
The Smartlink bonus applies to link-equipped ranged weaponry. Most modern small arms can be so equipped.
Smartclothes can be fitted with additional armor (although this rapidly becomes cumbersome) and can mount additional systems to allow extended space operations (up to a week), an extended comfort range (-120 to + 180 degrees Fahrenheit), 0-G reaction thrusters for space maneuvering, or even a limited exoskeleton function (+4 Strength, +2 Dexterity, +10′ Movement). Unfortunately, each such system counts as an additional gadget.
|Additional Smartclothes Armor|
|AC Bonus||Maximum Dexterity Bonus||Armor Check Modifier|
Forceblades are small devices which contain (1) a forcefield generator and control microcomputer designed to create a “blade”, (2) a power cell, and (3) a supply of mercury, which is shifted around inside the blade to provide mass and balance it to suit the user. The edge is usually modulated to provide a bit of a vibro-chainsaw effect. While they’re used like any other sword, in combination with the feedback from the user’s smartclothes, they gain a +3 quality bonus to Hit and Damage, as well as doubling the base damage of classical medieval bladed weapons (more expensive versions can emulate a variety of weapons). Blunt weapons be emulated as well, but do not double the base damage – and so are rarely called for in serious combat. Basic Forceblades count as one gadget, advanced versions count as two.
Modern Small Arms come in a virtually unlimited array, including slugthrowers (using classical or caseless ammunition), gyrojets, flechette guns, plasma or “blaster” weapons, and lasers. In general, personal weapons are mostly at their technological limits: you can make more powerful hand weapons if you want to resort to antimatter and exotic-matter devices, but nobody sane wants to beholding such weapons when they’re fired in an atmosphere: the backsplash is just too powerful. Similarly, each design represents a tradeoff: each additional feature comes at the cost of something else – and each major variation has it’s own advantage:
Slugthrowers work in most areas of the Manifold, are simple to maintain and reload, and can use the Autofire improvement.
Gyrojets are quiet, recoilless, and the slugs normally continue burning for a bit after impact, adding an extra die of damage to the usual base.
Flechette or Pellet guns receive a +4 bonus to hit, but the targets DR – if any – is doubled.
Plasma and Laser weapons are recoilless and can be adjusted for use as tools to start fires, provide heat, weld or cut metal, and so on. Unfortunately, you may need to spend a magic point to get them to work in many Manifold realms.
Basic one-handed small arms cause 2d6 damage, critical for double damage on a 20, have a 40′ Range increment, carry a base magazine of 25 shots, and normally weight 2-3 pounds. Two-handed versions have a range increment of 80, a base damage of 2d8, and normally weigh 6-10 pounds. Heavy versions – normally tripod-mounted – have a range increment of 120, a base damage of 2d10, and weigh 20-40 pounds.
Regardless of the base, small arms can have up to three additional options (four if the base magazine is reduced to 5 shots or if the weapon cannot critical). Some can be taken more than once, in this case the effects are listed in order separated by “/”.
Enlarged Magazine (50/100/250 shots).
Increased Damage (base of 2d8/2d10/2d12/2d20)
Increased Critical (18-20/16-20/16-20 and a x3 multiplier instead of x2)
Selective Fire (slugthrowers only: may expend five shots to gain either a +4 bonus to hit, to hit 1d4 members of a small group on a successful attack, or to inflict double damage against double any applicable DR [criticals obey normal rules for adding multipliers, normally inflicting x3 damage], at the user’s option)
Concealable (this weapon is easy to hide. Pistols can be slipped into a pocket, two-handed weapons can be readily hidden under a coat or broken down, and heavy weapons can be readily broken down and packed away. If taken twice, the weapon is primarily built of force fields, and is thus much lighter – but will require the expenditure of a magic point to activate in many realms).
Improved Accuracy (Sights; +2 to Hit/Smartlink +4 to Hit/Smartlink with friendly fire suppression: cannot hit a friendly target)
Explosive (+1 Die damage/+1 die of damage in a 5′ radius/+2 dice of damage in a 10′ radius).
While there are hundreds of different types of small arms in common use in the core, here are a few of the more popular ones. Others can be generated as desired using the small arms rules. Of course, quite a few of the more powerful variants are restricted as military weapons. It’s also worth noting that the game master will usually disallow attempts to improve the effects of weapons that cannot critical, or which inflict damage via radius-effect explosions, via martial arts.
Plasma Pistol: One-Handed Small Arm, Increased Damage II, Enlarged Magazine I. 2 lb, 50 Shots, 2d10 damage, Crit 20/x2, 40′ range increment, can be used as a tool.
The Plasma Pistol is one of the most common core small arms, thanks to its utility as a fire starter, heat source, welding tool, and intimidation device: few ordinary creatures are willing to face blasts of superheated flame.
Machine Pistol: One-Handed Small Arm, Enlarged Magazine II, Selective Fire. 3.2 lb, 100 shots, 2d6 damage, Crit 20/x2, 40′ range increment, selective fire.
Simple, reliable, and surprisingly effective despite its light slug, the machine pistol has been in regular use for centuries, and is likely to continue in use for many more.
Assault Carbine: Two-Handed Small Arm, Enlarged Magazine I, Selective Fire, and Increased Critical I: 8 lb, 50 Shots, 2d8 damage, Crit 18-20/x2, range increment 80′, selective fire.
Another venerable design. The Heavy version is commonly known as a Machine Gun, and does a base of 2d10 damage instead of 2d8.
Active-Guidance Gyroc Sniping Rifle: Two-Handed Small Arm, Explosive I, Improved Accuracy II (Smartlink): 6 Lb, 25 Shots, 4d8 damage, Crit 20/x2, Range Increment 80′, +4 bonus to hit.
The tiny guided missiles fired by this deadly weapon are designed to penetrate and detonate, inflicting massive damage on most targets.
Mini-Grenade Launcher: One-Handed Slugthrower Small Arm, Decreased Magazine (5 Shots), Cannot Critical, Improved Damage II, Explosive III: 2.5 lb, 5 Shots, 4d10 damage in a 10′ radius, 40′ range increment.
Versions of this weapon are often fitted to Assault Carbines or Gyroc Sniping Rifles as secondary weapons. In this case, simply add up the weights.
Heavy Missile Launcher: Heavy Gyroc Small Arm, Reduced Magazine, No Criticals, Increased Damage II, Explosive III. 24 lb, 5 Shots, 5d20 damage in a 10′ Radius, 120′ Range Increment.
Even the heavy missile launcher is fairly ineffective against Orb and Starship shields: very little in the way of technological weapons that it’s safe for an unshielded human to be within a mile of is. On the other hand, even the toughest lesser targets would be wise to treat it with respect.
One- and two-handed small arms normally count as one gadget. Heavy ones count as two.