Shadowed Galaxy – Equipment Skills

There are few opportunities for shopping in the depths of space. Those who brave the frontiers must be self-reliant. They must know their gear, vehicles, and other equipment intimately. They must be ready to strip it down, and maintain and repair it, with whatever tools and materials are ready to hand. Beyond the civilized worlds, “money” – whatever the form it takes – will not help you.

Thus the interstellar travelers of the Shadowed Galaxy use Equipment skills. In most other settings these would be Occult Skills – and the available equipment will vary a lot.

Equipment Skills:

Check: When seeking to acquire, use, maintain, repair, or make equipment of the type the skill covers. Thus, if a roll is required at all (perhaps to program a computer, use a sensor system, pilot a ship through a tangle of orbital debris, or field-strip and repair a weapon) it defaults to the relevant Equipment skill. Where mere proficiency is sufficient no roll is required. As usual, if you only want a limited aspect of a skill – say you want to be a hot pilot, but not actually pay for a ship of your own with the Vehicles skill – skills can be Specialized or Corrupted. Nonproficiency penalties do apply to the use of items you haven’t “paid for” however.

The standard equipment skills are Armory (armor and other defensive items, Str), Biotech (covers bionics, cybrenetics and bioware, Con), Gadgetry (tools and general gear, Int), Logistics (covers general supplies, finding places to stay, arranging a night on the town, and so on, Chr), and Weaponry (covers all weapons and offensive devices, Dex). Vehicles is considered an Occult Skill (there’s a surcharge for owning your own vehicles) and is Wis based.

Retry: Yes, but usually at a cumulative -2 per attempt to fix, repair, or make something. Checks for operating devices are not usually subject to such penalties.

Special: The permanent value of an equipment skill provides an equal number of “points” worth of gear. Equipment normally “costs” 1-3 points per item. Devices with multiple functions (power armor, vehicles, etc) simply add up the prices for their subcomponents – although standardized kits (issue weapons, doctors bag, etc) may get a small price break. Many package deals include bonus to one or another Equipment skill, usually covering a basic package of required gear. It usually takes access to relevant facilities and one week per point for a character to change out or upgrade their equipment; they have to train with the new stuff. Thus equipment skills are an indication of how much effort a character puts into acquiring, practicing with, and maintaining a particular kind of gear. Note that the styling of equipment is up to the user; if one person wants a shield generator, a light bodysuit, and an armor vest while another wants an integrated power armor suit, that’s fine.

Common Equipment Costs in the Shadowed Galaxy:

Sample Armory Devices:

  • Armor Bonus: +2/4/6 for 1/2/3.
  • Athletics: +4/+6/+8 for 1/2/3.
  • Communications (all with HUD): local tactical 1, long-range transceiver 2, orbital datalink 3.
  • Sensors (all with HUD): nightsight, flash and hearing protection 1, with GPS and basic environmental 2, with mapping, motion sensor, and friend-or-foe identification 3.
  • Damage Reduction: 1/2/3 for 1/2/3. This applies to both physical and energy attacks.
  • Environmental: temperature control and breathing apparatus 1, NBC seal 2, recycling/space capable 3.
  • Flight: 0-G maneuvering 1, jumping/movement boost 2, short term jetpack/long term paraglide 3.
  • Fortification: Light/Medium/Heavy for 1/2/3.
  • Stealth: +4/+6/+8 for 1/2/3.
  • Strength: +2 per point.
  • Weapon Mounts: Light/Medium/Heavy for 1/2/3.

By default armor has no penalties. Making it Medium Armor (Armor Check Penalty -2, Max Dex Bonus 4) reduces it’s cost by two points, while making it Heavy (Armor Check Penalty -4, Max Dex Bonus 2, Movement -10) reduces it’s cost by four points.

Standard Colonial Defense Force Medium Armor (6 Points): AC +4, DR +2, Str +2, Sensors 1, Communications 1, Environmental 1, Armor Check Penalty -2, Max Dex Bonus 4. Note that, as a standardized package, this armor gets a one-point price break for a net cost of five points.

Sample Biotech Devices:

  • Adrenal (Combat) Booster: +2/3/5 to the Bullet Time skill.
  • Chemical Gland: produces a drug, common biochemical, ink, silk, enzymes to let you digest cellulose (or never fart), a scent, or similar, 1, produces a dangerous toxin or other material requiring bioisolation or built in personal countermeasures 2, produces corrosives, very deadly toxins, or highly reactive substances (such as the Bombardier Beetle) or something similarly biologically possible but impractical, 3.
  • Communicator: emergency beacon 1, long-range transceiver 2, network datalink 3.
  • Computer (requires neural interface 3): Smartphone 1, “tablet” 2, basic workstation 3.
  • Cosmetic Mods: tattoos, melanin shifts, hair coloring, etc (0), fur, tail, slight muzzle, etc (1). If you insist on major body restructuring of some type, 2-3 depending on the extent.
  • Cyberweapon: small blade(s), toxin gland, single-shot holdout gun (1), medium blades, pistols, tasers, one-shot flamer, gas generator (2), shotgun or similar weapon, minigrenade launcher, acid gland (3).
  • Eyes: +2 functions (low-light, flash resistant, recording, ultraviolet, smartgun link, data display, etc) per point. Usually biological boosts at 1, cybereyes at 2-3.
  • Hold Out Pouch: big enough for a couple of computer chips/a hold-out pistol/a thick paperback book 1/2/3, +1 to add detection screening to level 1 and 2.
  • Immunities: to diseases, toxins, intoxicants, etc; 1-3 depending on size of the immunity group and potency of the things in it.
  • Impact Weave: provides Damage Reduction 1/- or 2/- for 2/3. This stacks with external DR.
  • Implant Medkit: monitoring and biofeedback 1, three dose autoinjector 2, 12 dose autoinjector 3.
  • Morphic Shifts: altered biometrics 1, mutable fingerprints 2, retinal scanner and duplication 3.
  • Neural Regulator: can suppress pain 1, and seizures 2, and indicators of lying 3.
  • Neural Interface: basic control output 1, with feedback 2, with full-sensory feeds 3.
  • Organ Replacement: extended lifespan 1, with resistance to abuse (improved pancreas avoids diabetes, liver for drinking, etc) 2, with a +2 on Fortitude saves versus toxins and diseases, 3.
  • Oxygen Reserve: 10 minutes/30 minutes/four hours for 1/2/3.
  • Prosthetic: simple 1, minor accessory (crushing grip, garotte reel, taser-touch, built in multi-tool, pop-out blades, etc, +1), major accessory (concealed gun, built in power tools, 2).
  • Reaction Boosters:: +1/2/3 to Initiative for 1/2/3 points.
  • Reinforced Skeleton: provides +2d4/3d4/4d4 Hit Points (constitution bonuses apply) for 1/2/3.
  • Sensory Recording: from cybersense 1, from biological sense 2, from all senses 3.
  • Sensory Amplification: +4/6/8 on relevant rolls for 1/2/3.
  • Sexual Enhancement: fertility control 1, pleasure enhancement 1, name your own. 1-3 points.
  • Sleep Regulator: half need to sleep 1, comes fully awake instantly 2, can go into hibernation 3. .
  • Water Adaption: webs/swim fins 1, add nictating membranes for clear sight under water 2, add cybergills (these require E-cells to operate) 3.
  • Weapons: concealed blade 1, hold-out gun 2, pistol 3.

Sample Gadgetry Devices:

This is a pretty broad category – and in a fantasy setting would include magic wands and such – but some of the sample gear here for the Shadowed Galaxy includes:

  • Binoculars: Current electronic binoculars normally zoom up to 60x and are equipped with light-amplification, flash limiter, rangefinder, and recorder functions for 1. Each +1 can provide an additional two functions, including laser-designator, infrared, ultraviolet, radiation detection, and directional microphone functions.
  • Computers: computers have come a long way. They can handle natural-language inputs, set up basic computations for you, store massive amounts of data, and volunteer assistance. In general, and when relevant, they provide a +2/4/6 bonus on relevant tasks (the user may have (Int Mod + 3) major programs loaded at any one time, swapping out during downtime) for 1/2/3 at about the size of a large pack of gum/book/laptop. The interface is usually an ultralight HUD/earclip speaker system if it isn’t routed straight to cyberware and a couple of light rings that track hand movements on virtual controls. The interface with other systems is normally a short-range, high-bandwitch, wireless link.
  • Environmental Gear: pocket pack of a dozen metalized, self-bonding, tarps/blankets/sleeping bags/tents/watertight storage bagsparachutes 1, ultralight 10-ton cord with cutter and bonder 1, umbrellas and raincoats 0, Scuba outfit 2.
  • Flashlight/Lantern/Torch: adjustable, dim to blinding, narrow to broad area 1, hot enough on tight focus to cut or weld thin metal 2. If you want a strobe, or multicolor/lightshow mode, 3.
  • Instrument Packs: environmental/chemical, radio/radiation, infrared/visual/ultraviolet, medical / diagnostic, movement/ultrasound, radioisotope/reactive dating, chemical/biochemical analyzer, microbial identifier/gene sequencer, microscope/materials analyzer. Basic packs cost 1, advanced packs providing a +3/+6 bonus cost 2/3.
  • Linecaster: these “spin” a monofilament line from fast-polymerizing chemicals with a reaction pressure capable of hurling the resulting line a hundred feet. Due to incomplete boundary polymerization, the resulting line is extremely “sticky” for several seconds afterwards. The line can support abouf five hundred pounds and can be reeled back in with the push of a button. It is often used to tie things together, swing from, climb, snatch things, or tie people up 2.
  • Multitool: exceptionally “large” swiss army knife 1, memory metal bar (usable as a hammer, axe, small shovel, knife, saw, machete, signal mirror, screwdriver, adjustable wrench, pliars, grapnel, and single-shot .22 rifle/flare launcher (comes with 50 cartridges and 10 flares)) 2, and a power-tool version of the memory metal bar.
  • Skill Kits: In general, these provide a +2/+3/+4 bonus with a particular skill at a cost o f 1/2/3. If they’re not readily portable, increase the bonus by +1. If they’re basically immobile (a shop, lab, or medical bay for example) increase it by +2. For examples we have…
    • Artists Kit: multi-pigment multi-tip stylus, fixative spray, microscriber, adjustable pencil, paper processor, and camera.
    • Disguise Kit: a high-tech variant on the classical stage makeup chest, the major difference being that it only comes off using solvent. Other, minor, improvements include “natural” feel, adjustable color(s), improved hair dyes, a microcomputer mirror which supplies directions, colored contact lenses, and so on. Provides a +5 bonus on creating disguises.
    • Thieves Kit: various lockpicks, alarm detector, jammer, beam diverters, stethoscope, minidrill, jumper lines, magnet, small prybar, gloves, glasscutter, and a penlight.

Sample Logistics “Devices” include:

Logistics allows the user to pick up general supplies – and describes how well the user can draw on the resources of more civilized areas, making it something of a general “wealth” rating.

  • Concentrates: water purification tabs, pyroconcentrate (burns very hot for a long time), anti-allergy/multivitamin tabs, stimulant/painkillers tabs, and energy bars/ration packs. You have a supply of 1/3/7 types of such items for 1/2/3. .
  • Data Access: you have subscriptions to news services and public databases 1, you can access scientific journals, subscription-only databases, and online libraries 2, you have limited access to law enforcement, archival, and similar private databases 3.
  • Explosives: a supply of plastique, detonator cord, detonators, timers, fuses, and similar toys, 2, 3 if it includes breaching charges and similar.
  • Food and Drink: spice packets 0, condenser/filter/heater canteen 1, 12-day energy bar pack 1, mess kit (includes self-heating collapsible pots, cups, etc) 1, stockpiles of excellent food and drink 2, exotic wines and meals 3.
  • Lifestyle: you live well when in civilized areas 1, you also always have tickets to concerts and events 2, you also always have willing companionship in civilized areas 3.
  • Licensed: you have relevant professional licenses and certificates 1, you can get away being pushy, offensive, and committing a variety of minor offenses 2, you can be an enormous ass, get away with minor offenses, and delay the consequences of major ones for 3.
  • Restraint Kit: several sets of handcuffs (Mn material), knock-out drugs (slow acting, but works for about twelve hours), a blindfold, some fiber-reinforced epoxy “duct tape”, superglue and solvent, and a gag 1.
  • Spare Parts: You have packed enough spare supplies (ammunition, food, spare parts for the vehicle, whatever) to meet 2/3/5 party crises before you must obtain more.
  • Stylish Clothing: 1-3 depending on just how over the top it is, and how much bling it includes.
  • Survival Suit: skintight pressure weave, low-pressure oxygen supply, contracting chest band to help exhaling, suitable for space and underwater operations 1, with biochemical seal to allow use in quarantine and chemically hazardous areas 2, with resistance to corrosion, radiation, and temperature extremes 3.
  • Travel: you have ready access to cabs and public transport, you can take vacations all over the place and travel at whim 2, you travel on chartered flights and chauffeured limousines 3.


Vehicles are large and expensive. While a single individual must buy the basic ratings and primary systems, other characters can purchase secondary systems – all, of course, for the usual 1-3 points.

Basic Ratings: Speed, Maneuver, Weapons, and Size/Cargo Capacity. All of these are rated at Hopeless/-5 (-1), Inferior/-2 (0), Average/- (1), Superior/+2 (2), or Astounding/+5 (3). Cost modifiers include Ground Vehicle (-5), Water Vehicle (-3), Air Vehicle (-1), Interplanetary Vehicle +1, and Space Vehicle +3.

Modern spaceship hulls have a base Hardness of 12 and, if they have weapons, inflict a base of 10d6 (missiles, plasma cannons, lasers, whatever). AC is 10 minus the Size Rating.

For example, a Modified Light Freighter may have Superior/+2 Speed (2), Superior/+2 Maneuver (2), Average/- Weapons (1), and Inferior/-2 Size (0). It is a space vehicle (3), and so far has a basic cost of 8.

Primary Systems: Life Support (Space, Long Term, 3), Communications (1), Sensors (Radar and Navigation, 2), Armor (3, getting the hardness up to 15), and a basic Backup Drive (1). That raises the base cost to 18 – pretty pricey, but it IS a spaceship.

Secondary systems – a decent computer, a medical bay, supplies, and so on – are likely to be the responsibility of a copilot or the crew. It’s very difficult for a low-level character to afford a major vehicle on his or her own.

Now a simple Motorcycle has Superior/+2 Speed (2), Astounding/+5 Maneuver (3), Hopeless/-5 Weapons (-1), and Hopeless/-5 Size (-1). It’s a ground vehicle (-5), but comes with a GPS system (1), and a computer that can diagnose most problems and call for help in emergencies with it’s own communications system (2) – for a net cost of (1).

Weaponry is going to have to wait until after the technological explanations, so that it will make more sense…

23 Responses

  1. “+2/3/5 to the Adrenal Surge skill.”
    Where can I find that Skill?

    • “Cyberweapon: small blade(s), toxin gland,”
      This seems to be cut-off.

    • Ah, an easy one! The players thought that “Bullet Time” was a much better name for it, and so it became on the skills list. Thank you for pointing out that it hadn’t yet been fixed here.

      • Ah ok, that also explais where the crystal infusion get’s the bonus to “Bullet Time”.

  2. […] from The Practical Enchanter), or skills like Legendarium, Dream-Binding, and the Shadowed Galaxy Equipment and Action […]

  3. The “Standard Colonial Defense Force” armor says that it costs 6 skill points, but it seems like it should only cost 5.

    The cost breakdown is: AC +4 (2 points), DR 2/- (2 points), Str +2 (1 point), sensors 1 (1 point), communications 1 (1 point), environmental 1 (1 point), medium armor (-2 points), standard package (-1 point).

  4. […] Battlemech Conversions), Flit, Orb, and Starship Shields) or the Shadowed Galaxy equipment skills (General Gear and […]

  5. […] or Identities, Foresight, Governance, Ninjaneering, Dreambinding, or Secrets, Minions, or various Equipment skills, Action skills, and […]

  6. […] Equipment Skills of the Shadowed Galaxy pretty much replace money, wealth-by-level, and equipment costs – a […]

  7. […] or Identities, Foresight, Governance, Ninjaneering, Dreambinding, or Secrets, Minions, or various Equipment skills, Action skills, and […]

  8. […] (Bullet Time, Logistics, Networking, and Tough It Out), Specialized for Double Effect / only applies to Racial Bonuses (6 […]

  9. […] Battletech characters may purchase the Armory, Gadgetry, Logistics, and Weaponry skills – although high-end Armory purchases become large, clunky, war machines […]

  10. […] Biotech: +6 (3* CP) +2 (Con) +2 (Training) +3 (Template) = +13 […]

  11. How would you use the equipment skills in a standard high fantasu d&d setting? Where would you price a wand, or holy avenger, stuff like that? Examples for all of the equipment skills like these would be really nice, because I’m blanking on 3.P style magic item prices using this.

  12. […] would you use the equipment skills in a standard high fantasy D&D setting? Where would you price a wand, or holy avenger, stuff […]

  13. […] the Shadowed Galaxy setting as Occult Skills. In effect that allows each of those skills – Armory, Biotech, Gadgetry, Logistics, Vehicles, and Weaponry – to be purchased for 6 CP (3 CP to gain access, 3 SP to cover the double cost […]

  14. […] of the Equipment Skills of the Shadowed Galaxy setting is ALSO labeled “Gadgetry”. That version of the skill covers […]

  15. […] Occult Skills (the Equipment Skills of the Shadowed Galaxy) purchased at normal prices, Specialized and Corrupted / such skills may only be bought up to […]

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