Rage against the God-Machine
Equipment, tools, and technology help to solve problems. Having the right tool for the job can mean the difference between life and death — or in the World of Darkness, the difference between life and a fate worse than death. This list is not all-inclusive, but features many of the tools characters in the World of Darkness might have at their disposal.
Equipment is divided up by the Skills they typically assist with. Mental Equipment typically assists with Mental Skills, for example.
Availability and Procurement
The dot cost of a piece of equipment reflects directly on the Resources cost if your character wishes to purchase it (or the components, for some things). It also reflects the level of Allies or other Social Merit required in order to find the item and the Skill level required to procure it with a single dice roll. For example, if a Party Invitation has Cost •••, a character with Larceny •• should not be able to find and steal the item without a roll, but a character with Politics •••• might be able to get one by virtue of saying the right words to the right organization. If your character wishes to obtain higher Availability items with their Skills, it requires a deeper effort.
Size, Durability, and Structure
These are guidelines that represent common, standard examples of the items in question. For most items, characters could procure better examples at a higher Availability rating.
Most equipment offers a bonus to dice rolls pertaining to its use. Multiple items can influence a given roll, but a roll should not receive more than a +5 bonus.
A character with the item can use these Effects. Any restrictions, costs, or parameters are listed individually.
Mental equipment is all but essential for many character types. Mental Skills without the proper tools are almost useless in most cases. A doctor without medicine is hardly capable of healing, and an auto mechanic without a toolbox couldn’t change some minor belts on a car.
Basic (Kit): Die Bonus +1, Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability •
Advanced (Garage): Die Bonus +2, Availability ••
Effect: Automotive tools are a necessity for all but the simplest automobile repairs. Even then, a fully stocked garage with heavy equipment is required for more involved tasks such as engine or transmission replacement. If time is not a factor, any trained character with a Crafts Automotive Specialty can repair a vehicle’s mundane issues without rolls. Complex modifications and enhancements or massive damage always requires a greater effort (an extended Intelligence + Crafts roll) to work out.
Die Bonus +1 to +3, Durability 2, Size 1–5, Structure 5, Availability • to •••
Effect: A cache is a hidden and defensible place for items, usually weapons. It keeps important items from prying eyes. A cache can never be more than half the Size of its parent object. For example, a Size 6 car can support no larger than a Size 3 cache. A given cache can hold two items of its Size and any reasonable number of smaller-sized items. Its Availability determines its die bonus, which both adds to concealment rolls and subtracts from rolls to find the items within.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 0, Size 1, Structure 1, Availability ••
Effect: Communications headsets keep characters in constant contact. Different varieties works over different distances, but most commercial models works over about 200 feet. A common alternative is a conference call between cellular phones and Bluetooth headsets. If the users have practiced using their headsets together, they gain the die bonus on any coordinated efforts. In the case of a teamwork action, the die bonus only applies to the final roll. If the users are unpracticed, the bonus falls to +1 and actors must make reflexive Wits + Composure rolls to participate successfully. Any heavy objects can obstruct a headset’s signal. Anything obstructing with Durability higher than 3 requires listeners to make a Wits + Composure roll to understand shared messages. Levy a –1 penalty for each point of Durability over 4.
Crime Scene Kit
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 3, Structure 2, Availability ••
Effect: A crime scene (or CSI) kit is a toolbox full of investigative aids such as magnifiers, fingerprinting dust, cameras, tape, testing chemicals, and sample bags. While the kits offer a die bonus to Investigation rolls, the more important benefit of the CSI kit is that it allows evidence to be moved and digested elsewhere. Properly applied, it allows investigators to do the bulk of their work off-site and at their own pace.
Die Bonus +5, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 1, Availability •
Effect: A code kit is a series of tools created for the purpose of making and interpreting a code for a specific audience. A common example is a book code, where a page, paragraph, and word from a certain book are used as the foundation for a cypher. This keeps any uninformed eyes off the intended message. In the case of a book code, a book is often chosen that all message recipients can access easily. This guarantees that the code never has to travel with the code key. A successfully designed cypher is difficult to break. The die bonus acts as a penalty to any rolls to crack the code without the necessary reference key.
Die Bonus +2, Durability N/A, Size N/A, Structure N/A, Availability •••
Effect: Crappy software’s a dime a dozen. Good, reliable cracking software is hard to come by. With solid software, a hacker can force passwords, breach firewalls, and otherwise make a nuisance of herself in computer systems. Beyond the dice pool modification, the benefit such software offers is a sort of buffer between the hacker and security. Any efforts to track the hacker takes two steps; one to identify the software, then one to trace it back to the source. Functionally this means two rolls on behalf of the security personnel, with an opportunity for the hacker to withdraw before detection.
Die Bonus +1 or +2, Durability 1, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability • or ••
Effect: In the last decade, digital audio recorders have gotten smaller, more effective, and more affordable. Now, any student can carry a coin-sized device that would have put intelligence agencies of the 1980s to shame. The cheaper model of recorder gives its +1 bonus to any rolls to catch words or sounds. The bonus also applies to concealment rolls. The more expensive model gives +2. With an Intelligence + Computer (with die bonus), a character can contest any rolls to obscure discussion or mask noises.
Die Bonus +1, Durability 1, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability •
Effect: Duct tape has as many uses as one can think of, and just as many you never would. It can reinforce barricades, stabilize weapon handles, bind prisoners, repair broken pipes, and so much more. In most cases, duct tape can offer a +1 bonus to Crafts-related rolls. Alternatively, it can add a point of Durability to almost anything. If used as a restraint, rolls to break free suffer a –3 penalty, and must overcome the duct tape’s Structure.
First Aid Kit
Die Bonus 0 or +1, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability • or ••
Effect: A first aid kit contains all the necessary supplies to stabilize an injury and stop wounds from getting worse until the victim can find proper treatment. The one-dot version of the first aid kit does not offer a die bonus, it simply allows for treatment. The two-dot version offers a +1 to treatment rolls due to superior supplies.
Die Bonus +1, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 3, Availability •
Effect: In a world of darkness, a flashlight can be a person’s best friend. It generally does what it’s supposed to; it helps cut a path through the unknown. Its die bonus subtracts from any penalties due to darkness, and adds to any rolls to search in the dark. A good flashlight can serve as a club in a pinch. As well, it can blind an unfortunate subject. A Dexterity + Athletics roll, subtracting an informed opponent’s Defense, will put the beam where it needs to be. The victim’s player may make a contested Stamina roll. If your character scores more successes than the subject, they’re blinded for one turn. Victims with especially acute senses are blinded for two turns.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 1, Size 1, Structure 1, Availability •
Effect: Glowsticks use a chemical mixture to summon forth enough light to see in a small area. Most commercial glowsticks last a couple of hours; police and other professional varieties can last twelve. Because they’re small, airtight containers, they serve the added benefit of being useful underwater or in the rain. Functionally, they work the same as a flashlight. However, they cannot be used to blind a target, since their soft glow is far less obtrusive than a flashlight’s beam. They’re also very conveniently worn, which can serve strategic purposes for a group operating in low-light conditions. A member will not go missing without being noticed so long as they have a glowing neon bar on their belt.
Die Bonus +3, Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 2, Availability ••
Effect: With the advent of the modern cellular phone, most modern people have a GPS-enabled device on their person at any given time. With a bit of know-how, and access to someone’s phone, your character can track their every move (provided those moves are not in caves, tunnels, or sewer systems). Some characters will trade GPS data in case one of the group becomes lost or if they have to follow someone without notice. Planting a phone on an unwitting subject can serve as a highly effective tracking device.
Die Bonus +2, Durability N/A, Size N/A, Structure N/A, Availability ••
Effect: Keylogging software does exactly one thing: It logs keystrokes on a computer. This is usually done to record
incriminating data or passwords. Usually, keylogging software is coupled with software to transmit the data once captured. The challenge for the would-be intruder is installing the software. Email scams are an unreliable way to get onto a specific computer, but could fool one member of a large organization. A thumb drive is very effective, but requires direct, physical access to the recipient computer. The software’s die bonus offers an advantage to breach a network or to find important data.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 0, Size 1, Structure 1, Availability •
Effect: Luminol is a chemical that reacts to certain metals in human blood and other bodily fluids. The reaction causes a faint neon glow for about thirty seconds, visible in the dark. It comes in an aerosol can and will seek out faint traces, even after a thorough cleaning. In addition to showing the exact locations of violent crimes, luminol can assist in tracking wounded people and animals. Luminol’s die bonus applies to any roll to track by the fluid traces, or to piece together the details of a crime scene.
Die Bonus +1, Durability 3, Size 1, Structure 4, Availability •
Effect: Sometimes, the need for mobility doesn’t allow for your character to carry around a full tool kit. In these cases, a multi-tool can be a lifesaver. From sawing to stripping wires, to opening bottles, to filing off serial numbers, a multi-tool can do the job in a pinch. The multi-tool offers a negligible die bonus on numerous Crafts and other assorted tasks, and most importantly, allows for rolls when sometimes they couldn’t be made for lack of proper equipment. While not made for use as a weapon, it can serve as one causing 0 lethal, but suffering a –1 penalty to hit.
Die Bonus +1 to +4, Durability 2, Size 3, Structure 2, Availability • to ••••
Effect: In the developed world, almost every household has access to a personal computer. They vary in size, functionality, and price, from decade-old models that can barely surf the web to high-end machines that can process gigabytes of data per second. In today’s world, many lives revolve around computers. For some people, their entire careers and personal lives exist within digital space. The Availability of the computer determines its die bonus.
Die Bonus +1 to +2, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 1, Availability • to •••
Effect: By themselves, smartphones can make calls, send text messages and emails, take pictures, maintain an agenda, and search the web. With a bit of software, the Smartphone becomes the multi-tool of the electronic age. While it cannot accomplish the raw computing power of a full-sized personal computer, higher-end smartphones can manage almost all the same tasks with ease. Most major gadgets have been successfully replicated with smartphone applications. GPS scanning and tracking are staples of the amateur investigator. Facial recognition software finds a face in a crowd with relative accuracy. They can photograph and transcribe text, then translate ancient tomes. They can store a library’s worth of text and allow for automated searches. They offer directions with photographic assistance. The value of a mindless video game on a stakeout is often underestimated.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 5, Structure 3, Availability •••
Effect: Special effects is a catch-all term for the tricks and chicanery used by amusement parks and stage magicians to fool witnesses. A character may use these as a distraction or a defense. For example, the Pepper’s Ghost illusion is relatively easy to set up with the right tools. It uses a large mirror and a sheet of glass, along with a model and a light source. It projects an illusion of the model’s reflection, and makes witnesses see a “ghost.”
In addition to the die bonus, special effects generally fool their audience at first. A witness will fall for the trick, unless given good reason to be suspicious. This can waste valuable time or lead the witness into a trap.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 2, Availability •••
Effect: Standard surveillance equipment usually consists of motion detectors, cameras, and monitors. High-end versions may include infrared heat sensors, barometric scanners, or even more complex gear. Either way, the point of surveillance equipment is to survey, detect, and otherwise track who enters or leaves a location. Often, this also means locking down breached zones. Unless someone knows surveillance equipment exists and actively avoids it, his presence is noticed and recorded. If he tries to avoid it, contest his Dexterity + Stealth against the installing technician’s Intelligence + Computer or Intelligence + Crafts (for digital and analog systems, respectively). The technician may add the equipment’s die bonus. If the intruder scores more successes, he remains unnoticed. Otherwise, he goes on record.
Die Bonus +1 or +2, Durability 2, Size 2 or 3, Structure 3, Availability • or •••
Effect: Survival gear is the catch-all term for the various kits of equipment needed to survive in harsh environments. This could encompass tents, canned foodstuff, raingear, sleeping bags, sterile water, or any of the various things a person can use to survive the world outside their cushy homes. They come in two levels: a basic level and an advanced level. The basic level offers +1 and subtracts one from the effective level of environment, (see Extreme Environments, p. 213), while the advanced offers +2 and subtracts two from the effective environment level. This does not help with a level 4 environment. A resourceful character can jury rig or scavenge the necessary supplies for a basic survival gear, but an advanced set of gear requires very specialized equipment. Basic survival gear can assist with most any environment, but advanced survival gear must be catered to one particular type of environment.
Die Bonus +2, Durability N/A, Size 1, Structure N/A, Availability •
Effect: Talcum powder can keep a baby’s bottom from getting diaper rash, but it can also show the presence of the unseen, and show evidence of intrusion if placed at a portal of entry. If dusted with talcum powder, a character must achieve five successes on a Dexterity + Stealth roll to enter without a trace. Fewer successes will only obscure the specifics of their feet and hands. Some paranormal investigators use talcum powder as a way to give ghosts and other invisible entities a method for communication.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 1, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability •
Effect: Ultraviolet Ink, or invisible ink as it’s commonly called, is an outstanding way to relay messages in plain sight.
Since the naked eye cannot perceive the ink without an ultraviolet light, a character can scrawl messages for other recipients in-the-know. It also allows for secretive information to be passed around through mundane channels. If someone’s being surveyed by nefarious forces, an ultraviolet message scribbled on a throwaway magazine is much easier to get into their home unmolested than, say, a suspicious letter slid through their doorframe. If you need to mark a path to a secret hiding place, what better way to conceal the guiding marks?
Physical equipment enhances the use of Physical Skills. This often means the use of simple and complex machines to make things easier, or simple tricks to heighten the effectiveness of a character’s inherent talents.
Die Bonus +4, Durability 3, Size 4, Structure 8, Availability ••
Effect: The purpose of the battering ram is to bring down doors and other barricades with direct, focused force. A battering ram uses a Teamwork action (see the World of Darkness Rulebook, p. 134), allowing up to four participants. The primary actor adds the ram’s die bonus to her roll. A ram ignores two points of Durability.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 3, Size 2, Structure 5, Availability ••
Effect: A bear trap is a large metal contraption that looks something like a set of deadly jaws. For this reason, they’re also commonly called jaw traps. When a human or large animal steps into the bear trap, it snaps shut on their leg. Due to the serrated edges on the trap, this can cause massive bleeding or even broken bones.
The jaw trap causes 3L damage and ignores two points of armor or Durability. A character trapped in the jaws can attempt to escape as an instant action. Doing so requires a Strength + Stamina roll, with the trap’s die bonus as a penalty due to the distracting pain and the strength of the jaws. Failure on this roll causes another point of lethal damage as the jaw digs in further. Creatures without opposable thumbs cannot escape this way and must rip themselves free. Any rolls to hide a bear trap suffer its die bonus as a penalty. They’re difficult to hide due to their awkward shape and weight.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability ••
Effect: Caltrops are small, pointed pieces of metal, arranged in such a way that one point is always facing upward. This makes walking (or driving) through a patch of caltrops inconvenient and painful. These traits assume enough caltrops to fill a doorway or other narrow corridor. Moving through caltrops causes one point of lethal damage. Caltrops ignore a point of armor or Durability. To move through safely, a Dexterity + Athletics roll is required with the caltrops’ die bonus applied as a penalty to the roll. A character may only move half Speed (rounded down) while moving safely through caltrops. A character may hide caltrops, although it is difficult. A Wits + Larceny –3 roll is required, the caltrops’ die bonus does not apply to this roll.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability ••
Effect: Camouflage clothing allows its wearer to blend in with her surroundings enough for the untrained eye to pass over. Effective camouflage must be catered to the environment; greens and browns in the woodlands, shades of grey in an urban area. Proper camouflage adds its bonus to rolls to remain unnoticed.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 3, Size 2, Structure 2, Availability ••
Effect: Climbing gear includes ropes, pulleys, handles, carabineers, hooks, and other assorted tools for scaling things. They serve a twofold purpose. First, they add their die bonus to the normal Strength + Athletics rolls for climbing. Second, if properly applied (with a Wits + Athletics roll), they prevent a character from falling more than ten feet at a time.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 3, Size 2, Structure 4, Availability •
Effect: A crowbar is a curved piece of steel used to pry open shipping pallets, jammed doors, and other things a normal person would be incapable of doing by hand. It adds to any dice rolls used to establish leverage. When prying things open, it also allows your character to ignore two points of Durability on the lock or barricade. Additionally, a crowbar can be used as a weapon (see p. 202).
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability ••
Effect: A firearm suppressor is popularly and misleadingly referred to as a silencer in cinema and other media. It’s a cylinder placed on the end of a gun barrel that changes and lightens the sound of a shot. A suppressor delivers many minor benefits, but two noteworthy advantages: short-range accuracy and concealment.
Increased Accuracy: A suppressed firearm travels through a longer barrel and the muzzle crown evens the expulsion of hot gasses that can slightly affect trajectory. In game terms, reduce a suppressed gun’s damage rating by 1 due to the bullet’s subsonic flight, but increase the attack dice pool by 2 when firing at short range.
Position Concealer: The sound changes dramatically, to the point where many people do not recognize the sound as that of a gunshot and are often unable to place where the lower tone came from. The muzzle flash is also reduced dramatically with a suppressor, helping to conceal a shooter’s position. A character trying to identify a suppressed shot must roll Wits + Firearms – 2. Any character searching for the shooter using the gun’s tells suffers a –2 penalty.
Die Bonus +5, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability ••
Effect: A gas mask is a filtration device placed over the face that defends against noxious chemicals in the air. With a working gas mask, a character can stand minor toxins for as long as he needs, whereas other characters might take damage over time or require rolls to remain conscious. Powerful toxins may still require rolls. A gas mask adds five dice to these rolls.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 4, Size 1, Structure 4, Availability •
Effect: A solid pair of steel handcuffs is made to restrain even a remarkably strong person. Applying handcuffs to an unwilling combatant is an additional option in a grapple. Roll Strength + Brawl – the opponent’s Strength. Success means the handcuffs are where they need to be. Breaking out of successfully applied handcuffs requires a Strength + Stamina – 4 roll. Each success on the roll reduces the Structure of the cuffs by 1. Cuffs reduced to 0 Structure snap open. Each attempt to escape causes 1 point of bashing damage. A character may also try to finagle their hands out of the cuffs. This requires a Dexterity + Athletics – 4 roll. Success allows for an escape, and causes one point of bashing damage. Failure on this roll causes one point of lethal damage, as the thumb jerks out of socket. Attempting to do anything requiring manual dexterity while cuffed incurs a –4 penalty, or –2 if the hands are cuffed in front. Witnesses are unlikely to behave favorably around a cuffed character, Social rolls against strangers incur a –3 penalty. Many police forces and security companies now prefer heavy duty plastic zip ties in place of handcuffs. While they’re slightly less durable (Durability 3), they incur a –5 penalty from behind or –3 from the front, because they can be far tighter on the wrists. They can also be cut free.
Die Bonus +2, Durability 2, Size 2, Structure 2, Availability ••
Effect: A lockpicking kit consists of picks, tools, and rods for manipulating tumblers and opening locks. A good kit contains a wide array of tools to all but guarantee intrusion of an analog lock. With such a kit and at least a dot of Larceny, a character can pick a lock without a roll if time is not an issue. If time is an issue, the die bonus applies to the Dexterity + Larceny rolls. At Availability •, a character may procure a portable lockpick. It has Size 1, Structure 1, and is far more concealable. However, it only offers a +1 bonus and doesn’t allow for picking without rolls since the kit realistically may not have the right tools for a given job. A lockpicking kit only works on mechanical locks. Digital locks require more specific hacking and code prediction. A character may procure a digital lockpick at Availability •••, but typically only works on one type of lock, such as the keycard locks used in hotels. Digital lockpicks can be Size 2, or Size 1 if crafted as an extension of a laptop computer or smartphone.
Mace (Pepper Spray)
Die Bonus +1, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 1, Availability •
Effect: Pepper spray, or “mace” as it’s commonly called, is a blend of chemicals (mostly capsaicin, the “hot” part of a chili) in a small spray can, designed to debilitate threats. Civilians use these devices in self-defense; police use them to subdue unruly criminals. Use of pepper spray requires a Dexterity + Athletics, or Dexterity + Firearms roll. Each yard is a range category, so one yard is short range, two yards is medium, three yards is long range. An opponent’s Defense applies, but in normal wind conditions, the die bonus applies to the roll.
Upon the first attack, the victim suffers the Stun Tilt (see p. 212). An opponent struck suffers a –5 penalty to all ac-tions. This penalty can be reduced by one for every turn spent rinsing the eyes with water. Commercial chemicals designed to clean the eyes will fully remove the penalty after a turn.
Night Vision Goggles
Die Bonus +2, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 1, Availability ••
Effect: Night vision goggles amplify low-light conditions, allowing characters to see when they otherwise could not. A character with night vision goggles does not suffer penalties for acting blind. Bright lights can render the wearer temporarily blinded, as if he had a flashlight shone in his eyes.
Die Bonus +1, Durability 2, Size 3, Structure 2, Availability •
Effect: Rope is one of the oldest tools known to humankind. It’s never left prominent use because of its simple and efficient utility. A good rope adds its die bonus to relevant Crafts rolls and anywhere else it would assist. As a binding agent, it resists breaking with a Durability (or effective Strength) equal to its user’s Crafts score, due to the multiplicative effect of solid knots. An applicable Specialty adds one to the user’s Crafts score for this purpose. Some interrogators, shibari fetishists, and boy scouts alike specialize in remarkable knot-tying, potentially rendering subjects completely and hopelessly immobile.
Die Bonus +2, Durability N/A, Size N/A, Structure N/A, Availability ••
Effect: Slick is a catch-all for mixtures of chemicals designed to cover an area and make it difficult to pass due to slippery and sticky conditions. Most slick lasts about an hour at effective slipperiness. Anyone walking in a covered area must succeed in a Dexterity + Athletics – 3 roll each turn to maintain footing. Failure results in the Knocked Down Tilt (see p. 211). Similarly, an object coated requires a Dexterity + Athletics – 3 to grasp it successfully. Because it dries rapidly, every fifteen minutes after application, all rolls to resist the slick gain a cumulative +1.
Die Bonus 0, Durability 2, Size 1, Structure 2, Availability •, ••, or •••
Effect: A stun gun is designed to deliver an overwhelming amount of electricity to an assailant in order to shut down her muscles and send her to the ground. As a defensive item, this gives the would-be victim time to run or get help. As an offensive item, it leaves the victim ready for restraint or worse.
These devices come in two varieties (hand-held and ranged) and three intensities (1–3, corresponding to their Availabilities). The hand-held model has live leads on the edge of a handle and can be used as many as fifty times on one battery charge. The ranged model fires small wired darts up to fifteen feet away. While the ranged model has similar battery life, it uses a compressed air cartridge that requires replacement after each shot.
Use of a handheld stun gun requires a Dexterity + Weaponry roll, penalized by the victim’s Defense. The ranged model uses Dexterity + Firearms, also penalized by the victim’s Defense. On a successful hit with either, the victim takes one point of lethal damage. The successes subtract from the victim’s next dice pool. With the ranged version, the darts remain in the victim’s body, adding three successes automatically each turn. They can be removed with a Strength + Stamina roll, with the initial successes penalizing the action. With the hand-held version, the attacker can attempt to maintain the shock, which takes a Strength + Weaponry, penalized by the greater of the opponent’s Strength or Defense. Once the accumulated successes exceed the victim’s Size, the victim collapses in neuro-muscular incapacitation. Once the shock ends, this lasts for (10 – victim’s Stamina) in turns.
Social actions deal with people. Social Equipment offers tools for leverage, influence, and manipulation.
Die Bonus +1 to +5, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 1, Availability • to •••••
Effect: This represents a wad of cash, a briefcase of money, an offshore bank account number, or some other lump sum. It can’t be reflected in the Resources Merit since it’s not a regular income. However, it can be expended to offer a bonus equivalent to its Availability on any social roll where a bribe could benefit. As well, it can be expended to purchase one item of equal Availability. For more complex uses, consider it a single month’s allotment of the same Resources.
Die Bonus +1 to +5, Durability 1, Size 2-4, Structure 1, Availability • to •••••
Effect: Similar to cash (above), contraband reflects a lump sum of valuable materials. In this case, it’s not monetary, it’s illegal. This might mean guns, drugs, or even smuggled truffles. Contraband can be used identically to cash, except only within certain circles. Not everyone will take stolen goods for payment. However, with a group that has a high demand for the item, the contraband is worth one dot rating higher (maximum 5).
Die Bonus +1 to +3, Durability 1, Size 3, Structure 2, Availability • to •••
Effect: A good disguise goes a long way to help fit in with a strange group or go unnoticed in a crowd where one doesn’t belong. Properly costumed for a situation, no rolls are required to blend into the crowd. Any rolls to actively detect the outsider suffer a penalty equal to the die bonus of the disguise; the disguised character also gains the bonus to remain hidden.
With a disguise, a character can emulate the first dot of a single Social Merit that would make sense within the scope of the scene. For example, it doesn’t make money appear from thin air, but it would allow a character to get their drinks on a nonexistent tab, reflecting Resources •. This requires a Composure + Subterfuge to maintain in the face of anyone in the know, contested by the witness’s Wits + Subterfuge. The die bonus of the disguise applies to the liar, but does not affect the witness.
Die Bonus +1 to +3, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 1, Availability • to •••••
Effect: Never underestimate the value of high fashion. Like a disguise, fashionable clothing allows a character to fit in. However, the point of fashion is to draw attention, not to fade into the crowd. As opposed to anonymity, fashion means being noticed. Note that the clothing chosen must be appropriate to the setting. Punk chic will not work at a Senator’s fundraiser, for example. When improperly dressed, the die bonus applies as a penalty to all Social Skill rolls. The die bonus for Fashion is equal to half the Availability, rounded up.
Die Bonus +1 to +5, Durability 4 +, Size 12 +, Structure 8 +, Availability • to •••••
Housing reflects a place to lay one’s head. The Availability score determines the size, location, and relative luxury of the building. One dot may reflect a tiny apartment in a terrible part of town, three dots a three-bedroom home in a suburb, while five could mean a penthouse condo downtown or a sprawling mansion.
Die Bonus +1, Durability 1, Size 2, Structure 3, Availability •••
Effect: A good makeup kit can not only disguise a character in a pinch, but can help to sell a story. With ten minutes of preparation, a makeup kit’s die bonus applies to any applicable Social rolls.
A makeup kit can also help to build a narrative. Want to convince someone that you’ve been beaten? It’s not hard to fake a black eye. Want to walk through the vampire club without drawing attention and undue fangs? A little pancake makeup and rouge goes a long way. With makeup applied, subtract the die bonus from any dice rolls to detect her true identity.
Die Bonus +3, Durability 1, Size 3, Structure 4, Availability •••
Effect: Polygraph machines detect heart rates, sweat, and breath using electrodes and stethoscopes. For many people, this can guide a skilled user in determining honest and deceptive behaviors. Both digital and analog models exist and they work similarly. A digital model is often smaller (Size 2), but gives the same bonus. When used by a trained practitioner (requiring Medicine • or greater), a polygraph machine offers its die bonus to any rolls to detect lies.