Author Topic: How Do I Handle Equipment?  (Read 4426 times)

Offline Craftzero

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How Do I Handle Equipment?
« on: August 13, 2010, 03:33:54 PM »
Sorry, newb here.  But my FBI Agent/Son of Ares player wants to always have his bulletproof vest on.  Sure, it counts as Armor 1 or 2.  But am I allowed to compel the armor?  The setting is Los Angeles, and it's the summertime.  Can I give him the aspect of "Tired and Sweaty" because he's been wearing it all day?  What's to prevent all the characters grabbing vests?  (I have a problem with this - you don't see it happen all the time in the books!)  What about other equipment?  Can he, based upon his Resources, get anything he wants?  Also, is it fair to just simply say, "I have a vest" - when another of the characters paid -1 Refresh for the Endurance stunt that gives +1 armor (but only in certain situations)?

Offline Deadmanwalking

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2010, 03:47:54 PM »
Sorry, newb here.  But my FBI Agent/Son of Ares player wants to always have his bulletproof vest on.  Sure, it counts as Armor 1 or 2.  But am I allowed to compel the armor?

If you do, then you're saying it has the Aspect "Heavy Armor" or some such, which he can Invoke just as you Compel it. Making it even better defensively. Now, that's a valid way to go, though I'm not sure I'd take it that direction, but just giving it a downside with no benefit isn't cool, and is likely to get him killed. Combat is vicious in the DFRPG, especially for mortals, and they need all the advantages they can get. He's not mortal, but any rulings you apply to him, go to them as well.

The setting is Los Angeles, and it's the summertime.  Can I give him the aspect of "Tired and Sweaty" because he's been wearing it all day?

As a Compel, that seems reasonable...but not just slapping it on him. Harry wears a full-length leather duster consistently, and mostly without problems, and that's probably worse heat-wise, all things considered. That is Chicago, not LA, but still.

What's to prevent all the characters grabbing vests?  (I have a problem with this - you don't see it happen all the time in the books!)

Are you kidding? Murphy usually has a vest on. Check Proven Guilty for an example. Plus Michael's plate/kevlar combo, Kincaid's tendency towards armor, John Marcone's armor in every fight he goes into prepared...

The only people I can think of who don't wear it are Harry and Thomas, and Harry has his duster instead. Well, and maybe Mouse and Molly, but Molly's young and Mouse doesn't count.

What about other equipment?  Can he, based upon his Resources, get anything he wants?
 

Anything he has a good reason to get that's not illegal, sure. Why couldn't he?

Also, is it fair to just simply say, "I have a vest" - when another of the characters paid -1 Refresh for the Endurance stunt that gives +1 armor (but only in certain situations)?

A bulletproof vest can be taken away, is at least as limited in what it applies to (guns, and maybe some blunt force trauma, utterly useless vs. swords and knives), and the guy with the Stunt can always get one too and allowing the armor to stack seems reasonable to me.


Speaking of which, it's worth noting that the game's creators reccomend not allowing armor to stack, or only having lower armors Complement (ie: add  +1) to the highest. The second is more reasonable, IMO, but either should help prevent armor from being abused too much.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 03:51:53 PM by Deadmanwalking »

Offline WillH

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2010, 03:52:02 PM »
Well cops routinely wear vests all day long in places much hotter than Southern CA, so that's pretty much a non issue. If they all want to grab vests who cares? They aren't playing the books. They're playing their stories. If their high concept is not something that would likely have a vest, I'd call for a resources test. The same goes for any equipment really. Is it fair to just say I have a vest? Sure, as long as everyone has the option. Besides, that guy with the stunt can wear shorts and a t-shirt at the beach and still have his +1. The guy with the vest can't without looking ridiculous.

ETA Good points from DMW. Also freaking Butters even wears a vest.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2010, 03:54:04 PM by WillH »

Offline Ophidimancer

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2010, 03:58:04 PM »
POLKA WILL NEVER DIE!!! ;D

Offline Bruce Coulson

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2010, 04:02:11 PM »
Use compels on Equipment?  Oh yes.  Tired, sweaty, uncomfortable, lack of upper-body mobility...there are a LOT of reasons why police officers (for example) aren't always wearing vests; why, in most cases, they only don vests when they KNOW they're going into a potentially dangerous situation.  (No, most police avoid wearing vests when possible.  They certainly don't wear them when they're off-duty, and constantly doing so will attract notice.)

I'd treat "I have a vest" as a Declaration, and subject to a die roll, as opposed to a Stunt, which works as stated.  Keep in mind that civilians wearing body armor attract official attention.  There's no law against it, but why are you anticipating trouble?  What are you invoilved in?  A Compel with police stopping and questioning the character(s) when they're rushing to a location...

As an FBI agent, he can get a lot of equipment; but again, depending on what he's getting, there may be more official scrutiny than he would like.  Also, is he paying for it himself?  I believe there's a limit for 'casual' purchases, and as an Agent, he's not THAT well heeled.  And agents/law enforcement can't just sign out explosives from their department...
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Offline Craftzero

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2010, 04:10:17 PM »
Wow, some great points - delivered quickly to my door.  Thanks guys.

You're right about Murphy and the others with their vests.  I forgot about that.

In regards to compelling "Tired and Sweaty" - could I do that at anytime for anyone (not just in terms of wearing a vest). 

Example, if it's really cold out and PC's are trying to pick a lock - could I compel "Hands are Numb" even though he doesn't have that aspect?

What about if someone is using a gun - could I compel "Gun Jammed!" if I wanted to?

To be clear: any DM who would abuse those is a poor DM.   I'm more looking to answer the question of "Can I compel a character with an aspect even if it's not his aspect, a city aspect, or even a scene aspect, but makes sense for other reasons?"

Offline luminos

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2010, 04:49:23 PM »
you can compel those aspects, but you need a good reason for those aspects to be there.  That is to say, you can't just decide to stick an aspect on them and then compel it.  You can't compel "Tired and sweaty" unless that's a consequence the character took in a conflict, or something he has as an aspect.  You can't compel "Hands are numb" unless someone in the game put that aspect there, or its something he has an aspect for.  You can't compel yadda yadda yadda etc.

You CAN call for endurance to restrict all physical rolls if the character has been physically exerting themselves for a while.

You CAN put a scene aspect on the lockpicking scene of "Sub-zero temperatures" and compel that

You CAN (as long as the players know this is how things will work in your game) compel a gun that has an aspect of "shoddy maintenance" to jam.  A gun might (and again, clear this method of doing things with the players first) have negative aspects if it is bought below its value on the how much things cost chart.  If you go that way, I'd say you should give guns bought a few steps higher on the cost chart should have positive aspects, and you should let a high enough craftsmanship skill remove negative aspects and add positive ones.
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Offline WillH

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2010, 05:02:32 PM »
You CAN put a scene aspect on the lockpicking scene of "Sub-zero temperatures" and compel that

Right on, that's exactly the way to handle that situation.

Quote
You CAN (as long as the players know this is how things will work in your game) compel a gun that has an aspect of "shoddy maintenance" to jam.  A gun might (and again, clear this method of doing things with the players first) have negative aspects if it is bought below its value on the how much things cost chart.  If you go that way, I'd say you should give guns bought a few steps higher on the cost chart should have positive aspects, and you should let a high enough craftsmanship skill remove negative aspects and add positive ones.

There is really no such thing as a positive or negative aspect. Any aspect can be invoked or compelled. To go with the "shoddy maintenance" example, you might say the gun expectantly doubles and invoke that for a +2. But, negative sounding aspects for stuff bought on the cheap and positive sounding aspects for more expensive gear sounds reasonable. I guess that's probably what you meant any way. Personally, I wouldn't bother because I wouldn't want to make equipment that important.

Also, guns don't jam anywhere near as much as gamers think they do.

Offline austinmonster

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2010, 05:13:27 PM »
I think the best way to handle it is to use scene aspects judiciously.   

"sub-tropical summer temps" could be a scene aspect that you could not really use on most people... but on the infirmed, those wearing heavy clothing, sports mascots, and snowmen enchanted via a magical hat, it could very much so be used as a basis for compels.

For most folks in a scene, invoking "heat wave" on them might do little more than make them clammy and sticky feeling, and the GM would not really allow it.  But for your more burdened individuals, you could use the compel/invoke as per normal. 

Offline Arcteryx

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2010, 05:21:19 PM »
I wouldn't get too hung up about the armour; in some jurisdictions, police wear it constantly. For example, RCMP in these parts generally have a light vest on, more for a knife-carrying nutjob than a gun-toting client. My brother's in the force and he always puts one on. Luckily he hasn't had to rely on it yet.

Offline Belial666

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2010, 05:24:38 PM »
A few points;

1) Typically a vest should be armor 2 vs piercing, armor 1 vs a few other things such as crushing and light slashing attacks. It should not work against fire, poison, medium and heavy slashing attacks, most explosions and most magic. You'd need to find some serious armor to work against most things and have heavy armor. For example, a nanofiber full suit with ceramic strike plates, insulation and a breathing mask would be armor 3 vs most things... but it would cost a couple hundred $.

2) The armor stunt explicitly stacks. So someone with that or a similar stunt that wears a vest would get the bonus from the vest AND the +1 from the stunt. I tend to use that on my zombies. Give them a "no blood" stunt for +1 armor vs piercing and slashing attacks and have them be policemen or soldiers with bulletproof vests. Hilarious.

3) A fae, lycanthrope, scion, vampire, dwarf, demigod or other variation of supernatural with "toughness" abilities can get something like this;
Quote
[-4] Supernatural Toughness
[+3] Catch; nephilim are vulnerable to either silver (because it represents purity, which they do not) or poison (because it represents mortality, which is their failing). Choose either one or the other.
I hear it is especially appropriate for demigods. Especially for demigods of battle.


@compelling aspects;

1) No, you can't just randomly compel an aspect or randomly apply an aspect on somebody. What you can do is have an environmental attack. If the day is exceptionally hot or exceptionally cold, have a +2 environmental hazard against which they have to roll every hour (if it is just very bad weather), every ten minutes (if they're in a desert at midday or tundra at night) or every 1 minute at +3 (if they're in the Antarctic or close to a major forest fire).
Someone with no endurance skill would last a couple hours in the very bad weather, less than half an hour in the desert/tundra and less than 2 minutes in the Antarctic or near a major fire before he starts taking consequences.
Someone with good endurance would last 9 hours, one and a half hour and six minutes respectively.
Someone with superb endurance would last one week, a bit over a day and nearly three hours, respectively.
Then you can start adding modifiers in the way of roll-important aspects. Someone being naked could well help them against hot weather (+2) but severely hinder them if they're in the Antarctic (-2)
(and yes, the above numbers reflect reality pretty accurately. I checked the numbers-especially for underssed people in the Antarctic)


Similarly, you can apply narrative-important aspects. If someone just shoots their guns a couple of times, no jamming. If someone has been in several prolonged firefights already and hasn't cleaned/worked on his gun, then jamming can happen. Not automatically; have it an an "environmental attack" against the gun's endurance. +0 vs what you decide is jamming endurance if it is clean, +1 if it was a couple of fights without being worked on, +2 if it has been several engagements without being worked on and so on. If the gun hasn't been cleaned for a decade (it might happen) then it might face a Legendary (+8) jamming "attack" when used.
Now, all guns do NOT have the same endurance.
An old-tech gun prone to jamming; mediocre endurance, 2 stress. A +2 jamming "attack" almost certainly will take it out and it may even jam right after cleaning in a really bad roll.
A modern gun prone to jamming; average endurance, 3 stress. +3 attacks typically jam it.
A modern quality automatic; average endurance, 3 stress.
A modern quality revolver; fair to good endurance, 4 stress. It needs serious neglect (or serious magic) to jam.
A modern military machinegun; good endurance, 4 stress. It needs serious neglect to jam but magic may hex it.
A very high quality handmade revolver of a simple but heavy, antijamming design made of tungsten and tantalium; Legandary Endurance, 5 stress. You could fire it if you had just unearthed it from a century-old tomb and only very powerful magic could hex it.

Offline ironchicken

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2010, 06:06:36 PM »
Are you kidding? Murphy usually has a vest on. Check Proven Guilty for an example. Plus Michael's plate/kevlar combo, Kincaid's tendency towards armor, John Marcone's armor in every fight he goes into prepared...

And remember Murphy's armour was compelled when trying to crawl under a laser beam.

FATE tends to work on the "what's reasonable?" for equipment. I tend to look towards aspects and skills. Is it reasonable for a person with those aspects or skills to have that thing? Is it good for the story? Why is it a problem if I say ok? Why is it good if I say ok?

With body armour you have to think about options. Police riot gear is bulky and hard to hide, kevlar under vests are less effective and tend to need more justification (Aspect is your friend here). They also are not very good against blades/claws you need the ceramic plates for that so will only help against guns anyway.

So if your team is going out planning for trouble then of course they will kit up... Harry takes his gun. If they are surprised where they were not expecting a fight then having the armour would require a declaration and probably a Fate point. Kevlar pyjamas are quite rare.

Offline JosephKell

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #12 on: August 13, 2010, 08:25:59 PM »
Wearing a bullet proof vest all the time implies some sort of deep seated insecurity.  Wearing one when you expect to be in the **** is normal (in fact, law enforcement agencies REQUIRE their personal to wear them in those situations), but wearing one at your desk while you fill out paperwork?  Or at home while watching television?  That is obsessive boarding on paranoid (and should definitely be an aspect).

(click to show/hide)

The short lived series The Unusuals was a cop drama that included a character who was convinced he would die after his 32nd birthday (all of his male relatives died in the year after their 32nd birthday).  So he was wearing a vest all the time.

FYI: Bulletproof vests worth wearing easily cost $400 or more.  Yeah, you can get a "vest" for $70, but those are meant for airsoft and paint balls, not bullets.
If you have to ask, it probably breaks a Law of Magic.  You're just trying to get the Doom of Damocles.

Offline toturi

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2010, 12:10:46 AM »
Or wearing it all the time simply reflects how overtrained you are.

I spoke some guys who were serving in a combat zone under the UN. When they came back home, where nobody usually wears armor, they felt naked. Kind of like underwear, I suppose, you can get used to wearing it so much that you forget you are wearing it until you are not wearing it.
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Offline Doc Nova

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Re: How Do I Handle Equipment?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2010, 01:58:45 AM »
I've brought up the notion of equipment with aspects before, and, in general, here is how we intend to play it for the campaign I run:

Items bought at base value are of...well...base value.  They provide no bonuses and have no inherent penalties (carrying a gun or sword in broad daylight can still lead to some issues, no matter what).  Items can be "purchased" via Resources declarations.  Items that are cheaper than usual tend to have negative aspects (keep in mind, these can be compelled, earning the character a fate point...something to keep in mind for those cash-strapped, high refresh cost characters).  Items that are more expensive than normal can have generally positive aspects applied to them (many of these can still be compelled, but often require more specific circumstances..."Laser Sight", for example, would mostly be invoked, but could be compelled in a foggy environment).  The number of negative or positive aspects should be adjudicated for your campaign's needs...too much and you run the risk of turning Resources into an uber skill, too little and there's little point in it.  As a rule of thumb, for my game, I tend to keep it 1 aspect at +1/-1 cost on the ladder, then an additional aspect for every 2 after that (3, 5, 7, etc).  This tends to keep them somewhat limited.

So, with your bulletproof vest, the PCs might opt to go for run of the mill bulletproof vests which have no additional modifiers aside from whatever ones would be environmentally or socially appropriate.  (Keep in mind, being set in L.A. you are well within reason to slap "Sweltering" to any given outdoor scene.)  They could opt for cheaper vests that might have "Encumbering" or "Unwieldy", or they could opt for better vests and apply aspects like "Tailor-made", "Concealed", or even the aformentioned "Heavy Armor".

Obviously, this could be applied to any equipment, not just armor.  It has just as much value to vehicles, computers, firearms, clothing, rappelling gear, telephones, etc, etc, etc.