Items (Action)

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Heroic Action Role-Play


Items are a subgroup of Schticks that add abilities outside your character's normal scope or concept.

General Rules

Items are generally physical objects separate from you, that gives you abilities. An item has an Origin but no Methods, it does not count as a Power and you do not lose it when you would ordinarily lose your powers. Instead, you are dependent on the item to use the power, and the item can be stolen, lost, or just inconvenient to take along.

GMs are responsible for the availability of item schticks in play, but is urged to be generous. You will often pick up items during play and can use them in the scenario you found them. Other items are acquired trough diligent effort, either by making it or looking out for it. Item schticks are commonly found as loot during play, and can be made available trough contacts or created by characters (the Expert schtick comes in handy here). You only need to pay experience points to keep an item at the end of the story. Think of this as the cost for attuning the item permanently - making it a recurring theme or plot for your character. If a player really wants a particular item, the GM should make it it available somehow; making a subplot, montage, or perhaps even an adventure around it. Of course, such stories still give normal xp rewards, which you can then use to purchase the item schticks.

One particular item can have several item schticks, each of which must be paid for. Investing a lot of schticks into a single item is dangerous as you lose a lot when you drop the item. Most item schticks can be freely combined, but except as noted an item can only pick each schtick or limitation once. In general, a character should only have one occurrence of a certain item limitation - having one Sticky item is fresh and exiting, having ten of them is just saving up on points. But this is a guideline more than a rule, to be applied against misuse but ignored when it makes a better story.

Items have some plot protection, but it is not as strong as that of Signature Gear. Items you've paid for have a tendency to come back to you and are not accidentally lost or stolen, but they can be stolen or destroyed as a part of the action or plot. Items lost in this way return the xp invested in them to you.

Tech Level

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The tech levels of Action. Rather than adopting a numerical tech level, this is a set of named categories. For convenience, the names sort alphabetically in order of sophistication.

Tech levels are broad and overlapping. They are meant as broad categorizations of entire settings rather than to indicate local variation and technological advantage in a particular setting.

Relates to Technology Form, at the Hyperspace level Technology technological powers are pretty much the norm.


Antiquity to 500 BC. Tools are made of stone, organic materials, or soft metals like silver, gold, or bronze.


1000 BC to 1400 AD in Earth history. Iron slowly transforms the world, allowing better tools and the exploitation of new land and resources. The techniques of ironmaking improve a lot during this period, making iron much more common over time, but what you can actually do with it remains about the same.


1300 AD to 1800 AD. Refinements now allow flexible steel and precision machinery. Firearms conquer the world.


1750 to 1900 AD. Powered machinery frees humanity from much muscle labor, large-scale mechanical engineering is pretty much perfected. (In the action rules, this is sometimes called by the obsolete name Steam.)


1890 to 1950 AD. Internal combustion and electricity makes technology smaller and easier to handle, making technological items an everyday occurrence.


1940 to 2010 AD. Miniaturization and electronics is the key to this era. Nuclear power makes its debut. Computers are discovered and advance by leaps and bounds throughout this time.


2000 to Near future. Most utensils are now smart and networked to some degree. Technology goes under the human skin. Fossil fuels are gradually phased out.


Far future. Faster than light travel, time travel, teleportation, and other power effects become replicable trough technology. Force fields and energy beams are commonplace. What is possible is based more on the needs of the story than on any understanding of technology. Almost anything possible for Powers is normal at this tech level - in most cases, simply use Powers of the Technology Origin origin.

Item Schticks

The limitation on item schticks and limitation is not per character, it per item. However, a GM might protest if you repeat the same power or limitation on many items.

Dedicated Item

A item is especially effective against a certain kind of enemy. Can be applied to weapon or armor. Against the specified kind, the wielder gets to add two attributes to damage or soak value instead of just one. This cannot be the same attribute added twice. If the item normally gives Mind-based soak or damage, add Body to the value. Otherwise, add Mind to the value.

Enhanced Item

The item has been enhanced, which gives +1 to the damage of weapons or the protection value of armors. It can be applied to other gear only with the GMs permission and a similar benefit must be agreed upon. Enhanced Items cannot give a bonus to skill values. The enhancement can be based on some skill, special material, superlative manufacture, or most commonly, a power.

Focus Storage

You can store the energy of being Focused and can be used once per session. This has no effect outside action scenes, but in action you can use a Limit Break without first Focusing.

A variant of this stores the focus for one particular Limit Break and can only be used with that power/stunt/schtick. This allows that Limit Break to be used outside of combat without spending extra time on it.

You can take this item schtick several times, with cumulative benefits.

Gadget Pool

You use gadgets, one-use devices that use Powers. When you purchase this item power, your character has several different gadgets available to him, thus having a selection of powers, but a limited number of total uses of the gadget pool equal to the number of schtick picks in Gadget Pool. You cannot select an Inherent power, but in some cases your GM might allow you to take what is normally an Inherent power as a Stance.

You select a theme and Origin for your gadgets when you take this schtick. Your gadget pool can be one item with variable properties (such as a magic utility staff or technological utility belt) or a set or kit of small items. In either case, all your gadgets together count as one item for the purpose of Item Limitations. In action, you can decide exactly what gadget you have when you use it. As long as the power fits the theme, you can use that power during a single round.

Typical themes include potions, scrolls, fetishes, spy gadgets, ninja gadgets, and clockwork devices.

You can take this schtick multiple times, and use it a number of times each session equal to the number of picks you have in the power. After your gadgets are expended, you can spend a Fortune point to use the power again, coaxing an extra use out of your gadget pool. Your gadget pool refills each session.

You gadgets are still items, and can be stolen, destroyed or taken away from you. When your gadgets are stolen, you and/or the GM can immediately decide what powers the stolen gadgets have - which can sometimes be useful as foolish minions make themselves victims of your props.


Choose a Power that is a Limit Break when you take this schtick. You can use this power without being focused. However, it can only be used once and it then expended. You can replace the gimmick or recover the points invested in it, but this is easily done only at the end of the story - replacing it in play takes some effort. You can take this item schtick several times, gaining additional uses.


The item has an intelligence and can activate powers on its own, but unless it is also Sentient it lacks a personality and motivation. Each round, it has 3 shots of its own that it can use to activate its own powers on the user's command. This is not a true initiative roll and does not determine when the item acts; the item can expend shots whenever the owner's shot comes up. It uses its owner's skills and attributes when using its powers.

An item is often both Intelligent and Sentient.

Luck Charm

The item holds a Fortune point, that you can use once per Story. You can take this item schtick several times, gaining additional uses.

Power Focus

Select one Power when you make the item; you can use this power while holding the item. This is generally a power related to the function of the item; a melee weapon focuses Melee Powers and so on. You cannot select an Inherent power, but in some cases your GM might allow you to take what is normally an Inherent power as a Stance. A power focus can be used any number of times. You can take this item schtick several times, selecting a different power each time.

Restricted Item

There are restrictions on who can use the item, that makes it hard to use when stolen. Restrictions are generally to a narrow group; the royal family, amazons of Kilkarach, the captain of the royal guard. A variant is an item that must be bestowed or gifted on a new owner to work for that owner.

This is a cost because it increases the security of the item; it becomes harder to use the item against you if it is stolen.

Returning Item

This item has a tendency to return to its owner. It attaches itself to certain people and returns to them, either through the working of fate or, for appropriate items, by direct flight or teleportation. If you pay the point cost for such an item, it attaches itself to you and returns to you.

Set Item

Basic Action

The item has several sets of abilities it can switch between, or it is part of a set where you can only use one set of items at any time.

This allows you to have two items with the same point cost, and to switch between them as a Basic Action. You can take this schtick several times, each time either creating an entirely new item set or adding a new alternate configuration to an existing set. All items sets have to be checked for style and balance by the GM.

Daifu has a 4 item schticks invested in his flaming spear. On an adventire, he discovers that his flamin spear can change into a wind sword, another 4 schtick item. The ability to change this way costs 1 item schtick.

Utility Weapon

A Weapon that has an additional Weapon Property. You can take this item schtick several times, selecting a different Weapon Property each time.

Weapon Implement

Particularily at high levels of technology, the best tool to focus magic is often a modified firearm.

A Ranged Weapon with this ability also works as an Implement. An implement is mainly useful for Shoot powers, but works with other powers that allow the use of Implements. The wielder gains all the weapon's abilities, including damage add, range, and other weapon abilities.

Item Limitations

These limitations reduce the cost of an item, but never to less than one point. The GM must inspect all item limitations and twits them so they become actual limitations without overshadowing the rest of the action.

Aligned Item

The item represents some kind of dogma or ethos, it has a purpose. While such items are not Sentient unless they have that limitation, they are still strongly imbued with ideals. Examples of alignment can be ethical disposition, religious faith, virtues and vices, or specific enemies. Aligned items cannot plan, form opinions on their users, or otherwise be proactive; they only react to immediate events - unlike Sentient items.

  • Creatures of directly opposed alignment (opposing faiths, specific enemies) suffer a Hit each round they weild or use the item.
  • Using the item for actions going against it's alignment fail.
  • An action the wearer of the item takes that goes directly against the item's alignment suffer a -3 penalty, even when not using the item directly.
  • Interaction stunts against the wearer of the weapon that try to make him act according to the alignment of the item get a +3 bonus.


The item is night indestructible, and generally of a high power level. It has some part in the plot, and is an objective sought by both heroes and villains. Besides its powers, it has a role in the plot - maybe its the one thing that can kill the high king, or it is the missing key to the great vault. Destroying an artifact is a major undertaking similar to breaking a Curse, and can be the focus of an adventure or a whole campaign.

Cursed Item

The item carries some kind of Curse, and this affects the wearer.

Origin Lock

The item has an Origin and is affected by Origin Divide. It cannot be used by someone lacking an origin. Some such items can only be used by a specific Tradition. Other simply lack the skills required to use the item. Using the item is affected by Methods and Power Loss.

Sentient Item

The item is intelligent and has a personality and self-awareness. It has its own goals and ambitions, and can refuse to let itself be used if it is in disagreement with the wielder. It can communicate with its wielder trough empathy or telepathy; some items can even speak audibly. The item can use its powers much like an Intelligent Item, but cannot to do so for the player's benefit unless it is also Intelligent.

A sentient item is often jealous of other intelligent or sentient items, and generally wants to be the most important and cherished item in your possession.

An item is often both Intelligent and Sentient, but it can be only one or the other.

Sticky Item

Once you pick up this item, it won't let you drop it again. A weapon refuses to leave you hand, a suit of armor cannot be taken off, and other items remain with you in a similar fashion. You cannot use an alternate item to the sticky one - a weapon won't let you wear another weapon, an amulet won't let you wear other amulets or magical jewelry and so on. A sticky item cannot be hidden or disguised, and is able to move or break items or powers to fulfill its curse.

This does not make you handicapped - you can still go to the bathroom, keep clean, eat and so on - but it makes many situations hard or awkward and can help make you recognized.

A sticky item is a Curse, and such items often have other item curses as well. You can be forced to invest points in a sticky item if you're unable to get rid of it at the end of a story.

Wandering Item

A wandering item has a destiny that makes it go from hand to hand. It cannot be held onto permanently, and often shifts hands between rival groups. If you pay points for a wandering item, you can expect it to be in your possession about half the time, but there are no guarantees.

Specific Gadgets

These are separate items noteworthy enough to be mentioned separately

Ancient Gadgets

Assembly Weapon

Basic Action, Create, Slick

A weapon can be constructed so that it can be quickly assembled from parts, each of which is inconspicuous. It is a Basic Action to assemble or disassemble the weapon.

Blinding Egg

Basic Action, Melee, Tiny

A small bird's egg filled with itching and blinding powders, the blinding egg is thrown like a grenade (Close range) and bursts to fill a five meter diameter cloud. Make a Melee vs. Dodge check against each target, on a success the target is blinded until it has completed its next basic action. On an outcome matching the target's Action the target is blinded for the rest of the scene.

If applied in melee it only affects a single target.

Disappearing Powder

Basic Action, Maneuver, Tiny

This is a colored, glittering powder that can be thrown into the air. While onlookers are distracted by the pretty cloud, you quietly disappear. Variants use smoke or flash powders. Often used as a stage-magician prop, one danger is that onlookers might think you are a genuine magician.

The gadget allows you to use Sneak to disappear from plain sight, as long as you can get under some kind of cover or use some disguise.

Diving Gadget

Basic Action, Maneuver, Medium, Slick

A set of primitive "SCUBA" equipment. This includes a set of flippers, goggles, a simple snorkel, and a weighted "air bag". You can use the air bag to fill your lungs underwater, permitting you to stay underwater for twice as long before having to surface or drown. Several air bags can be used, but they are very bulky and difficult to swim with; each air bag after the first reduces your Move by one underwater.

Allows you to move normally underwater, and to hold your breath 100% longer than normal or indefinitely while snorkeling.


Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

The Doka is a small, ceramic pot, lashed shut with heat proof twine. It holds a live coal which it will keep burning for 12 hours. It is insulated so that you may carry it secreted in your clothes. It provides warmth in cold weather. The firepot allows access to fire, which will always succeed in igniting combustibles, as opposed to the vagaries of flint and steel fire making. If thrown it will break, igniting a pool of oil, dry straw, or other incendiary material or causing Body +0 Fire damage if used as a weapon.

Folding Raft

Basic Action, Ride, Large, Slick

A collapsible, 1-man raft. It has room for one person and his personal gear. In collapsed form, it may be carried slung over one shoulder or as a backpack. Assembling or disassembling it is a basic action.

Money Belt

Basic Action, Charm, Small, Slick

A most unusual money belt developed for those whose security needs are more stringent than average, this article is constructed from high quality leather, with a large (usually U-shaped) buckle with a single spike. Twisting the spike for a few turns reveals an extremely sharp blade concealed within the spike sheath. This blade is used to force open a hairline crack in the buckle. Within the buckle is a handle for the blade. Using this tool, the agent measures off two-inch segments of the belt, starting at the buckle. Each two-inch segment contains about a dozen bills of mixed denominations in a different currency or a few gold coins. By cutting through the stitching, the agent can gain access to emergency currency for upwards of a dozen nations.

Parabolic Listening Device

Basic Action, Create, Large, Slick

This is a large parabola, usually made of thin metal or or waxed paper. It works by concentrating sound from a certain direction, and allows you to hear as if you were one-tenth the distance from whatever you are listening on. In this way, shouted orders can be heart at five hundred meters, a normal discussion can be heard up to a hundred meters away and whispers up to fifty meters away. Halve these ranges under noisy conditions, and halve them again if there is a breeze.

Secret Compartment

Inherent, Create, Slick

There is a number of medium-sized personal items considered ubiquitous in each culture; briefcases in modern society, saddles in the old west, crucifixes and codpieces at certain other times. Such items can be fitted with secret compartments, perfect for hiding small weapons, reserve funds or other gadgets. In hi-tech or magical junctures, they can be fitted with anti-detection gear as well. A secret compartment like this will pass most searches automatically, and only a determined search allows a Create roll to discover the compartment.

Specialized Intrusion Device

Basic Action, Create, Slick, Medium

As long as you know exactly what traps and alarms you will face during a break-in, it is always possible to create a gadget to take care of each problem. The only problem with this is that it can be an adventure in itself to find out what protects your target.

A skilled techie can build the perfect tool for every situation. Using this device, that particular lock, trap or alarm can be bypassed automatically, as long as no additional complications crop up.

The technology rating of specialized intrusion devices is the same as the Traps or lock it is supposed to bypass. Any tech level can suffice to bypass magical locks and wards.

Water Feet

Basic Action, Maneuver, Slick, Medium

The Mizugumo (literally,"water spider") are outsize pontoons worn on the feet, permitting the Ninja to walk on water. He can move his Move as a basic action. If he falls, it requires a stunt to right himself again. Taking them on or off is also a basic action.



Basic Action, Create, Small

Four spikes pointing out from a core is such a way that at least one point points up when scattered on the ground. They are sometimes poisoned.

A packet of caltrops is about two dozen and will cover five one-meter squares. They need darkness or some concealment, such as grass, to work.

Caltrops is a Trap. Caltrops whose presence is known are less dangerous, the Create difficulty is only 5. Running through a field of caltrops is dangerous even if their presence is known, forcing the runner to rely on Reflexes instead of Create. Caltrops do Piercing damage, but are soaked using Reflexes. Armor usually does not cover the soles of your feet. If any damage is inflicted, the victim stops dead in his tracks, losing the rest of his movement for that action.

Combination Weapon

Inherent, Create

This is two weapons built into one. The character can change from one use of the weapon to the other. Any two weapons with similar shape can be combined. Historical examples includes the naginata-staff and pike-longbow. One use of this is to conceal a lethal weapon inside a non lethal (and legal) one. The GM is encouraged to give surprise bonuses when the peaceful staff suddenly turns into a deadly glaive.

Smoke Powder

Basic Action, Create, Tiny, Slick

A small black powder charge detonated to create obscuring smoke. It will fill an area ten meters across with tick smoke, imposing a penalty of -1 per meter of distance on most attacks and stunts and confusing scents as well. It can also be used as a distraction or to sneakin.


Clockwork Cart

Basic Action, Create, Large, Slick

This is a self-propelled cart, concealed as a barrel or other inconspicuous object. It is capable of carrying ten kilos or so over flat floors and perhaps one kilo over rough ground. Variants can be constructed to traverse pipes and other areas humans can't go, climb, float, or even fly or jump very short distances. One use of the device is to carry a bomb into enemy territory. Another use could be to fetch some item in a high-security area or past bars or grilles impassable to humans.

Clockwork carts are built for one specific task and cannot be reprogrammed. It is similar to a Specialized Intrusion Device in that it is designed to solve a very specific problem, and the device is not capable of tacking any unexpected problems that crop up. Under these limitations the device will travel along a predetermined route (Move 3), sneaking and using security with the creator's Create skill.

Clockwork Knight

Basic Action, Create, Large, Slick

This is a suit of medieval full armor powered by a clockwork engine. It fights furiously if blindly, and can be a real danger in an enclosed space or if its nature is not realized. It takes an opposed Create to identify a Clockwork Knight for what it is.

The device has a number of points to distribute between Body and Reflexes equal to the creator’s Create (minimum 5 each) and 5 points of armor. It's Melee is equal to the creator's Create, and it can use this value to defend from [[Melee (Action)|Melee] from it's front. It is usually armed with a Greatsword, for Body +5 damage. All other skills and attributes are zero. If its nature is known, it is vulnerable to a number of stunts, the simplest of which is simply moving around to its defenseless rear side. A clockwork knight can be placed on a remote-controlled rotating dais to alleviate this problem.

Sword Cane

Inherent, Melee, Small

A sword hidden inside a stout walking stick. The stick itself is a Baton but will become a lethal Rapier or Smallsword.

This is mainly a way to smuggle a blade where they are not allowed, but also a way for a gentleman to be prepared without sacrificing style.


Barbed Wire

Basic Action, Create, Large

A roll of barbed wire can be quickly spread behind you as you move, creating a barrier along the path you just moved over. A typical roll of barbed wire forms a barrier 5 meters long when uncoiled. Anchoring the barbed wire to the ground makes it a Limit Break to deploy it. It is an automatic Basic Action to move barbed wire aside unless it has been anchored - it takes a Basic Action and an opposed Create or Maneuver check to remove anchored barbed wire.

Barbed wire is a hindrance to Free Running with a difficulty equal to your Create.

Detonator Watch

Basic Action, Create, Tiny, Slick

This can be a pocket or arm watch. Pressing twice on the watch face releases the back plate, revealing two long strands (each about 4 meters) of ultra-thin fuse and two blasting caps. There is a small amount of explosive, enough to use the Demolish stunt once as a Basic Action.

Garrote Watch

Inherent, Melee, Tiny, Slick

Pulling on the time setting stem until it clicks allows the wearer to set the time on his watch as he normally would. Pulling the stem beyond this point releases two finger grips which detach from the watch casing. Holding the watch by the reinforced watchband, the wearer pulls on the finger grips to expose a length of strong, thin wire. This wire can be used as a Garrote, or as a saw wire.

Grappling Cane

Basic Action, Shoot, Medium, Slick

Concealed as a metal headed walking stick is a spring-loaded grappling hook and cable. The cable can be shot to it's full length of 20 meters, and requires heavy gloves or the winding mechanism in the stick to climb on, as it is to thin for bare hands. When using the winding mechanism, the stick is flexed back and forth, pulling the character up the line like a windlass.

Reflective Stealth Suit

Basic Action, Maneuver, Medium

Looking somewhat like a suit of plate armor made out of flat mirrored surfaces, a reflective stealth suit can be used to make you invisible by reflecting selected parts of your environment. It allows Snake stunts without cover or concealment, but this stealth only works in one direction; if there are two observers 90 degrees or more apart you can only hide from one of them. This gadget is sometimes combined with armor.

Truth Drug

Finisher, Know, Tiny

An injected substance that makes the victim suggestible and easier to question. Allows the use of Know for Good Cop Routine and Bad Cop Routine stunts.


Explosive Belt

Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

Simultaneously twisting and pulling on the belt buckle will release the catch mechanism, opening the compartment in the buckle. Inside the belt buckle are two blasting caps, and a single-charge "burst" battery to provide power to detonate the caps. The back end of the prong is sharpened to provide a minimal cutting edge. The prong is used to cut open the back of the belt, inside of which are 30 feet of very thin wire and enough plastic explosive to allow a single use of the Demolitionist schtick. The belt is made to resemble alligator hide or similar material, to help mask its rather thick appearance.

Geiger Counter Watch

Basic Action, Create, Tiny, Slick

The sweep hand of the watch gives a reading of the radioactivity, 12 o'clock representing no appreciable radioactivity, and any other hour reading indicating the damage value of exposure. The sweep hand would lock at 11 o'clock should radioactivity ever get that high, which is extraordinarily unlikely. Nuclear materials will have radioactivity which range from 1 o'clock to 7 o'clock, depending on how they are stored. The watch is waterproof.

Magnetic Watch

Basic Action, Create, Tiny, Slick

Inside this watch is a tiny, powerful electromagnet. It is activated by pressing the setting stem twice. The magnet will attract any iron within 3 meters. Small objects (100 grams or less) will fly to the watch; objects between up to a kilo in weight will be jerked in the direction of the watch; and objects greater than a kilo in weight must be able to move without friction to be drawn to the magnet. The watch's power source lasts only a single Basic Action once activated and cannot be changed in the field.

Marble Grenades

Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

These tiny grenades, each the size of a marble and slightly mold-able like clay, are made of an experimental substance which detonate into a miniature explosion when it impacts on a surface with sufficient force. The common method of use is to scatter on a floor where a pursuing enemy will step on them.

A packet of marble grenades is about a hundred, will cover five one-meter squares and can be spread with a Basic Action. They need darkness or some concealment, such as grass, to work well.

Marble grenades is a Trap. Marble grenades whose presence is known are less dangerous, – the difficulty is only 5. Running through a field of marble grenades is dangerous even if their presence is known, forcing the runner to rely on Reflexes alone. Marble grenades do Fire damage equal to your Create.


Audio Compass

Basic Action, Ride, Small, Slick

This is an electronic compass which indicates north with a soft beep or discreetly flashing light. It is useful in the dark. A variant uses vibration and is silent, though more difficult to read.

Infrared Goggles

Basic Action, Recon, Small

A bulky apparatus which straps over the head. It allows characters to see by the light of an infrared projector similar to a flaslight negating penalties for darkness up to 30 meters away and larger ones illuminating further out. The illumination is easily spotted up to ten times as far away by infrared sensors or others wearing infrared goggles, but they are rare in this period. Ignore darkness for Scan and Keep Watch stunts in the illuminated area.

Jet Pack

Basic Action, Ride, Large

A backpack-mounted rocket, the jet pack allows individual flight of short duration (1-5 minutes depending on model) at a speed of 100 kph (Move 9). Due to the instability of the device, it requires constant effort to maintain; the user needs to take a Basic Action to fly it on each of his actions.

Laser Microphone

Basic Action, Create, Medium, Slick

A laser microphone turns any window into a bug. These devices work by reflecting an invisible laser beam off the glass, picking up vibrations caused by speech. Normal bug detectors cannot sense a laser mike. However, such precautions as playing loud music or running the faucets drown conversation. A laser microphone has a range of 50 meters.

Long Range Microphone

Basic Action, Create, Large

This device uses a parabolic dish to concentrate sound. It can pick up speech at a range of 1,500 meters. This device can intercept even whispered speech at 100 meters. Halve these ranges under noisy conditions, and halve again if there is a breeze.

Optic Fiber Code

Limit Break, Create, Medium, Slick

A clever device the size and shape of a jeweler's glass. The lens of the decoder consists of over 500,000 optic fibers bent in a unique fashion. Each decoder corresponds with one and only one encoder.

To encode a message, a technician selects an intense color (a bright red-orange, for example) which is to be used for the coded message. A short message of less than 100 words is written in this color. The encoder photographs the message through the fibers, thereby scrambling the message into a series of apparently random orange dots. These dots are then spaced further apart, but the relative space between the dots is retained. The dots are inserted into a photograph or printed as part of a color picture. An agent in the field merely scans the stationery with the decoder until the encoded message is found.

Rotary Saw Watch

Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

This is a rather large pocket or wrist watch. A discrete pressure point in the watch casing releases the blade and simultaneously activates the miniature motor powering the saw. The saw can cut through steel at the rate of half an inch per minute. The power supply will be exhausted in 10 minutes.

Umbrella Radio

Basic Action, Create, Medium, Slick

The unfolded umbrella works as the antenna, while the rather heavy handle holds the electronics. The transmission microphone is located at the top of the umbrella handle.

The umbrella radio has an additional component, — an ear piece which is necessary to amplify the volume of the received transmissions. The ear piece is quite small.

The transmission range only a kilometer or so. The equipment is powered by small batteries which have sufficient charge an hour of operation.

Night Sight Lens

Basic Action, Recon, Large

This is a huge lens worn as a faceplate before the eyes. It is an optic light amplification system incorporated in a full helmet. During the darkest night, the Night Sight Lense will give the impression of twilight. Ignore darkness for Scan stunts (0nly).

Phosphorescent Powder

Basic Action, Create, Tiny, Slick

This dust looks innocuous but glows distinctively under ultraviolet light. It adheres to whatever it touches. Agents use this substance to trap thieves and trace people. For example, a bureau which suspected one of its employees of purloining files might falsely label some document "secret" and sprinkle it with this powder. Later, counterespionage agents would examine the hands of employees under a black light to see who touched the document. Alternatively, one can arrange for surveillance targets to touch this substance, and then use an ultraviolet light to find out what the suspect has touched. When spread on a section of ground, will adhere to the feet of anyone passing through the area.

Assume that a sprinkling of this powder marks all people who touch the contaminated object or document. These people then leave traces on other objects for 2d6 hours. Placed on shoes or tires, this dust marks a trail for up to 1,000 meters. Tracing dust remains on the skin for 1d6 days under normal conditions. However, thorough scrubbing can remove this powder.


Basic Action, Shoot, Medium

A line-throwing unit for emergencies such as a man overboard, or perhaps throwing a rope over the Berlin Wall. In appearance, the device is a cylinder with a carrying handle and a trigger housing at the top. Removing the front end of the cylinder reveals the rocket to which is tethered 30 meters of specially prepared rope.


Automated Lockpick

Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

A expert system on locks and security. It has a Create skill of 12 for Breaking and Entering tasks only.

Automated Medkit

Basic Action, Know, Small, Slick

A medical expert system and drug dispersal unit. Attach it to a wounded area, and it will suture the wound, inject appropriate drugs and warn if the wound becomes infected. It has a Know of 12 for First Aid tasks only.

Currency Emulator

Basic Action, Create, Medium, Slick

This is basically an advanced adaptive copier. Put any paper currency in the "in" slot, and the machine will pour wads of it out the other end. The emulated bills are of the same type, but different in terms of wear, serial numbers et al. It is impossible for a casual observer to tell an emulated bill from the real thing.


Basic Action or Limit Break, Charm, Small, Slick

Often mounted as a belt buckle or jewelry, this device creates a holographic image around the user, totally altering his appearance. This is only a visual illusion. Senses other than sight, as well as many sensors, see right through the illusion. The holofield must be programmed with the movement patterns and mannerisms of each new user/appearance combination, this takes a Limit Break. Changing between registered patterns is just a Basic Action, as is mimicking any desired clothing for a user who's mannerisms are registered.

A cheaper variant of the holofield known as the Cinderella Holosuit only projects clothing, allowing your clothes to change over time, or the thrill of going to a party stark naked while appearing to be properly dressed. This device does not count as an item schtick.

Inertial Locator

Basic Action, Ride, Small, Slick

A gyro compass connected to a computer that keeps track of movement. Whit this gimmick, you can always tell how far you have traveled from the point of origin, as well as retrace your exact steps. It is not dependent on satellites or other points of reference, but the reading slowly declines over time, reducing accuracy by about a meter per hour of operation.

Lolite Glasses

Basic Action, Recon, Small, Slick

Lolite Glasses are lightweight night-vision gear. During the darkest night, the light amplifier will give the impression of twilight, extending the range of vision to 50 meters. Ignore darkness for Scan and Keep Watch stunts.

Sensor Vest

Basic Action, Create, Medium

A lightweight vest that can be worn under a coat or sweater (but over armor), the radar vest has amazing detection capabilities. It works by a complex combination of radar, sonar and seismic sensors. It can "see" straight through smoke , mist, or darkness out to 100 meters. Inside Create meters, it can detect movements even through concrete walls. Information is displayed on a handheld or wrist-mounted screen, but can be fed to a HUD.

Smoke Screen Mask

Basic Action, Create, Small, Slick

A Smoke Screen Mask is an air filter and a pair of light amplification goggles tuned to a specific frequency of light. Smoke screens can be tailored to block all light except this specific frequency, so a character using a Smoke Screen Mask can see through his own smoke screens and those designed to be compatible with his mask.

Targeting Glasses

Basic Action, Shoot, Small, Slick

Heads-Up glasses or visor visor coupled to an advanced tactical computer connected to a gun with electronics sights (included in the package) wirelessly or (more secure) by cable. By observing a target and letting the computer to analyze its movement, the device gives a +3 bonus to Shoot on your next attack against this target.


Freeze Shield

Trigger Action (Defense), Dodge, Small, Slick

This can have dramatic effects on a setting and should be introduced with care.

Freeze Shields work through temporal flux; when something that moves too fast or has too much energy approaches the shield, it momentarily freezes time, rendering the user invulnerable but immobile for a split second to deflect the attack. Someone protected by this looks like a perfectly reflective mirrored statue. For the wearer, the only indication is a moment of lost time, as if seeing the world under a single strobe light flash.

The shield activates on any successful hit, and reduces the base damage of any attack to zero. In the case of melee weapons, damage is reduced to the Strength of the wielder. You still add attack outcome to this as normal. The best weapon to use against a Freeze Shield is thus a melee weapon with outcome-enhancing powers. If freeze shields are common in a particular setting, they are likely to greatly change how wars are fought, making melee the most viable attack and reducing guns to obscurity.

Each shot in which this shield activates counts as a trigger action. This is not so much because the shield takes time to use as it is because of the disorientation caused by the temporal freeze. The shield still works when the user is out of shots.

Freeze shields do not work along with any type of armor.

Morph Field

Basic Action or Limit Break, Charm, Small, Slick

Often mounted as a belt buckle or jewelry, this device morphs the user, alerting his physical form through the Abensteiner Biognition System (ABS). The transformation cannot be detected by touch or ordinary sensors. The holofield must be programmed with the movement patterns and mannerisms of each new user/appearance combination, this takes a Limit Break. Changing between registered patterns is just a Basic Action, as is mimicking any desired clothing for a user who's mannerisms are registered.

Phase Shield

Trigger Action (Defense), Dodge, Small, Slick

A phase shield works by shifting the user to hyperspace whenever he is threathened by an attack. This makes the user semi-transparent and intangible.

Each shot in which this shield activates counts as a trigger action. This is not so much because the shield takes time to use as it is because of the disorientation caused by the temporal freeze. The shield still works when the user is out of shots.

The shield activates whenever the user would normally have been hit by an attack. When active, the shield improves the user's Dodge by +5. There is no certainty that this will be enough to avoid the attack, but at least it will make it less effective.


Size is measured relative to the user, and is mainly used for concealability, to gauge how hard the item is to smuggle past security and how noticeable it is. Size is given in classes, from smallest to largest.


So small they can be concealed in a swimsuit or underwear. Can be concealed from a strip search with some difficulty. Can be built into small everyday items, such as cutlery, pens, mobile phones, packets of cigarettes, or snuff pots. About a dozen of these become a Small item.


Designed to be worn under street clothes or inside a small accessory such as a lady's handbag or a hat, these can be concealed under all but beachwear and tight evening wear. Five or more of these become a Medium item.


Also known as "Trench coat", this size of items are generally obvious, but can be concealed under bulky clothes such as dusters or hoop skirts or inside a large bag. Three of these become a Large and impossible to hide.


These items are generally not concealable under normal clothing. You may get away with carrying them inside your "barney the dinosaur" outfit, but such a concealment needs to be custom-made for the item. It is generally impossible to carry more than two large items.

Weapon and Armor Abilities

These are mainly relevant to weapons and weapons, but some can apply to other gear.


Most effects used at range incur a penalty. The normal range in Action is #Short - the action is up close and personal.


Adjacent to you. If using a grid or hex map, this is the area immediately surrounding you. In special circumstances you can reach further, but this is the territory of stunts.


Withing the reach of a long weapons, such as a Spear or Whip. If on one meter squares or hexes, this is up to 3 squares or hexes away. On a 5 ft. grid, this is 2 spaces away.


A close-ranged or thrown weapon, that suffers a range penalty of -1 per 10 meters of distance.


The default range in Action, where the action is up close and personal. Suffers a penalty of -1 per 20 meters of distance.


Combat in Action rarely takes place in surroundings spacious enough for this, but when it does, long range can be a tremendous advantage. Suffers a penalty of -1 per 100 meters. In many cases, this is ways shorter than the weapon's actual range, but to fully utilize the range of such a weapon, you need the Sniper schtick.

Other Abilities

Weapons in Action generally have extra maneuvers available to them, and some have inherent effects; these are all explained here.

Some abilities are noted as limitations. These always apply, training or not.


Limit Break

You attack everyone in a globe with a diameter equal to the damage value in meters centered on the target point. Make a separate attack roll against each target, including friends and bystanders.


Limit Break

This weapon can fire on full automatic, covering an area with a diameter equal to your Reflexes in meters. Make a separate attack roll against each target, including friends and bystanders.



You gain a +2 bonus on Dodge that only applies against melee attacks.


Basic Action

You do a charge when mounted on a vehicle or riding beast. You can do a double move and still attack, and must move at least 5 meters to do a charge. A charge does +3 damage.


Basic Action

You can entangle other weapons, especially long and powerfully unbalanced weapons. Add the damage add of your opponent's weapon to Melee rolls to Disarm. This gives no bonus against ranged weapons unless they are currently being used as improvised weapons with Melee.



You gain a +2 bonus on Dodge. Block applies to attacks from your front, if you face several opponents from opposing directions or an opponent successfully Outmaneuvers you, this bonus can be negated.


Basic Action

You can make an attack that does no damage, but entangles your target so that he loses three shots. If you score an Outcome matching the target's Reflexes, he loses six shots instead. The target can spend no shots until his next shot comes up.

Extra Damage


The weapon has a condition under which it does extra damage. If the condition is fulfilled, add +2 to the damage value.

  • Armor Defeating The weapon does extra damage against all objects and against creatures with at least three points of armor.
  • Armor Exploiting The weapon does extra damage against creatures with no armor.
  • Elemental The weapon has some sort of elemental aspect that increases damage. Unless the target has some extra resistance to the damage type (such as fire or acid resistance for those attacks), he takes +2 damage. Against someone with a special resistance to either the ordinary damage of the weapon or to the elemental effect, the weapon does its basic damage. A target resistant both to the elemental damage and the regular damage takes the basic damage and gets to apply its resistance against it. See also Touch

Great Blow

Basic Action

The weapon is suited for grandiose all-out attacks. This adds +3 to damage. After great blow, you may not take any trigger actions until your next shot comes up.

Example moves include the flèche, impale, or roundhouse blow. For a ranged weapon, this is generally an extended burst (and the subsequent reload).


Inherent - Limitation

You can improvise a weapon from materials at hand. Improvised means it's not made as a dedicated weapon - it has been found or scrounged from civilian gear. Examples include broom handles used as quarterstaves or spears, wood cutting axes used for war, signposts used as shields, and so on. Improvised versions are less durable than the real thing, and are unreliable. A purpose-made version of the weapon does not have this drawback.

This does not imply that other weapons cannot be improvised using the Create skill. But anyone can improvise weapons that have this quality.


Trigger Action

You can intercept opponents attacking you in Melee, striking would-be attackers that you manage to keep at bay. Whenever an opponent misses you with a Basic Action attack in Melee, you can use this weapon to make a Melee attack on them.


Inherent - Limitation

The weapon makes a lot of noise and can be heard a good distance away, depending on its size. A loud weapon alerts neighbors but it is often difficult for witnesses to pinpoint where a ranged weapon is fired, as the trajectory makes as much noise as the weapon itself. Larger weapons generally make much more noise; a Small or smaller weapon is only audible nearby and dampened by a simple wall, a Medium weapon can be heard a cross a hall or through an interior wall, while a Large weapon is audible over a wide area, possibly kilometers away if the conditions are right.



The weapon is one-use and destroyed when used, such as a grenade.


Trigger Action

The weapon can be used to parry other melee attacks, giving a +5 Dodge bonus for the shot, but only against melee attacks.



The armor has servo-motors powering it, directed by sensors inside the armor so that it matches body movement. If the power fails, the armor turns rigid and it is generally time for emergency escape. If the armor is remote controlled, there are still manual explosive bolts that should remove the armor. You just need to access them.


Basic Action - Limitation

The weapon is slow to reload (or otherwise prepare for a second use) and requires a basic action to reload before each attack. It also suffers the drawbacks of a Slow weapon.



After you throw a weapon, you can use this to instantly retrieve it. It might be attacked to a string, bounce back to you, or naturally return to you like a boomerang does in movies.



The weapon saturates an area, making it immune to all effects of cover. A typical example is the flamethrower.



The weapon fires in a tight cone, like a shotgun or particle weapon. It does not lose accuracy over range, instead losing damage at the same rate. Apply any range penalties to damage instead of to the attack roll.

Second Strike

Trigger Action

Your weapon can deliver an extra attack as a follow-up when one of your attack miss. Whenever you make an unsuccessful melee attack, you can use this to make an additional melee attack on the same opponent. You must be using your weapon with two hands to do this.

There are several variants of second strike, with various additional rules.

  • Butt strike You deliver the second strike with the butt end of your weapon. Such a strike always does Body +2 blunt damage, regardless of what weapon you are using.
  • Double strike Your weapon has two weapon heads, and uses the same damage for both.
  • Offhand strike You must be holding two weapons to use this second strike, and the attack that triggered it must be held in the other hand (though it can be a paired, identical weapon).



The weapon does not look like a weapon, and can pass observation by all but the most astute observers. It can be hidden in plain sight.


Inherent - Limitation

The weapon is slow to reload (or otherwise prepare for repeated use). It cannot combine several attacks into one action, such as firing at several targets. A slow weapon cannot attack as a trigger action.


Inherent - Limitation

The weapon requires preparations to use or is very unwieldy, making it impossible to move in the same action you use it to attack.


Basic Action

A stowed weapon is large and unwieldy and likely worn on your back to be out of the way. It is a Basic Action to draw such a weapon, and while worn it easily gets in your way. On a snakeyes roll, a worn (not wielded) weapon with this ability snags on something, requiring a Basic Action to sort out, or the weapon is dropped. These weapons are often carried in hand to avoid the encumbrance of wearing one.



This attack does not cause any direct injury on a Damage Setback, instead favoring stun, knockback, and other non-lethal effects.



This weapon can be thrown as a ranged attack using either the Shoot or Melee skill. If it is a melee weapon it can also be used in close combat, but only the Melee skill applies there. If the weapon has no given range category, it has Close range.


Inherent - Limitation

The weapon is mechanically unreliable and sometimes fails spectacularly. Treat any snake eyes roll using this weapon as a fumble, quite often breaking the weapon or harming the user. This is a common drawback with experimental or improvised weapons.