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.

Ancient

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

Blacksmith

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.

Clockwork

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

Coal

1750 to 1900 AD. Powered machinery frees humanity from much muscle labor, large-scale mechanical engineering is pretty much perfected.

Combustion

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

Electronic

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.

Fusion

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.

Hyperspace

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.

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. Often a "slaying" weapon or "warded" armor, but a dedicated item can potentially aid other values at the GMs discretion. Against the specified kind, the wielder adds +2 to damage or soak value. This is an increase to the items base value. It does not stack with the Enhanced item bonus, but does stack with effects that add additional damage. The targets chosen must be rather rare, such as a specific species. The dominant species of the setting (usually humans) is too broad and you must select a subcategory.

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

Inherent

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.

Gimmick

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.

Intelligent

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 adventure, he discovers that his flaming spear can change into a wind sword, another 4 schtick item. The ability to change this way costs 1 item schtick for both the flaming spear and winds sword, making both 5 schtick items.

Signature Item

Basic Action

The item is linked permanently to you. It has plot immunity; it cannot be permanently destroyed and whatever happens the item will always find its way back to you at the end of each story. The item is an integral part of your persona, and as a result you will be able to keep the item with you in situations where it would normally be highly inappropriate. You are Confident on any stunt to hide or interaction check to keep the item. When others try stunts to disable or make you lose the idem, they are Stymied. You do not gain any special advantages when using the item.

Telepathic

Inherent

The item forms a telepathic link to its owner(s). Owners are always aware of the items location and obvious events in its vicinity. An item that is Sentient can hold conversations and use persuasion against its owner. Who counts as owner depends on the item and can be up to three people.

Utility Item

A Weapon that has an additional Item Ability or that removes an undesired ability. You can take this item schtick several times, selecting a different Item Ability each time.

Weapon Implement

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

A Melee or 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. A Melee Weapon has Close range when used as an implement.

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 item that try to make him act according to the alignment of the item get a +3 bonus.

Artifact

The item is night indestructible, and generally of a high power level. It is 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 but harder than a common 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.

Coaxing

The item tries to impress an agenda on the owner. A Sentient or Intelligent item will do this through persuasion, other items do this trough subtle subconscious urging and dreams. The item is very persuasive, having a Charm of 10 + the item's total number of schticks and limitations. It can cause distractions, causing the victim to lose a Fortune point per infraction with an opposed Charm roll.

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.

Size

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.

Tiny

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.

Small

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.

Medium

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.

Large

These items are 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 impractical 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.

Range

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

Melee

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.

Reach

Withing the reach of a long weapons, such as a Spear or Whip, up to 3 meters away.

Close

A close-ranged or thrown weapon, that suffers a range penalty of -1 per 5 meters of distance.

Short

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

Long

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.

Combat in Action rarely takes place in surroundings spacious enough for long ranges, but when it does, long range can be a tremendous advantage. Still, targets that cannot effectively fire back can usually find cover, in most cases limiting sniping to ambushes.

Other Abilities

Weapons in Action generally have extra maneuvers available to them, and some have inherent effects; these are all explained here. Unlike item schticks, these are not equivalent to full feats but perhaps to half a feat.

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

Area

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.

Auto

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.

Block

Stance

You gain a +2 bonus on Dodge that only applies against melee attacks. If using a weapon with both Block and Deflect both abilities can be used as a single stance.

Boosted

Inherent

Also called power armor, this 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. There are manual explosive bolts that should remove the armor. Another danger is that the armor is computer controlled and can potentially be hacked or remotely controlled. A character with an Exo Link can ignore the Move and Hits limitations of boosted armor.

Bastard

Inherent

The weapon can be used in one or two hands. When used in two hands, increase the damage add of the weapon by 1. Modifiers to damage add stack.

Butt Strike

Trigger Action (Combo)

Your weapon can deliver an extra Normal Melee 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. A Butt Strike is done with the rear end of the weapon and always does Body +2 Blunt damage.

Charge

Basic Action

Move 3 meters in a straight line (in addition to normal movement) while Mounted and make a Normal Melee Attack. The damage add of the weapon increases by +3. Modifiers to damage add stack.

Disarm

Basic Action

Add +3 to Melee rolls to Disarm. If you are allowed to make a counterattack, such as the Intercept weapon ability or the Riposte schtick, you can opt to Disarm instead of making a normal attack.

Deflect

Stance

You gain a +2 bonus on Dodge against ranged attacks only. If using a weapon with both Block and Deflect both abilities can be used as a single stance. Deflect 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.

Dual Damage

The does two types of damage. The damage increases by +2 and uses the lesser soak value. Several kinds of additional damage does not further increase the damage of the attack, but uses the lowest soak value among the types. See also Touch

Entangle

Basic Action

You can do a Feint, Grab, or Wingclip stunt with a +3 bonus on your Melee or Shoot check (as appropriate).

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).

Improvised

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. Note Anyone can improvise weapons that have this quality. All weapons can be Tinkered with the Create skill.

Intercept

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 Normal Melee Attack on them.

Loud

Inherent - Limitation

This gear 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 items 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 conditions are right.

Mirabilia

Inherent

A minor miracle, the power use version of Mundane. An item of power that is so common it is not an Item Schtick and instead considered everyday gear in a setting where this type of power is common. In settings where this kind of power is rare or secret, Mirabilia don't exist.

Mundane

Inherent

This item requires an item schtick at the tech level it is introduced. One tech level later, the item is no longer an item schtick and is now normal equipment available to anyone.

Noisy

Inherent - Limitation

All combat gear makes noise in combat, but this item makes noise with normal use. Any action that requires quiet or stealth is Stymied when using such gear.

Offhand Strike

Trigger Action (Combo)

When used in the off hand, this weapon can exploit an opening when your primary weapon is blocked. Whenever you make an unsuccessful melee attack with a weapon other than this one, you can use this to make an additional melee attack on the same opponent.

One-Round

Inherent

The weapon has a short lifespan and cannot be reloaded in combat, like a fire extinguisher. Once used, the weapon expires and becomes useless at the end of the round.

One-Shot

Inherent

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

Parry

Trigger Action

The weapon can be used to parry other melee attacks. Use it after an enemy hits you, giving a +3 Dodge bonus for the shot, but only against melee attacks.

Penetrating

Inherent

Increase the damage add of the weapon by +2 against objects and against opponents whose Toughness is greater than their Body. Modifiers to damage add stack.

Powered

Inherent

A development of Boosted armor, power armor has all the advantages of Boosted armor, but also makes the wearer stronger and tougher, giving a +2 bonus to Action, which further increases Toughness beyond the protection provided by the armor.

Reload

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.

Rending

Inherent

Increase the damage add of the weapon by +2 against opponents whose Toughness is the same as their Body. Modifiers to damage add stack.

Returning

Inherent

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.

Saturation

Inherent

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

Scatter

Inherent

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 (Combo)

Your weapon can deliver an extra Normal Melee 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. A weapon with Second Strike and two weapon heads and the Second Strike does the same damage as the normal attack.

Slick

Inherent

The item does not look dangerous. It can be hidden in plain sight and can pass observation by all but the most astute observers. When required an opposed Charm against Charm or Create can avoid even close inspection.

Slow

Inherent - Limitation

The weapon is slow to reload (or otherwise prepare for repeated use). It cannot be used with schticks or powers combine several attacks into one action such as Combination Action, attacks that are Trigger Actions, or extra actions granted by abilities like Hands-on Leadership. The GM determines when this applies, but you should remind the GM in situations that might qualify.

Static

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. If you chose to move but fail (but do not fumble) a Free Running check, you can still act instead of moving, which can be a second attempt at movement.

Stowed

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, costing 3 shots to sort out, or the weapon is dropped. These weapons are often carried in hand to avoid the encumbrance of wearing one. When riding a vehicle or mount these weapons can be used but tend to catch on to things. Even when held in hand they suffer on a Snakeyes roll, as above.

Stun

Inherent

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

Throw

Inherent

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.

Unreliable

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.

See Also

External Links