Survival gear helps characters to stay alive in strange places and bad conditions. Characters might need such equipment when wandering in the wilderness or when trapped or lost amid the dangers of urban decay. Survival gear might help a character live through tsunamis, earthquakes or floods, or keep a character safe and sane during blackouts, storms or terrorist attacks. When a building crumbles, when a dirty bomb explodes in the city center or when the water supply is poisoned with chemicals or infectious toxins, the threat can be mitigated by the proper tools.
NBC Suit Edit
NBC stands for “Nuclear, Biological, Chemical.” Not much can be done to directly diminish smallpox, radiation or nerve gas. The only option for a character is to protect herself in the event of exposure. One of the primary methods of protection is an NBC suit: a plastic bodysuit equipped with gas mask and filtration unit. Such outfits offer some protection against the aforementioned trio of attacks. The mask offers protection against inhalants, and the seamless suit itself protects the character against those toxins or radiation that damage by touch. An NBC suit protects against inhaled or touch-based toxins, offering a +5 bonus against such toxicity (see “Poisons and Toxins” on p. 180 of the World of Darkness Rulebook). In the case of radiation poisoning (see p. 122), an NBC suit nullifies all penalties associated with the appropriate Stamina + Resolve rolls. NBC suits protect the user for only so long, however. The plastic withstands toxins for five days. After that, the bonus dice the suit offers to a character’s Stamina + Resolve drops by one per day until the modifier is nullified. In addition, even a single point of lethal damage to the suit (which must overcome its Durability as normal; see p. 139, the World of Darkness Rulebook) will puncture the suit and negate its protection. Full-on biohazard suits have Durability 2, Cost •••• and provide complete immunity, rather than a bonus to the resistance roll.
Potassium Iodide Edit
Potassium iodide protects a character against radiation sickness. This medication keeps long-term cancers at bay and helps stave off the immediate effects of exposure. Taking two pills a day confers a +1 bonus to a character’s Stamina + Resolve roll when trying to withstand the effects of radiation toxicity (see p 122). For the pills to grant this bonus, they need to have been taken at least four hours before exposure to radiation. The stats above are for a bottle of 500 pills.
Basic Survival Kit Edit
A basic survival kit includes items such as a sleeping bag, canteen, flashlight, glowstick and enough food and water for one character to last a single day (after which the character must forage or hunt for food). This kit offers +1 to all Survival-based rolls and any Stamina + Resolve rolls made to resist harm from exposure.
Advanced Survival Kit Edit
An advanced survival kit includes the items found in the basic kit, along with several others. Such items might be a compass, rope, a one to two person tent, solar blanket, heat pads, a multi-tool or Swiss Army knife and possibly even a book on survival, as well as enough food and water for one character to last two days (after which a character must forage or hunt for food). This kit offers a +2 bonus to all Survival-based rolls and any Stamina + Resolve rolls made to resist harm from exposure.
Superior Survival Kit Edit
A superior survival kit generally includes the items found in the basic and advanced kits, along with more expensive items, such as a GPS location device, water filtration unit, four-person all-season tent, first aid kid, sewing kit, bungee cables, portable fishing rod, camp machete or emergency poncho, as well as enough food and water for one character to survive a full week. This kit offers a +3 bonus to all Survival-based rolls and any Stamina + Resolve rolls made to resist harm from exposure.
Urban Survival Kit Edit
The urban survival kit (sometimes called a “Go Bag”) is a little different than the average gear, because this kit is designed with metropolitan survival in mind. In the case of an urban emergency, this kit will help a character survive in extreme city-wide conditions such as a blackout, chemical attack or natural disaster. Such a kit likely features all the same items found in the basic survival kit, but the urban kit also offers a number of objects specific to disturbed urban conditions, including protective face masks, city maps, storm matches, antibiotics, AM/FM radio, LED flashlight and a Mylar emergency blanket, as well as enough food and water for a single individual to survive for three days. This kit offers +3 to all Survival-based rolls and any Stamina + Resolve rolls made to resist harm from exposure and airborne (inhaled) toxins if used in the city or suburbs (+1 in the wilderness).
Camouflage allows a character to blend in with his environment. To conceal himself, a character may wear camouflaged clothing or paint his skin with the appropriately colored paint. To disguise his gun or other objects (Size 4 or below), he can wrap them using a roll of camo-tape. He can hide larger objects beneath tarps disguised to blend in with the environment. Characters can either purchase camouflage or make it themselves. Store-bought camo is easily found at sporting good, department or Army/Navy stores. This camouflage features mottled patterns of green for wilderness, brown for desert and gray for urban environments, and adds +1 to a character’s Wits + Stealth roll when moving, and +2 when remaining still. This roll is contested against any Wits + Composure rolls made by potential witnesses to see the character. Making camouflage requires a Wits + Survival roll, and involves a character decorating himself or an object with actual pieces of the environment. This roll is easier in a dense forest (+1 to the roll), but difficult in desert or urban environs (–2 to the roll). A character may cover himself in leaves, sticks, dirt, sand, even ash. If the roll is successful, he can add +2 to the contested Wits + Stealth roll when moving, and +3 when staying still. An exceptional success on crafting the camouflage grants an additional +1 bonus to both moving and still characters. One other exception is worth noting: camouflage is of exceptional value against night vision. Night vision cloaks everything in green, distinguishing no colors at all. Because of this, camouflage blends in seamlessly with most environments. Any character using night vision to attempt to spot a camouflaged individual is hampered by a –1 penalty on the Perception-based roll.
Police-grade handcuffs, made of stainless steel and connected by a small but stalwart chain, are difficult to break, especially when a character finds herself in their metal grip. Breaking a pair of cuffs requires an extended Strength + Stamina roll (made with a –4 penalty). Each roll takes one turn. A total of four successes must be achieved to break the chain; each success diminishes the chain’s Structure by one. Failure means the handcuffs take no damage. Dramatic failure at any point means that the character suffers a muscle cramp or bruised wrist, and may not try to break the cuffs for the rest of the scene. The character takes one point of bashing damage upon a dramatic failure. Note that many supernatural creatures can enhance their Physical Attributes in a number of ways that may help them break handcuffs more easily. Breaking the chain still means that the character has unconnected cuffs adorning her wrists. Characters may also try to slip out of the cuffs in a feat of escapology but to do so, they must succeed on a Dexterity + Athletics roll, made at a –4 penalty. One success allows the character to escape, but she takes one point of bashing damage to her hands. An exceptional success allows her to avoid this damage. Picking the lock on a pair of cuffs requires four successes on an extended Lockpicking roll (see p. 75, the World of Darkness Rulebook), with each roll being equal to one turn’s worth of work. A character wearing handcuffs behind her back may be subject to a number of other penalties. Any rolls involving manual dexterity (firing a weapon, climbing, throwing an object, picking the lock on a pair of handcuffs) are done with a –4 penalty. At the Storyteller’s discretion, some actions may not even be possible. Hands cuffed together in front inflict only a –2 penalty. Unless a character can conceal the fact that she is handcuffed (with a Wits + Steath roll), she will likely invoke a –3 Social penalty at the Storyteller’s discretion for looking like a convict. Some police (or serial killers) prefer to bind their targets with zip ties instead of handcuffs. Zip ties are reinforced plastic bands that tighten and lock in place, and are in some ways harder to break than handcuffs, because the tightness allows for zero movement of the hands. Mechanically, handcuffs and zip ties function similarly, except the latter are Durability 2, Size 1 and Structure 3, and, where handcuff penalties are –4 and –2, zip tie penalties are –5 and –3. Unlike handcuffs, zip ties have no lock to pick, but are vulnerable to a quick knife cut or other sudden friction.
Lie Detector Edit
Polygraph machines are designed to measure a world of physiological responses in a subject, all geared toward catching liars in the act. A modern polygraph machine measures a subject’s blood pressure, his respiratory rate and his electro-dermal activity (checking for sweat upon fingertips). Many machines also record a “twitch” rate, detecting anxious movements in legs, arms, hands, even eyes. The trick is that a polygraph examiner has to be well versed in the ways of lying. The machine details biological read-outs only. It’s up to the examiner to determine if the information points to fact or fiction. Lying is a contested roll of the liar’s Manipulation + Subterfuge versus the examiner’s Wits + Subterfuge. Using a polygraph grants the examiner a +5 bonus to his roll to detect Deception, and also allows the examiner to swap out Wits for Intelligence on the roll if he so desires. Many modern lie detectors are digital. The examiner hooks all the equipment up to a laptop, desktop or handheld device. Some machines are archaic, however, still printing out data on scrolls of paper. Archaic polygraph devices cost the same, but yield only a +3 bonus to the examiner’s roll. Vampires offer no heart beat, blood pressure or sweat for a polygraph machine to read. A vampire may still offer clues when lying (body twitch, looking up and to the left, stuttering), but a polygraph machine is only so useful in detailing these minor tells. For this reason, polygraph machines offer only a +1 bonus to the examiner. Of course, the bigger concern is what happens when the examiner notices that his subject is missing a number of important biological functions.
Sat Phone Edit
A sat phone bypasses major carriers and receives its signal directly from orbiting satellites. The advantages of this are that a character can use such a phone in extreme locations (mountaintops, distant forests, deserts). Plus, these phones feature little of the interference that normal cell/digital phones receive. Most sat phones are a little bigger than the average cell phone, and are also ruggedized in hard rubber to take a beating. Sat phones do not use satellite service when indoors, as they require usage under a clear sky. Indoors, they default to cellular coverage. Sat phones are used frequently by government employees (anybody from FBI agents to senators) as well as high-end construction contractors (who might not be able to receive a normal signal when working atop a skyscraper or some other piece of distant architecture).
Scent Eliminator Edit
Scent eliminators come in a number of forms. Game hunters use animal urine or blood to mask the scent of their trail. Others use small portable fans that direct scent away from prey or predator. Another form is a kind of “neutralizing” odor, meant to be used like perfume or a bar of soap. This scent counterbalances the normal smells emitted by the human body, rendering them less perceptible. Generally, a scent eliminator inflicts a –2 penalty to any Wits + Composure roll used to try to detect the user by scent, or any Wits + Survival roll used to track by scent. Some creatures have the ability to sniff past such odorous masquerade. Vampires using an ability like Heightened Senses negate the penalties associated with a scent eliminator, while werewolves cancel the penalties with the bonuses to Perceptions rolls provided by their various forms. Characters may attempt to make their own scent eliminator. Doing so requires an extended Wits + Science roll. Five successes must be achieved, and each roll is equal to 30 minutes. Homemade scent eliminators work the same as the store-bought kind. The only notable difference is that, should the character achieve an exceptional success beyond the required successes, the odor eliminator confers a –4 penalty to any scent-based detection rolls.
Voice Disguiser Edit
Sometimes an individual may desire to change his voice. Perhaps a boss wishes to act like a secretary, or maybe a teenager plans to make prank phone calls. Other, darker reasons persist as well. A pedophile may hope to sound like another child, or a Spirit-Ridden mortal may no longer feel comfortable with his own voice. A voice changer doesn’t allow the user to sound like a specific person, but it likely affords him the chance to sound like a type of person. The device may modulate his voice to make it sound deeper, more womanly, even pre-pubescent. Voice changers offer a +2 bonus to a user’s Subterfuge rolls when attempting to disguise his voice. A listener may attempt a Wits + Composure roll to recognize that the voice is being modulated. Success on the roll allows the listener to know that the voice was changed, and an exceptional success allows her to identify the person behind the modulation. If the listener fails the Wits + Composure roll, she fails to identify the speaker or the masquerade. Various types of voice changer are available on the market. A child’s toy voice changer (making his voice vaguely like Darth Vader’s or SpongeBob’s) costs •, but offers only a +1 bonus to the Subterfuge roll. Alternately, high-end software voice modulators are available, which cost •••, but offer a +3 to the roll. These software packages require a Wits + Computer roll to set up properly.