Of course, while characters in Orchestra are somewhat complex, there comes times when certain skills or actions require (or are greatly benefited by) gear. Gear also is a shiny status symbol. Even if it's not terribly effective, it serves a social role (a master martial artist needs no weapons, but having brass knuckles is a outward way of saying you can hurt people with your fists). There's only a few types of gear that have major game impacts, namely armor, weapons, implants, computers, consumables, and tool kits.
In Orchestra, present-day currency is for the most part a thing of the past. There are a handful of different currencies, but all are cryptographically based. These are referred to as CCredits. They are the successors of early movements in digital currency, and no method is known to duplicate or counterfeit them. While there are currencies out on the frontier or in the World League's territory, most corporations use CCredits, and it is not considered unreasonable to ask for payment in CCredits. To add icing on the cake, CCredit transactions are done digitally, anyone with the ability to send a simple electronic message can transfer their CCredits to anyone in the world.
There's about 25 different series of CCredits (and a couple ''equivalent'' CCredits that are older currencies that retained their old name but are stable and follow the same principles). Each series is slightly different- some may be tracked by a central body (the World League has their own CCredit line, though it's not considered a true CCredit by some experts), but the exchange rates and value relative to goods are stable as a general rule. The term ''CCredit'' has come to mean a specific series (CCredit 7, which was deemed the most stable due to its medium maximum size and finished growth), and all payments are oriented around equivalent amounts regardless of the actual series of CCredit issued.
A CCredit is roughly equal to 25 cents USD (or a quarter of a candy bar, if you want to use a more universal marker). While CCredits can usually be broken down infinitesimally small portions, they are usually only used for transactions in amounts of .01 CCredit or more.
Armor is useful for a combatant in Orchestra, but can be a double edged sword. Each armor has two ratings- a Block rating and a Conversion rating. When a character is attacked in combat, the Block rating directly reduces Health or Stamina damage. Block is favored because it turns damage into nothing. Conversion is also helpful, but less so. When Health damage would be taken, conversion turns it into the much more easily restored Stamina. The only downside of this is that it makes running out of Stamina more common, which removes a character from combat anyway (but is cheaper than a hospital).
Low-grade body armor costs around 1000 CCredits, depending on where it's purchased and whether or not it's light enough to be worn over other armor. Various items of clothing can be found that constitute low-grade body armor, including the ubiquitous Urban Warrior line of clothing (and the many knock-offs). Low grade body armor has a Conversion rating of one. Low grade body armor is often worn over other body armor, and adds its Conversion rating to that of the other armor.
Medium-grade body armor costs about 3500 CCredits. It's favored by law enforcement because although it cannot be concealed it does confer significant protection against low-grade weapons. Medium-grade body armor has a Block rating of two, and a Conversion rating of five. Wearing medium-grade armor without good reason to will get attention from law enforcement, and technically requires a permit in World League areas.
High-grade body armor costs a prohibitive 20,000 CCredits. It is used only by military elements and occasionally well-equipped corporation security. High-grade armor offers ultimate protection, with built in NBC sealing and a Block and Conversion ratings of five and nine respectively. While it won't stop the impact of super-heavy weapons, many veterans swear by their armor as the only reason they've survived horrendous attacks.
Weapons are tools in the hand of a savvy warrior. While not necessarily required for combat, weapons make things go a lot easier (and in your favor). It is important to note that most weapons are considered illegal or at the very least a warning sign. Except in some lawless parts of Cataclysm Zones, carrying a gun openly is begging for a fight with the law or local organized crime. Even less lethal weapons are still viewed as threatening by the average person.
Every weapon has a few statistics: Damage, Accuracy, and Level. Damage simply refers to how many points of damage a weapon does. Accuracy is a modifier to the Evasion Rating of an opponent for ranged weapons (refer to the Combat section), and Level determines the lethality of a weapon. A Lethal weapon does entirely Health damage, a Less Lethal weapon does half Stamina and half Health damage (extra damage for a spectacular shot goes to Health), and Nonlethal weapons do only Stamina damage, regardless of extra damage. Nonlethal weapons used on a target with no Stamina count as a Less Lethal weapon. Stamina damage to an opponent with no Stamina remaining is ignored. Stamina damage to a character who runs out of Stamina from the same attack will never turn into Health damage.
There are a variety of Close Combat weapons, but a sample selection will be used.
Stunners are favored by law enforcement and corporations trying to keep a low body count. They're entirely Nonlethal, and deal a good 8 points of Stamina damage. They are, however, foiled by even low-grade body armor or heavy clothing. Stunners can be acquired for about 50 CCredits and are good for five uses without a recharge (easily done during downtime or during transit between locations), though ''military grade'' stunners that have high-grade batteries but are bulkier are available for 500 CCredits and don't have (effective) usage restrictions.
Clubs and batons represent the other half of law enforcement's favored hand-to-hand weaponry. These deal 2 damage plus an additional point for each specialization from the Close Combat tree or in Bulk and are Nonlethal weapons. They cost about 25 CCredits, though they can also be improvised from the environment as need dictates.
Knives and daggers take up a favored slot in the criminal's arsenal. They deal 2 damage for each point of specialization in the Close Combat tree (minimum 2), and are Lethal weapons. They cost about 10 to 50 CCredits, though cheaper knives are usually focused on utility use and not fighting with.
Powered blades are a fearsome addition to weapon technology. Usually used as a backup weapon for elite corporate guards or military soldiers, they can cut through body armor without any penalty and deal lethal wounds. Powered blades ignore armor's Conversion rating, and deal 4 damage plus two for each point of Close Combat tree specialization. They are highly illegal for civilians, and cost 2500 CCredits for licensed users and around 7500 on the black market. Possession of a powered blade (non-implant) is a Class 4 infraction in World League areas.
Guns are said to be the reason crime is lower in some Cataclysm Zones than in World League cities. This may or may not be true, but ranged weapons certainly have a major impact in combat.
Police often utilize Stunner Guns, which use electrolasers to deliver a Stunner like shock without requiring an officer to approach a suspect. Similarly, they are used by almost any organization when the body count has to stay low but the opposition does too. Stunner Guns are capable of delivering the effects of a Stunner for up to 100 meters, with a 1 point Accuracy increase for advanced pulse models. A normal Stunner Gun runs for 750 CCredits and a pulse Stunner Gun costs about double that. They require recharging like a low-grade stunner (more advanced models are not available). While not illegal, carrying one of these tends to attract odd looks and questions from law enforcement. It's almost impossible to find a Stunner Gun in the Cataclysm Zone.
Citizens of Cataclysm Zones often look to derringers and small handguns as a means of self-defense against bandits. While illegal in World League areas and inefficient against armored opponents, light pistols are capable of dealing a good 4 points of Lethal damage. They're accurate within 25 meters without a penalty, but take a -1 Accuracy penalty for every 10 meters beyond that. Most people are capable of concealing a light pistol on their person well enough to avoid casual scrutiny, so they don't attract odd looks, but pulling one out results in a panic in most places. Light pistols cost around 200 CCredits. They are illegal in the World League, but, that said, there's not much enforcement of laws against possession of light pistols. Posession of a Light Pistol is a Class 2 Infraction in the World League.
Heavier revolvers and handguns are favored by people who know they'll be in trouble. Carried by lawmen in Cataclysm Zones and serious trouble anywhere else, heavy pistols represent the great equalizer of weapons. Small enough to be carried easily but powerful enough to be a threat to even armored opponents, these lethal weapons deal 8 points of damage. They're too bulky to conceal except under heavy clothing (and a Urban Warrior greatcoat screams trouble), and they cause a lot of trouble for everyone when they're used, but they're cheap and easy to smuggle relative to ''military'' weapons. They have about a 40 meter range, and take a -1 Accuracy penalty for every 10 meters beyond that. That said, a heavy pistol will run anyone 1500 CCredits premium on the black market. Posession of a Heavy Pistol is a Class 3 Infraction in the World League.
Submachine Guns are a marriage of a light pistol with an assault rifle. These Lethal weapons fire automatically, but shoot smaller bullets and have a shorter range. They have the same range as light pistols but gain a +2 bonus to hit for the extra shots, and deal 8 damage with every attack. They are almost impossible to conceal under clothing, and they cost 2500 CCredits. Possession of a Submachine Gun is a Class 5 Infraction in the World League.
Shotguns are useful for dealing a lot of damage in a simple weapon. They come in two major variants, shortened and long. Shortened (sawn-off) shotguns are about the size of a heavy pistol, though they suffer a major penalty on range (shorten the range by a factor of 5). Long shotguns are rifle sized, and pretty hard to conceal, but are powerful and have good range without being too risky to use in an area where shooting through a wall means killing an innocent. Shotguns deal the most damage at point blank, where they do 12 damage. This damage decreases by 1 point every twenty five meters (five meters for shortened shotguns), and have great accuracy in poor conditions (they ignore any negative modifiers if the shooter can see the target). Armor is handled differently for shotguns- double its Conversion rating then add its Block rating to its Conversion rating (for example, light-grade armor Converts two points and medium-grade armor Blocks two points and Converts twelve), but its stopping power is universally impressive. Shotguns can be loaded with less-lethal rounds and slug rounds that ignore its penalties versus armor, and are normally Lethal weapons. A shotgun runs about 300 CCredits for a breach action model (requires reloading after use, treat like the Evasion penalty for attack rolls) to 1800 CCredits for a semiautomatic or pump action model, and there's not a real price difference between shortened or long (though high-end shortened shotguns will be semiautomatic and resemble large barreled pistols). Shotguns in a city send people into hiding, and law enforcement will come running if they hear a crook's been causing trouble with a shortened shotgun. Possession of a full-length shotgun is a Class 3 Infraction in the World League, while a shortened shotgun is a Class 5 Infraction. Shotguns can only be shortened by a gunsmith, a novice attempting to shorten the weapon will ruin it (Fabrication double-specialization required).
Hunting Rifles are favored because they can be used to snipe. They can come with a variety of optics, each of which reduces the effective distance to target when using Sniping (Grade 1 halves distance, Grade 2 makes the distance count for one fifth of its normal, Grade 3 brings distance to a tenth of its normal amount), or they can just be used for Ranged Combat (maximum range is about 250 meters and they're accurate to that distance when the shooter's stationary, with a -1 penalty for every 50 meters thereafter). Hunting Rifles are considered a Lethal weapon in the truest sense of the word, dealing a good 12 damage for a hit. They're too bulky to conceal with or without optics, and cost around 3500 CCredits for a low-end model. Fortunately, optics are less expensive (mostly), with Grade 1 costing 100 CCredits, Grade 2 costing 1000 CCredits, and Grade 3 costing 5000 CCredits. Since optics systems have non-combat uses (binoculars and cameras, namely), they can be reverse-engineered or kludged together from civilian systems. Possession of a Hunting Rifle is a Class 3+Optics Rating World League Infraction. (Use the highest Optics Rating the character has on his person, regardless of whether or not it's mounted when calculating the class of the Infraction)
Military Rifles are the fear of almost anyone. Able to kill efficiently from a long distance, a Military Rifle isn't necessarily more complex than a Hunting Rifle, but it's made to counteract body armor and bring down soldiers. They use the same optics as Hunting Rifles, but have a +1 Accuracy bonus due to their quality crafting and deal 20 damage. They cannot be concealed, are very loud when used, and bring the police running. In World League areas, these Lethal weapons are only found in the possession of elite soldiers or specialized law enforcement officers in standoff situations. Getting one runs a 7500 CCredit premium on the black market, which is the only place to get one for civilians. If a Hunting Rifle is a confession to murder, a Military Rifle is the equivalent to a tape recording showing one in the act. Possession of a Military Rifle is a Class 5+Optics Rating Infraction.
Assault Rifles are a descendant of hunting and military rifles, but are based on a different principle. Rather than relying on massive distance and bullets, an Assault Rifle is typically used as a semiautomatic or burst-firing weapon that fires multiple shots at foes. In game terms, an attack with an Assault Rifle deals 18 Lethal damage. Assault rifles get a +2 modifier on their shots, courtesy of firing multiple bullets. It's accurate to 75 meters, after which point it gets a one point penalty for every additional meter. Assault Rifles can mount optics, but are not used with the Sniping skill under any conditions. Assault Rifles cost about 10,000 CCredits on the black market (courtesy of being heavily used by military forces). Carrying an Assault Rifle is a Class 6+Optics Rating Infraction.
Implants have become a fact of life for the average person in Orchestra. While not everyone has implants, they're widely accepted and becoming more affordable. It's not uncommon for someone to have a prosthetic or synthetic replacement for a limb or organ, though these aren't the focus of hyperhuman grade implants. Hyperhuman implants cause stress on the body because of their complexity, size, power requirements, and nervous system interactions, and are not capable of just being plopped into an average person.
Therapy to become able to use implants costs only a couple hundred CCredits, but is a gradual process as the body adapts to the genetic and physical alterations undergone in the therapy. There are a number of methods, but most involve a one-off five or six hour outpatient process, and cause a neural regeneration along with a number of changes to immune and digestive systems. Doctors are able to verify if the therapy's effects are complete, which can follow erratic timetables. Therapy is included free when a character elects for Hyperhuman attribute and skill specializations as a part of their character advancement or during character creation (the average person already has therapy, so it could be said that the advancement is just when it kicks in).
Implants come in four varieties, Neural, Structural, Nano, and Active, classified by the adaptations required to use them. Neural and Active implants may be disabled at will to make room for another slot (they may be enabled at the beginning of a scene) and Nano implants may be disabled for a scenario to open up slots, but Structural implants require removal surgery and physical therapy.
A popular Neural implant is the Cybercomputer. It cannot be hacked, since any access is approved by the brain of the user (essentially the user wills the system to connect to another), and can be slaved to another computer instantaneously to grant a 2 point boost to the Power Rating (unfortunately, not for the purposes of resisting Crashing). A Cybercomputer consumes a Neural Implant slot, but multiple can be installed. A Cybercomputer costs about 1250 CCredits.
The Smartfinder is another Neural implant. It is a passive implant that consumes no slots, but requires a double-specialization in the Neural Implants skill. It allows the user to ignore environmental penalties when Spotting or using Ranged Combat by expanding the user's vision beyond the normal visual spectrum and “illuminating” lightly in the appropriate wavelengths. Smartfinders do have an eye component, and they cause the user's eyes to glow when they are exploring dark areas. They run around 5000 CCredits for a complete system, and 1000 CCredits for replacement eye components should the user's eye be damaged irreparably. Smartfinder systems are viewed with suspicion in the World League, but are not illegal.
Knowings are neural implants that replace allow skills to be implanted in the user. Knowings allow the user to implant up to three skill compilations. Each Knowing takes up a Neural Implant slot, and two can be implanted. Knowings cost 1500 CCredits, and each skill compilation costs 1500 CCredits. Compilations must be custom-tailored for a specific Knowing, but can grant one specific skill from any non-Silver category. Compilations do not grant Health or Stamina gain, nor double-specialization bonuses.
Structural implants were pioneered with the Reskel. A Reskel is an augmented skeleton that has been rebuilt with composite materials and pioneered in such a way that any incoming Stamina damage is reduced by two. Typically the process is done via nanite based construction, since the original process of replacing bones was deemed too psychologically and physically taxing. The nanites are stored in skeletal structure and can emerge to do repairs as needed. The Reskel process uses up one Structural Implant slot, and can be done only once. Getting a Reskel operation performed costs 9500 CCredits.
Hyperstrength is a leading provider of muscle replacement services. They mesh well with the body, and are capable of repairing themselves, but do require a metabolism adaptation. They require at least one specialization in Structural Implants, but don't consume a slot. Hyperstrength grants a +6 bonus to Weight Lifting and reduces the stamina loss by one point. The muscle implantation and muscle material itself costs 5000 CCredits. Only one Hyperstrength implant can be used.
Impartment specializes in ''personal storage solutions'', namely the reconfiguration of the body to allow smuggling of contraband. A simple implant allows the character to conceal anything smaller than a rifle in a ''pouch'' in the user's abdomen. Impartment provides electromagnetic shielding, organ adaptation, and more to allow the user to pass even high security checks. An undetectable (except under microscope) seam along the user's abdomen allows them to withdraw the contents of the pouch. Alternative locations are available but offer severely diminished storage space. Impartment's complete implantation package involves therapy, replacement organs with increased output, and the components for the hidden compartment, all for ''just 25,000 CCredits'' and a Structural Implant slot. Impartment operates primarily in corporate enclaves and Cataclysm Zones, with no surgical centers in World League areas. World League authorities consider the Impartment pouch to be the equivalent of possession of controlled substances. Being discovered to have an Impartment (only possible by using it at the wrong time and place) is a Class 6 Infraction, and it will be removed (painfully, but harmlessly).
FeelWell sells custom nanites that aid natural human healing abilities. Anyone with a FeelWell nanite colony implanted will heal at the maximum normal rate regardless of hospitalization as well as benefit from double stamina regeneration. That said, FeelWell charges a premium fee for its services, demanding 75,000 CCredits, and the nanites do require a Nano Implant specialization and an open skill slot. Only one FeelWell nanite colony can have effect at once.
Outfeel provides a nanite pheromone package that allows the user to understand others' feelings better and influence them subtly. Outfeel provides a +2 bonus to all Sympathy related skills, for the small fee of 5000 CCredits and a Nano Implant slot (and specialization, of course). Outfeel can be doubled for a +3 bonus instead of a +2 one.
UnBleed sells a ''lifesaver nanite'' that prevents blood loss and brain damage as a result of traumatic injury. A subsidiary of FeelWell, the UnBleed nanite prevents people from dying due to all but the most serious trauma. A user of UnBleed nanites will never die due to time, and will only die when he has taken ten Health points worth of damage below zero. UnBleed can work passively, but requires a double specialization in Nano Implants. Unbleed costs 10,000 CCredits.
Armblades are by no means a new concept, and are available from a variety of retailers, but are becoming favored by bodyguards who need a powerful weapon that they can use easily without carrying it obviously. Armblades function like close combat weapons, and pop out of either the wrist or elbow (depending on user preference, but determined at the time of surgery) either away from or towards the forearm. Armblades deal 4 damage +2 for each level of the Close Combat tree of the user. Armblades are actually not illegal in the World League, though any fighting with them counts as armed fighting. Armblades cost 10,000 CCredits.
ZoomIn is a subsidiary of FeelWell, though the two companies are rumored to be going through the steps to separate from each other. ZoomIn advertises itself to the artistic person who wants to make the most of his environment, but actually sells primarily to soldiers and investigators, providing the equivalent of Grade 2 or 3 optics for a low price. Like all modern optics, ZoomIn models are adaptive, but can only adapt to a given point. Grade 2 implants run around 5000 CCredits with all things included, while Grade 3 will cost a buyer close to 12,500 CCredits. That said, they give a boost to Investigation rolls equal to their Grade, and also are useful because they allow the user to double the effective range of all guns but shotguns (double distance at Grade 2 and triple distance at Grade 3), without sniping. They can be combined with Smartfinders without an issue, since they operate in different parts of the eye. ZoomIn implants eat up one Active Implant slot regardless of grade. ZoomIn implants affect the illegality of weapons like normal Optics.
Recently, black market surgeons have been marketing a new ''Burner'' technology, which allows the user to send a massive amount of electricity into a target over a short distance (about 2 meters). While this drains the user, it can deal lethal damage without requiring the use of a ranged weapon, and the implant only requires a close combat roll. On use, a Burner removes a number of points of Stamina from the user equal to the number of points of Health damage the user wants to deal. Damage from a Burner is subject to Resistance rolls, unlike normal attacks. Burners cost 15,000 CCredits, and use up an Active Implant slot, though they require a double-specialization in the Active Implant skill. Use of a Burner in the World League is a Class 5 Infraction (but they can actually be licensed as weapons).
Computers are used with Electronic Systems skill rolls. They have three ratings: Power Rating, Security Rating, and Class. Each has a major impact on the cost of the computer, though computers are typically custom-built for specific features. There are five Classes, and each determines how much power a computer can have relative to its cost.
Typically, the base cost of a computer is equal to 100 times its Power Rating multiplied by its Security rating, multiplied by its Class Modifier. That said, there are effects of the Class of the computer. A super powerful mainframe is a lot less expensive than a super powerful laptop or phone. The five classes are Giant, Mainframe, Desktop, Laptop, and Phone. Giant computers cost only a tenth of the normal cost, but require a 1000 CCredit facility to keep running (for room, power, cooling, and occasional cooling). Mainframes are much more practical, but they can't be moved since they are integrated into a structure. They cost half of the normal cost. Desktops are what the “normal” cost is. They can be moved (they're a mite smaller than their modern equivalents, and much more sturdy), but require three turns to set up (wireless display devices similar to a phone help with portability), though they require a large pack and are a burden (and a target for thieves). Laptops are favored by hackers for their portability. You pay twice as much for the same stuff, but they're easily portable, and you can actually get to where you're going with one. Phones are preferred by those for whom money is no object. They cost five times the normal cost, but are concealable and ubiquitous. Some hackers buy extra phones to serve as a power bank for a laptop instead of splurging for a new, more fancy computer.
Consumables are everywhere in Orchestra. Food and drinks and medicine, consumables are capable of wondrous effects and horrific outcomes. For the sake of convenience, some of the more dangerous and interesting things are listed here. Naturally, consumables can only be used once.
Everyone has tried to stay awake some time or another, and now it's easy! Soystim offers a comprehensive awareness solution! This cheerily advertised product consists of a blend of stimulants and nutrition to keep a person running with minimal side effects. Using Soystim allows a character to forfeit their stamina gain from the next scene in order to gain a quick point of stamina now. It costs about 10 CCredits for a ''energy bar'', and even has branded coffee, tea, and beverage products.
On the darker side of the spectrum is Edge. This ''combat drug'' is popular for the seemingly endless energy it grants. Edge lasts for a scene and allows a character to keep going without stamina. However, Edge eats away at the well being of a character- every time it's used, a Resistance roll must be taken against a target of 12 to avoid a Health point loss. Also, more dangerously, if used in a combat situation Edge causes the user to be able to keep fighting up until the point where their Health falls to zero, and the rule for Nonlethal weapons counting as Less Lethal still applies to someone on Edge. Edge is available in a variety of packages, but it is often taken as a tablet or pill. It is illegal in most jurisdictions, and you won't find it for less than 50 CCredits as an ''introductory offer''. A dose for a junkie would cost about 250 CCredits, and addiction is common and easily diagnosed. Possession of Edge is a Class 2 Infraction, while Intent to Sell is a Class 5 Infraction.
A more benign drug is Patchitropamine (brand name), a drug which has been shown in tests to speed up healing and rejuvenate the user. While it has addictive qualities and it is very expensive, it tends to be useful for those who live a risky lifestyle. It costs 500 CCredits a week, but if the regimen is maintained for at least three weeks the user heals as if they were in an expensive hospital, with the downside that it lowers the user's maximum amount of Stamina by two points. Patchitropamine is often prescribed, but having it illegally or selling it to someone without a prescription is a Class 2 Infraction.
Tool kits are used with certain skills, and allow them to be used to their full extent. The two types of kits currently in Orchestra are the Fabrication tool kit and the Medicine kit. Both of these have their uses covered more by their respective skills. Tool Kits cost 1000 CCredits, unless otherwise stated.