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Wear

If you use something for a while, chances are it’ll stop working after a while.  So it is with things in CARE; this phenomenon is called Wear.  Wear is also known as the Curse of the Red Four.  Why, I hear you ask?  Well, whenever the player uses an item, and draws the Four of Hearts or Four of Diamonds, that item automatically gains 1 point of Wear, whether you’re using a knife or an interstellar death-ship.

Some items have more Wear available than others:

Item Type

Wear

Threshold

Electronics

5

-

Close Combat Weapon, Bow

5

-

Firearm

5

-

General Mechanics

10

-

Armour

10

-

Vehicle, Small (Bike)

15

3

Vehicle, Medium (Car)

25

5

Vehicle, Large (Bus)

40

8

Vehicle, Very Large (Tank)

60

12

 

Vehicle Wear works slightly differently to other items – they have what is known as a Threshold.  Threshold is how many points of Wear an item can take before it starts to degrade.

 

Wear affects items in different ways:

Close Combat Weapons – every point of Wear removes 1 point from the Base Damage of the weapon, to a minimum of 1 point of Damage.

Firearms – every point of Wear adds 1 to the Target when attacking with that gun.

Armour – to 5 points of Wear, armour is unaffected.  After 5 points, the Armour loses 1 point from all of its ratings for each point of Wear suffered.

Vehicles – Every time the vehicle sustains its Threshold value of Wear, it loses 20% from its Top Speed and Acceleration, and gains 1 point of Handling.  It may also have other detrimental effects, at the GMs discretion (trunks may pop open, turrets may jam, the breaks may fail to work, you get the idea).

 

Weapons vs. Vehicles

Ballistic and heat-based weapons do normal damage to vehicles.  Close-combat weapons will do half-damage, and hell, if you want to attack a tank with a club, you get what you deserve, really.

 

Travelling

The body is an amazing machine.  It can move in all three planes, if only for short distances, and it can travel across most surfaces unaided.

 

X and Y – Running

A character can walk (Dexterity÷2) metres in a turn, run (Dexterity×2) metres, or sprint (Dexterity×4) metres.  Running characters may do so for (Size+Athletics) turns; after this, they suffer 1 point of Green damage for every turn thereafter.  Sprinting characters may do so for ([Size+Athletics]÷2) turns, at which point they suffer 3 points of Green damage per turn thereafter.

 

Z – Jumping

The Targets for Jumping are listed below.  These Targets are for a decent run-up, say five metres or so; every extra turn spent running in the direction of the jump lowers the Target by 1, and every turn spent sprinting lowers it by two.  Bear in mind that the character must have sufficient run-up room; a standing jump will increase the Target by 2.

 

Jump Height (Centimetres) or Distance (Metres)

Target

Less than 10%/less than half the character’s height

2

11-20%/up to character’s height

4

21-30%/up to 1.5 times the character’s height

6

31-40%/up to 2 times the character’s height

8

41-50%/up to 2.5 times the character’s height

10

51-60%/up to 3 times the character’s height

12

61-70%/up to 3.5 times the character’s height

14

71-80%/up to 4 times the character’s height

16

81-90%/up to 4.5 times the character’s height

18

91%/up to 5 times the character’s height (Maximum unaided jump)

20

 

The draw is made against the character’s Athletics score.  Note that vertical leaps are measured so that the character lands on their feet by default; if the character is aiming to, say, catch the bottom rung of an ascending ladder, then subtract the character’s height from the total distance.

 

X, Y and Z – Aided Movement

There will come a time that the character will have to make use of a means of transport, whether that means is a horse, a car, or an interstellar cruiser.

The character may do certain things without the need of a test: move in a straight line, accelerate and decelerate normally – think of a person driving in regular traffic.  It is when this traffic becomes thick, or starts to shoot at you, that the character must make a test.

 

Vehicle Type

Cargo

Top Speed

Handling

Acceleration

Dirt Bike

4

130

6/5

5

Street Bike, regular

5

150

6/8

10

Street Bike, high performance

5

200

5/8

15

Street Bike, hog

9

170

6/9

12

Car, off-road

15

120

6/5

5

Car, low-end

30

100

6/9

3

Car, regular

30

150

6/8

10

Car, high-performance

25

210

5/7

20

Truck, small

60

140

6/10

5

Truck, regular (Van)

100

120

7/11

5

Truck, large

175

100

7/12

3

Bus

200

90

8/13

3

Semi-trailer

500

90

8/13

2

Plane, Prop-driven

150

135/350

7

30

Plane, Jet

300

200/1600

6

50

Helicopter

75

250

8

15

 

Cargo – how much stuff the character can carry with them in the vehicle.  Each unit is worth approximately 10 kg of gear, whereas a rider will automatically fill Cargo space equal to their Size.  Hence, you won’t get a whole lot of bulked-up characters riding a dirt bike.

Top Speed – how fast the vehicle can go, in kilometers per hour.  For airborne vehicles, the lower score is the minimum speed that the vehicle must be traveling in order to remain airborne.

Handling – the Target for the character to perform more-than-average tasks while behind the wheel.  The two numbers are the on-road and off-road Targets, respectively.  Note that there are some factors, such as weather, surface conditions, and vehicle damage that may also affect the Handling of the vehicle; these factors and the bonuses/penalties therein are up to the GM.

Acceleration – how fast the vehicle can speed up or slow down.  If the character wishes to do either thing, they make a test against the vehicle’s Handling; every success allows the character to slow down or speed up by the factor listed.

 

Al is shooting up the I-69 on his Yamaha (high-performance Street Bike), when he hears a siren start up behind him.  Eyeing the two saddlebags full of cash strapped behind his seat, he decides to make a break for it.  The Cop behind him is driving a regular Car, and is currently doing 120 km/h to keep up with Al.  Al has Bike: 5, and the Cop has Car: 4; the Cop has a Target of 6, while Al’s well-tuned Bike gives him a Target of 5.  Al’s player draws three successes, while the GM draws four for the Cop.  Despite the fact that the Cop gained more successes, the Top Speed of his car only allows him to accelerate to 150 km/h, while Al’s faster bike pulls away at a brisk 165 km/h.


GEAR

Load

Because the Matrix is a virtual world, the Resistance does not have to buy anything they use against the Machines – They simply upload it instead.  Why, then, do they not just upload a couple of hundred tanks and go blazing across the machines like a German dictator through Poland?  Well, the answer lies in the broadcast gear that each of the Resistance Hovercrafts carry.  The hacking transmitter only has a limited bandwidth with which it can project items into the Matrix.  While any Freeminds that head in there are duly compensated for, the stuff they take in is not.  Every gun, knife, and motorcycle they bring into the Matrix takes up a part of that bandwidth.  This is known as LOAD.

The translation and broadcast technology built into each jump chair tops out at 1000 units of Load; so, a fully-functioning five-man Hovercraft has a total Load of 5000.  Teams must therefore be careful that the Load needed by the brace of SAMs that the combat specialist is taking doesn’t mean that the other members are left to jack in wearing only their underwear.

 

Kits, Shops and Facilities

From repairing a Hovercraft to patching wounds to blowing things up, characters will need equipment to get the job done.

There are three types of said equipment.  Kits are the man-portable tool-bags for the mechanic on the go; good for patch-ups, but nothing serious.  Shops are more expansive, and can handle more detailed work, modifications and so on; think of shops as the contents of a toolshed, or the workbench in the garage.  Facilities are the top-of-the-line, able to produce items out of component parts, like a hydroponics farm, or a fully-stocked garage.

There are two parts to this equipment: its Tech rating, and its Complexity.  Tech rating is how technologically advanced the equipment is.  In a medical analogy, think of a standard first aid kit, complete with bandages, antiseptic, maybe some painkillers, compared to its 23rd century partner: and expert system-driven nanotech medkit that can reset bones, stop internal bleeding, and do a much better job than all of the other shlubs on your team that never take First Aid as a skill...

Complexity is how detailed (and often how big) the equipment is. Think of it as the difference between a field surgery – cramped conditions, low on everything, makeshift operating tables – and a top-level medical facility.

The two Tech ratings are Low and High, to correspond with the Basic (a household first-aid kit) or advanced (a Special Ops Trauma kit) nature of the gear. There are three levels of Complexity, Low, Medium and High.  A 20th century first aid kit would be Low complexity, while the equipment in your average trauma ward would come in around the High end.

What does all of this low and high stuff have to do with anything, I hear you say?  Well, the Complexity and Tech levels affect the performance of the item, and also the Load.  Kits may only be Low Complexity; Shops can be Low or Medium, and Facilities can be whatever the heck they want to be.  Multipliers are cumulative; so a Low Tech, Medium Complexity set of equipment will be multiplied by 6.

The type of equipment affects the performance of the character using it.  If the character is experienced in the procedure being attempted (ie they have the skill for it), then the equipment adds its Rating to the character’s skill Level for the test, to a maximum of 10.  If the character does not have the skill, then the item gives them the skill at half of its Rating.

Base Multiplier:

Rating

 

Type

Load multiplier

Kit

10

Shop

100

Facility

1000

 

Tech Type

Multiplier

Low

×2

High

×4 (+1 to Rating)

 

Complexity

Multiplier

Low

×2

Medium

×3 (+1 to Rating)

High

×5 (+2 to Rating)

 

Boomer, a Freemind demolitions expert, wants a Demolition Kit.  Boomer’s player is pulling out all the stops, making the kit High technology (+1 to rating), and Low Complexity (hey there’s only so much room in a bag...).  He already has Demolition at Level 4, so he plays the numbers, making it a Rating 5 kit (so when he uses it, he’ll be using his Demolitions Skill at Level 10!).  The Load for this Kit is (5×10×4×2=)400.

 

Like ammo, beer, and all good things, supplies run out.  Keep track of the uses of the equipment, successful or not.  For every 2 times a Kit is used, five times a Shop is used, and ten times a Facility is used, reduce the Rating by one; once it reaches 0, the supplies have run dry.  Note that the reduction in Rating does in no way reduce the Load of the kit.

 

After blowing up select parts of a robotics factory, Boomer finds he needs to stock up his Kit.  He has used it six times, which has reduced its effective Rating to (6-(6÷2)=)3.

 

 

The Theory of Ability Advancement

Skills

Every time you do something, you get a little better at it.  Therefore, every time you so something a lot, you get a lot better at it, right?  Therefore, in The Matrix RPG, there are two parts to increasing a character’s skills.

The first is Practice.  There is a box at the bottom of the character sheet, under the equipment.  Write all of your natural skills (not Flash Memory Skills – that would be cheating) in this box.  Now, every time your character uses a skill, successful or not, mark one point in this box.  This represents your character practicing the use of this skill.

The second part to advancement is Experience.  After every mission, your character will gain Experience according to mission objectives completed, stand out role-playing, and anything else the GM may see fit to give you awards for.  Experience may range from 2-3 points, for an easy solo mission, to 10 or more points for a detailed, save-the-world kinda gig.

So, putting this all together, advancing your skills runs thusly:

First, you have to put in at least 1 point of Experience per point already in the skill.  This gets you one card.  To these points, you may add Practice points to augment this draw, to a maximum of six cards.  The Target for the Draw is 6 plus the new score in the skill; so to raise Athletics from 5 to 6, a character would have to put in at least 5 Experience, and the draw would have a Target of 12.  The player may burn extra Experience to bring the Target down, at the rate of 1 Experience per point taken off.

Now, if you gain one success or more, then you increase your skill.  Congratulations.  However, the Experience and Practice Points you put in are gone (but your total Experience remains that same).  If you fail, well, the good news is that you keep the Experience points.  The bad news is that the Practice points you used are gone.

If the character wishes to learn a new skill, then they must outlay 5 Experience to begin with.  On the up-side, the Target for the draw is a flat 8. Each success gives the character one point at the skill, to a maximum of 3.  The way I figure it, there’s no point in learning a skill only to find that you stand a better chance when defaulting to an Attribute.

After a few missions, Engel’s player decides that he wants to increase Engel’s Lockpicking skill, which currently stands at 4.  He throws in the 5 points of Experience needed, as well as both of the Practice points Engel has accumulated.  This means that Engel’s player has three cards to draw (one for the Experience, and two for the Practice points) against a Target of (4+5=)9.  He decides against putting in more Experience to reduce the Target.  The cards come up 7, 4, and 9; the training is successful, and Engel’s Lockpicking skill is raised to 5.

Skills may only be increased one at a time, and by 1 point at a time; once they are increased to 6, the costs double (2 Experience for each point in the raised skill, plus 2 Practice or Experience points for every extra card).  The Target also increases, from 6 plus the new skill level to 10 plus the new skill level; the cost for decreasing the Target is also doubled to 2 Experience per point reduction.

Another character, a scavenger named BC, wants to increase his Salvage skill from 6 to 7.  Because this will increase it over the human limit, it will cost him (7×2=)14 Experience.  He lays it down, and adds 6 Practice points, gaining him a total of 4 cards against a Target of (10+7=)17!  BC’s player finds this a bit steep, so he opts to throw in an extra 10 points of Experience, reducing the Target to a much more manageable 12.  The cards are drawn: 3, 10, Patron 4, and Patron 8.  Re-drawing on the 4, BC’s player turns up a 2 – nuts!  Crossing his fingers, he draws on the Patron 8, and turns over a 9, for a total of 17.  This is enough, and BC’s Salvage skill increases to 7.

 

Attributes

Attributes are increased in a manner similar to Skills, with one major exception – no Practice Points.  Increasing Attributes must be done the hard way, through sheer Experience alone.

The procedure is the same, though: the character puts in Experience points equal to the new level (or twice the new level, if the Attribute is being increased over 6) against a target equal to the new level plus 6 (or plus 10, if the new score is over 6).  However, as there are no practice points for attributes, the player may substitute Experience to gain more cards or to decrease the Target.  And, as with skills, the character cannot increase their Abilities by more than 1 per session of Downtime.

Crunch isn’t the most graceful of people, so he wants to increase his Quickness from 2 to 3.  The initial cost is 3 Experience, but Crunch wants to make sure he gets the increase, so he adds another 4 experience, giving him 5 cards against the Target of 6.  He draws 2, 2, 4, 5, and 7, which is enough to get the increase.

Note that Fate Cards can not be used for any draw to advance the character’s skills or attributes.  That’s just cheating...

Hacking Abilities

The longer a Freemind lives, the better their mastery of the Matrix.  As such, for every 20 points of experience gained, characters gain another level of Hacking Ability, which may be spent at the time, or saved up for use at a later time (like, for example, purchasing a Circle Four ability...)

 

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