[Let’s Study] Fallout the Roleplaying Game, Part 4: Equipment

You know how some games seem to fetishize gear? Massive shopping lists of everything from Flint and Steel to Camping Tents? Fallout is one of those games. And honestly, rightly so. The catch, of course, is that there aren’t any well stocked stores.

All that stuff is yours for the taking. But you gotta find it first!

Equipment

Let me take this moment to point out that the equipment chapter is about 100 pages long. That’s bigger than the Introduction, Core Rules, Combat and Character Creation combined!

It’s not just a giant list of course, but let’s go over the key concepts in this section:

Obtaining Equipment

Even in the apocalypse there’s still trade. Fans of the videogames are familiar with the current accepted currency across North America: bottle caps. Don’t think about it too much, it’s just one of those things that Fallout is known for and if you’re ever interested in replicas, Modiphius has them! Other forms of currency exist, but are largely restricted in usage to specific societies.

To buy stuff, there’s the issue of availability. Items all have a Rarity rating, which is used in several ways. To determine if a specific item is in stock, there’s an Availability roll where you roll a number of Combat Dice equal to your Luck, the number of Effects rolled is the maximum Rarity Available. Another use is that the Rarity rating is the Difficulty when haggling with a merchant over price, or convincing someone to sell an item to you.

Scavenging and Looting have their own subsystems as well which we’ll get to in a bit.

Modifying Equipment

If you have the right mods, the right skills and a handy workbench to use, you can modify equipment with a Skill Test. Installing mods attaches Qualities to an item or cancels out negative Qualities such as inaccurate.

Weapon Qualities and Ammunition

Weapons are described by several traits and values:

  • Weapon Type – What type of weapon is it and what skill governs it’s use (ex: Small Guns)
  • Damage Rating – How many combat dice you roll when you inflict damage with this weapon
  • Damage Effects – Damage Effects kick in when you roll an Effect on the Combat Dice. These range from effects like
  • Damage Type – The nature of damage inflicted by the weapon physical, energy, radiation or poison
  • Fire Rate – The maximum number of additional shots you can spend to increase damage with this weapon
  • Range – Ranges weapons have a listed ideal range from close to extreme, and the difficulty of the attack changes depending on how far they are from their ideal range
  • Qualities – These are small rules that describe how the weapon works and special ways of how it can be used. An example would be a Concealed weapon, which is small or otherwise easy to hide
  • Weight – The weight of the weapon in pounds (lbs.) Encumbrance exists in Fallout, so be careful of just how many weapons you can carry
  • Cost – How much the weapons costs in caps, before alterations due to mods
  • Rarity – How difficult it is to find this weapon

Each gun in the game uses a specific type of ammunition. Fallout features about 20 different types in all, which seems to be a LOT, but take note that to most characters, you’ll probably fixate on just a few of these based on what your preferred mode of combat is.

From here we’re treated to an entire catalog of weapons covering all the weapon types from Small Guns to Explosives, with each receiving a small sidebar on example Complications (always fun!)

Apparel and Armor Qualities

Of course, the counterpart to dealing pain in the wasteland is surviving the hostiles. Fallout details everything you could put on, from Clothing, Outfits, Armor Pieces, Headgear, Power Armor and Robot Armor.

Oh, and Dog Armor too in case you took the Dogmeat perk!

All of these items have the following qualities:

  • Damage Resistances – These detail the resistances against Physical, Energy and Radiation damage
  • Locations covered – These detail the Hit Locations protected by the armor
  • Weight – The weight of the item in pounds (lbs.)
  • Cost – How much the item costs in caps, before alterations due to mods
  • Rarity – How difficult it is to find this item

Of course there are a few things to consider, such at the ability to layer Armor over Clothing, or how Outfits count as a single piece and can’t be work with Armor.

Some pieces of clothing add further bonuses on certain Skill Tests, like how a Formal Hat lets you reroll a single d20 on one CHA-based Skill Test each scene.

Robots get their own section as they normally can’t wear standard human armor (except for hats!) and so their armor has to be bolted on with the Repair Skill.

Consumables

Of course, weapons, ammo and armor are all crucial, but none of those are going to help you if you’re starving in the Wasteland. Consumables covers a wide range of things from Food, Drink, Chems and Books and Magazines.

Given that this is Fallout, we’re also looking at items of food and drink are Irradiated, which might end up giving you Radiation damage in the process (bypassing armor, of course since you consumed it!)

Let me go ahead and say that there’s a LOT of lists in this section, with each of the items described as well as having various effects on HP healing, other effects and of course their weight, cost and rarity.

Chems have addiction rules, as abusing the Chems can result in your character being addicted and suffering penalties when you’re not under the effect of the Chem in question.

Books and Magazines grant temporary perks upon reading them, and each of the publications have multiple issues that grant different perks. It’s a neat list of tables and I found the titles to be pretty hilarious.

Miscellany

The last section of this chapter covers the various toolkits and other equipment vital to survival in the Wasteland. These cover the basics from bobby pins for picking locks to a Pack Brahmin used to lug around heavy loads.

Robots have their own in the form of Modules, which are mods that you can install onto your bodies. These usually impart little bonuses or enable the robot character to do things like zap enemies with electrical discharges from tesla coils!


That took a lot more than I thought it would. Fallout is a unique setting, and a lot of that is thanks to the weird technology, crazy chems and the bizarre outfits you’d run into in the game. I’m pretty sure that there are players out there who have a penchant for playing strange characters dressed in weird ways and the tabletop RPG doesn’t discourage any of that.

While it feels like a lot, I expect that Fallout handles equipment much like it handles radiation: in the background and ideally in small doses. Characters won’t usually ever find a massive trove of gear, and having a gun is different from having enough ammo to use it.

Overall it’s a strong chapter that reinforces the wacky world of Fallout and one that I appreciated, despite being a GM that is ordinarily not so keen on massive equipment lists.

Next up, we’ll be taking a look at Survival rules are up next, including scavenging, fatigue, thirst, hunger, sleep, exposure and disease! And if I can fit it in, I’ll try to get the Crafting rules in there as well.

If you’re looking to grab the Fallout RPG, you can pre-order some really snazzy physical versions right now at the Modiphius Website!

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