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Savage Setting Rule: Defective Equipment

A common element of post apocalyptic or survival campaigns is the resource scarcity. Long time ago I have shared my way of making the resource amounts unpredictable, today I want to touch on using defective equipment. When push comes to shove, a rusted gun with a faulty trigger is better than no gun at all. If you are looking for Fast, Furious & Fun rules to express this in your games - read on!

I have originally created this rule for a Savage Worlds conversion of a Polish RPG - Neuroshima. You might know this name from board games like Neuroshima Hex or New Era. Before the fine folks of Portal Publishing have moved into board games, they have created a gritty post-apocalyptic RPG by that name. In the world of Neuroshima almost everything sucks - there is a AI that wants to finish off humanity, almost every person has some kind of disease and good quality equipment is hard to come by. So, you make do with whatever you can find - usually, the stuff is faulty in one way or the other. Normally, I am not to keen on adding penalties to tests, but in this case - it works thematically.

Defective Equipment

When items in good condition are hard to come by, using a slightly faulty equipment does not seem like such a big deal. There is plenty of rusted, bent and slightly broken stuff around. If you are lucky enough, you can scavenge some of it yourself. If you're not a scavenging type, there will be plenty of traders and merchants who can sell you some of those wares. Most of the available equipment comes faulty in some way. For every fault it gives the user penalties. Don't be afraid to add some flavor and narration to those faults - this makes for a more thematic roleplaying.

This slightly broken stuff gives you penalties to tests whenever you are using it. The car pulls to the right and the breaks are almost gone? -2 to Driving. This rusted Glock has a bent barrel? -1 to Shooting. That's not all - if your modified roll equals to 0 or less the item breaks - gun gets jammed, the car looses its steering etc. Now, only a successful Repair test can help.

When you are using defective stuff that does not require a test, the GM decides what happens – water purifying pills can give you diarrhea for example.

There is a good side to this whole deal. First - all that the defective equipment is usually cheaper. For each -1 modifier, you are taking off 20-25% of the cost. Secondly if you have some time, skill, tools and spare parts you can repair this stuff. A Repair test (or some other skill, like Knowledge:Chemistry when working with drugs) removes a -1 penalty for each success and raise. Repair takes time (to be decided by the GM depending on the item you're working on), so it can't be used during combat. Spare parts can usually be scavenged or bought (they cost around 10-15% of the item cost).

Equipment Degradation Sub-rule: Instead of items breaking down and needing repair on a critical miss, they become more defective. A roll of 1 on your skill die gives the item a -1 modifier. Snake eyes give -2. Those modifiers are cumulative. This rule works very well with games where both the equipment and skilled craftsmen are very hard to find - like a survival campaign.

Masterwork Items Sub-rule: Some characters (mostly NPCs) can improve items beyond their original quality. Masterwork items have a +1 modifier to tests, but can degrade as per rule above. If a PC wants to be able to create masterwork items, he needs to buy the below Edge.


Masterwork Craftsman
Requirements: Veteran, Repair (or other related skill) d8+
The character can improve items beyond their original quality. A successful Repair test on a non defective (no test penalties) item adds +1 modifier all tests using this item. The item created has a cost of 150-200% of a standard price.