Buck Rogers XXVc: Gear Quality

Before I even knew that pen & paper RPGs existed I was a fan of computer RPGs like SSI’s Gold Box Series. My two favorite games from that series were actually the games based on TSR’s Buck Rogers XXVc game.

While doing some research in preparation to next week’s game I watched some “Let’s Play” videos of the first game in the series: Countdown to Doomsday. There I noticed a something which is missing from the pen & paper game: gear qualities (or it’s not mentioned in any of the books I own).

Gear qualities are basically the “magic weapons and armor” of the Buck Rogers game. Standard weapons have a +0 to hit and a –0 to AC. So far so good. Martian weapons on the other hand are +1 to hit and –1 to AC. I think you get the drill. So if you want to provide your players with a particular useful piece of treasure you can make use of this. I’ve added a table of the various Gear Qualities available in the Countdown to Doomsday game below.

AC to hit
Standard -0 +0
Martian -1 +1
Venusian -2 +2
Mercurian -3 +3
Lunarian -4 +4

You can use something similar in your D&D games as well. If you don’t want to hand out boring longswords +1 or daggers +2, think of more descriptive terms fitting your game world. For example Imperial plate mail sounds way better than plate mail +1, don’t you think?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

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