It was the mid 90s, a few RPG companies were starting to experiment with settings and work with derivatives that ventured beyond their bread-and-butter game lines. It was the first time I was at University, and I had started going to RPG conventions to explore games outside my element.
Specifically, I'm thinking of 1995...White Wolf had designated it "The Year of the Hunter". Eachof the Five main game lines had a sourcebook released, each specifically linked to the theme year. I can't remember if this was their first in the "Year of..." series, there was a similar "year of the Sidekick" (or some such thing) that came just before or just after this. Late there was a "Year of the Lotus" with Asian themed versions of all their game lines.
But, "The Year of the Hunter" series is where I'm focused. It was a moment at one with the pop culture zeitgeist, perhaps a little ahead of the curve. The X-Files was at its peak of popularity, and Buffy would be coming out shortly thereafter.
One of the things that a lot of these quirky supplements did was play with the rules in some way, most commonly through the Background traits or the optional merits and flaws, that could be acquired by different characters. Things like military ranks (which could be adapted to ranks in a police force) which gave a new system of status separate to the machiavellian struggles of the vampires, or the power-integrated system of the werewolves (and other shifters). There wee odd little mechanisms that modified die rolls, granted extra dice, or manipulated story elements independently of game mechanisms. It was all very arcane and my 20-year-old brain loved the intricacy.
My two favourite game lines were Werewolf and Mage, so it's hardly surprising that the key concept I'm thninking about here is the "Project Twilight" book which was where the hunters crossed over with the werewolves. In this book was an Equipment background, which basically allowed players to requisition items from a department central depot. We always played it in such a way that a character could "borrow" equipment up to a total point value equal to their "Equipment" background trait, and at the end of the mission you would hand it back, so that you could borrow new equipment for the next mission, where such items would be chosen based on the expected impending scenario.
This blew me away at the time.
D&D was all about spending gold on every single piece of equipment, then making sure you weren't over encumbered by it. Regular Storyteller system was all freeform, and if it made sense that your character would have something, then they just get it.
This was a flexible halfway point, and something that I've wanted to add into a game for a long time. But I needed the right setting for it to work. The Law is feeling like the right setting for that to work.
I'm using both "Rank" and "Requistions" in the game. Where "Rank" gives a core cluster of equipment, as well as giving a general status level for the characters, and a die used in comflict resolution. "Requisition", on the other hand, is a social/influence skill that certain characters have, allowing these characters to draw additional resources that might not generally available, or upgrade their core items.
In keeping with the Judge Dredd themes of the game, all characters have a gun, a motorcycle, and some armour. With each improved level of rank, one of these pieces of equipment is upgraded.
Junior Agent (Taser, Basic Motorcycle, Light Armour)
Field Agent (Lawkeeper Pistol, Basic Motorcycle, Light Armour)
Senior Agent (Lawkeeper Pistol, Basic Motorcycle, Medium Armour)
Sergeant (Lawkeeper Pistol, Upgraded Motorcycle, Medium Armour)
Captain (Lawkeeper Pistol, Upgraded Motorcycle, Heavy Armour)
Taser - multi-shot stun pistol. Never Lethal
Lawkeeper Pistol - variable ammo pistol. Where different types of ammo have different effects. Armour piercing, Incendiary, Scattershot, Rubber Bullets, etc.
Basic Motorcycle - high speed and manoeuvrable
Upgraded Motorcycle - either a Smart-Cycle (self driving), a Hover-Cycle, or a Tactical-Cycle (armoured and weaponised) [Agent's choice, but once chosen, it's fixed]
Armour - where each degree of armour adds an extra level of protection.
Players can spend their requisition successes on upgrading their equipment, or choose entirely different items to add to their toolkit for the patrol.
It's all still a bit vague, but it's starting to come together.
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