BITS – Gear Maker

If making a roleplaying game, there must be guidelines available to fill the game with gear.

BITS as an RPG system keeps it real with simple, universal rules for equipment. Every paradigm results in the single ‘value’ of equipment that BITS uses for everything from effectiveness to monetary amount to requirements for use in game.

Because BITS also makes for different kinds of games, it also comes with different methods for putting together a design consistent and (fairly) balanced.

Let’s cover what those are:


What kind of thing is it?

The simplest question with the simplest answer. This category of gear creation is as simple as comparing what is wanted with what is available or similar on charts.

For readability, let me label separate charts for separate things (though every piece of gear could go onto every other list – the tiers remain the same):

TierMedieval / Fantasy Weapon Kind
0Fists, Feet, Darts
1Knives, Cudgels, Hatchets, Whips, Sticks, Rocks, Slings, Mini Crossbows
2Swords, Clubs, Maces, Axes, Spears, Short Bows
3Broadswords, Battle Axes, Flails, Warhammers, Pikes, Lances, Crossbows
4Claymores, Zweihanders, Great Mauls, Halberds, Long Bows
6Especially Magical Weapons, Ballistae
10Siege Machines
Tier 3 melee weapons have disadvantage if used with 1 hand; T4 can’t be used without 2 hands.
Ranged strung weapons from T2 on can’t be used without 2 hands.
T10 is meant more as once-off, immobile set-pieces or divine favors than regular-use gear.
TierMedieval / Fantasy Armor Kind
1Leather, Furs, Round or Square Shield
2Studded Leather, Mail, Kite or Legionnaire Shield
3Partial Plate, Wall Shield
4Full Plate, Wheeled Shield
6Especially Magical Armor or Shields
10Stone Wall, Metal Gate
T1 shields can be attached to the back, the shoulder, or the forearm for carrying.
T2 shields need a hand to hold.
T3 shields and higher require 2 hands or other means of projection.
TierModern / Sci Fi Weapon Kind
3Assault Rifles, Chained Swords
4LMGs, High Powered Rifles, Shotguns, SAWs, Molecular Blades
6Rockets, Grenades, Miniguns, Sawn Shotguns, Energy Swords
10Missiles, Artillery Shells, Vulcan Cannons
Only includes gunpowder and later weapons.
T2 ranged weapons have disadvantage if used with 1 hand.
All ranged weapons T3 on require 2 hands to use.
All Modern / Sci Fi weapons cannot be blocked by worn Medieval / Fantasy armor.
TierModern / Sci Fi Armor Kind
1Kevlar, Riot Suits
2Ceramic Plates, Bulletproof Glass
3Shelled Carapace, Ballistic Shield
4Bomb Suits, Powered Armor, Light Force Field
6Mech Armor, Ship Hull, Tank Hull, Force Field
10Spaceship Hull, Structural Force Field
Some armor may regenerate, stop or push back attack, or cause attackers harm.
No Modern / Sci Fi Armor can block magic.


What is the make-up of this thing?

This method requires more work but can enable a game designer to create unique-yet balanced equipment.

The formula goes like this:

Tier = SUM(all elements of thing)

An example would be a Large, Automatic, Grenade Thrower. Large is +2, Automatic is +1, and Grenade ammo is +1, making this weapon a Tier 4 weapon.

Same can be done with a Normal Pike. Halberds are Large (+2) but this one is Normal (+0), so the weapon is T2. (This contradicts the previous section, but that is game design – fiddle with the value +/- 1 to get something that “feels right.”)

All elements are either +0, +1, or +2 in value. A small list of those elements as might concern combat equipment:

Melee SizeSmall, Off-HandMedium, 1-HandLarge, 2-Hands
Gun SizeSmall, Off-HandMedium, 2-HandsLarge, 2-Hands
RangedBullet, LaserExplosivePlasma
AreaFlameGrenade, RocketBomb, Missile
MagazineUnchangedDrum, ExtendedLink Fed
QualityMundaneBlessed, MasterAncient, Exotic

A T1 Laser Pistol, a T2 Chained Sword, a T3 Powered Maul, a T4 Large, Powered Shield, a T10 (!??) Ancient, Large, Link-Fed, Twin Missile Launcher 🚀

Mind, some elements are exclusive (i.e. a thing cannot have two different sizes). Otherwise, the math is simple and easy to follow.

So simple, in fact, an RPG that allows customizing a character can give players an allowance, a number of ‘points’ to buy and make gear of their own.

These elements discussed don’t cover everything, nor does every element fit nicely into a +0, +1, +2 system. Be a designer – adapt! Wiggle the numbers or add rules instead.

Some suggestions of elements that add rules instead of numbers:

  • A second weapon (grenade launcher on a rifle, flame thrower built into a shield, a shield or bayonet fitted to a laser gun).
  • Scopes that increase range.
  • ‘Smart’ seeking ammunition.
  • Compact design to make something be a size smaller without losing the bonus (e.g. Moderate +1 size made into a Small +1 carbine).
  • Extreme fire rate that does two attacks at once.
  • Extreme fire power that does extra over an area or by ignoring armor.


Only these two categories for gear crafting in BITS. That’s it 🤷‍♂️

I have tried other methods of making weapons, armor, and stuff in general and nothing fits as nicely as considering what Kind or Make of a thing there is. Both have applicability depending on how they ‘feel’ with other mechanics and player expectations for customizability.

Oh, again, of course these groupings can be fudged +/- 1 depending on game needs. Heck, in a “modern” game of mine without knights and magic, melee weapons are either T1 or T2 depending on size, all strung weapons are T3, and missiles fit into T6 instead of T10.

Gotta do what you gotta do 😉

Which do you think is the best way to craft equipment? Where have you seen similar or (gasp!) better systems?

Tell me in the comments, send me a dm. Cheers ~

Published by

Jimmy Chattin

Processor of data, applier of patterns, maker of games and stories.

One thought on “BITS – Gear Maker”

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