Do you remember the Year 2000 Scare? Of course not, you're too young. But anyway, people were really scared, expecting The End Of The World As We Know It, and desperately patching the decaying code left behind by long gone programmers. Time was running out. Someone had a bright idea: why not train unemployed people to program Cobol specifically to fix the Y2k bug? The idea was implemented everywhere - you got rid of a bit of unemployment and got a chance to patch the bug. Thus were the cobolds born. At time zero-zero there were some breakdowns, but in the end, after a few real scares, everything was back in order. Then what to do with the cobolds now? Some of the globobosses got a nice idea: why not hire them? After all, that way the ancient Cobol systems could be maintained by low-salary personnel with no need to upgrade the rotting cores of the expensive systems, and at the same time unemployment in this group could be kept low. Said and done, and this is why you can still find truly hideous Cobol eternally maintained by its slaves in many big organizations. Who said technology couldn't be inherently evil?

Acquiring Tech

Everything can be bought, for the right price. With the right connections. At the right time. When the government isn't looking. Things can usually be divided depending on availability (i.e. how widespread they are) and legality (how much the government or others tries to suppress them).

There are three qualities of availability: Common, Specialized and Developmental (with shadings between, of course).

Common goods can be bought at the nearest supermarket, specialist shop or ordered through the net. Nobody will bother you except for the marketing computers who will most likely quietly log the transaction and sell it to the market database companies in order to create a buyer profile. Buy enough nails, and DIY catalogues will start to appear in your mailbox.

Specialized goods are available, but not very widely and they are seldom bought by private persons. Medical devices, heavy engineering equipment, chemicals and security gadgets. They can be bought from specialist companies. However, even some quite legal specialized goods are monitored; the seller has to notify the authorities when somebody buys them (such as chemicals that could be used for explosives, drugs or nanotechnology or electronics for high-precision detonators). It is often useful to buy them through a legit organization if possible (especially since many companies immediately get suspicious if an individual wants to buy them).

Development goods are not mass produced. They are not on the market for one reason or another. Some are being developed and only exist as prototypes. Some are even less refined, just research models with plenty of bugs (usage often requires having a graduate student or engineer handy to do continuous repairs). Some are finished products that were never marketed for one reason or another. Getting them is tricky, and usually involves convincing the developer to sell.

Legality can similarly be graded in three levels too: legal, restricted and illegal.

Legal goods are (surprise!) legal - at least in the relevant jurisdiction. Many things that are quite legal in one place can be highly restricted in another place.

Restricted goods are regulated in various ways; they might require a permit (weapons or medical equipment) or usage is surrounded by detailed rules (genetics equipment). Buying them legitimately usually means having to show permits or registering them.

Illegal goods range in illegality from stuff that is formally illegal but practically never prosecuted (pirated software, hardcore pornography) over regular illegal goods (drugs, unlicensed weapons, forged passports) to things that is too hot to handle for most of the regular underworld (e-weapons, nuclear materials, nanomachines).

Many restricted, illegal or specialized goods can be found on the Market, but the prices tend to be rather steep. Some interfacers run or are connected with companies and organizations that buy special goods, and then sell it off to the Concordat. Others have connections with the underworld and the rest of the TU, making illegal stuff available. In general, getting restricted or specialized goods can double the listed price, and illegal goods can multiply the price even further.


Nanofacture recipes in general cost around the same price as the equipment, or a few times more (if they are available, of course - a lot of stuff haven't been designed for MCs yet, it takes a lot of work). Remember that once you have the recipe, you can make as many copies as you want of the object (with the exception of more expensive designs, where the creators might decide to sell it by meterware for a while).

It is possible to order new designs from the nanotech cells, the price is negotiable (if they only expect to sell one copy ever it will be rather expensive, if it is something marketable they might lower the price). Expect roughly 50 IOU per man-hour of nanodesign. Sometimes nanohackers announce their willingness to design a certain recipe, and will undertake or publicly release it when given a certain sum of IOU; this is handled using the "Street Performer Protocol".

Intelligence Equipment

See also Surveillance Technology


An ordinary storage disk can store around 3-6 hours of conversation, depending on compression. Wearables with microphones can also act as recorders. Price for a normal mini tape recorder: 15 IOU


Mini camera with telephoto: 50 IOU

Video Cameras

Handycams have become ever slicker and easier to use, the perfect tool for documentation of holidays or FOG crimes. Mini video camera with telephoto: 150 IOU, simpler models are cheaper.

Validated Camera

Validated cameras are rare, usually only found as fixed surveillance cameras or carried by emergency response teams. Official validated surveillance cameras cost 50 IOU/month and camera in upkeep (usually not available through the Market) together with irregular, costly inspections and the need for a permit. Unofficial validation, based on Concordat cryptosystems cost 10 IOU/month and is readily available (but unfortunately not admissible as evidence in court).


Cellular phones are widely used in most modern societies - small, light, cheap and practical. Since they rely on local base stations, they can give your position away to someone wired into the network. Satellite phones use the LEO net for communication - they work anywhere there is a satellite over the horizon (i.e practically everywhere). Wearable computers are usually linked into the cellphone (or satphone) net, and can often double as phones if necessary.

Options include (besides fancy covers and other stuff) solar cells to charge the batteries during the day and scrambler add-ons to make the dialogue private (illegal in many countries; a wearable doubling as a phone can run a public domain scrambler program).

Normal phone: 1-50 IOU Debugged phone: 160 IOU Ill Solar cell battery charger: 10 IOU Scrambled transmitter/receiver: 30 IOU Ill

Criminology kit

A small kit containing the on-site forensic essentials like fluorescent fingerprint powder, sniffers and reactants for detecting the presence of blood, narcotics or other substance traces, sampling devices, validated mini cameras and other useful stuff. Price: 200 IOU Spec

Disguise kit

Not just the usual beuatificants, but intended for disguise purposes. Contains things such as fake hair, colorants, bleach, modeling putty (to alter facial shape), colored contact lenses, adhesives and solvents, facial powders, pencils for toning and highlighting and all other tools necessary to change the appearance. Price: 100 IOU

[ Gives +1 to +3 to attempts at disguise, depending on cosmetic knowledge ]

Forged Identity

Identities are complex; most people in developed countries have literally many shelf meters of records about themselves in various government and corporate archives and databases. If an assumed identity lacks paper trail or is inconsistent it can be discovered for what it is. However, often complete identities aren't necessary, just identity enough to get past borders, get a job or hide from somebody else. The simplest form of forged identity are fake ID's, passports or other personal documentation. They can stand a cursory check, but a more in-depth look will reveal that something is amiss and since most forgeries claim to belong to some other person the real person might notice that something weird is going on when she gets advertisements for heavy weapons and the social security service begins to take an unexpected interest in her life. More complex identities are created by tricking the bureaucratic machinery (such as emigrating between different nations, using a simpler forged identity to create a more solid one) or outright hacking of the records - a recently dead person's identity is assumed, the medical and biometric records changed to suit the new owner. Price: simple fake ID 100 IOU, convincing identity papers 500 IOU, complete identity: 10,000 Ill


Rough costs (computers bought through the Market are usually modified or customized):
Ubicomp 20
Stationary personal computer 500
VR player 500 (often built into a personal computer, the price then becomes 600)
Laptop 600
Wearable 1,000
Workstation 1,500
Mainframe 50,000
Supercomputer 100,000+
The prices above are for standard computers; similar performance as mainframes and supercomputers can be achieved by distributed computing through the net, or by nanocomputers (recipe cost for C&C ExaFlopBlock: 5,000 IOU).

Wearable Peripherals

BAN conversion (enables wearables and other devices worn on body to communicate freely). Price: 2 IOU per item (can be done using a Fair Electronics roll with the right extra parts)
Throat mike/earphone: 5
Wristscreen: 10
Display glasses: 100
Contact lenses: 500
Mediated reality: 300
Wearable keyboard: 10
Gaze control: 40
EEG control: 100
Wireless Net connection: 10


Virtual reality rig (includes headset, phones and gloves)
Cheap 100
Tactile 300
Full body 500
Advanced 1,000


Cum Scientia Defendumus
U.S. Army Chemical and Biological Defense Command

Weapon Availability and Legality

Overall, weapons policy has grown more restrictive in the US and EU; most weapons are restricted or illegal (including many melee weapons). Getting a firearms permit has become harder and requires more background checks.

The PRC has an extremely strict weapons policy, even banning things like slingshots. But at the same time there is an infinite number of AK-47 left behind in the villages from the civil defense programs of Mao, so reality and policy doesn't mesh at all.

The rest of the world is very variable, ranging from the anarchy of the Fourth World over macho South America to Singapore.

Pistols, hunting rifles and melee weapons are common, the rest specialized.

Personal Armor

Type AC Defensive factor IOU
Steel helmet 2 +1 7
Kevlar helmet 2 +1 25
Kevlar vest 2 +2 150
Kevlar overall 2 +3 270
Riot armor 3 +3 500
Bulletproof vest 2 +2 100
Combat suit 3 +3 500

A comment on armor

Of course, armor is a good option if you do not want to get hurt, but there are some problems attached to wearing armor. First of all they cannot stand an indefinite amount of damage (see armor degradation in the combat chapter). Second the weigh quite a bit, if a character strolls around in an armor the Coordinator might call for an END- roll or give the character some penalties to skills in combat. This is especially true in tropical or subtropical climates where the temperature is high. Armor doesn't allow the body to breathe, and you quickly get very hot (this is especially true with Kevlar ). You will also reek of sweat. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, most armors are not concealable at all, CC: C at best. You may be certain that the police will get very suspicious of Mr. Walks-in-trenchcoat-in-the-summer or that wears an illegal armor. An armor is restricted or illegal in many countries. Remember also that Kevlar ages quite quickly, as the fibers are worn and torn just by wearing it.


A bright idea: a tiny camera affixed to the gun, taking a picture of every shot. This makes it possible to prove self-defense, as well as get evidence in some crimes. In the US, EU, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia and some other places it is now mandatory to have guncams on all weapons - weapons without cameras are illegal. There are of course laws against disabling or tampering with them, and opening the guncam without destroying or visibly damaging it is practically impossible.

The guncam consists of a lens in front and a connection to the gun to detect a firing; the interior is solid epoxy and a non-volatile memory chip that can store around a magazine of pictures.

Guncams have unexpected applications: they are after all legally binding validating cameras, and can be removed and used for taking pictures without a gun (requires a Mediocre Repair, Imaging or Electronics roll). This is one of the easiest ways of getting validated pictures that can stand in a court of law, even if you might get a small fine for removing it from the gun.

Price: 10 (included in some weapons)

Smart Guns

A variant of some guns that makes them only work for their owners. The gun contains a device which prevents firing unless it is within 30 centimeters of a small transponder that is worn on the wrist or in the clothing of the owner (some police versions also allow the partner of a policeman to use his gun). Colt pioneered the design, but it can be bought as an option from many arms manufacturer by law enforcement agencies worldwide.


Ankle holster: 25
Shoulder holster: 16
Concealed holster: 25
Side holster: 16

Flame muffler

Flame muffler pistol/rifle: 135

Telescopic sight - wearable

Instead of showing the image through the telescope, it is sent to the owner's wearable or C3I system. This way the gun can be used to look around corners, image recognition and designation programs run on the view etc. Price: 200

Telescopic sight

Pistol/rifle telescopic sight: 100

IR sight

IR sight pistol/rifle: 165

Laser sight

The classic little red dot laser sight. Useful not just for the increase in accuracy but for the intimidation value. Laser sight for rifle: 30

[+2 to Firearms rolls, +1 to Threaten the person being targeted]

Holographic Aim Point Sight

With an ordinary sight the wielder needs to align her eye with the sight in order to aim. Holographic sights use holography to allow aiming even when the wielder is not aligned with the gun. The sight looks like a small square, on which the scene in front of the gun is displayed together with a red aiming dot. Regardless of from what angle the wielder looks at the sight she will see the same scene, making it possible to aim well. Price: 100-150 IOU

[+1 to Firearms]

Night sight

Night sight for rifle: 265


Price: 100, Ill



Measures total absorbed dose of radiation (possibly type). Useful for the health conscious in some parts of Russia. Price: 20 Spec

Inertial compass

Keeps track of where you are in relation to the position it was initialized. Useful when you have no GPS access. Price: 50


A GPS peripheral is useful for a lot of things such as finding out where you are in the world. Price: 50

Light amplifying and IR glasses/binoculars

Ancient tech, but surplus Russian or US glasses are still in use here and there. Many TU members instead use mediated reality and low-light cameras / IR-add ons for their wearables. Works well in darkness, but is easily blinded by a sudden light or heat explosion. Price: Light amplifying glasses: 230, Light amplifying binoculars: 95, IR binoculars: 90, Camera for wearable: 90

Bionic ear

A sensitive microphone connected to an amplifier and signal processor with earphones, allowing the detection of extremely faint sounds, ultrasound or infrasound. Price: 100 Spec

Distance meter

A small handheld device that measures a distance using a laser pulse. The resolution is sub-millimeter up to a distance of several hundred meters. Price: 10

Room scanner

A handy add-on to the wearable that rapidly scans the room with an invisible IR laser, measuring the distance to everything and building a 3D model. Makes it possible to move around in total darkness or run augmented reality. Price: 120


A portable version of the classic "lie detector" that detects changes in galvanic skin response, breathing, heart rate etc. It can quite accurately tell how tense or aroused a person is; determining if he is lying requires Psychology or educated guesses. It is quite possible to learn to control the body responses through Emotion Control. Price: 270, Spec

Gun Detector

The device sends out a radio signal, analysing the echo looking for the characteristic signature of guns or similar objects. The stationary version has long been in use on airports, but many police forces are equipped with flashlight-sized devices that can (at least in good conditions) detect guns five meters away when pointed at a suspect. They aren't perfect, miss non-metal or very unusual guns and sometimes make mistakes, but many policemen love and trust them. Price: 300, Res

The Look Upwards Combine has built a jammer for the detector:a pocket-sized electronic device when it detects the radio signal it sends out a counter-signal that hides the signature of possible guns carried by the user. Price: 50, Ill


Lock picks

Price: 10 pieces, 15 IOU Rest/Ill

Laser burner

A semi-portable industrial carbon dioxide laser, able to burn through metal and just about anything else. It is bulky (partially due to the extensive cooling system) and guzzles electrical power, but for certain applications it is perfect. Price: 665 Spec (mainly for heavy engineering)

Climbing kit

For mountaineers - and people who want to (say) get up or down buildings.


Looks like a harpoon gun, fires a grapnel trailing a cable that can the be climbed using a winch.

Fuel Station

A rather portable fuel cell that can burn gasoline or propane into electricity.

Solar foil

A popular nanofactured product - each square meter of the velvet black foil produces around 1-500 W in sunlight. Since an ordinary MC can manufacture around a hundred square meters in one batch, it is a practical way of gathering energy if you're not afraid of being seen from the air. Price (for recipe): 40

First Aid Kit

Found in cars, factories, medicine cabinets, homes and just about everywhere.

Gives +1 to the Medicine roll to help a wounded person.

Medical equipment kit

The step above a first aid pack, the well-stocked M.D case. Contains antibiotics, antivenoms, analgesics and other drugs, bandages, surgical tools and various diagnostic kits. Different owners may customize it to include psychological drugs, emergency medicine or other specialties.

Gives +2 to the Medicine roll to help a wounded person.

Emergency Medicine Kit

Required for the very serious situations. Contains things such as high osmolarity IV fluids, anti-shock treatments, synthetic blood substitute, anticoagulants, lidocaine, epinephrine, defibrillation equipment, endotracheal tubes, oxygen, surgical tools and medical instruments such as pulse oximeters. Usually found in ambulances or in paramedic equipment, mainly intended to patch the patient up enough so that he or she can survive long enough to get to a hospital. Definitely nothing for amateurs.

Gives +3 to the Medicine roll to help a wounded person.

Blood Analysis Kit

A portable device that can analyze the chemical contents of a blood sample (just a drop is enough, it is quite similar to a multi-purpose sniffer): everything from the glucose and hemoglobin levels over the presence of various drugs, ALAT, ASAT, kinases and hormones to antibody levels and types. The scan takes around 10 minutes but is quite exact; interpreting the results requires Medicine. Quicker but less reliable detectors for some markers (such as drugs or kinases) are in wide use in modern hospitals. Price: 1,000 IOU Spec (usually available only to hospitals and labs), quick kits: 1-10 IOU depending on type.

Genetics mini kit

The "gene lab in a case", a portable genetic lab.


Setting up a real laboratory takes plenty of money and equipment, but for the driven underground researcher it is still quite possible to scrounge together a quite capable basement lab. The type of lab determines cost and the need for contacts; setting up an electronics lab or robotics workshop requires mostly legal or somewhat special equipment, while setting up a genetics lab would require buying some of the controlled devices or enzymes from the Market or through contacts.


Compact rations

Standard emergency food, containing lots of calories and nutrients. Taste and texture are of course awful as expected.


Provides oxygen and removes the need to breather contaminated air. The oxygen tanks last for three hours.

Diving gear

Respirator, flippers, wet suit etc.

Gas mask

Filters the air through a chemical filter that (hopefully) can deal with contaminants. Price: 10


Full body suit, protecting against noxious chemicals, pathogens and other hazards (version exist for places such as nuclear power plants or level III genetic laboratories).

Smart textiles

They were all the rage around 2010, but then rapidly fell out of fashion: the fabric can change color (and sometimes texture) to some extent based on electronic signals. This can be used when linked to a wearable for a form of camouflage, both by changing the color of the clothing and to copy patterns from the surroundings. Usually more chic than is suitable in the field, but a neat trick for the technophile. Price: 100

[gives +1 to Stealth if it matches the environment or makes the user look like somebody else]

Passive Camoflage

Still in use in most of the world, with colorations depending on environment. Price: 60

[gives +1 to Stealth in the correct environment]

EMP hardening

Rooms or devices can be hardened against EMP attacks. This involves creating a Faraday cage around them, usually by fine metal mesh, or adding strong fuses.


Frameworks that can be strapped on the body, augmenting its strength or movements. Most that have been developed so far are intended for disabled people (just providing movement ability rather than any real strength) or as biomechanical exercises; they are quite rare but have some interesting possibilities. There have been built some full-body exoskeletons with hydraulics, enabling great strength at the price of some serious clumsiness (not to mention danger to oneself and bystanders, as well as interesting mechanical failures).

A related idea is the "kangaroo harness", a system of springs and bars that enables the wearer to run/jump somewhat like a kangaroo. Just like cycling it doesn't cost much energy; the user can run for several hours without getting overly tired. Just don't trip over, getting up again is very hard.

Price: hydraulic exoskeleton 10,000+ IOU Developmental, Kangaroo harness: 1000 IOU

[ Hydraulic exoskeletons replace the wearer's strength with their own, usually Great or more. Agility is decreased to Poor, and the grippers have Terrible Dexterity. Kangaroo harnesses have Great Agility when it comes to running and jumping. ]

SpringWalker Body Amplifier


Smaller, safer, eco-friendlier; that is the main goals of cars in the blocks. Most people use cars to drive shorter distances than in the past, and rely on other forms of transportation for longer trips -- the car itself is fairly cheap, it is the fuel that costs. As taxes and restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel use increase, the cars run more on biofuels (which are not always cleaner, but at least just ruins the local environment).

Traffic is also on the increase in the middle world -- in Mexico, South America, Egypt, Indonesia and so on people are getting cars. Many are license-built older western models. Then there is the PRC: Chinese traffic safety is a common joke these days ("What is the PRC doing to stop overpopulation? Issue more driver's licenses"). The PRC is rapidly building an extensive road network, despite the environmental protests from the other two blocks.


Concordat cells often need to transport contraband equipment around the world, a very tricky but profitable business. Cells such as UPS, UII and Dragan's Cigarette Smugglers provide transport services, but the price is usually rather high.
Pick-up-drop-off-service (picking up something at one designated point, dropping it off at another):

Normal transports (legal stuff, the buyers simply don't want to go through ordinary channels):

Secret transports inside a nation:

International secret transports:

Very sensitive or dangerous transports (explosives, nanotech) will of course be more costly; all the transport cells demand to know about the potential problems of the transported goods (such as if it can be sniffed, if it is illegal etc). Prices also way with the way the goods can be transported (sometimes a new smuggling route becomes apparent) or where.