Gear and other items are abstracted in your typical game of Fate. Generally they’re relegated to permissions to use various skills like needing a gun to Shoot or a horseclaw to Ride. In settings where survival is paramount gear and items become more important since, without them, the hostility of the world would end any story.
Nausicaä is set in a post apocalyptic world where food is scarce and survival is not guaranteed so you expect gear to take center stage. Yet the stories only feature these life and death gear equipment issues at very specific moments and only to push the story along. Gear is usually used in the same way that a magic sword is for King Author. The Chiko Nuts given by the children of the valley, Nausicaä’s armor blessed by the old women, or the dress given her by the Dorok tribes that is stained with Ohmu blood to became a symbol for the blue clad one.
Every item, even seemingly common things like the screaming shells or a worm flute are imbued with meaning and purpose. Items are important but they’re not something you go down to the village market to pick up before heading into the desert.
The solution to this is to treat gear and items a bit like Extras and have each piece be it’s own special coolness OR have it be something made via Create an Aspect actions that remain important only until they get used up by the narrative.
What follows are a few examples of special items and what additional coolness they bring to a story. It’s up to the GM to decide if a character can start with any of these things and, much like with Paranormal Abilities, the character needs a Permission Aspect before they can start with one. It’s also suggested that the Treasure skill be used as a guide to see if a character might be rich enough to gain one of these items without being intimately connected to the source of that item.
Armor and Weapon Ratings
Before I get to the list of items I want to talk a little about Armor and Weapons. Armor does exist in NPbF stories. Mainly you see it in the form of Nausicaä’s scale mail undershirt and the heavy armor of Torumekian cavalry. It provides protection but it’s not in any way invulnerable to the deprivations of forest insects and Heedra. From a narrative perspective that means Armor typically gets capped at 2-3 at Scale +0 That being said armor and weapons are special items that require permission aspects and GM approval regardless of their ratings.
It’s also suggested, should the GM want to make them more difficult to have, that Stunts get charged to keep armor or weapons. 1 stunt slot could buy 2 Ranks in Armor or Weapon for example.
Ohmu Shell Items
Ohmu shell is harder than ceramic blades and lighter than aluminum. Ohmu eye shells can be used for windows on gunships which can deflect anything short of direct cannon fire. Shell battle armor can deflect most blades and stands up to small arms fire. Shell blades cut through ceramic armor as easily as cloth.
There are drawbacks though. Heat seems to weaken Ohmu shell (allowing an eye to be separated using gunpowder for example) and a sharp strike at the right angle can shatter an Ohmu shell blade. Working Ohmu shell is considered a Secret.
Ohmu shell grants a +1 Armor or +2 Weapon rating improvement to any item it replaces.
This incredibly rare substance is housed deep in the Ohmu themselves and can be used for a variety of miraculous things. In a pinch it functions as a mask against the forest toxins as it purifies all air that passes through it. It’s incredibly resilient and impenetrable to physical attacks but can be manipulated by those with Paranormal Abilities. Serum, like amber, locks anything inside it away from the deprivations of time. Serum is also the only thing that’s been shown to survive inundation by the Sea of Corruption itself.
These bitter nuts are found in and around The Valley of the Wind and, while they taste terrible, a single nut can provide a full day’s worth of food and water.
The engines of the old world are miraculous things. The knowledge to build them is lost to time but they can still be repaired and rebuilt with the right tools, material, and the Technology skill. They function like modern day jet turbines but there’s never a comment in any of the stories about what fuels them. Planes can simply fly forever with their engines running continuously and never have to refuel. This is unique in a post apocalyptic setting where fuel is typically a resource to be fought over but it lends a special freedom to Nausicaä’ stories. Characters can travel any distance if they have access to a ship with one of these mythical engines.
There’s no additional game mechanics involved with Engines save that you need Technology to fix them and Permission Aspects to have access to a vehicle with them. Nausicaä’s flying wing Mehve contains one of these miracle engines and it looks like folks managed to build the thing in the real world!