"Some things you can't fight. You see a storm coming, you have to get out of the way. But when you're in a Gear, suddenly, you can fight the storm. You can win."
In the Dream Chasers setting, "Gear" is a catch-all term used to describe giant, piloted robots. The vast majority of these ARMs are ancient war machines, rebuilt and repurposed for the modern era. Even the most basic Gear is a valuable military asset, and over the past two decades, every nation on Filgaia's surface has spent time and labor excavating and repairing these machines. Civilian Gears also exist, but are somewhat rarer; they're built for heavy labor, undersea operations, and other such purposes.
Gears are complex machines. They require regular maintenance, fuel, and specialized replacement parts. Before its fall, the Order of Ethos was the largest source of such support, and no one organization has stepped in to fill the gap it left. The Thames has become the go-to for many Gear owners, but most large, industrial cities -- such as Kislev, Guild Galad, and the Seed Settlements -- also host Gear-focused workshops. It might take some doing, but Drifters can find fuel, parts, and labor at prices that are usually affordable.
Owning and operating a Gear is no small undertaking, but for many Drifters, the expense is worth the reward. Some lucrative ruins are too large or hazardous to traverse on foot, making Gears a necessity for would-be explorers. Gears are also immensely helpful when dealing with large, vicious monsters -- and for fighting other Gears on equal footing.
The vast majority of Gears are excavated relics, and much like other ancient ARMs, they're classified by period of origin. In the present day, only a handful of nations have the industrial capacity to construct Gears of their own.
The vast majority of surviving Gears were built in the era preceding the Day of Collapse. Many saw use during the great war between Solaris and Shevat, and the desperate struggle against Diabolos. These Gears are powerful, but lack the more advanced systems seen on Gears from earlier eras. Their ranged weaponry includes flamethrowers, missiles, and heavy slugthrowers, while melee weaponry tends towards the use of blunt force, heated edges, or disabling shocks.
Gears constructed during the Metal Demon Wars were built to face Metal Dragons and heavy Hyadean war machines. Flight modules are standard on almost all such Gears, while collaboration with the Elw saw the development of specialized "sorcery booster" systems. Commonly known as "Magic Engines", these devices amplify a pilot's innate power, allowing them to use sorcery on a dramatically-increased scale. Systems designed for Crest Sorcerers are commonly known as "Ley Boosters", while their Symbological equivalents are called "Glyphic Drives". Their overall function is identical.
Common armaments from the Metal Demon Wars era include supercooled railguns, energy-based weaponry, advanced targeting systems, and ablative energy shields. Between their firepower and their rarity, these Gears are prized by anyone lucky enough to obtain them. Many of Filgaia's surface nations keep them in reserve, only entrusting them to their best pilots.
As with other ARMs of that era, Gears built by Zeboim are incredibly rare, devastatingly powerful, and unthinkably advanced. Esoteric systems are the norm for these machines. In addition to more advanced Magic Engines, Zeboim Gears can employ teleportation systems, persistent energy shields, displacement drives, and power sources that seem to break the laws of physics. Some can shift into alternate modes, utilizing space-folding and onboard servos to change their shape and capabilities. Many have onboard AI systems, ranging from simple assistance programs to sophisticated copilot protocols. Their onboard weaponry is likewise terribly advanced; it's rumored that even one of these Gears could lay waste to a modern city.
As with all Zeboim technology, Zeboim-era Gears are coveted by the nations of Filgaia -- especially Solaris, which is eager to monopolize ancient technology. Having access to such a Gear makes a statement about a character's background, and sets them up for conflict with people who might want it for themselves.
In the modern age, only two surface nations possess the industrial capacity to construct Gears of their own -- though in truth, much of this work involves reassembling pre-existing components. Only Shevat and Solaris have the technology necessary to create Gears from the ground up.
Kislev's engineers extract Gears from dozens of dig sites across central Ignas, all of which date back to the Day of Collapse. The condition of these machines varies wildly, and Kislev often makes do by combining parts from damaged Gears into one functional whole. These unique creations undergo field-testing in Nortune's Battle Arena, and the best of the lot are deployed to the front lines.
Guild Galad's Gear-construction industry repairs salvaged Gears using the city-state's Hyadean manufactories. While they can't construct entire Gears from scratch, the surviving metal looms can craft duplicate or replacement parts if given the right materials and schematics. As a result, gears produced by Guild Galad are fewer in number, but more faithful to the original design. Some engineers have even taken to incorporating refurbished Hyadean systems into Gears, creating hybrid war machines.
High technology is crucial to Solaris' domination of the surface, and Gears are no exception to the rule. Gebler's pilots deploy in mass-produced Gears that are equivalent to rank-and-file machines from the Metal Demon Wars, and their officers are often issued custom-built Gears designed to make the most of their talents. Almost all Solarian machines feature Ether-based Magic Engines called Ether Amplifiers. Gebler pilots make use of these to unleash devastating Ether attacks, and to provide general battlefield support. Flight engines are also standard on Solarian Gears, giving them yet another advantage over their earthbound enemies.
Despite lingering damage from its first war against Solaris, Shevat's Gear manufactories are fully-functional. If anything, it has the opposite problem of many surface nations: too many operational Gears, and too few pilots to field anything capable of fighting an equivalent Gebler force. Shevat is on roughly equal technological footing with Solaris, though, and is rumored to have a handful of experimental Gears stolen from its rival.
These legendary weapons systems were last deployed during the Day of Collapse, and as conflict between Solaris and the surface nations intensifies, they've started to reappear. While superficially similar to more advanced Gears, Omnigears are created when a Gear merges with an Anima Relic. This process completely reformats the Gear, converting it into a bleeding-edge machine with systems so advanced they may seem miraculous. If the Anima Relic is ever removed, the Omnigear returns to its former state.
The Anima Relics themselves are unique devices of unknown origin -- there are twelve in all, and while each has its own name, they are otherwise identical. Any given Anima Relic looks like an immense golden slab engraved with an eye, and acts as a hookup to a font of seemingly-limitless power.
At present, the following Anima Relics are in player hands:
|Asher||???||It's a secret to everyone|
|Dinah||El-Regulus||Elhaym van Houten|
While the majority of combat in the Pangalactic Federation is conducted at either "away party" or "battleship" scale, the Federation does employ some mechanized units in support of ground troops during particularly dangerous missions. These Assault Maneuver Weapons Systems would be considered at least on par with Zeboim-era technology, were any present on Filgaia.
In the modern era, the term "Golem" applies to three distinct kinds of war machine, each with its own legacy.
The Veruni apply the name "Golem" to their own robotic creations, which range from human-sized automaton soldiers to giant piloted war robots. As with Gears, there's a division between civilian Golems and militarized ones: Industrial Golems perform work deemed too intense or dangerous for even human slaves, while military Golems act as the backbone of Veruni armored forces.
Though they've yet to create a truly sapient Golem, all Veruni Golems possess at least rudimentary AI. Constructs designed for autonomous operation can evaluate their surroundings and adjust their behavior in real-time, while crewed Golems can provide support to their pilots. As a security measure, many Golems prioritize the commands of those who bear their access keys -- but it's rumored that some show abnormal loyalty to those who've reactivated them after dormancy.
Generally, Veruni-enginered Golems fall within the upper range of Metal Demon War-era technology, though it's rumored that bleeding-edge Golems can approach constructs of the Zeboim era.
Thanks to an alliance with a Veruni engineering prodigy, Althena's Guard has acquired a small number of Veruni-crafted Golems. First deployed during the attack on Luca, these machines played a pivotal role in the conflict between the Guard and the Temple of Yevon. All of them are designed to be piloted, and all but one feature powerful Ley Boosters designed to amplify Althena's Blessing. Beyond this, each machine has a unique design, and mounts an assortment of advanced, Veruni-engineered weaponry.
During the darkest days of the Metal Demon Wars, the Elw constructed eight titanic war machines--each one a purpose-built fusion of Ley-based sorcery and more conventional design. These enormous Golems were deployed against the invading Hyadeans, and after Mother's imprisonment, they were sealed away and forgotten. All are capable of autonomous function, and some even possess the rudiments of advanced intelligence and personality. At the height of their power, every Elw Golem is equivalent in firepower to a small army, and each possesses several signature systems of tremendous might. Below is a list of Golems that have been spoken of in legend:
|Asgard||The Earth Golem, Fortress of the Gods||Earth-Element||Active||Recovered by Cecilia Lynn Adlehyde from a sealed vault. Subsequently engaged Hyadean forces assaulting New Arctica, and aided in the assault on the Photosphere. Sustained serious damage during combat with Id. Currently protecting Adlehyde.|
|Lolithia||The Inhibitor Golem, Frost Disaster, Ice Queen||Ice-Element||Destroyed||One of the three Golems displayed at the Ancient Culture Festival in 499 PC. Captured by a squad led by Riesenlied during the Hyadean attack on Adlehyde, and taken to the Photosphere. Destroyed by Drifters during the invasion of the Photosphere, presumed sunken with the rest of the structure.|
|Leviathan||Conquerer of the Sea, Great White Megalodon||Water-Element||Unknown||Unknown|
|Diablo||The Land Battle Golem, Roaring Metal||Fire-Element||Active||One of three Golems displayed at the Ancient Culture Festival in 499 PC. Sustained serious damage after a suspicious man deployed specialized sorcery against it. Rumored to have been partially repaired by a mechanical prodigy.|
|Barbados||The Freeshooter, Railgun Sniper||Lightning-Element||Unknown||One of the three Golems displayed at the Ancient Culture Festival in 499 PC. Captured by unidentified parties. Current whereabouts unknown.|
|Belial||Truesilver Knight, Pale-shadowed Assassin||Wind-Element||Unknown||Unknown|
|Sado||King of the Abyss, Blackquake Armageddon||Dark-Element||Presumed Active||Resurfaced under the control of Colonel Dietrich Kiel of Kislev. Destroyed multiple Aveh sandships and their Gear escort during a border conflict. Surfaced briefly when the Colonel made an attempt on the life of the Kaiser of Kislev, and again during the assault on the Photosphere. Current whereabouts unknown.|
|Lucifer||Radiant Swordmaster, Lustrous Knight||Light-Element||Unknown||Unknown|
Golems Leviathan, Lucifer, and Belial have yet to resurface in the modern era.
A Gear By Any Other Name
While the term "Gear" is limited, in-setting, to giant robots and the like, it has a slightly different meaning in the Gunslinger System. Truly colossal vehicles, ancient artifacts, and monsters -- while not strictly Gears in the sense described above -- may be considered Gears for the purposes of coded combat. Entities identified as Gears in Gunslinger operate on a different scale than non-Gears; while some might seem less advanced on the surface, all of them are capable of wreaking great destruction, and enduring onslaughts from personnel-scale weaponry..
This expanded definition of "Gear" includes crafts like the Sand Tank from Wild Arms 3, persistent summoned beings like Aeons from Final Fantasy X, large magical constructs like the Magic Tester from Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, and living weapons like the Metal Dragons from the Wild Arms series. Typically, if something is colossal in size, you can expect it to be represented as a Gear in Gunslinger, and the average denizen of Filgaia or Lunar will react similarly upon seeing it.
Guidelines and Restrictions
In order to maintain the thematic integrity of the MUSH, staff have instituted a handful of restrictions on Gears. Firstly, characters should not start with powerful, fully capable Gears (or Golems) from advanced eras. Most player-owned Gears will be relics from the Day of Collapse and Metal Demon War eras -- Gears created during the Zeboim era are permissible at this time, but only if these machines are somehow limited from accessing their full capabilities. As the overall power level of the game increases, characters can expect to refit their machines with more powerful systems, trade them in for more advanced units, or unlock their machine's hidden capabilities.
Per the Pangalactic Federation file, applications for Federation Gears will not be entertained.
Omnigears are restricted, and may not be applied for; they are largely the domain of characters who receive one in Xenogears' canon. Staff reserves the option to allow other characters--including OCs--to gain access to an Omnigear, but like other earned character perks, this must be the result of RP and plot as coordinated with staff. It should also be noted that Omnigears receive no mechanical bonus in the Gunslinger and Digger systems, and that there are other options (such as Gears, Golems, or other similarly-scaled forms) that can be just as formidable on the field of battle.
Typically, we encourage characters to acquire Gears or Gear-equivalent forms if their player feels it's appropriate for them. This even applies to characters who don't have such forms in their source material -- the MUSH has plenty of Gear-related content, and we want to give everyone a chance to participate. However, we advise players to keep in mind that narratively-powerful Gears don't fit all characters -- and some characters, such as Ashley Winchester as Knight Blazer, the Four Sentinels, an Armatized Shepherd, and Ghaleon, simply do not need a Gear to pose a threat to one.
At the present time, flight-capable machines are partially restricted in order to preserve the tone and feel of the MUSH. Most player groups have access to airships, but these cannot travel between Filgaia and Lunar. Player Gears can fly short distances, but should not yet be capable of intercontinental flight. Unlike larger craft, they can be transported between Lunar and Filgaia.