"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 universe of Dream Chasers, "Gear" is a catch-all term used to describe giant robot ARMs. Primarily piloted by humans, the vast majority of Gears are relics from Filgaia's ancient history, dating back as far as the Zeboim era. Even the most basic Gear is worth a squad of soldiers, and so over the past two decades, every nation on Filgaia's surface has devoted considerable resources to the excavation of Gears for use as military assets.
Because they are so highly sought-after, the private ownership of Gears is explicitly forbidden by every nation on Filgaia; even the Gears used in Kislev's arena are owned by the Battle Committee and not their Battlers. Any "rogue" Gears will soon find themselves the target of kill or capture squads. This does not mean PCs cannot apply for Gears, it just means they must be very careful about how they are used.
It is also important to note that even the most basic of Gears is a tremendously complex machine that requires regular maintenance and highly specialized replacement parts that (in many cases) cannot be produced by modern means. The technology to restore and maintain Gears is almost exclusively the province of the Ethos, who tend to restrict their services to nation-states or other large groups.
Much like other ARMs, Gears come from a variety of periods. They can be divided into the same origin periods as ARMs. Most of the Gears that exist today come from the Day of Collapse era, having been constructed to fight against Metal Demons or during the war between Solaris and Shevat. These Gears are frightfully powerful, but rarely as advanced as the Gears that came from the Metal Demon Wars or the Zeboim Era. They typically have more predictable weapons: the occasional missile, projectile weapons, and powerful melee weaponry.
The Gears from the Metal Demon Wars are often more advanced and, sometimes, more esoteric. Many of them include flight modules, which were necessary to fight the Metal Dragons. Beam weaponry and the integration of sorcery-enhancing equipment aren't unheard-of equipment for such Gears. These Gears tend to be jealously guarded by the nations that control them, as they are few and far between.
Zeboim-era Gears are truly rare. These machines are often incredible, once-a-generation Gears that can lay waste to entire cities. Many have AI systems that aid the pilot. They can often employ teleportation systems, transform into multiple modes, and seemingly break the laws of physics. Even when discovered, many pilots and crews will have difficulty understanding and unlocking every system that these machines possess. Their technology far outstretches even that of Solaris and Shevat; as such, they are highly sought after by every nation.
Golems are a special case of Zeboim-era technology. These devices are contemporaneous with Zeboim-built machines, but are considerably more advanced. A small number were constructed, each with the ability to shatter entire armies. More frighteningly, Golems are semi-autonomous, with an artificial intelligence that allows them to cooperate in complicated tactical maneuvers with other units. However, they put heavy weight on the commands of those who awoke them or control their access keys, so loyalty is not a concern.
In the modern era, Golems are deactivated relics. Occasionally, one is dug up; however, turning them on is a quest in and of itself. To date, no Golem has been activated (to anyone's knowledge, at least) in the last five hundred years.
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 should be considered at least on par with Zeboim-era technology, but per the Pangalactic Federation file, applications for Federation Gears will not be entertained.
A Gear By Any Other Name
The term Gear also has a 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 in combat. This has thematic implications, because such things are terrifyingly powerful instruments of destruction. Some, however, are far less advanced but comparable to a Gear because of their size and firepower. As with other ARMs, sometimes the advanced degree of technology and shine of its chrome casing doesn't mean the vehicle should be disregarded as weak and powerless.
This includes concepts such as the Dragonship Destiny from Lunar 2: Eternal Blue, the Sand Tank from Wild Arms 3, and the Metal Dragons from the Wild Arms series. Typically, if something is colossal in size, you can expect it to be a Gear in terms of combat code and the reaction that the average denizen of Filgaia or Lunar will have upon seeing it.
There are several restrictions on Gears, which are necessary to maintain the thematic integrity of the MUSH. The largest is that 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. Fully-powered Gears from more advanced eras are not suitable for a starting character; the Gears created in the Zeboim Era and beyond are excellent upgrade material, to be earned at a significant point in the character's story. Characters can start with Gears from these advanced eras if these machines are somehow limited from accessing their full capabilities.
Omnigears are limited to the Xenogears cast, specifically to those who receive one in canon. The Anima Relics should be the exclusive purview of these characters. While it would be strange (and, frankly, stealing) for an original character to acquire an Anima Relic, original characters can still acquire incredibly advanced Zeboim-era technology. Please see our file on OCs for more.
Typically, we will allow characters who did not acquire Gears or their equivalent in their source material to have them. Sometimes, fighting in giant robots can be fun. However, they should not expect to have incredibly powerful ones -- and some characters, such as Ashley Winchester as Knight Blazer, the Quarter Knights, an Armatized Shepherd, and Grahf, simply do not need a Gear to pose a threat to one.
Finally, the administration will restrict flight-capable machines heavily until it is appropriate for the plot. The ability to freely and quickly travel across the entire world could seriously undermine the tone and feel of the MUSH. Flight is also an excellent way to draw an undue amount of attention from Solarian Gear squadrons, Metal Dragons, and other dangerous entities.