Surveillance Gear

Object Size Weight Purchase DC Restriction
Black box Tiny 0.5 lb. 4 Illegal (+4)
Caller ID defeater Tiny 1 lb. 5
Cellular interceptor Tiny 0.5 lb. 23
Lineman’s buttset Tiny 1 lb. 13 Lic (+1)
Metal detector Small 2 lb. 11
Night vision goggles Small 3 lb. 17
Tap detector Tiny 1 lb. 7
Telephone tap
Line tap Tiny 0.5 lb. 13 Lic (+1)
Receiver tap Tiny 0.5 lb. 3 Res (+2)
Telephone line tracer Med 5 lb. 23

Keeping an eye on suspects or tracking the moves of potential enemies is a crucial part of the modern adventurer’s job.

Black Box

This device, easily concealed in the palm of one hand, emits digital tones that convince the phone system to make a long-distance connection free of charge. They also let a user “bounce” a call through multiple switches, making the call harder to trace (the DC of any Computer Use check to trace the call is increased by 5).

Caller ID Defeater

When a phone line contains a caller ID defeater, phones attempting to connect with that line show up as “anonymous” or “unavailable” on a caller ID unit. Such a call can still be traced as normal, however.

Cellular Interceptor

About the size of a small briefcase, a cellular interceptor can detect and monitor a cell phone conversation within a 5-mile area by listening in on the cellular service’s own transmitters. Intercepting the calls of a particular cell phone requires a Computer Use check (DC 35); if the user knows the phone number of the phone in question, the DC drops by 10. Obviously, the phone must be in use for someone to intercept the call. A cellular interceptor cannot be used to intercept regular (ground line) phone connections.

Lineman’s Buttset

This device resembles an oversized telephone handset with a numeric keypad on the back and wire leads hanging from the bottom. It functions as a portable, reusable telephone line tap. With a Repair check (DC 10), a user can connect to a phone wire and hear any conversation that crosses it. A lineman’s buttset is a common tool for telephone repair personnel.

Metal Detector

This handheld device provides a +10 equipment bonus on all Search checks involving metal objects.

Night Vision Goggles

Night vision goggles use passive light gathering to improve vision in near-dark conditions. They grant the user the ability to see in darkness, also called darkvision (range 120 ft.)—but because of the restricted field of view and lack of depth perception these goggles provide, they impose a –4 penalty on all Spot and Search checks made by someone wearing them.

Night vision goggles must have at least a little light to operate. A cloudy night provides sufficient ambient light, but a pitch-black cave or a sealed room doesn’t. For situations of total darkness, the goggles come with an infrared illuminator that, when switched on, operates like a standard flashlight whose light is visible only to the wearer (or anyone else wearing night vision goggles).

Tap Detector

Plug this into a telephone line between the phone and the outlet, and it helps detect if the line is tapped. To detect a tap, make a Computer Use check (the DC varies according to the type of telephone tap used; see below). With a success, the tap detector indicates that a tap is present. It does not indicate the type or location of the tap however. Also, it can’t be used to detect a lineman’s buttset.

Telephone Tap

These devices allow a character to listen to conversations over a particular phone line.

Line Tap: This tap can be attached to a phone line at any point between a phone and the nearest junction box (usually on the street nearby). Installing it requires a Repair check (DC 15). It broadcasts all conversations on the line over a radio frequency that can be picked up by any professional walkie-talkie. Detecting a line tap by using a tap detector requires a Computer Use check (DC 25).

Receiver Tap: This item can be easily slipped into a telephone handset as a Repair check (DC 5). It broadcasts all conversations over a radio frequency that can be picked up by any professional walkie-talkie. Detecting a receiver tap by using a tap detector requires a Computer Use check (DC 15).

Telephone Line Tracer

Essentially a highly specialized computer, a line tracer hooked to a phone line can trace phone calls made to that line, even if there’s a caller ID defeater hooked up at the other end. All it takes is time.

Operating a line tracer is a full-round action requiring a Computer Use check (DC 10). Success gains one digit of the target phone number, starting with the first number of the area code.

Screen printing