Captain America’s gear
This article is a review of the non-core equipment that Captain America has used over his career.
It is primarily intended to provide game stats for all the gear, but it has all the necessary background material.
These items have been used at various stages in Captain America’s career. But they were not featured frequently enough to warrant description as standard equipment.
Note that all of the shields discussed below suffered from the Miscellaneous Drawback that Captain America suffered when using shields other than his classic disc-shaped shield. Since this article will discuss a lot of shields, DCH players may want to check the shields in the DC Heroes RPG article as well.
This article was written during the early 2000s, so it covers Cap’s XXth century equipment only.
When Steven Rogers assumed the identity of the Captain, he used the following equipment (most of which was later used by the USAgent at the start of his career).
MICRO-CHAINMAIL COSTUME [BODY 08, Skin Armor: 02, Limitation: Skin Armor can only be used against edged weapons].
(Nowadays we’d likely write this up as BODY 06, Enhance (RV. vs Slashing and Piercing Descriptors): 02 (cap is 09) — ed.).
This Captain/USAgent uniform was provided by Dennis Dunphy a.k.a. Demolition Man in 1987. It was made of the same micro-chainmail as Captain America’s modern uniform, but lacked the insulating materials that had been provided by SHIELD.
This was a black bodysuit with:
- An integral cowl.
- White wings on the temples.
- A panel of red and white horizontal stripes descending down the front torso.
- A black five-point star in the upper right corner.
- Red boots, gloves and a belt.
Adamantium Shield (1988)
[BODY (Hardened Defenses) 25, EV 03, Gliding: 02, Recommended STR 02, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Limitation: Gliding only adds to throwing range].
This silver-colored disc, which was shaped like Cap’s classic shield, was built by Tony Stark.
Shortly after receiving it, Steve and Tony came to odds during Iron Man’s first Armor War. Rogers therefore returned the shield to Stark.
[BODY (Hardened Defenses) 18, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 10, Descriptor is Bludgeon), Gliding: 02, Kinetic Absorption: 10, Recommended STR 03, Notes:
- The OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs.
- The OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs.
- Gliding only adds to throwing range.
- Kinetic Absorption also reduces APs of Knockback and Falling damage.
- Kinetic Absorption requires an Automatic Action to use as Captain America must brace himself and he cannot use the shield as a weapon in the same Phase that he uses KA].
This was the second shield used by Steve as the Captain, this time provided by T’Challa.
Like the shield built by Stark, it was the same shape as Cap’s classic shield. However the design on the front of this one was three concentric rings (black/red/white) surrounding a black center.
This was the shield initially used by John Walker when he began his career as the USAgent.
The following are substitutes Captain America used for his shield on various occasions:
[BODY (Hardened Defenses) 12, Enhance (EV): 01 (cap is 06, Descriptor is Bludgeon), Gliding: 01, Recommended STR 03, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Limitations: Gliding only adds to throwing range].
Captain America used steel replicas of his classic, wartime shield on several occasions.
One period when Rogers used replica shields was during some of the early adventures of the Avengers. This lasted while Tony Stark examined Cap’s classic shield to learn more about the unique material of which it was made.
It was one of these shields that was melted by the Living Laser while he was fighting the Avengers.
Captain America has also used replicas of his original, triangular shield on a very few occasions. Triangular shields did not have Gliding.
Magnetic gloves (1964)
MAGNETIC GLOVES [BODY 01, Telekinesis: 08, Limitation: Telekinesis is limited to manipulating objects with special magnets installed in them (-2CS) and has No Fine Manipulation (-1)].
Cap used this Gadget designed by Tony Stark during some of his early solo adventures in the modern era.
The gloves were used in combination with magnets installed on the classic shield that allowed Captain America to draw the shield back to him or make it maneuver in flight.
Captain America soon went back to his unmodified shield. The magnetics reduced his skill as if he were using a substitute shield (see the Captain America write-up for details). Thus, Cap felt (with good reason) that the benefits of the magnetic gloves were outweighted by the drawbacks of his reduced skill.
(The USAgent apparently used a shield with similar abilities while leading the Jury, though his shield was a silver stylized eagle with a five-point star overlaid on the center. This Shield had BODY: 13 and Claws: 06 due to its sharp edges.)
Plasma shield (1996)
PLASMA SHIELD [BODY 01 for the device itself, BODY 09 for the plasma, Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs].
When Steve Rogers was stripped of his uniform and exiled from the U.S. on suspicion of treason, Sharon Carter “acquired” this device from SHIELD.
It was built into one of the gloves of the costume he wore during that time. It radiated a cool-temp yellow energy plasma in the form of a circular shield. This surface was immune to small-arms fire.
Photon shield (1998)
PHOTON SHIELD [BODY 01 for the device itself, BODY 10 for the constructs, EV 10, Energy Blast: 10, Reflection/Deflection: 10, Limitations: EV, Energy Blast, and Reflection/Deflection are Elementally Linked (-1FC), Reflection/Deflection is Deflection Only (-1FC), Note: OV/RV bonus when using the Block Manoeuvre is 2 APs, Note: the OV bonus for the Shield Cover Manoeuvre is 2 APs].
When Steve Rogers lost his classic shield during a rescue operation, Sharon provided him with one of these devices. It was an upgraded version of the plasma shield that could fire energy blasts. It could also mimic a variety of melee weapons instead of being shield-shaped.
This shield mimicked a Vibranium matrix that gave it reflection powers superior to the original plasma shield.
It used red plasma instead of yellow and could even mimic the color design of Cap’s classic shield when in Reflection/Deflection mode.
Captain America gave his first photon shield to Primax (who became the 31st Century Captain America) during a time-travel adventure.
He was given a second photon shield, which was subsequently destroyed during a battle with Ultron. Steve regained his classic shield shortly thereafter.
Vehicles – land vehicles
Cap’s van and motorbike where important to his solo operations.
Captain America’s custom Harley-Davidson motorbike
Captain America (Steve Rogers) started using motorbikes during World War Two. It was presumably a mix of Harley-Davidson WLAs and Indian 841s used by scouts, couriers and the like.
In 1981, he was gifted a custom Harley Davidson bike by one Jonathan Coulson. Cap had recently encouraged the young man to reunite with his father, a WWII veteran and owner of a cycle repair shop. The younger Coulson was also an accomplished biker and motorbike mechanics.
John Coulson commented that “she’s custom-made from frame to forks, heavy ammo all the way”. It was built from scratch, but on the first panel where the bike appears it looks like a 1970s Harley Davidson Super Glide .
It’s not a “super-bike”. Just a particularly robust and reliable cruiser with a patriotic paint job. But it was modified by S.H.I.E.L.D. at Cap’s request, for what I assume to be further reinforcements and a anti-theft system.
This large bike was often used by Cap for mobility. His custom van often stored one in the back, with a ramp to deploy the bike. So he could drive long distance, then ride once he’d arrived.
The 1983 Marvel Universe handbook states for the then-current model :
- Blueprinted, chopped and channeled to 700cc HV V-twin in-line 4-stroke engine.
- Standing start ¼ mile (400m) – 11.5 seconds.
- 122 MPH (200 km/h) top speed. That’s notably above average for a 1980s cruiser bike, but it’s not build for racing either.
- Engine RRM at 60 MPH (100 km/h), top gear – 3850.
- Cruising range – 340 miles (550 km).
- Curb weight, full tank – 480 lbs. (218 kg.).
- Seat height – 32 inches (81 cm).
That Cap rides a Harley works as a reference to landmark movie Easy Rider, where Peter Fonda’s character (nicknamed “Captain America”) rides a distinctive and patriotic chopper. Which was based on a Harley Hydra-Glide.
CAP’S CUSTOM [STR 04 BODY 05, Damage capacity (Physical): 03, Flash (Stdy illum only): 04, Running: 06, Security systems: 05, R#2].
VAN [BODY 08 STR 06, Chameleon: 02, Flash (Stdy illum only): 05, Radio Communication: 14, Running: 06, Security systems: 06, Limitation: Chameleon only allows Van to change colors (Yellow, Red, White, and Blue) and license plate numbers].
This van was a gift from T’Challa and was designed by Wakandan engineers.
The boxy, utilitarian body design resembles the Chevrolet vans of the mid-1960s , such as the Sportvan and the Handi-van.
Vehicles – air vehicles
Cap is used two main kinds of aircraft.
QUINJET [STR 10 BODY 12, Flight: 12, Radio Communication: 21].
(Basic stats – writing up every relevant system in Quinjets over the decades would be a different project — ed.).
This is a special jet manufactured for the Avengers by the country of Wakanda.
FLAGSHIP [STR 09 BODY 11, Flight: 13, Radio Communication: 21].
This is a modified Quinjet built specifically for Captain America in 1989. It was originally flown by Col. John Jameson. The flagship can carry one sky-cycle, and drop it from a ventral hatch while in flight.
Custom Sky-Cycle (1990)
[STR 06 BODY 08, Flight: 07, Skin Armor: 04, Swimming: 04, Thief (Security Systems, Stealth): 08 Limitations: Skin Armor must be Activated and the sky-cycle cannot be used while Skin Armor is On, Stealth only applies to attempts to detect the sky-cycle’s engine noise].
The sky-cycle was built for Captain America by Avengers’ gadgeteerTechnnologist who builds comic book devices like those Batman uses. Fabian Stankowitz. It was a one-man open-air flying vehicle that resembled a jet ski with a large windshield.
One assumes that it was a variant over Jorge Latham’s original design, used by Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and other Avengers. Cap had previously used Latham sky-cycles, but this was infrequent before 1990. And they were Avengers equipment, not his own.
It could be set in a sealed secure mode (similar to the Batmobile in the first Batman movie) which activated the above Skin Armor and Security Systems (which is the difficulty needed to open it by the appropriate radio commands).
The secure mode was activated and deactivated by a signal from Captain America’s Avengers commcard. The sky-cycle’s engine was virtually silent (Stealth). The sky-cycle had a mount for Captain America’s shield on the front, allowing it to intercept attacks in the forward arc.
The sky-cycle has not been used since Captain America’s Super-Soldier Serum-related illness and its current status is unknown.
Fighting Chance equipment
During his Super-Soldier serum-related illness, Captain America used the following items:
UTILITY VEST [BODY 08, Force Field: 16, Skin Armor: 01, 8 AP C Omni-Gadgets (x8), Limitations: Force Field is only Activated when Captain America is totally paralyzed, can only be used once and is opaque, Skin Armor only provides Partial Cover (+1 OV Trick Shot to avoid), Omni-Gadgets commonly represent capsules that must be thrown or manually applied to use them (AV=DEX), have an Area Effect of 1 AP, and always have the Non-Lethal Limitation; other uses of Omnigadget are infrequent, but include items such as motion detectors].
This vest was another invention of Fabian Stankowitz’s during his time with the Avengers. Captain America briefly donned this utility vest while he was suffering from recurring paralysis resulting from a breakdown of his Super-Soldier Serum.
It included a variety of capsules with non-lethal attacks (Fog, Snare, Bomb (concussive — Bashing Damage only), Ice Production, etc); the capsules were unmarked, so Captain America often had to grab some and hope for the best.
The vest also had a motion detector that could monitor movement within a 4 AP radius through Materials with a BODY up to the APs of Detect. It also had a one-use force field that deployed when Captain America was completely paralyzed; it was intended to protect him until the Avengers arrived.
Captain America also carried a Grappling-Hook Gun [BODY 03, fired a line that was 3 APs long and had STR 05] holstered in the vest.
STARK ARMOR [/DEX/ 08/ BODY/ 10, Detect (Energy): 10, Flash: 08, Flight: 08, Radio Communication: 11, Snare: 10, Telescopic Vision: 06, Bonus: Flash does not use light, so it is not reduced by defensive measures such as Shade, Limitation: the OV/RV of Flash is DEX/BOD rather than DEX/DEX].
When Captain America was completely paralyzed by his Super-Soldier Serum-induced illness, Tony Stark supplied him with this exoskeleton that allowed Captain America to continue his crime-fighting career. Due to his paralysis Rogers had to have sensors implanted in his body to operate the suit.
Because he was totally reliant on the suit to move, his effective DEX and any DEX-based Skills (Linked or not) could not be used at APs higher than the suit’s DEX. Presumably someone without Rogers’s medical condition could operate the suit without suffering these special measures and restrictions.
Stark designed this armor to suit Cap’s propensities toward minimizing harm to opponents. Consequently, the primary weapons were mylar sheaths (Snare) and disruption beams that caused the targets to suffer vertigo (Flash).
In addition to the abilities described above, the suit had a set of the magnetic gloves described elsewhere in this write-up and four miniature anti-missile missiles with the following stats: [DEX 10 BODY 01, AV 08, EV 10, Flight: 10, Radar Sense: 13, Grenade Ammo Drawback]. The mini-missiles were hidden in retractable launchers in the suit’s forearms.
This armor looked like a metallic version of Cap’s usual costume. The armor hasn’t been seen since Captain America was cured and is presumably in storage along with Tony Stark’s other suits of armor.
Here is a bonus Marvel entry about the famous shield, from an Annual.
Helper(s): Star-Spangled Sébastien Andrivet.