Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pedestrian Firearms Rules in Car Wars

The rules for pedestrian combat in Car Wars are adequate for arena combat, but leave a lot to be desired in a role playing setting.  This article will introduce long barreled infantry weapons, aiming rules, fire initiative, fix some of the tech level 8 weapons and add new ones, and discuss hand weapons below and above tech level 8.

Long Barreled Hand Weapons

Hand weapons don’t have enough range in Car Wars.  A 0 level handgunner, who is stationary, braced, and shooting a rifle at a stationary, man size target at 100 yards must roll an 12 or better to hit.  Compared to real life and even other games this is too low.  However, I will make 2 assumptions that will allow this number to stand while providing more options for gamers to use.
First, the shooter is taking a snap-shot.  He may be braced, but he’s not aiming.  Second, the weapon he is using is short barreled.  This second assumption is what I will focus on first.

In the quick fire world of Car Wars the first to shoot is usually the one who lives.  In order to swiftly line up a gun with it’s target, the gun must be as compact as possible.  This said we will consider all guns listed in Uncle Al’s catalog short barreled weapons.

In order to turn any of the Car Wars hand weapons into long barreled equivalents do the following: Subtract 2 from the weapons initiative (see below).  Double the cost of the weapon. Increase the weight of all pistols by 1 pound, the weight of all rifles and bows by 2 pounds, and the weight of any other weapons by 5 pounds.  Now you’re ready to kill at extreme range.

Next we need to change the range modifiers.  Though the purists may cry havoc, the range modifiers were already changed with vehicle LB weapons.  To use the following table simply find the type of weapon you have and read to the right.  There you will find the number of inches which a target must be before a -1 is applied to hit it.  Just as you apply a -1 for every 4 inches for short barreled weapons so do you apply a -1 at each of these new increments.  Note:  These bonuses only apply if 1 second is taken to aim the weapon.  Example:  An aimed Assault Rifle subtract 1 at 8” and a further 1 for every 8 full inches after.  However if this was a snap-shot then the standard -1 per 4” would apply.

  Any weapon not listed below either can not be made long barreled, gains no appreciable increase in range (derringers for instance), or has been discussed else where (like grenade launchers).  Gyro sluggers are also excluded from the list.  Machine pistols fall under the “all pistols” heading.  Gauss rifles and AV rifles fall under “rifles”.  LAWS fall under rocket launchers.



All pistols, sub-machine guns, shotguns,
Crossbows, infantry VMGs, assault rifles
Infantry MGs, rocket launchers, rifles
Laser rifles
Laser LAWS
Stingers  (when targeting aircraft only)

Aiming rules 

On page 36 of the CWC it states, “Hand weapons do not get bonuses for computer aiming, but all other modifications for vehicular weapons apply.”  This would appear to include the sustained fire bonus for continuing to fire at the same target over the course of several seconds.  While this may be true for vehicle and tripod mounted weapons it certainly isn’t for hand held weapons.  If anything the recoil of sustained fire will make it harder for the shooter to hit his target.  Therefore, under these rules no hand weapons may receive a sustained fire bonus

Hand weapons now receive a bonus for being aimed at the same target over several consecutive seconds.  Characters may still take a snap-shot at an opponent but will never receive the long barreled weapon modifier of his gun or receive an aiming bonus.  To use aimed weapons fire, first, the shooter must be stationary and remain so until after the target is fired on.  He doesn't have to be braced but can gain this bonus if he is.  Next the player running the character must state that he is aiming. If the target could normally see the shooter then the shooter must inform the target he is being aimed at.  If the target can’t or doesn’t see the shooter then the target is not informed.  The shooter can now aim and begin to receive aiming bonuses to a maximum of +2.  Finally, the character may do nothing else during this time but aim.  If he is interrupted by being bumped, wounded, blinded, or distracted then all aim bonuses are lost.

At the end of  the first second, and all consecutive seconds of aiming, the long barreled weapon modifiers come into effect.  This means as long as 1 second of aiming is taken a character with a LB rifle would only take a -1 penalty for every 10” his target was away.  This also means short barreled weapons gain nothing from 1 second of aiming.

At the end of  the second, second the shooter gains a plus 1 to hit.  This bonus applies to both long and short barreled weapons.

At the end on the third second the shooter gains another plus 1 to hit for a total of +2.  This is the highest aiming bonus allowed and any further aiming will have no effect.

Aimed shots take place at the very beginning of the next turn.  The character must then wait until the next turn to start aiming at a new target.

Once a character has fired, all aiming bonuses and LB modifiers go away and the aiming procedure must start again.  The exception to this is if the character has a LB weapon and continues to fire at the same target.  The aiming bonuses will still go away but the LB modifier stays in effect until the character switches targets.  Area effect fire never gains aiming bonuses but LB modifiers do apply.

Examples:  1). George a 0 level handgunner with a long barreled rifle shoots at Jeff who is 21” away.  George aims for 1 second and receives his LB bonus.  At the start of the second, second George fires.  Because he took a second to aim he only subtracts 2 from his chance to hit since LB rifles subtract 1 for every 10” instead of 4”.  George shoots and misses.  The next second he wants to shoot again.  Since he is still shooting the same target he receives the LB modifier of the rifle again.  2).  George drops Jeff with the second shot and sees Bud at a range of 42”.  Since this is a little farther George decides to aim for 3 full turns and thus receive his LB modifier and the maximum aiming bonus of +2.  The range modifiers total -4, with the aiming bonus of +2, George is stationary but not braced, +1, Bud is stationary, +1, Bud is a pedestrian, -3 for a total modifier of -3.  George fires and misses.  The next second he shoots again at Bud, but now he’s lost his aiming bonus, but still gets the long barreled modifier so the total is now -5. 3).  George gives up on Bud because he is now being rushed by Cindy.  She is at a range of 5” and coming up fast.  George decides not to aim and lets loose with a snap-shot.  Snap-shots give no chance to aim so no aiming modifiers or LB weapon modifiers apply.  George gets a +1 for being stationary and a -1 for range.  Targeting a pedestrian is -3 for a total of -3.

As you can see long barreled weapons are great if you have the time to aim, but in the close in urban environment of Car Wars speed is often better than finesse.  This is where initiative comes into play.


The “I want to shoot now” rule is O.K. for arena combats where every combatant is a player character, but for role-playing campaigns with NPCs running around wielding guns it doesn't work as well.  To help make it easier on the GM these rules add initiative to missile combat.

First, pedestrian on foot with missile weapons are allowed to fire before vehicle passengers with hand weapons in vehicles or tripod mounted weapons, and tripod mounted weapons are allowed to fire before vehicle mounted ones.  This is simply done to give infantry a fighting chance.  Second, if aimed shots are considered to be taken at the start of a turn, they go before any other shot regardless of initiative.  Third, a pedestrians initiative is based on their skill, encumbrance, type of weapon they’re using, and whether it’s long barreled or not.  All this can be figured out before combat starts and this number should remain constant through out the battle.  The higher the number the sooner a pedestrian may attack. (If a pedestrian with a high initiative, who still has an attack left that turn, is being fired on by a ped. with a lower initiative, the high initiative ped. can stop the lower one from rolling the dice and shoot at him or someone else first.   If 2 or more combatants have the same initiative number and wish to fire at the same time they are considered to be firing simultaneously and all to their to hit rolls are made before damage is figured (thus it is possible for 2 people to simultaneously kill each other).

Here is how a typical turn would play out (remember; all aimed shots take place at the start of a turn).:  All aimed shots are resolved in order of initiative, with simultaneous shots being possible.  Next the referee states that anyone else may fire a snap shot at this time.  If more than 1 person wishes to fire the one with the highest initiative goes first.  If only 1 person wants to fire he may do so but he can be interrupted by someone with a higher initiative before he rolls the dice.  The person shooting must state his target and give a reasonable chance for someone with a higher initiative to interrupt him before he rolls to hit.  Once the dice are on the ground it’s to late for anyone to take an interruption shot.  (The referee has the final say).  After this first round, pedestrians move and fire as usual, with the only difference being, lower initiative peds. can always be interrupted by higher ones who still have an attack left.

At first these rules may seem a bit strange, but if you've ever refereed 6 players and one of them wants to shoot, and then they all start screaming they want to shoot, and you’ve got 10 NPCs you were just about to shoot with, you will appreciate this initiative system.  Now when a player says they want to shoot just as another announces his target this simple system should work and be more realistic than, rolling 2 d6 and the highest roll wins.  It also gives short barreled weapons a reason to be in the game.


Pedestrian Modifiers 

Skill level:  +1 for every level above 0.  -2 if the pedestrian has no skill with the weapon he is using.

Encumbrance:  -1 for each level of encumbrance as expressed in the alternate encumbrance rules on page 49 of CWC.  Or if using the GE rules -2 if carrying 5 GE or more.

Shield use:  -1 if the character is employing a shield of any type.

Weapon Modifiers

Long barreled weapons:  -2 

Light pistols, flechette pistols: +10

Medium pistols or laser pistols:  +9

One handed crossbows, and all other pistols (including derringers and machine pistols):  +8

Sub-machine guns, and shotguns:  +7

Assault rifles, and laser rifles:  +6

Flame-throwers, all types of bows, and all rifles not listed else where:  +5

Gyro-sluggers, anti-vehicular and heavy anti-vehicular rifles:  +4

All rocket launchers:  +3

All grenade launchers: +2

 Examples of above modifiers 

Example 1:  Pedestrian with a 0 level handgunner skill, encumbrance less than 20 pounds, not carrying a shield, and using a short barreled rifle would have a total initiative of 5.  0 + 0 + 0 + 0 + 5 = 5

Example 2:  Pedestrian with a level of 3 in handgunner skill, encumbrance of 42 pounds, no shield, and using a long barreled rifle would have a total initiative of 4.  3 - 2 + 0 -2 + 5 = 4

 Missile weapon fixes

 Now it’s time to fix the glaring problems with certain hand weapons.  I’m sure there are more but these are the big ones.  Since all of these weapons are in the CWC, I will only print my fixes and not the whole description.

Anti-vehicular Rifle:  Too wimpy.  Change the damage from 1d6 to 1d6 +1.

Laser Rifle:  Too wimpy and too expensive.  This weapon is only as effective as a sub-machine gun, but costs way more.  Change the to hit from 6 to 5, and the damage from 1d6 to 1d6 +1.  In addition the weapon can be made to be its own laser targeting scope at a cost of only $500 and no added weight. 

Gauss Rifle:  Too wimpy.  Change damage from 1d6 to 1d6 +1.

Shotgun:  What a mess!  A heavy pistol with a folding stock has the same chance to hit and does as much damage as the shotgun, but is $10 cheaper and has 2 fewer shots.  The best thing to do is allow the shotgun, on a successful hit, to do double damage to a target at point blank range if a 1 through 4 is rolled on 1d6.  This fix isn't perfect but it will help.

Double-barrel shotgun:  Dumb name. Unclear usage rules.  Why would anyone at tech level 8 want a bulky double-barrel semi-auto shotgun when at tech 7 we have full auto shotguns which do the same thing?  Change the name from DB shotgun to; Full auto shotgun.  This gun can fire 1 to 2 shots per turn.  When taking 2 shots both shots must be the same target or used as an area effect shot to get up to 2 targets in a 1” area.  Roll once for each target in the area of effect and keep rolling until both shots have hit or all targets have been rolled for once.  Hits at point blank range have a 1 to 4 chance on 1d6 of doing double damage.

New Weapons 

Super Heavy Pistol:  GE 1, damage 2 - 3 (roll 1 d6, on a 1 -3 does 2 points of damage and on a 4 - 6 it does 3 points of damage), to hit 8, cost $105, shots 8, CPS $1 weight 4 lbs.

.60 caliber “Shocker” Pistol:  GE 1, damage 3, to hit 8, cost $110, 6 shots CPS $1 weight 6 lbs.  Notes: Subtract 1 from the users initiative score when using this heavy gun.  Optional – can do 2 points of damage to vehicle armor.

Flechette pistol:  GE 1, damage 1, to hit 6, cost $115, 10 shots, CPS $1, weight 1 lb.  Notes:  This weapon can not be made long barreled.  It fires a high density dart that will damage body armor as well as pedestrians and tires.  The dart can be considered to be fired by spring loaded or compressed air or magnetic acceleration depending on your taste in tech level 8 armament. This weapon is silent to anyone more than 1” away from the shooter.  The gun is made of non-ferrous metal and plastic, and since it doesn’t use chemical propellant it won’t show up on a chemical detector.

New Weapons for Low Tech Play  

Tech level 7 weapons 

M-16 and other assault rifles in .223 caliber:  GE 3, to hit 7 single or burst shot, damage special (a single shot does 2 points of damage to 1 target.  A burst of 3 rounds does 1 d6 and can be area effect), cost $400, 30 shots, CPS $1, weight 8 lbs.  Notes: 3 shots are used up for every burst.  This gun is already considered long barreled.

H & K or FN FAL assault rifles in .308 caliber:  GE 3, to hit 7 single shot, 8 for a burst shot, damage special ( a single shot does 3 points of damage to 1 target. A burst of 3 rounds does 1 d6 +1 and can be area effect), cost $500, shots 30, CPS $1, weight 11 lbs.  Notes: A burst uses 3 rounds.  This weapon is already a long barreled weapon.

All tech 7 sub-machine guns:  GE 2, to hit 7 single or burst, damage special (a single shot does 2 points of damage t 1 target.  A burst of 3 rounds does 1 d6 and can be area effect), cost $200, shots 30, CPS $1, weight 10 lbs.  Notes:  A burst uses 3 shots.  This weapon is not long barreled, but can be made so.

New tech 6 weapons

Old style M-16 or AK 47:  GE 3, to hit 7 single shot, 8 for burst, damage special (a single shot does 2 points of damage to 1 target.  A burst of 3 rounds does 1 d6), cost $450, shots 30, CPS $1, weight 9 lbs.  Notes:  A burst uses 3 shots.  These weapons are already considered long barreled.  The ammo for the M-16 may not be used in the AK 47 nor may the AK 47’s ammo be used in the M-16.

Miscellaneous weapons and their effects

Low velocity weapons like crossbows and bows have no chance of damaging tech level 8 body armor.  Instead use the same rules I use for melee combat.  Once a successful hit has been made on a target wearing advanced body armor consult the paragraphs below.

Regular body armor will completely stop a low velocity weapons damage if the wearer rolls 1 through 4 on 1 d6.  If the wearer rolls successfully then no damage is taken by the character or his armor.  If a 5 or 6 is rolled however, the armor is completely bypassed and all damage is applied to the wearer.

Improved body armor will stop low velocity weapons on a 1 through 5 on 1 d6 with the same consequences as for regular body armor.

Military and impact body armor stops low velocity attacks on 2 through 10 on 2 d6 with the same consequences as above.

Vehicle metal armor also has it’s armor value doubled against low velocity weapons.  Personal note:  I don’t like the fact that vehicle metal armor is doubled against other hand weapons and thus I have eliminated this rule in my campaigns.

 One handed crossbow:  GE 1, to hit 7, damage 1 point, cost $40, shots 1, CPS $1, weight 2 lbs.  Note:  This takes 2 hands and 3 seconds to reload.  This weapon may not be made long barreled.

Quick Drawing Weapons:  To fast draw a melee or missile weapon from a holster (not to unsling it from your back or some other inconvenient place) roll your skill level +1 on 1d6.  A successful roll means you can use the weapon that turn, and an unsuccessful roll means it takes a full second to draw.  Weapons drawn from a holster take 1 second and may be done while walking.  Larger weapons like chainsaws, axes, rifles, spears, and other weapons strapped across your back take 3 seconds to bring into use, with a successful quick draw roll reducing this to 2 seconds.

Pistol duels:  In the rough and tumble world of 2049, pistol duels in the parking lots of bars are pretty common.  These duels are usually confined to light or heavy pistols, and the winner is the first to score a hit on his opponent.  Fights of this type are rarely fatal as the duelists are in high tech body armor.  Once a hit is scored the loser will usually accept defeat and buy the winner a drink.  Sometimes though fights are to the death, or at least until both fighters run out of ammo.

The duel is played out as follows.  The 2 opponents line up 3.5” apart.  At the “go” signal from a 3rd party they both draw their weapons and fire. Weapons drawn in this way are handled differently from the quick draw rules.  Both players roll 1 d6.  To this roll they add their initiative levels based on their weapons and skill.  The highest score shoots first that turn and all consecutive turns until the duel is over.  If both opponents score the same number then their fire is considered simultaneous.  

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