Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Dogs in Car Wars

Hmm guess it's harder to keep up a blog than I thought. Here's my rules for using dogs in Car Wars.

In a post apocalyptic world animals will be more important than ever.  Dogs can be used to hunt, guard, attack, and search.  This article will provide rules for finding, training, and keeping dogs.


The basic untrained dog costs $10 plus $5 for each trick it can learn.  Base weight is 60 lbs or more, and it has 3 hit points.  It is wounded after 1 point, unconscious after 2, and dead at 3 (unless a successful Animal Husbandry roll is made).  Extra hit points are available to a maximum of 5 total.  Each extra hit point costs $20 above base cost and adds 20 lbs to the dogs weight.  Dogs take up one space in a vehicle and use the same size counter as pedestrians.

They accelerate/decelerate at 10 mph and have a top speed of 20 mph.  Dogs can move in any direction while moving at 10 mph or less but can perform maneuvers no greater than D4 when moving at 15 mph or faster.  All canines are affected by spikes, oil, and other debris as pedestrians.  Some dogs can move as fast as 40 or 45 mph.  Extra speed costs $10 for every extra 5 mph of speed.

Attacks are hand to hand.  To hit 5, damage 1 d6 -5 (0 damage is possible) against pedestrian and tires.  Initiative level +3.  All canines may move up to half their top speed and still attack by biting and/or slamming. Dogs not trained to attack will only fight to protect themselves or loved ones and then only if a 7 or higher is rolled on 2 d6.  Dogs not trained to hunt, scout, or attack will run or cower when guns are fired within 20 yards of them.  All canines can be desensitized to gunfire by 4 weeks of exposure. A dog is -3 to be hit from any angle.

A wolf or dog that is attacking a person or creature can be stopped if a roll of 9 or better is made.  This roll can be tried once every 5 seconds and is modified as follows.

-1 to stop a wolf or giant dog.

-2 if the owner of the dog considers you his enemy, and is there to encourage the attack.

-2 to stop a giant wolf. 

-2 if person attempting to calm the canine doesn’t have the Animal Husbandry skill.

-3 if the canine is rabid or wounded.

-4 if the canine is protecting a human or creature it has bonded with.

+1 per level above 0 in Animal Husbandry.

+4 if the calmer has bonded with the animal.
Trained dogs cost $10 plus $10 per basic trick known, plus $5 for any untrained slots left open.  The costs for advanced training is listed after each trick and is cumulative with the base cost.

Training Dogs

Dogs can start training after the first 6 weeks of their lives, and are more easily trainable in the first several years.  For best results the same trainer should be used to teach the animal all it’s tricks.  A trainer can handle 3 animals of the same type plus 1 more per level above 0.  To teach an animal simple tricks like; come when called, roll over, fetch, bark at strangers, etc. .. use the rules for Animal Husbandry.  Roll 1 d6 +1 for the maximum number of tricks (both simple and advanced) the animal can learn.  To teach an animal more advanced tricks more time is required and the animal must be of the proper type as listed.  If the success roll is missed the time must be taken again before a new skill roll can be tried.  If the second skill roll is a failure this creature can never learn the trick.  Dogs can be taught any number of simple tricks at one time, but can only learn one advance trick at a time.  The dog must have at least learned the simple trick “come when called” before it can be taught any advanced tricks. 
Advanced Tricks

Attack trick. This trick gives a +1 to the to hit roll of the canine.  Damage goes to 1 d6-4, and +1 is added to initiative.  Training takes 1 month and one success roll.  As part of this trick the dog can also be taught to slam or trip up an opponent that is no more than 1.5 times the dogs weight.  This takes an extra month and another success roll.  The dog must roll a 6 or better to knock an opponent off his feet.  The creature being hit must then roll a 7 or better to remain standing.  Dexterity and strength bonuses apply to this roll and creatures with more than 2 legs get a +2.  Creatures that weigh more than the dog are also at +1 to remain standing.  Creatures that fall lose their remaining attacks for that turn and are at -1 to hit and -2 on initiative until they take 2 seconds to do nothing but get back up.  With 1 more month of training the dog can be taught to bite and slam at the same time.  Attack dogs must weigh at least 60 lbs and have a fighting disposition.    Good attack dogs are Akitas, German Shepherds, and Pit Bulls.  A dog trained to attack adds $50 to its base cost.  A slam attack adds $20 and the slam/bite attack adds $30.  All these costs are cumulative.  (A dog that knows the slam/bite attack would be worth an extra $100 total.)  This trick counts as only one trick no matter what level of training the dog has received.

Carry rider.  Only giant dogs and wolves can be taught to accept a rider.  It takes 8 months and one skill roll.  To have the canine take a rider into battle requires another month and one more skill roll.  Dogs or wolves that have already been taught the trick of carrying are worth an extra $300.  Dogs that can carry a rider into battle are worth $500. This trick counts as only one trick no matter what level of training the dog has received. 

Herding.  Dogs can be trained to herd animals.  3 months and one skill roll is necessary for success and the animals to be herded must be present.  The time to train a dog can be reduced by 1 month if a dog that already knows how to herd is present during the training.  A herd dog can keep livestock together, protect it from predators, and round up strays.  2 or more dogs used in this way give a bonus to the livestock roll under the ranchers skill.  Small fast dogs like Blue Heelers and Collies are best for this type of trick.  The herding skill adds $75 to the base cost.

Hunting and tracking.  This is the same as the human skill.  Canines already have the Hunting trick at level 0 when hunting for their own food.  This trick represents the ability of the dog to hunt for food for humans.  The animal can be trained to the 0 level Hunting trick in 1 month and one success roll.  It can be trained to level 1 in 2 more months and one success roll.  Level 1 is the highest a dog can be trained.  Certain dogs gain bonuses for hunting or tracking.  Blood Hounds and similar dogs gain +2 to their tracking roll.  Bird dogs gain a +2 to their hunting rolls when hunting birds.  Other bonuses can be assigned by the GM based on the breed.  Dogs must have a handler to perform these tasks.  If they have a handler they get to roll to hunt and track just like the Hunters skill.  Hunting dogs trained to level 0 are worth an extra $75.  Level 1 adds another $100.  Dogs also add $20 for each bonus they get to this trick.  All costs are cumulative.

Packing.  A dog trained in this trick can pull a combined weight of items and a wagon or sled equal to 2/3 it’s body weight rounded up.  Several dogs may be added together to increase this limit.  Only dogs weighing at least 80 lbs should be used as pack dogs.  (This is a simplified set of rules.  For more detail see GURPS.)  Pulling weight decreases the canines acc/dec by 5 mph, and top speed by ½.   (Huskies are best for this trick, of course, but any large stocky dog will work.)

Searching.  Dogs can be trained to search for people trapped in collapsed buildings or avalanches, or they can be trained to find items in ruins.  The dog must be trained for either people or items and suffers a -1 when searching for whichever it was not trained to find.  To find a person the dog must be within 25 ft of the victim and make a roll of 7 or better.  One roll is allowed every hour.  Untrained dogs can also find a person in rubble, but on a roll of 11 or higher.  Canines trained to search for items in ruins add +2 to the ruins scavenging roll (+1 if trained to search for people instead).  An animal trained in Searching also provides a +1 to avoid hazards when searching ruins.  Any dog can learn this trick.  Trained Search dogs add $50 to their cost.

Scouting.  This is the same as the humans skill.  A dog can be trained to level 0 in Scouting to track people, detect ambushes, avoid hazards, and, perform sentry duty.  This takes 6 months and one success roll and counts as 2 tricks when determining the maximum number of tricks the animal can learn.   The dog must have a handler to use the tracking trick.  A dog without this trick has the same chance as a person without the Scout skill to detect or be detected in an ambush.  Canines also use the same rules to detect hostiles while on sentry duty that humans use, but get a +1 to their rolls.  Canines not trained to Scout will only bark at a detected hostile on 1 to 4 on 1 d6.  Scout dogs can be trained to either bark or sound a special alarm and attack if they have the attack trick.  Trained Scouts add $200 to their cost.

 Dogs will usually bond with and only obey people who they have had close, friendly contact with for at least one month.  The earlier this is done in a dogs life the stronger the bond will be.  The maximum people a GM should allow a dog to obey is 4.  These should be people who are around the dog a lot and get along well with each other and it.  The dog will obey these people, protect them and even fight to the death for them.  On the other side of the relationship, the people who have bonded to the dog will be unlikely to put the dog in extreme danger or mistreat the animal.  However, most people will consider the dogs life second to any human they know and even most they don’t know, and will sacrifice the dog to save a human.  There are exceptions to this and it is up to the GM to make the final ruling.

Other Canines

Giant Dogs

Use motorcycle counters, or the counters from Steve Jackson’s old Cardboard Heroes.  These dogs weigh a minimum of 300 lbs, take up 3 spaces, and have 6 hit points.   Base cost is $300 +5 per untrained trick slot or $10 per minor trick known.  Extra hit points can be added to the dog at a cost of $40 a point to a maximum of 9.  Each hit point adds 30 lbs to the dogs weight.  Giant dogs have protective fur equal to armor type B.  

Acceleration/deceleration is 10 mph and top speed is 50 mph, unburdened.  Maneuvers are the same as a regular dog.  Giant dogs trained to be ridden and carrying up to 90lbs worth of weight, subtracts 5 mph from their top speed.  Subtract an additional 5 mph for every 10 extra pounds over 90 to a maximum weight of 160 lbs.  (See the Riding skill for rolls needed to stay on this animal.)

Attacks are hand to hand.  To hit 5, damage 1d6 -1.  Initiative modifier +4.  Giant dogs are -3 to hit from the front and -2 to be hit from the side.  The head is -4 to be hit and has only ½ the hit points of the body rounded up.  The legs are -5 to be hit and have 2 hp each.  Destroying the first leg reduces the dogs acc./dec. and top speed by half.  Destroying 2 or more legs prevents the dog from moving.

Training giant dogs is the same as regular dogs.  The only difference is the attack trick.  The to hit and initiative modifier of the giant dog goes up by +1 but the damage stays at 1d6 -1.


Wolves have the same base statistics as dogs, with the following differences.  They weigh a minimum of 80 lbs, and have hide equivalent to class A armor.  Each extra hit point increases their weight by 25 lbs to a maximum of 6.  The number of tricks they can learn is 3 plus 1 d6 -2 and can learn any dog tricks that are not specifically prohibited to it.  The down side to these creatures is they are -1 to the trainers skill for each trick being taught.  A roll of 2 or less means the trainer was attacked for 1d6 -3 pts of damage.  Wolves also bond with and will only listen to the  person that trained them.  Wolves will not allow riders or pack loads, nor can they be used to herd animals.   Base price for a wolf is $75 plus $5 for each untrained skill slot.  Trained wolves are not available for sale.  Wolves need 2 spaces in a vehicle to be comfortable.  They can make do with one space for 1 hour.  After this time roll 2 d6 for every full hour.  On a 7 or lower the animal becomes agitated and attacks the nearest person or device.  The person bonded to the wolf gets a +2 to prevent this as well as any Animal Husbandry bonuses.  Wolves use the same counters as pedestrians.

Hybrid dog wolf combos

Hybrids weigh the same as wolves and can have up to 6 hit points, but don’t get the hide armor.  Hybrids do not suffer a -1 to be trained, but will still attack the trainer on a 2 or less.  The maximum number of tricks they can learn is 2 plus 1 d6 -1.  Hybrids can bond with as many as 4 people just like a dog.  They cost the same as dogs + $10.  These animals only need one space in a vehicle and will not freak out. 

Giant Wolves

Use motorcycle counters or the counters from Cardboard Heroes.  Giant wolves weigh 800 lbs, take up 6 spaces (they can not have less and even this will only be tolerated for 2 hours at a time), and have 12 hit points.   Base cost is $500 +$10 per untrained slot.  Trained wolves are not available for sale.  Extra hit points can be added for $50 per point to a maximum of 18 total.  Each hit point adds 30 lbs to the wolves weight.

Acceleration/deceleration is 10 mph.  Top speed is 60 mph.  Maneuvers are the same as for giant dogs.  Giant wolves trained to be ridden can carry 100 lbs with a 5 mph lose of speed.  Decrease top speed by 5 mph for every additional 10 lbs to a maximum of 190 lbs.  (See the riding rules for rolls to stay on the animal.)

Attacks are hand to hand.  To hit 5, damage 1 d6. Initiative modifier +5.  Giant wolves are  -2 to be hit from the front and -1 to be hit from the side.  The head is -4 to be hit and has 1/3 the hit points of the body rounded up.  The legs are -5 to be hit and have 3 hp each.  Destroying one or more legs has the same effect as for giant dogs.  The giant wolves body is naturally armored in armor type D.

Training giant wolves is the same as wolves with the following differences.  The attack trick changes the giant wolves initiative and to hit by +1, but damage remains 1 d6.  Wolves can not be used as pack animals, or as herd dogs.   A training roll of 3 or less means the giant wolf attacks it’s trainer for 1d6 damage.

Hybrid giant dog, wolf combinations are not possible.

Keeping Canines

Dogs and wolves need a number of pounds of food (mainly meat) equal to 5% of their body weight each day rounded up.  Canines in the wild can hunt for themselves if they have 4 hours to roam.  Canines around livestock operations can be assumed to eat the leftovers after slaughter.  If the canine doesn’t have access to either one of these options then the owner must spend 5% of the dogs body weight rounded up in dollars to keep it fed each week.  Example:  a 75 lb dog costs $4 each week.  If these requirements can not be met the beast starves to death in 7 days.  Canines need at least as much water as humans with giant ones needing three times as much to survive.  If canines don’t get water they will die in 3 to 4 days depending on the heat.  Short hair dogs survive well in the same type of heat as humans, but have a hard time in cold weather.  Long hair dogs do well in cold weather, but not hot.  Dogs are also prone to illnesses such as parvo, worms and rabies.  It’s up to the GM to decide when and if these will be a problem.

Wounded canines heal at the same rate as humans, but substitute Animal Husbandry for Doctor or Paramedic skills.  Also change arm damage to leg damage on the permanent injury table.  A canine that loses one eye subtracts one from all it’s attack rolls.

Dogs, hybrids, and giant dogs can be bred.  For simplicity sake a male and female dog can have one litter of puppies each year.  There will be 2 d6 puppies in each litter.  The puppies should remain with their mother for 6 weeks before being separated.  (Puppies taken from their mom before this time must receive special care or they die.  Even ones that receive special care still have a 2 in 6 chance of dying.) 

Wolves and giant wolves also breed once a year and throw 1 d6 pups per litter.  They also must spend 6 weeks with their mother before separation (with the same penalties as dogs for early separation).   These creatures are very protective of their young and will attack anyone who comes within 10 yards and is not bonded to them on a 2 through 7 on 2 d6.  Skill levels above 0 in Animal Husbandry can  be added to this roll.  If an individual is bonded to both the mother and father wolf she is at +2 to the roll.  No one should even try to pick up or touch a wolf pup until it is at least 8 weeks old.  Doing so will automatically call down the wraith of both parents.  Someone who is bonded to the pair must roll a 7 or higher plus Animal Husbandry skill to handle a pup.

Hit points

All pups start out with 1 hit point.  They reach half their maximum weight and hit points in 6 months and their maximum hit points and weight in one year.

Maximum hit points for new born dogs and wolves are determined as follows.  Roll 1 d6 and add in any bonuses.

Hit Points
1 to 5
7 or 8
9 or higher

+1 if mom had extra hit points beyond 3.

+1 if dad had extra hit points beyond 3.

+1 for each parent that was a pure bred wolf.

To determine maximum hit points for new born giant dogs roll 1 d6 and add the bonuses below.

Hit Points
1 to 5

+1 if mom had extra hit points beyond 6.

+1 if dad had extra hit points beyond 6.

New born giant wolves maximum hit points are figured by rolling 2 d6 and adding the bonuses below.

Hit Points
2 to 6

+1 if mom had extra hit points beyond 10.

+1 if dad had extra hit points beyond 10.

Example Dogs

“Scratch”:  Breed;  Mutt.  3 hit points.  Wt 60 lbs.  Tricks; Comes when called.  Stays.  Searches ruins for items.  Maximum number of tricks able to learn is 3.  Cost – Base cost $10 plus $10 for each trick, and $50 for the search ruins skill.  Total cost $90.

“Killer”:  Breed;  Akita.  4 hit points. Wt 80 lbs.  Tricks;  Comes when called. Stays. Attack trick bite and attack trick slam.  Scout trick (uses 2 trick slots).  Maximum number of tricks 5.  Cost – Base cost $10, plus $20 for 2 simple tricks, plus $50 for bite and $20 for slam attacks, and $200 for the Scout trick.  Total cost $300.   


Wolves in the wild should be allowed to have the slam attack trick, as well as hunting, and scouting. 

Dogs have proven to be very useful in my campaigns.  In addition to being helpful to the player characters, owning a dog allows players to add more depth to their characters.  After all, where would the greatest autoduelist of all time be if his faithful dog hadn’t been there with his attack trick and wiliness to take a crossbow bolt for his master.   

1 comment:

  1. The information provided in this article is very useful. I have learned that we can train our dogs right when they are 6 weeks old. The longer your train the better your pets become. Thanks once again.

    Perrie Jinnie
    Pet Grooming Tips