Thursday, January 16, 2014


I was unemployed and much younger when I wrote this next bit. 

The skill listings in the Car Wars Compendium were a welcome addition for those of us with role playing campaigns set in the Car Wars universe.  I will now expand on that list with new skills and revise a few others.   My reasons for this are to create a list that will be useful to players who are trying to set up organizations in Car Wars, and to set the frame work for my later articles on organizations.  Note : TL stands for Tech Level and usually refers to the technology level of the device being made or the skill level of the individual performing a task.  The tech levels of the campaign and the characters in the campaign are decided by the GM and may vary depending on location and any special circumstances the GM creates.  (See my article on tech levels as a guide to the ones used here.)


Administration:  This is the skill of running a non-military organization.  At 0 level the character understands group dynamics as well as basic business functions.  This skill also allows the character to lead a number of other leaders equal to his leadership score (see the expanded leadership skill) in any non-military type function.  For every level above 0 double the number of people/leaders the character may lead.  This skill is necessary for running a business, religious organization, political campaign, or any other non-military group or function. If no one in the organization has this skill then there is no one to lead and the organization falls apart.  Even warlords and gang leaders should have this skill at 0 level since they won’t be under combat conditions all the time.
Agriculture:  This skill is the ability to grow food.  Either by planting crops in the ground, harvesting fungus from a nutrient tank, or synthesizing food from waste, depending on the tech level and the means available.  The number of people one “farmer” can feed in one year is determined by the following formula.  (If this is too much work use the table listed after.)  If an item being used is of a higher tech level than the farmer in charge it will drop down to the his tech level in effectiveness.

(Farmers skill) X (TL of farmer) + (number of field hands) X (TL of farmer) + TL of the fertilizer used + TL of the weed and bug spray used + (TL of the equipment used) X (number of pieces) + (TL of the vehicles used to transport) X (the number of vehicles) + TL of the food storage area = number of people fed that year.

Example:  A TL 7 farmer of skill level 2 (14), with 4 field hands  (28), using no fertilizer (0), TL 8 weed and bug spray – used as tech level 7 because farmers tech level is lower than 8 -- (7), 2 TL 7 pieces of farm equipment (14), 2 TL 6 ten wheeled trucks (12), and storing the food in a TL 5 cellar (5).  Will feed 14 + 28 + 0 + 7 + 14 + 12 + 5 = 80 fed people that year.

Any extra food can be stored for (TL of the storage facility) X 2 months or sold for (TL of farmer) X $150 per person.  Each 1 year supply weighs 2100 lbs and takes up 15 spaces.

Cost :  Farming operations aren’t cheap.  Here is the breakdown of prices for a start up organization.  Fixed costs items will be listed first.  These are items that once you acquire them you never need to buy them again unless they are lost, destroyed, or stolen.  Next will be variable cost items.  These are paid for once at the beginning of each year, every year.
Fixed Costs

Equipment: (TL) X 2,000 per piece.  At lower tech levels these are horses, hoes, and plows.  At higher tech levels tractors, plows, combines, nutri-tanks, etc.

Transport:  (TL) X 3,000 per piece.  At lower tech levels these are pack animals, hand carts, or wagons.  At higher levels 10 wheeled trucks.  (A driver with the appropriate skill level of 0 is included in maintenance costs.)

Storage:  (TL) X 1000.  This can be an earthen cellar, stone granary, or refrigerated warehouse, depending on tech level.

Variable Costs

Fertilizers:  (TL) X 200 once each year.  This represents the lowest tech levels  (dead fish, animal dung) to the highest (nitrates, and advanced chemical compounds)

Weed and Bug Control:  (TL) X 300 once a year.  This can be people paid to pull weeds and swat bugs on up to nano-tech devices designed to attack individual bugs and weeds.

Hired Field Hands:  (TL of farmer) X 500 per person each year.

Farmers Fee:  (TL of farmer) X 600 + (TL of farmer) X 500  per level above 0 per year.

Maintenance Costs:  Starting at tech level 4 these are equal to ½ fixed costs and are paid once every year.  This represents gas, spare parts, electricity, and other things need to keep high tech farms running.

 Simplified Crop Chart

Listed below is a simplified chart to save on calculations.  (This chart also shows the maximum number of people that can be fed at each tech level.  This number can not be exceeded using the above equation.  Any excess is lost.)  The following assumptions were made.  All items and knowledge are of the same tech level and include the following:  A farmer with skill level 2, 4 hired hands, fertilizer and sprays, 2 pieces of equipment, one storage unit and 2 transport units.

Tech Level
# of People Fed
Fixed Costs
Variable Costs

Disasters:  By now you’ve probably compared the variable costs to the amount of $150 X (TL) paid on the open market for each person fed and have added it up to a nice juicy profit.  Well before you hang up your dueling helmet to sit on a tractor, talk to a few farmers.  They’ll be the first to tell you, “Every year is a crap shoot.”  Bad weather, bugs, fires, and floods are the natural losses.  Then there are strikes, bandits, and poor market conditions as well as many other problems.  To simulate this roll 2 d6 at the end of each harvest.  On a roll of 2 lose the entire crop, on a roll of 3 or 4 lose ½ the crop rounded up, on a roll of 5 lose ¼ the crop rounded up.  On any other roll the crop is fine.  Note that even if some or all of the crop is lost the variable costs are still accrued.  Also GM’s may bring acts of man or nature in at anytime to confound the players and force them to work out a solution that saves the harvest.  Also if the full variable costs can not be met reduce the final amount of food produced by the percentage of costs not met.

Farms at tech level 5 and higher need a number of power units per day equal to their TL X 20.  This is normally part of the variable cost if the farm is connected to a main power grid.  However, if a farm is not connected to the main grid, and cannot average this amount on a daily basis, reduce the number of people fed by the percentage of power missing, rounding up.  Example:  A tech level 6 farm requires 120 PU’s each day to function.  If the farm was only able to receive an average of 80 PU’s through out most of the year then it’s final crop yield would only be 80/120 = 67% of 111 or 75 people fed.

Chemist:  This skill is considered a science skill.  Listed below are different substances that a chemist can put together based on the tech level available ( see my article covering tech levels).  TL 1:  Charcoal, pitch (a sticky flammable substance--treat as flaming oil).   wine, beer.  TL 2: Greek Fire (this is made from several compounds including wine, sulfides, and olive oil that burns when it contacts sea water (treat as flaming oil).  TL 3:  Black powder, grain alcohol.  TL 4:  Nitroglycerin, dynamite (made from 1lb of nitro), smokeless powder, mercury filament caps, refined crude oil (treat as flaming oil).  TL 5:  Gasoline (made from 2 times it’s weight in refined crude oil), methanol, ethanol, rocket propellant.  TL 6:  Plastic explosives, better rocket propellant.  TL 7: Napalm, advanced rocket propellant.  TL 8:  High tech rocket propellant, advanced forms of bullet propellant.
A chemist can create any items on this list that are equal to or lower than his tech level.  To do this he must have a lab worth at least TL X $1000 and $250 X TL in chemical supplies of equal or greater tech level (see supplies at end of article) and roll a 9 or higher on 2 d6.  If a lab is available add 2 to the roll.  If a kitchen or other makeshift lab items are available add only 1.  If a few items are available there is no change to the roll.  If no lab items are available subtract 2 from the roll.  A failed roll means the chemical supplies are ruined and nothing more can be tried that time period. When mixing explosives if a 2 is rolled re-roll one die.  If the result is a 1, then an explosion doing 1 d6 in a 2” blast radius has occurred.

Combustibles:  Here is the amount of each combustible listed above that is required to do the same amount of damage as flaming oil ( 1 d6 -2) in a 1” radius.  This is also the amount of each one that can be make in one 8 hour period. Each batch requires one success roll from a chemical supply cache in order to find the proper ingredients and one successful Chemist roll to mix correctly.  Pitch, 50 lbs.  Greek fire, 20 lbs.  Flaming oil 2 lbs. 
Explosives:  This is the amount of each explosive listed above that is required to do 1 d6 damage in a 1” radius in Car Wars.  This is also the amount of each one that can be made in one 8 hour period.  Except for methanol and ethanol which must be distilled over a 24 hour period (more on these liquids at the end of this article).  Each batch requires one success roll from a chemical supply cache in order to find the proper ingredients and one successful Chemist roll to mix it correctly.  Black powder, 4 lbs. Smokeless powder, 3 lbs. Dynamite, 2 lbs.  Gasoline, 2 lbs. Methanol, 8 lbs. Ethanol, 6 lbs.  Nitro, 1 lb. Plastique, 1.25 lbs. Napalm, 1 lb.  Advanced gun powder, 2 lbs.  The amount used is based on the GURPS explosives chart on page 18 of the High-Tech supplement with the base weight being the quarter brick of plastique as found in the Car Wars Compendium page 47.  Remember nitro is extremely volatile and the GM should have the players make luck rolls to transport it safely.

Consumables:  Beer, wine and grain alcohol all need time to ferment before they can be consumed.  I don’t know the exact times but I usually allow 5 days for beer, 3 days for grain alcohol, and 1 month for wine.  Beer and wine are produced 2 gallons a time and require 4 lbs of food products per gallon.  Grain alcohol is distilled one gallon at a time and requires 6 lbs of food products per gallon.  All require one success roll from a chemical supply cache.  A still may be substituted for a lab in the case of grain alcohol.  This will still provide a +2 bonus to the chemists roll and also allows for larger amounts to be made.  Beer is at +2 and wine is at +1 to the chemists chances to make.  Beer sells for $2 a gallon, wine for $8 a gallon and grain alcohol for $5 a gallon.  If the Chemist has the room he can have a number of batches of beer and of wine going equal to 2 plus his skill level above 0 times 5.

Rocket Propellant:  This is the amount of propellant needed to move a 1 d6 damage warhead to its target.  This is also the amount that can be made in one 4 hour period and requires 2 success rolls from a chemical cache.  TL 5 propellant, 4 lbs.  TL 6, 3 lbs. TL 7, 2 lbs. TL 8, 1 lb.  Warheads are assumed to be the best explosive type of the tech level currently available.

Gun Powder and primers:  Black powder will provide 100 rifle shots per pound.  Smokeless powder will provide 200 rifle shots per pound. Advanced gun powder provides 250 shots per pound.  10 rifle shots are equal to 1 MG or LMG shot.  15 rifle shots equal one VMG shot.  3 rifle shots equal 1 SMG or AR shot.  Primers are made at the rate of (TL of chemist) X 10 in a lab per 4 hour shift and require one success roll per batch from a chemical supply cache.
Electrical Engineer:  This skill is available at tech level 4 or higher.  An Electrical engineer can create windmills, or waterwheels, the generators they turn, and storage batteries. They can also make gas powered generators at tech level 5, hydrogen fuel cells at tech level 7, and solar powered generators at tech level 8.  In addition this individual can set up the lines to run machines and appliances as well as change the voltage and current of an item.  When combined with the Chemistry skill this character can also make storage batteries and vehicle power plants. See the new equipment at the end of this article for time and material to create storage batteries.  Finally an electrical engineer can repair any electrical device, but at one skill level lower then his normal level (at 0 level he is at -1 to all repair rolls made at the 0 level mechanic skill on the repair chart).
Leadership:  The description in the C.W. Compendium will be superseded by this one.  Leadership allows a character to control a number of characters equal to 4 at level 0 and increasing by 4 for each level above 0.  Level 1 is 8 people, level 2 is 12, etc.  These people must all be in the organization the character is part of, or willing to be lead under the immediate circumstances and can not be leading people themselves.  These NPC’s will follow all reasonable requests and should only make a moral check if asked to do something stupid and/or suicidal.  The exact nature of this is left to the GM to decide.  This skill alone is not sufficient to lead an organization bigger than a small gang or to run a  business.

The effectiveness of this skill can be increased by the use of 3 other skills.  Administrative for the non-military organization and Strategy and Tactics for military operations.  The Administrative skill allows the character to lead others who are leaders, thus creating a hierarchy.  Each level of Admin. skill a character has above 0 doubles the number of people he can lead and  allows him to lead up to this amount in leaders who are also leading people (including other leaders).  The Tactics skill doubles the number of people that the character can lead in a combat situation, but does not allow the character to lead leaders.  The Strategy skill doubles the number of people that can be lead in a combat situation and also allows leaders to be lead.  If Strategy and Tactics are combined the number of people/leaders that can be lead is quadrupled for each level above 0.

Examples:  1). A character with Leadership of 1 and an Admin. skill of 2 can lead a total of 32 people and/or leaders in a business venture.   2).  A character with Leadership 1, Tactics 1, and Strategy 2 can lead a total of 64 people and/or leaders in a combat situation.

Politics:  In addition to the description in the Compendium this skill also adds +1 on any request roll for every level above 0.  (Request rolls are rolls made to acquire items, information, or help from an NPC.  See my character generation and tech level articles for more information on this type of roll.)

Scouting:  This skill includes all the skill bonuses listed under the Search skill and supersedes it on the list of military skills.  In addition to the search bonuses this skill allows characters to set up and detect ambushes and track people and animals and avoid hazards when searching ruins.

Detecting Ambushes:  A person without the Scout skill detects ambushes on a 12 or higher on 2 d6.  Someone with the Scout skill detects ambushes on a 9 or better +1 per level above 0.  A roll to detect an ambush is allowed once for every alert character as soon as the group is within detection range.  If one or more characters make their roll the ambush is detected.  If they all miss they get no other chance to detect the ambush and must walk into it. The roll is modified as follows.


+3 if no one in the ambushing group has the Scout skill.

+1 for every 5 people, rounded down, in the ambushing group within 100 yards of the ambush site that don’t have the scout skill at any level.

+1 for every enemy vehicle or 2 riding animals within 100 yards of the ambush site.

+0 if light cover is available.  Small trees or shrubs, or minor hills.  (This is what the base detection roll is based on.)

-1 for each level above 0 of the single highest Scout skill of the persons setting up the ambush.

-1 if trying to detect an ambush while in a moving vehicle.

-1 for every full 20 mph the vehicle is moving.

-2 if trying to detect an ambush while driving (cumulative with moving vehicle penalties).

-1 for medium cover.  Like woods, boulders, and the occasional building.

-2 for heavy cover.  Like buildings, lots of little hills, or dense jungle or forests.

Detection Distances

Open terrain:  Deserts, parking lots, flat lands.  2 d6 X 100 yards.

Light hills or ground cover:  Plains, scrub lands. 1 d6 X 100 yards.

Medium ground cover:  Forests or hills.  1 d6 X 50 yards

Heavy ground cover:  Dense woods or jungles.  Towns or cities.  1 d6 X10 yards.


Tracking men or animals over terrain requires a 9 or higher on 2 d6.


+1 for every level of the Scout skill or a hunting skill above 0 of the tracker.

-1 for every level of the Scout skill or a hunting skill of the person being tracked.

+2 for each person being tracked doesn’t have the Scout skill, a hunting skill, or the Survival skill.

+3 if tracking a vehicle.

+2 if tracking in damp conditions, but not raining.  If it is raining subtract 2 instead.

+3 if tracking in snow, but not snowing.  If it is snowing subtract 2 instead.

-1 for every 4 hours the trail has lain cold.

A new tracking roll should be made every 10 to 30 minutes depending on the conditions.  In order to make a tracking roll the scout must be on foot and take about 10 minutes to survey the scene.

Avoiding hazards:  Finally this skill provides a bonus of +2 when attempting to avoid injuries while searching dangerous places like ruins or caves.  (See future article on post-apocalyptic living for details on searching ruins.)

Strategy:  This is the art of leading and maneuvering military forces.  First of all a 0 level or higher provides the character with the a working knowledge of military movements and supply at a grand scale.  Second for every skill level above 0 this skill doubles the number of people/leaders that the Leadership skill allows a character to lead when engaged in military activity.  And finally Strategy has other benefits which that be detailed in the Car Wars Mass Combat system which is still in the works.  Example:  A character with Leadership 1, Tactics 1, and Strategy 1 would be able to command a total of 32 leaders and/or non-leaders.

Survival:  In addition to the listing in the Compendium I would like to add the following rules.  A person with this skill may roll a 7 or higher each day to find food for himself and others.    The character must roll a 7 or better for each person he wants to provide food for.  If any one of these rolls is unsuccessful the character can make no more food gathering rolls that day.  If he wishes he may try to gather more food than there are people to feed and store the rest for later. However, as soon as the first roll is missed no more food may be gathered that day.  Food gathered in this manner weighs 8 lbs. per day and can be stored for several days depending on the tech level of storage devices available.   Finding water is handled in the exact same way, but can be stored for several weeks if containers are available.   Bonuses to this roll may be given at the GM’s discretion if game is plentiful, a fresh water stream is near by, a rifle and/or traps are used, or any other good idea the players can come up with.  Penalties may also be assessed for barren or radiated areas, time of year, and number of recent searches made in the area.

This skill also provides a +1 bonus per level above 0 when searching ruins, buildings, caves, or other areas for useful items.

Tactics:  Every level above 0 doubles the number of people the Leadership skill allows this character to lead in a combat situation.  When combined with the Strategy skill it quadruples the number of people/leaders that can be lead.  This skill also provides a +1 to the initiative of anyone directly under this individuals command in a tactical battlefield setting for every level above 0.  Other benefits of this skill will be listed in the mass combat rules. Example:  A character with Leadership 1, and Tactics 1 would be able to control 16 non-leaders.

Weapons Smith:  With this skill a character can repair any hand held or vehicle weapon by using the mechanics table.  (When using this skill as a repair skill the maximum bonus allowed is skill level 3.)   He can also convert semi-auto weapons to full auto in 1 hour (parts costs are equal to TL X $5, or make 1 success roll from the weapons repair cache), create a  silencer or flash suppresser in 2 hours (parts costs are equal to weapon cost divided by 4, or make one success roll from the weapons parts cache).  And considering his tech level, make melee weapons or homemade fire arms in 1 to 30 days depending on the weapon.  All these require a roll of 7 or better on 2 d6.  When combined with the Chemist skill this character can make grenades, rockets, mines, and ammo for vehicle weapons at the rate of 10 lbs per 8 hour period.  (Each round requiring ½ its costs in parts or 1/5 its weight rounded up in success roles from a weapons repair cache as well as its damage dice in the appropriate tech level and type of explosives, rounded up.  Example:  A TL 8 recoilless rifle shell weighs 5 lbs and does 2 d6 damage, so 1 success roll from a weapon repair cache and 2 pounds of rocket propellant and 2 lbs plastic explosive are needed.)    He can also attempt to customize a hand held weapon in order to give it a +1 to hit.  This last process is difficult, costly and time consuming.  All customizing rolls are done at -2, and take 2 d6 weeks to complete.  Cost is equal to 5 times the original cost of the weapon or require 5 successful rolls from a weapons repair cache (see end of article).  Only small arms and melee weapons can be customized in this fashion.  If the roll is unsuccessful the parts from the cache are used up, and roll 1 d6.  On a 1 or 2 the weapon is ruined and must be scrapped. On a 3 or 4 the weapon still functions but can never be customized.  On a 5 or 6 the weapon smith can try again with this same weapon.


 Morale:  When leading a group of people, consider their morale to be 7 or better on 2 d6.  This can be modified up or down by such things as;  The level of Leadership skill of the person in command.  The hazardous conditions of the situation.  Bold or cowardly acts by the leader himself, or anything else the GM considers a factor.   For the most part I don’t bother to roll for morale unless the players want the group to do something really stupid or suicidal or have just committed a major blunder.  I use the morale roll to let my players know they are doing something that has a negative effect on the people they are leading.

Length of work periods:  Normal characters can not safely work past 12 hours a day.  If someone tries to push it past that time start subtracting one from his skill rolls for every 4 full hours beyond 8 (i.e. -1 at 12 hours, -2 at 16 hours, -3 at 20, etc.).  There are rare individuals who can work 16 to 20 hours a day for months on end.  These people tend to be workaholics with no social life.  If players wish to have these people in their group, then this ability must be taken as a skill by each “workaholic” character.  At level 0 this person can work to 12 hours with no penalty.  Increase this time by 2 hours for every level above 0 to a maximum of 20 hours.  A person with this skill can maintain this level for 1 month, plus 2 months per level above 0.  Characters who want to avoid work penalties must rest for 6 hours, before going back to work.

Gas Engines:  These are not new pieces of equipment but can be used in combination with a generator to create power units that can be stored in a battery.  Cost and weight of these engines are each 50% less, rounded up, because there is no transmission, large cooling system, or other items necessary to run a vehicle.  This also means that these engines can not be used to run vehicles.  To determine the number of power units  (PU’s)a gas engine produces, take its power factors (PF’s) and divide by  20, rounded down.  This is the number of PU’s produced each hour.  To determine the number of gallons consumed each hour take the MPG of the gas engine and divide it into 80, round up to one decimal point.  Example:  A TL 8 10 c.i. engine uses 1 gallon and produces 15 PU’s per hour.  A  TL 8 150 c.i. engine uses 1.777777 gallons (rounded up to 1.8) and produces 95 PU’s, and a TL 8 700 c.i. engine uses 8 gallons and produces 650 PU’s per hour.  Engines that are already in vehicles can be turned into generation units by having their wheel run a belt attached to a generator.  To set this up takes 2 hours and a successful Electrical roll.  Engines set up in this manner are only ½ as efficient, rounded down at generation PU’s. 

Generators:  Are needed to harness the power created by windmills, waterwheels and gas engines.  Windmills and waterwheels may use the same type of generator but gas engines need a separate type.  When creating power, a generator of equal or greater tech level to the power source must be used.  Anything of a lower tech level will be burned out after 1 d6 hours of operation.  One generator is required for each windmill, waterwheel, or gas engine being used.  Any Mechanic or Electrical engineer can tell the type, tech level and maximum PU input of a generator just by looking it over for 5 minutes.

Generators for wind or water:  Weigh (15 - TL) X 20 lbs.  Cost TL X $20.  Spaces are equal to the weight divided by 50 rounded up.  To build one from scratch requires a successful Electrical engineer roll and one success roll from an electrical supply cache plus the weight in scrap parts.  The amount of time need to make this type of generator is equal to ½ it’s tech level in days rounded up.

Generators for internal combustion engines:  Weight is equal to the maximum output of PU’s the generator can handle in one hour plus (15 -TL) X 5 lbs.  Cost is equal to maximum PU’s handled plus TL X $20.  Spaces are equal to weight divided by 50 rounded up.  To build one from scratch requires a successful Electrical engineer roll and 2 successful rolls from an electrical supply cache plus the weight in scrap parts.  The number of days needed is equal to the tech level of the generator.  Generators hooked up to gas engines that produce more power units than the generator can handle will burn out after 2 d6 hours of use.  Example:  A tech level 7 generator that can handle an output of 25 PU’s per hour would weigh 65 lbs.  Cost $165 and take up 2 spaces in a vehicle.  This could handle a tech level 7 or lower engine with power factors totaling 500 or fewer without fear of burning out.  Any engine of a higher tech level and/or putting out more than 500 power factors would burn the generator out in 2 d6 hours of use.  

Hydrogen Fuel Cells:  Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity through the chemical combination of hydrogen and oxygen.  The best fuel for these cells is straight hydrogen which will allow the fuel cell to generate PU’s equal to the TL of the unit X 3 per gallon, per hour.  Next is hydrocarbons such as gasoline or natural gas which will generate TL X 2 PU’s per gallon, per hour (methanol will generate ¼ this amount rounded up and ethanol will generate 1/3 this amount rounded up).  Finally at tech level 9 or higher water itself may be used and generates power equal to ½ the TL of the cell rounded down per gallon per hour.  Hydrogen cells weigh (15 -TL) X 100 lbs and cost TL X $2,000.  To build one from scratch takes a number of days equal to twice the units tech level and requires a successful Chemist and Electrical roll and the weight in scrap parts.  Also a number of success rolls equal to the TL of the cell are required from an electronic cache and 6 X the TL in success rolls from a chemical cache!

Hydrogen fuel cells can be turned on and off at will and don’t need to store their power in a battery.  (Though to recharge a power plant faster than the above rates the energy would have to be stored in a battery.)

Labs, Workshops, tool kits, and Garages:  In order for an individual to make proper use of a supply cache they must have the appropriate tools.  Labs, workshops and garages all give +2 to any repair or creation rolls when working on the devices they were designed for. (Examples:  Garages for cars, chemical labs for Chemists, weapon work shops for Weapon smiths, etc.  Some of these work stations can be substituted for others with no penalty, such as a garage being used as a weapons smith.  Others, like a Chemist lab can not be substituted for except in rare circumstances.  The GM will have the final say in this. )  They each cost TL X $1000 and suffer a -2 penalty per difference in tech levels when used on devices of higher tech.  Tool kits  can be bought for weapon smiths, and electronic repairs at the same cost and bonuses to rolls as mechanics tool kits.  The “Mini Mech” is the same and functions the same no matter what it’s used for.  At tech level 5 or higher each of these work stations require power to operate at full efficiency.  If they are unable to receive the amount of power they need, then they function at the same equivalency as a tool kit (i.e. no +2 bonus) of the same tech level.  The amount of power required is equal to (the tech level of the lab) X 2  in power units per hour that it is in use.  (Optional rule:  Portable shops of tech level 7 or higher also require that the tools in them be charged with power to gain the +1 bonus.  This requires 1 PU per case and is good for 1 month.) 

Scrap Parts:  These consist of metal and plastic pipes, sheet metal, aluminum siding, or other odds and ends of useful junk and are usually found in ruins or taken from other projects or groups.   They will be of a specific tech level and can be used to make items of that tech level or less with no penalty.  Items of higher tech levels can not be made.  Scrap parts take up 1 space for every 50 lbs rounded up.  If scrap parts can not be found they may be purchased at $1  per 10 lbs, per tech level.  Example; Tech level 7 scrap would go for $7 per 10 pounds.

Stills:  Are a special type of lab used to create methanol, ethanol, and grain alcohol.  They are cheaper than a lab and don’t require power units (only a fire), but still provide a +2 to a chemists roll to make any of the above.  They also allow for larger batches to be cooked up with each success roll.  Ethanol and grain alcohol can be made from the same type of still, but methanol requires a separate type of still.  This still has the same characteristics as the stills below but is only good for making methanol.  All stills take up space in a vehicle equal to their weight divided by 10 rounded down.  To construct a still requires one successful chemist or engineer roll as well as the time and items listed below.

Small Still:  Weighs [15 -(TL of the still)] X 5 lbs (the older the tech level the heavier).  Cost TL X $50 or to build one from scratch requires one day of time, and a number of success rolls from a general building supply cache equal to 1/4 the tech level rounded down, plus the weight of the still in scrap parts.  This still will produce 2 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day or 2 gallons of grain alcohol in 3 days.  Example:  A tech level 8 small still would weigh 35 pounds, cost $400 and take up 3 spaces in a vehicle.

Medium Still:  Weighs [15 -(TL of the still)] X 10 lbs.  Costs TL X $100 or to build one from scratch requires 2 days of time, and  a number of success rolls from a general building supply cache equal to 1/2 the tech level of the still rounded down, plus the weight of the still in scrap parts.  This still will produce 9 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day or 9 gallons of grain alcohol in 3 days.  Example:  A tech level 7 medium still would weigh 80 lbs, cost $700, and take up 8 spaces in a vehicle.

Large Still:  Weighs [15 -(TL of the still)] X 50 lbs.  Costs TL X $500 or to build one from scratch requires 7 days, and a number of success rolls from a general building supply cache equal to the tech level, plus the weight of the still in scrap parts.  This still will produce 100 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day or 50 gallons of grain alcohol in 3 days.  Example:  A tech level 6 large still would weigh 450 lbs, cost $3000, and take up 45 spaces on a flat bed trailer.

Storage Batteries:  These items hold electricity created by generators to be released at a latter time.  Each battery can have a number of generators simultaneous supplying it power, equal to its tech level.  They all weigh 3000 lbs and take up 10 spaces in a vehicle, but their storage capacity is based on their tech level as follows;  Power units stored equal 1000 at tech level 8.  Half this amount at every level below tech 8 and double it for every level above 8.  Examples;  A tech level 6 battery will only hold 250 PU’s.  A tech level 4 battery will hold 62 PU’s.  Cost equals PU X $15.  When putting one together from scratch, both a successful Chemist and an Electrical roll are necessary.  It also requires a number of success rolls equal to its tech level from an electronics cache and 5 times its tech level in success rolls from a chemical cache with the weight being made up of scrap parts.  The number of days to complete this project is equal to the tech level of the battery.  PU’s are released from this unit at the rate of up to 200 PU’s per 10 minutes.  Half this amount of time for every tech level above 8 and quadruple it for every level below 8.  These storage batteries may never be used to move vehicles directly, only to recharge their power plants. 

Supply Caches:  Characters in isolated areas can’t always run down to the nearest Uncle Al’s every time they need to fix the gears on their bike.  The same holds true in a post-apocalyptic world where the nearest store might be the ruins down the road.  Here is a simple way for characters to keep spare parts and other items around without having to detail every nut and bolt.

Supply caches all have the same general characteristics.  They weigh 100 lbs., take up 2 spaces in a vehicle and cost TL X $250 when bought at the appropriate store.  Caches can also be scavenged from ruins or stolen from rival groups.

Each supply cache must be designated a specific type and tech level.  For instance a chemical cache at TL 6 would have all the ingredients to make plastic explosives and anything of a lower tech level.  A car parts cache at TL 8 would allow a mechanic to repair power plants, gas engines, turrets, and other vehicle components, but not electrical devices, or weapons.  These would each need their own supply cache. Armor is a special case, see below. Other possible types of supply caches would be truck, boat, helicopter, motorcycle/trike, airplane, hovercraft, or general building supplies for fixing structures.  Anything that needs to be repaired or made will have its own supply cache.  More than one supply cache of the same type may be kept on hand but they all must be kept separate.

How to use the supply cache:  When a character needs to repair or make an item he must have a supply cache and tools of the appropriate type and tech level available.  He then must roll a 7 or better for each success roll required to find the necessary parts in the cache (this roll is never modified by skill levels).  If the rolls are successful he has found what he needs and can begin work.  If a roll is not successful he may roll again.  Each time a roll is made to find parts whether successful or not, make a mark by the side of this cache.  After every 5 marks reduce the chance of finding a part in this cache by 1. After 25 attempts, whether successful or not, this cache is used up, ceases to exist, and no further rolls may be made on it.

Example 2:  A Chemist and an Electrical engineer are making a tech level 8 hydrogen fuel cell.  They would need to make 8 successful rolls of 7 or better in an electrical supply cache as well as 64 success rolls of 7 or better in several chemical caches to find the items they need.  If a supply cache is depleted before all the rolls are successful (or even made), the characters can move on to another new cache without penalty.  In the above example the characters will have to go through at least 3 chemical supply caches, since 25 rolls per cache is the maximum that can be made whether successful or not.

Optional rule:  In the above example 64 success rolls is a lot to make, especially considering a little under 50% may be failures.  In order to save time the GM can simply double the number of rolls to subtract from all the same type of supply caches and declare all the necessary parts found.  Example 3:  The above 64 rolls would be doubled to 128 and then applied to 6 full chemical supply caches.  5 of these caches would be used up completely and the 6th would have a total of 3 rolls taken off of it.  No rolls would have to be made and the players would have all the parts they need.  In order to use this rule all the supply caches required must be full and available for immediate use.  (This can only work if all the supply catches are of the same TL as the unit being worked on).

Characters can use a higher tech supply cache to repair or make lesser tech items, but suffer a -1 on their chance to find useful parts regardless of difference in tech levels.  Anyone trying to use a lower tech cache to repair a higher tech item suffers a -2 per tech level difference to find useful parts as well as a -2 per level to their repair rolls.  No items of a higher tech level than the supply cache can be made only repaired.

Minor items that can be made from supply caches are;  Any chemicals listed under the Chemist skill provided the tech level of the cache and the chemist are high enough.  Small arms, and melee weapons can be fashioned by a weapons smith from an arms repair cache, but these will be very crude, and take from 1 to 30 days.  This uses up 3 rolls for melee and muscle powered weapons and 5 rolls for firearms.  If non-working fire arms are also available these can be made into reasonable semi-auto and even fully auto guns at the rate of 2 every 4 hours, using up 3 success rolls per gun for full auto, 2 for semi-auto and 1 roll to have the weapon fire single shots.  (As inspiration-- During the Cuban revolution gun smiths converted lever action Winchesters into full auto submachine guns using only a screwdriver and file.  Each rifle yielded enough parts for at least 2 submachine guns.)  Electric caches can turn out short range radios, bugs, bug detectors, and other small items at the rate of 1 every 4 hours.  These will have only about ½ to 2/3 the power of the regular device and be much more prone to break downs when used under combat conditions.

Vehicle Armor:  Is not kept in caches but rather in sheets, and later in tubes.  Regular plastic armor cost TL X $1 per 5 lbs and usually come in 100 lbs sheets that take up 5 spaces in a vehicle.  Other armor types simply multiply the base cost as normal.  This type of armor is heat formed and fitted to the vehicle and then glued on in early tech 8.  Later in tech 8 it comes in a tube and spray can that only takes up 3 spaces but costs and weighs the same.  First the plastic is squirted from the tube and molded into place.  It will stay soft and pliable for up to 5 days until sprayed with the nano tech items in the spray can.  Within 30 minutes after applying the nano devices the plastic hardens into an armored patch.  Don’t touch the patch while the nano tech is working or you could end up with a nasty burn.  Metal armor and AFV armor can not come in this form until tech level 9.

Crude metal armor can be made from scrap parts.  It takes 4 hours per point and a successful Mechanic or Metal Working skill roll.  Each point weighs 10 times the weight of regular plastic armor and uses twice the crude metal armors weight in scrap parts of TL 5 or higher.

Waterwheels:  Waterwheels are placed in fast moving streams or waterfalls to generate electricity.  They must be combined with a generator and then to a storage battery to save the power for future use.  Weighs (15 -TL) X 10 lbs. Cost TL X $5.  Spaces are equal to weight divided by 10.  To build one requires an Electrical engineer roll as well as one success roll from an electrical cache and one roll from a general building cache plus the weight in scrap parts.  The project takes ½ the tech level rounded up in days to complete.  A waterwheel will create a number of PU equal to its tech level every hour.

Windmills:  Harness the wind to create power. They must be combined with a generator and then to a storage battery to save the power for future use.  Weighs (15 -TL) X 10 lbs.  Costs TL X $10.  Spaces are equal to weight divided by 10.  To build one requires an Electrical engineer roll as well as one success roll from an electrical cache and 2 from a general building cache and the weight in scrap parts.  The project takes a number of days equal to the tech level of the windmill.   A wind turbine will produce a variable amount of power every hour, but on average it will produce ½ its tech level in PU’s rounded up in calm conditions.  Its tech level in PU’s in average conditions, and twice it’s tech level in windy conditions.  Anything stronger will destroy the unit.     

In my campaigns gas is not quite as scarce as the world of Car Wars and only costs $5 a gallon.  Also the grain blight never happened so alcohol fuels are readily available.   Methanol costs $1 a gallon and ethanol $2 a gallon. Pure hydrogen is $15 a gallon.  All weigh 6 lbs per gallon.  Storage drums are typically 55 gallon barrels.  T hey weigh 20 lbs and take up 3 spaces in a vehicle.  These can be found in most industrial ruins or purchased at $10 each.  These barrels have 2 DP’s and will be holed and begin to leak after taking only 1 pt of damage as per the gas tank rules.  When one of these barrels is hit there is a 4 in 6 chance it will catch fire.  Once a storage barrel that’s not in a vehicle is on fire it has a 2 in 6 chance of exploding.  Barrels that are in a burning vehicle add an extra +2 to the chance of the vehicle exploding.  Exploding barrels will do damage equal to 1 d6 for every 10 full gallons of gas to a 1” radius and half that amount rounded down in a 2” radius.  If you wish to have better storage devices, construct them using the same rules as vehicle gas tanks.

Ethanol:  This fuel requires 6 lbs of grain crops per gallon.  It can be drank as a liquor but will cause blindness after prolonged use.  Because ethanol doesn’t burn as hot as gasoline, when figuring the fuel efficiency of ethanol divide a gas engines miles per gallon by 3  and round up.  This lower MPG is used whenever the vehicle is running on ethanol.

Gasohol:  This is roughly a 50% mixture of gas and ethanol.  It gets half the MPG of gas, but only costs $3 per gallon.

Hydrogen:  Hydrogen can be created by the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen.   This requires a lab, a successful Chemist roll and 4 hours of time per gallon.  The hardest part is storing this volatile fuel until it is needed.  The equivalent of a racing gas tank is needed to store it safely.  Storing hydrogen in anything else causes 10 to 60% of it to evaporate every day. This release of flammable vapors means there is also a good chance of an explosion occurring.  The exact nature of this problem is left up to the GM.  Hydrogen should always have at least a +1 chance to catch fire or explode over and above any other modifiers.

Methanol:  This fuel can be created from many items, including but not limited to, wood chips, corn stalks, pig dung, and most other scraps from vegetable matter.  6 lbs is required per gallon.  This fuel can not be drank as it is a poison that will cause blindness and death.   When figuring the fuel efficiency of methanol divide the engines miles per gallon by 4 rounded up.

Most of these skills and rules were created and play tested over the course of the last 15 years.  The figures for stills and alternate fuels are based loosely on information gathered from the RPG Twilight: 2000 and various articles from Popular Science.  The information on the Chemist and Weapon Smith came from GURPS, Living Steel, Twilight: 2000, articles from Popular Science, The Anarchist Cook Book, and various other sources.  The amount of food a farmer can feed at tech level 7 has been quoted in several sources as being between 130 and 150.  I went with the lower figure.  Crops are a generic term and can stand for any type of food stuffs you want.  The rules for power generators and consumption are the least researched and I welcome anyone’s comments and suggestions to improve these. 

Why go to all this detail?  Because my games are usually set in a post-apocalyptic setting where stores, manufacturing facilities, and transportation systems rarely exist.  My players have to reload their own ammo, create explosives, make fuel for internal combustion engines, create power, and feed the people they lead.  Playing organizations in the ruins of civilization requires a lot more large scale planning than playing individuals, however the reward of conquering and running your own kingdom can be worth it.

In future articles I will be expanding on these campaign ideas with information on searching ruins, more new skills, how to learn new skills, ransoming people instead of killing them, running large organizations, and several other rules additions.  I would also like to present information on my groups current campaign.  It is set in the wastelands of New Idaho and includes mutants, lots of ruins to search, and many powerful enemies and allies.  Hopefully this article will inspire other Car Wars enthusiasts to look beyond arenas and road duels to a new way of playing the game.  Please E-mail me with any comments or suggestions you may have regarding these rules.  They are a work in progress and always subject to improvement.                       



No comments:

Post a Comment