Actions and Combat
Now you’ve got your character, and you know how to make Trait and Aptitude checks. If you’re like most gamers, you’re wondering how to blow things all to Hell and back.
Aptitudes are normally associated with a particular Trait, but sometimes another Trait might be more appropriate. Say the Marshal asks for a climbin’/Knowledge roll. Climbin’ is normally based on Nimbleness, but in this case, she wants to see how much your character knows about climbin’, not how well he can actually scale a cliff.
When this happens, just substitute your character’s Nimbleness die with his Knowledge die.
Later on, when your character falls through the wall of a ruined building, the Marshal might ask for a climbin’/Strength roll to see if your hero is strong enough to hold on, not how “good” a climber she normally is.
Aptitudes are listed under the Trait they’re normally associated with on your character sheet.
Rollin’ the Bones
A character’s Trait tells you what kind of dice to roll, and the Aptitude or Coordination tells you how many dice to roll.
A character with a Deftness of d8 and a Coordination of 3, for example, would roll 3d8 when asked to make Deftness checks. When making skill rolls, substitute the Aptitude level for the Trait’s Coordination.
So how do you read the die roll? Easy. Your result is the highest single die result you get when you roll all your dice together. So if you roll 3d6 and get 2, 3, and 5, your total is a 5.
If there are any modifiers, they are applied after the dice are rolled. Negative modifiers are penalties of some sort, and positive modifiers are bonuses.
Sometimes you have to make an Aptitude check when you discover your hero doesn’t have the Aptitude. Are you hosed? A little, but not completely.
In these cases, you can roll one of your character’s Trait dice with a – 4 penalty to the total.
Trait and Aptitude rolls are open-ended. This means if you roll the maximum number on any of your dice, you can roll that die again and add the next roll to that die’s current total. The maximum number on a die is called the “Ace.”
You can keep rolling the die and adding it to the running total as long as you keep getting Aces.
If you get Aces on several of your individual dice, you need to keep track of each die separately. When you’re done, the single die that got the highest total is the result.
Okay, you’ve got your result. How do you know exactly how well you’ve done? Just look on the standard Difficulty Table below.
The “difficulty” is a rough estimation of how hard a particular task is. The “TN,” or Target Number, is the number you need to meet or beat on your dice roll to succeed at that task.
Difficulty Target Number
Every time you beat your Target Number by 5 points, you get an extra success. This is called a “raise.” Raises are “extra successes” sometimes used to show your character has done exceedingly well at whatever it was she was trying to accomplish.
Every raise over the base Target Number means your character did that much better at a task.
If you’re told to draw an extra card for every raise and the TN is Fair (5), you draw one card for every 5 points you roll over the TN of 5. If the text says you get an extra card for every success, you draw a card for getting a 5, and another card for every 5 points over and above that.
Raises are just “extra” successes (and are sometimes called just that). Basically, the better you roll, the better your character does at whatever task she was attempting.
Occasionally, someone your character is bamboozling, wrestling, or staring down might have the audacity to fight back. If this is the case, both characters roll against a Fair (5) difficulty. The character who beats the TN and his opponent is winning, but she needs a raise to decide the struggle (see the table below).
Raises are always used in opposed rolls, though they are counted from the opponent’s total, not the base TN of 5.
When a cowpoke is forced to make an opposed mental roll against a group, use the Aptitude or Trait of the group’s “leader.” The rest usually follow his example. If it’s a physical contest, such as a tug-of-war, add + 2 to the roll for every assisting friendly character who makes a Fair (5) roll in the Trait or Aptitude in question.
One last time because you’ll see this a lot — beating someone by 1–4 points on an opposed roll has no effect. You have to get a raise to make something happen.
|Success||There is no clear victor. Both characters can continue to struggle on later actions.|
|One Raise||The winner manages to accomplish his goal with room to spare. The opponent loses or surrenders until he can find another way to recover his loss.|
|Two Raises||You make it look easy. Your opponent surrenders and no longer resists without a major change in the situation.|
|Three Raises||You get your way, and your opponent suffers some minor disadvantage as well. If wrestling, you reverse the hold. If debating, he puts his foot in his mouth.|
There’s a bad side to all this dice-rolling business. If the majority of your dice come up 1s, you’ve “gone bust.” A roll of 1, 1, 3 is a bust, but a roll of 1, 1, 3, and 5 isn’t. Get it?
When your character goes bust, it means a setback of some sort has occurred. The Marshal determines how bad the catastrophe is, based on the situation.
Busts are relative. Most of the time, your hero drops his weapon, says something he shouldn’t have, or drives his hoverbike into a tree. Busts are usually embarrassing, but not catastrophic.
If your hero goes bust while doing something dangerous, say trying to put the pin back in a grenade or climbing a high cliff, he’s got real problems.
When a firefight or a brawl erupts, the Marshal breaks the game down into “rounds” of about five seconds each.
Each round is further broken down into “segments.” Your character gets to act on certain segments and not others. How do you know which ones? That’s where the Action Deck comes in.
Each card (from Ace down to Deuce) represents a segment. The King is a segment, the Queen is a segment, and so on, all the way down to a Deuce. Let’s dig into the Action Deck and see exactly how it works.
The Action Deck
You’ve heard the expression “the quick and the dead.” There’s a lot of truth to it. It doesn’t matter how good a shot you are if you’re slower than a one-legged mutie on a cold day.
Once a fight starts, each side (the players and the Marshal) needs an Action Deck. Using the Action Deck lets us have all the action, detail, and tension of a gunfight in an orderly way that everyone can understand.
Once the Marshal says the game is in rounds (a fight has started or is about to), each player makes a Quickness roll for his hero and compares it to a TN of Fair (5). You draw one card “for free” from the Action Deck, plus one for every success. If you go bust, you get no cards this round, though you might still use a card from up your sleeve (we’ll explain later). Then the Marshal counts down from Ace to Deuce. As players’ cards come up, their characters get to take actions.
No matter how high your Quickness total is, you can never have more than five cards (without supernatural aid).
If your Action Deck runs out, reshuffle it immediately. If someone draws a black Joker, finish the round, then reshuffle.
Most folks don’t just whip out their pistols and start blasting when some monster comes jumping out of the bushes at them. Some run, some cry for momma, and some just stand there drooling like idiots.
Anytime there’s a good chance your character might be surprised, the Marshal is going to ask you to make a Cognition check. The difficulty is Fair (5) if your character is expecting some sort of danger—Incredible (11) if she’s not.
If you fail the roll, you don’t get any cards, and your character can’t act that round. She can act normally in the next round as long as she makes a Fair (5) guts check.
Once everyone has their cards, the Marshal starts counting down from an Ace. When one of your cards is called, toss it into the discard pile and tell the Marshal what your character is doing that segment.
Compare suits to break ties with other characters who have the same cards. The ranking of suits is:
Since the Marshal has his own Action Deck, it’s possible for each side to have an action on the same card and suit. If so, these actions are simultaneous.
Action segments are very short periods of time. That means everything your hombre does is broken up into simple, short, and long tasks.
Simple Tasks (Speed 0)
A character can perform a simple task in coordination with any other rolled task. A simple task is one that doesn’t require much concentration, such as saying a few quick words, resisting a test of wills, or moving.
Short Tasks (Speed 1)
Short tasks are things like drawing or cocking a gun, firing a gun, making a test of wills, or concentrating on a supernatural ability of some sort. Short tasks are declared and resolved on a single Action Card.
Long Tasks (Speed 2+)
Long tasks are things like searching through a backpack, reading a long, arcane text, or firing up a gizmo of some sort. Long tasks are strung out over two or more Action Cards. When you start a long task, declare the task your character is beginning and use the cards as they’re called out by the Marshal. Resolve the task as you spend the last card required.
If the Marshal doesn’t have a good idea of how long something like this should take, roll 1d6. It takes that many Action Cards to complete the task.
Below is a table that summarizes all this business about tasks. Some of the things on there might not make sense to you now (like recovery checks). These things are explained later in this chapter.
|Simple||0||Saying a single short sentence, moving, making a stun check, resisting a power or test of wills.|
|Short||1||Saying a few short sentences, drawing a weapon, cocking a weapon, making a recovery check, making a test of wills, reloading a single shell or clip, climbing, jumping, or any kind of movement that requires an Aptitude roll.|
|Long||2+||Relating complex information, short speeches, some powers and spells, searching a pack, or readying a gizmo.|
Sometimes you might want to wait until some hombre does something before you take your action. Say you know some slavering beastie is about to burst into your fallout shelter and you want to blast a hole in it the moment it comes crashing through.
The way to do this is by “cheating” and keeping a single card “up your sleeve.” When the card you want to put up your sleeve would normally be played, tell the Marshal you’re going to put it up your sleeve instead. Now place it face down under your Fate Chips.
You can only ever have one card up your sleeve, but you can hold onto it over subsequent rounds, saving it until you need to use it.
Once a card has been designated a cheat card, its value no longer matters. A Deuce up the sleeve can beat an Ace in the next round.
When you’re ready to play the “cheat” card, whip it out, show it to the Marshal, take your action, and discard it. If you want to interrupt someone else’s action with a cheat card, you have to beat him in an opposed Quickness match. A success means the actions are simultaneous. A raise means that character goes first. This way you’re never guaranteed to beat someone just because you’ve got a cheat card, but at least you’ve got a chance.
Assuming you don’t use it, you can hold on to your cheat card until the fight is over, you draw a black Joker, or an opponent forces you to discard it through a test of wills (which we’ll discuss later in this chapter).
Jokers can never be hidden up your sleeve, they’re just too wily to get that close to a survivor’s armpit. They do have a few special effects, however. The big thing to remember is red Joker good, black Joker bad.
The red Joker allows your character to go at any time during the round. He can even interrupt another character’s action without having to make a Quickness check. In a nutshell, your survivor can go whenever he wants this round.
The downside is that, since you can’t put Jokers up your sleeve, you only get this advantage for one round. If you don’t use it before the round is over, you have to discard it.
You can still have a normal card up your sleeve, however, and you can even use them both at once if you like.
The second advantage to drawing a red Joker is that you get to draw a random chip from the Fate Pot. Congratulations, bunkie!
The Marshal doesn’t get a draw from the Fate Pot by drawing a red Joker for the bad guys, but he does when the posse draws a black Joker.
The black Joker is bad news. It means your character hesitates for some reason. Maybe he’s starting to feel his wounds or he’s distracted by the bad guys. Whatever the reason, the Joker is discarded, and you have to discard any card up your sleeve as well.
The other downside is the black Joker gives the bad guys (run by the Marshal) a draw from the Fate Pot. Your side doesn’t get a draw when the Marshal gets a black Joker though. Who said life was fair?
There’s one last side-effect to a black Joker. Your side’s Action Deck is reshuffled at the end of the current round. This counts for both the posse and the Marshal.
The number of yards a character can move each round is his “Pace.” The Pace of characters and most critters is their Nimbleness in yards. A vehicle or really fast varmint’s Pace is listed in its profile.
Because characters in Deadlands have different numbers of actions each round, movement is broken up over each segment.
Divide your character’s normal Pace by his total number of actions each round to figure out what the maximum movement is per action.
Don’t try to figure fractions. Just break up the movement as evenly as possible. If a character can move 8 yards in a round and draws 3 cards, he could move 3 on the first card, 3 on the second, and 2 on the last.
You can’t get extra movement by playing a cheat card. If you have actions left in the round when you play a cheat card, just split your remaining movement as evenly as possible. If you have no actions left when you play a cheat card, your hero can’t move during that action.
A character can double his Pace during any particular action by running. The downside is that characters who do so incur a – 4 penalty to any tasks they attempt that action.
We use the phased movement described above because characters have variable numbers of actions per round. Occasionally, this makes no sense, especially if a quick hero with several actions is chasing some bad guy with only 1. In these cases, the Marshal should let both characters break up their move however they want. The downside is that the Marshal has to decide if any of the characters should incur the – 4 running penalty for any particular actions.
Pickin’ Up the Pace
If your hombre really needs to skedaddle, he can “pick up the Pace.” This means she goes as flat-out fast as he possibly can. The cost is an Action Card and a little fatigue, represented by Wind.
Your character can pick up the Pace on any action. This is a short task, so he can’t do anything else that action. All that extra effort makes it too hard to bark orders or squeeze off shots.
The extra movement your hero gets can be found on the Gitalong Table below. Add that many yards to the character’s movement for that particular action. The number listed under “Wind” is the amount of Wind the cowpoke takes each time for pushing himself so hard.
A rider can make his mount pick up the Pace by making a Fair (5) ridin’ or teamster roll. In this case, the animal takes the Wind.
Picking up the Pace on a vehicle requires a Fair (5) drivin’ roll. Vehicles don’t take Wind (naturally), but they might suffer a breakdown after being pushed for a while, if the Marshal feels it’s appropriate.
Teller still hasn’t escaped the muties, so he picks up the Pace. He gets two actions this round. On the first, he gets four extra yards of movement but takes 1 Wind. On the second, he gets two extra yards and takes another Wind.
Here’s a handy table to help you keep all this movement business straight.
Your hero can’t “run” (double his movement) when swimming or climbing, though he can still pick up the Pace.
|Ridin’||Varies by animal||d10||1||—|
Pace is the base movement rate for the entire turn. For swimming and climbing, use your character’s Aptitude levels in swimmin’ and climbin’ as the base number.
Pickup is the type of die you roll to get extra movement by “picking up the Pace.” Don’t roll again on Aces for this kind of roll. It’s not a Trait or skill check or a damage roll.
Wind is the amount of Wind your character takes when he picks up the Pace.
Max is the maximum your character can move due to his Aptitude level in climbing and swimming. Supernatural bonuses or equipment may raise the total beyond the maximum, but raising the Aptitude higher doesn’t.
Carrying a Load
No, we don’t mean the one in your pants.
That’s a personal problem. What we’re talking about is the fact that a scavenger trying to haul a box of ammo away from a horde of slavering muties isn’t going anywhere fast.
The load is an estimate of the character’s, critter’s, or vehicle’s capacity to carry stuff versus the weight of the load in pounds. If and when such a thing matters, you and the Marshal need to figure out how heavy a load is. A strong character carrying a scrawny companion probably has a light load. Two horses pulling a wagon have an average load. If the wagon is full of ghost rock or metal salvaged from a ruined city, it would be heavy for even six horses. If you don’t have exact weights, guess.
The maximum weight for each level of load is listed under “Weight” in pounds. Strength refers to your character’s Strength die type. After that is how much that load reduces his Pace by.
Round any fractions down.
Don’t figure up loads if there’s no reason to.
Use these rules only when it adds some drama or tension to the scene.
|None||Up to 3x Strength||—|
|Light||Up to 6x Strength||75%|
|Medium||Up to 10x Strength||50%|
|Heavy||Up to 20x Strength||25%|
Tests o’ Will
When most folks think of combat, they think of yanking triggers and beating things to a pulp. That’s a lot of fun, but sometimes it’s just as much fun to stare down some lily-livered wastelander and send him running home to his radioactive momma.
Bluff, overawe, and ridicule are tests of will that can be used to break an opponent’s nerve or concentration. Persuasion is also a test of wills, but it isn’t generally used in combat.
A test of wills is an opposed roll versus one of the target’s Aptitudes. If the test is being made against a group, use the leader’s Aptitude.
Initiating a test of wills is a short task.
Resisting one is an automatic simple task.
Each raise over an opponent’s total has its own special effect, as shown to the right. Note that these are “raises.” Beating someone by 1–4 points is a success but has no effect. You have to get a raise for a special effect.
Remember that, since this is an opposed roll, the fellow who started the test of wills must get at least a Fair (5) success. If he doesn’t, the target automatically wins the contest.
|Test Aptitude||Opposed Aptitude|
Your character’s stern gaze or cruel taunt angers or upsets your opponent. The target suffers – 4 to her next action. This includes any defensive Aptitudes like vamoosin’ or resisting further tests of wills. The penalty is not cumulative should the character be unnerved more than once, even if unnerved by different characters.
The target is distracted by your hero’s jibe, trick, or surly stare. She is unnerved and also loses her highest Action Card. If she’s got a cheat card up her sleeve, she loses that instead.
You’ve broken the bad guy’s will — for the moment at least. He’s unnerved and distracted and might even run if he can. Even better, you get to draw a Fate Chip from the pot!
There often comes a point when you need to turn some dastardly villain’s head into mulch.
This section tells you how to do just that.
Every weapon in Deadlands has a Speed score, usually of 1 or 2. That’s how many actions it takes to cock the weapon and fire it.
Automatic pistols and other weapons have a Speed of 1 and can be fired every action once cocked. Double-action revolvers don’t need to be cocked.
Weapons that must be cocked between every shot, such as single-action pistols, bolt or lever action rifles, pump shotguns, and the like, take 1 action to cock and 1 to fire (though there are ways to speed this up).
Also, double-action and automatic pistols must be cocked the first time they’re fired or reloaded, so they’re effectively Speed 2 weapons until they’ve been cocked, the safety’s taken off, the battery’s engaged, or whatever. Smart survivors usually ready their firearms before the fight starts. Make sure you tell the Marshal your hombre cocks his gat before the action breaks down into rounds. It can make a world of difference.
The Shootin’ Roll
Once you’ve figured out how many actions it takes to operate your hombre’s hogleg, you simply make a shootin’ roll versus the appropriate Target Number. If your roll comes up equal to or higher than the TN, you’ve hit.
Rate of Fire
When a weapon is ready (cocked), it can fire up to its “Rate of Fire” each action.
Semiautomatic weapons fire once an action.
Fully automatic weapons (such as Gatlings, assault rifles, and the like) fire three or more shots per action. We’ll tell you how these work under Automatic Weapons later.
Some shotguns have a “Rate of Fire” of 2 because you can fire one or both barrels on a single action. Roll separate shootin’ totals for each shot.
The Target Number you’re looking for is Fair (5) plus the range modifier. To figure the modifier, count the number of yards between the shooter and the target, then divide it by the weapon’s Range Increment, rounding down as usual. The number you get is added to Fair (5) to get the base TN.
Now that you’ve got your TN, you might have to add or subtract a couple of modifiers to your shootin’ roll. These things come up often in a gunfight, so be sure to keep track of them.
Sometimes even stranger things can happen. Then it’s up to the Marshal to figure out a modifier for that particular situation.
|Firer is running||– 4|
|Firer is mounted||– 2|
|Firer is wounded||Varies|
|Target is moving fast||– 4|
|Target is hidden||– 8 to – 4|
|Night, full moon, twilight||– 2|
|Night, half moon||– 4|
|Night, quarter moon||– 6|
|Blindness, total darkness||– 10|
Firer is Moving
It’s a lot harder to hit a target when you’re on the move. As you might remember from our little discussion on movement, any turn in which your character runs, he suffers a – 4 penalty to any other things he might try to do — like shooting whatever’s chasing him.
If a target is half the size of a man, subtract a penalty of – 1. If it’s one-quarter the size of a man, subtract – 2, and so on, to a maximum penalty of – 6.
The opposite is also true. A target that is twice as big as a man gives the character a + 1 bonus, a target three times the size of a man has a + 2 modifier, and so on, up to a maximum of + 6.
Target is Moving Fast
Any time a target is moving faster than a relative Pace of 20, subtract – 4 from your shootin’ roll. “Relative” means you need to take into account how fast the target and the shooter are moving in relation to each other. If a mutant on a motorcycle is chasing a posse in a pickup, for instance, no penalty for speed applies. If they’re going in opposite directions, however, the penalty applies to both parties.
Target is Hidden
Use the Cover rules (page 96) and the Hit Location Table when a target is partially concealed (explained later in this chapter). Use this modifier if a target is completely concealed (hiding) but an attacker has a pretty good idea where the target is. Subtract – 8 from the total if the cover is about four times the size of the target hiding behind it. Use – 6 if the concealment is twice as large.
It’s hard to shoot something you can’t see.
Apply these modifiers based on the available light.
Gunslingers use all kinds of tricks and techniques to make sure they get their man. Here’s how to handle some of the most common.
Occasionally you may run across some critter that just doesn’t want to die, even after you’ve turned it into Swiss cheese. Hopefully it’s got a weak spot somewhere, like an eyeball or the brainpan.
Hitting a specific spot on a target is a “called shot,” and of course, it comes with a penalty. The smaller the target, the bigger the penalty.
The table below is for targeting people, but it should give you an idea for blasting parts off nasty critters as well.
Note that the heart or other vital organs count as a “gizzards” hit. Don’t assume because your hombre makes the shot that he actually hits the target’s heart—obviously the poor schmuck would be dead if he did. It just means he hit in the general area. If the damage is really high (and kills the sucker), he probably did hit it. Hence the twitching corpse. The damage and your all-knowing, all-wise Marshal decides exactly what gets hit if it really matters.
|Legs, arms||– 4|
|Heads, hands, feet||– 6|
Drawing A Bead
A normal shot assumes your cowpoke aims his smokewagon only for a heartbeat before squeezing off a round. If a character spends an entire action “drawing a bead,” she can add + 2 to her shootin’ roll in the next action.
Every action spent drawing a bead adds + 2 to the hero’s next shootin’ roll, up to a maximum of + 6. The modifier carries over to the next round if needed. Performing anything other than a simple task while drawing a bead negates the modifier.
Gun-toting survivors can never draw a bead when fanning or firing bursts. Lead showers are just too erratic.
Fannin’ the Hammer
Veteran gunslingers sometimes “fan” their sidearms. Fanning simply means holding the trigger down on a single-action pistol and slapping the hammer repeatedly with the palm of the other hand. This puts a lot of lead in the air fast, though it isn’t very accurate. And no, there aren’t a lot of single-action pistols in the Wasted West, but there are a few.
Some traditions die hard out here.
Fanning requires the shootin’: pistol Aptitude.
The fanner needs one free hand and a single-action revolver in the other.
The rate of fire is 1 to 6 — your choice on how many bullets you want to waste. Even if a gun holds more than six rounds, that’s the most a survivor can fan in one action. Fanning one shot isn’t really worth while, but it can be done.
To resolve the attack, pick a target and figure out the TN based on the range and any other modifiers. Fanning a pistol isn’t very accurate, so the shooter has to subtract – 2 from his roll for slapping his gun around like a redheaded stepchild. This is on top of the “shooting from the hip” modifier (see page 90), so the total penalty is – 4. Each success causes a bullet to hit. The firer chooses which targets he hits, though any after the first must be within 2 yards of the last target hit.
A shooter can’t draw a bead when fanning, though he can make a called shot — on the first bullet only. Figure the TN for the first shot. Any raises after that hit random locations as normal.
Drawing a weapon takes an action, as does cocking and firing. What if you don’t have that kind of time? A skilled gunslinger can whip out his pistol, cock it, and plug a mutie in the eye all in one action.
How can someone pull that off? Easy. The quick draw skill not only lets you draw a weapon as a simple task, it also lets you cock it if needed. The TN to draw or draw and/or cock a weapon as a simple task is shown on the table below.
If the roll is made, the weapon is drawn — or drawn and cocked if needed. If you roll a 5 while trying to draw and cock a weapon, the gun is drawn but not cocked. You’re going to have to spend another action to get that gat smoking.
|Draw and cock||7|
Sooner or later, your piece is going to run out of ammo smack in the middle of a firefight. It happens to the best of us. So many brainers; such small magazines.
Fortunately, it only takes a little reloading to get the bad guys dying in bloody droves again.
It takes one full action to put a single bullet into a pistol or rifle, or a single shell into a shotgun.
In magazine-fed weapons, reloading a single bullet in a pistol, rifle, or shotgun is a short task and takes an entire action. In clip-fed weapons, reloading an entire clip is a short task. (Now you can see why survivors use guns with clips!)
Reloading any kind of weapon can be hastened with the speed-load skill (see Chapter Three). A skilled speed-loader can get his hogleg smoking again much faster than some other brainer fumbling through his spare “change” for just the right size bullet.
Once you’ve got some lead loaded, remember that most weapons must be cocked again. This is a short task unless the user makes a quick draw roll like we just told you about on the last page.
The Rifle Spin & One-Handed Pump
There are still a few lever-action rifles lying around the wastes, and well-traveled survivors know it pays to be able to pump a shotgun with only one arm (usually so you can hold your innards in with your other hand).
Generally speaking, you need two hands to work a lever or pump a shotgun, but if you’re good you can do it with only one. (Oh, grow up, and stop snickering out there).
Lever-action rifles can be cocked by spinning the rifle by its lever. Shotguns can be pumped by holding the weapon by the pump and jerking it up then down. (We said calm down, brainer).
If you really need to try this manly but difficult maneuver, it requires a Fair (5) Strength check and an action. If your hero fails, the gun isn’t cocked. Try again, bunkie.
Shootin’ from the Hip
Sometimes a glowing, three-eyed, liver-eating mutie isn’t going to wait for you to ready your weapon and take a shot at him. They’re rude that way. If not, you have to shoot from the hip.
Single-action revolvers, rifles, and other weapons with a Speed of 2 can fire faster (making the Speed 1) by sacrificing a little aim. This is called “shooting from the hip” and subtracts – 2 from the firer’s shootin’ roll.
The Two-Gun Kid
Some folks have too much ammo and like to fire two pistols at once. They usually don’t hit much, but they sure make a lot of noise.
A character firing two guns suffers – 2 to each attack. Any action taken with an offhand is made at an additional – 4 (for a total of – 6 with that hand). A survivor can fire with each hand up to the weapons’ usual Rate of Fire. Roll each weapon separately as usual.
Sometimes an agent needs to throw a few more ounces of lead at somebody. Squeezing the trigger like a madman is a waste of ammo, but two shots fired in quick succession can be lethal. Professional shooters call this technique the double-tap.
Only a character with an automatic pistol, automatic rifle, or SMG with a Speed of 1 can perform a double-tap. Speed 2 weapons, rifles, and revolvers have too much “action” between trigger-pulls to allow such a rapid maneuver. An agent can yank a trigger more, but those shots take place on different actions, so they’re treated as separate rolls. Every double-tap after the first in the same round suffers a – 2 recoil penalty (just like when firing automatic weapons), up to a maximum penalty of – 6.
Here’s how double-tapping works. The player declares his hero will double-tap and he rolls to hit. If he hits and gets a raise, it means the second shot hits the same location as the first. Any raises after the first can be applied to the hit location of the shots as usual. The second shot cannot be adjusted to hit a location separate from the first.
Just like with fanning and fully-automatic fire, the first shot of a double-tap can be called. Apply the modifier to the total roll, then figure any raises for the second shot from the adjusted TN. With a raise, both shots hit the intended location.
Small weapons like pistols and SMGs only require one good arm. Heavier firearms like rifles, shotguns, and machine guns, and hand weapons like big axes and chainsaws, need a good, two-handed grip, but sometimes you just can’t manage that.
Anytime your character is forced to use a two-handed weapon with one hand, subtract – 2 from the attack roll. Your hero also loses any Defensive Bonus the weapon offers.
Here’s how to handle things like shotguns and automatic weapons.
Automatic weapons spray the air with lead at the expense of accuracy. To make things easy, we don’t roll for every bullet. We roll for each burst of three bullets. That’s why automatic weapons have Rates of Fire of 3, 6, 9, 12, and so on. A character must fire all three shots of a burst. He can’t choose to fire only two shots, though all full-auto weapons allow the shooter to switch to single shots as a simple task.
The character’s shootin’ roll determines how many rounds from each burst actually hit. Make one shootin’ roll per burst. Every success means one of the three bullets hits its target. Additional raises are lost.
When firing on full-auto, the weapon uses the lower of its two Range Increments.
A character firing bursts can draw a bead and make called shots on his first burst in an action only. Just add or subtract the modifiers to the usual TN and figure raises from there.
Multiple targets can be hit by a single burst. Like normal, each raise means another bullet finds a target.
Here’s how. Choose a primary target. The first bullet hits this unfortunate fellow. A raise could hit a second victim up to 2 yards away, and another raise could hit a third target 2 yards away from the second.
To hit targets further than 2 yards from the first target requires a second burst. Determine each round’s hit location and damage separately.
The player must assign his hits before rolling damage or resolving a second burst. In other words, roll all your attacks, assign hits to targets, then go back and roll hit location and damage for each. That way you can’t see if the first bullet in a burst kills some poor fool before assigning your second or third.
Firing off a hail of automatic fire is hard to control. Each burst fired after the first in a single action suffers a – 2 recoil modifier. This is cumulative, so the third burst in an action suffers a – 4, and so on, to a maximum of – 6.
A good brace such as a sling or a bipod reduces the recoil penalty to – 1 or even 0. Lying prone and using the ground as a brace reduces the recoil to – 1 per burst.
There are few things as much fun as blowing stuff up. Here’s how to handle what happens to all the brainers unfortunate enough to be nearby something that goes boom.
Everyone within the first “Burst Radius” of an explosive takes full damage. After that, the damage of the explosion drops by a die each time it crosses a Burst Radius. Most explosives have a Burst Radius of 10. See More Pain & Sufferin’ later to find out how to disperse the wounds.
If you’re wondering where a grenade that missed its target goes, keep reading. The Deviation rules are coming right up.
Shotguns and scatterguns unleash a hail of tiny balls, filling the air with lead. This makes them ideal for unskilled shooters, though they cause less damage as the buckshot spreads.
Anyone firing a shotgun adds + 2 to her shootin’: shotgun roll. Its damage decreases the further it travels, as shown on the table below.
By the way, “touching” means the shotgun is smack up against the target, such as in a hostage situation.
Both shotguns and scatterguns can also fire slugs, which are basically huge, self-rifled hunks of lead.
Slugs subtract -2 from the attacker’s roll because of their poor rifling. On the plus side, they do 6d6 damage regardless of range. That’s a big can of whup-ass.
Grenades are dangerous things. Most folks can’t throw them farther than their Blast Radius anyway. You’d better at least make sure you put the thing in the right place.
The throwin’ skill works just like shootin’ for most weapons. Your survivor makes a throwin’ roll and compares it to the TN. Add in Range Modifiers and any situational modifiers and you’re set.
Unless the weapon says otherwise, most thrown weapons have a Range Increment of 5.
Check the weapon lists in Chapter Four if you’re not sure.
The maximum range a character can throw an average size weapon (1–2 pounds) is her Strength die type times 5 yards.
When most ranged attacks miss their target, you can usually forget about them. If you’re really worried about who might be in the way, you can use the Innocent Bystander rules in the next column.
For some weapons, however, like grenades, missiles, or even area-effect spells that have a chance to miss their target, you need to know just how far the shot deviates.
First determine the direction by rolling a d12 and reading the result as a clock facing. Thrown missiles deviate 1d20 yards in that direction.
Projectiles fired from a launcher of some sort deviate 10% of the total range plus 2d20 yards in the direction indicated by the d12. If the shot deviates backward, it still goes at least half the distance from the shooter to the target. On a bust, the round jams or is dropped and detonates at the shooter’s feet.
First things first. No one over walking age is innocent in the Wasted West. Some folks just aren’t guilty yet.
Sometimes you want to know if a missed shot could hit someone near or along the path of the target. This isn’t a situation that crops up all of the time, but sometimes it does, and these rules can help you figure out which brainer catches the stray rounds.
Don’t keep track of where all those missed shots go if it’s not important. If a hero is jumped by radrats, though, and his trigger-happy buddy cuts loose with a burst of his SMG, you definitely want to check.
You should almost always use these rules when someone fires on full-auto and there are other characters in the line of fire. That makes spraying an SMG, assault rifle, or other automatic into a crowd of people very dangerous — as it should be. The character may likely hit with a round or two from his shootin’ roll, but the missed rounds have at least a chance of slamming into something anyway.
Using Hit Locations
If a bystander is within a yard of a target and directly between it and the shooter — as in the classic hostage pose — you can use the Hit Location Table. If the bystander was covering up the part of the target that was hit, she gets hit instead. You have to figure out where the bystander gets hit based on the situation or another roll.
If the bystander isn’t blocking the target, you can use this simple system. For single shots that miss their target, a bullet has a 1 in 6 chance of hitting anyone within 1 yard of the bullet’s path.
Start at the bystander closest to the shooter and roll a d6. If it comes up a 1, he’s hit. Roll hit location and damage normally. If the roll is anything but a 1, check any other bystanders in the path until you run out of bystanders, don’t care anymore, or the bullet finds a home.
A spray of lead fired from a shotgun is wilder and has a greater chance of going all the wrong places. These hit bystanders on a 1 or 2.
If you’re using the awesome Deadlands miniatures — and we don’t know why you wouldn’t be — you should have a very clear picture of who’s likely to get hit by a stray shot.
Bullets being as scarce as they are, your hero’s going to find himself in hand-to-hand combat more often than you’d like. So whip out your chainsaw, and let’s teach you how your hero can carve up some mutie-meat.
Making fightin’ Aptitude rolls is a lot like making shootin’ rolls. First figure out the concentration that matches the weapon your hero’s using. Some basic fightin’ concentrations are knives, swords, whips, and brawlin’. The last one, brawlin’, covers clubs, hammers, and any other improvised weapons. Chainsaws, garrotes, and weird weapons like that are always their own concentration.
The Target Number of the attack is Fair (5) plus the opponent’s fightin’ Aptitude level for whatever weapon is currently in his hand. A cowboy gets his fightin’: brawlin’ skill if he is empty-handed or has some sort of “club” in his hand — like a bottle or even a pistol. If he’s using a weapon he’s not skilled with, he can still use his brawlin’ level. It’s easy to just keep jumping out of the way instead of trying to parry with a sword he’s not skilled with, even if he occasionally tries to hack with it as well. Make sure your character has the all-purpose brawlin’ concentration if you want to keep his brainpan attached to the stump.
As with shootin’ maneuvers, a fightin’ attacker can make “called shots” if he wants (see earlier in this chapter, bub).
Most hand-to-hand weapons have a Speed of 1, so the fighter can make one attack each action. A few weapons — like lariats — are really slow and have a Speed of 2. These take an action to ready before they can strike (but see Rushing an Attack).
Certain weapons make it hard for an opponent to get in close. A road warrior armed with a knife has a hard time getting close enough to jam it in the heart of a Templar with a sword. The reach advantage or parrying ability of certain weapons is their “Defensive Bonus.” The Defensive Bonus is applied directly to the attacker’s TN when he makes his fightin’ roll. Long clubs and rifles (when they’re used as such) have a Defensive Bonus of + 2.
We don’t want to deprive those of you who like your fighting up close and personal from all the fancy maneuvers those gunslingers use. So here’s a list of hand-to-hand maneuvers.
Rushing an Attack
Every now and then, when knocking some zombie’s cranium off its carcass with a golf club, you just don’t have time for a decent follow-through.
As with guns which a wastelander can “shoot from the hip,” Speed-2 hand weapons can also be used faster, effectively making them Speed 1.
The trade-off is the same. Your hombre isn’t as accurate when forced to hurry. Subtract – 2 from rushed strikes.
If your brainer has a nickname like “Cuisinart,” it’s probably because he uses two knives, swords, or hatchets for his wasteland dance o’ death. And if he’s got two of those nifty mini-chainsaws, folks had best call him “Sir!”
A character with a weapon in each hand can make two attacks during one action. Each of these are rolled separately with a penalty of – 2 to each attack.
A weapon in the offhand attack subtracts an additional – 4 penalty as well, so that attack suffers a total penalty of – 6.
Whips & Lariats
Besides making big red welts, whips and lariats can be used to entangle and trip a fellow too. Doing either is an opposed roll of the attacker’s fightin’: whip or fightin’: lariat skill versus the opponent’s Nimbleness.
A character can break out of an average whip or lariat with an Incredible (11) Strength roll, ruining the weapon in the process. Otherwise, she has to just plain wriggle her way out of it. This is an opposed Nimbleness roll versus the attacker’s skill with the weapon.
The Marshal should feel free to apply modifiers according to the situation. Obviously, if your lassoed character is being dragged behind a motorcycle (ouch!), it’s going to be a bit tougher to break free than it might normally be.
It’s not much fun getting shot, stabbed, or bitten by some rabid mutie with an overbite.
When the horse apples are really about to hit the hover fan, you might want to duck.
The TN to hit a character already assumes he’s doing a decent job of being where the fangs, bullets, or rusty blades aren’t. But if he wants to, a brainer in need can try a little harder not to get hit. This is an “active defense” as opposed to your hero’s normal “passive defense.” That sounds kind of technical though, so in typical Deadlands style, we call it “vamoosin’.”
After your character’s been hit, but before damage is resolved, you can throw away your highest remaining Action Card to vamoose. If you’ve got a card up your sleeve, that’s your highest. Otherwise, this is the only time an Action Card lets you act before it’s your turn.
Now make a dodge or fightin’ Aptitude roll.
Dodge is used against ranged attacks, and fightin’ against hand-to-hand. The TN for the bad guy to hit you is now the greater of either his normal TN or your dodge or fightin’ roll.
The aggressoid who made the attack can’t spend chips or do anything else to affect your hombre’s vamoose. Once your hero’s made his attack, spent any Fate Chips, and used any special abilities, that’s his total.
Your vamoose must then beat that total. If it does, whoosh. If it doesn’t, welcome to a world o’ hurt, friend.
To make up for breaking our precious rules, your character actually has to do something to represent the vamoose. If he’s dodging, he needs to jump behind cover or throw himself to the ground. In hand-to-hand combat, a vamoosin’ character has to give ground by backing up 1 yard, or he must subtract – 4 from his roll.
Before you can start rolling handfuls of damage dice, you need to see where the attack actually hit (as in what body part, brainer, not what burnt-out town the poor schmuck’s standing in). You also need to know if the area you pegged was covered by anything, like a wall, a table, or armor. Fortunately, we handle all this with one simple roll on the Hit Location Table.
Roll 1d20 on the table below whenever the Marshal tells you you’ve scored a hit. Roll another die when arms or legs are hit. An odd roll tags the left limb, and even hits the right.
The Hit Location Table works best with humans and things that like to think they’re human, but it can also be used for critters with a little tinkering for extra arms, legs, heads, or whatever. The Marshal may use a special chart for really weird varmints, but this one works most of the time.
Gizzards are all the target’s vital parts, by the way, like the all-important groin, heart, lungs, liver, and all those other messy parts the body needs to keep walking and talking. Consider the gizzards part of the guts when applying wounds and wound modifiers. Hits here just cause extra damage (keep reading, friend).
Here are a few modifiers to make attacks hit just where they ought to. Apply these directly to the hit location roll.
|+ 1/– 1||Per attack-roll raise|
|+ 2||When fightin’|
|+ 2||Height advantage when fightin’|
|+ 2||Point blank when shootin’|
Every raise on an attack roll lets the shooter adjust the hit location by ±1 point up or down. This way, a good shooter is more likely to get a killing blow to the guts or noggin. Sometimes you don’t want to add the bonus because it might actually make you miss due to cover. You don’t have to use the bonus if you don’t want to.
The really nifty thing about this chart is that it starts at the legs and works its way up.
Adding + 2 to the die roll puts most hand-to-hand hits in the guts, head, or arms where they should be.
You can also add + 2 to the roll if one character has a height advantage over another in a fight, such as if one fellow is on a horse taking a saber swing at some sodbuster on foot.
Point-blank range is used when one character is holding a gun on another, using him like a shield, holding him hostage, or shooting over a table they’re both sitting at. In general, the gun should be only a few feet away to count this modifier. This means that when a hostage tries to break free, his captor is more likely to shoot the victim in the guts or his flailing arms than in the pinky toe. Occasionally you might want to subtract this modifier—such as when someone shoots somebody under a table.
Hit Locations and Goons
The Marshal usually only keeps track of wounds for really nasty cretins and important bad guys. He uses a simplified system for keeping track of hordes of goons, as we explain in his supersecret, ultraneato portion of the wiki you can’t read.
Head & Gizzard Hits
We’ll tell you more about the head and gizzards later on, but we like to repeat things. No, really, we like to repeat things.
Hits to the head let the attacker roll an extra 2 damage dice. Hits to the gizzards give 1 extra die. These are added to his final damage total just like any other damage die.
Smart survivors get behind things when a firefight breaks out. Barrels, boxes, and other cover don’t scream as much as a gunslinger who catches a 10mm round in the kneecap. Deadlands uses the Hit Location Table to figure out whether an attack hits the hero or the cover he’s hiding behind.
How, you ask? Easy, we say. Simply roll the attack normally. If it hits, roll on the Hit Location Table to see where. If that part of the target’s body is covered by something, it hits the cover instead. If it’s ambiguous, the Marshal should roll a die. Odd, the body part was covered. Even, it wasn’t.
Using cover is very important to staying alive in Deadlands. That’s why it’s important you tell the Marshal exactly what your character is doing, so he can figure out if the hero should get the benefits of cover or not. If your brainer is hiding behind a corner and exposing only his head and arm, tell the Marshal. That way when some scav takes a potshot at him, the round might hit the wall instead of your hero.
Upper & Lower Guts
Since the torso is so large, the Hit Location Table is broken up into lower and upper guts, even though both locations count as one area for purposes of wounding (explained later). This way, if your character is behind a bar and a shot hits his lower guts, you know it’s going into the bar instead of his innards.
When “gizzards” is rolled on the Hit Location Table, it means the victim got hit somewhere important.
Since gizzards could be anywhere in the torso, a hit there counts if either the upper or lower guts was unprotected. Only if both are covered does a hit to the gizzards hit the cover.
A biker lying on his beer-belly is much harder to hit than a zombie standing in the street. When you make a successful attack roll against a prone target, roll hit location normally. Unless the attack hits the arms, upper guts, or noggin, it’s a miss.
Armor blocks or reduces the damage a round does. That’s why we cleverly grouped weapon damage values by die types.
For characters, Traits above the human norm go from a d12 to a d12+2, then d12+4, and so on.
Damage dice work a bit differently. After a d12, the next die type is a d20. This lets us assign weapon damages to general categories as shown on the table below.
|Die Type||Weapon Types|
|d4||Light clubs, small knives|
|d6|| Arrows, heavy clubs, pistols, large
|d10||Sniper rifles, flamethrowers|
|d20||Grenades, cannon rounds|
When bullets, knives, or anything else go through an obstacle, they lose some of their energy. The thicker and tougher the obstacle, the more damage is absorbed. These obstacles have a rating that tells you how to handle an attack that hits it.
Positive numbers represent heavier armor.
Each level reduces the die type of damage by one step. An attack that uses d20s (like dynamite) is reduced to d12s by a single level of Armor. Two levels of Armor drops the damage to d10s, and so on.
If the die type is dropped below a d4, drop the number of dice instead. An attack reduced to 0d4 does no damage.
A 3d6 bullet that goes through something with an armor value of 1, for instance, is reduced to 3d4. A 3d6 bullet that hits something with an armor of 2 is reduced to 2d4.
A negative number such as – 2 means the armor is light protection such as leather hides or thick winter clothes. Armor – 4 is heavier, such as boiled leather. Deduct this number directly from the damage total.
For instance, a 14 point attack that hits a savage wearing thick leather (–4) does 10 points.
Get it? Good.
If there’s a little space between a target and the cover, such as a hero behind a wall, roll a die. Even, the round is deflected and doesn’t hit the character. Odd, it hits the hero but reduces the damage as we just described.
Armor in Hand-to-Hand
Against hand-to-hand attacks, reduce the weapon’s die type (not the character’s Strength) when determining armor effects. If a character or critter isn’t using a weapon, reduce the damage dice of its claws or teeth just as if they were weapons.
In the rare cases a critter has no additional damage dice besides its Strength, it simply cannot penetrate anything with an Armor value of 1 or more. Occasionally, the Marshal may rule big creatures can cause nonlethal brawlin’ damage, even to heavily armored targets.
“Armor-piercing” ammunition reduces the Armor level by its value. Thus a weapon with AP 3 ammunition reduces a target with 6 levels of Armor to level 3. Reducing armor to a negative number has no additional effect on damage.
AP ammo doesn’t expand and cause as much damage as regular bullets against unarmored targets, however. When used against targets in light or not armor, reduce the damage by one die (not die type).
Common Armor Levels
The table below lists some obstacles and their Armor levels. Armor levels higher than 6 are common on military vehicles. Weapons must use AP ammunition to penetrate these targets.
|– 2||Light leather, heavy cloth|
|– 4||Thick leather, hides|
|1||Wood less than 1” thick|
|2||1–3” of solid wood, tin|
|3||4–6” of solid wood, thin metal|
|4||A small tree, bricks, a pan|
|5||A large tree, armored boxcar|
|6||Inch-thick steel plate|
|8 +||Thick metal, 21st-century steel|
Before you go reading about falling, burning, and blowing up, here’s how to handle damage that affects several body areas at once.
First, figure out how many total wounds a victim takes, then roll hit location for each wound. Wounds applied to the same locations add as usual.
Since attacks that cause massive damage don’t generally penetrate well, head and gizzard hits are ignored. Massive damage that might penetrate all those juicy parts (like shrapnel) is described in the weapon’s special rules.
Each Armor value reduces a wound level. Say a brainer takes 5 wounds to the head. If he’s wearing a helmet with an Armor value of 2, he only takes 3 wounds.
For light armor, roll a d6. If the d6 roll is less than the protection the armor provides, 1 wound is eliminated. A fellow with light armor on his head (Armor value – 2) has to roll a 2 or less on a d6 to soak 1 wound.
Only after all damage has been assigned can a character cancel the wounds with Fate Chips.
Serious damage is likely to start a fellow bleeding like a sieve. Whenever a character takes a serious wound, he begins bleeding, losing – 1 Wind per round. Critically wounded characters bleed – 2 Wind per round. Severed (maimed) limbs bleed – 3 Wind per round.
Every time a character’s negative Wind total is equal to a multiple of his starting Wind level, he takes another wound to the guts. See Healin’ to find out how to stop that messy arterial spray from getting in your eyes.
Concussion damage from explosions is treated as massive damage. Worn armor which is completely sealed, or armor due to cover which completely shields the target from the blast (like a wall) reduces the damage die type normally before wounds are applied.
Certain kinds of attacks, like fightin’: brawlin’, can be used to put someone down without killing them. When one fellow hits another with his bare hands or a light club such as a chair leg or a bottle, he rolls his damage dice (usually Strength, plus 1d4 if he’s using a light club). The target then makes a Vigor roll. If the attacker wins, the victim takes the difference in Wind.
Heavy clubs like pistol butts, ax handles, or entire chairs allow the attacker to choose whether she would like to cause lethal or nonlethal damage. If she just wants to cause Wind and try to knock her opponent out without causing serious injury, she can do so. Or she can bash the other fellow’s brains out to her heart’s content.
It’s a lousy way to go, but it happens.
Every round a character swims in rough water, his first action must be a swimmin’ roll. The TN depends on the water as shown below. If the swimmer doesn’t make the TN, he takes the difference in Wind.
A character without the swimmin’ Aptitude is in big trouble. When he’s in any kind of water over his noggin, he has to go through the steps above.
If it’s tall, folks are going to want to climb it — and they’re probably going to fall too.
A character takes 1d6 + 5 damage for every 5 yards fallen, up to a maximum of 20d6 + 100.
Wounds are applied like we told you under Massive Damage above, though armor doesn’t protect unless it specifically says otherwise.
Landing in water reduces the damage by half or cancels it entirely if the character makes a Fair (5) Nimbleness roll. With an Onerous (7) Nimbleness roll, landing on something soft reduces the damage by half. (Be reasonable here. Falls from great heights are just plain fatal).
Things burn: buildings, fallout shelters, forests, and heroes too stupid to stay out of those things when they catch fire. Characters in dense smoke have to make an Onerous (7) Vigor check during their first action each round. A wet cloth over the mouth and nose (or similar makeshift protection) adds + 2 to the roll.
If the character fails the Vigor roll, she takes the difference between her roll and the Target Number in Wind. Should she happen to fall unconscious, she continues to lose Wind in this way every round until she dies.
The damage applied to a character who is actually on fire depends on just how big the flames are. A small fire, such as a burning sleeve, causes 1d10 damage at the beginning of every turn to the area on fire. A larger fire causes 2d10 to the affected areas. Use the Massive Damage rules if you’re not sure which parts are on fire. A character totally consumed by flames takes 3d10 damage, with the wounds applied to every area at once.
Sticky fire like napalm burns for 1d6 minutes and can usually only be put out by depriving it of oxygen. Good luck!
A brainer can put himself out by smothering the fire with cloth or by doing the old “stop, drop, and roll” tango. Putting out a normal fire takes an Onerous (7) Nimbleness roll. Sticky fire has a TN of Incredible (11).
Hot and Cold
If your character is exposed to extreme temperatures – and that’s the Marshal’s call, based on what your hero is used to – he needs to make a survival roll about once every 12 hours.
In the desert, make the first roll during the hottest part of the day and the second in the dead of night when it gets cold. In cold environments, make one at morning and one at dusk.
The TN of the roll starts at 5, but the Marshal can raise it by + 2 for every + 10 degrees F over the norm.
If your hombre fails this roll, he loses the difference in Wind. This Wind can only be regained by heating up or cooling down (as appropriate).
Should a character go bust when resisting hot temperatures, he starts doing the “kickin’ chicken.” That’s heat stroke, friend. He must make an immediate Hard (9) Vigor check. If he makes it, he loses another 3d6 Wind. If he fails, his Vigor die type is reduced one step forever, and then he must make a second Hard (9) roll. If this one is failed, he dies within 2d6 minutes unless someone else heals him with an Incredible (11) medicine roll. Oh, and if the waster’s Vigor is reduced below a d4, he’s just plain, old dead.
Intense cold works about the same way. Going bust means the survivor goes through all the rolls listed above, but he doesn’t lose a Vigor level. Instead, he suffers frostbite to his fingers, toes, or nose. (The Marshal can roll randomly or choose based on the circumstances). Consider these “subareas” maimed. They don’t cause any wounds (at least not the kind you have to mark on your character sheet), but they must be amputated or healed in a medical facility. If not, the frostbite turns gangrenous in 1d6 days.
A person needs at least one reasonable meal and two quarts of water a day. If either is unavailable, he loses 1d4 Wind (or 2d4 Wind if both are scarce). Don’t reroll Aces on these rolls. Wind lost to hunger or dehydration can only be replaced by food or water.
Don’t forget the survival Aptitude can feed and water your agent if he doesn’t have supplies on hand. Milrats are also great. One of these feedbags can be stretched out to last for 3 days.
Now you know how to shoot, stab, drown, and blow up your fellow human beings. Let’s focus all that destructive energy on vehicles.
Given all the nasty critters roaming the wastes, hoofing it from place to place is not the brightest of ideas. Although it’s been 13 years since civilization went down the toilet, there are still a good number of vehicles in service. Most are held together with baling wire and a generous application of duct tape, but they move. We’re going to show you how to drive them and, when need be, blow them up.
A vehicle moves on the Action Cards of its driver. Divide the vehicle’s Pace as evenly as possible between the driver’s cards. This works best for situations where many of the characters are on foot. If you are playing out a chase, it’s easier to have each vehicle move its full Pace on the driver’s first Action Card.
All ground vehicles may make one turn of up to 45° each round. Each turn made after that requires a drivin’ roll and is a short task. The TN for this roll is the vehicle’s Turn number, a measure of how maneuverable the rig is (see the gear list). A driver can attempt to turn again, but each turn after the second in the same round adds + 2 to the TN. A hot dog can try a single turn of up to 90° but this adds + 4 to the TN.
If the roll is failed, the vehicle moves ahead its normal Pace for that action and skids half that distance in the direction opposite the attempted turn. If the driver goes bust, the vehicle is out of control and may even flip (Marshal’s call).
The Marshal should feel free to adjust these TNs to fit rain, difficult terrain, and the like.
Do You Know How Fast You Were Going?
Unlike pedestrians, vehicles can’t go from a dead stop to their full Pace in a single round. A vehicle’s Pace is broken up into four brackets: Dead Stop, Quarter Speed, Half Speed, and Full Speed.
These are exactly what they sound like. Dead Stop means the vehicle isn’t moving, Quarter Speed covers any movement up to one fourth of the vehicle’s full Pace, and so on. The Paces listed for vehicles in the Chapter Four are maximum Paces.
Vehicles can accelerate +1 Pace bracket per round and decelerate up to –2 Pace brackets.
The driver can change the vehicle’s Pace bracket on any of his actions, but he may only change it once per round.
|Quarter Pace||– 2|
|Full Pace||+ 2|
|Each turn after the second||+ 2|
|90° turn||+ 4|
Every once in a while, a rig whacks into something it shouldn’t have. When this happens, the vehicle takes 1d6 damage for every 5 miles an hour (12 Pace) it was moving. If the collision is between two moving vehicles, use their relative speed to figure the damage. Two buggies moving 24 yards per round collide head-on for a relative speed of 48 and 4d6 damage.
Armor works differently in collisions. Instead of reducing the die type, it reduces the number of dice. Subtract – 1d6 for each level of Armor.
Vehicles have Durability ratings instead of wounds. This is a measure of how much punishment they can take before they stop working. Damage to a vehicle is subtracted directly from this number, and when it reaches 0 it’s time to put the rig up on cinder blocks.
There’s a catch though. Unlike people, vehicles have a lot of empty space in them that a bullet can pass through without hurting anything. To reflect this, damage from small-arms fire (pistols, rifles, shotguns, most machine guns) is divided by 10 (round down) before being subtracted from Durability. A shot can do no damage. If so, it just doesn’t hit anything vital.
Damage from explosives and large caliber weapons like a 30mm auto-cannon is just subtracted directly from Durability. All damage, regardless of size, is adjusted by a vehicle’s armor rating.
You may have noticed that vehicles have two numbers listed for Durability. The first is the vehicle’s total Durability. The number after the slash is its “damage increment.” As the vehicle accumulates damage, a modifier of – 1 is applied to all drivin’ rolls for each multiple of this increment the rig has taken. A vehicle with a 50/10 Durability for instance, takes 50 points of damage to destroy. If it takes 20 points of damage, all drivin’ rolls made for it suffer a – 2 penalty.