Vehicle Combat

The following rules comprise a basic version of vehicle combat. Vehicle combat takes place on a hex grid, or without a hex grid with the use of a set square or triangle. 1 inch represents 10'. Most vehicles take up one or two hexes (or are one or two inches long). Generally, each vehicle is controlled by one player (who also controls all its occupants) but GMs may allow a single vehicle to be operated by multiple players, with each controlling one occupant (one of whom is the driver).

Also see Vehicles, and Vehicle List.

Initiative

Each round all vehicles roll INITIATIVE. Drivers add dice from their driving skill rather than tactics as in normal combat or starship tactics as in starship combat. HANDLING also modifies INITIATIVE:

HANDLING

INITIATIVE

A (1)

+1d6

B (2)

+1d6

C (3)

-

D (4)

-

E (5)

-1d6

F (6)

-2d6

All vehicles then move their SPEED in reverse initiative order, followed by all vehicles taking actions in regular initiative order.

Movement

Speed. A vehicle MUST move its current SPEED. However, any vehicle may increase or decrease its SPEED by an amount equal to its ACCELERATION score before moving.

A vehicle may move along a hex edge or along a hex line. A turn (below) allows a vehicle to change direction by up to one hex edge or one hex line.

Turning. Turning is free as part of a forward movement as long is it less than that allowed by a vehicle's current turning circle. A turn is always combined with a forward movement. Vehicles cannot rotate without forward motion.

When making a turn, the vehicle turns to the left or right up to 60 degrees (or up to one hex side or one hex line).  A full 90-degree turn therefore requires a 60-degree and a 30-degree turn (or some other combination). 

On a hex grid, vehicles can only turn 60 or 30 degrees. 

When not using a grid, vehicles may turn any amount up to 60 degrees. A vehicle may turn less than a full 60-degree turn, and turn only 30-degrees instead, effectively switching from hex edges to lines or vice versa.

A vehicle's turning circle is equal to its current speed multiplied by its HANDLING, divided by 5 (round down to a minimum of 1), where HANDLING has a value of A =1, B=2, and so on. A class C car moving at a velocity of 6 has a turning circle of 3 x 6 / 5 = 3. A smaller class A motorcycle moving at the same velocity has a turning circle of just 1 hex, while a class E truck at that speed has a turning circle of 6.

The turning circle value simply represents the number of hexes in a straight line that a vehicle must move before turning one hex side. An easy way to track this is to leave a marker where the vehicle last turned a hex-side. It can turn again when it is a number of hexes from that marker equal to its turning circle, at which point you rotate the vehicle one hex side and reposition the marker.

For convenience, you can also use the table below to determine a vehicle's turning circle.

SPEED A B C D E F
1 1 1 1 1 1 1
2 1 1 1 1 2 2
3 1 1 1 2 3 3
4 1 1 2 3 4 4
5 1 2 3 4 5 6
6 1 2 3 4 6 7
7 1 2 4 5 7 7
8 1 3 4 6 8 10
9 1 3 5 7 9 10
10 2 4 6 8 10 12
11 2 4 6 8 11 12
12 2 4 7 9 12 14
13 2 5 7 10 13 15
14 2 5 8 11 14 16
15 3 6 9 12 15 18
16 3 6 9 12 16 19


Jumping. A vehicle can jump a distance equal to its acceleration times 20' at maximum speed as long as it has a ramp. For every point of speed below maximum, reduce the jump distance by 20'. For example, a generic compact automobile can jump 40' while moving at SPEED 5, and a sports bike can jump 100' while moving at SPEED 11. These distances assume non-optimum real-world conditions (a stunt driver using specially built ramps and specially designed vehicles can make far larger jumps). Some exploits allow drivers to increase these distances.

Pedestrians. Characters or creatures on foot divide their SPEED by 10 (to a minimum of 1) to represent the different speed scales at which vehicular combat takes place.

Maneuvers. A number of maneuvers are available as exploits, including emergency stop, handbrake turn (J-turn),

Actions. A vehicle may take a number of actions equal to the number of occupants it carries. Each occupant may perform one action. Movement and turning does not constitute an action. No item or weapon may be used more than once per round. A driver may perform a maneuver as an action. If occupants are killed, the vehicle's available actions are decreased.

Firing

Weapons can be operated by vehicle occupants.  Weapons have a firing arc, unless they are turreted, granting a 360-degree firing arc.  A line-of-sight is required unless the weapon is designated as Artillery.  Some weapons are linked, which means one occupant fires both at the same time.

An occupant uses AGILITY or INTUITION to fire (as normal), and applies the usual range increment penalties. Attacks are made against the target vehicle's DEFENSE; vehicles add their current speed to their DEFENSE score.

Stationary target

+1d6

Rear attack

+1d6

Forward-mounted weapons

+1d6

Per range increment

-1d6

Aft-mounted weapons

-1d6

If the occupants are not player characters or specific NPCs, use a dice pool of 4d6 for attacks. Weapon damage is reduced by a vehicle's SOAK and then applied to its HEALTH. Detailed damage does not apply in the basic vehicle combat rules.

Weapons are either hand-held, or mounted. The full weapon list is here. See vehicle customization for rules on mounting weapons, although a vehicle's stat block will describe any mounted weapons, along with range, damage, and firing arcs.

Damage. As with all objects, a vehicle reduced to half HEALTH is broken (inoperable). A vehicle reduced to zero HEALTH is destroyed. If the vehicle is powered, reducing it to zero HEALTH causes it to explode. The explosion does heat damage equal to the vehicle's initial HEALTH in its own hex, and half that for each hex distant.

Additionally, for every 6 rolled in the damage roll, roll once on the following table.

2d6

Location

Effect

2

Weapon

Weapon is damaged

3

Tire

Spin out

4

Engine

Reduce SPEED by 1

5

Driver

1d6 damage to driver

6

Windshield

Reduce HANDLING by 1 class

7

Chassis

No additional effect

8

Passenger

1d6 damage to passenger

9

Fuel tank

Vehicle catches fire, taking 1d6 damage each round

10

Engine

Reduce ACCEL by 1

11

Tire

Spin out

12

Weapon

Weapon is damaged


Flames.  Some weapons and situations ignite a vehicle. This causes 1d6 heat damage to the vehicle each round (as well as 1d6 heat damage to each occupant).  To extinguish a flaming vehicle, a fire extinguisher is required, which automatically puts out a fire with one action.

Collisions

There are four types of collisions: head-on, rear-end, t-bone, and sideswipe. When a collision takes place, all vehicles spin out unless the driver makes a successful check (see below).

Determine the collision speed as follows. Both vehicles take damage equal to three times the collision speed.

Head-on. Two vehicles collide and each is in the other's front arc.  Add their current speeds together.

Rear-end. A vehicle collides with the read arc of another vehicle. Deduct the black vehicle's speed from the red vehicle's speed.

T-bone. A vehicle collides with the side arc of another vehicle. Use the speed of the red car.

Sideswipe. The result of a maneuver in which two vehicles collide with the side arcs of each other. Use half of the faster vehicle's speed.

Spinning Out

Spinning out occurs when:

  1. The driver is injured.
  2. A tire is damaged.
  3. A collision takes place.
  4. The vehicle enters or begins its turn on slippery terrain (oil slicks, ice, etc.)
  5. After a jump.

The driver may attempt to prevent the vehicle from spinning out by making an AGI check (bolstered by his driving skill, if he has it) with a difficulty equal to three times the vehicle's current speed.

If the vehicle spins out, it comes to a stop in a randomly determined hex half its current speed from the point where it spins out.  Roll 1d6 for direction:

The vehicle's new facing is also randomly determined by rolling 1d6, with each of the six hex sides representing one die result.

A vehicle which spins out causes 1d6 damage to all occupants.

Alternative Play Surfaces

No grid. The hex grid is used to make measuring distances and angles easier.  However, vehicle combat does not require a grid - you can play on a tabletop using a ruler. Instead of hexes, simply measure inches. Playing without a grid allows you to use any top-down map or illustration as your terrain. Use a 30-60-90 degree set square or triangle, available from any stationery shop.  Alternatively, a turn guide is available to print and cut.

Square grid. A square grid can be used instead of a hex grid. This still makes counting distances easy, although a turn guide is required to measure 30-degree and 60-degree turns.

Smaller playing surface. The default play area assumes a large dining table, with each vehicle moving distances measured in inches. At high speeds, that can add up to 2 feet of movement for some of the fastest vehicles. If your playing surface is limited in size, you have two options to choose from:

Use smaller units. Use a half-inch grid instead of an inch grid.  You will need smaller vehicle counters to accommodate this.

Scale down. Half all range, speed, and acceleration values.