Vehicle Rules

Vehicles

Vehicles are complex, highly useful machines, ranging from nimble motorbikes to titanic battletanks. They can be powered by a motor or reactor or sometimes just by human exertion. For those who know how to use them, they can be critical items.

In this first section, we will:

  • Outline the anatomy of a vehicle: its characteristics, qualities, and other values
  • Define how a vehicle is operated and maneuvered

Anatomy of a Vehicle

Vehicles are divided into the following parts: Characteristics, Skill, Crew, Movement Modifier, Facings (and Facing Armour), Integrity, Traits, Special Equipment, Entrance Points and Weapons.

In order…

Characteristics represent the innate qualities of the vehicle. These values work the same way as for a normal character. However, because a vehicle is a blend of both the crew's expertise and its own values, working out a vehicle's characteristic line has some special rules.

  • If a vehicle's Characteristic is represented as a full number (eg '40', '50',) then these characteristics are not changed by the Operator, but are a constant of the vehicle. Most commonly, these will be Strength, Toughness and Agility. If a vehicle is ever in a situation where a test in these characteristics is triggered, then it rolls against this value. Operators who make tests with the vehicle that also fall under a 'full number' characteristic must also use these characteristics; for example, when making an Operate test in a vehicle with an Agility of '40', you would test against 40, not your own Agility. Your skill modifiers still count, however, so if you have +20 Operate, you'd roll vs 60 (40+20).
    • Vehicles reduce damage by their Toughness Bonus as normal, and they also calculate their speed using their AB+Movement Modifier.
  • If a vehicle's Characteristic is represented by a dash (eg, '-') then use the a crewmember's Characteristic for all intents and purposes. This most often covers Intelligence, Willpower and Fellowship.
  • If a vehicle's Characteristic is represented by an additive or subtractive value (eg '+10', '-20'), then for that characteristic the crewmember uses their own value, modified by the vehicle's bonus or penalty when using their vehicle's equipment, weapons or are somehow unable to rely wholly on their own senses. For example, if a vehicle's BS is +10, and the crewmember has a BS of 40, then when making BS tests with the vehicle's weapons the operator would test vs. 50.
  • If a vehicle's Characteristic is represented by a flat zero, then the vehicle is incapable of making tests with that characteristic; for example, a vehicle with Agility 0 is immobile, cannot move or do anything requiring an Agility or Agility Skill test.
    • Similarly, if a vehicle has a 0 for WS or BS, then it means it lacks weapons in that category and cannot make attacks of that nature. However, this doesn't apply to the crewmember's personal weapons; a car might be BS 0, but the operator is free to lean out the window and make normal shots with their own gun.

Skill represents the skill needed to successfully pilot the vehicle, most usually an Operate specialisation of some kind. Characters with the appropriate skill can operate the vehicle. Characters without the skill may attempt to pilot, but suffer major penalties and are likely to crash almost instantly.

Crew represents the various crew positions a vehicle maintains. It also maintains a limit on how many people can be in the vehicle at once. A vehicle can contain more people than its crew limit (usually up to the limit plus another three), but for each person in the vehicle past the limit, any WS, BS, and Agility tests made by those inside the vehicle take a -10 penalty.

  • Commanders are those who direct the vehicle. There's no requirement that they do anything, and they may fill a second slot if they wish. However, all crew within a vehicle act on the Commander's initiative, not their own. All vehicles with more than 1 crewmember must have a Commander, and if the Commander is incapacitated then a different crew member must take the role.
  • Operators are those who pilot the vehicle; they make the Operate tests and decide which maneuvers the vehicle is going to use. Operators are the only ones who can use their Piloting talents to affect the vehicle.
  • Assistant Operators assist the Operator in piloting the vehicle; this crew slot is used only for very complex vehicles. For each empty Assistant Operator slot, the Operator takes a -10 penalty to Operate tests.
  • Gunners are those who control the vehicle's weapons, usually one per weapon. If a vehicle has more weapons than gunners, then any excess weapons are controlled by the first gunner; if an armed vehicle has no gunners at all then the Operator controls the weapons systems. They may apply their WS and BS talents to their weapons as normal.
  • Loaders are crewmembers who load the vehicle's weapons. They may use the Reload action on any weapon they like. Any talents that affect reloading apply here.

Movement Modifier (MM) is a number that is added to the vehicle's Agility Bonus; the sum is then used to calculate the vehicle's speed, which is calculated using the same movement chart as normal characters on foot; that is, a vehicle with AB4 and MM 4 is as fast as a normal character with AB8.

  • Vehicles use the same movement scales as on-foot characters, in the sense that they use Half Move, Full Move, Charge and Run speeds. However, the implementation is rather different: for vehicles, these represent 'speed bands'.
    • Firstly, the speed bands are divided into four groups: "Slow", "Cruising", "Fast" and "Maximum", corresponding to Half Move, Full Move, Charge and Run respectively.
    • Vehicles may move a certain distance each round dependent on the speed band in which they're operating. A vehicle in motion (ie one that is not at a complete stop) must move at least as far as the value of the next speed band down, and may move up to the value of their current speed band.
    • A vehicle moves at the same speed as it did last round unless acted on by a maneuver or status effect. It may do this speed at the end of all the Operator's turn (if the vehicle somehow doesn't have an operator, then it happens at the end of all crews' turns instead; if somehow there's no crew left, then the vehicle moves like this at the start of each round.)
    • The speed of the vehicle determines certain test modifiers: Slow at +10, Cruising at +0, Fast at -10, Maximum at -20. These modifiers apply to: Maneuver tests made with the vehicle, attacks made against the vehicle, attacks made from the vehicle,
      • Example: A standard Federation Battletank has 40 Agility (AB4) and MM 6, and so calculates its total speed as though it had AB10. This means it has a Slow speed of 10dm, a Cruising speed of 15dm, a Fast speed of 20dm and a Maximum speed of 30dm. On the first round, the Operator uses the Steer maneuver as a Half Action and decides to accelerate by one speed band, pushing the Battletank's speed from 'None' to 'Slow', allowing it to move between 1dm and 10dm; the Operator chooses 6dm. Next round, the Operator does nothing; at the end of his turn, the tank moves another 6dm in the same direction of its own volition. The round after that, the Operator uses the Floor It maneuver, which increases the tank's speed by up to two bands so long as the Operator passes an Operate test first. Because the tank is at Slow speed, the Operator takes a +10 bonus to the test; the Operator passes, pushing the tank up to Fast speed, allowing it to move between 15-20dm each round. This time the Operator chooses 20dm. An enemy then shoots at the tank; because of the tank's speed band, the attack takes a -10 penalty. However, the attack hits, and the Operator makes a Jink test as a reaction; this is also at a -10 penalty, because the speed band penalty affects maneuvers as well.

Facings. Facings represent the four sides of the vehicle- front, back, the left side and the right side. Each facing has its own AP value, and which facing an attack hits determines on the location of the attacker relevant to the vehicle- for example, a character firing a gun at the back of a car calculates damage using the car's 'Rear AP' value.

  • If the vehicle takes an attack to the top, count it as 'side'.
  • Vehicles also have four 'body locations': Hull, Motive Systems, Weapon and Turret (Although not all vehicles will have these locations).
    • Hull represents the main chassis of the vehicle, including where the crew sit as well as the engine, electronics and ammo stores.
    • Motive Systems represents the system the vehicle uses to move- for example, wheels, tracks, anti-grav engines, legs.
    • Weapon represents the exposed weapons of a vehicle attached to the hull (not the turret), for example a sponson, a hull-mounted machine gun or the like.
    • Turret represents, for vehicles which have them, the rotating turret that sits upon the chassis and contains the main gun. Turrets are special; attacks against them always use the vehicle's Front armour value.

Integrity. Integrity acts like Wounds, but for vehicles. Whenever a vehicle takes damage in excess of its TB and AP, it reduces Integrity by the excess amount. Once its Integrity is depleted, hits begin causing Critical Damage.

Traits. Traits act similarly to character traits, in that they inform many of a Vehicle's most distinctive features. Traits are various and assorted and cover many fields, but every vehicle has a Size trait of some kind as well as a trait relating to their type (Wheeled, Tracked, Skimmer, Walker, etc)

Special Equipment. Vehicles can be upgraded with special equipment, which give them special bonuses. They operate similar to traits, but can be changed, exchanged, etc. The type of equipment a vehicle can take depends on its type, whilst how much it can take depends on outfitting and resources.

Entrance Points. Every vehicle has at least one entrance point, which is how the crew enter the vehicle. By and large, this has little effect on things unless the entrance point is blocked somehow.

Weapons. This details a vehicle's weapons, if any. Vehicles rarely have just one dedicated weapon but rather have weapon 'hardpoints', where one of various weapons can be installed. Each hardpoint has the following details:

  • Name. This is the name of the hardpoint in question.
  • Mounting. This is the type of mounting the vehicle uses, which often determines the weapon's firing arcs; it can also determine some hit location results.
  • Facing. This represents on which side of the vehicle the weapon sits. This is used to determine weapon firing arcs, but also hit location results (if a vehicle takes a hit on the left side, the hit can't damage the right side after all).
  • Configuration. This represents what sort of weapon the Vehicle is allowed to take. Usually it offers one Design keyword (Ground, AC, Air etc) and one Class Keyword (Secondary, Basic, Heavy). It may also offer other keywords. A weapon hardpoint may have multiple configurations available; you must choose only one of them.
    • A weapon listed as 'Double-x', for example, Double-Basic, means that the weapon gains either the Storm or Twin-Linked quality, depending on your preference.
    • A weapon listed as 'Slaved (x)' has other weapons slaved to it, listed as X; this means the gunner of the listed weapon can also fire X in place of their weapon, or as part of the same attack (rolling to hit separately). For example.
    • Example: A vehicle has a main gun, with the configuration "Ground Double-Basic, Slaved (Sponsons 1 and 2)". This means the weapon may be a Basic Weapon of the Ground design, and may gain either the Storm or Twin-Linked Quality. Furthermore, the gunner of this gun may also fire the sponson weapons either by themselves or alongside his own weapon, rolling to hit separately for each.

Here we have an example of a vehicle sheet, breaking each component down.

Operating a Vehicle

When it comes to operating a vehicle, each crewmember may spend their full and/or half actions as per usual, but they may also use special actions related to the vehicle, known as Maneuvers. These are the integral actions that allow a vehicle to really act. Each Maneuver has the following details:

  • Name. Name of the Maneuver.
  • Type/Subname. The type or subname of the Maneuver, such as for example "Attack" or "Concentration". A Character may only perform one Concentration Subtype Action per turn and one Attack Subtype Action per turn. Reactions with this subtype may still be undertaken, as Reactions are considered to exist outside of the normal Turn Order.
  • Crew Type. The type of crewmember(s) allowed to perform this action. If a crewmember is not in this position then they may not perform the action. If the entry lists "Crew+Crew", then it requires both crewmembers to make the action cost (although if one crewmember is occupying both positions, as is possible for some vehicles, then they only need to do the one Full Action).
  • Vehicle Type. The type of vehicle allowed to perform this action, for example 'wheeled'.
  • Action. The action cost it takes to perform the action, measured in Half Actions, Fulls, Frees or Reactions.
  • Test. The characteristic or skill used to make the Action.
  • Description. An outline of the action's effects.

A critical component of maneuvers is vehicle movement. As noted above, vehicles move differently to on-foot characters. The major differences are noted here:

  • Constant movement. As noted, vehicles will, unless acted on by an outside source or by the Operator, move at the same speed they did last round. However, a vehicle may only move once per round; if an Operator performs two maneuvers that both say they move the vehicle, then the vehicle moves on the first action.
    • Flying and Skimmer vehicles that the Operator uses a Movement maneuver on may also raise or lower their Altitude by one bracket, to a minimum of Hovering Altitude.
  • Turning. Due to the speed at which they move and their sheer mass and size, vehicles are often incapable of turning as quickly as a person on foot. Instead they follow this rule: if a vehicle is moving (and has an Operator who uses a Maneuver that has the Movement subtype), then the vehicle may make one 90 degree turn after moving at least its own length (roughly 1m at Size 5 and below, 2m at Size 6, 4m for Size 7, 6m at Size 8, 8m at Size 9 and 10m at Size 10), plus another 2m per speed band above Slow. So a Size 5 vehicle moving at slow may make a turn after every 1m, whilst a size 5 vehicle moving at Cruising may make a turn after every 2m. A vehicle may make multiple turns per movement so long as the proper length has been moved.
    • For P-Scale battles which use dm, there's not much need to pay attention to such minutiae; vehicles may make a turn at the start of movement, then another turn for every 1dm moved.
    • In regards to the 90 degree turn, it's acceptable for a vehicle to turn 45 degrees, travel in that direction for a short distance, then turn another 45 degrees.
    • Finally, instead of turning, a vehicle may instead decide to 'drift' to the left or the right, up to a number of metres equal to their Movement Modifier (or just 1dm in strategic maps).
Name Type/Subname Crew Type Vehicle Type Action Test Description
Attack w/Vehicle Weapon Attack Gunner Any Varies WS or BS You perform an Attack Action as per normal, using one of the vehicle's weapons; this attack action may be, for example, Burst or Standard Attack or Called Shot. Follow all the rules as standard for that attack action. Apply the speed modifier to the test as normal. Some attacks behave differently with vehicles: see below.
- Charge Operator+Gunner Walker Full Action WS Your vehicle moves toward an enemy at its current speed, although the Operator may push it one speed band faster if they like. On reaching the enemy, you make a melee attack with a +20 bonus. This attack ignores the speed modifier on tests, and gains +2 damage for every speed band above 'Slow'.
Hit and Run Attack, Melee, Movement Operator+Special (see desc.) Any Full Action WS Your vehicle moves at its current speed, although the Operator may push it one speed band faster if they like. If the vehicle passes adjacent any enemies, then one crewmember may attack the enemy; if the vehicle is open-topped, then the crewmember may use a personal melee weapon (and thus by anyone), otherwise it must be a vehicle equipped with a melee weapon (and thus must be the gunner in charge of said weapon). On a success, you inflict one hit on the target. Special: If the attacker has the Whirlwind of Steel talent, then they may make a single attack test against a number of passed enemies equal to their WSB.
Run Down Attack, Movement Operator Any Full Action Operate skill Your vehicle moves at its current speed, although the Operator may push it one speed band faster if they like. The Operator angles the vehicle to try to hit hapless targets in its way. Any creatures in its path are hit, and may either make a dodge reaction (after which they get out of the way) or they may make a free attack action before the vehicle hits them; they may not do both. Assuming your vehicle survives, you may make an Operate skill test for each target hit; on a success, you deal damage to the target as per the 'Collision' result. If you fail the test, then you deal damage to the target as per the 'Collision' result, but halving your total Penetration value and using the Impact Bracket below your usual result. If you strike an object that is as large or larger than your Vehicle, then you also are treated as having taken a Collision.
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