Monday, November 30, 2015

Rotary Firearms.

A monstrous device combining a ballet of mechanical precision and a ravenous appetite for ammunition and destruction, the rotary autocannon or "Minigun" is a Hollywood favorite for it's intense sound and light, as well as it's visceral effects.

Rotary Machineguns are heavy, mechanically complex, and typically mounted on a vehicle because of the vicious torque they generate and they eat vastly more ammunition in a single firefight than an infantryman (or possibly an entire squad) can reasonably carry. None of these considerations have stopped Hollywood from making rotary autocannons cinematic favorites though, and Cypher is nothing if not cinematic.

A weapon may have the "Rotary" property or the "Rapid Fire" property but not both. Rotary weapons may not be fired "Single Shot" for half-damage to conserve ammo, once the barrels start spinning it's all or nothing. (If a Rotary gun could be fired "Single Shot" the individual round would inflict 1/4 to 1/3rd base damage, or possibly less.) Rotary weapons may benefit from special abilities that require the "Rapid Fire" distinction, such as "Spray" or "Arc Spray".

Rotary weapons are massive, and count as one weapon size higher for purposes of weapon skills. IE: a Light Rotary weapon requires Practiced with Medium weapons to use without a penalty, Practiced with Light weapons imparts a 1-step attack penalty, and no weapon skill imparts a 2-step penalty. A Medium Rotary weapon requires Practiced with All weapons. Heavy, V-Heavy and S-Heavy weapons impart a 1-step penalty to attack for someone with Practiced with Heavy Weapons.

A Rotary weapon takes a few seconds to "Spin up". On the first turn a Rotary is fired the weapon inflicts normal damage, on the second and consecutive turns a Rotary inflicts double damage. First turn of firing consumes a full Attack of ammo as normal ("Attacks" worth of ammunition are an abstraction representing an "average" trigger pull rather than a specific amount of ammunition). Any turn that the weapon is not fired the barrels spin down and the next attack inflicts base damage.

A shooter may forgo the doubled damage to gain a one-step benefit to their attack roll by spraying the shot around rather than holding the weapon on the target. This benefit is neither a Skill Increase, nor an Asset and does not prevent any skill or Assets from being used.

Because of the weight of a Rotary's mechanics and the torque of the machinery that rotates the barrels the shooter must make a Might roll with a Difficulty of the base damage of the weapon (2 for Light, 4 for Medium, 6 for Heavy, 8 for X-Heavy, 10 for S-Heavy) or be Dazed for the next turn (increasing the difficulty of all rolls, including the second round of shooting, by one step).

If firing a X-Heavy Rotary weapon unbraced, the Might difficulty is 10. Other effects of firing X-Heavy and S-heavy weapons unbraced are cumulative with Rotary penalties. See Firearms in Cypher System for more details on X-Heavy and S-Heavy firearms.

Rotary guns and Swarms:

If you're ruling that an attack against a Swarm of creatures can only kill one creature at a time and excess damage is lost, Rotary weapons may spread their damage across multiple creatures in the swarm so that excess damage transfers to the next creature in the Swarm. (Shotguns firing Shotshell or Flechette rounds also benefit from this effect).

Feeding the Beast, Rotary Guns and Ammunition:

If you're using basic ammunition rules and counting individual bullets rather than "Attacks" Rotary weapons consume around 300 rounds per turn of firing (assuming a 6-second turn, at an optimal 3,000 rounds per minute).

If you're using the "Tons of Ammo" rules (Firearms in Cypher System) you might be looking at actual Tons of Ammo. Each time the party sets out on an adventure/mission they will need to acquire ammunition for each of their Rotary weapons. Each supply of Rotary gun ammo is treated as an Artifact with a Depletion of 1-2 of 6. Roll at the beginning of the game session where the Rotary was used in the *previous* session (if they didn't use the Rotary last session then they're not going to magically be low on ammo unless there's a GM Intrusion explaining why the ammunition went missing). When the depletion happens the Rotary can be used in one more game session and then it's out. (so if Depletion happens and the Rotary isn't used in that session then there's still one more game session of Rotary Ammo in the box).

Light Rotary ammo for one mission is a Moderately Priced item ($200)
Medium Rotary ammo is an Expensive item ($2,000)
Heavy Rotary ammo is a Very Expensive item ($20,000)
Very-Heavy Rotary ammo is an Exorbitant item ($200,000)
Super-Heavy Rotary Ammo is a Very Exorbitant item ($2,000,000)

These are large crates of Ammunition that require two characters to carry, and tend to be left back in the party's main transport rather than carried in to combat.

Optional: Carrying Rotary Ammo

Rotary ammunition is heavy and bulky, there's not only the extensive quantities of ammunition itself but disintegrating link belts and/or canisters adding to the weight. Each character can only carry one reload for a Rotary gun (the shooter may have two, one "in the gun" another on his person), and when the Rotary is out of ammo the character carrying the reload and the Rotary Gunner must be in Immediate range of each other to reload the gun.

It may be possible to attach two belts of ammunition together, doubling the number of attacks a belt-fed weapon can make before needing to be reloaded. A Double Length Belt inflicts a 1-step penalty to all movement tasks until the first belt has been consumed. This may be an option for any belt-fed machinegun, not just rotary autocannons.

(In the World Wars (1900-1950) ammunition belts were often made of fabric rather than the modern disintegrating link belts. A Double Length Belt of this type continues to inflict the penalty to movement tasks until the entire belt has been consumed).

Vehicular Rotary Weapons:

Rotary weapons mounted to a vehicle (like the 20mm or 30mm autocannons on most modern fighters) are only a special effect and have no special rules. They don't suffer from the weight or torque of the Rotary mechanism, and the increased damage from firing a Rotary gun is covered under the "Size Class" increase to the weapon's damage for it's class. A mounted weapon is assumed to be designed as an integral part of the vehicle with sufficient ammunition for the vehicle's mission profile.

If a Giant Robot were to be equipped with a scaled up Rotary cannon, or a vehicle were to be reverse-engineered with a rotary autocannon it wasn't designed to mount then the Rotary Gun rules above would apply as the weapon is not integral to the vehicle it is fired from. Damage on the second turn is the weapons base damage, doubled, then the scale modifier is added. The pilot or gunner still needs to make the Might roll from the vehicle's Might pool to avoid the crew being Dazed as the Rotary cannon attempts to vibrate the vehicle to pieces.

EX: a Size 3 Mobile Armor is equipped with a Medium Rotary weapon. The first turn the Mobile Armor inflicts 7 damage (4 base, + 3 size mod), the second and subsequent turns it inflicts 11 damage (8 for the doubled base damage, + 3 size mod). The pilot must make Might 4 rolls based on the mecha's Might Pool or be Dazed on the next turn.

Sample "Man Portable" Rotary Guns:

General Electric M134 "Minigun", 7.62 x 51 (Exorbitant):
A 6-barrel rotary machinegun used by helicopter gunners in the Vietnam war. The Russian GShG-7.62 and Chinese Hua Qing Minigun are similar designs. The M134 and the GShG-7.62 are primarily for aircraft deployment, however the Hua Qing has been purpose developed as an infantry/anti-terrorist weapon.
In the movie Predator "Blaine"(Jessie Ventura) carries a GE M134 Minigun with a custom (Hollywood) modification to allow it to be handheld. It's rate-of-fire was cut in half so the spinning barrels would be visible on camera instead of a blur, and the ammo feed only carried 4 seconds of "blank" ammunition.
Mythbusters used a M134 mounted on a SUV in a concealed pop-turret for the "Shooting Fish in a Barrel" and "Cutting down a tree with a machinegun" myths.
-Heavy Rotary, Damage 6/12, 10 attacks, Long Range, Rotary (Very Expensive)

GE XM214 "Microgun", 5.56 x 45 (Very Expensive):
The "Microgun" was developed in 1966 as a lighter alternative to the M134 using the smaller caliber 5.56 rifle ammo. Tests proved the smaller ammunition used by the XM214 to be unsuitable for use from aircraft (the rounds lacked the mass to resist airflow effects around the aircraft). GE redesigned the XM214 in to an 81-pound infantry-carried weapon system known as the GE 6-Pak, however the U.S. Army showed no interest. The weapon was part of their catalog until the late 1990's
-Medium Rotary, Damage 4/8, 10 attacks, Long Range, Rotary

Bonus Gear: Articulated Weapon Harness

An Expensive piece of gear, an Articulated Weapon Harness is a harness with an articulated arm with hydraulic pistons that help manage the weight and recoil of weapons that may cause the Shooter to be Dazed, like unbraced X-Heavy firearms and Rotary weapons. Using an Articulated Weapon Harness halves the difficulty of the Might roll to avoid being Dazed on the next turn.

A Sci-Fi "Robotic" weapon harness is a Very Expensive piece of gear that provides one Asset to the Might roll to avoid becoming Dazed in addition to halving the difficulty.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Armor, Slashing and Crushing Weapons.

Some brief thoughts about the Weapon Distinctions for Slashing and Crushing.

In the descriptions of the Weapon Distinctions Slashing and Crushing are modified based on the kind of armor the target is wearing. Slashing does 1 less point of damage to anyone wearing armor.. any armor at all. This means that weapons like the Katana can be effectively mitigated by wearing the cheapest armor, or gear that might qualify as heavy work clothes. Historically this would have taken much of the appeal out of bladed weapons as symbols of the warrior class, as pretty much everyone on the field of battle would have been wearing some kind of armor.

My house rule is that Slashing does 1 additional point of damage against unarmored and Light armors, as Light armors tend to be 'flesh-like' materials like fabrics and leathers subject to being more effectively 'cut', while the more rigid Medium and Heavy armors are less subject to the slicing edge.

Crushing weapons on the flip side get their bonus of ignoring one point of Armor against Medium and Heavy armor, but lose a point of damage against unarmored and Light armors, which makes sense as the flexible materials of Light armors act as padding and return to their original shape after impact, where rigid Medium breastplates and Heavy plate armors suffer from increased deformation after repeated impacts.

(Essentially you work Light armor materials with cutting implements, Heavy and Medium rigid components are shaped with hammers. Facing these kinds of implements in battle means your armor gets "aggressively reshaped" and not to improve the fit.)

Of course not all weapons occupy either Weapon Description. Axes for instance have the heavy impact weight with a cutting surface, so have neither Slashing or Crushing (which combined are worse than none at all). Some swords might not qualify as 'Slashing', and likewise some polearms might not benefit from "Crushing".

I know Chain Mail doesn't really fit either description of flexible or rigid armor materials, but for game balance reasons I'm loath to reduce "Crushing" weapons to getting their bonus only on Heavy armor which is the least common type of armor you would encounter, making Crushing weapons the least popular to carry.

(This rule applies to firearms, and vehicular weapons/armor as well.)

Thoughts? Comments?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Vehicles in Cypher: Motor Pool 1

Links for Vehicles in Cypher System series: 
Part 1: A Matter of Scale
Part 2: Vehicles
Part 3: Vehicles and Special Abilities
Part 4: Vehicle Weapons and Combat

So I've laid out 4 posts of vehicle rules. How about some vehicles to put in your garage then. For Motor Pool 1  I'm going to stick to real-world vehicles just to lay out a baseline for the way vehicles should come out.


New Automobile (Very Expensive to Exorbitant):
A typical production model car fresh off the lot. Covers most automobiles from economy 4-bangers to family sedans to light trucks and SUVs. A typical 4-door sedan owned by a PC would have pools of 12 Might and 12 Speed. A pickup or SUV would come out to a Might of 16 and a Speed of 8, while a sports car would split around Might 9, Speed 16. Typical top speeds around 75-90 mph.
-Level 4 (24 HP), Size 2, Armor 1

Used Automobile (Very Expensive):
An automobile that's been around the block more than a few times, five to ten years worth of around the block depending on how hard the previous owners have been on it.
-Level 3 (18 HP), Size 2, Armor 1

Luxury Sedan (Exorbitant):
A high end production automobile for the reasonably wealthy and up.
-Level 5 (30 HP), Size 2, Armor 1 (Special Ability: Armor 2 against collisions)

Supercar (Exorbitant):
Road legal, but only just, with vastly more power than you need to make the commute to work. Technically a production car, however limited demand for these high-performance vehicles limits the numbers produced. Typically used in racing, or as playthings for the wealthy.
-Level 6 (36 HP, Might 6 Speed 30), Size 2, Armor 0

Motorcycle (Expensive):
Most production model motorcycles fit in this category, with a similar stat-pool split as Automobiles. Top speeds for sport-bikes reach 200 mph, while cruisers and touring bikes reach around 100 mph.
-Level 4 (24 HP), Size 1, Armor 0

Speedboat (Very Expensive):
A typical personal speedboat. Good for pulling water-skiers or smuggling along coastal waters. Typical max speed of 80 MPH.
-Level 4 (24 HP), Size 2, Armor 0

Yacht (Exorbitant):
Seagoing playthings of the wealthy.
-Level 5 (30 HP), Size 4, Armor 1

Deep Submergence Research Vehicle:
A deep-sea research and exploration vessel, base-stationed from a conventional research ship on the surface. The DSV carries one pilot and two scientists for up to nine hours, to a tested depth of 21,300 feet. Top speed 2 mph
-Level 5 (30 HP) Size 4, Armor 2
Special Ability: Adaptation to High Pressure (Level 2 Adept, Modified Always on, Pressure only)

Private Jet:
Air transport for the wealthy. Top Speed 540 mph.
-Level 5 (20 HP), Size 5, Armor 0. Interior accommodations may be significantly higher  in Level.

Narrow Body Airliner
A typical "Regional" airliner one might fly in between U.S. states or European nations. Typically seats around 150 passengers. Top speed 540 mph.
-Level 4 (16 HP), Size 7, Armor 0.

Wide Body Airliner
A "Jumbo Jet", typically flown on intercontinental routes. Typically seats around 650 passengers. Top speed of 580 mph.
-Level 4 (16 HP), Size 9, Armor 0.

Military Ground Vehicles:

All military vehicles can be safely priced as "Very Exorbitant" or beyond. Weapon damages given in parentheses are after all the weapon modifiers are factored in. Ranges listed in parentheses are the ranges for the vehicle's size.

Main Battle Tank:
A modern front-line battle tank.
-Level 6 (36 HP), Size 4, Armor 3 (4 with Ward).
Special Abilities:
-Ward (Lvl 1 Adept, +1 Armor)
-Range Increase (Lvl 2 Explorer, increases range to next band)
-Main Gun: Heavy Weapon (Damage 10), Long Range (1,000'),
-Coaxial Machine Gun: Light Weapon (Damage 6), Long Range (1,000') Rapid Fire
Optional Features:
-ATGM Launcher: Heavy Weapon, 2 Attacks (Damage 12), Long Range (1,000'), Crushing, Guided
-Remote-controlled Pintle-Mount machine gun. Light Weapon (6 damage, Rapid Fire)

A standard Armored Personnel Carrier or Mechanized Infantry Combat Vehicle.
-Level 5 (30 HP), Size 3, Armor 3
Chain Gun: Medium Weapon (Damage 7), Long Range (300'), Rapid Fire
ATGM Launcher: Heavy Weapon, 6 Attacks (10 Damage), Crushing, Guided

HMMWV "Hummvee":
The High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle is an automobile-sized military vehicle. This shouldn't be confused with the civilian market vehicle that is styled to look like a HMMWV, but is just another SUV.
-Level 5 (30 HP), Size 2, Armor 2
Pintle Mount Machine Gun: Medium Weapon (Damage 6) Long Range (200'), Rapid Fire
Optional Features:
Avenger Anti-Aircraft package: Heavy weapon, 6 Attacks (8 damage) Long Range (200') Guided, Explosive

Military Aircraft:

Utility Tactical Transport Helicopter
A modern military transport helicopter. The base model is unarmed, however three sets of paired hardpoints exist on both sides to mount optional weapons and/or rescue gear. Top Speed 220 mph.
-Level 5 (10 HP), Size 6, Armor 1
2x Machinegun or Minigun. Light Weapon (Damage 8), Short Range (500'), Rapid Fire
2x Gatling Gun: Medium Weapon (Damage 10), Short Range (500'), Rapid Fire
2x Guided Missile: Heavy Weapon (Damage 13), Long Range (1,000'), Crushing, Guided, 6-Attacks.
2x Rocket Pod: Medium Weapon (Damage 10), Long Range (1,000') Rapid Fire, 6-Attacks,
                          Explosive (100' radius) Anti Armor (Crushing) or Anti-Personnel (Slashing)
                                                                 warheads may be loaded

Ground Attack Helicopter:
A modern 2-seat ground attack helicopter for close air support of ground troops and battlefield reconnaissance. A chin-turreted chainun is linked to the pilot's helmet so it tracks where the pilot is looking to simplify aiming. Four hardpoints on the stub wings mount a mix of anti-tank missiles and rocket pods. Optionally a pair of air-to-air missiles can be mounted on the ends of the wings. Top Speed 220 mph
-Level 6 (12 HP), Size 6, Armor 1
Special Abilities:
Scan (Lvl 1 Adept, Scan a 100' cube within 500'. Get level of targets and any additional details,P.32)
Targeting Eye (Lvl 3 Adept, +1 asset to all ranged attacks)
Investigative Skills (Lvl 2 Explorer, +1 Asset to "Perception" and "Assessing Danger")
Chain Gun: Medium Weapon (Damage 10), Long Range (1,000'), Rapid Fire
Air To Air Missile: Heavy Weapon (Damage 13), Long Range (1,000'), Guided, 2-Attacks, Explosive
2x ATGM Missile: Heavy Weapon (Damage 13), Long Range (1,000'), Crushing, Guided, 6-Attacks.
2x Rocket Pod: Medium Weapon (Damage 10), Long Range (1,000') Rapid Fire, 6-Attacks,
                          Explosive (100' radius) Anti Armor (Crushing) or Anti-Personnel (Slashing)
                                                                 warheads may be loaded.

Weapon Distinctions:

A cheat sheet for additional distinctions in CSR or that I have listed elsewhere
Crushing: -1 armor to armored targets, -1 damage to unarmored targets.
Slashing: +1 damage to unarmored targets, -1 damage to armored targets.
Explosive: -1 Damage, but all targets in Immediate Range are attacked. If Effort is used to increase damage damage is only increased by 2, however a miss still inflicts 1+Size Mod damage to target
Guided: 1 Step more difficult to hit a Immediate range, +1 asset at Long range and beyond

Monday, November 16, 2015


So the topic came up in the Cypher System discussion boards and it got me thinking about Cyberpunk run through Cypher.

The lion's share of playing Cyberpunk in Cypher is straightforward window-dressing of the Cypher types, that ex-soldier turned corporate espionage agent is a Warrior with Stealth flavor. Many "Esoteric" abilities may be replicated through cybernetics and bio-mods. An Adept's "Onslaught" ability may be an implanted firearm in one arm, and an implanted stun-gun in the other. Fuses Flesh and Steel would represent a more heavily cyborged character, possibly obvious chrome or a near full-conversion borg. Naturally the GM has final say on the availability of any particular character option.

My posts on Firearms and Vehicles may be useful for a Cyberpunk campaign. Just sayin'...

Riggers can control a vehicle through a cyberdeck, or a dedicated control device. The level of the device determines the maximum level of the vehicle they can control through it. Drone Control requires two decks, both at least the level of the vehicle being controlled. More on Drone Controllers with the Cyberdeck descriptions.

Netrunning and Deckers:

There's a common problem in Cyberpnk games in that the guy with the Cyberdeck often ends up running solo for many turns while their computer-speed grants them multiple turns to everyone else's one. Deckers and their solo thing is usually justified by "my character acts at the speed of thought." Remind them that "Sure, but you're still thinking at the speed of meat." They might get a little more freedom in what they can squeeze in to a round, but in the end their brain still needs to process the incoming data just as it would from the body's senses, and the brain processes what to do with that data only as fast as it would if it wasn't connected to a Cyberdeck.
(It's been a while, but I believe this advice originally comes from the R. Talsorian Cyberpunk 2020 GM advice book "Listen Up You Primitive Screwheads")

In Cypher Systems GM's can exploit its inherent abstract quality, the Decker might be programming furiously, inserting logic loops, avoiding port detection, intercepting and disrupting data packets, but they still only "attack" that ICE barrier, Watchdog program, or enemy Decker once per turn in keeping with the rest of the party's actions. 

INT pool is the Decker's entire HP in cypberspace, and the pool they draw on for all of their Special Ability Programs.Intellect Edge works as normal. Being reduced to 0 INT results in the connection being severed to the net, the Decker is Stunned for one turn and Dazed the turn afterward, and the Decker cannot reconnect until he recovers at least 1 Intellect.

Black ICE, those deadly programs that can fry a person's body operate as an infectious virus in the brain. When the Decker is hit with a Black ICE attack they need to make a second Intellect Defense roll against the level of the attacking ICE. Failure indicates that the Decker has had the Program successfully copied in to their brain. Additional hits from Black ICE increase the level of the infection by 1. The Decker must continue to make Intellect Defense rolls or take damage, first against their Int, then Might and then Speed as the program makes their brain trigger the body to self destruct (usually with a fatally high fever). Once the program has successfully infected the victim Armor, even a Cyberdeck installation of Ward does not protect against Black ICE damage. Pulling the plug on the Cyberdeck only stops the Black ICE if the victim still has more than 1 point of Intellect, if the victim reaches 0 Intellect then they automatically disconnect, but the Black ICE has successfully installed itself in the victim's brain and the victim needs to continue making Intellect Defense rolls to prevent damage. Black ICE stops doing damage once the victim makes an Intellect Defense roll.  Black ICE is technically illegal, but some people and organizations consider protecting their secrets important enough to risk letting loose an infectious data-virus in their own systems.

The basic Cyberspace Avatar has only the most rudimentary functionality, no special abilities, type or descriptor modifications. Smart Deckers spend the cash to upgrade. Programming a Special Ability is a task with a difficulty equal to the tier of the ability, and takes as many weeks as the tier of that ability. Each ability that a Decker uses takes up a Program Slot on their cyberdeck. If an ability is available in multiple types, descriptors, Foci, or Flavors, use the lowest level.

A Decker Trained in Programming can develop a level 1 ability "On the Fly", this ability does not take up a Program Slot, but the difficulty using this ability is adjusted 1 step to the Decker's detriment due to it being improvised. A Decker Specialized in Programming can do this with Tier 2 abilities, at a 2-step adjustment. Being Trained or Specialized in improvising Cyberspace abilities is a separate skill, the Decker needs both skills to improvise an ability with reduced or no modifiers.


A cyberdeck's level determines how many Program Slots it has to execute programmed Special Abilities. If two Deckers are facing off against each other in Cyberspace, if one Decker has a Cyberdeck of a level higher than the level of the other, that Decker receives an Asset to their rolls. If the higher rated Cyberdeck is twice or more the level of the other, that Decker receives two Assets. Program Slots may run any Tier of Programmed Abilities.

Cyberdecks can slot a number of Software Cyphers up to 1/3rd their level (round up). (See Below)

The typical cyberdeck is flat plastic appliance about the size of a small notebook or a large tablet computer. Interface is typically accomplished with a headband or skullcap with electromagnetic sensing electrodes at strategic locations to pick up on electrical impusles in the brain. Some uses prefer an implanted Datajack that connects directly with a hard cable (3 XP, counts as an Asset for netrunning tasks), however using a Datajack means attacks against the Decker's Intellect also benefit from that Asset.

A Cyberdeck is able to access the local net wirelessly, in most cases this means the Decker's device is in constant contact with the Internet, though in some places with less maintained infrastructure there may be blind spots where a device may suddenly become disconnected.

Inexpensive (up to $20), Level 1, 1 Program Slot, 1 Cypher
An Inexpensive Cyberdeck is a disposable device practically designed to be thrown away to avoid being traced. Ostensibly designed for children to learn to navigate the consensual, communal illusion that is Cyberspace, in more practical terms they serve the same purpose as "Disposable Phones" for criminals.

Tier 1 and 2 Programmed Abilities are Inexpensive.

Moderately Priced ($20 to $200), Level 2, 2 Program Slots, 1 Cypher
A typical system for the non-technical household. Popular as gifts to elderly relatives so they can keep up with the grandkids, as well as backups purchased in emergencies for the Decker who gets his main Cyberdeck fried.

Tier 3 and 4 Programmed Abilities are Moderately Priced.

Expensive ($200 to $2,000), Level 3, 3 Program Slots, 1 Cypher
A typical household cyberdeck, and the one a new runner is likely to start his career with.

Tier 5 and 6 Programmed Abilities are Expensive.

Very Expensive ($2,000 to $20,000), Level 4, 4 Program Slots, 2 Cyphers
A Cyberdeck system you wold expect to find in the hands of Megacorporate security, or the cyberwarfare expert of a third-world dictatorship.

Exorbitant ($20,000 - $200,000), Level 5, 5 Program Slots, 2 Cyphers
Megacorporate Head Office's chief of security will run on a device like this.

Very Exorbitant ($200,000 - $2,000,000), Level 6, 6 Program Slots, 2 Cyphers)
Large First-world nations deny that the housing of these devices can stop bullets (they're right, it can't). They'd prefer to deny the existence of these devices at all as they're only issued to Sig/Int and Data warfare operatives attached to special operations teams.

Cyberdecks over level 6 are one-of-a-kind prototypes that the power-players will hire someone to kill for, a Cyberdeck of 9 or 10 they'd risk pulling the trigger themselves.

Cyberdeck Modifications

Stationary system: A desktop workstation version adds 1 Level to the Cyberdeck

Mainframe system: A room-sized installation adds 2 Levels to the Cyberdeck 

Drone Controller: Adds 2 to the Level of the Cyberdeck for controlling drones, but is not actually capable of allowing it's user to interface with Cyberspace. Drone controllers may be used as both or either the control unit,or the drone unit (attached to the vehicle). 

The Rigger using a Drone Control Unit is at 2-step detriment to any attempt to prevent a Cyberdeck user from hacking in to any drones controlled with a Drone Controller (the dedicated Drone Control Unit prevents the Rigger from perceiving the attacking Decker in Cyberspace). If the Rigger is using a Cyberdeck they do not suffer this penalty whether the drone is equipped with a Cyberdeck or Drone Controller.

Using Cyphers in Cyberpunk

Cyberpunk is all about "Future Shock" Cyphers with esoteric abilities can be pretty easily described as some tech-gadget made by some shack-tinkerer in the Sprawl, or a prototype stolen from a Megacorp (artifacts are more likely to be the latter). As far as Software Cyphers, the genre is full of one-shot programs and backdoors that the protagonists burn once to get in to some system or another. Some might "warp space" to move the decker in to the system, others might inflict a specific damage that deletes a portion of a firewall.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Vehicles in Cypher System, Part 4: Vehicular Combat

In many genres vehicles are important characters themselves, especially in games inspired by Japanese Anime, but often in other stories certain vehicles take on a role almost as significant as the characters themselves.

Links for Vehicles in Cypher System series: 
Part 1: A Matter of Scale
Part 2: Vehicles
Part 3: Vehicles and Special Abilities
Part 4: Vehicle Combat

   Related Posts:
Firearms in Cypher System
More Modern Weapon Distinctions

Combat in the detailed vehicle rules works identically to the way combat works between characters. The Player rolls a D20 and attempts o match or exceed the Level of the NPC vehicle, then apply the damage of the weapon to the vehicle's hit points. A combat between vehicles shouldn't be any more difficult or involved than a similar combat between individual people.

Vehicles and Weapon Skills:

For PCs operating a vehicle , their skill in light, medium, or heavy weapons can be transferred to vehicular weapons of the same size. For instance an Adept with training in Light weapons piloting a giant combat robot (size 5) can use Light weapons for that mecha (damage 7) at no modifier, Medium weapons (damage 9) at 1-step increase in difficulty, or heavy weapons (damage 11) at two steps increase in difficulty.

Vehicles and NPC Levels:

If an NPC and their vehicle have levels that are off by one step then the higher value should be used.

When a vehicle or it's NPC operator have different levels of two or more steps it's appropriate for the GM to split the difference between the NPC and the vehicle. For instance a professional race driver (level 7) is racing in a used car (Level 3), the overall level of the vehicle for targeting and attempting feats would be level 5 (the lower value, plus half the difference). The driver can work miracles with the car that the average driver wouldn't be able to accomplish, but he can do more with a dedicated racing vehicle. Likewise our Level 7 driver gets behind the wheel of a prototype rocket car (level 9), the overall level is an 8. The car can do more, but the driver isn't skilled enough to actually push the vehicle to its limits.

This modification does not have an effect on hit points. No matter the skill of the driver, it doesn't make the vehicle more or less resilient to damage once it's been hit.

CSR Abstract rules: Targeting Locations (CSR p. 215):

The hit locations and effects of the abstract vehicle combat system are still valid options, though there is one modification. The attacker takes the step penalty to hit in the table, and if the attack is successful and one point of damage gets through Armor, the effect is applied to the targeted vehicle.

Vehicles and Explosive Weapons

"Immediate Range" for the weapon's blast area is based on the vehicle's size.

If a vehicle expends Effort to increase damage firing an Explosive weapon and misses, it still inflicts 1-point plus the vehicle's size modifier.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Firearms in Cypher System: Gun Store 1 Modern Firearms

Related posts:

Firearms in Cypher System

Shotguns (and a Varmint Rifle)
More Weapon Distinctions

Gun Store Posts:

Gun Store 1: Modern Firearms

So I've posted some extended firearms rules including some rules that let you tweak your firearms to taste, but how does that translate to your firearm and gear purchasing needs?

Maybe you're equipping an elite special ops strike force, facing down gangsters in 1920's Chicago, knocking over a deserted big-box store for anti-zombie weapons in the post-apocalypse, or need to find just the right lethal accessory to go with your Super Spy's evening ensemble.

Below are a sampling of common, famous, or notable real world examples translated to Cypher System. I've attempted to cover at least one weapon that covers each of the modern firearm weapon stats in CSR, as well as weapons of historical, or cultural note, and some 'edge case' firearms that push the boundaries of my firearm customization.

Moderately priced Firearms (< $200):

Firearms in this price class are typically small caliber holdout or target-practice weapons that inflict 1 point less damage than an Expensive weapon of the same size class.

Colt Model 1908 "Vest Pocket", .21 ACP: Short on power, range, and accuracy, these small holdout pistols were common backup weapons through the first half of the 1900's and most military officers could be found carrying one or something similar concealed on their person (they didn't break the crisp lines of a properly laundered uniform).
-Light Automatic Pistol,
-2 damage, 6 attacks, Short Range, adds 1 asset and 1 skill to conceal.
("6 attacks, +1 damage" balances with "-1 damage for being Moderately Priced")

Daisy Number 111 "Red Ryder", .175 BB: Don't shoot your eye out with this lever-action spring-powered BB rifle.
-Light Automatic Rifle
-0 Damage (can be increased with Effort, or a GM Intrusion), effectively unlimited attacks (approx 1,000 BBs, or until the GM gets annoyed enough with your BB Gun antics to issue a GM Intrusion that breaks your toy), Short Range.

Lorcin L-380, .380 ACP: A cheap gun produced in the last decade of the 20'th century, it was underpowered and dangerously unreliable (the manufacturer went bankrupt twice in the face of multiple injury and wrongful death lawsuits), but many hundreds of thousands were sold to people who needed inexpensive firepower and/ or didn't know better.
-Medium Automatic Pistol,
-3 Damage, Short Range, Adds 1 asset to concealment.
GM Intrusions like jams or spontaneous weapon discharges may happen if this weapon is handled roughly, like it would be in any combat situation...

SplatMaster Paintball Marker, .68: A pistol-sized paintball gun powered by a standard 12g C02 cartridge good for 30 shots. Internal magazine holds 10 paintballs.
-Light Pistol,
-1 Damage, 10 attacks, Short Range. Target is marked with high-visibility paint. Anyone marked suffers a 2-point penalty on their die rolls for Stealth and Speed Defense.

"Varmint Rifle", .22 Long Rifle Rimfire: A common light caliber rifle for hikers and survivalists to carry that allows them to hunt small game, and frequently the first gun a child learns to handle firearms with. More expensive models (which can push them in to "Expensive" gear) may include survival kits in the stock (asset to Int rolls for Survival related tasks), and a collapsible frame (+1 asset to conceal, requires 2 turns to assemble rifle and another turn to mount a scope if one is available).
-Light Automatic Rifle
-2 Damage, 6 attacks, Long Range.
("6 attacks, +1 damage" balances with "-1 damage for being Moderately Priced")

Expensive Firearms ($200 - $2,000):

The vast majority of firearms fall in to this price category, Handguns typically retail for $300 to $900, while SMGs, Rifles and other long guns can range from the mid hundreds to around $1500.

In Cypher System Rulebook the "Very Expensive" weapons listed don't actually reach the level of being "Very Expensive" in the real world (even with some pretty steep licensing or black market markup), but the GM should keep in mind that those weapons (Heavy Handgun, Heavy Rifle, Assault Rifle, and Submachine Gun) tend to be difficult to conceal (+2 steps of difficulty on the Heavy Rifle and Assault Rifle, +1 step difficulty on the Heavy Handgun and SMG), and they tend to draw the attention of the authorities, and make civilians call said authorities. Played right; having law enforcement show up can stifle the activities of heavily armed PCs and make heavy weapons somewhat self-limiting.

Avtomat Kalashnikova obrazets 1947g, 7.62x39: The (in)famous soviet AK-47, possibly the single most manufactured gun in the world estimated at more than 90-million copies worldwide. In African conflict zones a fourth-hand loaded Kalashnikov can be purchased as an Inexpensive weapon (possibly as cheap as $5) though such heavily used rifles may impart a -1 or -2 to the die roll to hit. Bulk purchased from the factory each unit is Moderately Priced ($90 a piece in an order of multiple thousands, good for cheaply arming a small military or large militia). A Semi-Auto version of the AK-47 can be purchased in the United States for $300.
-Heavy Automatic Rifle
-6 damage, 10 Attacks (30 individual shots), Long Range, Rapid Fire

Beretta Mod 92F, 9x19mm: A Semi-Automatic 9mm pistol common with military and police forces around the world.
-Medium Automatic Pistol
-Damage 4, 10 attacks. Long Range, Decreases difficulty to conceal by 1 asset

Beretta Mod 93, 9x19mm: A machine pistol variant of the Beretta Mod 92F, popular in movies.
-Medium Automatic Pistol, Rapid Fire
-Damage 5, 6 attacks/18 individual rounds, Long Range, Decreases difficulty to conceal by 1 asset

Colt Government M1911, .45 ACP: Standard issue for the U.S. military since 1912 up through 1991 (replaced for standard issue by Beretta M9), and continues to be in production for the civilian market today.
-Medium Automatic Pistol
-Damage 4, 10 attacks, Long Range,  decreases difficulty to conceal by 1 step,

Colt M16, .223 Remington: First issued to USAF security forces in 1962, the M16 became the iconic battle rifle of American ground forces from the Vietnam war onward. Early versions suffered from maintenance and reliability issues (exacerbated in part by the belief the newfangled "plastic gun" didn't require maintenance), though the battlefield issues were more than resolved with the successor M16A1. The current M16A4 removes the carrying handle in favor of an accessory rail for optics and has additional accessory rails on the forearm.
-Medium Automatic Rifle
-Damage 4, 10 attacks (30 individual shots), Long Range, Rapid Fire

Daewoo USAS 12, 12G 2.75": The Universal Sporting Automatic Shotgun is anything but a sporting gun. Resembling an oversized M16 assault rifle the USAS is a fully-automatic shotgun that feeds from a 10 round box magazine, or a 20-round drum. The Izhmash "Saiga-12" is a similar Russian-built weapon patterned on the AK-47.
-X.Heavy Automatic Shotgun
-Damage 9/7/5/4, 6 Attacks (18 individual shots), Shotgun Range, Rapid Fire.
-(Shotshells use listed damage at Immediate/Short/Long/and up to 200' Range and have double the Slashing modifier +2 damage against unarmored targets,-2 damage against armored targets. Slugs have the base damage (9) at Long range and no distinction modifiers.)  

H&K MP5, 9x19mm: First adopted by West German border guards in 1966, the Heckler and Koch MP5A has become the submachine gun of choice for professionals from special ops, counter-terrorist and SWAT units around the world. At GM's option the MP5 may add 1 point to rolls to hit because of the quality of the design.
-Medium Automatic Rifle
-Damage 4, 10 attacks (30 individual rounds), Long Range, Rapid Fire

-The MP5SD variants include an integral sound suppressor (1 asset to being undetected by hearing), but increase the weapon's cost to "Very Expensive" gear. 

-The MP5K variant is a shorter weapon designed to be concealed under a coat (no step penalty to concealment) but lacks a stock and has only rudimentary sights reducing it's accuracy (Short Range). An attache case can be purchased that can conceal the MP5K and a spare magazine (1 item of additional "Expensive" gear. Adds 1 level asset and 1 level skill to conceal the firearm, though opening the case immediately reveals the weapon). A trigger in the handle allows the MP5K to be fired from inside the case at a 2 step penalty to accuracy, 1 step penalty if the shooter braces the case before firing but this makes it obvious there's a weapon inside. Removing the weapon from the case takes an Action.

IMI Mini-Uzi, 9x19mm: A smaller version of the  original Israeli Military Industries Uzi designed for commandos and vehicle crews, and popular with action filmmakers of the 1980's for it's unique profile.
-Medium Automatic Rifle
-Damage 4, 10 attacks (30 individual rounds), Short Range, Rapid Fire

Izhmash Snayperskaya Vintovka Dragunova (Dragunov's Sniper Rifle), 7.62x54mm: A soviet era sniper rifle still in production. Weapons are typically equipped with an optical scope standard.
-Heavy Automatic Rifle
-Damage 6, 10 attacks, 300' Range

Remington Model 870, 12g: One of the most popular pump-action shotguns for both law enforcement and civilian use.
-Heavy Shotgun
-Damage 7/5/3/2, 6 Attacks, Shotgun Range.
-(Shotshells use listed damage at Immediate/Short/Long/and up to 200' Range and have double the Slashing modifier +2 damage against unarmored targets,-2 damage against armored targets. Slugs have the base damage (7) at Long range and no distinction modifiers.)  

Reutech Protectra, 12g: This South African short-barrel shotgun was designed for riot control and home defense. A similar licensed weapon was sold briefly in the United States (1986-1994) as the Street Sweeper, until it was declared a "Destructive device with no sporting value."
-Heavy Shotgun
-Damage 6/4/2/1, 10 Attacks, Shotgun Range.
-(Shotshells use listed damage at Immediate/Short/Long/and up to 200' Range and have double the Slashing modifier +2 damage against unarmored targets,-2 damage against armored targets. Slugs have the base damage (6) at Long range and no distinction modifiers.) 

Ruger Super Redhawk, .454 Casull: A stainless steel .454 caliber revolver for big game hunting and target shooting. Shinier than a jet airplane and twice as noisy this hand cannon is the antithesis of 'subtle'.
-Heavy Revolver Pistol
-Damage 7, adds 1 step of difficulty to conceal. 6 attacks between reloads. Long Range

Smith and Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum: The revolver made famous by Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry". In all the excitement a GM Intrusion may make you forget if you've fired all six rounds or only five. Do you feel lucky punk? Well, do you?
-Heavy Revolver Pistol
-Damage 6, no modifier to conceal, 6 attacks between reloads. Long Range

Walther PPK, .32 ACP: The easy-to-conceal weapon of choice for a particular British movie secret agent during the Cold War.
-Light Automatic Pistol
-Damage 2,  10 attacks between reloads, Short Range, +1 asset and +1 skill to conceal,

Winchester Model 70, 30-06 Springfield: A popular high-power bolt-action hunting rifle.
-Heavy Automatic Rifle
-Damage 7, 6 attacks, 300-foot Range,

Very Expensive Firearms ($2,000 - $20,000):

Very Expensive firearms tend to be restricted to the military or civilians willing to pay significant licensing costs (or willing and able to steal them).

Auto Ordinance M1921 "Thompson" .45 ACP: The circular 50 or 100 round drum magazine gives the "Tommy Gun" a profile as iconic as the gangsters that used it during the Prohibition era. U.S. forces used the Thompson Submachine Gun during WWII, though they were generally equipped with the 20-round straight box magazine as the drums could be unreliable.
-Heavy Automatic Rifle
-5 Damage, Effectively Unlimited attacks, Long Range, Rapid Fire

Barrett M82 "Light Fifty" .50 BMG: An Anti Material Rifle designed to provide light anti-armor firepower to the infantryman. Urban Myth has it that firing an Anti-Material rifle at a person is against the Geneva Conventions, however this is not the case. The myth may have come from military supply noting that a $0.80 7.62 NATO round kills an enemy combatant just as dead as a $4.00 BMG round for less than a quarter of the price.
-X.Heavy Rifle
-Damage 8, 10 attacks between reloads, 500 foot Range
(Typically loaded with Armor Piercing Hardcore rounds, Ignores 2 points of armor, does 2 points less damage to unarmored targets.)

Browning Automatic Rifle M1918 .30-06: Introduced too late to be fielded in WWI, the BAR was adopted by police and security forces. Gangsters and bank robbers of the late 20's and the Depression like Bonnie and Clyde would 'acquire' these weapons from police stations and National Guard armories.
-X.Heavy Rifle
-Damage 9, 6 attacks (18 individual shots), 300-foot Range, Rapid Fire

Exorbitant Firearms ($20,000 - $200,000):

It's possible that a collector might have a weapon that crosses in to Exorbitant prices, but they are definitely manufactured to military specifications, and not something you'll get a hold of as a private citizen without getting a lot of government licencing and attention.

Styer-Solothurn S18-1000, 20x138MM: One of the most powerful, if not the most powerful man-portable anti-tank weapons of WWII. The S18-1000 was over seven feet long and could not be fired from the hip or shoulder. It could be disassembled for transport, or attached to a wheeled or ski carriage and dragged in to position.
-S.Heavy Rifle
-Damage 10, Range of 1,000 feet. 10 attacks.
Typically loaded with AP or SAPHE:
Armor Piercing (AP) rounds in this monster cannon they double Crushing weapon distinction, ignores 2 points of armor but does 2 points less damage to unarmored targets. 
Semi-Armor-Piercing-High-Explosive (SAPHE) ignores 1 point of armor, inflicts 1 less damage to unarmored targets. If the round does not penetrate armor the explosive charge goes off on the surface doing 5 points of damage to all targets in Immediate range. If the round penetrates armor the explosive charge goes off inside the target doing an additional 5 points of damage to the vehicle with no armor protection, all occupants take 5 points of damage as well.

Ammunition notes:

9x19mm Caliber:
The 9x19mm round tends to have high penetration for it's size, but sacrifices wounding potential. At GM discretion 9x19mm weapons may have the "Crushing" modifier as a Weapon Distinction (ignores 1 point of armor, but inflicts 1 less damage to unarmored targets). 9x19 Armor Piercing would double the "Crushing" values, while 9x19 Hollow-Point rounds remove the Crushing modifiers.

Hot Loads:
Some people who hand-load their own ammunition create so-called "Hot Loads" or rounds packed with extra powder, or a more energetic powder than is typically used in that round. Hot Loads inflict an additional point of damage, but cause the gun to fail on a roll of 2 or less. Making a magazine of Hot Load ammo is an Intellect task against a difficulty of 3 for a "Light" weapon, 4 for a "Medium" weapon, and a 5 for a "Heavy weapon.

Someone hit with a paintball is splattered with high-visibility paint and suffers from a -1 or -2 penalty to their Stealth and Speed Defense dice rolls (not step difficulty). Standard  .68 caliber paintball guns impart a -2, while the 9x19mm SESAMS (Special Effects Small Arms Marking Systems) used in military training only impart a -1. SESAMS rounds can only be fired from specially modified weapons that cannot fire live 9x19mm ammunition.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Vehicles in Cypher System, Part 3: Vehicles and Special Abilities

In many genres vehicles are important characters themselves, especially in games inspired by Japanese Anime, but often in other stories certain vehicles take on a role almost as significant as the characters themselves, like the series of vehicles used by a certain multi-millionaire vigilante with a nocturnal flying rodent motif.

Links for Vehicles in Cypher System series: 
Part 1: A Matter of Scale
Part 2: Vehicles
Part 3: Vehicles and Special Abilities
Part 4: Vehicle Combat

   Related Posts:
Firearms in Cypher System
More Modern Weapon Distinctions

Special Abilities:

Most vehicle abilities are covered by giving them a Size, Level, and Armor (Parts 1 and 2), however what truly distinguishes one giant battle robot from another, or a luxury sedan from a super-spy's gadget-laden car is the Special Abilities.

Intrinsic Special Abilities:

A vehicle may have built-in special abilities taken from any Type or Focus, as usual the GM is encouraged to use logic to limit what is or isn't available for vehicles in their world. When a PC uses a vehicle's special ability they will use the vehicle's Might or Speed pool, or in rare circumstances their own Intellect pool. Some special abilities should be modified to draw from a different pool, for example a tank with the "Far Step" ability (IE: Jump Jets) should draw points to use Far Step from it's speed pool, not the pilot's Intellect pool. 

As a rule of thumb the vehicle's Level should be a limit on the number of Tiers of abilities that a vehicle can have. Example: Invisibility is a 4'th Tier Adept ability and Hover is a 2'nd Tier Adept Ability, a fighter jet that could turn invisible and hover in VTOL would have to be Level 6 or higher.

Character Abilities Used Through a Vehicle:

Some Special Abilities possessed by the pilot may be used through the vehicle. In some cases this may be limited to humanoid vehicles, such as the Warrior abilities Bash and Swipe which require melee weapons. The Warrior ability Pierce however requires a ranged weapon with a sharp point, which the GM may rule that a cannon equipped with advanced kinetic-penetrator rounds may count.. or they may not.

Mobility and Special Abilities:

Normally a vehicle has only one type of mobility system. Cars operate on the ground, boats float on water, aircraft fly through the air, etc. For most vehicles it's enough to say it's a car, or a tank, a submarine, a jet-plane, etc. and move on. Some vehicles may however combine some of these motive types and may need to be more specific. 

(Most aircraft have a limited ability to move on the ground, to taxi on a runway for instance, but as this is limited by requiring improved runways and doesn't really function as a mobility system)

Some vehicles have more than one type of mobility, Amphibious jeeps for example. Each new mobility type counts as a Level 1 Special Ability against the Level cap on abilities.

Notes on mobility specific abilities:

Hover (Tier 2 Adept, 2 Speed Points): Most airplanes have to keep moving a minimum of their Short distance each turn to stay in the air. An airplane with the Hover ability may use the Hover ability to remain flying without moving a minimum distance. Using this ability still costs 2 Speed Points (modified from Intellect points as an Intrinsic Special Ability), minus the pilot's Speed Edge.

Teleportation (Tier 5 Adept, 6 Intellect Points): "Travelling without Moving", a vehicle with Teleportation is most likely a "Jump-Ship" capable of moving at right angles to reality to traverse vast distances in an instant, or at least as close to an instant as large space vessels can manage. Intellect point costs come from the navigator of the vessel as they work the calculations required to send the vehicle through jumpspace.

Vehicular Special Abilities:

Some additional special abilities for vehicles:

Adept Adaptation (Level 2, Enabler):
Some vehicles may be designed to allow an Adept pilot to channel their abilities through the vehicle. This alters the Adept's abilities to match the vehicle's scale, and/or cover the vehicle rather than just the pilot. For instance Onslaught becomes a vehicular scale weapon, Ward still only grants 1 point of armor, but it protects the vehicle and occupants (even ones in exposed seating), and Scan's area of effect is increased 50% every increase in size class. Using an Adept Special Ability through the Adept Adaptation system costs 1 point from each Might and Speed pool for each use. These costs may be reduced by the pilot's Edge in Might and/or Speed. Adept Adaptation will also provide an Asset to any attacks made directly against the Adept's Intellect pool. The connection with the vehicles's external emitters goes both ways.

Additional Fire Control (Level 2+, Enabler):
Under normal circumstances a vehicle's ability to fire weapons is limited to one Heavy weapon, one Medium or two Medium at a 2-step penalty.* Light weapons may be fired as Medium weapons, or may be fired by any crew not otherwise occupied. (More on vehicle combat in Part 4)

*Essentially as per any human combatant using one or two handed weapons. 2-Medium weapons at a 2-step penalty is my house rule for characters trying to fight with two weapons without the "Wields Two Weapons" focus. 

Each time a vehicle takes Additional Fire Control, it allows the vehicle to take an additional "Attack" action that may be targeted at the same or different target than the first action, so a vehicle that takes Additional Fire Control twice (4 levels) may target three opponents with three separate Heavy or Medium weapons (or six Medium weapons at a 2-step increase to the difficulty of all attacks) in one action.
Each Additional Fire Control requires at least one crew to operate.

Damage Control (Level 2, 1+ Intellect Point, Action):
Vehicles equipped with Damage Control systems are able to make Recovery Rolls as if they were a character as long as there is a character on board who takes their action to repair damage and spends 1 Intellect point. Pool Points regained by the vehicle is equal to the vehicle's Level +1D6. Recovery times are as for characters (1 action, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 10 hours) multiplied by the ship's size class. The time to repair the ship can be reduced by the engineer spending an additional IP to reduce the ship's effective size by one level (minimum 1).

Example: A naval Frigate (Level 6, size level 10) takes damage from a pirate vessel they've been pursuing in international waters, and the ship's engineer scrambles to activate bilge pumps and seal off flooding chambers. As this is the first time the ship has activated Damage Control it will require the vessel to do nothing for ten turns or about a full minute, however the Captain doesn't have that long before the pirate vessel will be out of range, so the engineer spends 10 Intellect points (1 to activate DamCon, 9 to reduce size modifier to 1) ordering crew to the fastest possible Damage Control and the ship is only offline for 6 seconds (1 turn) while it restores 6+1d6 to it's Might and Speed pools before it can resume the chase.

After that the engineer takes his own 1-action Recovery roll to recover the points he lost keeping the ship combat worthy. A second Damage Control Recovery roll will force the ship to be down for more than an hour and a half (100 minutes), and even if the engineer pulls off the same miracle of engineering to get the fastest possible recovery the ship will still be inactive for ten minutes.

Engine Booster (Level 1, 2 Speed Points, Action):
Activating an engine booster provides an asset to Speed rolls involving covering distance, but an inability to Speed rolls involving maneuverability.

Enhanced Controls (Level 2+, Enabler): Most vehicles require the Driver/Pilot to spend their action controlling the vehicle each round that the vehicle is in motion. (CSR p.214 Vehicular Movement). Each level of Enhanced Controls allows the Pilot/Driver to maneuver the vehicle and operate one other system (such as a main weapon) on the vehicle at no increased penalty to the vehicle operation roll next round.

Micro Weapon Array (Level 2, Enabler): 
Some vehicles have multiple batteries of very small caliber weapons for defense. Typical of these defensive batteries are the anti-aircraft machine guns scattered around most warships at the turn of the 20'th century.

A vehicle with a Micro Weapon Array may make an attack on any and all targets at less than Short range. At Short range the attack is modified 1-step in the attacker's favor, at Immediate range the attack is modified two-steps in the attacker's favor. The Micro-Weapon Array does damage of 1 point plus the Vehicle Size Class. Effort may be used to enhance the Micro-Weapon Array attacks as per any ranged weapon, all attacks are enhanced by effort in that round, however to do so requires an action from the vehicle crew.

(I'll cover transforming vehicles in a later post.)

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Vehicles in Cypher System, Part 2: Vehicles

In many genres vehicles are important characters themselves, especially in games inspired by Japanese Anime, but often in other stories certain vehicles take on a role almost as significant as the characters themselves, like a certain starship and it's 5-year mission.

Links for Vehicles in Cypher System series: 
Part 1: A Matter of Scale
Part 2: Vehicles
Part 3: Vehicles and Special Abilities
Part 4: Vehicle Combat

   Related Posts:
Firearms in Cypher System
More Modern Weapon Distinctions


Every vehicle should have a Size, Level and Armor, these stats are covered in this post and represent the bare minimum detail any vehicle should have. Some vehicles may have their own Special Abilities and Weapons, which will be discussed in separate posts.

Size is discussed in Vehicles in Cypher System, Part 1: A Matter of Scale. Most 'Dogfight' combats will be taking place between vehicles of the same size so Scale effects will cancel out and the vehicles will function as though they were two human-scale combatants (albeit with significantly more feet in their Immediate, Short and Long range bands.)


Every vehicle has a Level rating from 1 to 10. This is the overall quality of the vehicle and determines it's maneuverability and toughness.

Level 1:   Calling it a "Bucket of Rust" would be insulting the bucket.
Level 2:   A vehicle in very poor shape. It runs, but some critical parts may 
                only have a spiritual connection to the rest of the vehicle.
Level 3:   A used car, not necessarily in bad shape, but the owner has probably 
                missed a few oil changes here and there.
Level 4:   A brand new vehicle, an older vehicle that has been extensively 
                restored or one that has been taken very good care of.
Level 5:   Luxury vehicle.
Level 6:   Competition-grade performance vehicle.
Level 7+: Unique or limited production special purpose vehicles.

Military vehicles are typically of levels 4 and up depending on the design. A mass produced current-generation front-line armored vehicle is Level 6, Artillery, scout vehicles or other combat support vehicles are Level 5, and supply transports are Level 4.

Surplus earlier-generation mechanized armor are one level lower than current generation, Prototypes are one or more levels higher. (In a future post I will address handing earlier generation and prototype equipment) 

Ground and Sea vehicles have Hit Points equal to their Quality times 6. Fixed Wing aircraft have Hit Points equal to their level times 4. Rotary Wing aircraft (helicopters) have Hit Points equal to their Quality times 2.

(Aircraft have more range of motion, but they pay for that with lighter structure for their size. Helicopters have even further increased mobility options, but have both lighter structures and more vulnerable drivetrains as a result). 

When a PC is driving a vehicle the HP are split between Might and Speed pools. While the GM has final say over the pool spread, most civilian vehicles split HP between pools equally, where tougher vehicles like tanks favor Might to Speed at a 2-1 ratio (so a Level 6 main battle tank would have 24 Might, 12 Speed), and high-performance racing vehicles would reverse that ratio. PC's draw from these pools when using effort on physical tasks while driving/piloting. Intellect tasks are drawn from the PC's personal Intellect pool.

Vehicles Effort and Edge:

Vehicles do not have an Effort or Edge score. When a PC uses effort and/or a special ability of the vehicle they use their personal Effort and Edge scores even if the pool their action draws from is the Might or Speed pool of the vehicle.

Optional Rule: Cinematic Vehicle Hit Points.

As a cinematic option some vehicles are simply mass-produced and piloted by faceless grunts, or as they might be called in a movie "Extras". These vehicles only get Level*1 HP and have a nasty tendency to explode inflicting their level in damage (remember to include the Size class modifier) in immediate range when they reach 0 HP. Massed formations of these cannon-fodder machines tend to chain-react. Mass produced mecha in many Japanese Anime tend to suffer from this.

Other vehicles are your major stars of the show and while they take a pounding their loss is a major event in the story. These vehicles have normal HP, and even once they've been reduced to 0 HP can be repaired. These vehicles are often the iconic home base of the PCs or the major villains of the story and even when they suffer a catastrophic defeat either manage to limp back or get towed to base, or in the most extreme cases their destruction gets a dramatic treatment suitable for a central character.


Every vehicle will have an armor rating of some kind from 0 to 3:

Armor 0: Essentially no protection whatsoever, this is typical of high-end sports and racing cars where lightweight but fragile shells are selected to enhance performance rather than protect the occupants. This is also typical of light civilian aircraft with fabric or fiberglass hulls, and vehicles that are little more than a framework to hold their components together.

Armor 1: This is typical of most vehicles from wooden horse-carts to most modern automobiles. Air combat vehicles designed for speed, like interceptor jets may also be Armor 1 vehicles.

Armor 2: Ground Attack aircraft, armored scout vehicles and most armored cars that are designed to not look armored. Construction equipment may also have this level of Armor.

Armor 3: Main battle tanks, battleships, any front-line ground vehicle.