Dec 062010

So, vehicles. They exist in Gamma World, but they’re poorly supported. Here’s a very rough sketch of how I might handle them in mine, if it came up:

– Vehicles have hit points (a given) and sometimes a resistance to physical damage. Size the hitpoints about how you might a monster of a level on par with the PCs current level. Resistances should be minor, and might convey onto the occupants (but not stack). Occupants of vehicles will in general have basic cover. A “bloodied” vehicle will need minor repairs after the encounter in order to function again. A vehicle reduced to zero hit points will immediately cease functioning and, if in motion at the time, crash. It may be totaled (reduced to negative bloodied value) or it may simply need major repairs to function again.

– Vehicles have a size, similar in intention and implementation to monster sizes, but might be narrower than they are wide. Size should refer to its longest dimension, so a 3-square-long (15′) vehicle would be Huge, etc.

– Vehicles act as mobile platforms that one or more creatures can occupy. They’re treated as difficult terrain in terms of moving onto them from the surrounding area, but movement inside in general should be treated as unimpeded (unless there are a lot of obstacles — seats, cargo, etc).

– Vehicles have a speed.

– One time this speed is considered “cruising”; two times this speed is “racing”.

– For a minor action on part of the driver, Speed can be temporarily boosted by a successful skill roll (Mechanics?) against a moderate target, adding two squares to the base speed of the vehicle for that round. Failing this roll reduces the base speed by two squares. (The increase/reduction reverses if the driver is trying to wrestle with the controls of an out-of-control speeding vehicle.)

– For a move action on the part of the driver, the driver can:
+ Increase the current speed from “stopped” to “cruising”
+ Increase the current speed from “cruising” to “racing”
+ Decrease the current speed from “cruising” to “stopped”
+ Decrease the current speed from “racing” to “cruising”
+ Turn the vehicle up to 90 degrees. (45 degrees — going from a perpendicular to diagonal direction or vice-versa — is also possible)
+ Make a (Mechanics?) roll to turn the vehicle more than 90 degrees. This is Moderate if the vehicle is currently cruising, Hard if the vehicle is currently racing.
+ Make a (Mechanics?) roll to take the vehicle from racing to stopped or vice-versa. Moderate difficulty.
+ If either roll is failed when attempted, the vehicle gains the Out Of Control condition (see below).

– Vehicles move a number of squares equal to their current speed at the end of the driver’s turn (or, if there’s no driver, at the end of the round).

– Crashes should be rated as doing damage as is level-appropriate for a low medium or high limited damage expression, with low/medium/high determined based on speed. Occupants that are not restrained will be pushed from the vehicle in a random (1d8 determines) direction equal to half the vehicle’s speed immediately prior to the crash. The vehicle takes damage from the crash as well.

OUT OF CONTROL (Condition)
– The vehicle can’t go slower than cruising
– All driver actions require a (Mechanics?) roll to succeed. Actions which would already require a roll are made at -2.
– If the driver makes a (Mechanics?) roll to control the vehicle, roll a d20. On a 10 or better, the vehicle loses the Out of Control condition.
– If the driver fails a (Mechanics?) roll to control the vehicle, roll 1d6:
1: The vehicle turns 45 degrees to the left
2: The vehicle turns 90 degrees to the left
3: The vehicle turns 45 degrees to the right
4: The vehicle turns 90 degrees to the right
5: The vehicle speed increases to racing if it isn’t already. If it is, the vehicle crashes.
6: The vehicle crashes.


  15 Responses to “Gamma World: Vehicle House Rules Rough Draft”

  1. I suggest adding a Driving skill or using Dexterity rolls for vehicle control.

    • Yeah, maybe. I’d love to make use of existing scaffolding, but that maybe necessary. Maybe each vehicle will have a default attribute used for piloting it… Take the bonus, add your level, and that’s what you roll…

    • Actually, driving would be Mechanics. It even says it in the skill description.

  2. All of this is pure excellence. I’ve been thinking about vehicle my-own-self lately, and assembled an even rougher, thinner, lighter version of it all, but many of the same sorts of things. Instead of more complexity, I think it would work brilliantly with less, abstracting it much like ammo and healing is.

  3. Since skill points in the 4E engine can vary so widely, you might want to do a “roll your highest out of these three skills” and pick two other skills in conjunction with mechanics so players aren’t consistently failing the skill checks.

    But then I haven’t played Gamma World yet, so I’m not sure how widely it differs from 4E in character creation re: skills and points therein. 🙂

    Looks great, though, I’ll have to bookmark this for reference in any 4E game. Thanks! 🙂

    • Skills are largely randomly assigned, as are the stats behind them, so a “roll your highest” might be the best (read: player-friendliest) implementation.

  4. I like it. You appear to have captured all the essential elements. I have two questions, though.

    1) Why the extra step after the skill check to gain control?

    2) What are you thinking for speed ratings? With character speeds at 6 squares, I’d expect vehicle speeds to be sufficiently big to be difficult to contain on a typical battle map.

    “If it came up.”

    I think I’ll bring a helmet Saturday.

    • Thanks for the reply David.

      #1 – Regaining control sometimes seems protracted in the movie in my mind’s eye — and when you succeed at a driving check, you’re exerting SOME control over the vehicle, so the second roll is about turning that into the Crucial Thing That Regained Control Of The Vehicle. It also means there’s a middle ground — make the check, miss the “save” (10+ roll), and the car will do what you want for a round, but the situation’s still at risk.

      #2 – Yeah, that’s the real trick. Most battlemats *can’t* contain a vehicle at that scale (even with vehicles going at base speeds of 6 to 10). You’d have to have a pretty deliberately structured map — circular track, for example, or a really long one — to do this well. Another thought would be, if someone’s in a vehicle, then it’s likely this is about multiple vehicles in action and very few people on the ground outside. So you could start treating the vehicles as fixed points with the *scenery* being what’s moving from turn to turn. In that case I’d probably alter these rules into a version more suited to a chase a la the one at the end of The Road Warrior.

    • #1 — OK

      #2 — You’d still need a pretty big map, but a Gamma World demolition derby could be amazing!

      For chases in games, I prefer the Savage Worlds approach—an abstracted ten spaces; each round the chasing vehicles can gain or lose ground; when the lead vehicle is ahead by more than ten spaces, it’s escaped; obstacles are introduced through initiative.

  5. Good stuff. A few suggestions:

    1) With regards to driving vehicles, how about this. First, the PC makes a Mechanics check to figure out how to start the vehicle (no doubt vehicles are in a variety of conditions and need jury rigging to start). Then it’s the higher of Dex or Int to drive the vehicle, the idea here is to keep things in-line with other actions. They can “turn off” the vehicle as a Standard Action (no roll) as they already know how to “un-jury rig” it.

    2) Vehicle Handling: This might be adding more complexity than needed, but some vehicles are easier or harder to drive for a variety of reasons; not the least of which is it’s condition. This might be a modifier to drive checks.

    3) Probably ought to come up with what damage is dealt if a character/creature is struck by a moving vehicle. You know this sort of thing will happen.

    Just some thoughts, hope they help,


    • Reading through the skill descriptions, it looks like the Mechanics skill is indeed uses for driving or flying vehicles. F.Y.I.

  6. […] @fredhicks: New on Deadly Fredly: Gamma World: Vehicle House Rules Rough Draft […]

  7. For stats, I’d suggest copying the GW weapons approach and have “heavy” and “light” vehicles, using STR/CON or DEX/INT as per. Use the skill DCs but give each vehicle a proficiency bonus (+3 baseline seems fine), and allow interested characters to take advantage of the room for tech, Omega Tech, and `special modifications’ that emerges. If you’re expecting a lot of vehicle-crashing/combat, take the next step and assign the vehicles a damage die.

    By way of introduction, introduce an (initially?) unfriendly sentient 2069 Dodgy Charger named `Duke Lee’. It probably wants its own Omega Tech, and an encounter power “Dip In The Road” that allows it to fly.

    • Hmmm. This cleaves close to my round two thinking, where the scale jumps out a bit (ala Hard Boiled Armies) and vehicles become characters (sort of). Must mull.

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