Genesys Roleplaying Shadowrun

Genesys Part 12 Vehicle System

Genesys RPG

Shadowrun Part 12 – Vehicle System


This is a conceptual post about my journey building a Shadowrun campaign using the Genesys rule systems and how I am planning on introducing it to my players.

In the twelfth part of these articles I am detailing the rules associated with working and manipulating vehicles.

Vehicles 101

Some games make interactions with vehicles abstract enough that you don’t need special rules to govern them. However, other games prominently feature mechanized walkers, gadget-filled sports cars, and interplanetary starships. This section provides vehicle rules that integrate directly with Genesys, opening up these options to imaginative GMs and players.

Vehicle Characteristics

All vehicles are defined through a number of characteristics. These characteristics delineate such attributes as the strength of a starship’s shields or how quickly a race car accelerates off the line. The characteristics described here cover the bulk of important mechanical information about vehicles.

  • Handling – The measure of a vehicle’s agility and how well it responds to its pilot.
  • Maximum Speed – A vehicle’s top speed.
  • Silhouette – An abstract of the vehicle’s size.
  • Hull Trauma Threshold – A reflection of the sturdiness of a vehicle’s construction and its ability to sustain damage and keep operating.
  • System Strain Threshold – The limit to which a vehicle can be pushed or knocked about before important systems overload or shutdown.
  • Defence – A vehicle’s first line of defence against attack and accident. Typically representative of a starship’s ray shields and particle shields, defence also represents any factors, technological or otherwise, that prevent damage from reaching a vehicle’s armour.
  • Armour – The measure of a vehicle’s armour, similar to soak on the personal scale.

Handling reflects a vehicle’s inherent agility and the ways in which it responds to its pilot and crew. Enormous sailing ships might require incredible effort on the part of many crew members to turn, while advanced starships might have automated assistance to help pilots avoid obstacles and manoeuvre optimally. Factors such as shape, control systems, mass, or just general awkwardness all contribute to handling.

Mechanically, a vehicle’s handling characteristic dictates the number of Boost (Blue) dice or Setback (Black) dice added to your PC’s dice pool when making Piloting checks. Pilots add Setback (Black) dice equal to a vehicle’s negative handling value or Boost (Blue) dice equal to a vehicle’s positive handling value. See Table: Handling Examples for types of vehicles and their handling.

Table: Handling Examples

  • -4 Handling – Examples – Downhill sled, single-thruster rocket, train
  • -3 Handling – Examples – Aircraft carrier, dogsled, three-masted heavy frigate, space battleship
  • -2 Handling – Examples – Combat walker, heavy tank, passenger plane, sloop
  • -1 Handling – Examples – Hang glider, horse-drawn cart, light tank, motorcycle
  • +0 Handling – Examples – Consumer car, jetpack, motorboat
  • +1 Handling – Examples – Bicycle, hovercraft, trained horse
  • +2 Handling – Examples – Fancy car, fighter jet
  • +3 Handling – Examples – High-performance race car, snowmobile, stunt plane
  • +4 Handling – Examples – Neural interface exoskeleton, AI piloting-assisted space superiority fighter
Maximum Speed

An abstraction of both speed and acceleration, a vehicle’s speed characteristic dictates how fast it moves relative to its environment and what manoeuvres are available to the pilot. The listed speed is the maximum value at which the vehicle can travel. Vehicles can travel at speeds lower than their maximum listed value.

Note – When operating with house rules relating to connecting personal movement and vehicles on a map there are some changes that need to be made to allow for them to work in the same scene, otherwise the rules as written does not give vehicles and personal scale movement a fair representation.

House Rule – The vehicles speed becomes its acceleration or breaking value. First round of movement sets the squares speed of the vehicle, acceleration adds to this value, and deceleration decreases this value. Squares speed is how many squares the vehicle will have moved by the end of the round. If not used by the pilot, the remainder of this movement is done in a straight line in the direction it was facing.

Effects of Current Speed

When using vehicles, you should always track their current speed. A vehicle may be operating at any speed from zero to its maximum. Vehicle manoeuvres can be used to accelerate or decelerate (see Manoeuvres). Additionally, while a vehicle’s current speed is 1 or higher, certain other effects apply to it


Each round, a vehicle moves a certain distance based on its current speed. The pilot’s job, in theory, is to control this momentum so as to keep the occupants alive.

When your character is piloting a vehicle, they must steer the craft. At the beginning or end of their turn each round, you must have the vehicle move a certain number of range bands based on its speed, as detailed in Table: Vehicle Speeds in Structured Encounters.

A vehicle generally goes where the pilot wants it to as part of this movement. However, given that player characters are known for attempting to ignore such petty constraints as safety manuals, road signs, and consideration of the laws of physics, you can always require the pilot to perform the dangerous driving action to reach their intended destination (if doing is possible). Zigzagging through obstacles, turns harsher than ninety degrees, and anything involving safe embarkation or disembarkation without coming to a full stop should almost certainly require the pilot to use this action. If the pilot fails, you, the GM, determine the final position (and condition) of the vehicle, but at a minimum it should veer off course, and at worst, it might suffer a collision with one or more intervening objects (see Collisions).

If a vehicle has more than one pilot, steering only occurs on the turn of the first pilot to act each round. If a vehicle has no pilot who can steer it, it still moves – but it does so at the end of the round, and you determine its location and any objects it might hit along the way.

Table: Vehicle Speeds in Structured Encounters

  • Speed 0 – Forced Move 0 Range Bands – No other effects
  • Speed 1-2 – Forced Move 2 Range Bands – No other effects
  • Speed 3-4 – Forced Move 3 Range Bands – Upgrade the difficulty of all Piloting checks once. Add +20 to the result of any Critical Hit suffered as a result of a collision (see Collisions)
  • Speed 5+ – Forced Move 4 Range Bands – Upgrade the difficulty of combat checks targeting the vehicle once. Upgrade the difficulty of all Piloting checks twice. Add +40 to the result of any Critical Hit suffered as a result of a collision (see Collisions)

House Rules – I have changed the speed to represent acceleration potential and made the speed ratings here speed bands instead. So Speed Band 0 is equal to less than the vehicles move. Speed Band 1-2 is from the vehicles speed up to three times the vehicles speed. Speed Band 3-4 is from three times the vehicles speed up to five times the vehicles speed. Speed band 5+ is exceeding five times the vehicles speed. When using squares speed as a movement abstract to align up with character scale house rule movement the vehicles momentum is equal to the squares speed houserule.


There are occasions when vehicles will run into the terrain around them, or into another nearby vehicle. In these cases, there are two possible types of collisions: glancing blows (minor collisions) and head-on hits (major collisions). Collisions can be mitigated by ship’s or vehicle’s defences.

In the case of a minor collision, all vehicles involved suffer a single Critical Hit (see Vehicle Critical Hits). Subtract the vehicle’s defence times 10 from the rolled on Table: Critical Hit Result, on page 230 of the Genesys Rules. If the result is reduced to zero or less, the vehicle’s shields or other defences have nullified the collision entirely, and the Critical Hit is cancelled.

In the case of a major collision, all vehicles involved suffer a single Critical Hit as well. Subtract the vehicle’s defence times 5 from the Critical Hit result. If the result is reduced to zero or less, the Critical Hit is cancelled.

At your discretion, some particularly large vehicles might be able to ignore collisions with very small vehicles. However, larger vehicles have a harder time avoiding collisions with terrain features.


Much like the speed characteristic, silhouette is an abstract number, used to describe a vehicle’s size and mass relative to other vehicles. Silhouette factors heavily into scale and is used to calculate the difficulty of attacking targets of different sizes. Generally, large vehicles are easy to hit, and small vehicles are hard to hit.

Silhouettes range from 0 to 10 (or even higher). Silhouette 0 is smaller than a human, silhouette 1 is about the size of an adult human, and silhouette 2 is the size of most cars and large animals. Fighter jets, cargo planes, and tractor-trailer trucks range from silhouette 3 to 4. Navy battleships and starships range from silhouette 5 to 10.

Hull Trauma Threshold

Hull trauma threshold is a reflection of a vehicle’s sturdiness and resistance to damage. The sturdiness of a ship’s hull and mast, the quality of a bicycle’s chain and gears, and the resilience of a tank’s frame are all represented by hull trauma threshold. Hull trauma generally requires major body work on the vehicle to repair, which can be extremely costly.

Like the wound threshold of a player character, hull trauma threshold represents the amount of physical damage that a vehicle can suffer before it is rendered inoperable or destroyed. In game terms, when a vehicle exceeds its hull trauma threshold, one of two things happen. If it is occupied only by unimportant characters, such as minion NPCs, it is simply destroyed – crashes and crumples, flips over, or explodes. If it is occupied by plot-relevant characters, such as the PCs or rival/nemesis NPCs, it suffers a Critical Hit (see Vehicle Critical Hits) and becomes inoperable. Until its hull trauma is reduced to its hull trauma threshold or below, all of its components are compromised (see Vehicle Components).

Hull trauma threshold is measured in planetary scale (see Planetary Scale versus Personal Scale), meaning that one point of hull trauma equals 10 wounds on an individual.

System Strain Threshold

System strain threshold represents a vehicle’s ability to function under rigorous use and the point at which it overheats, depletes its power source, or otherwise ceases functioning. A sailing ship’s system strain threshold might represent the quality of moving parts like the tiller and ropes, while that of a futuristic battle-suit might represent the state of its cutting-edge reactor.

Most often, a vehicle suffers system strain due to the actions of its crew, as they push it to (or beyond) its breaking point. Driving a tank over rough ground or sailing a ship through a storm might well cause it system strain, as might pushing the engine of a car beyond its intended limits. You can also spend Threats on the pilot’s checks to inflict system strain on a vehicle, representing the character’s haste or carelessness causing stress to the craft.

Like the strain threshold of a player character, system strain represents the stress that the vehicle can tolerate before it overheats, breaks down, overloads, or generally ceases functioning temporarily. In game terms, when a vehicle exceeds its system strain threshold, the vehicle’s speed drops to 0 at the beginning of the following round. Until its system strain is reduced to its system strain threshold or below, its components cease functioning, as described in the Vehicle Components.

System strain is measured in planetary scale, meaning that one point of system strain equals 10 strain. It is important to note that, unlike personal strain, system strain cannot be recovered by spending Advantages. It can only be restored through actions taken by the crew or slowly over time.


In general terms, a vehicle’s protection is an amalgam of its manoeuvrability, the durability of its hull or chassis, the strength of its shields, and the thickness of its armour. In some settings, vehicles have simple protections like thick wood and metal plating, while in others, they are protected by reactive armour, diamond-hard carbon panels, or even energy fields that absorb oncoming attacks.

Genesys divides these protections into two discrete statistics: defence and armour.


Defence reflects a vehicle’s ability to completely deflect or reduce the damage of incoming attacks or collisions through ablative armour, deflector shields, point defence systems, illusory duplicates, or other, even more esoteric technologies.

Defence works the same as in the Personal Scale Combat System; each point of a vehicle’s defence adds Setback (Black) dice to any incoming attack roll (melee or ranged) made against the vehicle.


Armor is a flying vehicle’s second line of defence, and the only protection available to the majority of ground vehicles. It represents deflective plating of all varieties, and it soaks up damage from attacks and impacts that are able to penetrate a vehicle’s defence.

A vehicle’s armour soaks a number of damage points equal to its rating. Remember that because it functions on planetary scale, one point of a vehicle’s armour is equivalent to ten points of soak on a personal scale (see Planetary Scale versus Personal Scale).

Vehicle Weapons

Vehicle weapons share a number of characteristics. These weapons are very similar to those found in Character Equipment, with some differences.

  • Range – This is the maximum range of the weapon. Vehicle-mounted weapons use an additional range band for distances – strategic – as described in Planetary Scale versus Personal Scale.
  • Damage – This number is the base damage the weapon inflicts with a successful attack. For every net success generated during the attack, the attacker adds +1 damage to the base damage. Unless a vehicle weapon has the Personal Scale quality (see Planetary Scale versus Personal Scale), remember that each point of damage from a vehicle weapon is equivalent to ten points of damage on the personal scale.
  • Critical Hit Rating – Vehicles suffer Critical Hits rather than Critical Injuries, and this rating is the number of Advantages required to trigger a Critical Hit on a vehicle with the weapon. If enough Advantages is generated and a Critical Hit is triggered, the character firing the weapon rolls 1d100 on Table: Critical Hit Result on page 230, to determine the Critical Hit’s effect on the target. Some weapons and talents modify this Critical Hit roll, potentially making it more or less effective. In addition, a character can only generate one Critical Hit per hit on a target. However, if the roll generates enough Advantages to result in multiple Critical Hits, the character can choose to add an additional +10 per additional Critical Hit to the roll result.
  • Fire Arc – The direction or directions a weapon can be fired, based on its mounting. These are specified in individual vehicle profiles, and are generally a narrative constraint rather than a hard mechanical limitation. For instance, a forward-mounted weapon cannot fire on a target behind the vehicle, but a turret-mounted weapon can rotate to fire at any target not obstructed by the vehicle’s hull.
  • Special Qualities – Many weapons have additional item qualities that affect their performance. Descriptions of these special effects are found with the Character Equipment.
Vehicle Components

Most vehicles have a number of components, and these components can be damaged. We list the components and describe what happens when they become damaged (generally from a Critical Hit) here:

  • Brakes – If a vehicle’s brakes are compromised, its pilot cannot perform the decelerate manoeuvre. The vehicle can still coast to a stop over a long distance, or stop by colliding with something.
  • Defences – If a vehicle’s defences are compromised, reduce its defence to 0.
  • Hull – If a vehicle’s hull is compromised, its armour becomes 0.
  • Navigation – If a vehicle’s navigation is compromised, its handling becomes –3 (unless already lower).
  • Propulsion – Propulsion in any form is what moves a vehicle. If a vehicle’s propulsion is compromised, its pilot cannot perform the accelerate manoeuvre, and its current speed drops by one each round, to a minimum of 0.
  • Weapons – Some vehicles are armed with one or more weapons. If a weapon is compromised, it cannot be used (see Item Maintenance).

Repairing components requires a Mechanics check. Often the difficulty is determined by the severity of the Critical Hit; otherwise, it should be Average (two purple) or Hard (three purple), at you, the GM’s, discretion.

Repairing Hull Trauma

While system strain and the results of some Critical Hits are temporary, hull trauma is more permanent. Repairing hull trauma requires three things: proper facilities, money, and time. Proper facilities have enough tools, light, parts, and workspace to make the repairs to the vehicle.

We recommend paying 100 to repair 1 hull trauma, but the cost can fluctuate based on your characters’ reputation, the scarcity of parts, and other factors at your discretion as GM. A good rule of thumb is that light damage (up to a quarter of a vehicle’s total hull trauma threshold) should take an amount of time measured in days, while any damage over that takes weeks or even months to repair.

Emergency Repairs

The pilot or crew of a vehicle with hull trauma that exceeds its hull trauma threshold may attempt emergency repairs by scavenging all available parts from the vehicle and making a Hard (three purple) Mechanics check. Success brings the vehicle back to some semblance of life. The vehicle reduces its hull trauma to one point below its hull trauma threshold, but its defences, hull, navigation, and weapons remain compromised until it receives more time-intensive repairs.

Removing System Strain

While the situation aboard a vehicle that has exceeded its system strain threshold is indeed dire, not all is lost. Any crew member can aid the vehicle in removing system strain by performing repairs and damage control such as rebooting systems, bypassing fried circuits, and putting out electrical fires. This is accomplished through the damage control action.

Vehicles also recover from system strain slowly over time. For every full day a vehicle spends without taking more system strain, it reduces its total system strain by one.

Planetary Scale versus Personal Scale

Vehicles are bigger than people. They also tend to move faster, and if they have weapons, those weapons are much more powerful than something a person can carry. To represent this, we’ve created something called planetary scale (as opposed to personal scale, which is what your characters operate in most of the time).

Planetary scale is just personal scale, but expanded. To accommodate a vehicle’s expanded range (and sometimes the expanded range of its weapons), we added in a sixth range band, strategic range. Vehicle weapons also operate at planetary scale, which means they do much more damage then personal scale weapons. We discuss both of these points here.

Strategic Range

Strategic range is a sixth range band that represents distances beyond extreme range. At this range, people cannot see one another with the naked eye, nor can they interact without technological assistance – thus, it is not included in the standard five range bands. However, when you are using a vehicle, especially one with advanced sensors or other magnification technologies, this is the farthest range at which you can interact with targets. Vehicles can generally detect one another at strategic range unless one or both are going out of their way to be stealthy, but they cannot pinpoint infantry at this distance without sensors, spotters, or similar assets.

Indirect-fire weapons such as artillery often function at strategic range, as do self-guided weapons like homing missiles and torpedoes. However, most vehicle weapons (such as a fighter jet’s machine guns or a sailing ship’s cannons) do not function at strategic range, and have ranges of long or extreme instead. As a general rule, we limit most weapons requiring direct line of sight to extreme range.

As strategic range is the sixth range band, the difficulty of making ranged combat checks at strategic range is Formidable (five purple).

Planetary Scale Combat

When dealing with a vehicle’s weapons, armour, and hull trauma threshold, every point is equal to ten points of the equivalent characteristic in the personal scale. For example, a machine gun with a base damage of 3 mounted on a helicopter deals three points of damage when fired at another vehicle, but thirty points of damage when fired at a human. Conversely, a human-sized assault rifle would need to deal ten points of damage to a helicopter to inflict even one point of damage on it.

Note that planetary scale weapons deal massive amounts of damage to individuals. Most hits deal enough damage to far exceed a character’s wound threshold, automatically incapacitating the target. However, you may feel this is insufficient to represent the power of these weapons, so you may have characters add +50 to the resulting Critical Injury roll. (Also, those “hit” by a planetary scale weapon might be on the periphery of the blast zone, explaining why they survived somewhat unscathed.)

Also note that to avoid having weapons such as pistols dealing Critical Hits to heavily armoured combat craft, their damage must exceed a starship’s armour before the shot can inflict a Critical Hit.

House Rules – Unless the weapon is personal scale, then vehicles consider everything within their silhouette as engaged, and unable to hit. For example, a Silhouette 3 vehicle, considers everything within 3 squares of its edge to be too close for its main weapons.

Item Quality – Personal Scale

This quality exists only for vehicle weapons. We use this quality when we want to put small-scale weapons on a vehicle, such as the machine guns on the side of a combat helicopter, or a grenade launcher on an APC. The quality has the following rule: this vehicle weapon’s entire profile uses personal scale instead of planetary scale.

Range Bands in Space

Space is really, really big. When we discuss range bands, it doesn’t seem like those distances are big enough to really represent the distances in space. However, the beauty of range bands is that they’re not tied to a specific, measurable distance. So, we recommend that when you use vehicles in space, you scale up the ranges slightly. Engaged may be two spacecraft docked with each other, and short and medium range may be only slightly farther than their equivalents on the ground. But long range and extreme range may represent hundreds of kilometres, while strategic range may represent thousands.

Vehicle Combat

Combat engagements between vehicles function using the same basic combat rules as found in the Combat System. Vehicle combat is not intended to be a completely separate rules system. Instead, it is designed to be an added layer of detail on the standard combat rules that allows you to run structured gameplay encounters using characters, vehicles, or both.

Vehicle combat in Genesys follows the same order and rules as those detailed in Combat System. This section includes guidance for using vehicles in combat, and certain additional rules to facilitate the use of vehicles in battle.

Small Vehicle Combat

Combat between small vehicles like tanks, fighter jets, personal spacecraft, or attack walkers is relatively straightforward. The pilot has one vehicle manoeuvre and one vehicle action (or two vehicle manoeuvres) during each turn.

Small vehicle combat (especially with high-speed vehicles like fighter jets) is quite abstracted. As they constantly move and strive for the advantage (thanks to their incredible speed and agility), it would be nearly impossible to map out every move a fighter jet makes. Instead, you and your players describe the actions the characters take, embellish them with narrative flair, and then make skill checks to resolve the actions.

Capital Ship Combat

Combat in larger, capital-class vehicles such as battleships (of the aquatic or stellar variety) is, by necessity, more abstract due to their complexity and the number of crew members involved. Like small vehicles in combat, capital ships can only perform one vehicle manoeuvre and one vehicle action (or two vehicle manoeuvres) during their turn, as directed by the pilot or captain.

Along with the pilot, each additional crew member can use their personal actions and manoeuvres to crew weapons, operate sensors, move about the ship, and generally engage in combat. This all happens in the same round, and it is subject to Initiative order just like personal combat. Something to remember concerning vehicle combat with capital ships is that each capital ship is likely to have hundreds or thousands of crew. GMs and players should not track all of their Initiative slots and actions during combat. Instead, only focus on those individuals who are doing things pertinent to the ongoing encounter, and feel free to ignore the rest.

Mixed Personal and Vehicle Combat

Sometimes, characters might engage with vehicles despite being on foot, or a battle might contain armour and infantry elements. Characters on foot might even be pursued by enemies with small vehicles like motorcycles or horses, or a character might be thrown from their vehicle mid-battle. In such cases, the characters in vehicles behave as if they are involved in a small vehicle combat (or even a capital ship combat), while those outside of vehicles take their turns as usual, as described in the Combat System.

Although foot soldiers generally do not appreciate fighting tanks, they do have one advantage: they are harder to hit than most vehicles. As smaller targets, they are harder to hit, whereas infantry can hit tanks with ease, even if they struggle to damage them. Although difficulty for combat checks is set based on range, smaller individuals still get bonuses for attacking things larger than they are.

Combat Turns

Much like personal combat, combat between vehicles in Genesys is largely an abstract, narrative-driven activity designed for quickness and ease of use. As such, the manoeuvres a vehicle performs are open to narration and the interpretation of you and your players.

Player character pilots follow the same rules of the combat system. This means they can perform one action and one manoeuvre during their turn. They may also be able to perform a second manoeuvre by either suffering strain or spending Advantages, although they cannot take more than two manoeuvres during their turn.

Pilot Only Manoeuvres and Actions

Some manoeuvres and actions are specified as “Pilot Only.” Pilot Only manoeuvres and actions affect the current speed and positioning of the vehicle. As each vehicle has a cap on how far and how swiftly it can move, its manoeuvres and actions are limited, as described below.

A vehicle can benefit from only one Pilot Only action per round.

Additionally, a vehicle can benefit from one Pilot Only manoeuvre per round, and it can benefit from a second Pilot Only manoeuvre if it suffers 2 system strain. If the vehicle has a single pilot, the pilot must also suffer 2 strain (or downgrade an action to a manoeuvre) to perform two manoeuvres, as per combat rules.

Some vehicles can have multiple pilots, in which case two different pilots can each can perform a Pilot Only manoeuvre. In such cases, the vehicle suffers system strain for the second manoeuvre, but the second pilot does not.

Vehicle Manoeuvres

Less involved than actions, manoeuvres are simple activities that do not typically require a skill check. Beyond all the manoeuvres in personal combat, there are several manoeuvres that apply specifically to vehicles. These additional manoeuvres follow the usual rules governing manoeuvres (see Combat System). In addition (and especially in larger vehicles), characters are assumed to be able to perform any personal manoeuvres such as dropping prone, managing gear, interacting with the environment, or aiming with vehicle or personal weapons (although you should use common sense as to what a character can and cannot do given the situation).

All manoeuvres have a current speed, which is how fast the vehicle has to be going to perform the manoeuvre.

Accelerate Manoeuvre
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – Any

The pilot may increase the vehicle’s current speed by one or more, to a maximum of the vehicle’s maximum speed. The vehicle suffers a number of system strain equal to the amount its speed increased minus 1, to a minimum of 0.

House Rules – when used with the squares speed rule the speed can be accelerated up to its speed rating without strain, exceeding this speed is possible and costs 1 strain for each multiple of the speed chosen. It cannot be accelerated with a multiple higher than the speed rating of the vehicle. i.e. a speed 3 vehicle can accelerate up to 12 squares per manoeuvre taking 3 strain, this is 3 for the base, and 3 bands of 3 each band costing 1 strain beyond the first.

Brace for Impact Manoeuvre
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – Any

Once per round, the pilot may use this manoeuvre to adjust the vehicle’s position to minimize incoming damage. Until the beginning of the pilot’s next turn, whenever the vehicle is dealt damage, the pilot may have the vehicle suffer system strain up to its silhouette to reduce the damage it suffers by that amount, to a minimum of 0.

Additionally, until the beginning of the pilot’s next turn, whenever the vehicle suffers a Critical Hit, the pilot may have the vehicle suffer system strain up to its silhouette to reduce the Critical Hit result by ten per point of strain it gains this way, to a minimum of 0. If the result is reduced to 0 this way, the Critical Hit is cancelled.

Decelerate Manoeuvre
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – 1+

The pilot may decrease the vehicle’s current speed by one or more, to a minimum of 0. The vehicle suffers a number of system strain equal to the amount its speed decreased minus 1, to a minimum of 0.

House Rules – when used with the squares speed rule the speed can be decelerated up to its speed rating without strain, exceeding this speed is possible and costs 1 strain for each multiple of the speed chosen. It cannot be decelerated with a multiple higher than the speed rating of the vehicle. i.e. a speed 3 vehicle can decelerate up to 12 squares per manoeuvre taking 3 strain, this is 3 for the base, and 3 bands of 3 each band costing 1 strain beyond the first.

Evade Manoeuvre
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – 0 to 4
  • Current Speed – 3+ (House Rule – or speed band 3-4 or more)

Once per round, the pilot may perform this manoeuvre to dodge incoming fire. Until the beginning of the pilot’s next turn, upgrade the difficulty of all attacks made against the vehicle and by characters in the vehicle.

Reposition Manoeuvre
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – 1+ (House Rule – or speed band 1-2 or more)

The pilot may move the vehicle one range band. This manoeuvre reflects minor repositioning to avoid obstacles, close or widen distance in a chase, or otherwise shift within the environment in small ways.

Vehicle Actions

In combat involving vehicles, your character can perform some actions that specifically apply to their vehicle. Some of these actions are labelled as Pilot Only actions. A vehicle may benefit from only one Pilot Only action per round (see Pilot Only Manoeuvres and Actions). Pilot Only actions are actions that affect the movement of the vehicle itself, which may only move so fast and so far.

Like vehicle manoeuvres, vehicle actions have a current speed requirement that the vehicle has to be traveling at to perform the action. Also remember that any of the actions in the Combat System can also be performed in combats involving vehicles, within the bounds of common sense.

Dangerous Driving Action
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – 1+ (House Rule – or speed band 1-2 or more)

The pilot attempts to control the vehicle as it takes a sharp turn, tries to coax the vehicle through a series of narrowly placed obstacles, or otherwise performs an improbable feat of operating prowess.

When performing the Dangerous Driving action, the character makes a Piloting check with a difficulty equal to the silhouette of the vehicle. Keep in mind that the current speed of the vehicle can alter the difficulty of such checks – and amplify the consequences of failure!

Blanked Barrage Action
  • Pilot Only – No
  • Silhouette – 5+
  • Current Speed – 0-3 (House Rule – or up to bottom half of speed band 3-4)

The gunner uses the ship’s weapons to raise a curtain of fire around the ship, protecting it from smaller vehicles. Any smaller vehicle attempting an attack run will must brave a hurricane of heavy weaponry. This action also speeds up combat when your vehicle has lots of guns.

When performing the Blanket Barrage action, your character makes an Average (two purple) Gunnery check and selects all weapons of a single type that share a firing arc. Those weapons count as firing that round. This action requires at least two weapons to use, and it cannot be used if there are not two weapons of a single type that share a firing arc. Until the end of their next turn, all vehicles of silhouette 4 or smaller upgrade the difficulty of any combat checks made against your character’s vehicle once, plus one additional time per two Advantages on the check. If their combat check generates two Threat, they suffer one automatic hit, which deals half the base damage (rounding up) of the type of weapon used in the Blanket Barrage action. If their combat check generates Despair, they suffer one automatic hit dealing the full base damage instead.

At your discretion, the Blanket Barrage might not cover all arcs of the vehicle, leaving some areas open.

Concentrated Barrage Action
  • Pilot Only – No
  • Silhouette – 5+
  • Current Speed – 0-3 (House Rule – or up to bottom half of speed band 3-4)

The gunner directs the vehicle’s fire to focus on a precise point on the opponent’s hull. Focusing fire in this way has the potential to deal significant damage. This action also speeds up combat when your vehicle has lots of guns.

When performing the Concentrated Barrage action, the character selects all weapons of a single type (such as 24-pounder cannons aboard a seagoing craft, or railguns aboard a starship) that share a firing arc. This action requires at least two weapons to use, and it cannot be used if there are not two weapons of a single type that share a firing arc. Although the character is firing multiple weapons, the character makes a single combat check, as per the rules for the Perform a Combat Check with Vehicle Weapons action. If the attack succeeds, the character may spend an Advantage once to add damage equal to the number of weapons involved in the attack to one hit of the attack.

The Concentrated Barrage action can only be used to target vehicles with a silhouette of 5 or higher.

Concentrated Barrage Action
  • Pilot Only – No
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – Any

As a vehicle takes damage, sparks fly and systems begin to fail. The Damage Control action can mitigate this stress. When performing the Damage Control action, choose whether you want your character to repair system strain or hull trauma. Then, make a Mechanics check, with the difficulty determined by Table: Damage Control Difficulty. If the check is successful, reduce the vehicle’s system strain or hull trauma by one per uncanceled success.

Table: Damage Control Difficulty

  • Easy (one purple) – System strain or hull trauma less than half the Threshold.
  • Average (two purple) – System strain or hull trauma less than Threshold.
  • Hard (three purple) – System strain or hull trauma exceeds Threshold.

Characters can use the Damage Control action to repair system strain multiple times during an encounter. However, only one Damage Control action can be made to repair hull trauma during an encounter – no matter how many characters are on the vehicle. In both cases, you decide whether your players’ characters can use the Damage Control action, depending on the current situation (a fighter pilot probably couldn’t climb out of their plane to patch their wing, after all).

Characters can also use this action to repair Critical Hits the vehicle is suffering from. The difficulty of repairing a Critical Hit is listed in the Severity column of Table: Critical Hit Result, on page 230 of Genesys. Checks to repair Critical Hits can be attempted multiple times, until the Critical Hit is repaired.

Gain the Advantage Action
  • Pilot Only – Yes
  • Silhouette – 1 to 4
  • Current Speed – 4+ (House Rule – top half of speed band 3-4 or more)

This action reflects the frantic give-and-take of a dogfight between small vehicles. It allows a pilot to gain the upper hand against a single enemy vehicle, manoeuvring to deny that foe shots while setting up attacks of their own.

To execute this action, the pilot chooses one enemy vehicle and makes a Driving or Piloting check, the difficulty of which is determined by the relative speeds of the vehicles involved in the attack (see Table: Speed Advantage Difficulty). If the pilot succeeds, they gain the advantage. While a pilot has the advantage, upgrade the ability of all combat checks made from the pilot’s vehicle against the target vehicle twice, and upgrade the difficulty of all combat checks made by the target vehicle against the pilot’s vehicle twice.

Table: Speed Advantage Difficulty

  • Easy (one purple) travelling at same speed band.
  • Average (two purple) Pilots vehicle is moving one band faster.
  • Hard (three purple) Pilots vehicle is moving one band slower.
  • Increase check (House Rule – plus one purple) for each additional speed band difference

Once one pilot gains the advantage, on the following turn, the opponent may attempt to cancel out the advantage by using Gain the Advantage as well. This works as described earlier, but the difficulty of the Piloting check is increased by one. After all, it is harder to manoeuvre to get on an opponent’s tail if that opponent is already on your tail!

Gain the Advantage Action
  • Pilot Only – No
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – Any

When aboard a vehicle in combat, those who are not piloting or firing weapons may still want to contribute to the encounter. Although the number of options open to them is limited only by a player’s creativity, Table: Additional Vehicle Actions has a list of actions passengers can attempt during encounters. The table lists the actions, the skill required, the check’s attendant difficulty, and the results of a success. These actions are all covered by the perform a skill check action, and are by no means an exhaustive list – and obviously, not all of these actions are appropriate for all vehicles or settings, so you should be sure to use common sense when choosing actions. However, they do serve to provide a range of ideas.

Table: Additional Vehicle Actions

  • Plot Course (Average (two purple) Piloting check or Hard (three purple) Perception check) – The crew member studies the terrain ahead and plots a course that should take the vehicle safely through it. On a successful check, each uncanceled Success reduces the Setback (Black) dice suffered for difficult terrain by one.
  • Co-pilot (Average (two purple) Driving, Piloting or Operating check) – The crew member serves as the vehicle’s co-pilot, managing systems and auxiliary equipment to allow the pilot to focus on flying or driving. On a successful check, each uncancelled net success downgrades the difficulty of the pilot’s next Driving, Piloting, or Operating check once.
  • Jamming (Average (two purple) Computer – Sysops check) – The crew member uses the vehicle’s systems to jam the communications of enemy vehicles. On a successful check, the enemy must make an Average (two purple) Computers – Hacking check to use its own communication systems. The difficulty increases by one for each additional two successes, and the jamming affects an additional target for each Advantage spent.
  • Boost Defences (Hard (three purple) Mechanics check) – The crew member reroutes power from other systems to boost the defensive systems of a vehicle. This only works if the vehicle already has a defence of 1 or greater. On a successful check, the vehicle suffers 1 system strain and increases the defence of one defence zone by one until the beginning of the character’s next turn. Each additional net Success increases the duration by one round.
  • Manual Repairs (Hard (three purple) Athletics check) – In some cases, repairs can be as simple as welding a sturdy metal plate over a damaged system. If the character has the proper tools for the job, they can attempt to use the Damage Control action with Athletics rather than Mechanics. If successful, the character removes one point of hull trauma from the vehicle, plus one additional point for each additional net two Success. This follows the limitations of the Damage Control action, and thus may only be attempted once per encounter.
  • Fire Discipline (Hard (three purple) Leadership or Discipline check) – The character forgoes fighting to analyse the opponents’ tactics and direct their comrades in achieving greater accuracy with weapons fire. If the check is successful, the next crew member firing a weapon on the vehicle adds a Boost (Blue) dice to their check (plus an additional crew member for every additional net two Successes). The character may also spend three Advantages to allow every hit from shipboard weapons to inflict 1 system strain on their target as well as regular damage until the beginning of the character’s next turn, as the carefully timed shots pummel shields and overload systems.
  • Scan the Enemy (Hard (three purple) Perception check) – The character uses the vehicle’s scanners to study the enemy. If successful, the character learns what weapons the targeted vehicle has, its modifications, and its system strain and hull trauma thresholds. The character can also spend two Advantages to learn its current system strain and hull trauma levels.
  • Hack Enemy’s System (Hard (three purple) Computers – Hacking check) – The character uses computers to attempt to disrupt the systems of an enemy vehicle. If successful, the character compromises the defences of the target vehicle for one round per net Success (see the Vehicle Components). A Triumph may be spent to compromise one enemy weapon of the character’s choice, and two Advantages may be spent to inflict 1 system strain on the target vehicle.
  • Intercept Projectiles (Hard (three purple) Computers – Hacking or Gunnery check or Average (two purple) Vigilance check) – The character tracks incoming attacks and uses vehicle systems to disrupt guided projectiles such as missiles, or drops flares and chaff at an opportune moment. If the check is successful, any attacks against their vehicle using weapons with the Guided quality upgrade their difficulty once (plus an additional upgrade for every additional net two Successes) until the start of the character’s next turn.
perform a Combat Check with Vehicle Weapons Action
  • Pilot Only – No
  • Silhouette – Any
  • Current Speed – Any

This is similar to the perform a combat check action, with some minor differences in implementation due to the differences between vehicles and individuals. These differences are described below:

  • Each weapon on a vehicle may be fired a maximum of once per round.
  • Targets must be within the firing arc of the weapon, as determined by the relative position of vehicles (and the GM’s discretion).
  • Although the attack difficulty is still based on the range to the target, vehicle rules do add the sixth – strategic – range band. Attacks made at strategic range have a difficulty of Formidable (five purple). Also, vehicles have wide variance in silhouettes, so you should be sure to use the Size Differences (Silhouettes) rules.
  • Most weapons on vehicles deal damage on planetary scale, meaning each point of damage is the equivalent of ten points of damage on a personal scale.
  • When a vehicle suffers damage, it reduces that damage by its armour, to a minimum of 0. Any remaining damage is applied to the vehicle as hull trauma.
Vehicle Modifiers
Hazards and Difficult Terrain

Dangerous obstacles can make a stunt even more hazardous to perform. You should add Setback (Black) dice to checks based on the obstacles involved. See the table below for suggestions.

  • No Setback (Black) dice
    • Ground – Flat, clear terrain. Roads, firm fields, grassy plains, or (if flying) clear skies and good weather.
    • Space – A relatively unchallenging navigational situation. A broad, loosely packed asteroid field, for example, or a thin, calm nebula.
  • One Setback (Black) dice
    • Ground – Somewhat trickier terrain. Scattered trees, dense brush, rolling hills, sand dunes, or windy weather.
    • Space – More challenging but not seriously daunting obstacles. Flying over mountains on a moon, or a thick asteroid field or nebula.
  • Two Setback (Black) dice
    • Ground – Dangerous terrain. A thick forest, steep and rock-covered hills, or flying during a violent storm.
    • Space – A dangerous astronomical feature. Flying around a fracturing comet, or navigating a dense and turbulent asteroid field.
  • Three Setback (Black) dice
    • Ground – Very risky terrain. Sheer cliff faces, deep swamps, or a canyon only just wide enough for the vehicle to fit through are good examples of this.
    • Space – An extremely dangerous situation, such as approaching gravitational anomalies, flying through asteroid tunnels, or other dangerous and foolhardy pursuits.
Speed Modifiers for Use in Personal Scale
  • Bikes – Starting speed x10

Note – Here are the ones I use in Star Wars for reference.

  • Airspeeder – Starting speed x100
  • Landspeeder – Starting Speed x50
  • Wheeled and Tracked – Starting Speed x20
  • Walkers – Starting Speed x5
  • Note – Starships in atmosphere use the Airspeeder multiplier.
Vehicle Critical Hits

Vehicles do not suffer Critical Injuries; instead, when a vehicle would otherwise suffer a Critical Injury due to Advantages or Triumphs on an attack (or any other effect), it suffers a Critical Hit instead. Effects that apply to the results of Critical Injuries, such as the Vicious quality, do not apply to Critical Hits (and effects that apply to Critical Hits do not apply to Critical Injuries).

When an attack generates a Critical Hit, the attacker rolls on Table: Critical Hit Result, on the GM Screen, and the target suffers the listed effects. Critical Hits are divided into four severity levels, which dictate the difficulty of the check required to repair the Critical Hit, as listed in the table. These difficulties can be further modified at your discretion.

Once a vehicle suffers a Critical Hit, it counts as suffering that Critical Hit until it is repaired. This status counts even if the effects of the Critical Hit only last a single round. While a vehicle is suffering a Critical Hit, any additional Critical Hits generated against it add +10 to the roll on Table: Vehicle Critical Hit Result per existing Critical Hit.

Remember that an attack must inflict damage for the attacker to activate a Critical Hit. Because vehicles operate on the planetary scale for damage, a hit from a personal scale weapon must inflict at least 10 damage (1 damage on planetary scale) after reductions for armour for the attacker to be able to inflict a Critical Hit.

Content Updates

  • 2022-06-18 – Changed the bike multipler from Star Wars x20 down to x10 for use in Shadowrun.
  • 2022-06-07 – Finished outlining the page and ready for publishing.
  • 2022-06-05 – Created this page.
Genesys RPG

Building my own Shadowrun in Genesys:

Part 1 – Why choose Genesys
Part 2 – Setting, Races and Careers
Part 3 – Changes to History
Part 4 – Character Creation
Part 5 – Magic System
Part 6 – Hacker System
Part 7 – Player Races
Part 8 – Player Careers
Part 9 – Specialisations
Part 10 – Combat System
Part 11 – Social System
Part 12 – Vehicle System
Part 13 – Equipment System

References: Equipment, Vehicles

ExamplesBolt, Cuscus, Desrin Deadshot, Floggar, George, Rakash, Shadowstar, So-Cal Burns, Womp, Human Mage Arcanist

Shadowrun RPG

Game Management: Choosing a new Campaign, Creating a SR Campaign Skype, Tracking Experience

Locations: Seattle 2069, ShadowSea

Storyline: Seattle Elections 2069

Corporations: Ares, Aztechnology, Evo, Horizon, MCT, NeoNet, Renraku, Saeder-Krupp, Wuxing

References: Corporations, Personalities, Rewards, Timeline, Vehicles

Security: Automated DefencesBarriersCountering Matric ThreatsCountering Physical ThreatsDoorsHTRLandscapingSensors

Campaign 2

Gen 3 – 2050

Campaign 1

Gen 1 Street: The Setup, Year One – Origin Story, Year Two – Emergence

Gen 1 Runner: Year Three – Ghost Cartels, Year Four – Artefacts, Year Five – Horizon

Gen 2 Street: The Setup, Year Five – Horizon, Year Six – Dragons, Year Seven – Jet Set

Gen 2 Runner: Year Eight – Sprawl Wilds, Year Nine – Stolen Souls

Gen 3 Runner: The Setup, Year Nine – Stolen Souls, Year Ten – Lockdown

Gen3 Terrinoth:

Gen3 Prime: Year Ten – Lockdown, Year Elven – The End.

Library of Books

B5, d20 System, Pathfinder, SW

Main Logo

This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.

Basic Links: Who Am I?, Home, Game Tools, Game Session Videos, My Campaigns, My Library, Site Map, Subscription Information

Game Systems: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder 1 & 2, Shadowrun, Star Wars. Other Game Systems

Site sponsored by the author AS Hamilton (my wife) with her books available on amazon kindle.

By thedarkelf007

I am a long term gamer, I run 6 RPG's a fortnight, host board game, card game and LANs each about once a quarter and have an addiction to buying more games. Games I am currently running are Pathfinder (1st and 2nd Edition) and Dungeons and Dragons (5th Edition).

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