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> Quest for the Holy Grail: good suppression fire, 80s run/firearms realism
Wounded Ronin
post Oct 21 2007, 12:11 AM
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Pulling together suppression fire rules built on changes to firearms combat

I would like to thank everyone who has posted on http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?show...opic=19418&st=0 regarding my various questions about firearms. I spent many hours yesterday brainstorming on a small yellow pad thinking about the points raised on that thread and I believe that I have come to the point where I've come up with a good suppression fire mechanic but it also depends on a revision of the to-hit system. Since the people on DSF are the best I've ever seen when it comes to clear-headed in-depth analysis of the SR system I would be delighted and honored to hear any comments that you would like to add.



I. Stress levels

Crusher Bob suggested in the aforementioned thread that characters could have a stress level ranging from 0-6 reflecting how badly their hands are shaking. For the purpose of this rules revision I'm implementing this. Each point of stress your character has translated to a straight-up TN penalty to ranged firearms tests, and also to Perception tests for the purpose of noticing new actors entering combat, which simulates tunnel vision.

Every time rounds fly within a 5x5x5 meter area of your character, roll a number of dice equal to the number of rounds against your character's Willpower score. For every 2 successes the bullets make against your Willpower gain 1 point of stress, up to a maximum of 6.

Every time you are within 200% of the blast radius of an explosion roll a number of dice equal to the initial starting Power of the explosion versus your Willpower and treat the results in the same way as for bullets. This represents how big explosions can deafen and disorient you.

In addition to the two above tests, every time your character is hit roll your character's Willpower (with wound mods) versus a TN equal to the number of damage or stun boxes that were just filled up. Subtract (successes/2) from the number of boxes just filled up, and add that to your stress meter. Negatives do not subtract.

At the end of each turn, roll your character's Willpower versus the number of stress points your character has. Wound mods apply to this roll. Every 2 successes reduces stress points by 1 level.

OPTIONAL RULE: Partially to be in keeping with the 80s, and partially to allow for characters to be more experienced in managing combat stress, there's an optional Active Skill called Zen Buddhism which is linked to Willpower. This skill allows a character to add a number of dice equal to his Zen Buddhism skill to any Willpower tests relating to stress.



II. To-hit system revision, which suppression fire rule is built on

Using the data kindly uncovered by various forum members in the above thread I realized that the kinds of probabilities I should be going for would come out to someone with a skill of 2 or 3 hitting a target at close range under non-ideal lighting combat conditions around 10-15% of the time. This means that in the dicussion that follows my typical close range TN would not be 4 or 6, but rather 15. Kindly bear this in mind.

IIa. Tribute to Raygun

First, I need to clarify that I decided to take a page from the Raygun playbook and get rid of Dodge Tests versus firearms attacks. Raygun writes,

QUOTE

Dodging a bullet should be almost impossible.  No matter what your Quickness Attribute is, or how much cyberware you have, a bullet will always be faster than you, no matter what.

First, in order for a character to dodge a ranged ballistic attack, he must fill two criteria: He must be aware that the attack is coming, and he must have space available to dodge into.

A Perception Test should be applied if the attack is not apparent.  If he fails the Perception Test, he is not allowed to dodge.  If there is no space available to dodge, the character obviously is not allowed to dodge at all.

If he has passed the Perception Test and has space to dodge into, his Reaction Attribute is used to apply modifiers to the attacker's Success Test.  Use the table below the apply the appropriate modifier.

Dodging Character's Reaction Attribute, Attacker's Target Number Modifier
1-3, +2
4-6, +3
7-12, +4
12+, +5

-the target's Damage Modifiers



IIb. No more called shots or TN penalties for cover

There are no more Called Shot actions, nor TN penalties for firing on someone who is using cover. Instead, called shots happen "automatically" with a lot of successes, and hitting someone using cover basically requires making the right called shot.

If someone scores a hit with only 1 success the hit is randomly determined to be an arm or leg. If someone is behind cover such that the arm or leg hit was actually impossible to hit the attack misses. The damage level of the weapon is reduced by 1 level.

If someone gets 2 successes the hit is to the torso or waist but not the lungs and heart. If the target was behind cover such that the torso or waist was covered up the attack misses. The damage level of the weapon is as written.

If someone gets 3 successes there's a nice center of mass hit over the heart or lungs. The damage level of the weapon is boosted by 1. If the heart and lungs are behind cover it's a hit to the cover instead.

If someone gets 4 successes or more the target was hit in the head. If the person was wearing a helmet it would be a hit to the helmet. The damage code of the weapon is boosted by 2.

If someone gets 5 successes the target is hit right between the eyes. Helmets that don't have ballistic visors (did those exist in the 80s?) don't do shit and the damage code of the weapon is boosted by 3. I suppose that if the shooter was behind the target (i.e. sniper) this puts a round right where the spine enters the skull or the spine right below the helmet line.

A character may choose to "downgrade" the hit he gets on an opponent to a hit which requires less successes. So someone with 5 successes could choose to hit as though he only had 1 success. This would eliminate the need +4 TN called shot rule and also add hit locations.

IIc. More than 1 success possible with 1 dice

I realized with the above system that it would be mathematically impossible for someone with Pistols 1 to shoot his enemy in the eyes which in my mind is very unrealistic. Therefore, I decided that if a single dice rolls double the required target number (and remember that in a firefight I'm ideally wanting to have TNs of ~15, so this would be a rare occurance) it results in 2 successes. If a single dice rolls triple the required target number, it results in 3 successes, and so on. This way it's mathematically possible that a 1-dice newb could luck out and shoot you in the eye, but it's just very unlikely. This rule would also play an important role in how suppressive fire works, below.

IId. Semiautomatic fire rate upped

Many people on DSF have complained that even a weak rent-a-cop should be able to fire more than 2 rounds from his Glock in the space of 3 seconds. Thus I revise semi automatic fire as follows: each Simple Action allows for *two* SA shots, whereas a Simple Action only allows for 1 SS shot (but still a total of 2 SS shots from 2 Simple Actions).

That way someone may Take Aim with his Glock and then double tap an opponent. Also, someone using a revolver in SS no longer has the no-brainer Take Aim action.


III. Automatic Fire

Taking another cue from Raygun, I decided that in the interests of realism and making suppression fire work well weapons should have their real cyclic rate of fire instead of having a 10 round maximum for automatic fire. Since these rules are being used for 80s run the real cyclic rates of fire are out there just waiting to be looked up, plus Raygun lists quite a lot of them in his rule set.

Since there wouldn't necessarily be wired reflexes etc. in the 80s generally speaking 1 Complex Action would spew out 3 seconds worth of rounds from the weapon. However, if a speedy character acts twice in one turn each Complex Action would spew out 1.5 seconds worth of rounds from the weapon. There's a certain temporal distortion here but it's the best we can do without actually playing a FPS game.

When a character uses burst fire or automatic fire to open fire at his target he rolls his skill for each bullet in the air divides his combat pool on a bullet by bullet basis. This is backsliding a bit to 1st ed, but it fits into the suppression fire model below, because each round that misses the target counts as suppression fire in the 5x5x5 meter square surrounding the intended target. Thus it's possible to spray one enemy with automatic fire and at the same time suppress the people standing next to him.

The multiple-successes-with-one dice is also important to this rule because it means that it's unlikely but mathematically possible that one of your rounds could catch someone in the eye from sheer luck, as opposed to that mathematically never being able to happen. The main drawback to this is how a FN minimi (M249) is probably going to spray out 50 rounds a combat turn.

IIIa. Recoil

People on DSF have often complained about how recoil in SR3 is overdone. So, I propose the following revisions.

Recoil for pistol-style weapons without a stock held by the hands and not braced against the body is +1 TN per additional round fired, whether in SA, BF, or FA modes.

Recoil for weapons with stocks used 1 handed, such as a mini-uzi with a folding stock deployed, would be a +1 TN for every 2 rounds fired.

Recoil for full-size SMGs such as Thompson M1A1, carbines, and assault rifles with cartridges smaller than 7.62 NATO would be +1 TN for every 3 rounds fired. A former Army sergant once posted on the internet about how bracing a M16A2 against your nutsack and using burst fire would produce nothing more than a pleasant vibration.

Recoil for rifles and machine guns in 7.62 NATO or heavier, up to the next cateogry below, would be +1 TN per additional round fired.

Finally, recoil for something ridiculous like .50 BMG or a minigun with thousands of rounds of 7.62 NATO flying everywhere would be +2 TN per additional round fired if not properly mounted.

IIIb. Managing Recoil

In the 80s there aren't voodoo gas recoil compensation III systems or what have you. Recoil may instead be managed by firing using a bipod, a tripod, or by mounting the weapon on a helicopter or vehicle. The latter 2 are normally only done for machine guns.

A bipod brings the recoil category of the weapon using the bipod down by 1. So by the rules above an unsupported M14, being a rifle in 7.62 NATO, would have a recoil of +1 TN per additional round fired. But if it were being fired prone and supported with a bipod the recoil would be reduced down to the previous category, i.e. +1 TN for every 3 rounds fired.

A tripod brings the recoil category of the weapon by 2.

Mounting a weapon on a helicopter or vehicle reduces the recoil category of the weapon by 3.


IV. Supression Fire

Suppression fire has traditionally been handled poorly in games but I feel like I've thought of a good mechanic for it with the rules foundations I've laid out above. Of course I could be wrong so please give me an earful.

A character can engage in suppression fire in two ways. The first way is he fires on a target but misses a lot; all the missed rounds resulting from that attack are considered suppression fire in the 5x5x5 meter area around the target. The second way is that he intentionally lays down suppression fire and articulates to the GM how many consecutive 5x5x5 meter chunks of game space he is going to cover and how many rounds he is going to put in each, up to the maximum ROF for the weapon in question.

For each 5x5x5 area being suppressed, roll 1 dice for each round of suppression fire in that area. Divide all the dice in the area evenly amongst all the possible targets in that area and then treat each bullet as a 1-dice attack against the targets. Recoil penalties do not apply to these attacks.

Because it's possible but unlikely that a single dice can get multiple successes, it's now mathematically possible to get lucky and for suppression fire to send a round into someone's eye which would be better than supression fire only being able to hit arms and legs, ever.

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Narse
post Oct 21 2007, 04:18 AM
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Hmm... instead of basing how well a shot is placed based on number of successes you could base it on highest TN achieved (for 1 round attacks). This would be more like SR3's open tests. It could work like this: if the result of your open attack roll is:
1 or 2 less than TN: Damage Level is staged down - grazing extremity hit
equal to, or 1 or 2 greater than TN: Damage level remains the same. - Torso shot, misses vital organs
3,4, or 5 greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 1. - Vital organs damaged.
6+ greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 2. - Head shot.
Note: this works best with TN's greater than 9 where this wide a spread doesn't make it very likely that a character will hit. Also shift or modify as you think creates better balance.

In this way any person can put you in the ER with one well placed or lucky shot.

You could using this system also have additional successful dice stage up the power, perhaps by how much they exceed the TN.

Alternatively you could have the other dice represent the other rounds fired (if a burst or full auto attack) and determine where they hit based off the result of each die. This way more emphasis is placed on skill for large numbers of rounds fired as if you fire more rounds in an action than your skill the extra rounds automatically miss (but provide suppression).

Let me be the first to recommend a modifier to your stress points: Stimulants should reduce the degree to which stress affects your aim (they will keep your hands from shaking to a certain degree. Perhaps the origination of the phrase: "crack shot"?) They also increase the grunge/grit factor by a ton. I mean think of the wonderful possible criminal underworld tie-ins this could produce in a game. And just the feeling it adds. One example scene: cops bust into a guys house while he's doing lines of coke, he grabs his 9mm SA, and caps 2 of 'em before they can get off 2 shots (each) with their .38 revolvers. IIRC body armor sucked (relative to today) during the 80's. (Not that I would know from first hand experience.)
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Ryu
post Oct 21 2007, 10:16 AM
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I like the combat stress idea, too. How about adding a positive quality "combat vet" that allows the character to ignore a certain number of stress points? Making do without another die roll-mechanic would be preferable IMO, so certain situations could have an associated stress level, that affects characters differently. Willpower could factor in by providing stress resistance.
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nezumi
post Oct 21 2007, 01:04 PM
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I deign to honor you.

I.
Remember that if you're changing firearms, you're almost certainly going to change the RoF to match realistic rates. Therefore, basing combat stress from suppressive fire on the number of rounds could leave you rolling 100 dice against a TN of 3 pretty regularly. You might want to divide it by some number and round up (unfortunately, breaking the general Shadowrun theme of rounding down).

Secondly, remember that explosives have VERY high power to their attacks. I would probably divide that power by some number.

Related, Can a character take a Complex Action to make a willpower test to reduce it without waiting until the end of the turn? In fact, I would probably recommend that. I can't imagine in combat a character getting sprayed at with bullets and three seconds later thinking 'oh hey, that wasn't so bad, I better shoot back!' Plus it gives a very substantial advantage to faster characters since they get an action every turn with minimal penalties.

In addition to Ryu's edge, Combat Vet, I was thinking there could be edge/flaw matchings like Psychopath or Delusional, which could also serve to reduce that penalty, but that comes with its own bad things.

II.
Should we assume that two SA attacks in a single SImple Action are effectively a two round burst? That would make the most sense to me.

QUOTE
When a character uses burst fire or automatic fire to open fire at his target he rolls his skill for each bullet in the air divides his combat pool on a bullet by bullet basis.


Alright, so we have a skill 6 character using an M-60 with an ROF of approximately 28 rnds/turn. The character then rolls 6 28 times, or 168 dice.

I think I see a problem here. If you let automatic fire just add dice, it broadly increases the idea of 'more bullets hit causing more damage' (although without the part about hitting particular areas) without resulting in tremendous numbers of dice thrown.

IV

I like that part! Might just apply it to my normal SR games. Also, have you considered looking at narrow/wide burst rules? I know I've seen them around here before, and they would seem to make sense for these purposes.


As an aside, I still don't see how to determine if people in a suppressed area get hit or not if they aren't specifically targeted. Did I miss that?
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 21 2007, 01:11 PM
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Shadowrun does not have a theme of rounding down. At best it has a weak tendency towards it.

~J
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 22 2007, 11:02 PM
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QUOTE (Narse)
Hmm... instead of basing how well a shot is placed based on number of successes you could base it on highest TN achieved (for 1 round attacks). This would be more like SR3's open tests. It could work like this: if the result of your open attack roll is:
1 or 2 less than TN: Damage Level is staged down - grazing extremity hit
equal to, or 1 or 2 greater than TN: Damage level remains the same. - Torso shot, misses vital organs
3,4, or 5 greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 1. - Vital organs damaged.
6+ greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 2. - Head shot.
Note: this works best with TN's greater than 9 where this wide a spread doesn't make it very likely that a character will hit. Also shift or modify as you think creates better balance.

In this way any person can put you in the ER with one well placed or lucky shot.

Okay, I've been thinking about this since the last time I posted on DSF and I like the fact that it would increase the probability of an unskilled person getting a good shot in. There are a few considerations, though.

1.) I suck at math. How can I calculate the probability of a character with X dice rolling versus TN Y and rolling at least Z over TN Y? I figure I need a formula I can use so that I can get a feel for how the probabilities would work out.

2.) I'm still grappling with a way of using this method with automatic fire. As Nezumi pointed out it probably isn't good to stick with the original way of doing things and having someone be able to roll over 100 dice from firing a M60 so perhaps I could revise automatic fire along the lines of using this threshold system.

I'm a little bit wary of letting more dice just contribute to the damage code beacuse I felt that way of doing things caused some pretty serious problems with SR3, where using semi automatic fire could often dish out a lot more damage that using bursts and so forth. Resisting a damage code as 9M several times was in my experience a lot more futile than resisting a burst at at something like 12S once. I feel like there's a certain logical disconnect there. If there were a way to have automatic fire result in actual multiple hits I think I would prefer that on the grounds that it feels a lot more realistic. Finally, there's also something of a need to count bullets on some level if you want to have a sensitive representation of suppression fire.

So here is some brainstorming.

Perhaps I need to treat semiautomatic attacks and 3 round bursts differently from autofire at the max cyclic rate of fire for the weapon.

I could treat SA attacks by rolling the dice with that threshold mechanism, allowing for 2 SA attacks per simple action, or 1 3 round burst per simple action. Thus at most we'd be seeing 4 SA shots OR 2 BF shots of 6 dice rolls. The burst fire would represent carefully aimed automatic fire. I guess that means logically speaking that even FA-only weapons need to allow the user to squeeze off 3 round bursts.

The FA would use a different rule mechanic where I still try and keep track of all the bullets but at the same time we aren't stuck rolling hundreds of dice per character per turn. Perhaps there could be a 2-step process to this. First, the shooter would roll his skill versus the TN to hit the opponent, which includes any recoil penalties that would apply for the number of bullets being fired. The shooter may use combat pool for this test. Every 2 successes lowers the TN to hit that opponent in stage 2. In stage 2, we roll 1 dice for every round fired, and we use the threshold system against the modified (potentially lowered from part 1) TN. So we can have a lot of dice but each one has a small probability to hit.
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 27 2007, 05:26 AM
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URL for linking: http://forums.dumpshock.com/index.php?show...=0&#entry602485

Well, it seems like there have been no replies in a few days, which suggests that the stuff posted most recently seems reasonable enough that there are no obvious and glaring objections. So, as we currently stand, here would be the edited version of the rules, after input from various interested community members:

I. Stress levels

Each character has a stress level ranging from 0-6 reflecting how badly their hands are shaking. Each point of stress your character has translated to a straight-up TN penalty to ranged firearms tests, and also to Perception tests for the purpose of noticing new actors entering combat, which simulates tunnel vision.

Every time rounds fly within a 5x5x5 meter area of your character, roll a number of dice equal to the (number of rounds/5) rounded up against your character's Willpower score. The maximum number of dice which may be rolled against Willpower for this test is 10, since after a certain point the difference between 50 or 60 bullets in the air becomes imperceptible to the person being shot at. For every 2 successes the bullets make against your Willpower gain 1 point of stress, up to a maximum of 6. If the attacker rolled very poorly or is attacking from Extreme range the GM may rule that the rounds were so far from your character when they impacted that they do not contribute to this test.

Every time you are within 200% of the blast radius of an explosion roll a number of dice equal to (the initial starting Power of the explosion/2) versus your Willpower and treat the results in the same way as for bullets. This represents how big explosions can deafen and disorient you.

In addition to the two above tests, every time your character is hit roll your character's Willpower (with wound mods) versus a TN equal to the number of damage or stun boxes that were just filled up. Subtract (successes/2) from the number of boxes just filled up, and add that to your stress meter. Negatives do not subtract.

Your character may use a complex action to try and steady his hands. Roll your character's Willpower versus the number of stress points your character has. Wound mods apply to this roll. Every 2 successes reduces stress points by 1 level.

Besides for the above mechanic, a character's stress points reduce back to 0 when the GM decides it would be appropriate, such as after the mission when the character has rested for half an hour at his safe house and nothing stressful has happened during that time.

Combat Veteran Quality: Combat veterans are less vulnerable to combat stress and resulting combat inefficiency. For the price of 2 character build points per level, a character may purchase levels of Combat Veteran. Each level of Combat Veteran automatically negates 1 level of combat stress which a character would otherwise have gained. If the GM is using the Priorities system he may consider making Combat Veteran available as an active skill linked to (Total Karma/10).

Stimulants: Stimulant abuse may help prevent hands from shaking to varying degrees. Cocaine is very Miami Vice!

OPTIONAL RULE: Partially to be in keeping with the 80s, and partially to allow for characters to be more experienced in managing combat stress, there's an optional Active Skill called Zen Buddhism which is linked to Willpower. This skill allows a character to add a number of dice equal to his Zen Buddhism skill to any Willpower tests relating to stress.

II. To-hit system revision

IIa. Raygun dodging

QUOTE

Dodging a bullet should be almost impossible.  No matter what your Quickness Attribute is, or how much cyberware you have, a bullet will always be faster than you, no matter what.

First, in order for a character to dodge a ranged ballistic attack, he must fill two criteria: He must be aware that the attack is coming, and he must have space available to dodge into.

A Perception Test should be applied if the attack is not apparent.  If he fails the Perception Test, he is not allowed to dodge.  If there is no space available to dodge, the character obviously is not allowed to dodge at all.

If he has passed the Perception Test and has space to dodge into, his Reaction Attribute is used to apply modifiers to the attacker's Success Test.  Use the table below the apply the appropriate modifier.

Dodging Character's Reaction Attribute, Attacker's Target Number Modifier
1-3, +2
4-6, +3
7-12, +4
12+, +5

-the target's Damage Modifiers


IIb. We're now using the margin of success rather than number of successes to determine how good an attack was

When the attacker uses SA or BF to attack a target he rolls all of his skill dice and elective pool versus the target number. However, it would be unrealistic if a man rolling 1 dice were incapable of getting lucky and putting a round in your eye. So the result of the attack is determined instead by the threshold by which you manage to roll higher than the target number.

Highest roll is equal to TN: Damage Level is staged down 1 level; this would represent a hit to the limbs and although the damage level is reduced your character may not be wearing armor on the arms and legs. If the specific limb hit matters the GM may roll a dice to randomly determine Right Leg, Left Leg, Right Arm, or Left Arm.

Highest roll is 1 or 2 greater than TN: Damage level remains the same; this represents a torso or waist shot that misses vital organs.

Highest roll is 3, 4, or 5 greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 1 level; this represents a center of mass shot in the heart or lungs.

Highest roll is 6+ greater than TN: Damage Level staged up 2 levels; this represents a headshot. The GM may flip a coin to decide if the round hit a helmet and thus is opposed by some armor or if the round flew right between the eyes.

IIc. No more called shots
In keeping with the above model, there are no more called shots. However, a character may choose to downgrade the his attack from a higher category to a lower category, for example treat a roll that is 6 higher than the TN as though it were only 5 higher than the TN, with the hit location and damage code being adjusted downwards accordingly. This represents how good shooting can either be interpreted as the "best" roll, or as a called shot to someplace less lethal.

IId. Cover handled differently
In keeping with this model, cover no longer gives a TN penalty to the attacker. Instead, cover is likely to cover up every part of a combatant besides for the right arm and the head. If the attacker's degree of success only lets him hit a part of his target which is covered by the cover the attack has its power reduced for punching through the barrier before the attack is applied to the target. That way cover

IIe. SA fire mode ROF upped

Many people on DSF have complained that even a weak rent-a-cop should be able to fire more than 2 rounds from his Glock in the space of 3 seconds. Thus I revise semi automatic fire as follows: each Simple Action allows for *two* SA shots, whereas a Simple Action only allows for 1 SS shot (but still a total of 2 SS shots from 2 Simple Actions).

That way someone may Take Aim with his Glock and then double tap an opponent. Also, someone using a revolver in SS no longer has the no-brainer Take Aim action.

I would rather not treat 2SA attacks as a Short Burst since I feel like that SR didn't handle the damage difference between 2SA attacks and a short burst elegantly. Also, I'd rather deal with damage on a round-by-round basis on the whole.

IIf. Burst fire handled on a round by round basis

Burst Fire is still a Simple Action but instead of making 1 dice roll I would rather treat it as 3 attacks. The player decides how much pool he wants to put on which bullet and rolls 3 attacks, with appropriate recoil mods, discussed below.

A player with a Burst Fire weapon may use a Complex Action to spit out 6 rounds in Full Auto. This is a condensation of 2 Simple Actions at three rounds apiece.

IIg. Raygun recoil comp

Raygun also wrote rules for attributes helping a character control recoil.

QUOTE

Quick reflexes are far more important than strength when it comes to controlling recoil.  Quickness is required to control the recoiling pistol and align the sights for the next shot as fast as possible.  Intelligence is required to keep from over-correcting.  Thus, Reaction is the ideal attribute to apply to this rule.

Another advantage in controlling recoil is the sheer mass of the person pulling the trigger.  People with heavier bodies can absorb more energy from recoil with the benefit of less motion.  Add both the Body and Reaction attribute ratings together, then divide them by two.  Take the total and apply it to the table below.

Result    Recoil Reduction
1-4        None
5-6        -1
7-8        -2
9-10      -3
11+        -4


IIh. New Weapon Class Ranges

Raygun's weapon class ranges are much more sensible than the default values.

CODE

Type                Short     Medium     Long     Extreme
Hold-out            0-3        4-10        11-20    21-35
Medium Pistol    0-5        6-20         21-40    40-60
Heavy Pistol      0-10      11-20       21-50    50-100
Light Carbine    0-20       21-50      51-100   101-250
Carbine            0-50       51-150    151-250 251-350
Sniper Rifle      0-150     151-350   351-800 801-1500
AM Rifle           0-100     101-300  301-900  901-2400


IIi. A word on suppression

It's not important to do a full writeup on suppressed firearms at this moment, but I'd like to state ahead of time that I'd plan to use Raygun's excellent rules for various types of suppression, as he handles not only specific suppressors in detail but also the issues that arise when suppressing supersonic ammunition.

IIj. New target numbers

I don't have my SR3 rulebook so cannot refer to the table of ranged combat modifiers. However, I think I can throw out a few tentative values for basic ranged combat target numbers on the grounds that I know I'd want a typical TN at close range to end up being around 15, and that by all means the vast majority of combat ranged combat TNs should be over 9 if I'm going to use the threshold system and I don't want constant headshots galore.

So, how about this...

Short range base TN: 8
Medium range base TN: 10
Long range base TN: 12
Extreme range TN: Something really huge, please see the sniping thread

III. Automatic fire

Automatic fire needs to be handled a little bit differently than burst fire so that we aren't rolling hundreds of dice per attack.

In this rule set, weapons would have their real world cyclic rate of fire, which may be looked up on the internet, and which are also nicely listed on Raygun's SR firearms page. Divide the number of rounds the weapon could spit out in 3 seconds by the number of actions the shooting character has to derive the maximum rate of fire available to a character equipped with an automatic weapon.

First, the shooter would roll his skill and pool versus the TN to hit the opponent, which includes any recoil penalties that would apply for the number of bullets being fired. Every 2 successes lowers the TN and this modified TN will be used to hit that opponent in stage 2. In stage 2, we roll 1 dice for every round fired, and we use the threshold system against the modified (potentially lowered from part 1) TN. Pool may not be used to augment this set of rolls. So we can have a lot of dice but each one has a small probability to hit. Also, even if the character rolls poorly there's also a small probability he can still hit from luck using spray and pray tactics. Note that we're keeping track of each bullet so we can treat missed rounds in a precise manner as suppressive fire.

The multiple-successes-with-one dice is also important to this rule because it means that it's unlikely but mathematically possible that one of your rounds could catch someone in the eye from sheer luck, as opposed to that mathematically never being able to happen as it would be under the old rules.

IIIa. Recoil

People on DSF have often complained about how recoil in SR3 is overdone. So, I propose the following revisions.

Recoil for pistol-style weapons without a stock held by the hands and not braced against the body is +1 TN per additional round fired, whether in SA, BF, or FA modes.

Recoil for weapons with stocks used 1 handed, such as a mini-uzi with a folding stock deployed, would be a +1 TN for every 2 rounds fired.

Recoil for full-size SMGs such as Thompson M1A1, carbines, and assault rifles with cartridges smaller than 7.62 NATO would be +1 TN for every 3 rounds fired. A former Army sergant once posted on the internet about how bracing a M16A2 against your nutsack and using burst fire would produce nothing more than a pleasant vibration.

Recoil for rifles and machine guns in 7.62 NATO or heavier, up to the next cateogry below, would be +1 TN per additional round fired.

Finally, recoil for something ridiculous like .50 BMG or a minigun with thousands of rounds of 7.62 NATO flying everywhere would be +2 TN per additional round fired if not properly mounted.

IIIb. Managing Recoil

In the 80s there aren't voodoo gas recoil compensation III systems or what have you. Recoil may instead be managed by firing using a tripod, or by mounting the weapon on a helicopter or vehicle. This is normally only done for machine guns.

A tripod brings the recoil category of the weapon by 1. So a M60 mounted on a tripod would generate +1 TN for every 3 rounds fired instead of +1 TN per every round fired.

Mounting a weapon on a helicopter or vehicle reduces the recoil category of the weapon by 2.

IV. Suppression fire

A character can engage in suppression fire in two ways. The first way is he fires on a target but misses a lot; all the missed rounds resulting from that attack are considered suppression fire in the 5x5x5 meter area around the target which may hit targets besides for the one the shooter initially tried to fire upon.

The second way is that he intentionally lays down suppression fire and articulates to the GM how many consecutive 5x5x5 meter chunks of game space he is going to cover and how many rounds he is going to put in each, up to the maximum ROF for the weapon in question.

For each 5x5x5 area being suppressed, roll 1 dice for each round of suppression fire in that area. Divide all the dice in the area evenly amongst all the possible targets in that area and then treat each bullet as a 1-dice attack against the targets. Recoil penalties do not apply to these attacks.
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nezumi
post Oct 27 2007, 11:53 AM
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I think these rules are divergent enough from SR3 at this point to warrant testing. Do you have any plans for doing that?
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FrankTrollman
post Oct 28 2007, 07:37 AM
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Looking through the math, I really don't like the interactions it has with variable TN. I honestly think you should go fixed TN like SR4 did.

The wounds, for example. At Light you never get stress because you need 2 hits at TN 2. At Moderate you get 2 Stress every time because 2 or 3 hits at TN 5 (Possible) gives you 2 Stress, 4 or 5 hits at TN 5 (not possible) gets you 1 Stress, and it takes 6 hits at TN 5 (ain't going to happen) to negate Stress and fight on like Rambo. And finally, taking a Serious Wound simply maximizes your Stress all the time, because it takes 2 hits at TN 9 to drop the Stress gain to five, and even a racial maximum Willpower only generates 1 average hit. I would much rather see something smoother, in which characters rolled against a static TN and simply had to get more hits for bigger wounds. By requiring more hits and raising the TN together, the roll becomes a formality in almost all cases. At Light you aren't going to fail so it doesn't matter, at Serious you aren't going to succeed so it doesn't matter. That's unfortunate.

I'm not saying that SR4 is the one and true path or anything. I really think dropping LMSD damage was a mistake. After all, shifting to static TN and keeping scaling damage boxes is a great way to keep damage scaled to a reasonable degree. It is desirable for small shifts in Body to equate to large shifts in perceived toughness. After all, Mr. T probably has a Body of 6 and Mr. Rogers has a Body of 2. So going to static TN and a 1-hit damage level shift mechanic would result in Mr. T feeling really tough in the system.

But variable TNs doesn't look like it does what you want it to do. It certainly doesn't do what I want it to do.

-Frank
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 28 2007, 10:55 PM
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I think my biggest problem right now is that I'm not sure how to calculate probabilities with the new system that I am proposing, so there are probably flaws which I cannot discover. If someone who is good at math could tell me how to calculate probabilities under the system I'm suggesting I could go and double check everything. Certainly, once I find something that seems to make sense statistically it would require playtesting.

In my mind, here is the biggest rub:

I want to be able to do the following key things: First, I want to be able to track attacks on a bullet by bullet basis, on the grounds that that would be required for a refined handling of suppressive fire. Secondly, I want a cop rolling 4-6 dice at close range on the street to end up hitting about 15% of the time. Thirdly, I want it to be possible, if unlikely, that someone rolling only 1 dice can fill your Condition Monitor with one hit, because this ties into suppressive fire and also because it would be very unrealistic if it were impossible for someone only rolling 1 dice to get completely lucky and hit your face.

Issue number 3 and issue number 1 create problems with the original SR3 system of staging by successes, and that's why somebody suggested a threshold system. So that the poorly aimed random bits of lead could do damage if you were unlucky and suppressive fire was actually dangerous in sufficient volume. However, by getting rid of stagng by successes I create two problems: first, I don't know how to compute probabilities anymore, and second, as Nezumi pointed out, it's significantly different than the SR3 system which would make it less approachable. Even the mighty Raygun stayed closer to the SR3 system.

Bottom line? I'm open to genius deus ex machina suggestions that will make all my difficulties go away. :spin:
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FrankTrollman
post Oct 28 2007, 11:38 PM
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How about you throw down a system with a static TN and a built-in Rule of Six, where the number of successes you need to hit a man is not one?

So to make this concrete, let's say that you have a TN of 4, but rolling a 6 gives you an extra die. That means that the average hits per die is 0.6 while the chances of getting no hits on a die is still 50%. In our example, we have the PoPo running around with a 4 die pool and he gets an average of 2.4 hits. However in practice he gets 3 or more hits only 42.7% of the time, and only gets 4+ hits only 17% of the time. Drop the base TN to 5 (like it is in SR4) and you cut out about one hird of the hits.

Does that sound like more along the lines of what you are looking for? By making the number of hits explode massively on occassion, real damage would get put out at irregular intervals.

Of course, I think that the SR4 base dicepool (Attribute + Skill) is a step up over the SR3 dicepool (attribute at a penalty to TN or Skill), as the SR3 dicepool made ordinary bystanders sometimes better off not knowing anything about pistols than knowing anything about pistols (depending upon whether conditions were "bad" or "very bad"). You'd want to tweak costs of course, the SR4 skill costs are bullshit.

-Frank
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 29 2007, 12:06 AM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman)
How about you throw down a system with a static TN and a built-in Rule of Six, where the number of successes you need to hit a man is not one?

So to make this concrete, let's say that you have a TN of 4, but rolling a 6 gives you an extra die. That means that the average hits per die is 0.6 while the chances of getting no hits on a die is still 50%. In our example, we have the PoPo running around with a 4 die pool and he gets an average of 2.4 hits. However in practice he gets 3 or more hits only 42.7% of the time, and only gets 4+ hits only 17% of the time. Drop the base TN to 5 (like it is in SR4) and you cut out about one hird of the hits.

Does that sound like more along the lines of what you are looking for? By making the number of hits explode massively on occassion, real damage would get put out at irregular intervals.

Of course, I think that the SR4 base dicepool (Attribute + Skill) is a step up over the SR3 dicepool (attribute at a penalty to TN or Skill), as the SR3 dicepool made ordinary bystanders sometimes better off not knowing anything about pistols than knowing anything about pistols (depending upon whether conditions were "bad" or "very bad"). You'd want to tweak costs of course, the SR4 skill costs are bullshit.

-Frank

Thank you very much for your well thought out reply and for taking the time to try and help me. I appreciate it.

Well, the system you are proposing sounds like it would be more predictable than a threshold system which means that it would be better if I am trying to model certain statistical probability curves that I'm trying to copy from, say, the NYPD. At the same time, though, you do have the rare explosion of hits so the ganger can get lucky.

Is there a mathematical formula I can use to calculate probabilities associated with various numbers of dice against a certain TN? I don't feel like I have a good gut feeling for how the rolls would turn out as I have not played with a fixed TN system before.

It seems to me like the biggest problem with using this system you're suggesting is that it could create a lot of incompatibilities with the rest of the SR3 system. So if somebody decided that they wanted to play Knight Rider in the 80s and used the rigger rules from SR3 there would be a serious headache as soon as someone tried to fire a weapon mounted on a vehicle and there was conflict between the new firefight rules and the old vehiclular combat rules from Rigger.

Okay, how about this...give me your thoughts.

What if I used the old SR3 system of variable target numbers, and 6s exploded (i.e. roll another dice and add the result on top of your six for a higher total), but at the same time, each time your 6 exploded, you ALSO added one more dice to the total number of dice you are rolling. That way, it would be highly unlikely, bu the 1 dice ganger could still roll up a lot of successes in theory if he rolled a lot of 6s.

I feel like that would preserve the elegance in your proposal of letting a 6 add dice but also not be too different from SR3.

But, I'm bad at math. Maybe my proposal is a bad idea in terms of math. I look forward to hearing your input; thanks again for all your kind consideration.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 29 2007, 12:26 AM
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QUOTE (FrankTrollman @ Oct 28 2007, 06:38 PM)
the SR3 dicepool made ordinary bystanders sometimes better off not knowing anything about pistols than knowing anything about pistols (depending upon whether conditions were "bad" or "very bad").

Hm, I hadn't noticed that before. It only happens at exactly TN 6, and only if you use no combat pool, but it does indeed happen (it would happen again at TN 12 and presumably at every multiple of 6 thereafter, but defaulting once pre-default-penalty TN hits 8 is banned).

Definitely a bug—but unless I'm mistaken (I don't have time to do the math) it's basically an extension of the 6=7 bug. Anything that fixes it should also fix this problem.

Edit: ok, it also happens when the TN drops to zero or below, but there's so much else at work with Rigging that I don't think that'll happen much.

~J
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kzt
post Oct 29 2007, 12:46 AM
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We only bought skills at high levels, because in SR3 you were better off defaulting than using one or two dice.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 29 2007, 01:02 AM
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Depends on what your attribute is, and what your definition of "better off" is. Even two dice gets you a better chance of at least one success at TN 4 than six dice does at TN 8, though it's balanced slightly by the fact that you can theoretically get more successes with the six dice. At TNs 5/9 it's the same (two dice not defaulting > six dice defaulting), while at 6/10 you need a third die to be better off not defaulting.

So it varies, but assuming TNs from 2 to 7 are evenly distributed you're still going to prefer two dice of skill to defaulting to six dice. They aren't, of course, evenly distributed, but I'm not sure what their prevalence actually is, and there are also a bunch of TNs above 7 (which favour low skill heavily) and some below 2 (which generally favour high attribute and defaulting).

Maybe if I'm looking to take a break from working in the wee hours of the morning I'll check out, say, the gear tables and see what it looks like defaulting with Charisma 6 or better versus going straight-up with Etiquette 2. It'll be interesting to see how it works out, as there are a bunch of things with Availabilities in the 5-6 range, but also a bunch in the 8+ range.

~J
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Wounded Ronin
post Oct 29 2007, 01:57 AM
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Well I think without question that actually having skill could screw you over in terms of probability is a bug, but as KZT pointed out most players never dealt with that because they took the obvious step of not buying skills at low levels.
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Kagetenshi
post Oct 29 2007, 02:12 AM
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Yeah, it's definitely a bug, but it isn't nearly as prevalent as kzt makes it out to be—that is, unless "high levels" is 3.

~J
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