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Guye Noir
I just ran my first SR game a few nights ago and all involved had lots of fun. Combat went relatively smoothly, considering we were all brand new to the setting and the system. There was one thing, however, that sort of went a little weird.

Through a set of circumstances, one of my players and an NPC ended up shooting at each other at point blank range (the NPC walked up to the PC and pointed her SMG at his head, the PC attempted to talk his way out of it and failed, so he pulled his gun). The only thing in the RAW to prevent this, AFAIK, is the -3 penalty to making a ranged attack from within melee, and the -3 penalty to defender for defending against ranged attack from within melee. These rules don't make a whole lot of sense considering your target is right in front of you. Also, neither character wanted to withdraw because I remember reading a rule somewhere that moving away from an enemy gives them a free attack (although that could be rules leftover from d20 stuck in my head).

So, what bonuses / penalties am I missing that apply to making a ranged attack against a target at point blank range? If there aren't any in the RAW, what rules do you use? I'd really like to prevent this sort of thing from happening again because it's unrealistic and looks really stupid when I picture it in my head.

EDIT: lol, I just found the rule I was thinking of. Interception on page 151. However it only gives a free MELEE attack. So 2 gunfighters could move away from each other with minimal risk. My question concerning ranged attacks at point blank still stands, however, as I have a melee fighter adept in my group and I'm sure it'll come up again.
Ophis
I always figured that the difficultly to hit a taget at point blank in SR was due to the target try to know your gun the hell away from him... Not sure how realsitic it is as an ideas as it is a while since I was involved in a gun fight. Point blank on an unresisting target however should really give the shooter bonuses.

In the given situation I would penalise the dodge and NOT the shooter as he is not shooting into melee he is in it in the first place.
Jaid
my understanding of those modifiers was that it was -3 for shooting at someone while you are being attacked, or while they are fighting someone else... in other words, if you're fighting Bob the ghoul in melee, and you shoot at Joe the ghoul 10 meters away, you take -3 from the distraction of fending off Bob.

also, if Joe the ghoul is 10 meters away because he's busy trying to eat your pal (Jack, the mage) who has unarmed skill 1, AGI 1, BOD 1 and no weapons (silly mage), and you're trying to shoot Joe to help out Jack in his crappy situation, then you suffer a -3 penalty because Jack and Joe are grappling and struggling, making it hard to shoot Joe without the risk of hitting Jack.

or at least, that's how i see it.
hobgoblin
the rules for when gunfire and melee interacts in SR have allways left me puzzled. when exactly is a person in a melee? if someone have make a hand to hand attack against the person some time in the round, or the person have made a hand to hand attack?

hell, the friends in melee is equaly "wierd". when is a friend mixed up in the same melee? when he is targeting or have attacked/been attacked by the same person your attacking/been attacked by?

basicly they are missing examples from what i can see...

as for the negative ranged fire modifiers. i think the -3 to attacker only applys if he is attacking a target outside a melee he is currently mixed up in.

however, the -3 for the defender applys if he is in a melee and somone takes a shot at him from outside the melee.

i would say neither applys in this case tho. i would just rule out a dodge test for the defender and go straight for the body+armor test (or maybe even skip the armor as he is clearly making a called shot to bypass it).
evil1i
Yeah I think it is pretty much the same way Jaid. Although I think the -3 penalty should still apply to the original situation simply because being so close does allow for fending off the attack easier than at range (eg a small step sideways counts as a dodge from 2 feet whereas from 50 feet it hardly moves you out of line at all).

I personally would suggest only adding the -3 to the attacker if the target is aware of the attack whereas I would only apply the -3 to defender if they were defending from a second attacker in melee or if the attacker isn't in the melee attack)

so for example:

1. Dave sneaks up behind Bob and shoots him at point blank range - no -3 penalty for Dave as Bob isn't aware of attack.

2. Dave attempts to shoot Bob in the chest again from point blank but this time bob is aware of him. -3 for Dave to hit Bob but no -3 for Bob to defend against Dave.

3. Bob trys to punch Dave in the face whilst Wanda (Bob's skanky slitch) pulls her holdout pistol from her rather large cleavage and trys to shoot Dave whilst Dave trys to again shoot Bob in the chest. so Dave gets -3 to defend against Wanda plus -3 to shoot Bob, Wanda gets -3 for trying to shoot into a melee (doesn't want to hit Bob!) and Bob gets no penalties.
Divine Virus
My understanding of shooting in a melee is as follows. You have a gun out and are trying to shoot the guy while keeping a katana or, god forbid, a monofilament whip at bay. Because in addition to aiming, which is notably easier, you also need to keep from being cut into little bitty peices you get a -3. As for defending, my understanding is that you get a -3 penaty from you melee defense pool when your opponet is shooting at you at such close ranges. YOu are still parrying and fienting, however now you have the added challenge of not letting the barrel of the gun get infront of you. hence the -3.
MaxHunter
D.V. I agree on the first part of your post, shooting while trying not to be minced gets a penalty.
However, for defense I understand that the -3 that you mention secondly applies to dodging incoming fire while you are distracted fighting melee.

Cheers,

Max
Edward
My understanding of this particular instance is that it is not a melee.

You are in melee with somebody if one of you has tried to make a melee attack.

Take these examples.

Bill and bob are fighting poor sap (ps).

bill moves up to and attacks PS
bob moves up to and attacks PS gaining FIM bonus.
PS attacks bill taking FIM penalty
Bill attacks PS gaining FIM bonus.
PS is so screwed

Next example bill and bob are standing side buy side.
PS attacks bill, because bob hasnít been attacked buy, or attacked PS there is no FIM.
Bill attacks PS, again no FIM because bob hasnít goten involved yet.
Bob attacks PS gaining the FIM bonus and again PS is toast.

Edward
hobgoblin
QUOTE (evil1i)
Yeah I think it is pretty much the same way Jaid. Although I think the -3 penalty should still apply to the original situation simply because being so close does allow for fending off the attack easier than at range (eg a small step sideways counts as a dodge from 2 feet whereas from 50 feet it hardly moves you out of line at all).

but lets not forget the scale of things in this.

at 50 feet your a small(ish) target, at 2 feet your more or less a barn wall (alltho moving)...

putting the gun right up to your face should not give a negative effect unless the two of you are allready moving about in the hand to hand dance, something one is clearly not doing when one trys to talk ones way out of a situation and then goes for the gun.

so how about this. allow a quick-draw test for the one going for his gun. if good, he gets first shot (with armor bonus and all for the target as the split second shot would not allow for lining up a called shot). if not then the other one gets a single shot before normal combat starts. no dodge, no armor (if the gun was held against the head or similar. basicly a called shot).
Waltermandias
We generally apply the -3 penalty only to the dodge pool against attacks coming from outside the melee. As such:

Dienekes the katana wielding cyber-monster is in melee combat with Joe the Terribly Unfortunate Corp Guard. When Joe tries to shoot Dienekes with his mooky little pistol Dienekes suffers no penalties to his reaction (or reaction + dodge) test to get out of the way. Now if Steve the Incrementally Less Unfortunate Corp Guard tries to shoot Dienekes from 10 meters away, then Dienekes suffers the -3 penalty to avoid it. (Although Steve also has a -3 on his attack.)

Now people have been debating the realism of how hard it is to get out of the way of a bullet when one is close vs. far, and here's my two cents. I say ignore realism for now (what with the magic and trolls and cinematics and such) and do what you can to encourage the neat dichotomy between ranged and melee combat. I think that if the melee guy manages to get next to the guy with a gun without getting all filled with holes, then the guy with the gun is in terrible, terrible trouble. I think it counters some of the disadvantages melee weapons have in the game rather nicely.

Obviously guns should, from a realistic sense, be way better than swords and such (hence us using guns over swords for hundreds of years,) but I think from a OMGWTF awesome!!!!1!!1! sense guns and swords should be pretty equivalent, with different pros and cons balancing them out.
Eryk the Red
I do think it's important to realize in how you apply these rules that there is a difference between a point blank shot and a shot while in melee. Two characters, standing still a few feet apart, are not in melee. They shoot, it's a shot at short range. These penalties come into play if they are in the midst of a brawl. With punching and moving and so forth. GM whimsy determines the difference between the point blank and melee, though I have not yet personally had a situation where that has not been clear.

On a side note, I don't much care for the melee penalties to ranged attacks. Rather than have a flat penalty, I'd rather the defender simply be allowed to make his defense roll as though defending against a melee attack. (Reaction + Skill, instead of just Reaction.)
Guye Noir
heh, looks like I've spawned quite a debate. Personally, I'd say the -3 applies to the dodger, but not the attacker. My reasoning: it's a lot easier to hit a target at point blank than from far away (well, then perhaps the attacker should get +3 instead). Also, my goal here is to prevent point-blank gun fights, as they are unrealistic. I'd prefer my runners shooting at their enemies from behind cover.

On the other hand, I agree with Waltermandias, that a melee fighter should get some kind of advantage against a ranged fighter once he closes to melee range without getting turned to swiss cheese. 1) for balance; 2) you ever see what happens to people in movies when they pull a gun on a guy right in front of them who has a sword or an axe? Generally speaking they get their shooting arm lopped off.
nezumi
QUOTE (Guye Noir)
the NPC walked up to the PC and pointed her SMG at his head, the PC attempted to talk his way out of it and failed, so he pulled his gun

Neither of the characters are strictly in melee (verbal sparring doesn't count) unless there's something going on you haven't talked about. I'm imagining both characters are stationary with weapons trained on each other, barrels inches from the target, nothing else in the environment matters.

The important modifers come into play at the 'moment of truth'. A lot of the questions of dodge and the like work because you have a chance to move BEFORE the other guy trains his gun on you. You can't really dodge a bullet once it's left the gun, but you can read the guy's body movements and dodge where the bullet will be when it's fired. In this case, both characters already have the guns trained on them. I personally would resolve it like a surprise situation (this comes down to who can react fastest, the person pulling the trigger or the person watching the trigger finger?) Whoever rolls better on reaction (going off SR3 rules, sorry) wins because he's not surprised. GMs discretion whether the shooter gets the bonus for 'setting an ambush' or not. If the target wins the surprise round, he has the option of rolling to dodge the shot and combat continues as per normal. If he fails, assume he's a stationary target and apply all the numbers that go with that.

The Shadowrun rules assume that 'point blank' is around 20 feet between two quickly moving combatants, not 2 inches between two stationary targets. The rules have to be applied appropriately when one or both parties aren't moving like normal.
Ankle Biter
Seeing this argument makes me want to watch equilibrium again... cool.gif

My suggestion is treat a gun fight at melee range as a normal melee attack, using the appropriate firearms skill resisted as a melee attack and have a new skill "gun fu" that allows you to use pistols in melee as a touch attack.

If you like have the gun fu skill count as the generic "firearms in melee" range skill and allow people to default to the appropriate firearms skill.

Also have longarms count as 1 negative reach if the opponent has no reach advantage, cos they are somewhat harder to bring to bear in melee range.

I would suggest that melee rules kick in once the person holding the firearm has been attacked in melee, until that point the opponent can be said to be standing there saying buh?

In the case where one person has a gun to another guy's head, the guy holding the gun should get the standard held action surprise bonus, (which I reckon should be rolled speratly as it is only against the guy with the gun to their head in case of 3rd party intervention). Normal surprise rules go from there, should either party decide to kick off. Again melee rules kick in only when one or other does a melee (or gun fu) attack. Otherwise there should be a point blank bonus of some kind.

Think that just about covers it.
Azralon
If you get to spend some tense Simple Actions holding your gun at someone's head, you probably should be using them accumulating an Aimed Shot (and/or Called Shot) bonus.
Macavity
Along similar lines to this post, here's an interesting situation I've come across.

Apparently in SR4 it's EASIER to shoot into melee than in SR3. Or to put it more correctly, its just as easy to shoot at a target in melee with someone else as it is to shoot at a target not involved in melee with another combatant (not the shooter). It is harder (-3 dice) for the target to dodge the shooter while he's in melee.

Am I wrong about this? Everything in me screams that its harder to shoot at a target that's fighting your buddy in melee than to hit him if he's just shooting back at you with nobody else around him.

Also SR4 doesn't address missing the target and hitting your buddy that's in melee with him.....unless I've missed something.
The Jopp
We decided to give a penatly for both parties. In this case it was a lonestar with a stun baton attacking my hacer in melee.

My hacker survived the attack with no damage and pulls out his gun (simple action). The Hacker gets a -3 penalty because the Lonestar tries to block the gun and he's also so close that its hard to get the gun in a good angle.

The Lonestar also gets a -3 penalty because he's both trying to block the gun and at the same time avoid the possibility of getting in the way of said line of fire.

The result was pretty even with increased chance for botches, but shooting when inside melee is definitely a win-win situation even without penalties - especially since my hacker sucks at melee and does 1P damage with his fists...
knasser

My take on it:

A gun doesn't make a combat ranged. Range makes a combat ranged. Your shooting skills in this instance do little more than your sword-fighting skills would do when throwing your katana at someone! Conclusion is to use normal melee rules. Unless the character with the gun has Exotic Weapon (firearms in melee) however, they'll be at a disadvantage. If you're trying to shoot someone who's right in front of you, you have to deal with them trying to wrestle the gun away from pointing at them, from having to move the gun a lot more to keep it pointing at them whenever they dodge left or right, you have to deal with firing at odd angles (could hurt your wrist if you have your hand curved round to point at their rib cage when the SMG goes burst-fire).

The gun will do its normal DV. Continue to use ballistic armour rather than impact. I would personally not use burst fire and autofire, but the rules will just about still work as written. Disallow wide bursts, obviously.

Hope that helps. Seems the simplest and most realistic solution.
sfogarty
These are the rules we were going to use:

Melee is defined logically: being within range of someone with a melee weapon who is unhappy with the current configuration of your face.

Being a melee weapon holder, it is somewhat easy to dodge someone who is firing. Consider:
the part where you dodge is always /before/ the bullet is fired. Your motions side to side change your angle relative to the person shooting you more the closer you are. You are also larger, but I consider the former more important. This is what gives the -3 penalty to firing while involved in melee.

Dodging a bullet does, however, require /great/ attention to when the person is firing. If the person shooting you is not involved IN the same melee, then you cannot give that attention. This is what tives the -3 dodge penalty.

When someone is in melee range, dodging is not your only option. You can attempt to keep the gun from pointing at you by knocking it aside. This allows you use to parry or block the ranged combat attempt, presuming you have reach enough to reach the person. This is done to balance the fact that by default -3 dice to hit (ranged versus melee) is more than balanced by a lack of ability to add a skill (likely in the 3 to 6 range), making it almost always better to shoot a semi-automatic twice into melee rather than use a melee weapon. Being:

Ability + weapon -3/ability + weapon -4 versus reaction
Ability + weapon +1 (reach) versus reaction+weapon/dodge

Any comments, especially on the last point, would be welcome.
Shrike30
A guy holding a gun to someone else's head is going to get the bonuses for having aimed, if nothing else. If the guy with the gun to his head decides to move, I'd probably make a Surprise test with the gun-holder having the advantage of being the Ambusher).

Using a gun in a melee isn't all that hard... handguns can be used as clubs or punch weapons, larger weapons as clubs or staves (or polearms, if you've got bayonets on them). And if you're a foot or less away from someone, nothing keeps you from jamming the barrel of the gun into their face a few times as a melee attack. If you pull the trigger right after, well, then you're just stylin' ork.gif
Zen Shooter01
I just want to point out that this thread, "Gunfights At Point Blank Range," is subtitled, "Am I Missing Something?"

Am I the only one who laughed?
Guye Noir
Wow, talk about reviving a dead topic. I'd almost forgotten about this.

QUOTE (knasser)
A gun doesn't make a combat ranged. Range makes a combat ranged. Your shooting skills in this instance do little more than your sword-fighting skills would do when throwing your katana at someone! Conclusion is to use normal melee rules. Unless the character with the gun has Exotic Weapon (firearms in melee) however, they'll be at a disadvantage. If you're trying to shoot someone who's right in front of you, you have to deal with them trying to wrestle the gun away from pointing at them, from having to move the gun a lot more to keep it pointing at them whenever they dodge left or right, you have to deal with firing at odd angles (could hurt your wrist if you have your hand curved round to point at their rib cage when the SMG goes burst-fire).

I agree with this. There's an awsome scene in the movie "Equilibrium" where the main character and a bad guy are in a point-blank gun fight with identical pistols. Each one attempts to shoot the other repeatedly, but gets his arm 'parried' pushing the barrel of the gun away. It was a really cool scene.

For this reason, I'm thinking that a firefight at close range would allow the defender the use of his dodge skill, or unarmed/melee weapon skill to parry. If someone is right in front of your face, it's a lot easier to see and react to the movement of their arm pointing a wepoan at you.

However, in hindsight, I don't think I handled the situation in the OP very well. When the PC went for his gun, that should have caused a surprise roll for both of them, because the bad guy would've seen th PCs arm go for his gun and attempted to react accordingly (plug him in the face).

QUOTE
I just want to point out that this thread, "Gunfights At Point Blank Range," is subtitled, "Am I Missing Something?"

Am I the only one who laughed?

Holy crap, I didn't even notice that.
Zen Shooter01
I am going to start a thread titled, "Gunfights In The Dark: What Am I Missing?"
booklord
I thought I read something a while ago where they described that its actually much more dangerous to have someone pointing a gun at you from a few feet away then it is to have them a few inches away.

Supposedly the chances the target may dodge or knock the gun away are far greater at extreme close range. Cops in particular are trained to keep their distance until the suspect is in a prone and weaponless position.
Charon
Indeed. If a gun is within striking range of a hand, odds are high that the gun can be knocked away beforethe triggered pulled. That's what the -3 represent, IMO. I only applied it if the defender is within striking range and already has attacked in melee or is committed to using a melee attack against the shooter.

But I believe this penalty should be removed and simply replaced with allowing the defending character to use his appropriate close combat skill to his reaction test to dodge. That would result in the defending character being worst off if he has 2 or less in the appropriate combat skill but be much better off if he has more than 4.

It would make sense. If joe guard is trying to grab your gun and pull it away while you try to shoot him full of hole, it's a minor hindrance. If it's Jet Li dismantling your gun before you can shoot, it's a little more annoying.

In fact, from now on, that'S what I'll try in my campaign for a few sessions.

As for the -3 to dodge ranged attack while in melee, I don't apply it to the guy you are in melee with should he try to shoot you. Only to someone else shooting at you. Obviously, that guy could suffer cover penalty if appropriate (You are fighting a troll and have maneuvered so he is between you and the shooter...). And there is no doubt of what will happen if the shooter glitches!
mintcar
As someone else said this should be resolved as a surprise situation. They are in a conversation; not a melee and not a firefight. Even if both are ready for it, the one who does not initiate the fight will run a risk of being surprised. The character who has the gun to his head is the one taking action, so give him the advantage of "setting and ambush". Give the guy with the gun in his hand all the appropriate bonuses for being ready for the ambush. Let's say that the guy with the gun in his hand has sort of a free action to pull the trigger, as in; he has held an action. If he is surprised he looses that action and combat can proceed as normal. If he is not surprised he may use his held action and shoot the other guy in the head. In the later case I would not give the shooter any penalty but I would give the target a penalty on the dodge roll.
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