Personal Combat

Personal combat is a common means of resolving conflicts. This chapter provides detailed rules for personal combat.

Personal Combat Checklist

Personal combat in the Cepheus Engine is cyclical. Everybody acts in turn in a regular cycle called a round. Generally, combat runs in the following way:

  1. The Referee determines which characters are aware of their opponents at the start of the battle. If some but not all combatants are aware of their opponents, the combatants that are aware of their opponents are considered to get an automatic 12 on their initiative roll, giving them an Initiative of 12 + Dexterity DM.
  2. Any remaining combatants roll initiative. All combatants are now ready to begin their first round of combat.
  3. Combatants act in initiative order.
  4. When everyone has had a turn, the combatant with the highest initiative total acts again, and steps 4 and 5 repeat until combat ends.


Personal combat is divided into a series of range bands. These are identified in the Personal Combat Range Bands table.

Table: Personal Combat Range Bands
Range Distance to Target Squares to Target
Personal Less than 1.5 meters 0 (combatants are in the same square)
Close 1.5 to 3 meters 1 to 2 squares
Short 3 to 12 meters 3 to 8 squares
Medium 12 to 50 meters 9 to 34 squares
Long 51 meters to 250 meters 35 to 166 squares
Very Long 251 meters to 500 meters 167 to 334 squares
Distant 501 meters+ 334 squares+

The Difficulty of any attack is based on the weapon type and the range of the attack, as per the Attack Difficulties by Weapon Type table.

Table: Personal Combat Range Bands
Weapon Personal Close Short Medium Long Very Long Distant
Close Quarters Average Difficult
Extended Reach Difficult Average
Thrown Average Difficult Difficult
Pistol Difficult Average Average Difficult Very Difficult
Rifle Very Difficult Difficult Average Average Average Difficult Very Difficult
Shotgun Difficult Average Difficult Difficult Very Difficult
Assault Weapon Difficult Average Average Average Difficult Very Difficult Formidable
Rocket Very Difficult Difficult Difficult Average Average Difficult Very Difficult

Starting Range

When a combat begins, the Referee must decide the starting range that separates the groups of combatants. For combat in tight quarters, such as inside an office complex or starship, or within an underground tunnel system, the starting range is usually Short. The range for outdoor encounters is usually Medium, although open areas such as prairies, deserts, open roads and ocean surfaces make it easier to see at a distance, so Long or even Very Long range would not be inappropriate. Total darkness reduces starting range to Short or less. Partial darkness restricts starting range to Medium or less.


If the combatants are all unprepared for combat, then each rolls 2D6 and adds their Dexterity DM to determine starting Initiative. Initiative determines the order that characters act in, but it can also be spent to react to events. If some of the combatants are ready for combat and some are not, such as in an ambush, the prepared characters are considered to get an automatic 12 on their roll, giving them an Initiative of 12 + Dexterity DM. Characters that are aware of a group, and that group is unaware of them, may elect to avoid conflict entirely.

Characters that have the Tactics skill may make a Tactics check and add the Effect of this check to the Initiative of everyone in their unit with whom they are in direct communication.

The Combat Round

Each combat round lasts around six seconds of game time. In a combat round each character gets a minor action and a significant action. Actions are taken in descending order of Initiative. If two characters have the same Initiative, the character with the highest Dexterity goes first. If they are still tied, then characters act simultaneously. When a character acts, he takes all his actions at once.

Once everyone has acted a combat round is over and a new round begins. Initiative is not re-rolled but is dynamic, and may be adjusted up and down by actions taken during a round.

Dynamic Initiative

During the course of a round a character’s Initiative score may be changed by reactions and hastening. Any changes affect your Initiative for one round only – either the current round if you have yet to act or the following round if you have acted already. Reactions reduce your Initiative in order to allow you to defend yourself from attacks. Hastening your action lets you act sooner but at a penalty to your roll.

At the start of each combat round a character may declare that he is acting hastily. This gives him a +2 bonus to his Initiative for that round only but all his actions receive a –1 DM. A character can only hasten once.

Minor Actions

Minor actions are actions intended to move a distance or to manipulate or move an object. You can take up to three minor actions per round, at the loss of a significant action.


A character that spends a minor action aiming at a target gets a +1 DM to his next attack on the target, as long as the character does nothing except aim until he makes his attack. A character may spend multiple actions on aiming, gaining a maximum aiming DM of +6 if he spends six minor actions on aiming.

Aiming for the Kill

Specifically aiming for a kill works exactly like regular Aiming, but does not add to the character’s DM to hit the target. Instead, the character gains a bonus of +2 to his damage equal to the number of minor actions he spends Aiming for the Kill. He cannot dodge, duck, or move while aiming. He also loses his Aim bonus if hit or distracted. The maximum bonus obtainable from Aiming for the Kill is +6.

Changing Stance

A character can change to any one of the three stances – prone, crouched or standing – as a minor action.

Drawing and Reloading

The time taken to draw a weapon depends on its size and ease of use. The number of minor actions to ready or reload a weapon is listed in the description of each weapon. Most weapons take one minor action to draw and another minor action to reload, but some weapons are especially fast or slow.


The character moves up to six meters. When using a square grid for modelling the combat, each square should measure 1.5 meters to the side. This means that the average character moves four squares on his turn. Difficult terrain, such as rubble, mud or thick under-brush can halve a character’s movement, allowing him to move only three meters per movement action. Crouching also halves movement.


The Referee may permit a character to perform a skill check or other action as a minor action if the use of the skill does not require the character’s full attention or complex physical actions.

Significant Actions

Significant actions are intended to do something within about 3 seconds. You can perform a single significant action per round, or forego it to perform a total of three minor actions.

Minor Actions

A character can take two minor actions instead of a significant action.


A character may make a skill check or do something else as a significant action when such an action requires the character’s full attention, concentration, complicated physical actions or some combination thereof. Any skill check with a time interval of 1-6 seconds is simply considered a significant action during combat.


The most common significant action is an attack. The basic attack action is trying to injure a foe with a melee attack or a ranged weapon. The attacker declares his target, and the foe may choose to react. The attacker then makes a skill check, and if successful, deals damage to his target. The actual Difficulty of this skill check is determined using the weapon type and the range of the attack, as given earlier in this chapter under Range.

The standard skill checks used in making an attack are:

  • Melee Attack 2D6 + appropriate melee combat skill + Strength or Dexterity DM (attacker’s choice)
  • Shooting Attack 2D6 + appropriate gun combat skill + Dexterity DM
  • Thrown Attack 2D6 + Athletics + Dexterity DM
Table: Common Modifiers to Attacks in Personal Combat
Action Modifier
Aiming +1 per Aim action
Cover –0 to –6
Environmental Effects –1 to –2
Intelligent Weapon +1 if total DM is within the program’s tolerance
Laser Sight +1 if aiming
Movement –1 for every 10 full meters of target movement
Target Dodges (Reaction) –1
Target Parries (Reaction) –Defender’s appropriate melee skill
Target Stance
  • –2 if attacking a prone target at Medium or greater range
  • +2 if attacking a prone target at Personal range
Weapons with Recoil (in Zero Gravity) –2

Coup de Grace

A character can use a melee weapon to deliver a coup de grace to a helpless opponent that is within close range. They can also use a ranged weapon to do so, provided they are adjacent to the target. The attack automatically hit and the opponent dies.


Reactions are actions taken immediately in response to the action of another. The more time a character spends reacting, the longer it will be until he acts himself. Each reaction lowers Initiative by 2 and applies a –1 DM to all skill checks until the following round. There is no limit to how many times a character can react in a round but a character can only react once to each attack and the penalties from reacting are cumulative.

A character can only react to attacks that he is aware of.


A character who is being attacked may dodge, giving his attacker a –1 DM and giving himself a –1 DM on all skill checks until the next round. If the character is in cover or has an obstruction to duck or dodge behind, the DM to hit him is increased to –2.


A character who is being attacked in melee can parry, applying his Melee skill as a negative DM equal to the attack roll. A parrying character also has a –1 DM on all skill checks until the next round.

Other Actions

Other types of action can take place during personal combat.

Free Actions

Some actions are so fast they do not even qualify as a minor action – shouting a warning, pushing a button, checking your watch, and so on. A character can perform as many of these free actions as he likes in a turn, although if he performs several the Referee may require him to spend a minor or even a significant action on his various tasks.

Extended Actions

Some skill checks will take longer than a single combat round to complete. Make a Timing roll for the task and then work out how many six second combat rounds it will take to complete. A character engaging in an extended action cannot do anything else but can abandon their action at any time and return to the normal Initiative order. A character who is hit by an attack while undertaking an extended action must make an 8+ roll using the skill in question with a negative DM equal to the amount of damage the attack causes (after armor). Failure indicates that this round’s work does not count towards the completion of the task. Failure by six or more (an Exceptional Failure) ruins the task and the character must start again.


A character does not have to act when his turn comes up in the Initiative order. He may act at any later point during the round, even interrupting another’s actions to do so. When he acts, his Initiative is set to the count on which he acted. If the character has not acted by the end of the round he may choose to act first in the next round, effectively giving up his actions in the previous round in exchange for an Initiative advantage. His new Initiative is set to one higher than that of the current first person in the order. When multiple characters are delaying and all wish to act first in the following round, their Initiatives are all set to the same score and they act in Dexterity order as normal.

Special Considerations

The following are special considerations in Personal Combat.

Battlefield Comms

Communications technology is a vital part of the battlefield. If a character is not in communication with the rest of his unit and his commander, then he cannot benefit from Tactics or Leadership. Characters that benefitted from Tactics at the start of combat and are later cut off from their commander have their Initiative lowered by the same amount it was boosted at the start of combat. Unlike other Initiative modifications, this lasts until combat ends or communication is re-established. There are several methods of communication:

  • Direct This covers hand signals and verbal communications.
  • Hardlinks Hardlinks are wires or other physical connections, and cannot be jammed.
  • Radio Radio communications allow communications as long as the radio signal can get through – they can be jammed or blocked by local conditions.
  • Laser Two characters with tight beam lasers are in communication as long as line of sight exists between a character and another friendly laser-comm equipped character.
  • Masers These work just like lasers, but can cut through smoke and aerosols.
  • Meson Meson communicators cannot be jammed or blocked, but cannot be used while a character is moving.

Battlefield Conditions

Certain battlefield conditions affect ranged attacks:

  • Darkness Low light gives a –1 DM to ranged attacks. Complete darkness gives a –4 DM. Light penalties can be avoided by using sensors to target instead of the naked eye.
  • Smoke or Fog Smoke gives a –1 DM to ranged attacks by obscuring the target; especially thick and impenetrable smoke gives a –2 DM. These penalties are doubled for laser weapons.
  • Extreme Weather Driving wind, rain, snowstorms and so forth give a –1 DM to ranged attacks from poor visibility and a –1 DM to ranged attacks from environmental interference. Sensors can be used to avoid the visibility penalty.

Battlefield Sensors

There are several types of sensors.

  • Bioscanner Bioscanner ‘sniffers’ detect airborne pathogens and hazardous chemicals.
  • Infra-Red (Heat) Infra-red sensors detect warm bodies, and negate concealment from smoke and soft cover, but can be jammed by strong heat sources.
  • Densitometer An outgrowth of gravitic technology, a densitometer can scan an area and plot variable densities, effectively creating a three-dimensional map of all objects.
  • Electromagnetic Detectors These sensors can detect unshielded high-power electrical devices, such as gauss weapons or transmitters.
  • Laser-Assisted Targeting A low-powered laser is reflected off the target, giving targeting data to the firer.
  • Light Intensification Light intensification technology magnifies visible light, negating the penalties for darkness or low light.
  • Motion Sensors Can detect motion within range.
  • Neural Activity Sensor (NAS) A combination of highly sensitive EM-detectors and psionic theory, NAS detectors pick up on the brain activity of living beings and classify them according to amount and complexity, giving a rough idea of the intelligence of subjects.

Blind Firing

Blind firing works exactly like any other form of firing (including automatic), but it always treats the firer as having Level 0 in that weapon’s relative skill. Additionally an extra die is thrown when firing, but before any calculations are made the highest die (or one of the highest, in case of a tie) is removed completely. Any successful attack(s) needs to then have a die rolled to randomly choose which eligible target in the firing line is hit – whether friend or foe.

Burst Fire

Weapons that fire a burst of 2, 3, 4, 10, 20, or 100 rounds may improve the attacker’s odds of either hitting a target or inflict additional damage. The attacker must decide whether to spray the target, increasing the chances of scoring a hit, or to fire a precise, grouped burst in the hope of inflicting greater damage. Either sort of burst fire is considered a significant action.

Table: Burst Fire Effects
Burst Size Attack DM Extra Damage
1 round +0 +0 damage
3 round burst +1 +1 point of damage
4 round burst +1 +1D6 damage
10 round burst +2 +2D6 damage
20 round burst +3 +3D6 damage
100 round burst +4 +4D6 damage


Any sort of low wall, undergrowth, convenient rocks or other objects can serve as cover. Attacks made on characters who are behind cover suffer the negative cover DM on the Cover Modifiers table below. Crouching or prone targets can claim cover one step higher on the table. If a character in full cover is crouching or prone they are impossible to hit but cannot return fire.

Table: Cover Modifiers
Cover Cover DM
1/4 (undergrowth, small rock, corner of a building) –0
1/2 (thick forest, low wall, crate) –1
3/4 (jungle, trench, reinforced position) –2
Full (pillbox) –4


Grenades, rockets and other explosives affect an area. A character caught in an explosion may dodge at the usual Initiative cost. A character that dodges an explosion may reduce the damage by 1D6 if he just dodges or by half if he dives for cover. A character that dives for cover ends up prone and loses his next significant action.

Extreme Range Firing

Any weapon that has the ability to fire into the Distant range band (including ranged(Rifle), ranged(Assault Weapon) and ranged(Rocket) attacks) can potentially strike targets even beyond, so long as the firer can see the target. Weapons fired at this extreme range do so using the modifiers for Distant range with an additional DM of –2. Only characters with at least three levels of skill in the weapon may fire at extreme range. To fire at extreme range, characters must be stationary and prepared to fire from some kind of rest (tripod, tree limb, bunker embrasure and so on). Vehicles must be stationary for weapons to be fired at extreme range from it. Energy-based weapons (lasers, PGMPs, and so on) inflict half damage (round up) at this extreme range.

This can be combined with Aiming for the Kill (above).

Fighting in Zero Gravity

When fighting in zero gravity, a character’s skill levels are limited to lower of the character’s Zero-G skill and the appropriate combat skill. For example, if a character has Laser Pistol-2 and Zero-G-1, then the character shoots with an effective skill level of 1, since his Zero-G skill level is lower than his Laser Pistol skill level. Characters without Zero-G skill are treated as unskilled in their attack, because of the disorientation. In addition, characters using weapons with recoil suffer a DM -2 on attack rolls when fighting in zero gravity conditions.

Firing into Combat

If a character is firing a weapon at a target that is at Personal range to another combatant, then the attack suffers a –2 DM. If the attack misses, roll 1D6. On a 4+, the attack hits the nearest other combatant to the original target.


A character can attempt to wrestle or grab another person instead of hitting him. The attacker must move to Personal range and beat his target in an opposed Natural Weapons skill check. If he wins, he may do any one of the following:

  • Continue the grapple with no other effects.
  • Disarm his opponent. If he succeeds by 6+ he can take the weapon away; otherwise it ends up on the floor.
  • Drag his opponent up to three meters.
  • Escape the grapple and move away (as if with a normal movement action).
  • Inflict damage equal to 2 + the Effect.
  • Knock his opponent prone.
  • Throw his opponent up to three meters for 1D6 damage.

Throwing an opponent always ends the grapple. With any other option the winner can choose to end or continue the grapple as he sees fit. A character in a grapple cannot move nor do anything other than make opposed Natural Weapons skill checks. Each time an opposed check is made the winner can choose an option from the above list.

Panic Fire

In order to call upon Panic Fire, a character must be using some form of small arms slug thrower. Panic fire uses all remaining rounds in the weapon, and hits are resolved as if the weapon were being fired using the Burst Fire rules for damage (not for accuracy). There is a DM –2 penalty to hit.

Shotgun Spread

Any shotgun loaded specifically with flechette rounds can be fired like a common round at a single target up to Short range, using the standard statistics for the weapon. If firing at a target or group of targets at Medium or Long range, the frag shell has its damage reduced to 2d6 but gains a DM+1 bonus to hit, and can hit not only the target aimed at but also anyone (friend or foe) in Personal range with the initial target.

Suppression Fire

Suppression fire works by having the character actually target the areas surrounding the target; a wall, a tree or even the ground at their feet are all perfectly suitable. The impact of the character’s attacks are often enough to give pause to a potential attacker. The firing character rolls his shooting attack as normal, except with a –2 DM for trying to hit cover and nearby objects to the target(s). This attack action also uses up double the normal amount of ammunition per attack. Failures are treated as normal misses. Success means that the firer has hit close enough to the target to force them to duck away, stalling their next action by adding an initiative penalty equal to the Effect of the attack. Suppressed targets also receive a DM-1 penalty to any skill checks that they try to perform in both the current and following combat round.

Automatic fire can be used for Suppression fire, but no target can be affected twice by Suppression fire on the same action. The target must be allowed to take one action before he can be suppressed again. If multiple hits are used upon the same target, the highest Effect takes precedence.

There are some situations and instances that can make a target so unshakeable that they do not care about Suppression fire, and will not be harried by it. Some of those exceptions are found on the list below.

  • Vehicles, or targets fully enclosed in vehicles
  • Zealots
  • Mechanical or android targets
  • Targets wearing full Battle Dress
  • Suicidal targets


A character can be standing, crouched or prone.

  • Standing A standing character uses the normal rules.
  • Crouching A crouching character moves at half speed but can make better use of cover. If a crouching character is in cover, consider it one row lower on the Cover Modifiers table. For example, if a character is crouching behind a waist-high wall, he is considered to be at 3/4 cover rather than 1/2 cover.
  • Prone A prone character cannot make melee attacks or dodge. He may make improved use of cover like a crouching character and he may still parry melee attacks. All ranged attacks targeting him suffer a –2 DM penalty. At Close range, the penalty is reduced to +0; a prone character being attacked at Personal range grants a +2 DM to attacks against him.

Tactics and Leadership

The Tactics skill can be used to give an Initiative bonus to a whole unit at the start of combat. The unit commander may make a Tactics check, and everyone in the unit may increase their Initiative by the Effect of the check.

The Leadership skill can be used to increase another character’s Initiative. The character with Leadership makes a Leadership check, and the target character’s Initiative is increased by the Effect of the check. Making a Leadership skill check is a significant action.

Thrown Weapons

There are two kinds of thrown weapons: the first kind strike a single target and do damage from the force of their impact, such as throwing knives or a thrown rock. These use the normal rules for ranged combat. The other kind of thrown weapon is a grenade or other explosive projectile that inflicts no damage from impact but typically delivers a harmful payload. The first kind of thrown weapon adds the Effect of the Athletics check to its damage. The second does not.

If the attack fails the projectile scatters in a random direction for (6 + Effect) meters. This is usually only important if the projectile explodes on or after impact.


Each weapon lists the damage it inflicts as a number of D6. Add the Effect of the attack roll to this damage.

The first time a character takes damage, it is applied to the target’s Endurance. If a target is reduced to Endurance 0, then further damage is subtracted from the target’s Strength or Dexterity (of the character’s choice). If either Strength or Dexterity is reduced to 0, the character is unconscious and any further damage is subtracted from the remaining physical characteristic. If all three physical characteristics are reduced to 0, the character is killed.

Once a character has taken damage, any damage from subsequent attacks is allocated to any of the three physical characteristics as the character so chooses.

Table: Damage Results
Characteristic Damage Result
At least 1 characteristic is damaged Character is wounded
All 3 characteristics are damaged Character is seriously wounded
2 characteristics are at Zero Character is unconscious
3 characteristics are at Zero Character is dead


Armor reduces damage by the value of the armor. A hit with Effect 6+ always inflicts at least one point of damage, regardless of the target’s armor.


A character can become fatigued in numerous ways, such as staying awake too long, over-exerting themselves or even using certain medications. A fatigued character suffers a –2 DM to all checks until he rests. The amount of rest needed is 3 – the character’s Endurance DM hours. If a character suffers fatigue while already fatigued they fall unconscious.


An unconscious character may make an Endurance check after every minute of unconsciousness – if successful, he regains consciousness. If he fails he must wait another minute and can then try again with a +1 DM on the check for every check previously failed.

Injury and Recovery

Injured characters are either wounded or seriously wounded. A character is considered seriously wounded if he has lost at least one point from all three of his physical characteristics. As soon as one of his physical characteristics is restored, no matter how, he is no longer seriously wounded.

Seriously wounded characters who have somehow avoided unconsciousness cannot move except to hobble or crawl along at 1.5 meters per combat round. They also lose their minor action in combat.

Wounded characters heal naturally and can also benefit from medical care. When characteristic points return from healing, players may choose which characteristic regains the points and may split healing between characteristics if they wish.

Natural Healing

An injured character regains a number of characteristic points equal to his 1D6 + Endurance DM per day of full rest. If the character continues an active lifestyle he only heals a number of characteristic points equal to 1 + Endurance DM per day. Characters with a low Endurance DM (quite possibly from injury) may degrade (lose more characteristic points) over time if they are unlucky or cannot (or will not) rest.

A seriously wounded character only regains characteristic points equal to his Endurance DM per day of rest, which means that the character may never heal naturally and will even get worse if his Endurance DM is currently negative.

Medical Treatment

Natural healing is not the only way to recover damage. Characters can also seek out medical treatment.

  • First Aid Applying first aid restores a number of characteristic points equal to twice the Effect of the Medicine check. Points restored by first aid are divided as desired among all damaged physical characteristics. First aid must be applied within five minutes of the injuries being received to be fully effective. A character can still benefit from first aid up to an hour after their injury but they only receive a number of characteristic points equal to the Effect of the Medicine check. Performing first aid on yourself is a Difficult (–2) task.
  • Surgery A character that is seriously wounded (after first aid has been applied) requires surgery. Surgery restores characteristic points just like first aid but if the check is failed the patient loses characteristic points equal to the Effect. Surgery requires a hospital or sickbay. Once one characteristic is back to its maximum level the patient can benefit from medical care. Surgery does not benefit characters that are not seriously wounded. Performing surgery on yourself is a Very Difficult (–4) task.
  • Medical Care Medical care restores 2 + the character’s Endurance DM + the doctor’s Medicine skill in characteristic points per day, divided evenly among all damaged characteristics. Medical care requires a hospital or sickbay and for the patient to undergo full bed rest.

Healing and Mental Characteristics

Other than Psionic Strength, characters may also suffer damage to their Intelligence or even their Education. Unless otherwise specified, each mental characteristic heals at the rate of one point per day.

Vehicles in Personal Combat

Combat in and on vehicles is much the same as ordinary combat. The differences are as follows:

  • Unlike people, who are mobile and maneuverable, careful track must be kept of which way a vehicle is facing. Vehicle-mounted weapons – and armed passengers, to a lesser extent – are restricted to certain fire arcs.
  • Vehicles are considered to move on the driver’s Initiative. The driver must spend a minor action every round to keep control of the vehicle under normal circumstances – a straight road or simple maneuvers – or a significant action to navigate obstacles, conduct evasion or pursuit, or dodge incoming fire.
  • Attackers gain a +1 DM to hit most vehicles because of their size.

Closed and Open Vehicles

There are two main types of vehicles: open and closed.

  • Closed Vehicles Closed vehicles grant cover to the occupants – unless the description mentions otherwise civilian vehicles grant ½ soft cover and military vehicles full hard cover. Only a few people in a closed vehicle can shoot out, depending on the number of windows or other firing ports and the internal space available. Unless the description mentions otherwise up to two people can fire into each arc from a civilian vehicle and one person in each arc in a military one.
  • Open Vehicles Open vehicles grant no cover to the passengers. Any passenger in an open vehicle can shoot (or otherwise attack) in any direction.

Vehicle-Mounted Weapons

Weapons mounted on vehicles are limited in what directions they can fire. A weapon mounted in the front arc, for example, can only fire into a 90° area in front of the vehicle. Weapons in turrets can fire in any direction.


When a vehicle collides with something else everything takes damage. Roll 1D6 for every 10 kph of the vehicle’s speed (round up). This is applied as damage directly to anything hit and, if the thing struck is solid enough, also to the ramming vehicle. Any unsecured passengers in a vehicle damaged in a collision take the same damage and, if possible, are thrown three meters for every 10 kph of speed. Secured passengers (those wearing seatbelts or something similar) are not thrown anywhere and take one quarter damage.

Vehicular Actions

These are all significant actions that the driver of a vehicle can take when his turn in the initiative order arrives.

Evasive Action

Vehicles are not typically maneuverable enough to dodge as a reaction. Instead, the driver may declare that he is taking evasive action when his turn arrives. He makes a skill check (skill determined by vehicle) and the Effect acts as a –DM to all attacks against the vehicle or its passengers. The Effect also acts as a –DM to any attacks made from the vehicle as well. This lasts until the driver’s next action.


A driver or pilot can maneuver his vehicle without making a skill check. This allows the vehicle to avoid large or obvious obstacles, to get where it is going, to move out of one fire arc of an enemy vehicle and into a different one, or to change the fire arc that a single target is in.


Deliberately driving a vehicle into someone or something requires a significant action and a successful skill check (skill determined by vehicle). Rams are affected by dodging and evasive action as normal. The Referee may grant bonuses to a ram attempt or declare it automatically successful if the target is particularly large.


With a significant action and a successful vehicle control check the driver or pilot of a vehicle can do pretty much anything it is possible to do in his vehicle – stand a car up on two wheels, perform stunning aerobatics in a jet plane, or skim a speedboat over a low sandbar. A stunt can be used to put a single target into one additional fire arc for one round, to set up some other skill check using the rules for task chains, to achieve something that would normally be difficult or impossible in your vehicle, to achieve up to three maneuver actions in one go, just to show off, or anything else you can imagine.


In an environment with many obstacles, such as an inner city or tight underground caverns, a driver or pilot may choose to weave his vehicle in and around the obstacles at high speed in order to evade pursuit. The driver chooses a weaving number, as low as one or as high as one per 20 km/h of speed (round up), and must then make a skill check (skill determined by vehicle) with the weaving number as a penalty on his roll. If he fails, he has woven into an obstacle and crashed. If he succeeds, any pursuers must choose a weave action on their turn and make their skill test at the same penalty with the same consequence for failure. Alternatively, they can choose to break off pursuit and either give up or try to reacquire the target later.

Vehicle Damage

Vehicles have a Hull value and a Structure value, which measure the vehicle’s structural integrity. When Hull is reduced to 0, the vehicle starts taking damage to its internal systems. When Structure is reduced to 0, the vehicle is reduced to scrap. Vehicles also suffer damage to onboard systems as they take damage.

To determine the effects of an attack on a vehicle, first determine how much damage the vehicle suffers as normal. Many vehicles will have one or more points of armor that reduces the damage. Consult the Vehicle Damage table to determine how many ‘hits’ the vehicle suffers. Each hit is then applied to a particular location on the vehicle. Double or Triple hits count as two or three hits on the same location.

Table: Vehicle Damage
Damage Effect
0 or less No damage
1–3 Single Hit
4–6 Two Single Hits
7–9 Double Hit
10–12 Three Single Hits
13–15 Two Single Hits, Double Hit
16–18 Two Double Hits
19–21 Triple Hit
22–24 Triple Hit, Single Hit
25–27 Triple Hit, Double Hit
28–30 Triple Hit, Double Hit, Single Hit
31–33 Two Triple Hits
For every extra three points +1 Single Hit
For every extra six points +1 Double Hit
Table: Vehicle Hit Location
2D6 External Hit (Vehicle) Internal Hit (Vehicle) Robot or Drone
2 Hull Structure Hull
3 Sensors Power Plant Power Plant
4 Drive Power Plant Sensors
5 Weapon Cargo Weapon or Limb
6 Hull Structure Hull
7 Armor Passengers Armor
8 Hull Structure Hull
9 Weapon Cargo Weapon or Limb
10 Drive Computers Drive
11 Sensors Cockpit Sensors
12 Hull Cockpit Computer


Reduce the vehicle or drone’s Hull by one. If a vehicle runs out of Hull, further Hull hits become hits on the same row of the Internal Damage table (if a vehicle) or Structure hits (if a robot or drone).


Reduce the vehicle or drone’s Structure by one. If a vehicle runs out of Structure, it is destroyed. If the vehicle is destroyed by an attack that reduces it to a negative Structure score it explodes, doing 4D6 damage to everyone within six meters (including the occupants) and 2D6 damage to everyone within twelve meters. The occupants of a closed vehicle cannot dodge or dive for cover from this explosion but the occupants of an open vehicle can.


Reduce the vehicle’s armor by one.


  • First Hit Reduce movement by 10% and apply a –1 DM to all vehicle control skill checks.
  • Second Hit Reduce movement by 25% and apply a –2 DM to all vehicle control skill checks.
  • Third Hit Drive disabled.

Further drive hits count as Hull hits.


Choose a weapon or device randomly for each hit.

  • First Hit The weapon or device suffers a –2 DM to all checks related to its operation.
  • Second Hit The weapon or device is destroyed.

If no weapons remain to be destroyed, further hits on this location become Hull hits.


  • First Hit The vehicle or drone suffers a –2 DM to all Comms checks to use sensors. For drones and robots, this also applies to Recon checks.
  • Second Hit The sensors are destroyed, blinding the vehicle or drone.

Further Sensor hits count as Hull hits.

Power Plant

  • First Hit The vehicle or drone loses one round’s worth of actions.
  • Second Hit The vehicle or drone’s movement is reduced by 50%.
  • Third Hit The power plant is destroyed, disabling the vehicle and inflicting 1D6 Hull hits on it.


Choose a limb randomly for each limb hit.

  • First Hit The limb suffers a –2 DM to all checks related to its operation.
  • Second Hit The limb is destroyed.

Further Limb hits count as Hull hits.


Choose a passenger randomly for any passenger hit. The passenger takes damage equal to the damage inflicted on the vehicle. If all the passengers are dead, further passenger hits become Structure hits.


Any cargo present is hit and may be destroyed. If no cargo remains, further cargo hits become Structure hits.


The pilot of the vehicle is hit, and takes damage equal to the damage inflicted on the vehicle. If the pilot is dead, further pilot hits become Structure hits.


  • First Hit The vehicle’s computer system is disabled. A drone or robot with a disabled computer system shuts down for 1D6 rounds.
  • Second Hit The vehicle’s computer system is destroyed. A drone or robot with no computer system is completely disabled.

Further Computer hits count as Structure hits.


Damage to a vehicle or drone falls into three categories – System Damage, Hull Damage, and Structure Damage.

  • System Damage A damaged system can be jury-rigged back to functioning, but it will stop functioning again after 1D6 hours. Repairing a damaged system requires not only an Average skill check (using the appropriate skill as determined by the Referee, such as Electronics, Engineering, Gravitics, Mechanics) taking 1–6 hours but also a source of spare parts. The spare parts can come from a scrap yard, a workshop, systems on another vehicle, or can be taken from other systems on the same vehicle. When taking spare parts from other vehicle systems, each ‘hit’ of damage provides enough spare parts to make a single repair check. The Passengers and Cockpit systems cannot take hits to provide spare parts, although cybernetic parts might be able to provide enough spare material to repair minor damage. A destroyed system costs 2D6x10% of its original cost to repair, and cannot be repaired using spare parts. It requires a full workshop and specialist materials.
  • Hull Damage Hull damage can be repaired with a Mechanics check taking 1–6 hours and consumes one ‘hit’ of spare parts.
  • Structure Damage Structure damage can only be repaired in a workshop and requires 10–60 hours per point of damage. It costs 20% of the base cost of the vehicle per point repaired. No skill check is required.

Ground Force Weaponry against Starship-scale Targets

Gaining a DM +4 bonus to hit anything on the starship-scale, ground force weaponry must divide its damage by 50 before comparing it to a starship-scale target’s armor. Because a single weapon will, obviously, be unable to punch though armor it is possible for multiple weapons to all target the starship simultaneously, and the cumulative effect can inflict damage. Every additional ground weapon beyond the first can add half its damage dice to the total before dividing the total by 50 in order to calculate damage.

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