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Author Topic: Sand Bags and Hesco's  (Read 3538 times)

Acolyte

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Sand Bags and Hesco's
« on: 25 March 2013, 02:53:06 »
Barrier ratings, had come up in another thread and when I asked the question it turns out that they don't degrade like armor. With talks of sand bags and Hesco's being able to stop a bullet we talked about how the BAR would have to be at least 8 or so and even up to 10 a rifle could, by the rules, still punch through on a good roll. This didn't make any sense to me and left me perplexed. I spent a lot of time thinking about house rules that I could make or adapt that would make more sense and then it hit me. These are not architectural features that happen to get in the way of gunfire while serving other duties. They are there (on the battlefield) specifically to stop weapons fire.

There's another word for that: Armor.

That's right sandbag walls and Hesco's are tactical armor. They are probably low to mid BAR tech level A support grade armor. Most vehicular weapons would be able to punch through and cause crits due to the BAR of less than 10, but they totally stop small arms fire.

And no house rules needed. (phew)

What do you think?
   - Shane
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Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #1 on: 25 March 2013, 17:57:00 »
I've been re-reading the rules about barriers and cover since that thread too.

My take home is that if you apply the barrier ratings to everything, then virtually nothing will stop a bullet.  I'd treat a PC crouching behind a sandbag as having cover and apply a penalty to the to hit roll based on that, and that's the end of it.  If the bad guy missed, he missed.  No need to see if the bullet was able to pierce the wall of sandbags.

If someone wanted to be cute and use the barrier ratings to his favor and deliberately just shoot through the cover, then I'd apply the blind fire penalties.  (unless of course the cover was nice see thru glass :)

As for reconciling the inability of solid objects to stop small arms rounds under ATOW rules.. here's how I make it make sense for me.  Yes, a tree trunk or the exterior of a building will stop a round cold.  BUT if someone is crouching behind it for cover, the bullet theoretically only has to pass through a tiny corner of the substance to hit the character behind it.  It's not like you can just fire a rifle at a building and use the rules to argue that it'll pass clear through the entire structure.

guardiandashi

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #2 on: 25 March 2013, 18:12:43 »
one question I need to go back and look at is ammo mods to guns and default ammo assumptions.

it might make sense to especially for some weapons to reevaluate exactly what ammo they are firing because if I can say an assault rifle defaults to full metal jacket equivalants (light ap) can I load up some full on ap rounds (thinking du or tungston cored super ap rounds) and ignore any armor short of battlearmor/mech grade? that seems a bit rediculous especially if you start "rocking full auto" and get a pretty good mos

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #3 on: 25 March 2013, 20:06:41 »
I've been re-reading the rules about barriers and cover since that thread too.

My take home is that if you apply the barrier ratings to everything, then virtually nothing will stop a bullet.  I'd treat a PC crouching behind a sandbag as having cover and apply a penalty to the to hit roll based on that, and that's the end of it.  If the bad guy missed, he missed.  No need to see if the bullet was able to pierce the wall of sandbags.

If someone wanted to be cute and use the barrier ratings to his favor and deliberately just shoot through the cover, then I'd apply the blind fire penalties.  (unless of course the cover was nice see thru glass :)

As for reconciling the inability of solid objects to stop small arms rounds under ATOW rules.. here's how I make it make sense for me.  Yes, a tree trunk or the exterior of a building will stop a round cold.  BUT if someone is crouching behind it for cover, the bullet theoretically only has to pass through a tiny corner of the substance to hit the character behind it.  It's not like you can just fire a rifle at a building and use the rules to argue that it'll pass clear through the entire structure.

Well, I do tend to use them for partial cover and the like and I add the cover modifiers too. If the shot hits a location that's covered, re-roll. The second location stands even if it's the same (standard rule from all the way back to MW 1st ed.). If a covered location still gets hit, I like to have the barrier rules to adjust it. Now, sandbags counting as tactical armor provides hard cover  - and usually enough that you're not getting through it in a scenario so generally you don't have to keep track of it. I know if I'm getting shot at I don't care that the cement wall I'm hiding behind is getting some unsightly chips.

On area where some re vamping should probably be done is the Tactical Shields on pg 290 AToW. The "Heavy Shield" has a BAR of 6 and an integrity of 12. This means the most pistols can shoot through and injure the user, let alone rifles. This really shouldn't be. I've been looking at saying that barriers stop shots if the shot cannot do a full point of damage to the integrity. So say a heavy shield gets hit by a 4/4 bullet. the BAR reduces the damage to 2. Under normal rules, the person standing behind would be hit by a 2/2 attack and the barrier would somehow not be damaged. By the alternate, the shot is stopped and nothing takes damage. Now say it gets shot by a 5/5 riffle. Standard rules, person behind gets hit by 4/4 attack, alternate 4 points rounds up to 1 but, because it didn't do a full point, it didn't penetrate. The barrier is reduced by 1. Basically, for this example, the damage going through would have to be 6 or more to penetrate that shield.

   - Shane
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion
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My teeth acquire stains
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It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #4 on: 25 March 2013, 20:24:07 »
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the barrier ratings are meant to be applied solely whenever the GM wants.

I mean, under strict ATOW barrier rules I'm reminded of Vermin's .88 Magnum in the movie Johnny Dangerously.

"This goes through armor.. this goes through the victim.. it goes through the wall.. it goes through the tree outside.."
or the classic line:
"This shoots through Schools"

I wouldn't let the player say when barrier rules are in force and leave that solely up to the GM.  If he wants to ignore barrier ratings and fiat a sandbag stopping a rifle slug, but then reverting to barrier ratings to see how effectively a support PPC blasts through, that's 100% kosher.

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #5 on: 25 March 2013, 20:33:07 »
As long as you're consistant GM fiat works pretty well. If it starts to look like you're fudging the rules players get upset.

I my experience anyway.

   - Shane
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monbvol

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #6 on: 29 March 2013, 10:27:10 »
Actually from what I'm reading, no a AP 4 Pistol would not be able to damage the wielder of a heavy tactical shield with it's BAR of 6 and integrity of 12 in a single shot.  Even if you load it with AP.  You'd have to completely deplete the shield's integrity before damage could be done to the wielder.

Barriers as long as they have integrity left and the AP is not greater than the BAR the shot will be stopped.

Page 186-188 for reference.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #7 on: 29 March 2013, 12:35:13 »
Actually from what I'm reading, no a AP 4 Pistol would not be able to damage the wielder of a heavy tactical shield with it's BAR of 6 and integrity of 12 in a single shot.  Even if you load it with AP.  You'd have to completely deplete the shield's integrity before damage could be done to the wielder.

Barriers as long as they have integrity left and the AP is not greater than the BAR the shot will be stopped.

Page 186-188 for reference.

There are slightly different rules in place for Personal Armor, Tactical Armor, Battle Armor, and Barrier Armor.  Having 4 similar systems with subtle differences is a gnarly way to do things, but it's what we have.

As mentioned on page 187 in the Armor Degradation section, Barrier Armor Degradation: "When attempting to determine the effects of an attack against (or through) a barrier, the rules for tactical armor degradation apply."  Emphasis mine.

To my reading, that means that Barrier armor is like tactical armor ONLY in that it takes damage like tactical armor rather than like personal armor.  It's been letting damage through that wasn't reduced to 0 by the BAR the whole time, because of:

Per page 185, AP vs BAR, Personal Armor and Barriers: "Any damage that passes through personal armor or barriers (other than tactical armor) is applied as damage to the targeted character."

So in the case of an AP 4 pistol shooting through someone's tactical shield with a BAR of 6, it'd be hitting at -2 to its original AP and BD to whatever personal armor the target might be wearing, or applied directly to the target if there is none.  The only reason the shield has an integrity value is to allow it to keep its BAR 6 up until it's so riddled with holes it's no longer any practical use as a barrier and becomes useless.

Paul verified this is the way it works, as well.

So, without a GM applying Rule #1, a shot can shoot through entire buildings, city blocks even. Any barrier without a BAR greater than the AP is treated as not being there at all.  I could shoot a sniper rifle at a target 1000 meters away, with a solid block of layers of 'bulletproof glass' barriers 1000m thick extending from the target's skin clear to the barrel of my rifle.. and the shot would still hit the target at full AP/BD if none of the barriers had a BAR greater than the AP.

EDIT:
I'm kicking around the idea of a house rule that applies a reduction in max range of a shot based on what % the BAR was of the AP.  For example, a AP 5 rifle will punch right through a BAR 4 barrier, but it should at least be slowed down.  So after defeating the BAR 4, the shot's max range is now only 80% of what it would have been without barriers in the way.   In the case of AP < BAR, it still punches through to damage something immediately on the far side, but that's it.  No shooting an AP4 pistol through a BAR 5 or 6 to hit somone 50 meters beyond the wall... they're only hit IF they're right up with the barrier.
« Last Edit: 29 March 2013, 13:02:19 by Tai Dai Cultist »

monbvol

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #8 on: 29 March 2013, 12:56:01 »
That is frankly silly and honestly is starting to make me wonder why I'm giving these people money when I have to re-write so much of their crap to make it work.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #9 on: 29 March 2013, 13:11:09 »
Yeah GMing in BT has always been a labor of love.. they've just never quite had a system that wasn't awkward to use, compared to other RPG games out there.

Still, in the case of armor, the bugaboo IMO is accounting for Battle Armor.  It's gotta be something tough enough to stand up to battlemech fire, yet flimsy enough to allow small arms some small chance to threaten it.  It's literally no-win, from a design standpoint.

If you set a game in an era w/o battle armor entirely, you can fairly easily import rules you like from other games, or make up your own.

guardiandashi

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #10 on: 29 March 2013, 14:39:37 »
what if there was a minor change in the barriers rules.  to wit unless the ap value of the attack is greater than +2(or double) of the barrier rating of the armor/barrier, it always subs 1 from the ap value.  even if it is otherwise blowing right through the obstruction.

the idea here is that if you look at most modern rounds will be slowed down or deformed slightly by obstructions even if they don't stop them.

I am reminded of the mythbusters "phone book armored vehicle" episode  note when they attached the phonebook armor to the inside of the vehicle the slight deformation of he glass or metal of the car caused the bullets to slow down a LOT when striking the books afterwards.  however when they attached the books to the outside of the vehicle, the rounds went through the same thickness of paper ... and barely noticed the paper.

thats why I am not sure what the best ratio to ap/dr is reasonable to say the armor/obstruction does nothing, to even slow down the rounds

Paul

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #11 on: 29 March 2013, 14:44:03 »
Another thing to keep in mind is that BT weaponry is pretty powerful.
Vintage weaponry (p.172, ATOW:C) only manages an AP of 2 for both pistols and assault rifles.

monbvol

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #12 on: 29 March 2013, 15:17:53 »
And the building materials seem to have kept up fairly well up until AToW's contradictory rules come into play.

For example right on page 186 it gives an example of someone chopping down a cherry tree with a vibro axe and it is clear that it takes more than one swing despite the AP being greater than the BAR because there is Barrier Integrity left.  But as soon as you hide behind a shield with a higher BAR, and interestingly enough a higher integrity rating, being attacked by something with a lower AP it goes right through and hurt the person using it.  Up until the example of the Sternsacht Claymore the rules to me indicate the cherry tree example is the correct one and the Sternsacht Claymore example is incorrect in that the glass should have deducted it's 2 integrity from the Sternsnacht Claymore's damage.

Yet the official ruling seems to go with the Sternsnacht Claymore example being correct and the Vibro Axe being wrong.

It just seems logical that a Barrier with a higher BAR should just plain stop something with an equal or lesser AP until it actually breaks.  Even something with a lower BAR than the AP can deflect or slow a much more powerful slug so it makes logical sense that the integrity should be deducted from the BD even in these cases.  Yet I'm being told this is not the case.

Which continues to disappoint me.  The good news is I can argue for my logic with the rules as written not having to be changed hardly at all.

Maelwys

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #13 on: 29 March 2013, 15:41:35 »
I think the Cherry Tree example was someone being cute, but the example fails, simply because it doesn't really indicate what the rules are saying.

Would it make more sense for you monbvol if it were a Cherry wood DOOR that the Vibro Axe was trying to chop through? Sort of like in the Shining? Where you can see the axe going through the door, but not destroying the door outright? (showing the penetration of extra damage, but not the destruction of the door, showing a loss of Barrier Integrity).

The problem I think is obviously with a tree trunk you're not going to be chopping all the way through with an axe to hit the person behind it, unless you chop all the way through the tree. Which isn't suppose to happen until you reduce the Barrier Integrity all the way. So the example is kind of confusing since it doesn't common sense with regards to the rules.

monbvol

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #14 on: 29 March 2013, 17:30:18 »
*thinks back to his youth and the times he's had to split wood with an axe

*thinks about the number of rounds of ammunition it took to chop down a small spindly tree that he was party to

I can understand where if the BAR and Integrity are low enough where "bleed through" can happen.

With a Cherry Door, knowing what I do about chopping wood, several relatives who have had experience in lumber mills, and how things can interact with the same material in different ways depending on how the material is arranged I'd actually rule the Cherry Door to have a much lower Integrity than a free standing Cherry Tree and thus yes I can see possible bleed through happening in that case.

A revolver even loaded with AP rounds punching through to hurt a person wielding a Heavy Shield, not so much.

Tai Dai Cultist

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #15 on: 29 March 2013, 18:21:41 »
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the barrier ratings are meant to be applied solely whenever the GM wants.

Between the vague BAR suggestions and the general ridiculousness if you universally, literally apply the BAR rules.. I really think the GM just has to exercise his best judgement.

No need to make house rules for whether the pistol can punch through the tactical shield, just say "BAR rules be damned, weapon A just cannot punch through this material.  I'll revert back to using BAR for weapons B through D, however."

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #16 on: 29 March 2013, 19:58:37 »
Another thing to keep in mind is that BT weaponry is pretty powerful.
Vintage weaponry (p.172, ATOW:C) only manages an AP of 2 for both pistols and assault rifles.

Which means that if they hit a BT modern "Bullet Shield" (with a BAR of 4) these vintage weapons will still damage the person behind it.

One interesting side effect of the "hero" rule about attacks less than the BAR doing fatigue is that you could claim that fatigue does not transfer through.

My ruling, supported by my players, is that if the attack doesn't do enough damage for a full point of integrity then it does not penetrate. Thus a standard auto pistol (3b/4) shooting a bullet shield (4 BAR) would allow only 3 damage through. It did 75% of 1 point of barrier damage so did not penetrate. You still round up to determine damage to the shield, however.

   - Shane
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Paul

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #17 on: 29 March 2013, 21:05:35 »
Which means that if they hit a BT modern "Bullet Shield" (with a BAR of 4) these vintage weapons will still damage the person behind it.

Yes, as a 0B/1 attack. Anything that has BAR 1 against Ballistic (including a leather jacket) stops that.

Quote
One interesting side effect of the "hero" rule about attacks less than the BAR doing fatigue is that you could claim that fatigue does not transfer through.

That's another easy fix.

Paul

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #18 on: 29 March 2013, 21:42:43 »
Yes, as a 0B/1 attack. Anything that has BAR 1 against Ballistic (including a leather jacket) stops that.

Paul

Still, you'd think that something called a "Bullet Shield" would at least be able to completely stop an Archaic Pistol round. Against BT modern pistols they only subtract 1 at most. The rest goes through and your leather jacket won't stop that. These are pistols we're talking about here, vs equipment that's supposedly designed to stop them.

Now, don't get me wrong, here, I actually like the mechanics of the system. I like that a tiny, fast moving bullet that doesn't do much tissue damage can still penetrate armor and a large, slow moving slug that does greater tissue damage cannot. This system is, quite frankly, much better than just about anything else I've seen. I just think it needs some tweaks. There's a difference between body armor which is, by necessity, right against the body it's protecting and barriers that are not. Damage transfers through body armor is quite expected even if the shot gets stopped. Kinda feels like getting kicked by a horse.

Basically, Barriers shouldn't really be using the exact same mechanism as body armor.

   - Shane
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion
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My teeth acquire stains
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It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.

Paul

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #19 on: 29 March 2013, 21:59:38 »
I'm not a big fan of how BAR works in every instance neither, but at least it's very easy to fix, as you noted.

Basically, Barriers shouldn't really be using the exact same mechanism as body armor.

Probably not. I tend to play as AP < BAR = no effect. The current math is probably a consequence of having almost every weapon do something to BAR 10 'Mech armor. A decision I don't approve of, but also a decision that's massively older than ATOW or even TW. Then there's TM, which locked us in on a LOT of MW3rd weapon stats.
Anyway, if a rifle's ""supposed"" to be a threat to BAR 10 armor (somehow) it's going to hurt anything less as well. Which will create some irritating results on the low ends of BAR.

Just my $0.02, I didn't do much in the combat section beyond praise the bits I liked, and whine about the bits I didn't. Sometimes the whining made a difference, sometimes it didn't and sometimes I was flat out wrong to even bitch.
But it does mean I can't offer a "that's why it works the way it does" on everything with authority, since I'm not always aware of the 'why' on the parts I didn't work on.

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #20 on: 29 March 2013, 23:13:09 »
Ya, true that.

Thing is, I really do like the new rules set, enough to transfer characters in an ongoing campaign. Enough, actually, to start buying books again. Tell that to your bookeepers! MW 3rd ed that I've got was because it came in a lot with a bunch of mini's. ;D This system is, in most ways, better. Just needs some tiny tweaks that my gaming group can do.

Between the vague BAR suggestions and the general ridiculousness if you universally, literally apply the BAR rules.. I really think the GM just has to exercise his best judgement.

No need to make house rules for whether the pistol can punch through the tactical shield, just say "BAR rules be damned, weapon A just cannot punch through this material.  I'll revert back to using BAR for weapons B through D, however."

Interestingly, this is more akin to what I'd normally do, but my gaming group wanted something a little more specific " 'cause, what if we want to destroy that shield". :)) It's nice to be able to point at a rule - either one we've made or a standard one - as the reason why something is or isn't.

   - Shane
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion
It is by the coffee that my thoughts acquire speed
My teeth acquire stains
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It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.

Paul

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #21 on: 29 March 2013, 23:28:45 »
Ya, true that.

Thing is, I really do like the new rules set, enough to transfer characters in an ongoing campaign. Enough, actually, to start buying books again. Tell that to your bookeepers! MW 3rd ed that I've got was because it came in a lot with a bunch of mini's. ;D This system is, in most ways, better. Just needs some tiny tweaks that my gaming group can do.

Yeah, that's quite encouraging to hear, thanks!
While we tried to make it 'perfect', we also tried to make it accessible enough that it would be easy for any GM to manipulate most components. Because perfection isn't possible, it's important to make the latter easy, and for us to get the heavy lifting done on our end.
That didn't always work out, but lot seems pretty accessible from most of the feedback I've seen.

Still, not everyone's happy.

That is frankly silly and honestly is starting to make me wonder why I'm giving these people money when I have to re-write so much of their crap to make it work.

Sorry.

Paul

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #22 on: 29 March 2013, 23:46:55 »
I think you may be getting a little bit skewed in your feedback. People tend to only write back with complaints about the things that (in their group at least) don't work but the things that do work people keep quiet on. There's no reason to say anything, it works.

So, kudos to the team!

   - Shane
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion
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My teeth acquire stains
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It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.

monbvol

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #23 on: 30 March 2013, 15:19:46 »
Well to be as fair as I can and give as full disclosure as I can there are some things I do like, the lethality of firearms is almost exactly where I'd like it(it can take more than one shot to actually kill someone but not a whole magazine of ammo), the whole XP based system and how it has consistent costs(to be completely honest I'm not sure I've ever correctly generated a MW3ed/CBT:RPG character correctly), how much more player option there is, and how adaptable it could be once some of the sillyness is dealt with.

Problem is for me the fluff of the universe has for the most part been meaningless baggage for me since day 1 nearly 20 years ago.  Hell looking at the fact I have a thread that deals extensively with just House Rules for AToW that I fully intend to start implementing some day that also includes stuff for TW scale play. I have to start wondering if I really can say if there is more I like about Battletech than dislike at this point.

Acolyte

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Re: Sand Bags and Hesco's
« Reply #24 on: 30 March 2013, 17:08:47 »
Fair enough. There are games where I love the game world, but hate all the rules that go with it. Anything in the Palladium system falls into this category.

In terms of house rules I find, for the most part, for the lighter the better unless you're willing to completely remake the system.

For AToW, we use:

The BattleTech skill roll system - you have a TN that you modify and try to roll over that rather than modifying the roll itself.

The Hero level 2 armor system - modified. If the AP is under the BAR it's fatigue damage, if over it's standard with a -1 damage if the AP is less than double the BAR. A leather coat does nothing against a gun, a cooling vest helps a little. I actually wouldn't have gone this way, but my group liked it so it's fine.

Standard Damage Capacity is 2xBOD + WIL, Fatigue Capacity is 2xWIL + BOD. A modification of the Hero rules.

Barriers stop an attack if it doesn't do a full point of damage. for exp. 3-5 points of damage to a BAR 6 barrier is stopped, but still rounds up to 1 integrity loss.

Bursts have an accuracy of -1 (bonus, remember BT rolling system) per 5 shots at the same target with the recoil modifier as a penalty (flip the negative to a plus). MOS does not add damage but determines how many bullets hit, each treated as a separate strike. MOS 0 or 1 is one shot, 2 is 2, 3 is 3 etc.

The expanded damage system from AToW Companion - modified. A 1 point before multiplier Standard damage hit uses the Fatigue column for effects. 1 point fatigue has no effects. If a result of Severed is received by Fatigue damage, it does only the normal amount, but is Standard rather than Fatigue, with all attendant effects. This is how you get broken ribs in a fist fight. If Standard damage is greater than 2* BOD before multiplier, threat as severed.

Explosive Damage, Area Effect Damage and Vehicular Weapons Damage uses the Overall Armor rules from Lostech. In addition, roll 1d6 locations. Use the highest multiplier to determine damage and add all other effects.

Other than that, all rules are pretty much standard. You'll notice that the majority of these are optional rules and tweaks, the exceptions being burst rules and explosives.

   - Shane
« Last Edit: 30 March 2013, 17:59:43 by Acolyte »
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion
It is by the coffee that my thoughts acquire speed
My teeth acquire stains
The stains become a warning
It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.