Vehicles and Aerial Characters

Vehicle actions work like normal character actions, with some additional game mechanics for special situations.

Much of the information found in this section applies equally well to flying characters, particularly the details on stunts.

Vehicle Movement

Vehicles have five speeds of movement: stopped, cautious, cruising, high, and all-out. They may make one movement action per round.

• Stopped: The vehicle is motionless. This requires no roll. Air vehicles should be on the ground when at this speed level.

• Cautious: The vehicle travels at half its Move. This is generally a free action requiring no roll, but terrain conditions may increase it from its base difficulty of zero. Air vehicles at this level must be attempting to reach a higher or lower altitude at this speed; they cannot maintain altitude at cautious.

• Cruising: The vehicle travels at its Move. This requires an action, but since it has a base difficulty of zero, the character need only roll if movement conditions dictate otherwise.

• High: The vehicle travels at twice its Move. This requires a piloting roll with a base difficulty of 5, modified by existing conditions.

• All-out: The vehicle travels at four times its Move. This requires a piloting roll with a base difficulty of 10, modified by existing conditions.

Vehicles may travel anywhere between half their current speed and the full current speed at each level. Rapid acceleration and deceleration are considered stunts and dealt with later in this section.

Character Flying Movement

Characters who fly travel at the base rate designated in the Special Ability or equipment description. To increase this rate, use the same rules as for running, except that the character relies on the flying skill. Characters may not use this skill unless they have a means of propelling themselves through the air or they are in a zero-gravity environment.


For normal vehicle use or casual flying under ideal conditions, a character need not make a skill roll. When the conditions turn less than favorable or he decides to attempt a fancy maneuver, his piloting skill plus the vehicle’s Maneuverability code or his flying skill determines his success.

Rapid acceleration and deceleration also warrant rolls, enhanced by the vehicle’s Maneuverability, to see if the operator maintains control. These maneuvers have an initial difficulty of 10, adjusted based on existing conditions (see the “Stunt Difficulties and Modifiers” chart for some suggestions). A vehicle or flying character may reduce or increase movement by two levels in one round. Failing this roll means that the character has lost control for one round. If some immovable force doesn’t stop the vehicle or character during that round, he may attempt to regain control (with a base difficulty of 15) on the following round.

If a character wishes to perform any other actions in addition to piloting or flying, he must make the appropriate skill rolls for all actions, reduced by the multi-action penalty, regardless of the situation. The base difficulty for normal operation becomes 5. Stunts still have their established base difficulties.

Stunt Difficulties and Modifiers

Docking (water), parking (land) 6

Landing (air vehicles) 10

Moving on a straight way 0

Regaining control (in situations other than ramming or sideswiping) 15

Sideswiping 10

Easy turn (less than 45 deg. from current direction) 5

Fast 45-degree turn 9

Fast 90-degree turn 15

Fast 180-degree turn 21

Condition Modifier For All Vehicles

Moving in reverse +6

Ramming +10

For Land and Water Vehicles

Moved or moving over curb or debris +3

Limited parking or docking area +3

For Land Vehicles Not Designed for Off-Road Conditions

Off-road +6

For Air Vehicles and Aerial Characters

Unlimited landing area -3

Limited landing area +3

Almost no landing area +6

Rough or unsteady landing area +3 or more

Climb or dive of 45 degrees or more from current direction +6 or more

Terrain Conditions

For modifiers due to various terrain conditions, use the “Movement Difficulty Modifiers” table.

Vehicle Familiarity

Use the following table when a character is not familiar with the vehicle she needs to operate. If the character does not have the piloting skill at all, these difficulties are in addition to the untrained modifier.

Very common or simple (car, pickup, bicycle) +3

Common (farm tractor, motorcycle, motorboat, snowmobile) +6

Moderately common (speedboat, bus, semi tractor) +8

Uncommon (ultralight plane, tank, hang-glider, unicycle) +11

Unusual (prop plane, glider) +14

Rare (jet, submarine) +17

Exotic (fighter plane, space shuttle) +20

Ramming and Sideswiping Vehicles

Ramming is done with the nose of a vehicle, while sideswiping is done with its side. The character makes the appropriate vehicle roll, including the vehicle’s Maneuverability. If the character fails the roll, the vehicle misses and spins. Land and vehicles turn up to 180 degrees and lose power, while space vehicles continuing spinning. The character must then spend one round starting it or regaining control and another getting back in the right direction. Should the character instead succeed, she keeps the vehicle reasonably straight and may try for another sideswipe or ram on the next turn. The pilot of an air vehicle that rams or sideswipes another vehicle automatically loses control. About the best she can hope for is to make a successful, but rough, landing.

Both vehicles take damage (the mechanics of this are explained later in this section) in a successful ram or sideswipe.

Vehicle Attacking and Dodging

The base difficulty to hit a vehicle 10, modified by distance and the sizes of the attacker and the defender (using the scale modifier listed in the “Combat Options” chapter). That means a person shooting a car has a +6 to his attack total, while a car sideswiping another car has no modifier.

If the driver wishes to fire a weapon, he must make both an Easy piloting roll (modified by the vehicle’s Maneuverability code) and a marksmanship roll. Because he’s doing two actions, he also incurs a multi-action penalty to both rolls. Passengers may shoot with few or no penalties. (Note that these actions would not be possible in some vehicles.)

A character may also attempt to maneuver the vehicle out of the way of incoming projectiles or other vehicles. Instead of the dodge skill, the character uses his piloting skill plus the vehicle’s Maneuverability code. Use the active partial or full defense rules for characters to determine the new defense total. The defense total becomes the new combat difficulty and is in effect until the character’s turn in the next round.

Vehicle Damage

When a vehicle takes damage from a weapon or another vehicle, it’s the level of destruction that matters. Use the following guidelines and compare the result to the “Vehicle and Passenger Damage” chart. Modify the damage total of the attacker or the damage resistance total of the target by the scale modifier, as appropriate for the situation.

A vehicle’s damage resistance total equals its Toughness plus the value of any armor. Character Points or Fate Points may not be spent on this roll.

With weapons, compare the weapon’s damage total to the target’s damage resistance total.

When vehicle collides with something else, decide how fast it was going when it made the collision and modify it based on the circumstances of the collision. Compare that to the damage resistance total. Should two vehicles be involved, both take damage.

Speed Damage Modifier

Stopped 2D

Cautious 4D

Cruise 6D

High 8D

All-out 10D

Collision Damage Modifier

Head-on +3D

Rear-end, sideswipe -3D

Nose to side 0

Into something very hard 0

Into something yielding -1D or more

Note: Modifiers are cumulative. Situation is the one in which the damaged vehicle is.

Crew and Passenger Injuries

Depending on how badly damaged the vehicle becomes, the crew and passengers may be harmed, too. Adjust passenger damage based on how much of the passengers is exposed (for example, motorcycles and canoes offer little protection to their cargo).

Vehicle and Passenger Damage

Damage exceeds resistance by: 1–3; Vehicle damage is: Very Light; Passengers Suffer: No damage

Damage exceeds resistance by: 4–8; Vehicle damage is: Light; Passengers Suffer: 1/4 Damage Total

Damage exceeds resistance by: 9–12; Vehicle damage is: Heavy; Passengers Suffer: 1/2 Damage Total

Damage exceeds resistance by: 13–15; Vehicle damage is: Severe; Passengers Suffer: 3/4 Damage Total

Damage exceeds resistance by: 16+ ; Vehicle damage is: Destroyed; Passengers Suffer: All Damage Total

Note: All modifiers are cumulative. A vehicle may take an unlimited number of Very Light and Light levels of damage. At Heavy or above, any additional level of damage above Very Light bumps the damage to the next level. Game Masters may include or substitute damage to other systems if the vehicle has them (ex., weapons, navigation, or sensors).

Very Light: Vehicle loses 1D from Maneuverability for this round and the next.

Light: Vehicle loses 1D from Maneuverability or, if at 0D in Maneuverability, top move speed is decreased by one level. The loss or modifier remains until repaired.

Heavy: Vehicle loses 2D from Maneuverability or, if at 0D in Maneuverability, top move speed is decreased by two levels. The loss or modifier remains until repaired.

Severe: Vehicle is out of control, decelerating by two levels each round until it comes to a stop or crashes into something.

Destroyed: The vehicle will never operate again.

Leaping Out of a Vehicle

Leaving a land or water vehicle moving at less than 5 miles per hour is a Very Easy acrobatics or Reflexes roll (or jumping if the character leaps from the vehicle). If the vehicle is moving faster than that, the base difficulty becomes 15, with +1 added to it for every 10 kilometers per hour the vehicle is traveling (rounded down). Additionally, the character takes damage from the fall, at a rate of 1 for every 15 kilometers per hour the vehicle is moving (rounded up) minus the result points from the roll.

Example: If the driver of a car traveling at 90 kilometers per hour decided to leave the vehicle before it hit the tree it was traveling toward, the difficulty would be 24 (90/10 = 9, plus the base difficulty of 15). She would also take 6 points of damage unless she sufficiently succeeded at her jump (90/15 = 6).

Repairing a Vehicle

The difficulty to repair a damaged vehicle depends on the amount of damage and availability of parts and tools. See the repair skill description in the “Example Skill Difficulties” chapter for difficulty and modifier suggestions.