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Shadowrun Combat System Version 4

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Hard Life: Shadowrun Combat System Version 4.05

Recent Changes from 4.04 to 4.05 (05/08/04)

  • Weapons have damage dice equal to power and not half power

Recent Changes from 4.03 to 4.04 (16/05/04)

  • Damage Test now occurs before Resistance test.
  • Body dice used in the Resistance test can't be used to stop attacks completely.


The hard life combat system is designed to add more of a sense or realsim into the shadowrun combat system.  Primarily it introduces the following ideas
  • Armour can stop attacks against even someone with a low body
  • Attacks only do a certain amount of damage determined by their power and the accuracy of the attack (and not only by the skill of the user)
  • Locations are introduced and attacks can scatter to different locations
  • Autofire now no longer all hits or all misses meaning you can hit with partial bursts of autofire.

Notes for GM's

Although more realistic the Hard Life system is a little longer that standard shadowrun combat.  It large combat scenes with numorous minor NPC's it is recomended that the GM skips the Scatter and Location rules and assumes that all fire hits the NPC's in the torso.

Hard Life and Lethallity

Is Hard Life more lethal? The answer is yes and no. Hard life balances the game for more experience characters with high skills as damage is no longer only skill based. It also gives characters with low body attributes more survivablilty as armour can now resist attacks (regardless of body). It is however more lethal in the fact that attacks that penetrate armour tend to do a lot of damage (even if the attacker has a low skill)

Ranged Combat#rangedcombat[[Anchor top}}

Ranged Combat[[Anchor rangedcombat}}

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Determine Range[[Anchor determinerange}}

As per SR3.

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Apply Situation Modifiers[[Anchor sitmods}}

Consult the Ranged combat Modifiers Table (SR3 p. 112) and apply appropriate situation modifiers. The standard aim point is known as the default aim point and is shown on the hit location diagram (Figure 1). If the opponent wishes to choose a new aim point the attack is considered a called shot as per SR3.

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Attack Test[[Anchor attacktest}}

The attacker makes his Success Test using the appropriate combat skill or sorcery for a manipulation spell, modified by dice from the combat pool. Count the successes the attacker rolls.

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Dodge Test[[Anchor dodgetest}}

If the target wishes to attempt to dodge an attack, they may use their Combat against a target number of 4, with modifiers. Subtract the number of successes on the dodge from the Attack test. If there are more successes on the Dodge test than the Attack test, the attack is completely dodged (skip remaining combat steps).

Dr Faulks is being shot at be a security guard. The guard rolls 4 successes in his Attack test. Dr. Faulks rolls 2 successes on his Dodge test. The attacker has 2 net successes. If Dr Faulks had rolled 4 successes he would have completely dodge the attack.

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Scatter[[Anchor scatter}}

To determine whether the attack scatters from the default aim point, consult Table 1. If the attack scatters roll a D6 and consult figure 1 to determine the direction of the scatter, 1 scatters up 2 up and right etc. Scatter for burst and auto-fire shots are determined differently (See Automatic Fire and Scatter).

Net Successes in Attacker’s Favour 1 2 3 4+
Number of Hexes Attack Scatters 3 2 1 0
Table 1: Scatter.

Going back to Dr Faulks, the security guard got 2 net successes on the Attack test. That means the bullet scatters by 2 hexes from the default aim point on the torso. The guard rolls a 1 and a 3 on the Scatter roll. The bullet scatters up one hex and down and right one hex. It still hits on the torso location. Rhitlocations 2.png

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Damage Test[[Anchor damagetest}}

To determine the damage caused by an attack, roll a number of dice equal to the power of the weapon (Target 4). The number of dice rolled is also modified by the net successes on the Attack test (number of successes in the Attack test minus the number of successes in the Dodge test) by a number of dice as shown in Table 2. e.g. 1 net success only results in a partial success (the bullet just grazed him) but 4 successes is a complete success (it hit roughly where it was meant to) while 6 is an outstanding success (the bullet hit exactly where it was supposed to hit).

When rolling the Damage test dice that come up as 1’s cancel out one success, and those that roll 6’s add one additional success. For every two successes in the Damage test stage the damage up by one level. Apply knock back as per the SR 3 rules.

Attacker’s Net Successes 1 2 3 4 5 6+
Damage Success Modifier
1 2
Table 2: Modifier to Damage Test

Dr Faulks has been hit by the Ares Predator in the chest the attacker now makes a Damage test. He rolls a number of dice equal to the power of the weapon, which for the Ares Predator is 9, minus 2 dice because of his poor accuracy, his 4 successes on his Attack minus Dr. Faulks 2 successes on is Dodge test leave him with 2 net successes on the Attack test. That means looking at table 2, 2 dice are subtracted from the Damage test). Rolling 7 dice he gets 1, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4 and a 6. That’s 2 successes (The 4 is one success. The 6 counts as two successes, but the 1 cancels one success. This leaves a net of 2 successes).

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Resistance Test[[Anchor resistancetest}}

For the Resistance Test roll a number of dice equal to the targets Body Attribute OR the Armour Value for that location. If Body is used for the Resistance Test then use a number of dice equal to the Body Attribute but keep separate a number of those Body Dice equal to the armour value for that location as Armour Dice (either keep them a separate piles or use two difference colours of dice), the ramaining dice are known as Body Dice. The target number for both dice is equal to the power of the attack minus the armour rating in that location. For area of effect attacks use the average armour value (see area of effect attacks). When karma is used to reroll the Resistance Test, reroll both Armour and Body Dice.

Extra dice from Orthoskin, Dermal Plate and Sheathing count as Armour dice. Other cyber (e.g. Bode Lacing) and bioware (e.g. Suprathyroid) count as body dice.

For each two success rolled on the Resistance test with Armour Dice, stage the damage down by one level, e.g. from Serious to Moderate. If the damage is staged down from light to nothing the attack is stopped by the targets armour (skip remaining combat steps).

For each success rolled on the Resistance test with Body dice, remove one success from the Attackers Damage test to a minimum of zero successes. For every two Damage tets successes left over after this the damage level is staged up by one.

Sammy the Troll (Body 11 +1 for dermal plating) is hit in the torso by a shot from an Ares Preditor (9M). The attacked gets 4 successes on the Damage test. He is wearing an Armoured Jacket (6 Points of Ballistic Armour in the Chest). For his Resistance test he rolls 12 dice (as his body 11 +1 for dermal plating 1, is higher than his Armour value of 6). Of these 12 dice he separates 7 as Armour Dice (6 from his Jacket and 1 from the Dermal Plate, and the other 5 are body dice. His target number for the test is the power of the weapon minus the Armoyur value (9-6=3). He rolls 3 successes on the armour dice and 5 successes on the body dice. The 3 Armour dice successes stage down the damage level of the Ares Predator from a Moderate to a Light (One level for ever two successes). The Body dice successes subtract from the damage test successes (4 successes on the Damage test - 5 successes on the Body dice test = Net of 0 successes). So Sammy only takes a Light wound. If Sammy had one more successes on the Armour dice the attack would have been stopped completely.

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Taking Damage[[Anchor takingdamage}}

There are six locations for taking damage. The Head, Torso, Left Arm, Right Arm, Left Leg and Right Leg. Each location has its own condition monitor. Attacks that hit the head have the damage of the weapon staged up by one level.

When ever any location other than the torso takes damage, the torso also takes the same damage at one level lower. e.g. If the left arm takes a serious wound, the torso takes a moderate wound. This represents the shock, blood loss and trauma suffered. Damage does not transfer to the torso if the character has been shot in a location replaced by a cyberlimb. In the case of cyber limbs they make a resistance test with a body of 3. Cyberlimbs can have armour added and have their body increased though (see Man and Machine).

A character that is injured in multiple damage locations uses the torso or head injury (which ever is greater) level to calculate their initiative and target number modifiers. If they are using a limb that is injured, the target number modifiers for that limb are applied. A shot to a leg also reduces the characters qucikness (only for movement) by a number equal to the target number modifier.

Solitaire has been shot in her left arm for a Moderate wound and so takes a Light wound to the torso. When she used he right hand to shoot she doesn’t receive the +2 target number modifier from the Serious wound in her left arm, but does receive the +1 Target number for the wound to her torso. Solitaire then takes another hit to the torso taking her torso injury to a Serious level. Now when she tries to take any action (even with her less injured left arm) she receives a +3 target number modifier.

Area of effect attacks (e.g. grenades, area of effect manipulation spells), shotguns with shot rounds, and combat spells (e.g. Mana Bolt) cause damage equally to all locations e.g. if hit by a serious damage manabolt, a serious damage level is taken to all locations. In this instance the damage to the head is not staged up by one level, and also damage to limbs does not get transfered to the torso.

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Death and Injury[[Anchor death}}

A character is dead when their torso or head monitor reaches 10 boxes plus body in overflow damage as per SR3 rules.

If a characters limb reaches a deadly injury level the character can only use the limb after achieving one success on a willpower (2) test, modified by injury modifiers. If the limb reaches 10 boxes plus half body attribute in overflow it is incapacitated and can no longer be used. If a limb reaches 10 boxes plus body in overflow damage it is destroyer (rendered completely useless or blown/cut/shot/pulled off). The limb may not be healed and must me amputated and later can be replaced by transplant surgery.

Once any location reaches a deadly injury level (10 boxes) the location is severely bleeding. The location takes one additional box of damage every (Body Rating) combat turns. In addition if it is a limb which is on a deadly injury level, the torso also suffers one box of damage every (Body Rating) combat turns. Even after a limb has been completely destroyed by bleeding, the torso location still takes one box of damage from the bleeding every (Body Rating) combat turns, until the wound is treated.

Solitaire is having a really bad day. Her left arm takes another hit which puts it on a deadly injury level. She has a body of 4 and so every 4 combat turns her left arm takes another box of damage AND her torso location takes a box of damage from the bleeding. After eight combat turns her arm reaches 2 boxes of overflow and it is now incapacitated, she has also take 2 boxes of damage to her torso. After another eight combat turns her arm reaches 4 boxes or overflow and now has to be removed, and she also takes another 2 boxes of damage to her torso. Even tough her arm is now a bloody destroyed mess, she still takes a box of damage every 4 combat turns to her torso monitor.

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Armour and Locations[[Anchor armour}}

The armour level of each location is different as shown in Table 7. For determining armour for area of effect attacks (e.g. grenades) and for determining armour effects on combat pool (SR3 p.285) use the average value.

Armour Type Head Torso Arms Legs Average
Armoured Clothing
3/0 3/0 3/0 3/0
Armoured Jacket
6/4 3/1
Long Coat
5/3 3/1 4/2 4/2
Armoured Vest
Armoured Vest with Plates
0/2 0/2 0/2 0/2
Synth. Leathers
0/1 0/1 0/1 0/1
Security Helmet 6/4
Partial Suit 5/3 7/5 4/2 4/2 6/4
Full Suit 5/3 8/6 5/3 5/3 8/6
Form Fitting Vest
Form Fitting Shirt
4/1 4/1
Form Fitting Full Body Suit 4/1 4/1 4/1 4/1 4/1
Table 3: Amour by Damage Location.

[Erm, I think Form fitting 1-3 is from SR2, stu! Ain't no such animals now (see cannon companion)- FOZ]

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Dodging[[Anchor dodging}}

Some addition modifiers for dodging are listed here.

Situation Target Adjustment
Area of effect attack
Visibility to see attacker Half normal modifier
Dodge into cover
Table 4: Dodging Modifiers.

Characters may try to dodge into cover at a lower target number. After dodging they are considered prone but are in cover from their attacker.

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Automatic Fire and Scatter[[Anchor automaticfire}}

These rules replace those in SR3 for burst and full automatic fire. In this system it is possible to hit with partial bursts of automatic fire. Roll the ranged combat test with a base target number not modified for recoil.

Whisper shoots a 3 round burst with his Ingram Smart Gun. The burst causes two points of recoil (1 point for each shot after the first) but has recoil compensation of 2. Whispers target number is 4 so if he rolls a 4 all 3 rounds will hit.

For each round after the first, that is not compensated for by recoil compensation, add +1 (+2 for heavy weapons) to the target number and then consulting the same dice roll determine whether the each round hits individually, resolving each extra round one at a time.

Whisper shots 5 rounds on full auto with his Ingram and rolls a 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 5 and a 6. The first three rounds recoil is compensated for and require a base target number of 4 to hit, for the 4th round to hit a 5 is required and for the 5th round to hit a 6 is required. Whisper hits with all five rounds.

When the target dodges his successes are taken from the attackers highest dice roll first.

The security guard Whisper just shot tries to dodge. He rolls one success. The means Whispers highest dice roll (the 6) is removed. Since Whispers next highest dice is a 5 he only hit with 4 bullets now.

When determining scatter for auto fire, use the following rules. If the attacker gets four or more successes the shot does not scatter. This is determined for each individual bullet. In the above example whisper obtained 4 successes with the first three rounds so they don’t scatter and would hit the default aim point. He only scored two successes for the 4th round, which means that bullet scatters two hexes (as per Table 2: Scatter). The location to which the attack scatters becomes the new aim point for determining further scatter. Resolve damage from auto fire for each location separately by adding up the total number of bullets that hit each location and making separate resistance tests. If different bullets have hit with different accuracies then resolves these rounds separately. Damage for autofire is calculated as per SR3 but the first bullet doesn't add to power e.g. a 3 round burst is +2 power +1 damage level, a 10 round burst is +9 power and +3 damage levels.

Continuing from the above example after the guard dodges (removing Whispers highest dice roll of a 6). Whisper has 6 successes left against target number 4 and so the first 3 bullets hit the guard on the default aim point with 6 successes of accuracy to the torso. Whisper only has 2 successes against target number 5 which means the 4th bullet scatters by one hex. Whisper gets hit by 4 bullets in the torso and 1 in the left arm from a HK227 (Base damage 7M). His left arm takes a damage of 11S (+3 power and +1 damage level for 3 bullets) and his torso takes a damage of 7M (base power for one bullet). He then makes Resistance tests for the left arm and then the torso.

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Suppression Fire[[Anchor suppressionfire}} (Replaces existing rules in Cannon Companion)

Instead of firing accurately a character can make a suppression fire attack. When using suppression fire attacks the attacker chooses how many bullets will be fired into each 1 metre squared area. Each person in the area comes under attack from suppression fire.

Instead of rolling the normal skill roll the attacker rolls a number of dice equal to the number of bullets they are firing into each 1 metre squared area. Suppression fire has a base target number is determined by ranges (e.g. 4 for short, 5 for medium etc), this is modified by the attackers wound and vision modifiers and the targets cover. For each dice that is a success one bullet hits. The hit location of this round is rolled randomly on Table 5 using 3 dice. Roll 1D6 when the round hits to determine the number of successes in the Attack test. The target rolls a Dodge test and for each success dodges one bullet. Once dodge is resolved determine scatter for each round normally. Suppression fire lasts until the beginning of the characters next combat phase and attacks anybody who enter the area during that time.

Whisper is on the receiving end of Petes 6 rounds of suppression fire. Pete is at short range and has no injuries so rolls 6 dice against a target of 4. He gets 3 successes. He then rolls a D6 to determine how many attack successes each bullet hit with and gets a 1, 3, and a 5. Whisper now rolls to dodge. Three rounds hit so he rolls against a target of 5 (4 +1), and gets 2 successes. This means he dodged two of the bullets. For the remaining bullet 1D6 is rolled to determine the number of successes for the attack test. A 2 is rolled. he location is rolled randomly by 3D6 (getting a 5 – the right leg). he shot then scatters two hexes as only 2 the attack test only achieved two successes.

Hit Number Location
3 Head
4-5 Right Leg
6-8 Right Arm
9-12 Torso
13-15 Left Arm
16-17 Left Leg
18 Head

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