Tag Archives: House Rules



Car accidents can be a dangerous thing, and this is still true in Shadowrun. However, the way the actual crash rules are written out, you are in for more danger if you are in a big rig that slams into a Smart Car, while the passengers in the Smart Car are likely to walk away uninjured.  Makes total sense, right?  Nah.

So, I am going to try to come up with something might make sense here, toss the idea around, see if I can get others to comment, contribute ideas, and maybe we can refine it to something that is acceptable to many GMs and Players.

First, Crashes usually involve the impact of a vehicle with another vehicle, or physical object.  For the sake of Crash damage rules, we are going to address a vehicle hitting a solid object, or Barrier.  And a vehicle hitting another Vehicle.

Next, lets address the different attributes of a Vehicle.  Body represents the structure of the vehicle, and Armor represents the ability of your vehicle to shrug off damage.

So, in the instance of hitting a barrier, lets start with the assumption that a vehicle that hits a fragile object is not going to cause much damage.  It really doesn’t matter how fast a vehicle is going, running into a pane of glass is just going to break the glass.  So if the Body of the vehicle is higher than either the Armor or Structure of the barrier, assume it passes right through undamaged.  If either value is higher, then it might pass through with little to no damage.
     So for instances like this, I propose that one consults the speed chart for the vehicle, and if the resulting “damage” is higher than the Armor of the barrier being struck, then the GM may rule that the vehicle destroys the barrier with little to no damage to the car.  Examples, if a Honda Spirit (Body 8, Armor 6) travelling at 51-200 m/turn (Body x2, or 16DV) hits an Armored glass pane, or other “Reinforced Material” (Armor 12, Structure 8), then the vehicle is going to bust right through.  However, in this case, since the structure is higher than the armor, I might call for the car to resist a DV equal to the difference in DV of the Vehicle and the Armor of the target.  In this case, 4DV to the vehicle and Passengers, but since the DV is not higher than the Armor of the vehicle, the damage is STUN, and the passengers get to utilize the Armor of their vehicle as well.  Note, the -6AP mentioned in crash damage resistances applies to personal armor worn, if any, not the added armor of the vehicle passengers are in.

In the next instance, one of the vehicle hitting tougher objects, in which both the Armor and Structure of the target are higher than the Body of the Car.  I might recommend figuring the DV that ramming vehicle will inflict, and having the vehicle resist half that amount.  As for Passengers, it makes little sense for the size of the vehicle they are in increase the damage they are taking.  So for instances like this, I recommend a flat rate of 10S, modified by the speed of the vehicle.  Normal Crash rules for damage resistance apply (resisting with Body + Armor -6AP)  I also propose adding in the Armor of the vehicle (or perhaps it structure) as sort of the “crumple zone” impact safety feature of the vehicle.
So for example.  If that same Honda Spirit runs into a brick wall or other “Structural Material” (Armor 16, Structure 10), at the same speed of 51-200m/turn.  The vehicle would be inflicting 16P against the wall, and would be resisting 8P DV.  If this damage is lower than the armor of the vehicle, the vehicle shrugs off all damage.  The Passengers all have to resist 10S normally, but they get to add the vehicle’s 6 Armor to their roll.

In the case of vehicles hitting other vehicles, I would propose similar numbers as those with vehicles vs structures.  First, consider the speeds of the vehicles  If a faster vehicle is hitting a slower vehicle int he same direction, just take the relative speed.  If the relative speed is 1-10m, then the Damage being inflicted by the ramming car is Body/2, which is not likely to much more than force a Crash roll, but still compare DV of the ramming vehicle with the Armor of the rammed vehicle to see if any damage is caused (less DV than Armor means no damage).

But lets assume a large or fast vehicle hits one that is not so large, or it’s a head-on collision with a high relative speed. Two Hyundai Shin-Hyungs travelling 110m/t head on collide,  The DVs based on these speeds are Body x2.  You could take the Relative Speed, and have it Body x3, but since both vehicles are travelling the same speed, it’s easier I think to just have them each inflict the same damage to each other.  In the case of the Passengers through, I would modify the flat 10S by the Relative Speed, so all passengers are resisting 30S, and might possibly die in this impact once you consider the extra stun rolling over into Physical at a 2:1 rate.
So, Two Hyundais are impacting head on.  They are both Body 10, Armor 6.  Each is inflicting 16DV to the other vehicle, which is higher than the armor, so each will have to resist the damage.  The Passengers have to resist  30S with Body+Personal Armor (-6AP) + Vehicle Armor.  So if they had Body 5, Armor 12, they’d be resisting with 17 dice (5+6+6).  Assuming average results, each is likely to be taking 20+ Stun damage, resulting in unconsciousness, and possibly death.

If Anyone has any comments, suggestions, etc, I would greatly appreciate hearing them.  This hasn’t been play tested.  I basically came up with this as I was sitting here typing it, so it may not fairly address vehicle or passenger damage in crashes..  but it seems like it would be better than the crash rules as presented in the Core Book.

House Rules – Matrix

As I mentioned in my Decking article, my group recently had a discussion about the Matrix.  Despite being one of the best versions of the Matrix to date, there are still times when it just seems to take forever.  In my game, what happened was that the team was given a job, sort of immediate action needed, no time to “plan.”  They had to steal a shipping container that was being loaded onto a truck.  They were about 2 hours away from the docks where the truck was being loaded, so the player of the Decker decided to flit on down in the Matrix and try for some surveillance.

He first started going right for the Universal Oil Host, because that is who owned the dock all this was taking place on.  At which point, like I recommend in my previous article, know the desired result.  He wanted to get access to cameras, so I offered him the suggestion of looking for other cameras that might not be protected by a Rating 6 Host.  Which he found, and decided to hack.  Okay, Rating 2 Cameras mean 4 defense dice.  Much better than the 15 or so that the Host would have been rolling.  The problem came into the time consuming nature of rolling to get a mark a few times.. and then OS increasing as time passed while they were driving tot he location, and the Decker deciding with a 32 OS that he didn’t want to risk waiting another 15 minutes, so he rebooted, and then we had to start over again.

The end result was that after 2 hours of game play, people felt like the Decker had been monopolizing the game for most of that time, and had very little to show for it, since much of the time was eaten by failures, re-rolls, and reboots.  So, after discussion, we came upon a few ideas that we are going to try.  They are pretty much built on optional rules already in the Core Rule Book,

First – In Situations that are not involving Combat, Hosts, significant risks or dangers, Marks will be ignored.

When it comes down to it, Marks tend to just slow things down.  The Decker is going to try a few times to get a Mark, and the moment they fail, they are probably just going to reboot, and try again.  It’s a time sink, especially if all it is going to take is a few re-rolls for the Decker to get the information he needs.  This is also important when it concerns information that will help the story progress.  The group needs to hack a the video cameras along a route to monitor traffic, and if they fail to accomplish that, then it’s going to delay the game.  At times like this, it’s more important that the group get the info they need, instead of how they get the info.  So speeding things up a little and letting the Decker actually accomplish what he’s supposed to do are a good thing.

In non-combat situations, or situations where there’s little to no risk or retaliation, then there is little point to slow things down for Mark acquisition.  Just let them Edit File to copy something, or Reboot the vending machine long enough to try to jack a Soy-Fizz Soda without the security notifying anyone.  Having to stop and go for the 1 to 3 marks, hack again, wait, reboot, hack again..  they are pretty much rolls that really don’t have to happen.  Now, I say Non-combat situations, unattended devices, etc.  If there is a chance that someone will notice, and there may be repercussions, then you should take the time to go through the process with Marks, especially if it is during a Combat Turn, where other Players will be participating as well.  Also, Marks often provide bonus effects to some matrix Actions that will be used more in Combat Situations, so you don’t want to deny those to your Decker.

Second – In Situations that are not involving Combat, Hosts, significant risks or dangers, Hits will be purchased by the GM.

Just as taking the time to make the rolls to acquire Marks can slow things down, so can the GM’s dice.  In the situation in my game, the Decker was rolling 10-12+ dice, sometimes with an Agent assisting for extra dice, against my 4-6 dice depending on whether it was a Rating 2 or 3 device.  And despite sometimes him rolling double my dice pool, luck was on my side.  However, it was information that they kind of needed to progress the story.  So again, it just slowed things down.  He’d roll to try to Mark it, and he’d get the first Mark, then fail on the second several times, and then OS would increase, so he’d reboot, start again.  Wasted time.

This is just for the GM.  The player should still be rolling his dice, since we still want the chance of rolling glitches or critical glitches.  How this works.  Please stick to the Device Ratings charts in the book on page 234 (around where they talk about Grids), 356 (Wired Security in the GM section), and repeated again on 421 (in the gear section).  I am looking at page numbers in one of the first errata’d PDFs, your pages may vary by 5-6.Device Rating1

When you look at these charts, you notice that most “common” devices out there are very low Rating.   A lot are Rating 1 devices, which cannot buy a hit to defend themselves.  Rating 2 devices can buy 1 Hit, etc.  Hopefully your Decker can roll better than a few hits.  So he should be flying through those Rating 1 or 2 municipal traffic cameras, or most maglocks.

Again, this is for out of combat situations, or when facing low-end, or unattended devices, or situations where there is little to no risk.  If the group wants to hack into the Rating 6 commlink of a Street Sam they just geeked, the rolls are unnecessary.  The Sam is dead, he’s not going to counter-hack the Decker.  In a situation like this, I’d even say just give them what they want without any rolls, since they’ll eventually get into it.  Come to think of it, If the player can buy twice as many Hits as the GM in these low-risk, no consequence, non-combat situations, then I say just go with that.  They are so much better in these circumstances, that there should be little risk of Glitches.

Even though the device will be buying Hits, you (the GM) should still secretly roll the appropriate dice for OS purposes.  Just because you want to speed up the game, you should still give them the chance to have GOD converge on them.

Third – If the situation is not involving combat, or actively being on a Run, then you get one chance to remotely hack a Host.

When I say not actively being on a run, that means mostly legwork, information gathering, or times of investigation.  Times when time isn’t critical for the success/failure of the run, or when there’s little to no consequences towards the failure/success of the run.  If your group is in danger, and time is of the essence, or especially when everyone has rolled initiative, and are taking their actions in order, then you can commence these actions like normal.

When you try to hack a Mark onto a host, it often defends with many dice.  If you fail, it gets a Mark on you, and at this point, you often reboot instead of erasing Mark, and the like.  It’s often the easier thing to do.  However, according to page 49 of the Core Rule Book, Trying Again after you fail a test comes with a cumulative -2 penalty.  What this means is that you are now attacking that Host with fewer dice.  And we can spend several minutes of you Hacking, failing, rebooting, and trying again with fewer dice.  Or we can just limit your attempts for sake of saving time.

So, the One Chance is not set in stone.  If time goes by, and the group does other things, and the Decker comes across some information (possible entry codes, or possible back-door exploits) that puts him in a Superior Position (+2 dice) to Hack the Host, then let him try again.  This is addressed in the Trying Again entry, “if the character takes a sufficient break from trying, they can begin the task again with no penalty.”  But if the situation has not changed, then this means the Decker needs to get to a device slaved to the Host’s WAN, and hack in directly, thus bypassing the Host’s defenses.


So that’s what we came up with to try to help speed things along, and help your Decker shine in places where he’s supposed to be Wiz.  Please share any questions or comments below, and anything else comes up that needs to be added to this list, it shall be revised.