Deadlands: Riders on the Storm
In simple terms, all you need to do is figure out your Target Number and roll your shootin' dice. If one of your bones comes up equal to or higher than the TN, you've hit.
While reading this part, remember that you should figure out all the modifiers for the Marshal instead of making her do it all for you. That will free her up to interpret the results in grisly detail and keep all the bad guys and their modifiers straight.
The Shootin' Roll
The first thing you need to figure out when you want to blow something to Kingdom Come is what kind of weapon your character is going to fire. There are lots of pea-shooters in the Weird West—from Colt Peacemakers and Winchester repeaters to Gatling guns and flamethrowers powered by ghost rock.
We can classify these into four concentrations: pistols, rifles, shotguns, and automatics. Flamethrowers and other weird gizmos should fall into one of these categories, depending on the particular device.
Whichever weapon your character uses, that's the kind of shootin' concentration he needs. If he doesn't have it, he can use his Deftness instead, but since this is a "default" roll, you have to halve the total (round down).
If your character has a related concentration—say she's firing a pistol when she's used to shotguns—you can use the related concentration but you'll have to subtract -2 from the roll.
Rate of Fire
So how many shots can you fire per action? That's easy. A character can fire up to his weapons "rate of fire" (ROF) each action. Pistols and rifles each have a rate of fire of 1. You need several actions to plug multiple bad guys in the same round. Only Gatling guns and weird gizmos have higher rates of fire.
Once you've figured out what kind of dice to roll, it's time to figure out the TN you need to make some dirt-slow loser do some daisy-pushing.
The Target Number you're looking for is Fair (5) plus the range modifier. To figure the modifier count the number of yards between the shooter and the target and then divide it by the weapons Range Increment, rounding down as usual. The number you get is added to Fair (5) to get the base TN for the shot.
Below are teh range increments for the most common weapons. Weird gizmos such as flamethrowers and artillery pieces have their own specific range increment listed in their descriptions.
|Gatling gun||+1/20 yards|
Now that you have your TN, you might have to add or subtract a couple of modifiers to your shootin' roll.
|Firer is moving||-4|
|Firer is mounted||-2|
|Firer is wounded||Variable|
|Target is moving||-4|
Firer is Moving
It's a lot harder to hit a target when you're on the move. As you might remember from our little discussion on movement, any action in which your character urns (doubles his movement for the action, he suffers a -4 penalty to all his actions.
If a target is half the size of a man, subtract a penalty of -1. If it's one quarter the size of a man, subtract -2, and so on, to a maximum of -6. The opposite is also true. A target that is twice as big as a man gives the character a +1 bonus, target three times the size of a man has a +2 modifier, and so on, up to a maximum of +6.
Target is Moving
Of course, it's harder to hit a moving target than one that's standing still.
Any time a target is moving faster than a relative pace of 20, subtract -4 from your roll. "Relative means you need to take into account how fast the target and the shooter are moving in relation to each other. If a rider is chasing a train, for instance, no penalty applies.
Shotguns and scatterguns work a little differently than most weapons. The benefit of either is that one shell unleashes a half-dozen or so .38 caliber balls. This makes them ideal for unskilled shooters since they can make up for their lack of talent by filling the air with lead. Even better, the closer the shooter is to her target, the more balls are likely to hit and the more damage they can cause.
Anyone firing a shotgun adds 4d6 bonus dice to his shootin': shotgun roll. Subtract one of these bonus dice every 10 yards after the first. So at 1-10 yards, a shotgun adds 4d6 bonus dice, at 11-20 yards it adds 3d6, and so on.
Shotguns and scatterguns get bonus damage dice in much the same way. However, how many bonus Aptitude dice are left when a character fires is the number of bonus damage dice he can add if he hits. Since a shotgun has a base damage of 2d6, a successful shot at 10 yards or less actually causes 6d6 damage—ouch!
Automatic weapons like Gatling guns fire several rounds at once at the expense of accuracy.
When a character fires a Gatling gun, he usually has to fire the weapon's full "rate of fire." For Gatlings and other automatics, the ROF is usually 3.
The shooter's shootin': automatics roll determines how many of these rounds actually hit, Every raise above the TN means an additional bullet hits the target. Obviously, a target cannot be hit by more bullets than were fired at it. Determine each round's hit location and effects separately.
If a gunner wants to fire at multiple targets, he needs to decide how many bullets each target gets and then split his dice among them.
A gunner can never "draw a bead" or make called shots when firing on automatic.
Gatling guns aren't perfected technology. They have a reliability of 19. When you fire one, roll a d20 along with the Action Roll. If you roll a 20, the Gatling gun breaks down. Tell your Marshal when this happens and he'll figure out the results using the mad scientist malfunction rules.
Gunslingers use all kinds of tricks and techniques to make sure they get their man.
Hitting a specific spot on your target is a "called shot" and, of course, it comes with a penalty. The smaller the target, the bigger the penalty. The table below is for targeting people, but it should give ou an idea for blasting parts off nasty critters as well.
|Heads, hands, feet||-6|
Drawing a Bead
A normal shot assumes your cowpoke aims his smoke wagon only for a heatbeat before squeezing off a round. If a character spends an entire action "drawing a bead," she can add +2 to her shootin' total in the next action. Every action spent drawing a bead adds +2 to the character's next shootin' roll, up to a maximum of +6. The modifier carries over to teh next round if needed.
Veteran gunslingers sometimes "fan" their sidearms. Fanning simply means holding the trigger down on a single-action revolver and slapping the hammer repeatedly with the palm of the other hand. This puts a lot of lead in teh air fast, but the individual shots aren't very accurate.
Fanning requires the fannin' Aptitude and uses the automatic rie rules we spelled out for you above. The rate of fire is up to you—up to 6 rounds per action if you've got the ammo. The fanner needs one free hand and a single-action revolver.
Fanning a pistol isn't very accurate, however, so the shooter has to subtract a -2 from his fannin' roll.
The advantage to fanning is that you get to unload your smokewagon in a single action (even though single-action revolvers normally have a speed of 2 and a rate of fire of 1). You can get off up to 6 shots at once—that's even faster than a Gatling gun. The downside is that you don't get all of your skill dice on each shot. You also can't draw a bead or make a called shot either. Use this maneuver wisely, or you'll find yourself out of bullets with a bunch of angry banditos around you.
Shootin' From the Hip
Sometimes an ornery hombre won't wait for you to pull your Winchester '73 up to your eye and take a well-aimed pop at his innards. If not, you'll have to shoot from the hip.
Single-action revolvers have to be cocked before they can be fired. Double-actions cock themselves when the trigger is pulled. This makes sing-actions a tab slower, but offers the advantage of letting the user fan. Riflers are also slow since the shooter usually has to pull the weapon up to hsi eye and aim before firing.
single-action revolvers, rifles, and other weapons with a speed of 2 can fire faster (making the speed 1) by sacrificing a little aim. This is called "shooting from the hip" and subtracts -2 from the firer's attack roll.
The Two-Gun Kid
Some pistoleros like to fire two pistols at once. They usually don't hit as much, but they sure make a lot of noise.
Any action taken with a character's off-hand is made at -4. A cowpoke can fire with each hand up to the weapon's usual rate of fire. Each shot is a separate roll.
The Rifle Spin
Generally speaking, you need two hands to operate a rifle, but if you're good, you can do it with only one. Subtract -2 from any one-handed rifle attack.
A gonzo rifleman could even use two rifles at once, but don't forget about the off-hand penalty we just mentioned above.
The real problem comes from having to cock the rifle between shots. It's hard, but it can be done by spinning the rifle by its lever. If you'd like for your character to do this one-handed too, you need to make an Onerous (7) Deftness check for each rifle. This check requires no actions, but can only be made once per action. If you fail, you can try again on your next action.
Sooner or later, your sixgun's going to run out of ammo. It takes one action to put a single bullet into a pistol or rifle, or a single shell in a shotgun. Of course, you can always try speed-loading the gun to get more bullets faster (see speed-load in the Aptitudes section).
Gatling guns fire bursts instead of single bullets. They can fire up to 15 bursts before having to be reloaded. It takes two actions to reload a Gatling gun's feed box. They cannot be speed-loaded.
Black power muzzle-loading weapons take forever to reload. Five actions, in fact. They can never be speed-loaded.
Sometimes you want to know if a missed shot could hit someone near or along the path of the target. This isn't a situation that crops up all of the time, and you shouldn't worry about it if it's not important. If a bystander is a few feet from the target and directly between it and the shooter—as in the classic hostage pose—you can use the hit location chart. If the bystander was covering up the part of the target that was hit, she gets hit instead. You have to figure out where the bystander gets hit based on the situation or another roll.
If the bystander isn't up close and person with the target, you can use this simple system:
For single shots that miss their target, a bullet has a 1 in 6 chance of hitting anyone within 1 yard of the bullet's path. Start at the bystander closest to the shooter and roll a d6. If it comes up a 1, he's hit. Roll hit location and damage normally. If the roll is anything but a 1, check any other bystanders in the path until you run out of bystanders or the bullet finds a home.
A spray of bullets fired from a fanned single-action revolver, shotgun, or Gatling gun or pistol hits bystanders on a 1-2. Continue to check each target until all the missed rounds have checked each bystander at least once.
A missed shotgun blast has a bit wider coverage than a single bullet. It can hit bystanders within 2 yards of a blast's path.