Modern & SF Combat Rules for Whitehack and Other OSR Games

Following on from last week’s post on using Whitehack for modern and SF gaming, here are my rules for using modern firearms in Whitehack. There are quite a lot of options here, I tried to cover all the things players like to do with their guns in my games. Usefully, they are the same things that players wish NPCs weren’t doing. If you want a simpler version just ignore ammo and only use the Single Aimed Shot, Short Controlled Burst and Continuous Burst Multiple Targets attacks.

Combat in all OSR games is fairly abstract, just as you don’t roll for every sword swing in a combat round, I won’t have you rolling individually for every bullet fired. Single shot attacks will be rolled individually, and it is possible to roll more than one of those in a round. Burst fire is resolved with a single attack roll.

Reload can be performed in place of a Attack or Move action.

Single Aimed Shot: a basic attack, roll as usual but with the above range considerations.

Double Aimed Shot: skip your move to make two single attacks against one target.

Short Controlled Burst: (semi or full auto) declare how many bullets you are firing before you roll, if you hit, every two full points you roll over the target’s AC indicates one bullet hits.

Short Controlled Burst, Stationary: As above but skip your move action and roll to attack with advantage. This can be used to cancel out the disadvantage of shooting one range beyond optimal.

Continuous Burst, Single Target: (full auto) about 20-30 shots, no move this turn. Attack roll is at disadvantage but every point over the target’s AC is a hit.

Continuous Burst, Multiple Targets: (full auto) The number of targets you can target with this varies by arena and situation but roughly it’s one target per ten bullets fired, (from 30 to 60). Roll an attack with disadvantage against each target, inflicting one hit per two points over AC. Also, until your next turn all targets are considered suppressed and must pass a save if they want to do anything other than take cover.

Overwatch: Any character can hold their attack until a target appears at the location they are covering (a doorway or a vehicle for example). The attack is considered either a single aimed shot or a short controlled burst. There is no bonus for not moving. Strong characters can use their free attacks to take extra shots when in overwatch.

Modern Firearms
Small Pistol: d6, semi-auto, 10 rounds, short range, easy to conceal.
Medium Pistol: d6+1, semi-auto, 13 rounds, short range.
Heavy Pistol: d6+2, single shot, 8 rounds, short range, semi-auto if Str 12+.

SMG: d6, full-auto, 30 rounds, short range.
Military SMG: d6+1, full-auto, 30 rounds, medium range.
Assault Rifle: d6+2, full-auto, 30 rounds, long range.
Light Machine Gun: d6+3, full-auto, 50+ rounds, long range, no moving and shooting, burst fire only.

Shotgun: d6+2, single shot, 2 or 8 rounds, medium range, d6+1 damage at medium range, d6-1 damage at long range.
Hunting Rifle: d6+2, single shot, 1 or 6 rounds, long range.
Sniper Rifle: d6+4, single shot, 6 rounds, extreme range, Penetraition 2.

Grenade: short range, 3d6 up to 2m, 2d6 up to 5m, 1d6 up to 10m.

I’ve detailed each weapon with their damage, rate of fire, the number of rounds they can hold, their optimum range and any special notes for that weapon.

Damage is self-explanatory.

Rate of fire is either single shot, semi-automatic or fully-automatic, keep in mind that pretty much any firearm should be able to empty its entire clip in one combat round, so players have a few options for how they want to utilise their weapons. Also, almost all guns can fire at a lower rate of fire if desired.

I chose to track ammo bullet-by bullet. Ammo tracking is important because running out is the biggest downside of the more powerful attacks. There are other ways to abstract ammo counting if you really don’t like the book-keeping, but I like to keep it accurate.

Range I have simplified range down to four approximate distances. Short is up to about 20m, so across the street or down a corridor. Medium is up to about 100m so the end of a street, or the length of an aircraft hanger. Long range is up to about 500m, shooting at this range requires that you stay stationary. Extreme range is up to about 1km and requires that you stay stationary and have a scope. Weapons can be used one range beyond their optimum but you attack at disadvantage.

Modern Armour
Bullet Proof Vest: AC 3
Riot Suit: AC 6
Riot helmet: AC +1
Riot shield: AC +2

Note though that if modern armour prevents a firearm hit, the target still takes half damage from the impact.

SF Firearms
Add these energy weapons to the above kinetic weapons (feel free to increase range and/or double ammo of the above to represent advances in tech). I figure space guns don’t need reloaded (see Mass Effect 1).

Stunner: 3d6, single shot, short range, deduct AC from damage
Blaster Pistol: d6+2, single shot, short range.
Heavy Blaster: 2d6, single shot, short range

Repeating Blaster: 2d6, semi-auto, medium range.
Blaster Rifle: 2d6, full-auto, long range.
Heavy Repeating Blaster: 2d6+2, full-auto, long range, burst fire only.

Sniper Rifle: 3d6, single shot, extreme range, Penetration 2.

Plasma Grenade: short range, 4d6 up to 2m, 3d6 up to 5m, 1d6+2 up to 10m.

SF Armour
Environment Suit: AC 2
Light Combat Suit: AC 4
Heavy Combat Suit: AC +6
Light Energy Shield: AC +2
Heavy Energy Shield: AC+4

Characters are likely to take cover during a firefight. The more armour you are wearing, the less benefit you gain, if you are in a full suit of armour the benefit of cover is halved.

Visual Cover (curtain, bush, light table): AC +2
Half Cover (Vehicle, small wall) AC+4
Three Quarters Cover (Window, Machinery): AC +6


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