Now I have a machine gun

Quick question about modern firearms in your (d20) gaming. How have you seen automatic fire handled? I want an option that is reasonably balanced against single shot, or a grenade, or any other standard action. I’m guessing it should represent a decreased chance to hit (?) but increased damage. The balance could be in the ammo usage, which again I want a nice elegant mechanic for.

First thought, reskin the rangers twin strike exploit. Second thought, go with a triple strike idea but have it cost a standard and a move action? Third thought, have Auto as a keyword on equipment.

What have past d20 based games done to pull it off?



Filed under RPG

5 responses to “Now I have a machine gun

  1. IRL, automatic fire is not balanced against single fire. It’s just plain better in terms of both accuracy and damage (more bullets = more bullets hitting = more damage) except at extremely long ranges where scopes are the only way to be reasonably sure of hitting anything. When reloading is fast and ammunition is plentiful, automatic weapons are a huge force multiplier.
    But if you want to create a system where the two are balanced, it should probably be increased accuracy, same damage, increased ammo usage. IIRC think that’s basically what d20 Modern did:
    but then it complicates things with burst fire…sigh…

  2. Kraig

    I would look at gamma world for some ideas. I think they just say automatic weapons do more damage.

    But, if you wanted something more complicated, off the top of my head I would say that automatic weapon can have three modes – stances.

    Single Shot – gives you +2 accuracy and crits on a 18-20 (head shot) – The idea is you’re taking time to make a clear shot.

    Burst Fire – 3 attacks on the one target at -2 to hit each shot – make a save at the end of your turn or you have to reload next round. – controlled burst but risk of reload. some accuracy degradation cause of recoil, but you are rolling three times so you will roll more hits and crits over time.

    Fullauto – blast 5 vs reflex – One extra damage die. must take a standard action to reload next round. – you’re not trying to aim. you’re just spray and pray’n. You have a chance to hit multiple targets and do extra damage but you run out of ammo and have to reload.

    this is really quick off the top of my head. probably run the numbers to make damage per round balance and make for interesting choices. You could have feats to help. Feat for faster reload, better reload save, controlled burst to add +1 to hit with burst fire… maybe surpressive fire that adds negative effect when using full auto… -2 to target’s attack rolls to the end of your next turn.

  3. Kraig

    You could make burst for multiple targets like twin strike.
    I could also see burst working like the avengers Oath where you are just rolling two d20s and taking the better of the rolls and adding some extra damage.

  4. Khopesh

    Fortunately for a WWII setting, automatic weapons were pretty much limited to submachineguns (Thompson M1A1, MP-40) and Support Weapons (BAR, MG-42) for most of the war. Neither were really designed for tight controlled bursts. The easiest thing would be to simply say that shooting one target is the same as shooting one target with a rifle – one attack roll, one damage roll, no extra modifiers, and the weapon fires off a few bullets. Then, automatic weapons would have the option of ‘suppressing fire’, converting the attack to an area burst 1.

    As to ammo tracking – that’s a whole spectrum between simulation and abstract. Either you’re going to need to keep track of ammo or not. If you want to keep track of ammo, you can simplify automatic weapons by giving them a certain number of ‘Shots’ that takes into account firing multiple bullets. Attacking one target consumes one ‘shot’ and suppressing fire consumes three (or the rest of the clip/belt if there are only ‘2’ left). As for the alternative – if there is a check involved to see if the gun needs to be reloaded, suppressing fire would have a penalty to that roll.

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