Wednesday, October 22, 2014

d20 Rifts - Combat notes and Grenade rules

For combat, 99% of the rules are straight out of Spycraft. I had a couple of notes. But one of the big chunks is a house rule I developed for grenades. In SC, grenades are basically "check if you hit, affect a blast radius". I thought that was boring, and never fit the cinematic tension of grenades.

Damage, Death, and Healing

In addition to the rules presented in the Spycraft book, it should be noted that a mega-damage environment can be very harsh. If a character is ever reduced to negative wounds, he will suffer some form of permanent damage. If he is only at -1 or -2, it may just be scarring. Around -5 may lead to loss of limb or the loss of a sense. More severe damage may lead to permanent ability damage. Such permanent damage should be negotiated between the GM and player. Fortunately in Rifts, there exist both magical and cybernetic methods of repairing permanent damage.

Magic and Psionics

You may only cast one spell, or activate one psionic ability, per combat round. Even if the activation only takes a half-action, it is too difficult to change mental gears to activate another ability. The remaining half-action may be used to make an attack, move, or anything else that may normally be done in that time.


Grenades are designed to be armed and thrown before they have a chance to explode in your face. As such, they are equipped with a fuse. For the purposes of the game, the standard fuse is considered to be one round. Hence, the grenade will explode approximately one round after it is armed. This allows for a number of different scenarios.

The first step with a grenade is removing the safety. With pineapple style grenades (the ones most common in our modern day), this is accomplished by pulling the pin. In Rifts, most grenades resemble large metal test tubes. The safety is a cover over the arming button that can be removed with a simple flick of the thumb. Removing the safety is considered a free action. A grenade with the safety in place cannot be armed.

The second step is arming the grenade. Pineapple style grenades have a spoon along the side, that must be held in place to prevent arming. Tube style grenades have an arming button that must be pressed to arm it. It is worth noting that the grenade is still harmless until it is armed, even if the safety has been removed. Arming the grenade is considered a free action.

Typically, the third step is throwing the grenade. The thrower may choose to either target a specific location, or a specific person. Rules for the different targets are below. Throwing the grenade is a half action attack.

Finally, the grenade explodes. This will happen precisely one round after the grenade is armed. The description of the grenade will indicate the burst radius and damage done. (See below for "holding the count", or adding time between arming and throwing the grenade.)

When throwing the grenade, the attacker may choose to target a specific square. A square is considered to have a Defense of 10, with terrain providing cover or concealment as normal. If the attack is successful, the grenade lands in that square. Otherwise, consult the deviation diagram, and the grenade has landed a number of squares away equal to 1/4 the difference between the attack roll and the Defense. The square in which the grenade lands is ground zero.

The attacker may choose instead to target a person, leading them. The attack roll is made against the person’s Defense. If the attack is successful, the targeted person is at ground zero for the grenade, even if they have moved during the round. If the attack is unsuccessful, the deviation diagram is consulted, as above, with the point of origin being the targeted person, and the final square is ground zero.

When a grenade is thrown, everyone within line of sight may make a Spot check at DC 20 to see where the grenade lands (the thrower and those at ground zero get a +5 to the check). Anyone who fails the check may know that it was thrown, but does not know where it is. People who know where the grenade is receive a +2 circumstance bonus to their Reflex saves to avoid the damage.

More importantly, if a person knows where the grenade is, he may choose to move it. This can be accomplished in one of two ways. With a simple half-action, anyone in the same square as the grenade or an adjacent square can “get rid of it.” This involves kicking or tossing the grenade in a random direction (again, consult the deviation diagram) 2d4 squares. The second method is to spend a half-action picking up the grenade (assuming the person is in the same or an adjacent square), and a second half-action deliberately throwing it. This is another grenade attack, and is handled just like the first attack, except that the thrower is considered to have “held the count” from the original throw, increasing the error range.

Obviously, these methods can only be employed if the person gets an action at some point between the grenade being thrown, and exploding at the end of the round. The easiest way to prevent such interference is to “hold the count,” counting off the seconds on the fuse between arming the grenade, and throwing it. Unfortunately, grenade fuses are unreliable, and occasionally go off on their own schedule. For every two initiative counts that pass between the attackers initial action (when the grenade was armed) and the actual throw (which can be declared to be later, without using the delay action or the like), the error range of the grenade is increased by 1.

The grenade is considered to explode on the same initiative count, one round after it was armed. If an error is activated as a critical failure, the most likely result is a dud (costing one action die). For two action dice, the grenade explodes prematurely, with the thrower at ground zero. Alternatively, for two action dice, the grenade explodes late by a count of 2d10, making people think it’s a dud.

Extremely Deadly Situation

While this rule exists in the Spycraft handbook, it is often overlooked.
There are times when circumstances are so stacked against a person, that the normal damage resolution system is inappropriate. This may be when a gun is held against the head of a hostage, or when the satchel charge in your pack explodes, or when you are trapped in a room as the walls close in on you.
In order to set up an Extremely Deadly Situation, the character must get his target into a position in which escape from the damage is, at best, highly unlikely. This may mean sneaking up on them, holding them pinned in a grapple while another person attacks them, or trapping them within the area of an explosion. Once the situation has been arranged, the attacking character spends and rolls an action die to make it Extremely Deadly.
When attacking a person with a personal attack in an EDS, any successful attack is automatically considered a critical hit, going straight to wounds. Alternately, the attacker can choose to do subdual damage, instantly rendering the target unconscious with a successful hit. The defender is considered flat-footed for this attack, and the attacker can add the result of the action die to the attack roll.
When attacking with an area attack, the attacker makes an attack roll, adding the result of the attack roll. That roll is added to the DC for any save the target must make to avoid the damage.

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