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Classic Vehicle Rules from BRP


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I went through my entire BRP collection and found almost nothing on vehicle creation. I did find these notes from an old module created in 1987 and have copied those rules here so that a base of vehicle rules could be stored while new ideas are bashed about.

Basic Rules for Vehicles

Created in The Shattered Isle – Rebels against the Mutant Master

(Chaosium product 2107 – 1987) These basic rules were created by Steve Perrin

The most important vehicle characteristics are: speed, cargo capacity (including passengers and crew), armor and weapons. Six types of vehicles are present in this scenario: ancient Irish battle tanks, ancient Irish armored personnel carriers (APCs), ancient Irish military helicopters, a Dark Empire burrowing machine (the Mole), combat ornithopters, and cargo ornithopters. All are described below.

When attacking a vehicle, one must state what part of the vehicle he is aiming at. Choices include turret (if any), wheels (or treads), engine compartment, crew compartment, etc. Figure out how much damage penetrated the armor and then roll 1D10 for each piece of vital equipment in the target area if your roll is equal to or less than the penetrating damage, it was hit. “Vital Equipment” includes crewmembers, engine, fuel containers, ammo, weapons, transmission, etc. It is possible to penetrate armor and not hit anything.

In general, if a piece of equipment is hit, it is destroyed. Dangerous substances such as ammunition and fuel explode if hit by a flamelance or other explosive device. Otherwise, they only explode if the D10 roll was an even number. Any such explosion kills everyone inside the tank, and gives anyone nearby outside 3D6 damage.

Example: The New Fenians fire a flamelance at the turret side of one of the Elephants’ tanks. The side armor is 15 and a 17 is rolled. It penetrates! The turret holds two weapons, two crew members and a supply of ammo for the two weapons. Hence 5 D10s are rolled, one for each potential target. Any roll of two or less indicates a hit. The results indicate that the autocannon is hit, as is one of the crew members. The tank crew breathes a sigh of relief. If the flamelance had struck the ammunition, the tank would have exploded! The autocannon is taken out of action, though it might be repairable with a Mechanical Lore roll (up to the gamemaster in general, the more damage that has been done, the less repairable an item is). The crewman that is injured takes 2 points of damage that is easily absorbed by his plate armor.

Examples of Vehicle Technology using these Rules

Ancient Eirish Battle Tanks

These ancient turret vehicles are smaller than 1980s tanks, and represent an advanced equivalent of light tanks or reconnaissance vehicles. Two parallel weapons project from the front of the small turret.

Speed: up to 44 kph cross-country, 2x that on smoother roads

Cargo: 3 men, 2 in the turret (commander/spotter and gunner), 1 driver in the hull, no extra internal space but up to 300kg can be strapped to the top without affecting suspension

Armor: 30 points of armor on the front, 20 everywhere else

Weapons: Flame Cannon and autocannon can be fired separately or together. But if fired together, they can only be fired at the same target. The autocannon can fire either high-explosive (HE) or armor piercing (AP) shells at the whim of the operator. HE shells do less damage but explode, doing damage to everything in a 3 yard radius. The big advantage of the HE shell is you don’t have to hit the target directly, you can hit the area near it which adds a +20% to his chances of success when firing.

Weapons Damage Range Shots

Flamelance 7D6 200m unlimited

Autocannon (AP) 3D10 100m 60

Autocannon (HE) 2D6 100m 40

Ancient Eirish Armored Personnel Carriers (APC)

These vehicles are intended to carry infantry into battle and support them in combat. They are about the same size as the tanks, but with a larger hull and a smaller turret containing only a single weapon.

Speed: up to 45 kph cross-country, 2x that on smooth roads. It can float and travel across water like a boat, at a speed of 5 kph.

Cargo: can carry up to 8 passengers, a crew of two (driver and gunner) and up to 1000 kg of cargo inside.

Armor: 10 points of armor all around

Weapons: One man turret houses an autocannon using the same ammunition as the tank.

Ancient Eirish Combat Helicopter

These light helicopters are much like the military helicopters used in Vietnam. Each carriers two rocket pods and has a nose turret in front.

Speed: up to 190 Kph

Cargo: has a crew of two (one pilot and one gunner), and can carry up to 400kg extra. Any passengers must be included in 400 kg limit.

Armor: 10 points of armor all around

Weapons: The nose turret uses an autocannon similar to the one on the tanks and APCs. The rocket pods each hold 4 rockets and the gunner can fire any number of them at once, from 1 to all 8, though if all are fired simultaneously, they must all be directed at the same target. The rockets explode, doing 6d6 to everything within 5 meters. Like the HE shells for the autocannon, chances to hit human targets are increased by +20 percentiles. A rocket must hit a tank or APC directly to harm it.

Helicopter Weapons

Weapons Damage Range Shots

Rocket Pod (2) 6D6 300m 4 (8)

Autocannon (AP) 3D10 100m 60

Autocannon (HE) 2D6 100m 40

Dark Empire Mole Machine

This device resembles a gigantic screw with mechanical clawed feet extending from the sides and rear. It is intended to dig, and does that well. The mole is waterproof, though it cannot float, and has its own air supply.

Speed: up to 20 kph above ground or in an open tunnel 1 Kph while burrowing.

Cargo: has a crew of one operator. It can carry up to 1200 Kg extra. Any passengers must be included in the 1200 kg limit.

Armor: 10 points of armor all around

Weapons: The Mole is unarmed.

Dark Empire Combat Ornithopter

The two war ornithopters sent by Huon are made to look like bats. The pilot sits in the bat’s mouth.

Speed: up to 70 kph

Cargo: has one pilot. Can carry up to 1000 kg extra. Any passengers must be included in that 1000 kg limit.

Armor: 10 points of armor all around

Weapons: twin flame cannons extending from the machines “shoulders” out past its “head.” The pilot normally fires both cannons at once, at the same target.

Dark Empire Cargo Ornithopter

The two cargo ornithopters owned by Clyd are made to resemble winged oxen.

Speed: up to 60 kph

Cargo: One pilot. Can carry up to 3000 kg extra. Any passengers must be included in that 3000 kg limit.

Armor: 2 points of armor all around

Weapons: none.

Rules Extensions – Automatic Weapon Combat

Two types of automatic rapid-fire weapons are presented in this adventure: The autorifle (for infantry use) and the autocannon (mounted on tanks, APCs and helicopters). Both weapons use the same rules.

Automatic weapons may fire more than a single shot on the user’s DEX. For each shot fired in a burst, the chance to hit is increased by 5%, with the exception that no matter how many shots are fired, the chance to hit cannot more than double. Roll once for all attacks against a single target. If the attack succeeds, roll an appropriate die to determine how many bullets or shells actually hit the target. For instance, if 8 shots are fired in a burst, roll 1D8 to determine the number of rounds that hit the target; if three shots are fired then 1D3; and so forth. Only the first bullet or round criticals if a critical hit is rolled. All other rounds hit normally.

Clarification: Since no examples of this skill are given, it is assumed that the number that cannot double is the player’s base chance to hit with the weapon.

Example: So if a lowly soldier-slave of Granbretan with an autorifle base skill of 20% were to fire a full 10 round burst on a cave demon that surprises him, he would only be able to add +20% to his skill base since he was inexperienced with the weapon and the rule says that he could not add more bonus percentages than would double his base skill.

He would be able to roll a D10 to determine the number of rounds that strike the target, however. If he were in danger of running out of ammunition, he would fire only a four round burst and gain the maximum bonus possible for his skill level (4 rounds at +20%).

A ten round burst should add up to +50% to the weapon skill of a user that uses 10 rounds (+5% per round), in the hands of a skilled infantryman with 75% in autorifle, using 10 rounds would increase his ability to 125%!

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Thank you for the information.

With only Speed, Cargo Capacity, Armor and Weapons this is a very "slim"

approach to vehicle rules, but it would be sufficient for my current setting,

where vehicle combat is comparatively rare.

"Mind like parachute, function only when open."

(Charlie Chan)

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I am working on some ideas for vehicle and overall technology creation that might be very different from the ideas being used in the new BRP. I find the superpowers section to be very difficult to use and the way you would have to build things cumbersome. I am hoping to reduce that difficulty down just a bit. I will keep you informed. I am glad this could help you in any way.

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I think that Champions does very well meshing vehicles, constructs, and armor suits and such by not altering the system to accomodate them, but rather defining them in existing system terms.

I think that this would work in BRP also.

Speed = Move rate

Carry Capacity = STR

Fuel Range = FP

Armor = well, AP. But vehicles would have a different hit location chart based upon what type of vehicle it is. One of the locations would be Crew Compartment or something else more descriptive. The vehicle would have generic hit locations of, instead of head, chest, limbs, etc, of Engines, Crew Compartment, Movement Control (Tires, wings, etc.)

Weapons might be assumed damaged if located in a location that loses all its armor or treated as part of the armor (remember weapons have AP also).

The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, "You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done."

George Carlin (1937 - 2008)



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