Vehicle Creation and Modification

SpaceButter's picture
April 29, 2021 - 9:43am
Hey folks, was wondering what guidelines or rules you use to create and modify vehicles. 

 -- Here's my thoughts ---------------- 

 I built a vehicle/ship sheet to spit out civilian stats. When I started crunching numbers for how many subsystems, defense and weapons it became very cumbersome. After all, not every vehicle is the same size, shape, materials, capacity, engine, etc. 

 I think that common sense is the rule - like we do for characters. A tiny-frame might have a laser rifle, if it's military that same frame would just be a bit larger and more rugged but could fit 2 laser rifles, or have 1 laser rifle and two side-mounted rockets. Think G.I. Joe

Medium-frame, repulse car
 Handling: +10, Speed: 60  Cruise/Top: 100/200
 Frame Points: 204
 Crew: 1, Passengers: 5  Cargo: 1.5, Docking: 10
 Cost: 5,500Cr

Now to add some stuff to my civilian vehicle I drove off the lot yesterday after haggling with the dral salesman for 30 minutes!
  • +1,600Cr Integrated laser rifle, fixed front mounted, Ammo: 50
  • +2,500Cr Kinetic screen, manually controlled, covers single facing, reduce damage by half, 100 damage before depleted.
  • -0.5 Cargo

..and here's how I wrote the rules, the goal is something light and free form, not a bunch of numbers. Each piece of  vehicle gear will have all the details needed, as in the above example. 

Vehicle Modifications

With so many different sizes and models of vehicles, there is no formula for how many subsystems, defenses and weapons a vehicle can have. Civilian duty vehicles may be able to mount same-frame weapons by removing 1 passenger or .25 cargo. Security, corporate, paramilitary and military vehicles are designed for combat and may be able to mount several types of systems. Consult the GM to determine how vehicles can be modified.

Installing Equipment: Character-sized equipment can be installed into a vehicle for double the cost. The equipment is designed for vehicles not for characters. Tech’s can integrate, (or remove) equipment into a vehicle with a techpack and materials using the jury-rig rule. Some examples;

Integrate: The characters need to boost the range of their SecComm using their vehicles power and antenna. The GM rules that a techpack has sufficient materials to complete the task. Assuming the player makes a successful tech check, the GM decides the jury-rig will last 2dx10 minutes before the SecComm’s capacitors are burned out.

Removal: With their vehicle damage beyond repair the characters need vital information from the flight-recorder. They decide to remove the pilot artificial intelligence matrix and data storage. The unit is removed successfully and just for fun the GM decides the robot feels disembodied after removed from it’s manufacturers chassis, it’s always asking, “Where am I? Am I a ghost?”

KRingway's picture
April 30, 2021 - 1:49am
The Dragon articles 'Tanks A Lot' (issue #99) and 'Tanks Again' (issue #103) outlined rules for fitting weapons into/onto vehicles. This pretty much boils down to how many 'spaces' any given design has, what you can put in each space/how many spaces an object takes up, and how many turrets might be possible.

Aside from that, you'd also need to decide how many structure points a given design has. See the latest issue of Frontier Explorer for some examples of civilian and military designs that use these rules ;)

SpaceButter's picture
April 30, 2021 - 2:24pm
I re-read both Dragon articles and Non-Civilian Duty Vehicles (#15 star frontiersman)...I do like these systems. 

Do players expect the core rule book to include a detailed method of upgrading vehilces, or would it be better suited as a supplement. 

And if I detail vehicle upgrades what about weapons? (I have a player that took Tech:Engineer and wants to modifiy his weapons). Or robots, computers and spaceships. Seems to bog down a rulebook imo.

KRingway's picture
April 30, 2021 - 10:14pm
The trick is to not make it overly detailed - that is, simplify the rules but try and get the same functionality. After all, the game doesn't revolve around modifying vehicles etc. If it's useful to the players, make it something that's easy to 'pick up and play' in terms of functionality.

SpaceButter's picture
May 1, 2021 - 1:00pm
Thx for the feedback, I wrote (yet another) vehicle supplement, the same idea should work for spaceships. It's not as crunchy as Non-Civilian Duty Vehicles, I ripped out statistic modification and created a simple Upgrading Performance section.