Optional Firearms Rules

One: Firearms do not add successes on the roll to hit to the damage pool. Bullets do most of their damage through a combination of kinetic force and expansion-induced hydrostatic shock. Without these two factors, even a bullet in the brain or other vital organ won't always kill.

Two: All firearms difficulties are 6, modified by situation and recoil.

Three: There is no longer a single firearms skill. It is now broken down into the following series of subskills:

Handgun: Used for both revolvers and semi-automatic weapons, including burst and autofire capable machine pistols.

Rifle: Used for long arms. Includes everything from bolt-action hunting rifles to military assault weapons. Also covers carbines (shorter weapons firing rifle rounds).

Shotgun: Used for shotgun weapons, regardless of length or ammunition type (i.e. both shot shells and slugs).

SMG: Used to cover sub-machine guns; weapons which look more like a rifle, but fire pistol ammunition, and usually being capable of three-round bursts and/or automatic fire.

Machine Gun: Weapons firing rifle (or heavier) rounds. These are built on heavier frames than a rifle; many of them being too heavy for a person to carry, and capable of higher rates of fire than an assault rifle.

Artillery, rocket launchers and other weapons such as these use their own rules, and fall under different skills. Grenade launchers being used for direct fire are handled with the rifle skill.

Four: Weapons have an effective combat range much shorter than their maximum range. The following list covers the combat range of each type of weapon:

Handguns: 15 meters Rifles: 50 meters Shotguns: 10 meters SMGs: 15 meters Machine Guns: 50 meters A cumulative penalty of +1 to difficulty is added for each increment of these ranges over the effective ranges. So a handgun is at +1 difficulty from 16 - 30 meters, +2 from 31 - 45 meters etc.

Firearms Damage Due to the Mastermind system's method of handling damage, it becomes impractical to assign damage based on the specific caliber of a weapon. Instead, firearms will fall into classifications within their type. Each class with list the amount of damage it does, along with the Strength requirements to use the weapon without penalty.

Handguns: Strength requirement is increased by 1 if the weapon is fired one-handed (i.e. not held in a two-handed combat grip such as the Weaver stance). Even in a two-handed grip, a handgun's Strength requirement is one higher than a rifle of equivalent damage. Very Light Damage: 2 Str Requirement: 1* Light Damage: 3   Str Requirement: 1 Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 2 Heavy: Damage: 5  Str Requirement: 3 * Very light handguns can be fired one handed without an increase in the Strength requirement.

Machine Pistols Strength requirement is increased by 1 if the weapon is fired one-handed (i.e. not held in a two-handed combat grip such as the Weaver stance). Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. Even in a two-handed grip, a machine pistol's Strength requirement is one higher than a rifle of equivalent damage. Very Light Damage: 2 Str Requirement: 1* Light Damage: 3  Str Requirement: 1 Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 2 Heavy: Damage: 5  Str Requirement: 3 * Very light machine pistols can be fired one handed without an increase in the Strength requirement.

SMGs Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. It increases by 1 if the weapon is fired one-handed. SMGs get a one point decrease to their Strength requirement, (for single shots _only_ ) if the weapon features a stock. Light Damage: 3   Str Requirement: 1 Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 2 Heavy Damage: 5   Str Requirement: 3

Rifles Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. It increases by 1 if the weapon lacks a stock, and by 2 if the weapon is fired one-handed. Light Damage: 3   Str Requirement: 2 Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 3 Heavy Damage: 5   Str Requirement: 4 Very Heavy Damage: 6 Str Requirement: 5 Super Heavy Damage: 7 Str Requirement: 6

Carbines Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. It increases by 1 if the weapon lacks a stock, and by 2 if the weapon is fired one-handed. Carbines fire rifle rounds, but feature shorter barrels etc. This increases portability etc., but results in a decrease in damage without necessarily decreasing recoil. Light Damage: 3   Str Requirement: 2 Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 3 Heavy Damage: 5   Str Requirement: 4 Very Heavy Damage: 6 Str Requirement: 5 Super Heavy Damage: 7 Str Requirement: 6

Shotguns Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. It increases by 1 if the weapon lacks a stock, and by 2 if the weapon is fired one-handed. Light Damage: 4   Str Requirement: 2 Medium Damage: 5  Str Requirement: 3 Heavy Damage: 6   Str Requirement: 4 Very Heavy Damage: 7 Str Requirement: 5

Machine Guns Strength requirement increased by 1 when firing three-round bursts. For autofire, it increases by 1 per 5 rounds fired. It increases by 1 if the weapon lacks a stock, and by 2 if the weapon is fired one-handed. Medium Damage: 4  Str Requirement: 3 Heavy Damage: 5   Str Requirement: 4 Very Heavy Damage: 6 Str Requirement: 5 Super Heavy Damage: 7 Str Requirement: 6 Mega Heavy Damage: 8 Str Requirement: 7

Recoil Penalties Each weapon class has a minimum Strength requirement included in its information. This represents the amount of Strength needed to effectively control the gun and its recoil while firing. For each point of difference between the firing character's Strength and the gun's requirement, the difficulty to hit increases by 1. If the difference is more than 2 points, than the character must make a Dexterity check (diff. 6 + 1 per point of difference) to avoid dropping the weapon. In addition, the character must absorb one Health Level of Bashing damage per point of difference (so a Str 3 character firing a Heavy rifle must absorb one level of damage).

Note that certain circumstances can alter the required Strength of a weapon. So just because someone can fire that machine gun fine on three round bursts doesn't mean he can handle it when it's time to rock and roll.

Multiple Shots Provided they hold more than one round of ammunition, weapons with a rate of fire of one can still be fired more than once in a round. However, it requires splitting the dice pool as per normal rules. In addition each shot after the first suffers a cumulative +1 to difficulty.

Weapons with a rate of fire higher than one, but not capable of three-round bursts or automatic fire, may be fired up to their rate of fire without splitting the dice pool. Each shot after the first suffers a cumulative +1 difficulty. Also, the total number of successes must equal the shot being fired, and you may never fire a number of shots greater than the total pool you have to hit. 

Example: Bob's character fires three shots from his customized hand cannon. Bob rolls his Dex + Handgun pool of 5 dice, and gets a 6,7,7,3,4. The initial difficulty for Bob's shot is 6, and he totaled three successes, so the first bullet hits. The difficulty for the second shot is 7. Checking his results, Bob has two successes, so the second shot hit. But the third shot would have been difficulty 8; meaning Bob would have had to have rolled at least three 8s in order for the shot to hit. This doesn't mean Bob need three 8s, two 7s and a 6 to hit; successes apply to all shots, so had he rolled 8,8,8,4,2 all his shots would have been on target. (So taking the example farther, he would have to have rolled at least four 9s to hit with a fourth shot, and five 10s to hit with a fifth. He could not make a sixth shot regardless of the weapon's rate of fire, since the total dice pool was only five dice.) 

_Note_: Due to the time it takes these weapons to cycle, dice pools may not be split to allow the weapon to be fired again in the same round.

Three-round bursts are calculated similar to multiple shots. However, you receive two extra dice to add to your pool when firing in this way. Also, the difficulty of the first shot is at +1; the second and third shots are both at +2. However, the number of successes is still the same, so it requires a total of three successes for the third shot to hit. You may split your dice pool to fire more than one three-round burst during a single round.

Autofire is calculated differently from a three-round burst. You receive five dice to add to your pool, regardless of how many rounds you are firing. The first shot is at +1 difficulty, the second and third are at +2, the fourth and fifth at +3 etc. The difficulty stops rising when it reaches ten; you may continue to fire rounds even after the (autofire only) modifiers would normally push it past this number. 

Just as with all other modes of fire, the number of accumulated successes must equal the current shot being fired (so to score a hits with shots six and seven of an autofire would require six and seven successes at difficulty 10). Even if you are emptying a weapon's clip, you may never hit your target with more bullets than you have dice in your pool to hit. You may _not_ split your dice pool to use a weapon on autofire more than once in a single round.

Weapons being fired in this way can also be used to make spray attacks. All targets must be within one meter of each other (you can fire at four targets, each a meter apart; you just have to work over them in sequence).

Nominate all targets before rolling, and declare how many bullets/which order you're firing at them in (i.e. Target One gets the first bullet, Two gets shots two and three, Three gets four through seven etc.). Roll your attack as per normal, and calculate hits as per normal, with the following exceptions:

A: The basic difficulty for the attack is 5, rather than 6; modified by automatic fire penalties as normal.

B: Each bullet after the first requires one more success than normal to score a hit. So bullet two needs three success, bullet three needs four etc.

Autofire weapons can also be used to create zones of suppressive fire. The base difficulty to cross through an area covered by suppressive fire is 6. This difficulty goes up by one for every five bullets fired into a one meter area. Each meter crossed requires a new roll. Failing a roll means you catch one bullet for each point the roll was failed by (calculate based on the highest failing die). Botching the roll means you absorb up all the bullets in that area; at least your friends won't get hit. Thanks, Mr. Bulletshield! There is no roll to hit associated with this attack; since the point is to try and make folks keep their heads down, rather than trying to hit targets.

Example: With 50 bullets, you could create an area five meters long that is difficulty 8 to cross.

You _do_ get the five extra dice for autofire when shooting in this manner.

You may _not_ split your dice pool to use a weapon on autofire more than once in a single round.

Remember the golden rule of multiple shots: Whether splitting your pool, or using another form of multiple shots, you may never fire/hit with more rounds than the number of total dice in your pool to hit.

And the golden rule of firearms damage: No matter how many shots you hit with, each one is absorbed as a separate source of damage.

The Stuff That Happens When You Miss Just because you miss your shot doesn't mean the bullet doesn't go somewhere. Stray rounds have a chance to perforate friends, enemies and innocent bystanders.

When a shot is missed, the first thing the Mastermind should do is calculate what targets may be in the line of fire (suggested range is within a meter to either side/behind the intended target). Next she should consult the handy chart below:

Single round: 1 Three-round burst: 1 Enclosed area less than two meters wide: +1 Dice pool split to fire multiple three-round bursts: +1 per extra burst Automatic fire: 1 +1 per 10 rounds Automatic fire in enclosed area less than two meters wide: 1 - 2 +1 per 10 rounds** Spraying: +1 Shotgun (firing shot): 1 - 2* Shotgun (firing shot) in area less than two meters wide: 1 - 3** * Automatic shotguns are 1 - 2 and +1 per 10 rounds as per normal automatic fire. ** These listings already have the enclosed area modifier added due to their nature.

After checking the chart, the Mastermind rolls a die for each stray bullet. If the result comes up one of the numbers indicated on the table; Mr. Pedestrian is about to get free lead-supplied air conditioning. The person who originally fired the shot rolls damage against the new target.

While this system is more realistic than the "disappearing bullet" style of play, it can tend to slow things down; especially when a lot of lead (10+ strays) are flying around at once. Masterminds may wish to speed things up by checking for a hit the same as normal; only instead of doing it once per bullet, each time someone is hit, roll a second die to determine the number of stray rounds they catch.

Merciful Masterminds may wish to use this method, and divide the result by two.

Shotguns These weapons are designed to produce big nasty wounds in soft squishy targets. The standard shotgun load is a plastic shell filled either with smaller (birdshot) or larger (buckshot) lead pellets. These come out of the gun in a tight group, and spread out over distance. At close ranges, the amount of damage they can cause a target is devastating.

As a group of shotgun pellets spread, they are capable of hitting more targets; however, they do less damage to each individual target as a result. All distances and measurements on the following table are in meters.

Range  Pattern Size  Damage Modifier 1 - 5  0*    None 6 - 10  1     -1 11 - 15  2     -2 15 - 20  2     -3 21 - 25  3     -3 26 - 30  3     -4 * Can only hit one target

After 30 meters, the shotgun loses one Health Level of damage per meter, and the pattern remains at three meters wide. All targets within the listed spread are caught, and take the listed damage (subtract the damage modifier from the weapon's normal damage). Anything is between the path of a shotgun and its intended target, anything behind that target is considered safe.

Even if it would have damage remaining, a shotgun ceases to do damage once the shot has reached a total distance of 60 meters.

Buckshot adds one Health Level to the weapon's damage, but reduce all spread sizes to the next lowest category. Damage reduction remains the same.

Sawn-off shotguns double the listed spread size, but halve the range. So at 15 meters, the pattern had spread to three meters wide. A sawn-off shotgun ceases doing damage at 30 meters.

Shotguns have one additional drawback; absorb dice from armor count double against them. To get around this, the weapon may instead fire a solid slug. These do once less level of damage than normal, but have normal range; most importantly, armor does not count double against them.