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Game Mechanics & Getting Shot

Here are some ideas of how mechanics work in the game:

Two thugs, no cover, guns in hand, standing their ground and shooting at each other

In a case like this, the first person to go will almost certainly win.

Two skilled Mafia thugs (Attributes and Skills at 4, 6 combat dice), Al and Bud, square off in the middle of an alley.  Assume there are no penalties or bonuses for smartlinks, etc.

Al gets the drop on Bud and tries to take him down fast. He shoots Bud twice with his Savalette Guardian, the heavy pistol pounding out two large slugs. The Savalette's recoil compensation keeps the gun on target for both shots (no recoil penalty). Al puts four combat dice into the first shot and two in the second, getting 4 successes and 3 successes, respectively. He is firing a Heavy Pistol with a damage code of 9M, let's call his results 9M (+4) and 9M (+3), respectively. On average, Bud's Dodging with his 6 combat dice would generate 3 successes, Bud will be definitely be shot at least once and would possibly end up getting shot twice. Let's look at some outcomes and and assume in some of them that he is wearing some of the best ballistic protection available, an Armor Jacket (5/3):

  • Dodge the second shot completely, shot once @ 9M (+4) - Bud scores 2 successes on his body test, reducing Al's attack to 9M (+2), staging it up to a Serious wound. Bud marks off 6 boxes from his physical wounds and starts looking for good cover.
  • Dodge both, shot twice @ 9M (+3) & 9M (+1) or 9M (+2) & 9M (+2) - Bud can only generate two successes with his Body test, so no matter what he does, he will suffer a 9M (+1) & 9M (-1) or two 9M results, both of which result in two Moderate wounds. Bud marks off 6 boxes from his physical wounds and starts looking for good cover.
  • No armor, dodge the second shot completely, shot once @ 9M (+4) - With no armor, he is not likely to succeed at all and the damage will stage up to a Deadly wound. Bud marks off ten boxes and falls unconscious, wishing he had remembered to put on the armored jacket.
  • No armor, hit twice @ 9M (+3) & 9M (+1) or 9M (+2) & 9M (+2) - This is a little trickier, because of the fact that Al needs two full successes to stage up a wound to Deadly, and Bud does not expect to stage any damage down, it is best if his dodge dice result in a 9M (+3) & 9M (+1) result, which would give him a Serious and Medium wound, leaving him with a single box of physical damage left to take, but conscious and able to dive for cover. If he instead ends up suffering the two 9M (+2) attacks, which he is likely not to reduce at all, then he will suffer two Serious wounds, putting him at two boxes below Deadly, and 12 Combat turns away from bleeding to death, assuming Al does not deliver a coup de grace.
  • The Moral: Wear armor! Do not catch bullets!

Partial Cover: Your Friend

You know how people duck behind cover and avoid getting shot? It's a good idea! In the example above, with our two thug friends, Al would probably not have even hit Bud once. A prolonged gun battle with luck and/or some aiming would ensue and maybe Bud's buddies would show up to bail him out.

Are guns dangerous enough in this game system?

Generally, any PC or NPC that enters a gun fight is more than capable of killing people with said gun; however, some people feel that reality demands that if a complete idiot picks up a gun and points it at someone, they have a good chance of killing them. I would think that would only be true if said idiot pointed the gun at a vital location (called shot) and the other person was not trying to avoid being shot. If you give said idiot at least a 2 in Quickness and accept that they are aiming for the heart or head, then yes, there is a chance that they will do 9D damage with a heavy pistol. However, a light pistol would not do the same. Obviously, a coup-de-grace or execution does not apply, the system is to be used for opponents in a combat situation, not captive targets. One final thing to consider is that a gun is actually ridiculously easy to use and many "idiots" would probably still have a skill of 1 or 2 in it, allowing them to toss Combat dice into the roll and have low enough target numbers to have a good chance of killing someone, even if they did try and dodge. If said idiot gets a hold of a submachinegun, it gets even worse for the poor schmuck that is his target.

What The Numbers Mean - Attributes and Skills

(a paraphrase of pp 98-99 of SR3)


Incompetent, handicapped

Using this skill can be dangerous; you are likely to hurt or embarrass yourself, or make an incorrect conclusion if tested. As an Attribute, this is a handicap and you would certainly be described by this lacking.
Example: A beat cop's skill at Psychology. A sickly person's Body, a young child's Strength.

Active, introduced - you are simply mimicking the action.
Knowledge, scream sheet - you know so little it's dangerous.


Not competent, not strong, etc.

You are not dangerous anymore, but you would not rely on this ability too heavily. As an attribute, your lacking in this would probably only be used to describe you if it was a handicap in your field, e.g. a Strength 2 boxer.
Examples: A beat cop's skill at Corporate Etiquette. A sedentary person's physical attributes. Mr. Johnson's physical attributes. A beat cop's Charisma.

Active, practiced - you still have to think about what you are doing
Knowledge, interested - read a few magazines or a book, maybe watched a documentary



The minimum competence to expect to get paid for using the skill. As an Attribute, you would probably not be described by this attribute nor would you be described a lack of this. This level is appropriate for an attribute that is helpful to have for your vocation, but not essential.
Example: A beat cop's skill at Car or Unarmed Combat. A mechanic's Strength.

Active, proficient - You're average.
Knowledge, dedicated - You actively pursue the topic and stay current.


Skilled, capable, kinda strong, pretty quick.

A skill that is not just useful, but often used. You are skilled enough to have some job security. As an Attribute, People would probably describe you by this.
Example: A beat cop's skill at City Law; a detective's skill at Psychology and his service pistol. Mr. Johnson's Charisma

Active, skilled - You have the basics mastered and you look for better ways to do the skill.
Knowledge, well-rounded - You know the topic and are now seeing relations to others.


Professional, strong, quick, etc.

This skill is essential and heavily used. This is when employers begin to pursue you for employment. A noticeably strong attribute. People would almost certainly use this attribute to describe you.
Example: a beat cop's skill with his service pistol (specialization) and Police Procedure. A Fixer's Charisma.

Active, professional - It is ingrained, you no longer worry about failure.
Knowledge, educated - A well-deserved bachelor's degree or an average master's.


Very good, very strong, very quick.

You just do it; you know pretty much everything you need to know. You are sought out for your skill. An Attribute that is crucial to your vocation and you have been pushed to develop it. You are defined by this Attribute, at least.
Example: A Magician detective's Sorcery or Intelligence.

Active, innate - You no longer think about using the skill.
Knowledge, mastered - You know the topic from the basic to the advanced and you know focus on applications outside the field and future advances.

Seattle Thumbnails (A work in progress...)

  • Downtown
    • Gangs
      • Bloody Screamers - Orks and trolls; turf - Ravenna area near Green Lake; nemesis of Troll Killers; ties to Ork Underground and smuggling.
      • The Disassemblers (paint or tattoo faces like white skulls; wear white-skull badge) - Mostly orks & trolls; turf - south Seattle; some humans and dwarves; organleggers.
      • The First Nations (raven flying over a howling coyote) - Amerindians only; turf - docks north of arcology; led by Salish elf, Blood-of-the-Buffalo; backed by Yakuza; foot soldiers serving Shotozumi-rengo against Choson Ring in Everett.
      • The Halloweeners (orange & black; flaming jack-o-lantern) - Psycho; very anti-corp; truf - Downtown Seattle; racially diverse.
      • Troll Killers - Humans only; turf - toward Lake Washington, near Wolf Bay; primarily concerned with committine violence against Metas.