Stallions, Galleons and Hoverbikes

Characters do not rely just on their own two feet for movement. Options for rides and transport exist in almost every setting and come in many different forms but players will interact with them in just two ways, as a rider or as a passenger.


Riders are in control of their transport. Whether it is a horse, a dragon or an interstellar liner they are the one person who is responsible for its speed and direction. Though the skills and abilities needed to control or pilot the vehicle will vary wildly, every different type of transport is handled in the same way. Under normal conditions, controlling their ride is automatic with no need for characters to take actions. Characters without specific skills can pilot their vehicles if it makes sense in the game's narrative. For example, most adults in the modern western world can drive a car and characters in this setting can be assumed to know how to do so, even if they do not explicitly have the skill. Advantages are not a definitive list of a character's abilities, just the ones the character is particularly good at. As long as nothing unusual happens and the rider sticks to everyday manoeuvres, the rider's vehicle will automatically go where they want.

Actions are required when riders are forced to make sudden manoeuvres to avoid accidents, wish to travel at high speed or decide to push their ride to its limits. These situations normally occur in narrative play and characters can use all their potential in the action. The resistance is set by the Game Leader based on the inherent difficulty of the situation. Additional situation bonuses may be added to the resistance based on circumstantial factors such as the weather or the general age and state of the vehicle, and on the rider's familiarity with their vehicle.

Vehicles and mounts are equipment advantages and all have the Movement keyword. Most often they are mundane equipment worth a standard 1d6+0 but characters can choose to make them character equipment by spending CP on the advantage and can raise the dice value accordingly. Some vehicles allow for copilots who may assist in any action but the normal restriction and situation bonuses for assisting in actions apply.

Riders in Combat

Movement in combat while on a mount or in a vehicle is treated exactly as movement on foot. The characters can choose to mosey or run using a potential action or using their transport's Movement keyword. Characters are not actually walking or running, they are guiding their mount or steering their car, but the distance travelled and the resistance to the action is dealt with in the same way. Their vehicle may be capable of much higher speeds than someone on foot but within the limited space and time of the battleground that speed is sacrificed for the ability to manoeuvre and act.

Characters normally occupy a single 5' square while on foot but on a mount or in a vehicle they will fill significantly more space. If battlemats and figures are in use a suitably large miniature or a paper template cut to the right size should be used to represent the vehicle. Manoeuvring must take into account the size of the vehicle and most vehicles cannot change shape to pass through spaces thinner than themselves. Cars and mounts face the same resistance for moving into or through squares that are occupied as long as the occupier is approximately the same size. If there is size inequality, i.e. one side is at least twice the size of the other, the smaller vehicle cannot resist movement into or through its squares. Groups playing without miniatures and maps should simply take account of the size of the vehicles in the game's narrative.

Characters are not limited to movement when in control of a mount or vehicle. They may take other actions including resistance and opportunity actions. There are no situation bonuses just for being on a mount or in control of a vehicle. Whatever benefits might be gained from their speed or position are balanced out by the effort the rider must put into staying in control. If it is appropriate the vehicle can be used as an advantage in combat actions. Attempts to run over or squash opponents are simply attacks using the vehicle's equipment advantage as a weapon. There are no situation bonuses for size as the benefits for being significantly larger are balanced out by the benefits the opponent gains for being more manoeuvrable.

The rider and the vehicle are treated as one target and the rider always receives a resistance action against attacks. A failure to resist means the character in control of the vehicle takes damage just as in a normal attack. Area-of-effect attacks must include at least half the squares the vehicle occupies otherwise they are ignored by the rider and vehicle (but may attack passengers). Rather than attacking the rider, opponents may wish to specifically knock out their transport, e.g. shoot the horse out from under the character. The rider still gains a resistance action against the attack and also benefits from a situation bonus of 1d6+0 per square occupied by the vehicle. If the attack is successful the vehicle is disabled but neither the rider nor any passenger are affected by the attack (i.e. they take no damage).

Game Leaders should pay particular attention to riders' actions and the advantages being used as it is easy to forget they are on a mount or in a vehicle and the impact this has on the appropriateness of some advantages. Being a rider renders some advantages simply useless, e.g. Sprint, and riders may not take 5' steps as part of actions. Horses trained for combat or combat vehicles like tanks may have keywords or special abilities that the character can draw on in their actions if the equipment's advantage is used.

Mounting / Dismounting

Characters cannot simply decide to be on their horse or in their car. They need to be in the same or an adjacent square and they need to follow the correct procedure. For a horse this is getting into the saddle and grabbing the reins, for a car it is getting in and inserting the key in the ignition. Planes and rocketships will need similar but more complex preparations. Getting out of or off a vehicle involves shutting down engines or securing the mount. All vehicles have the Prepare (x) keyword which represents the difficulty characters face in safely entering, mounting, starting, stopping or dismounting the vehicle. Any suitable action that beats this resistance means the character can start or stop using the transport. There is no penalty for failure other than that they have wasted an action and not achieved their aim.


Passengers in vehicles or on mounts are at the mercy of their rider regarding their movement. Whenever their rider decides to move they automatically move too, though this does not require an action or the expenditure of potential. Passengers can assist their pilot if it is appropriate and this incurs the normal situation bonuses for assisting. This does not give any control to the passenger over where the vehicle moves. Passengers cannot make their own movement actions without first dismounting or exiting the vehicle. Exiting or entering a vehicle requires they take an action to beat the Prepare (x) resistance.

Other than movement, passengers can take any action that is feasible on or within their vehicle. They may also make use of any weaponry or technology on the vehicle as mundane equipment but this depends on the nature of the vehicle and whether it is accessible to the character. Attacks against the vehicle do not affect its passengers unless they are area-of-effect attacks. A passenger in a square targeted by the attack receives resistance actions as normal and gains a 1d6+0 situation bonus for being shielded by the vehicle.

Time & Space

The scale of speed and distance travelled by vehicles can vary significantly within the same setting. In 21st century USA you can find horse-drawn carriages, passenger cars with a 200mph+ top speed and a spacecraft capable of orbiting the earth in 90 minutes. Fantasy and futuristic settings will likewise contain a diverse range of travel options. However, in the game, speed is largely irrelevant. For strategic movement in adventures all the players need to know from the Game Leader is how long does it take to get from A to B. It is only the narrative details that change between a two day horse ride to town and a two day spaceflight to Alpha Centuri.

Speed is important when characters become involved in a chase or vehicle-based combat. If the parties involved have radically different modes of transport, e.g, a horse & cart versus a sports car, there is only one possible result: the faster party will catch up with or escape from their opponent as they desire. If the two sides of a pursuit have roughly equivalent modes of transport it is the positions relative to each other which are important, not their absolute speed.

Groups who wish to play out car chases, dog fights and similar vehicle combat can use exactly the same movement rules as in normal combat. The only difference is that the 5' square is scaled to fit the size and speed of the vehicles involved so it may become a 50' square for a tank battle or a 5000 mile square for an intergalactic battle. Within the relative speeds and distances of the combat, a mosey is still a careful and controlled movement going up to three squares and running may take them further. A movement resistance can be assigned to each square.

When combat is scaled up is it not possible to mix different forms of transport. For example, a character on foot cannot contribute to a dog-fight spreading out over many miles. Ranges and area of effects for a character's normal weapons and powers do not scale either so characters will be dependent on their vehicle's weaponry.

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open/mechanics/core/stallionsgalleons.txt · Last modified: 2013/12/10 10:16 by tregenza
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