Critical Hits in Car Wars

by Jeffrey Field
HTMLized by Francis Greenaway.
Editor's note: This is a Car Wars rule variant, and not an official rule change. If you like the idea, feel free to use it. If you don't, stick with the regular rules.

In Biblical times, David killed Goliath with a single stone from his slingshot. More recently, Steve Jackson killed Tom Solis' Goliath, and other Ogres, with a golden BB (Space Gamer 64). With the advent of Massacre at Midville" (SG 58) and Truck Stop, autoduelling has gained a few Goliath's of its own. It seems only fair then, to give that quaking MONDO with a pistol a chance to save the towns blasted neck. So, critical hits in Car Wars.

Critical hits represent lucky shots at or through weak points of a defence. Perhaps a shot penetrates a spot that had been chewed away by previous gunfire, destroys the belt feeding mechanism of a machine gun, or hits a vulnerable body armor shoulder joint.

The types of damage a critical hit does depends upon the target. If a target has armor (including body armor), then a critical hit simply ignores the armor. All damage done by the weapon is applied to internal components. An armor critical hit will not, however skip both a vehicle's armor and the body armor of the driver. People in vehicles are considered components unless specifically targeted, such as a cycle rider.

If a target lacks armor (shot away vehicle sides, lampposts, buildings, the unprotected portion of a wheelguard equipped tire) then the weapon does twice the damage it normally would. If a recoilless rifle scores a critical hit, roll two dice, then double that number for the damage done. A shotgun would do 4 hits of damage if it got a critical hit on an unarmored pedestrian.

Hand weapons that usually do not affect vehicle components have the opportunity to do so when achieving a critical hit. These lighter weapons (pistols, shotguns and rifles) will do one half the number of their usual hits (rounded down) to vehicular components. This number should be doubled when getting a critical hit on an unarmored vehicle weapon. Thus, is a shotgun hits an exposed power plant with a critical hit roll, it would do 2 hits. Because the hits are rounded down, a light pistol is still useless against armored vehicles, unless it is used hand-to-hand as per Sunday Drivers.

Determining if a hit is critical depends on the original chance to hit. Defensive weapons, such as oil, and those that hit automatically, like grenades, do not get critical hits. Only those weapons that must roll a "to hit" number may have criticals.

If a weapon needs, after all modifiers are calculated, a 10,11 or 12 or better to hit, there is no chance of a critical. If the weapon requires any "to hit" number of 9 or less, and a 12 is actually rolled on the "to hit" dice, the hit is critical. If the hit is "automatic" - ie, if the weapon wouldn't have had to roll, except for the "2 is a miss" rule - and an 11 or 12 is rolled on the dice, it is a critical hit.

Example: Mad Gunner Jack has to roll an 11 or better to hit with his laser; there is no chance of a critical hit. The next turn, however, his driver stops and he has been tracking, so his chance is 9 or better on two dice. If Mad Gunner rolls a 12 when rolling to see if he hit, it is a critical hit. The laser skips the semi's 50 points of armor to do 3d6 damage to the internal components. Or it'll do 3d6*2 hits to that innocent, unarmored lamppost. If Mad Gunner were to fire his hi-res targeting equipped laser at the side of a semi-trailer at point-blank range and both vehicles were stationary, he would have to roll a -4 or better on 2d6. He rolls, and if he gets an 11 or 12, the hit is a critical. A 2 still means that the shot missed.

Critical Hits

"To Hit" Number          Critical Occurs On
10, 11, 12               None
3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9      12
2 or less                11 or 12