New Skills for Car Wars
By David N. Searle
Editor's Note: These rules are a variant only, and are not officiaL But don't let that stop you from using them.
Over the years, the main focus of Car Wars has been the cars. Pedestrians were inconsequential even the driver and gunner were considered accessories to the vehicle. As the demand for more role-playing aspects for Car Wars increased, more skills were added. Now, with more powerful personal weapons, a pedestrian can no longer be shrugged off. Since people are now dangerous to vehicles, it makes sense that players would like to know more about that pedestrian, or even play him in the next game. With descriptions like Driver, Handgunner+2, it's understandably hard to roleplay the pedestrian.
Then in issue 4/2 of ADQ, the role-playing aspect of Car Wars came out. This taste of new skills filled out pedestrians, allowing for more pedestrian interaction.
The main idea to keep in mind when using the new skills, as well as the old ones, is that they have a broad definition. Meaning, a simple driving skill allows a person to do just about anything he wants in a car. Do not restrict the use of the skills too much. Points are precious in the game, and to waste them on skills that do not offer much would be foolish.
A brief description is given with the list of skills; again, this description is only a guide to what the skill can accomplish.
Unless specified otherwise, successful use of a noncombat skill requires a roll of 7 or better on two dice, with the character's skill added to the roll. If a character doesn't have the skill (i.e., has less than 10 points in that skill), the roll is at A. Other modifications to the roll should be based on circumstances and referee's whim.
At other times, it may be appropriate to use a Contest of Skills, ala GURPS. For any contest of skills, each character makes a skill roll as above, and adds any modifiers the referee feels are appropriate. If both players make their rolls, or both players miss, then the contest is inconclusive and may continue if the situation or common sense warrants. If both players make their roll, but one makes it by five more than the other, he wins. Obviously, if one makes the roll and the other fails, the first one wins.
Example. Two duellists, after a long and protracted road combat, sail into the protection of a ghost town. Larry (Driver+2), unwilling to give up the fight, spins through town attempting to find Curly's (Driver+1) car. Rather than play it out, the referee calls for a Contest of Skills. Both players roll two dice; Larry gets a 9 (7, +2 for his Driver bonus), poor Curly gets a 4 (3, + 1 for his Driver bonus). Thus, Larry wins the roll, and gets the drop on Curly's vehicle. When the combat starts, Curly's car is placed in the center of an intersection, and Larry is free to place his car anywhere nearby.
General skill points can be used to improve these skills; so can any points earned by particularly successful or imaginative use of the skill itself.
Skill levels can get obnoxiously high if the old 10 points - 1 Skill Level is retained. So, instead, you may want to do this: Skill levels of 1 to +3 cost 10 points each, Skill levels +4 to + 6 cost 20 points each, + 7 to + 9 cost 30 points each, and so on. This way, powerful characters don't advance at absurd rates through a campaign, and one-trick (single-skill) characters will not be as cost-effective.
- Area Knowledge
- Used to get around in a particular city, state, duel circuit or patch of untamed wilderness. A successful Area Knowledge roll will let you answer questions about the area in question, and so on. All characters are assumed to have this at base level for their hometown. Improvements to the skill add more area at the referee's option.
- Gives the character the ability to jump farther, and do the more heroic moves like leaping for chandeliers and such. Every other level, starting with level 2 (4, 6, etc.) gives the character a -1 to be hit due to his agility.
- Animal Husbandry
- The care and handling of domestic animals, from gerbils to horses. Riding ability, training and some basic veterinarian knowledge of the animals is covered by this skill.
- Skill with blade weapons like swords and knives, which no longer fall under hand weapons. Blade skill can be used to parry other blade attacks; the defender rolls against his own skill, as above, but subtracts the amount by which the attacker made his roll.
- Like Running, everyone gets this at base level. This can be used to climb trees, fences, some buildings, etc. Also useful when boarding another vehicle - your Climbing skill is added to your roll to board or drop onto another vehicle.
- Anyone can use a radio. Communication covers both the use and technology of radios and similar equipment. The most likely game use of Communication involves jamming and breaking through jamming, etc...
- Computer Tech
- Programming, data retrieval (legal and otherwise), and other hacker-related functions.
- This skill covers design and construction of vehicles and other equipment. Engineering can also be used for creating traps and other useful items from available materials. Requires Mechanic at least at base level.
- Smuggling, counterfeiting, organized crime, terrorism.
- The skill of weaseling your way out of a situation. The subject Fast-Talked will later realize what has happened.
- Anything not covered by a skill, such as a musical instrument, woodcrafting, etc...
- Dealing with interviewers and reporters. Conducting an interview, data retrieval and use of journalistic equipment (videocams, editing equipment and the like).
- Knowledge of general law, local laws, chance of other areas ordinances. May specialize in one area for an additonal +1 to whatever, such as marriage, murder or the like.
- The practical ability to command a group of people effectively.
- Each level adds 1 in favor of the old "Roll 2 dice and pray."
- Using stars, charts, planets and modern tools, a character with this skill can plot courses, and find where he is when lost.
- Bootlicking, social graces, knowledge of political figures.
- Mind and behavior study, may include modification.
- 1 area per skill, such as Biology, Genetics, Astronomy.
- Knowledge of security systems, methods and ways to disarm same.
- How to get around, get a piece of the action and make the contacts that you need. Successful use of Streetwise can let you find out where any sort of illegal activity is going on, who can be bribed, who to talk to to get some legs broken, etc.
- This skill allows the character knowledge of survival techniques in ALL different kinds of environments (forests, deserts, city ruins, etc.). Higher levels of Survival add to his chance of finding food and water, building shelter and the like.
- The ability to teach a skill to another. Takes 6 weeks/level minus 1 week for every level of teaching. Can teach to one level below that possessed.
- Pickpocketing, breaking and entering, disguise, safe cracking, forgery, arson, petty theft
Issue 7/1 Index