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Shadows over Baltimore

Ranged Combat

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Ranged Combat Resolution

Resolving Combat

Shadowrun includes four types of combat: ranged combat, melee (also known as hand-to-hand), astral combat, and cybercombat.  All combat, whether it involves firearms, knives, astral attacks, or attack programs, is resolved in the same manner.


Opposed Combat Test

Combat is handled as an Opposed Test between the attacker and defender. The exact skills and attributes used depend on the type of combat, method of attack, and style of defense, as described in each section. Various modifiers may also apply. If the attacker scores more hits than the defender (the defender wins on ties), the attack hits the target. Otherwise, the attack misses.


The Combat Sequence

Use the procedure outlined below to resolve combat.


1. Declare Attack

The attacker declares an attack as part of the Declare Actions part of his Action Phase  and spends an appropriate action depending on the type of attack. The defender also declares what method he is using to defend. The defender can choose to go on full defense if he chooses.


2. Apply Situational Modifiers

Apply appropriate situation dice pool modifiers to the attacker according to the specific attack. Modifiers may also apply to the defender’s dice pool depending on his method of defense.


3. Make the Opposed Test

The attacker rolls attack skill + attribute +/– modifiers. The defender rolls defending skill + attribute +/– modifiers.

If the attacker scores more hits than the defender (the defender wins on ties), the attack hits the target. Otherwise, the attack misses. Note the net hits (the number of hits that exceed the defender’s hits). If the result of the Opposed Test is a tie, the gamemaster may choose to rule it as a grazing hit. A grazing hit does not do any damage, but the character nevertheless makes contact.

This allows certain contact-only attacks (poisons, shock gloves, touch-only combat spells, etc.) to still do damage.


4. Compare Armor

Add the net hits scored to the base Damage Value of the attack; this is the modified Damage Value.

Determine the type of armor used to defend against the specific attack, and apply the attack’s Armor Penetration modifier; this is the modified Armor Value. If the attack causes Physical damage, compare the modified Damage Value to the modified Armor Value. If the DV does not exceed the Armor, then the attack inflicts Stun rather than Physical damage.


5. Damage Resistance Test

The defender rolls attribute + modified Armor Value to resist damage. Each hit scored reduces the modified Damage Value by 1. If the DV is reduce to 0 or less, no damage is inflicted.


6. Apply Damage

Apply the remaining Damage Value to the target’s Condition Monitor. Each point of DV equals 1 box of damage.

Wound modifiers may apply as a result of damage. Characters may also need to check for knockdown

Ranged Combat

All ranged combat in Shadowrun, whether it involves firearms, projectile weapons, or thrown weapons, is resolved in the same manner.


Ranged Attack Modifiers

Using a weapon is not always as easy as it might seem. Weapon accessories, range, intervening terrain, atmospheric

conditions, and the movement of the attacker and the target can apply dice pool modifiers. To determine the attacker’s final dice pool for a ranged attack, add up all the applicable modifiers and apply that sum to the character’s Agility + combat skill. The result is the final, adjusted dice pool. If the dice pool is reduced to 0 or less, the attack automatically fails, unless the character tries for a Long Shot. The various modifiers are listed on the Ranged Combat Modifiers Table.

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Each weapon type has specified ranges, as noted on the Weapon Range Table, broken down into categories

of Short, Medium, Long, and Extreme. Distances are measured in meters. The range modifier appears at the

top of the appropriate range column. For some projectiles, range is based on the attacker’s Strength (or

the Minimum Strength for bows).

Minimum Ranges: Weapons marked with asterisks at short range have minimum range requirements, meaning

that if they are used to attack targets at a closer range than the minimum, the attack automatically fails.


Attacker Running

If the attacker is running at the time of the attack or during his previous action, the attack suffers a –2 modifier.


Attacker in Melee Combat

If the attacker is attempting to conduct a ranged attack while engaged in melee combat, or if he is aware of another character trying to block his attack within two meters of him, the attack suffers a –3 modifier.


Attacker in a Moving Vehicle

Shooting an unmounted weapon from a moving vehicle incurs a –3 modifier. See Gunnery, p. 162.


Target Has Partial Cover

Attacks against targets obscured by intervening terrain such as brush, foliage, or various obstacles (crates, windows, doorways, curtains and the like) receive a –2 modifier if at least 25% of the target’s form is obscured. For obscurity due to environmental conditions such as smoke or darkness, use the modifiers given on the Visibility Table.


Target Has Good Cover

If at least 50% of the target’s form is obscured by intervening terrain, a –4 dice pool modifier applies. This modifier can also apply to prone targets at least 20 meters away.


Target Hidden (Blind Fire)

A –6 modifier applies to attacks against targets that cannot be seen. This modifier normally applies only to attacks

through opaque barriers or for indirect fire by grenade or missile launchers against unseen targets. Attacks against normally visible targets that are invisible at the time of the attack—for example, a character protected by an invisibility spell—also suffer this modifier. Note that shooting via Blind Fire (including against hidden/

unseen targets) uses the firearms skill + Intuition (rather than Agility).


Attacker Firing From Cover

Hiding behind cover limits a character’s ability to see the action, even if they quickly move out from behind cover to

shoot, and so applies a –1 dice pool modifier to any attacks.


Attacker Wounded

Wound modifiers apply if the attacker has taken damage.


Attacker Using Laser Sight

Attacks using weapons equipped with a laser sight receive a +1 dice pool modifier. Laser sights are only effective out to 50 meters from the weapon; mist, light or heavy smoke, fog, or rain all counteract them. This bonus is not cumulative with the bonus for using a smartlinked weapon.


Attacker Using Smartlinked Weapon

Characters utilizing a smartlink system and using a properly equipped smartweapon receive a +2 dice pool

modifier. This bonus is not cumulative with the bonus for using a laser sight.


Attacker Using Image Magnification

Image magnification equipment allows the character to “zoom in” on the target, reducing the Range category to Short, and thus eliminating any range modifiers. The character must take a Take Aim action to “lock onto” the target (the Take Aim does not apply a +1 aiming bonus for this purpose, unless additional Take Aim actions are made). As long as the target and attacker do not move, the attacker remains locked on and may continue to get the image magnification bonus on subsequent actions without further Take Aim actions. Image mag can be used in conjunction with a laser sight or smartlinked weapon (but not both).


Attacker Using a Second Firearm

Characters can use two pistol- or SMG-class weapons, one in each hand, firing both with a single Simple Action. Doing so, however, requires that the character split his dice pool between the attacks. If two separate skills are being used (Pistols and Automatics), use the smallest dice pool. Split the pool before applying modifiers. Two-gun attacks also negate any dice pool bonuses from smartlinks or laser sights. Additionally, any uncompensated recoil modifiers applicable to one weapon also apply to the other weapon.


Attacker Using Off-Hand Weapon

If the character is using his non-dominant hand to fire the weapon (a southpaw shooting right-handed, for example), he suffers –2 modifier for the attack. Note that all characters have a dominant hand (left or right, their choice), unless they have the Ambidextrous quality.


Aimed Shot

Characters who aim receive a +1 dice pool modifier per Simple Action spent aiming.


Called Shot

Characters who seek to target a specific location on the target (the hole in an opponent’s armor, a held item, a vital area, etc.) suffer a variable dice pool modifier.


Multiple Targets

If a character is attacking multiple targets within a single Action Phase, he takes a –2 dice pool modifier per additional target. For example, if a character engages two targets with burst fire, he receives a –2 modifier for the second target.



Weapons that fire more than one round in an Action Phase suffer from an escalating recoil modifier as the rounds

leave the weapon. Semi-automatic weapons that fire a second shot receive a –1 dice pool modifier for the second shot only.

Burst-fire weapons receive a –2 recoil modifier for the first burst fired in that Action Phase and –3 for the second. Long bursts suffer –5 (first burst in phase) or –6 recoil (second).  Full auto bursts suffer –9 recoil. Characters can only counter a recoil modifier with recoil compensation or gyro stabilization


Heavy Weapons: Any weapon classified as a heavy weapon (light, medium, and heavy machine guns and all assault

cannons) has all of its uncompensated recoil doubled. For example, if a medium machine gun fires a 6-round burst and only has 3 points of recoil compensation (reducing its recoil modifier from –5 to –2), its final recoil modifier would be –4 (–2 x 2). Any shotgun fired in burst fire mode is also subject to the double recoil modifier for any uncompensated recoil.


Recoil Compensation

Recoil compensation systems counteract the effects of recoil on a weapon. The recoil modifier is reduced by one for

each point of recoil compensation the system provides. Recoil compensation does not counter any other situational modifiers.



Gyro-stabilization provides portable, stabilized firing platforms that counter the effects of recoil and movement-based modifiers (such as for running). Reduce the total recoil and movement modifiers by 1 for every point of gyro-stabilization the system provides. Gyro-stabilization is cumulative with recoil compensation.


Visibility Impaired

Environmental conditions such as darkness or smoke occasionally affect combat; how much depends on the type of

vision the attacker is using. Consult the Visibility Table for appropriate modifiers. Modifiers apply equally to all types of vision, whether they are natural or cybernetic.


Defending Against Ranged Combat

There is no skill that applies to defending against ranged attacks—defending characters simply roll Reaction (the defaulting modifier does not apply). Characters may also go on full defense.


Most ranged combat involves firearms that fire in one or more of the following modes: single-shot (SS), semi-automatic (SA), burst-fire (BF), and full-auto mode (FA). Firearms are detailed in the Street Gear chapter.


Single -Shot Mode

Most weapons that fire in single-shot mode can fire only in that mode. Firing a single-shot weapon requires only a Simple Action, but that weapon cannot be fired again during the same Action Phase.


Semi -Automatic Mode

Guns that fire in semi-automatic mode can be fired twice in the same Action Phase. Each shot requires a Simple Action and a separate attack test. The first shot is unmodified; the second shot, if fired in that same Action Phase, takes a –1 recoil dice pool modifier. Recoil compensation can cancel out this modifier.


Multiple Targets

If an attacker firing a semi-automatic weapon engages two different targets in the same Action Phase, apply a –2 dice pool modifier when attacking the second target.


Burst-Fire Mode

In burst-fire mode, firearms spit out bullets in rapid succession every time the trigger is pulled. Firing a weapon in burst-fire mode is a Simple Action, which means that a character can fire up to two bursts per Action Phase. Each burst requires a separate attack test. The firing character can choose to fire a narrow burst or a wide burst, each described below. Both use up 3 bullets. The first burst fired in an Action Phase inflicts a –2 recoil modifier,

the second inflicts an additional –3 recoil (neutralized by recoil compensation, if any).


Narrow Bursts

Narrow.are intended to inflict a target with maximum Note that this DV modifier does not apply when comparing

the DV to the armor rating. Narrow bursts increase the attack’s DV by +2.


Wide Bursts

Wide bursts are intended to spray bullets around to have a better chance of hitting the target. Wide bursts decrease the defender’s dice pool by –2 damage.


Multiple Targets

Bursts can only be fired at one target for each burst. If a burst-firing attacker engages two different targets in the same Action Phase (either with two separate short bursts or one short burst and one long burst), there is an additional –2 dice pool modifier when attacking the second target.


Not Enough Bullets

If the firing character is short on ammo (2 bullets rather than 3), reduce each of the modifiers applied by 1 (so a narrow burst does +1 DV and –1 recoil on the first shot). Treat a burst with only 1 bullet in the clip as a single-shot attack.


Full -Auto Mode

Weapons that can fire in full-auto mode throw bullets for as long as the attacker keeps the trigger pulled. Characters can use a weapon in full-auto mode to fire bursts, as noted above, each taking a Simple Action. Full-auto weapons can also be used to fire long bursts with a Simple Action or full bursts with a Complex Action.


Long Bursts

Long bursts use up 6 bullets each. Firing a long burst imposes a –5 dice pool modifier if it is the first burst fired that

Action Phase, –6 if it is the second (recoil compensation neutralizes this modifier). Like short bursts, long bursts can be fired as narrow or wide bursts. Long bursts only take a Simple Action, but only one long burst can be fired in an Action Phase. An attacker could, however, fire a long burst and a short burst in the same Action Phase (or vice versa).

Narrow: Narrow long bursts apply a +5 DV modifier to the attack.

Wide: Wide long bursts apply a –5 dice pool modifier to the defender’s dice pool.

Not Enough Bullets: If the attacker is a bullet or two short, reduce each of the modifiers applied by 1 (one bullet

short) or (2 bullets short). If there are only 3 or less bullets available, treat it as a short burst instead.


Full Bursts

Full bursts use 10 bullets and take a Complex Action. Firing a full burst imposes a –9 dice pool modifier (recoil compensation neutralizes this modifier)

Narrow: Narrow full bursts apply a +9 DV modifier to the attack.

Wide: Wide full bursts apply a –9 dice pool modifier to the defender’s dice pool.

Multiple Targets: Full bursts may be made against more than one target as long as they are within one meter of each other, but in that case treat it as separate burst fire attacks against each target (one short and one long against two targets, or three short against three targets).


Suppressive Fire

Sometimes a character may just use full autofire to make his opponents keep their heads down. This type of shooting—where the character saturates an area with bullets without specifically targeting anyone—is called suppressive fire. A character using a full burst to suppress can target a triangular area projecting

from the shooting character outward up to a distance of his choosing with a width of 10 meters at its end and a height of 2 meters. Suppressive fire takes a Complex Action and uses 20 bullets. The area remains “suppressed” until the shooting character’s next Action Phase. Suppressive fire is treated as a wide burst, but for simplicity

we assume that the wide burst and recoil modifiers cancel out. The character laying down suppressive fire simply makes a Success Test using Agility + appropriate firearm skill. Note any hits.


Any character that is currently in (but not behind cover or prone) or that moves into or out of the suppressed area before the shooter’s next Action Phase risks catching some flying lead. That character must make a Reaction + Edge Test (+ Dodge if on full defense) with a threshold equal to the hits scored by the suppressing attacker. If the test fails, the character is hit, suffering damage at the weapon’s base Damage Value. Characters in the suppressed area who do not move other than taking cover or dropping prone are not at risk.


Most weapons can fire an assortment of ammunition types. For ease of record-keeping and damage calculation, however, we suggest that ammunition cannot be mixed in a clip; each clip must contain only one type of ammo. Clips can be interchanged during Combat. A weapon’s listed Damage Code is based on regular ammunition.

If a specialized form of ammunition is used, it may modify the weapon’s Damage Value and AP, as noted with the

ammo description. Some weapons such as autocannons and tasers have distinctive ammunition

that is already calculated into the Damage Code of the weapon.



The shotguns described in the Street Gear section fire slug rounds. Characters can load them with shot rounds, but shot rounds have little effect against 21stcentury body armor. To determine the damage done by shot rounds, apply the flechette ammunition rules to the Damage Code indicated for the weapon. Shot rounds spread when fired, creating a cone of shot extending outward from the shotgun’s muzzle. This allows the shot to hit multiple targets, but with reduced effectiveness (the same numbers of shot pellets are spread out over a larger area.) The mechanism that controls this spread is called the choke. The shotgun user can set his weapon’s choke for a narrow spread, medium spread, or wide spread. Changing the choke setting requires a Simple Action (or a Free Action if the shotgun is smartlinked). Taking a shot requires a Simple Action, regardless of the choke setting.


Narrow Spread

A shotgun user can shoot at only one target with a narrow spread. Use the shotgun’s standard flechette-modified (+2 DV, +2 AP) Damage Code.


Medium Spread

A shotgun user can catch up to two targets who are within one meter of each other with a medium spread. The shotgun wielder makes a single attack test against all targets, who each suffer a –2 dice pool modifier on their defense roll. Medium spread shots are more scattered, so they inflict less damage and armor penetration. Taking into account the flechette ammunition, they inflict +0 DV, +4 AP.


Wide Spread

Up to three targets within one meter of each other can be caught in a shotgun’s wide spread. The shotgun wielder makes a single attack test against all targets, who each suffer a –4 dice pool modifier on their defense roll. Wide spread shots are even less effective than Medium spread. Taking into account the flechette ammunition, they inflict –2 DV, +6 AP.


Grenades are inaccurate and unreliable, but can be extremely effective when used properly. A character can deliver

grenades to a target by throwing them or firing them from a grenade launcher. In either case, the number-one priority of the attacker is to land the grenade as near the target as possible. Because of their shape and method of delivery, grenades will scatter, bouncing and skittering across the ground. The better the throw or launch, the less the scatter. Resolving a grenade attack is a two-step process. The first step determines where the grenade ends up in relation to the target (see Determine Scatter, below). The second step resolves the effect of the grenade’s explosion  see Blast Effects).


Grenade Launcher Minimum Range

The shortest possible range for grenade launchers is given as 5 meters because the mini-grenades fired from standard

grenade launchers do not actually arm until they have traveled about that distance. They do not detonate if they hit anything before traveling five meters—a safety feature in case of accidental misfire. Disarming this safety feature requires a simple adjustment to the grenade with an Armorer + Logic (4, 10 minutes) Extended Test.


Timing Grenades

As noted under Timed Items and Initiative, a grenade detonates on the next Initiative Pass using the Initiative Score of the character who threw it (unless the attacker is using an airburst link, in which it detonates on that Action Phase).


Determine Scatter

To determine the grenade’s final location, first choose the intended target. Make a standard ranged attack test using

the attacker’s Agility + appropriate combat skill (Throwing Weapons or Heavy Weapons), opposed by the target. If targeting a location, treat this as a Success Test instead. Apply standard ranged attack dice pool modifiers.

Next, the gamemaster must determine the grenade’s base scatter. All grenades scatter to some degree, but an attacker who made a good attack can limit the distance the grenade scatters. The gamemaster determines the direction of the scatter by rolling 1D6 and consulting the Scatter Diagram. The large arrow indicates the direction of the throw, so a result of 1 means the grenade continued on past the target, while a result of 4 means the grenade bounced back in the direction of the attacker.

Having determined the direction of the scatter, the gamemaster next calculates its base distance. The Scatter Table indicates the number of dice rolled to find the scatter distance. Airburst grenades only roll 1D6 for scatter. The attacker reduces this scatter distance by 2 meters per net hit for standard grenades or 4 meters per net hit for aerodynamic grenades and grenade launchers. If the scatter distance is reduced to 0 or less, the grenade hits the target exactly, and any remaining hits are added to the DV. Otherwise, the grenade lands at the remaining distance in the direction indicated.


Blast Effects

Grenades are area-effect weapons, meaning that their blast affects a given area and any targets within it. The farther

away the target is from the grenade’s final location—the blast point—the less damage it takes, because distance reduces a grenade’s blast effect. Different grenade types lose blast effect at different rates. Consult the Grenade Damage Table to find the grenade’s Damage Code and Damage Value reduction rate.


To resolve the effects of the grenade blast, roll a damage resistance test using the target’s Body + Impact Armor. Apply the grenade’s AP to the Impact armor rating. Each hit on this test reduces the DV by 1.


Blast Against Barriers

When a grenade’s blast hits a barrier such as a wall, door, or other similar structure, check to see if the barrier

is damaged or destroyed. If the barrier falls, the blast continues on, though any targets past the barrier receive its Armor rating bonus. If the barrier does not fall, the blast may be channeled; see Blast in a Confined Space, below.


Blast in a Confined Space

When a grenade detonates in a confined space, such as a hallway or room, the gamemaster must first determine whether any barriers (usually walls) stood firm against the explosion. Consult the Blast Against Barriers rules above. If the walls or doors hold up, the blast is channeled. Otherwise, determine blast effects normally.


If the walls hold, the shock wave reflects off of them, continuing back in the direction from which it came. If this

rebounding shock wave maintains enough Damage Value to reach a character, that character is subject to the appropriate blast effect. If the character is struck a second time by the shock wave (once as it headed out and again as it rebounded), the Damage Value of the blast is equal to the combined Damage Value of the two waves.


Theoretically, a detonating grenade could rebound repeatedly off each of the four walls in a small, well-built room, raising the effective Damage Value of the blast to a value far higher than the original damage of the grenade. This is known as the “chunky salsa effect.”

Rockets and Missiles

Occasionally, characters get their hands on military grade missiles and rocket launchers. Both use the same kind of

launcher, but the two types of attacks have inherent differences.


Resolving Rocket and Missile Fire

Rocket fire is resolved in the same manner as for grenade launchers. Missile fire works a little differently. Missiles have a Sensor rating that reflects the sophistication of their targeting electronics. When using the missile’s sensing and targeting circuits, the firing character rolls dice equal to his Heavy Weapons + the missile’s Sensor rating.

If the missile is launched from a vehicle, use Gunnery + the missile (or vehicle’s) Sensor rating. Active Targeting

 may also be used to fire missiles. When a missile is fired against a vehicle, the vehicle’s Signature acts as a dice pool modifier to the attack.

Impact armor protects against missile and rocket attacks.


Rocket and Missile Scatter

Like grenades, missiles and rockets scatter. For both, reduce the scatter distance by 1 meter per net hit rolled on the attack test. Missile scatter is further reduced by 1 meter for every point of Sensor the missile possesses.

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