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Shadows over Baltimore

Combat Damage

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Involved as they are in an illegal and often hazardous line of work, Shadowrun characters get hurt and get hurt often. What kind of damage, how bad an injury is, and how much it affects the character will vary greatly depending on the situation.


Types of Injury

Damage in Shadowrun is defined as Physical and Stun. Each type of damage is tracked separately.


Physical Damage

Physical damage, the most dangerous type, is the kind done by guns, explosions, bladed weapons, and most magic

spells. Weapons that inflict Physical damage have the letter “P” following their Damage Value. As one might expect, Physical damage takes the longest time to heal.


Stun Damage

Stun damage—bruising, muscle fatigue, and the like—is the kind done by fists, kicks, blunt weapons, stun rounds, shock weapons, concussion grenades, some magic spells, and magical drain. If something does Stun damage, the letter “S” will follow the Damage Value. Stun damage heals quickly, but its immediate effects can be as deadly as Physical damage.


Damage Codes

All weapons have Damage Codes that indicate how difficult it is to avoid or resist the damage, and how serious the

actual wounds are that the weapon causes. A weapon’s Damage Code consists of two numbers representing Damage Value (DV) and Armor Penetration (AP). These are separated with a slash, with DV to the left and AP to the right of the slash. So a weapon with a Damage Code 7/–1 has a Damage Value 7 and an Armor Penetration of –1.


Damage Value (DV)

The Damage Level indicates the severity of the damage inflicted by the weapon—its ability to transfer damage to the target. In game terms, each point of Damage Value inflicts one box of damage to the target’s Condition Monitor. The base Damage Value of the weapon is modified by the attacker’s net hits, ammunition type, and other factors.


Armor Penetration (AP)

A weapon’s Armor Penetration (AP) represents its penetrating ability—its ability to pierce armor. The AP is used to

modify a target’s Armor rating when he makes a damage resistance test. Some weapons fare poorly against armor, and so actually raise the value of the armor—if the target is not wearing armor, however, this bonus does not apply. Others are designed to tear through armor, and so reduce its effectiveness. If a weapon’s AP reduces an armor’s rating to 0 or less, the character gets to roll no armor dice on his damage resistance test. subdued and cannot take any actions requiring physical movement. Consider the subdued character to be prone for any attacks made against him. The grappling character does not need to make any tests to maintain the grapple, but he must spend a Complex Action on each of his Action Phases to do so.


The grappler may also choose to do one of the following on each Complex Action he spends to maintain the grapple:

• Make an additional Unarmed Combat Attack Test to get a better grip. The defender opposes as normal. The attacker gets the Superior Position bonus. If the attacker scores more hits, the net hits are added to his previous grappling net hits, making it harder for the defender to break free. If the defender scores more hits, however, reduce the attacker’s net hits as his grip slips.

• Inflict Stun damage on the character with a Damage Value equal to his Strength. This requires no test, but the defender resists it as normal. Impact armor applies.

• Knock the defender down, following the rules for Attacking to Knock Down. The attacker gets the Superior Position bonus.

Damage Resistance Tests

Unless otherwise noted, a character rolls Body + armor to resist damage. In some cases another attribute may be called for; Willpower is often used in place of Body, for example, against certain Stun damage attacks. The exact armor that applies is determined by the type of attack. The armor rating is modified by the attack’s AP modifier. Other bonuses may also apply, such as a troll’s natural armor bonus (which is cumulative with other types of armor).

Note that wound modifiers do not apply to damage resistance tests. Each hit scored on the damage resistance test reduces the attack’s DV by 1. If the DV is reduced to 0 or less, no damage is inflicted.


Damage Resistance Glitches

Glitches on damage resistance tests may be interpreted in many different ways. Perhaps the attack reduces the effectiveness of the character’s armor, reducing its rating by 1. Alternately, there could be some complication caused by the applied damage—an implant is rendered inoperable until repaired; a vein is opened, leading to intensive bleeding; a bone is fractured; or a cut is made over the character’s eye, inflicting Perception Test modifiers. The gamemaster should choose something appropriate to the situation and that will enhance tension in the story.



Once the final Damage Value is calculated, it must be recorded on the character’s Condition Monitor. As described under, the Condition Monitor has two columns: Physical and Stun. Physical damage is recorded in the Physical column, Stun damage in the Stun column. Each point of Damage Value = 1 box on the Condition Monitor. Damage is cumulative. A character who already has 3 boxes filled in and takes another 3 boxes of damage ends up with 6

boxes filled in. A damaged character must also check for Knockdown.


Condition Monitor Tracks

The Physical Damage Track has a number of boxes equal to 8 plus half a character’s Body attribute (round up). The Stun Damage Track has a number of boxes equal to 8 plus half a character’s Willpower attribute (round up).



When all of the available boxes in a track (Physical or Stun) are filled in, the character immediately falls unconscious and drops to the ground. If the Stun track is filled in, the character is merely knocked out. If the Physical track is filled in, however, the character is near death and will die unless stabilized.


Exceeding the Condition Monitor

When the total number of boxes in a column (Physical or Stun) are filled in, and damage still remains to be applied, one of two things happens: If the damage is Stun, it carries over into the Physical column. For example, if a character with a Stun Condition Monitor of 11 boxes who has already taken 6 boxes takes another 8-box Stun hit,

that character’s player would fill in the last 5 boxes in the Stun column, and then fill in 3 boxes in the Physical column. If the character has already taken damage in the Physical column, treat the excess Stun damage as additional Physical damage and add it to the existing damage. When Stun damage overflows in this manner,

the character also falls unconscious; he or she does not regain consciousness until some of the Stun damage is healed and removed from the Stun column. If a character takes more Physical damage than he has boxes in the Physical column, the character is in trouble.

Overflowing the Physical column means that the character is near death. Instant death occurs only if damage overflows the Physical column by more than the character’s Body attribute. One point over that limit and they will be toasted over drinks at their favorite shadowrunner bar. Characters whose Physical damage has overflowed the

Physical column by less than their Body attribute can survive if they receive prompt medical attention. If left unattended, such a character takes an additional box of damage every (Body) Combat Turns for blood loss, shock, and other things that affect a body on the brink of death. If this damage exceeds the character’s Body attribute before medical help arrives, the character dies.


Wound Modifiers

As a character records damage on his Condition Monitor, he suffers certain effects that simulate the effects of real-life injuries. For every 3 boxes of cumulative damage taken on a Condition Monitor track, the character suffers a –1 wound modifier. These wound modifiers are cumulative, so a character who has taken 6 boxes of Physical and 3 boxes of Stun suffers a total –3 wound modifier. Wound modifiers are dice pool modifiers that apply to nearly all tests the injured character may attempt, except for resistance tests. Wound modifiers are also applied immediately to a character’s Initiative Score, potentially affecting whether he goes before or after someone else in an Initiative Pass. If a wound modifier reduces his Initiative Score to 0 or less, the character cannot take any actions that Combat Turn.

Dead Man’s Trigger

A character may invoke the Dead Man’s Trigger rule to perform one final action before dying or falling unconscious. To do so, the following conditions must be met:

1) The character must still have an available action left (either a held action, an extra action, or one that hasn’t occurred yet because the character was taken down in a pass before he could act). If a character already used up all his available actions for his Combat Turn, he’s out of luck.

2) The character must spend 1 Edge point. This just activates the Dead Man’s Trigger; it doesn’t add any extra Edge dice to any tests (the character may spend extra Edge, however, to augment tests as normal). If the character has no Edge left, he’s out of luck.

3) The character must make a Body + Willpower (3) Test. Note that this takes place after the Edge Point is spent.

If the character passes all three conditions, he may perform one final Simple Action (no movement), which is resolved as normal.

Special Types of Damage

Certain environmental effects—acid, fire, extreme cold, electricity—have a slightly different effect than standard types of damage, as noted below.


Acid Damage

Corrosives and specific spells and critter powers may inflict Acid damage. Acid damage is treated as Physical damage and resisted with half Impact armor (rounded up). The chemical protection armor upgrade adds its full rating to the armor value. Acid damage will eat through many types of material, turning it into smoking sludge. The initial DV of an acid attack counts as the Acid damage rating. Acid that has been splashed onto an object will continue to eat through for a number of turns equal to its rating. This continued corrosion stops when the acid is washed off or a base is applied. Note that Acid damage Combat spells only inflict damage once—after that the

instant spell effect ends. Acid often produces strong clouds of noxious smoke, applying an appropriate Visibility modifier to those in the area.


Cold Damage

Extreme environments and certain spells and critter powers may inflict Cold damage. Cold damage is treated as Physical damage and resisted with half Impact armor (rounded up). The insulation armor upgrade adds its full rating to the armor value. Note that while electronics generally fare fine against cold, other gear may be damaged as liquid components freeze, lubricants gum up, and other parts become brittle.


Electricity Damage

A wide variety of nonlethal weapons are designed to incapacitate targets with electrical shock attacks, including stun batons, tasers, cyberware shock hands, and similar electrically-charged weapons. These weapons rely on a contact discharge of electricity rather than kinetic energy. Spells and critter powers such as Lightning Bolt and Energy Aura cause similar effects. Electrical damage is treated as Stun damage and resisted with half Impact armor (rounded up)—metallic armor, however, offers no protection. The nonconductive armor upgrade adds its full rating to

the armor value. Other factors may modify the target’s damage resistance test at the gamemaster’s choosing, such as lack of grounding (a character flying by levitation spell) or extra conductivity (a character immersed in water).


A successful Electricity damage attack can stun and incapacitate the target as well. The struck target must make a

Body + Willpower (3) Test. Apply half the character’s Impact armor (round down) and any other dice pool modifiers as noted above to this test. If the target fails, he immediately falls and is incapacitated for a number of Combat Turns equal to 2 + net hits scored on the attack test. Even if the target succeeds, he suffers a –2 dice pool modifier to all action tests due to disorientation from the shock for the same period. Incapacitated characters are prone and unable to take any actions.


Electronic equipment, vehicles, and drones can also be affected by Electricity damage. They never suffer Stun damage, but they do roll Body + Armor (drones and vehicles) or Armor x 2 (other objects) to resist secondary effects. If they achieve equal or more hits than the attack, they are unaffected. Otherwise, they cease to function for a number of Combat Turns equal to 2 + net hits scored on the attack test (and may need to reboot after that).


Falling Damage

When a character falls, use the Falling Damage Table to determine the damage. Use Body + half the rating of the

character’s Impact armor (round down) to resist this damage. Characters may also add Gymnastics skill dice to the damage resistance test. The gamemaster should feel free to modify the damage to reflect a softer landing surface (sand), branches to break the fall, and so on. Characters fall at a rate of 150 meters per Combat Turn, increasing

by +50 meters per turn until they reach terminal velocity of about 300 meters/turn.


Fatigue Damage

No one can run forever. After a period of sprinting, even the most conditioned athlete begins to slow down. These fatigue rules simulate this phenomenon. A character can sprint for a number of turns equal to his Body plus the hits on a Running (Long Distance) + Strength Test before he or she begins to lose steam. If the character continues

to run beyond this base period, he or she begins taking 1 box of Stun damage each Combat Turn from fatigue; this damage cannot be resisted.


If a character is merely jogging instead of sprinting, the gamemaster should increase the base period to (Body + hits) x 2 minutes, and only apply 1 box of fatigue Stun damage each time that period passes (rather than each Combat Turn). The maximum amount of fatigue that can be taken is 6 boxes of Stun. After that point, the character must make a Body + Willpower (2) Test each Combat Turn (sprinting) or Body + hits minutes (jogging). If the character fails, he collapses from exhaustion and is simply unable to continue any sort of strenuous activity until he rests.


Fire Damage

Certain types of flame or heat-based attacks inflict Fire damage, including (but not limited to): thermite, flares, Flamethrower and Fireball spells, and the Energy Aura and Engulf critter powers. Treat Fire damage as Physical damage, but Impact armor only protects against it with half its value (round up). The fire resistance armor upgrade adds its full rating to the armor value. Objects hit by a Fire damage attack are in risk of catching fire. Make a damage resistance test using the item’s Armor x 2, or just Armor if they are vulnerable to the effect (flammable material vs. fire, for example). The gamemaster should use her discretion as to which objects in the area are worth rolling a test for; most effects can simply be improvised. The gamemaster also decides which items have

caught on fire and will continue to burn—as a rule of thumb, any item with a (modified) Armor rating less than the Fire DV has caught fire.


If an object is on fire, note the original Fire DV inflicted—this is the Fire damage rating. At the end of each subsequent Combat Turn, the gamemaster decides whether the fire has grown, shrunk, or stayed the same, depending on the item’s flammability, efforts to put the fire out, environmental conditions, etc.; adjust the Fire damage rating accordingly. If the rating is reduced to 0, the flames are put out. In any other case, make another damage resistance test against DV equal to the adjusted Fire damage rating. Continue in this way until the

fire diminishes (nothing burns forever—but the fire may also spread to nearby items).


The exact secondary effects of Fire damage on items are determined by the gamemaster. Wood and paper are likely to be consumed; common plastics and fabrics melt; while fire resistant fabrics and metals scorch but otherwise remain unharmed by normal flames. Damaged electronics may short-circuit and cease to function while weapons lose their integrity and are likely to misfire or fracture. Ammunition and explosives may explode.

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