Roleplaying In A

Buckshot Rules

In Equipment, Rules on March 10, 2010 at 9:00 am

In many modern games, shotgun rules only cover slugs, making the shotgun just another version of a rifle but without any range. Cyberpunk 2020 lists buckshot but doesn’t portray it in a realistic manner. These are the rules we’ve developed in our game. Typical armor has 20 points of soak.

0-10 feet  = 10d10
10-25 feet  =  6d10
25 feet+  =  2d6+3 x 1d10

Notes We chose the 00 buckshot as being the most common type used to keep the rules fairly simple and streamlined. At ranges of more than 25 feet, the player rolls 1d10 to see how many pellets hit then roll for individual pellet damage.

9mm rounds do 2d6, while 11mm are 3d6 so an individual “00” buckshot pellet falls between these two. C6 plastique explosive does 8d10 which means at very close range, buckshot is doing more damage.

sawed off shotgun
Image by sorakirei via Flickr

We felt this helped reflect several factors: the randomness inherent in a firefight, the really explosive damage buckshot is capable of at close ranges and the truly limited range a shotgun firing buckshot pellets has.

Sawed off shotguns would be more concealable and have less recoil (+1 to hit) but the ranges listed above would be halved. People use them now to increase pellet spread, reasoning that hitting with any pellets is better than hitting with many pellets. When shooting at unarmored targets, this is true but against armored targets, the strategy loses much of its effectiveness.

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  1. Hey choomba, ready for another long-winded comment?

    I’ve seen a couple sets of shot rules, and these look pleasantly usable. The math doesn’t seem right to me, though.

    At close range, that’s literally antitank damage. 6d10 is as much as a Militech RPG-A. Buckshot doesn’t explode, of course, but 10d10 will essentially vaporize an unarmored target on an average roll. I don’t mean kill, either. 55-odd damage is past mortal 6.

    Even when you’re at the far end of effective range, you’re talking an average of 10d6+15 or about 50 damage if I have my math right. This poses two problems: first, your average damage is lowest a mid range, which doesn’t make sense. Second is that you’re still blowing off limbs at long range, and the more the pellets spread, the more they hit. Granted, these rules make more sense if each hit is resolved separately rather than simultaneously, but that’s of little comfort to those hit in an unarmored or lightly-armored location.

    Lastly, sawed off shotguns have more recoil, not less, and if someone wanted a wider pattern on their shotgun, they could get an open choke. A real munchkin could also exploit the altered range of the shotgun, reducing the “deadzone” of lower than average damage to 5-12 ft. (which shrinks the deadzone as well as moves it somewhere they’re less likely to be caught) at the cost of +1 to-hit and increased concealability. They could even do that to a semiautomatic shotgun. The horror.

    What I did for shot rules is this:
    – Shotgun damage at close or point-blank range is doubled before reductions.

    – SP values (armor, cover, etc.) are doubled against buckshot at all ranges.

    – Shotshells hit 1d5 times at medium range and 1d3 at long and extreme ranges on adjacent locations.

    It’s not perfect, particularly because it requires more math at the table, but I’ve found it represents buckshot’s effectiveness at close range, inability to pierce armor, and patterning at longer ranges adequately while maintaining usability.

    I hope I didn’t come off as condescending or nit-picky! Please tell how you like this variant rule if you use it, too.


    P.S. Where did the idea that 00 buck is between 9mm and 11mm come from? 00 buck pellets are 8.38mm wide.

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