Roleplaying In A

More on Buckshot

In Rules on March 11, 2010 at 11:53 am

Yesterday I wrote about buckshot rules and got one very long comment. So long that I felt it merited its own post in response.

First, when developing these rules, I sat down with a gun enthusiast who’s been in real firefights. I used a lot of what I was told and therefore may not be able to back up some of this with anything other than “an expert told me”. Where possible, I did find information online that people can look at. See the end of the post for source links.

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.

It’s possible that an RPG-A isn’t doing enough damage given plastic explosive is doing 8d10. That’s what I was using as a guideline. And within 10 feet, the larger shot calibers are apparently that nasty. Now it’s possible my expert was thinking of the modern C-4, where Cyberpunk 2020 posits a more advanced “C-6” version. However, without the stats for C-4 or any idea how much more damage C-6 is doing, we did our best.

Buckshot will not vaporize a target but yes, it should kill it at close range. Period. It won’t vaporize because at 12 feet, the spread is only 2.5 inches. This shot then penetrated 7 boards of 5/8″ sheet rock. I have no problem believing it would penetrate Kevlar.

It should kill it because once it’s entered the body cavity, it will spread and ricochet. Here’s an image from the ballistic gelatin test.

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.

I may not have been clear. At far range, each pellet is being rolled for individually. Since we’ve posited a pellet does 2d6+3 damage alone, they’re won’t to even penetrate an armored target with a maximum damage of 15, let alone hurt. Your games may be different, but an armor rating of 20 in my games is pretty standard.

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.

I read “It’s reduced size makes it easier to maneuver and conceal.” and misinterpreted the “easier to maneuver” phrase.

What I did for shot rules is this:

I’ll present your rules to my players and see what they think.

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.

And that’s where we disagree. My expert source says it should be piercing armor with a 2.5 inch spread at 12 feet. What is nasty about buckshot isn’t the individual pellet but that so many hit all at the same time, making their effects at very close ranges far worse than math illustrates.

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.

Not a bit and you bet 🙂

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

Again, my misinterpretation. My expert said .33 caliber. However, he plays Cyberpunk 2020 (will in fact be in this campaign) and found 2d6+3 damage per pellet realistic. I trust his judgement.


Ballistic Testing
Sheet Rock Testing
A View On The Strength of Kevlar

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  1. Wow, big response!

    I did neglect to mention that I run with a variety of houserules drawn from all over the net, so I see where my comment might have broken down a bit.

    I definitely agree that a solid hit at close range should kill a target, but I’ve always considered a target to be well beyond dead after mortal 6. Since the damage tables don’t go any further, I took this to mean that there is no chance of survival at this point: the target is a mangled heap. Besides that, the target must still made death saves and an additional death save at -0 if they take more than 8 points of damage. This is quite common considering the hit location table I use has stomach and vitals which both multiply damage by 1.5.

    Second, 20 armor is not standard in my games, per se. This is both because my games tend to be more street-level rather than military or CorpSec affairs, and a large part of the protective gear in the game has had its price or SP changed (I’m looking at you, Metal Gear) although armor may be layered to some effect. It was nice to see sidearms remain effective when they should reasonably be and avoid the near-impervious, underpriced armors of some sourcebooks.

    Anyways, the box o’ truth shows that level IIIA armor is barely penetrable by 00 buck at close range. With the adjusted armor values I use, a “heavy kevlar vest,” which I assume is around level IIIA, will save a character from most or all of the damage of a shell. A “medium kevlar vest,” which is probably more in line with what your expert is talking about, is unlikely to stop all damage, and anything less will probably only make a character slightly less dead.

    As for the 2d6+3 figure, I would certainly not dispute that at medium range. The issue was mostly that the numbers were a little crazy if the hits were resolved simultaneously.

    So I hope that my previous comment makes a bit more sense now and that I have been of some help.

    As a side note, the rules I posted work for all gauges of shell, so you can have shot handguns! Gotta love it.

  2. It really sounds like we run very different games 🙂

  3. Well, I’ve never heard of two Cyberpunk games that really sound alike.

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