• FINAL DAYS! -- The Awfully Cheerful Engine on Kickstarter! An action comedy RPG inspired by cheerful tabletop games of the 80s! With a foreword by Sandy 'Ghostbusters' Petersen, and VTT support!
log in or register to remove this ad

 

Shadowrun 4E Friendly Fire

Tilenas

Explorer
SR4A pg. 145 has an example of someone delaying their shot until their ally is out of "threat range" of an enemy to avoid friendly fire. This implies that shooting into a melee is harder and/or risky than at an isolated target.

However, the actual combat rules do not seem to support this at all: While there is a penalty to use ranged attacks in melee combat (pg. 150), it only applies to the attacker, i.e. is for ranged attacks within rather than into melee combat. There is also a penalty to defend against ranged attacks while engaged in melee (pg. 160), meaning that in the example above, it would have been smarter to shoot right away while they are still firmly engaged.

The only crunch mention of friendly fire I have found is suppressive fire (pg. 154). The War! supplement then has a special type of image link (pp. 162-163) that refers back to suppressive fire, but might also be read in a more general way.

Am I missing something here? While friendly fire would be a typical critical glitch event, I do not see such a difference between "engaged in melee" and "1-2 metres apart" to rule that friendly fire could not occur in the second scenario. Seeing that the defender incurs a -3 penalty to defence against ranged attacks, it would still be advantageous in most cases to take the chance of "friendly fire on critical glitch" rather than let the opponent dodge without the penalty.

While this primarily concerns SR4A, I would also like to hear whether other editions address this issue.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
I don't have the rulebooks at hand, but I believe this becomes an issue when you don't have a smartgun and smartgun link. Folks using autofire with a smartgun link can walk fire (meaning, spray bullets over an arc) and choose to "discard" a bullet without firing it, and thus miss friendly targets. Folks not using a smartgun link can't discard the bullet, and must fire one for every meter they are spraying fire over, and thus can hit compatriots in the area.
 

Tilenas

Explorer
Folks not using a smartgun link can't discard the bullet, and must fire one for every meter they are spraying fire over, and thus can hit compatriots in the area.
Yes, this is another aspect of the issue.

So what would be a good solution? Many RPGs have rules on striking cover, which is not immediately useful here, as combatants engaged in melee are not actually harder to hit from the outside. Also, the standard mechanic (cover struck if attack would have hit without cover) would force everyone to roll any penalty dice from cover separately just to see whether or not the cover is struck.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
The solution would be to adjust that description of combat so that nobody is waiting when they don't have to.

I am not sure there needs to be a rule change to fix anything, and I think the design is intentional. Getting into a melee when there is someone outside it shooting at you is dangerous. Maybe you shouldn't do it.
 

Awfully Cheerful Engine!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top