Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Vehicle Characteristics

A Panzer IV
Vehicles are described by several characteristics.

The Front Armor and Side Armor characteristics describe a vehicle's armor .  The Front Armor rating describes the main glacis plate and the front of the turret.  The Other Armor rating describes the armor of the rest of the vehicle. (OtherArmor includes the rear, the top, and the undercarriage, too.)  Most vehicles, of course, will have a much higher Front Armor than Side Armor.  Collectively, we will refer to them as Vehicle Armor.

Typical Vehicle Armor ratings are as follows:
  • VA 4 or less: The vehicle is soft-skinned, offering only incidental protection against small arms.  Even weapons with no Anti-Tank rating can harm them.
  • VA 5 is the minimum rating a vehicle facing needs to be considered armored, rendering it immune to small-arms fire with no Anti-Tank rating.
  •  VA 6 or more: Any serious armored fighting vehicle will have a rating of 6.  Each additional point of rating provides the vehicle with greater resilience against ever higher Anti-Tank characteristics. 
Vehicles may also have several other traits.

  • Vehicles may be Open-Topped, making them more vulnerable to ranged attacks (particularly in Firefights) and assault.  Open-Topped Vehicles are easier to-Wound.
  • Most Vehicles will be Closed-Topped, with armored tops and hatches.  By default, we will assume that our Closed-Topped vehicles are rather like those of World War Two, and have limited fields of vision. 
  • If the crew has the hatches open, maybe with the commander standing in the open cupola, we will describe the tank as Unbuttoned.  An Unbuttoned tank counts as Open-Topped.  
  •  When the crew are inside and have all the hatches closed and locked, with the vision blocks down, we will describe the tank as Buttoned.  A Buttoned tank is less vulnerable to incoming fire, but suffers a penalty to-Hit.

Some of our tanks are more advanced, having internal air supplies, high-tech sensors, or advanced, fireproof canopies.  We will describe such vehicles as SealedSealed Vehicles are always Buttoned but they do not suffer the usual penalties to-Hit.  They are also less vulnerable to certain weapons, such as flame-throwers.

Vehicles are by default Mobile and Active. Damage and battlefield hazards may put a Vehicle into one of several states:
  • Immobilized: The Vehicle is stuck on terrain, has thrown a tread, or suffered some other mishap.  It can no longer move or rotate on its axis for the remainder of the game.
  • Stunned: The Vehicle has suffered some misfortune that has incapacitated the crew temporarily.  Perhaps they are rattled by a glancing hit, must make some repair, or reorganize after one of them has become a casualty.  If the Vehicle is a robot of some kind, maybe it has suffered a temporary failure. A Stunned Vehicle can do nothing for one turn.
  • Destroyed:  The Vehicle is wrecked.  Leave the model in place (maybe with suitable smoke), but it cannot do anything else for the game and is considered a casualty.
Geek Notes

I'm assuming, by default, that Vehicles are clunky, with few advanced sensors and limited visibility.  Rather like World War Two tanks.  This may or may not be true. It fits certain fictional armies very well -- Warhammer 40k's Imperial Guard comes to mind. It's also good for steam punk or retro settings.  In other settings, like Star Wars, all the Vehicles may be sleek hovercraft, with big canopies and lots of instruments. Even in retro settings, some races may have more advanced craft than others. That's what the Sealed trait is for -- apply liberally to all advanced Vehicles, or reserve it only for the most awesome ones. 

Many games have random damage charts or other ways of keeping track of damaged Vehicles.  Frankly, I find this to be a bit of a pain.  Therefore, my Vehicles have only three possible damage states -- Active, Immobilized, and Destroyed.