Combat – Chapter 5 (Part 5) – HYOOTRD RPG Players’ Guide

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Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game
Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama Role Playing Game

Vehicular combat (on land, on and under the sea, in the air, and in space)

Maneuvering on a flat plane or in 3D space

Vehicular combat can occur as specific combat or as part of a chase and is handled the same way whether it is being conducted in surface vehicles (like cars or boats), or in vehicles that are maneuvered in 3D space (such as submarines, jetpacks, spaceships, or aircraft).


Vehicular combat differs from standard combat in a couple of important particulars.

Vehicles have armor giving them their own wound ratings.

Vehicles of different types have different armor values.  If the armor value is reduced to zero the vehicle crashes and must be abandoned.

Armor type Points
Bicycles, motorcycles, jet-skies, motorised sleds, etc.  5 armor points.
Cars, motor boats, vans, jeeps, etc. 10 armor points.
Lorries, caravans, barges, tugboats, etc.    15 armor points.
Long haul trucks, tanks, military patrol boats etc.   


20 armor points.


Vehicles can engage in ramming attacks and may also have built in weapons.  Weapons are of the same basic types as occur for characters (area, piercing, or clubbing).

Attaching a weapon to a vehicle reduces its maximum armor points by the weapon’s damage. This reduction is cumulative.

For example a machine gun mounted on a motorcycle does 3 points of piercing damage when used.  The maximum armor of the motorcycle is therefore 5 -3 points or 2.

Likewise a long haul truck which sports a cannon (4 points area damage) and a machine gun (2 points piercing damage) has a maximum armor of 20 – 6 or 14.


A ramming attack does 3 damage to the opponent’s vehicle but also does 1 point of damage to the driver’s own vehicle.

Drivers and passengers

Participants are either drivers or passengers and it is important to determine who the drivers are first as this effects how well the passengers can perform actions during combat.


Roll initiative as normal (settling ties between players and opponents in favor of the players and having players re-roll the dice if a tie occurs between themselves).

Action Selection

All drivers select their actions first.

There are two actions to choose from while driving;  a standard action and a reckless action.

Essentially a standard action is one using an unmodified drive or piloting skill (-0).  Ignore the second (yellow) modifier on the action strip for now (it only applies during chases).  Because of the difficulty of acting while driving all actions take a -1 penalty.

A reckless action is one where the driver/pilot elects to take more risks in order to get an advantage.  In this case the driver must take a -2 penalty to the use of their piloting skill (but gains +2 to the opposed roll – see opposed roll below – and + 1 to damage).  Actions however receive a -3 penalty.

Passenger actions are limited by the choices made by the driver (which is why drivers specify their actions first).

The passenger of a reckless driver can only engage in reckless passenger actions.

The passenger of a standard driver can only engage in standard passenger actions.

Combat Rounds

The phases of combat are a little different also.

There are still four phases to each round but the first and third phase are reserved for maneuvering vehicles (around obstacles and in order to secure a better attack position).


Firstly, the GM will determine whether an obstacle has been encountered and must be navigated (for example, the plane flies into a flock of birds, or a woman with a pram is slowly crossing the street in front of the car).  This can be determined randomly (1 or 2 on 1d6) or as the GM decides.  If using obstacles it is best to have them prepared ahead of time.  Drivers must navigate the obstacle successfully if one appears during the maneauver phase and cannot engage in ramming attacks while an obstacle is in play.  During this phase a driver/pilot can pull out any of their special “sub-skills” to try and gain an advantage.  Successful use of a subskill gives the player +1 to the opposed roll at the end of the maneuvering phase.

The Maneuver Phases

Phases 1 and three are reserved for maneuvering vehicles.

A successful skill roll is required to maneuver the vehicle around obstacles and jockey for position.  Failure results in a consequence roll. A roll of 1-5 on d6 results in a complication of some kind (determined by the GM) while a 6 results in a catastrophic failure (the plane goes into a dive and is going to crash, or the car swerves and crashes into a telegraph pole, etc.).


Crashes result in area damage (4 points) for surface vehicles (boats, cars etc.) and death for air/space/and undersea vehicles.  In the case of air/space/and undersea vehicles, players can use the action phase to attempt to “bail-out” or otherwise escape the crash.

A crash always brings vehicular combat to an end.

Position Roll

At the end of the maneauvering phase (after the skill roll), assuming no crash has occurred, drivers make an opposed roll (the position roll) to determine who has the best relative position to undertake their actions.  This is equivalent to determining who has successfully lined up who to gain advantage in an attack. If a driver fails the maneauver roll (and the vehicle has not crashed) then they have an opposed score of zero and do not get to roll the dice.  The position roll uses 2d10 and is either unmodified (standard) or +2 (if reckless).

Participants in the position roll who roll higher than their opponents are deemed to have achieved a better relative combat position and gain a +1 bonus to any damage they inflict as a result of actions undertaken.  If opponents roll the same result then neither side gains an advantage.  Rolling less than an opponent means the player will take an extra point of damage as a result of any successful attacks from an opponent.

The Action Phases

Phases two and four are reserved for actions (such as shooting, ramming, etc.).  Passenger actions include anything that a passenger could do in a vehicle (from firing a gun out the window to climbing onto the roof and surfing to leaping from one vehicle to another).  Actions undertaken while driving or as a passenger attract a -1 penalty to the skill roll (when standard).  The penalty is -3 if you are a driver attempting a reckless action or -2 if a passenger in a vehicle where the driver is engaged in a reckless action.  Damage inflicted as a result of a successful action is increased by +1 if the actor is driving (or is a passenger in) a vehicle that won its opposed roll.

Distributing Damage

Damage is always distributed to the vehicle’s armor first, then to the passengers, and lastly to the driver.   When a vehicle’s armor is destroyed it crashes (distributing any overflow of damage to the passengers and driver as above).  A crash results in 4 points of damage to everyone in the vehicle (in the case of surface vehicles) as described above (see Crashes).

Escaping Combat

If you wish to escape combat you must engage in defensive driving for a round.  At the end of the round you must make a consequence roll (1-5, you escape the combat and your opponents do not pursue; 6, and the combat becomes a chase). Passengers cannot elect to escape combat, only the driver can do so.


  1. Determine initiative
  2. Determine actions
  3. Determine obstacles
  4. Resolve vehicle maneuvers
  5. Determine relative advantage (opposed roll)
  6. Resolve actions
  7. Repeat steps 4 to 6 until the round is complete.
  8. Repeat all steps until combat is resolved (or a chase ensues).


Jake Stead (7 wounds) and Dr Herbivore (6 wounds) have stolen a motorcycle and side car and are in combat with a group of Nazi motorcycle thugs with machine guns in their sidecars (3 bikes in total).  The Nazi bike teams are skilled (+2 to manoeuver and action rolls). Jake is driving while Dr Herbivore is positioned in Jake’s side car with a hand gun.  The Nazi thugs are represented by a pool of wounds (12 points).

Jake’s bike has 5 points of armour while the Nazi bikes also have 5.  The presence of the machine gun, however, reduces the maximum armour of the Nazi bikes to 2 each.

Round 1


Initiative is rolled. Jake rolls a 2, Dr Herbivore rolls a 3, the Nazi motorcyclists roll a 3 while the men in the sidecar roll a 1.

Action Specification

Jake chooses a standard driving action while the Nazi drivers choose to be a little reckless.

Dr periodical is given a standard passenger action while the sidecar Nazi’s are given reckless passenger actions.


The GM rolls a 6 indicating no obstacles at this time.

Maneouver Phase 1

Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 1
Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 1

The nazi cyclists go first and roll 19+2 (-2 for being reckless)  = 19 (success) in applying their drive skills.  This sucess gives them +1 to any damage they inflict during the action phase.

Jake rolls 18 (+2 for his drive skill) unmodified (a success) and succeeds in keeping the bike on the road.

Position roll

The Nazi’s roll for position (10).  Jake rolls likewise  (16).

Jake’s roll places him in prime posiiton (giving him + 1 to any damage he and Dr Herbivore inflict during the action phase).

Action Phase 2

Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 2
Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 2

Dr Herbivore goes first.  He leans out of the sidecar and fires at one of the Nazi bikes. He rolls 11 (+2 pistol skill – 1 passenger) = 12 (success).  The shot does 4 damage to the Nazi vehicle causing it to crash (8 wounds deducted from the pool) +1 damage for being in prime position.

The two Nazi cyclists attempt to ram Jake’s vehicle and drive him off the road.  The first rolls 7 (+2 skilled -3 reckless) = 6 and fails.  The second rolls 11 (+2 skilled -3 reckless) = 10 and also fails to ram Jake’s rapidly dodging cycle.

Jake decides to use his wheelie manoeuvre to ram his front wheel into the driver of one of the bikes and drive it off the road.  He rolls a 6 (+3 manoeuvre -1 action) = 8 and fails.

The first Nazi Sidecar brings its machine gun to bear rolling an 8 (+2 skilled -2 reckless) = 8 and misses.  The remaining sidecar rolls 5 (+2 skilled – 2 reckless) = 5 and misses also.

Maneouver Phase 3

Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 3
Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 3

The Nazi cyclists go first and roll 17 +2 (skilled) -2 (for being reckless) = 17 (success).  This success gives them +1 to any damage they inflict during the action phase.

Jake rolls 13 (+2 drive) unmodified = 15 (a success).
All participants in the combat remain on the road and unhindered.

Position roll

The Nazis roll for position (12).  Jake rolls as well (14).

Jake once more takes prime position (giving him +1 to any damage he and Dr Herbivore inflict during the action phase).

Action Phase 4

Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 4
Vehicular Combat, Round 1, Phase 4

Dr Herbivore takes another shot (4 +2 pistol -1 passenger =  5 failure) and misses.

The first cyclist pulls out a grenade and attempts to hurl it at Jake and Dr Herbivore (12 +2 skilled -3 reckless).  The grenade misses and explodes harmlessly beside the road.  The second cyclist tries to ram them again (9 +2 skilled -3 reckless = 8) resulting in another miss.

Jake pulls out his pistol and fires it at one of the bikes (8 +3 pistol -1 action = 10, a miss).

The machine gunners take aim at Jake and the good doctor.  The first rolls 11 (+2 skilled -2 reckless) = 11, a miss.  The second rolls 8 (+2 skilled -2 reckless) = 8, another miss.

Close of round 1

At the end of the first round one of the Nazi bikes has been destroyed and the henchmen’s pool of wounds has been reduced by 9.  No other injuries to vehicle or passenger have occurred.

Round 2


Initiative is rolled. Jake rolls a 4, Dr Herbivore rolls a 1, the Nazi motorcyclists roll a 4 while the men in the sidecar roll a 2.

Action Specification

Jake chooses a standard driving action while the Nazi drivers choose to be a little reckless.

Dr periodical is given a standard passenger action while the sidecar Nazi’s are given reckless passenger actions.


The GM rolls a 2 indicating an obstacle has arisen.  The GM decides there is a car accident ahead with people milling around.

Maneouver Phase 1

Vehicular Combat, Round 2, Phase 1
Vehicular Combat, Round 2, Phase 1

Jake manoeuvres to avoid the crash first. They roll 17 +2 skilled -2 reckless = 17 success. Jake gains plus one to any damage he and Dr Herbivore inflict during the action phase.

The Nazi bikers maneouver next rolling a 12 +2 skilled (no bonuses) = 14 success.

Position roll

Jake rolls 10 +2 drive – 3 reckless = 9.

The Nazi bikers roll 10 +2 (no bonus) = 12.  The bikers have achieved prime position and gain a +1 to any damage they inflict on Jake and Dr Herbivore.

Action Phase

Vehicular Combat, Round 2, Phase 2
Vehicular Combat, Round 2, Phase 2

Jake fires his pistol once more rolling 4 +3 pistol -3 reckless = 4 (a miss).

The first biker tries to ram Jakes bike rolling 9 +2 skilled  -1 standard = 10 (a miss).

The second biker tries to ram Jake’s bike as well rolling 6 + 2 skilled -1 standard = 7 (a miss).

The first sidecar machine gunner fires and rolls 4  + 2 skilled -1 standard = 5 (missing).

The second machine gun barks resulting in a roll of 15 +2 skilled -1 standard = 16 (hit). On 1d6 the Nazi rolls a 6 (indicating double damage).

The machine gun inflicts 6 damage +1 (position bonus) tearing through the armor around Jake’s bike like tissue paper and inflicting 1 point of damage on Dr Herbivore.  The vehicle crashes at the side of the road inflicting 2 wounds each to Jake and the Dr.

Vehicular combat now ends.

At the end of combat…

The Nazis remain on two bikes and have a wound pool of 5.

Dr Herbivore and Jake’s bike is destroyed.

Jake has received 4 wounds and Dr Herbivore 6.

Injury and Recovery

Wounds heal at a rate of one point per day unless they are piercing wounds (from blades or projectiles). Piercing wounds heal at a rate of one point per week.

Example (Healing standard wounds)

Veronica is mugged and receives five wounds from her assailants club.  Each day thereafter she heals one of the wounds. On the sixth day after the mugging she is fully recovered.

Example (Healing piercing wounds)

The Blue Wren has 9 wound points. In a fight she is stabbed twice and hit once causing her 7 ((2 x 3) + 1) wounds of damage before she escapes.

She adds a dot of piercing wounds for each time she is stabbed.

The Blue Wren will recover from 5 (7 standard wounds minus 2 piercing wounds) of the wounds she received in 5 days. The remaining two wounds (one for each dot of piercing wounds she received) will take a week to recover from each.

Rub out each standard wound dot as it is recovered daily first. Then rub out the remaining dots (with their corresponding piercing dots) as each is recovered with the passing of each subsequent week of game time.

Generally, it is safe to assume all wounds recover between adventures.

NEXT TIME: Chapter 6 – How to conduct an in-game chase scene.

This chapter of the Host Your Own Old Time Radio Drama RPG and all associated content (except where acknowledged) is © copyright and Philip Craig Robotham 1997 and may not be reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author.

HYOOTRD Roleplaying Game – Players’ Guide

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