Armed Combat

Fighting with Guns (Part 1)


Attacks with guns are made by rolling Dexterity + Firearms, but if the Skill is not possessed, Dexterity alone can still be rolled with a -1 penalty (the standard for untrained Physical Skills). A dramatic failure indicates anything as minor as a jam to something as severe as shooting one’s self in the foot or shooting an innocent bystander, at the Storyteller’s discretion.

A Firearms attack pool is penalized by any mitigating factors such as range, the target’s concealment and the shooterÕs ability to see, all of which are explored below.


Each action in a turn allows for one squeezing of the trigger. For most weapons such as a pistol or rifle that means one shot. For automatic weapons, that means autofire – one of a short burst, medium burst or long burst.

Short burst: Your character fires three bullets at a single target, with a +1 bonus to the roll. A short burst cannot normally be directed against multiple targets.

Medium burst: Your character fires 10 or so bullets at one to three targets, with a +2 bonus to each attack roll. If he fires at more than one target, he suffers penalties that mitigate this bonus (see below).

Long burst: Your character fires 20 or so bullets at as many targets as the shooter wants. A +3 bonus is applied to each attack roll (but with penalties for multiple targets; see below). The Storyteller says how many targets are too many. The shooter could unload at a single target, a crowd or at targets spread out from each other. If intended targets are simply too spread out to realistically be hit, the Storyteller can designate who is a valid target. If, for example, three intended targets stand approximately in front of the shooter and a fourth is behind him, the Storyteller may decree that the fourth cannot be targeted in the attack.

Autofire is resolved with a single Dexterity + Firearms roll for each intended target. If your character directs autofire at more than one target in a single attack, a penalty equal to the number of targets is applied to each dice pool. So, if your character directs autofire at three targets, the dice pool for each suffers a -3 penalty. If he fires at only one target, he suffers no penalty. If a clip or gun is reduced to insufficient ammunition, autofire may not be possible until the weapon is reloaded. Dice bonuses conferred by autofire are in addition to bonus dice granted by guns themselves, see the Firearms Chart. So, if a small SMG, +2, is used to fire a long burst, +3 bonus, a total of five extra dice is gained.

The dice pool assembled for each target of a burst is also subject to any factors that apply to the individual target. For example, one intended target might be concealed while another is at long range and prone, or one of them could wear armor while the other doesn’t. These factors modify the dice pool rolled to attack each target.

While firing a single shot (a single bullet), your character can try to avoid allies or bystanders near the intended target (see “Shooting into Close Combat,” below). It’s not so easy to avoid friends and bystanders with autofire. When a medium or long burst is fired at multiple targets, an attack roll is made against anyone standing near (within one yard) or between all intended targets. So, if your character fires a medium burst at two people, but a bystander is between them, an attack roll is made against all three people. Each bystander counts as a full target. That means an additional -1 penalty to the dice pool rolled against each person. Bystanders may also require a shooter to use a larger burst to hit everyone he wants. As with any autofire attack on multiple targets, modifiers for each target are applied separately.

When using autofire, the shooter cannot hit one target, skip a second and hit a third, for example. He must decide who remains a target and who does not.

If autofire (even a short burst) is directed at a single target, and that target is in close combat with someone (or anyone is within a yard of the target), an autofire roll is made against each person. Even though a short burst normally applies against only a single target, anyone nearby is targeted as well. The attack is treated like autofire against multiple targets; a -1 penalty is applied for each person who could be hit. Further modifiers unique to each target also apply to the pool rolled against each.


Firearms and other ranged weapons have various ranges at which they are accurate. The firearms chart breaks these out as short, medium and long range. Your character suffers no penalties when firing up to short range. A target at medium range imposes a -2 penalty. Long range applies a -4 penalty.

Each range category is twice the previous one. For instance, a 9mm has a short range of 20 yards, a medium range of 40 yards and a long range of 80 yards.

For improvised thrown items that are non-aerodynamic, range is simple to calculate. The item’s Size is subtracted from your character’s Strength + Dexterity + Athletics to indicate short range in yards. Medium range is twice the calculated short rance and long range is twice medium.

Aerodynamic objects such as footballs and spears can be thrown double the above distances.

An object with a Size that equals or exceeds your character’s Strength simply can’t be thrown far enough to constitute a ranged weapon, even if it’s an aerodynamic item. It’s simply too heavy or bulky to be thrown.

Firing Guns Past Long Range

By no means is long range the limit to which a gun can fire or a thrown weapon can be hurled. Most firearms, for example, can shoot a bullet much farther than the weapon can reliably hit a target. If your character tries to shoot a target beyond long range, he can still make the attempt. Make a chance roll to determine success (see WoD p. 125), regardless of what your character’s dice pool might normally be. Any target that’s more than double a weapon’s long range away is considered completely out of range and no shot can hit it.


For each full turn that your character aims a ranged weapon at a target, add one bonus die to your attack pool to a maximum of three. Your character loses any Defense while aiming; he must remain still. If an opponent attacks him in close combat before his shot gets off, and your character’s Defense is applied to the incoming attack, he loses all of his accumulated aiming bonus. In order for your character to retain his accumulated aiming bonus, he needs to weather any incoming close-combat attacks by not applying his Defense. Attackers do not suffer your character’s Defense as a penalty.

If your character’s weapon has a scope, it can diminish any range penalties that might apply to an attack. Your character must focus on aiming and can perform no other actions. Taking his eye off the target – even to sneeze – cancels the benefits of any time spent.

Aiming cannot be combined with the Gunslinger Merit. Nor can your character gain the aiming bonus and use autofire.

Armed Combat

Bellevue World of Darkness DevlinBentley