Gunmanship

The gun is the great equalizer. Unlike martial arts or fencing, anybody can pick up a gun and deliver a killing blow. It is perhaps lucky for most that, in the Known Worlds, guns are not easily available to everybody. Gunsmiths charge exorbitant prices for their goods and their steady customers — rich nobles and wealthy guildmembers — support this practice, preferring to keep such tools in the hands of the upper classes. The outrageous cost for ammunition can also be blamed on this class bias. Much like medieval Japanese peasants who were not allowed to carry swords — such an honor being reserved for samurai — the average Fading Suns peasant is not permitted to carry firearms, and most simply cannot afford one. While there is a steady blackmarket need for cheap, readily available guns, people get what they pay for. The lack of technical know-how ensures that these cheap knockoffs often fall to pieces after firing a few shots. Gun actions are rated by the Shoot skill level required to learn them. For example: Quick Draw is 5, meaning that a character must know Shoot 5 to learn it. Most gun actions, however, can be performed by all but the most inept. If no level is listed for the action, it can be performed by anyone — it does not have to be bought as a learned action. However, all actions assume a minimum Shoot rating of at least 3. If, for some reason, a character has less Shoot skill than that, he cannot perform the action for the benefits listed. Refer to the Gun Actions Chart for specific rules effects.

Firearms Actions

Reload: A character can reload a clip or a revolver speedloader in one action. If she is using a revolver and doesn’t have a speedloader, she can load three bullets per action. If she is using a bolt-action or a lever-action rifle, she can reload one bullet per action. A lever-action rifle can be recocked and fired in the same turn if the character learns the Recock action (below).

Aim: A character can take time to draw a bead on a target before he fires. For each turn he spends, he can add 1 to his goal roll. The maximum he can add this way is 3. However, if he has a sight, he can employ that also. Sights add up to 3 (depending on the quality of the sight), but one turn must be spent per +1 added. For example, the famous sniper known as the Black Mantis sits on a rooftop, aiming his rifle at the Hawkwood baron. He has a +3 quality sight, and takes the full time to aim: it takes him six turns before he gets his full +6 bonus (3 for his natural ability, +3 for the sight).

Three-round Burst: If a character is using a weapon capable of automatic fire, he can try a three-round burst. This has a bit more control than other autofire options and helps preserve bullets.

Six-round Burst: If a character is using a weapon capable of automatic fire, he can try a six-round burst. This has a less control than a three-round burst, but it’s more exact than emptying the entire clip. The hail of bullets is more damaging also.

Empty Clip: Sometimes, you just want it to rain bullets. If a character is using a weapon capable of automatic fire, he can empty his entire clip of ammo by aiming his gun in a direction and holding down the trigger until it is empty. The gun bucks like a beast in heat and it’s hard to aim at a particular target, but it’s also hard to dodge so many bullets.

Spread: If a character is using a weapon capable of automatic fire, she can spread the arc of her fire over an area to hit more than one target. She can spread her fire up to five meters in a circle around her (she must spin in place for anything more than 3 meters). For each meter spread, she suffers a -1 penalty to her goal roll (up to a maximum of 10). She makes one roll with the total penalties applied; the successes on this roll are contested against anyone in the targeted area who is dodging. Anyone who is in or enters the area must dodge or get hit. Spreading fire empties the clip.

Hipshot: The character takes a quick shot without taking time to aim — he just trusts his aiming instincts. This can only be performed for the initiative benefits during the first shot of combat, as the gun is drawn, and only applies to handguns. At the gamemaster’s discretion, a carbine or other light rifle may be used.

Snapshot (Level 4): A character can get off a swift shot at the same time he leaps to the ground, or he can jump from behind the corner, shoot, and leap back behind cover before the guards’ bullets turn him into swiss cheese. In other words, a snapshot can be performed with a dodge in the same action for no penalty. However, no other actions may be taken in same turn.

Quick Reload (Level 5): The character can reload a clip, fusion cel or revolver speed-loader and fire the gun in the same turn without suffering a multiple action penalty.

Quick Draw (Level 5): The character has practiced pulling his gun out of his holster and firing often enough that he can do it in one swift motion. This is considered to be one action, and no multiple action penalties are levied.

Off-Hand Shot (Level 6): The character suffers no penalties for firing a gun in his off-hand.

Recock (Level 6): The character is so smooth with certain rifles, carbines or shotguns that she can recock and fire it in the same action. If the gun is a lever-action rifle or carbine, she can recock the gun by twirling it in one hand to engage the lever. If she has a pump-action shotgun, she snaps it forward and back in one hand quickly enough to engage the pump. All are handy skills for lawmen (and outlaws) on the frontier worlds.

Leap and Shoot (Level 7): The character can leap one meter in any direction and shoot at a target without suffering adverse penalties for the movement (although other environmental factors — noise, opponent activity, etc. — may cause penalties).

Roll and Shoot (Level 8): The character can roll across the ground and shoot at a target without suffering adverse penalties for the movement (although other environmental factors — noise, opponent activity, etc. — may cause penalties). The character can cover up to three meters in any direction.

Two Pistols (Level 8): The character must first learn the Off-Hand Shot action. He can fire two shots – one from a handgun or submachinegun in the right hand, the other from a gun in the left hand. He suffers no multiple action penalties for these shots.

Two Rifles (Level 9): The character must first learn the Off-Hand Shot action. He can fire two shots – one from a shotgun or assault rifle in the right hand, the other from a similar in the left hand. He suffers no multiple action penalties for these shots. (Str 4 or higher required).

Instinct Shot (Level 9): The character can take a single shot at an unseen target and have a good chance of hitting it. This is not a psychic power, but relies instead on instinctual cues — the villain walking in the rafters above makes just enough noise to give his location away, or the character senses the slowly-opening hidden door behind the bar and the gunman hiding there. If there are no conceivable clues, no bonuses can be gained from this action.

Gunmanship

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