House Rules - Combat

House Rules for Combat


In general, you can consider yourself to have unlimited 'standard' or 'gel' ammo for your gun at no cost. This does not apply to special weapons like dart guns, or to any weapon where the ammo is significantly expensive. It applies only to basic 'guns', not to missile launchers or anything like that. And it only applies 'within reason' — i.e. no, you can't consider yourself to have 10,000 rounds that you can then empty the gunpowder out of to build a high explosive. It's subject to reasonability rules as to how much you could carry, as well.

In short, this is intended to reflect that standard and gel ammo is cheap and easily available. It's not worth keeping track of on a round-by-round basis. When in doubt, ask an admin.

In addition, the actual clips are ignored in the game at present, and are virtualized. Do not worry about how many empty clips you have, etc. It's not important (especially at 5 =Y= a pop).


We would be using the errata's rules on armor penalties, but they're a real bitch. We're using a slight tweak on them.

For every two points by which the sum of your Ballistic and Impact ratings are above two times your Quickness, you lose a die of Combat Pool.

Layering Penalties

If you are layering armor, find the total of all the Ballistic and Impact Armor you're wearing. For every two points this is above two times your quickness, you suffer a +1 TN penalty to all Quickness related tasks. Note that some armor does not count as 'layering'.

Called Shots (Book Rules Clarification)

Calling a shot means that the character is aiming at a vulnerable portion of the target. A character can only make a called shot with weapons that fire in single-shot, semi-automatic, and burst-fire modes.

  • When a shot is called, either:
    • A. increase the Damage Code by one level,
    • B. The character may hit a specific sub-target on something vehicle-sized or larger. Do not change the Damage Code of the attack; the standard effect of staging up a Called Shot is negated by the vehicles Damage Level reduction. The power of the attack is not halved, subtract armor normally. Certain components, such as external fuel tanks or runflat tires, may have separate Body and/or Armor Ratings.
    • C. A character can intentionally target a non-armored body part with a drugged weapon. A successful called shot negates any Impact armor worn FOR THE DRUG ONLY. If the weapon used also causes damage, the damage from it is still staged as per normal armor rules. Furthermore, calling a shot does not defeat chemsealing, just the impact armor. Chemseal always counts at it's full rating against chemical weapons, unless the weapon itself notes that it does not.

Helmets - Armor Clarification

Two options exist for characters looking for head protection, the Ares HD-2 and the Rapid Transit Helmet. These are the only options that may be worn with 'normal' clothing. Security- and Military-Grade helmets are not compatible with any sort of armor other than their appropriate armour type, as they are an integral part of said armour, draw power from said armor, interlock for stability with said armor, and seal with said armor to provide any air or sealed system benefits.

Martial Arts


Aikido's penalty to initiating combat only applies to the first initiative pass of the first combat turn of fighting. However, its is up to the GM if trying to disengage, or running from a fight and failing, or engaging in a fight with a new opponent causes you to suffer these penalties again.


The disadvantage for Ninjitsu, that it must be learned from a secret clan or a renegade, etc, is not enforceable and has been removed. Instead, its disadvantage is as follows:

Practitioners of Ninjitsu receive -1 die when not attacking from a position of stealth or concealment. This disadvantage does not apply when counterattacking.

Update: Ninjitsu's penalty to attacks not made from stealth apply only to the first initiative pass of the first combat turn of fighting. However, the GM determines when this disadvantage comes into play, such as disengaging or starting a new combat with another enemy.


The Quickdraw rules in SR3 Core, page 107, are modified as follows:

The following weapons may be quickdrawn:

  • Pistols (Conceal 4+): This includes things such as laser pistols, dart pistols, and squirt pistols, so long as their conceal is 4 or higher, not including holster or clothing modifiers to conceal.
  • Non-Explosive Throwing Weapons
  • Any Long Arm on a sling. They must be unconcealed. This does NOT include heavy weapons, but instead includes Rifles, Shotguns, Submachine Guns, and Assault Rifles.

The actual mechanics do not change outside of reclassifying what weapons may/may not be quickdrawn.

For anything else, please see the quick draw adept power, +power/list quick draw

Note that the 'Quick Draw' adept power is completely unaffected by this House Rule and works as written in MitS.

Shock Weapons

Weapons such as Shock Gloves, Stun Batons, and Tasers use electricity to cause damage to characters. At Denver, the following rules apply:

When a character takes damage from an electrical effect, he does not have to roll for damage on each and every system in his entire body. If it was a called shot to a location (or indeed, to an obvious cyber system), that system may have to resist the effects at the GMs discretion. (It just takes too much time to do all the rolls.)

Melee Weapons such as Shock Gloves and Stun Batons do both a physical blow and the electrical stun. The physical blow's damage is staged up with successes - the electrical stun damage is not. Combat pool may be applied to both rolls.

Tasers and other electrical projectiles do stage up however, but they do not do any physical damage.


TN modifiers must specifically state they apply to soak/damage resistance tests. If a TN mod does not specifically state it applies to soak or damage resistance tests, even if it states it applies to all TN's, it does not apply.

Surprise and reaction

Anyone against whom a character achieves either form of surprise may not act against anyone who surprised them. Nor may they use any pools except karma pool to respond to those actions or defend against them.

In fact, when you are surprised, the only rolls on which you may use combat pool (or other pools) to defend yourself are damage resistance rolls. You may *always* use your combat pool to resist damage if you are able to move and react at all.

Note that it is perfectly possible, especially with standard surprise, to be surprised by one opponent and not another. Once again, you may not take offensive action toward any character who surprised you during the surprise round, nor may you use any pools except karma pool to defend (except for damage resistance tests), just as above.

Two Weapon Combat Styles

There are three basic penalties commonly associated with fighting with two weapons that apply to all such tests and attack rolls:

* +2TN for wielding two weapons
* +2TN for wielding a weapon in your off hand
* +2TN/per for attacking more than one target in a single combat phase

These penalties apply individually and seperately even if previous ones do not, such as wielding a single weapon in your off-hand for some reason, or attacking two targets in a row in one combat phase with two shots from your only weapon.


Melee Attacks treat off-hand weapons as complementary dice on a single roll, instead of an entirely separate attack. This means that the off-hand dice cannot be rolled unless at least one success is rolled on the primary attack, and that it takes two successes on the off-hand roll to grant one 'effective' success on the primary attack roll.

Combat Pool dice may be spent on the complementary off-hand roll, separately allocated and in addition to those spent on the primary attack roll.

Use all weapon characteristics of the primary hand, and only the primary hand, for determining damage, secondary effects, etc. You may switch primary hand with a Ready Weapon action.

Cyber-implant melee weapons use the above rules, instead of and fully replacing those found beginning on SR3 p121.


Enacted as of:
Thu Dec 4 13:16:44 2014
By: Wyldfire

Linked to quickness, this skill provides a means for characters to represent their agility with two weapons and off-hand use. The skill is not modified by Enhanced Articulation or Reflex Recorders; it is only augmented by the Cerebellum Synchronizer. The skill is never rolled; instead, your rating in the skill negates various penalties. It reduces two-weapon or off-hand penalties by 1 TN per 2 points in this skill.

If you are using two weapons, then each two points in Ambidexterity reduces the penalty for using two weapons, up to rating 8. Each additional two points in the skill reduce the off-hand penalty by 1, up t skill rating 8. Any rating beyond 8 has no effect.

If you are not using two weapons, then each 2 points in the skill negates 1 point of the off-hand penalty, up to skill rating 4. Additional ratings in the skill provide no additional benefit.

Skill Level Two Weapons One Weapon
2-3 Two-Weapon Penalty Reduced to +1 Off-Hand Penalty Reduced to +1
4-5 Two-Weapon Penalty Eliminated Off-Hand Penalty Eliminated
6-7 Off-hand Penalty Reduced to +1 No Effect
8+ Off-hand Penalty Eliminated No Effect

Unarmed Combat and starting maneuvers

In chargen, you don't have to pay 2 active skill points for getting your first martial art maneuver per two levels of the skill. On the other hand, you can't buy a second maneuver per two levels, either.

Vision mag - Require a free action to use. 

In order to use a any vision magnification, be it cyberware, magical in nature, or a scope, you must expend a free action before you may gain benefits.

Vision Magnification and Smartlink

While a character may be simultaneously equipped with a smartlink system and an imaging scope or cyberware/vision mag adept power, the modifiers from both may not be used at the same time.

So a samurai could use vision magnification to reduce the target number when shooting a target at long range, and then switch to using a smartlink to reduce the target number against a target at short range - but he couldn't use both the smartlink and vision mag modifiers on the same target.

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