Aliens & Asteroids: OSR-style Scifi Ranged Weapon Revised

Last week I brought up the ideas I had about a Pulse Rifle for Aliens & Asteroids. Some of it I liked, some of it I didn’t, and I asked the studio audience for help. Well, I got some great ideas, so I want to thank some folks:

  • Felbrigg Herriot
  • Alan McLin
  • Alan Bahr
  • John Goodwin
  • Michael Epstein
  • Matt Jackson

Some of these kind folks offered opinions about the damage scheme or different mechanics to use. Others offered ideas on maps to use. Both were extremely helpful, so I offer a big thanks to all of you!

Pulse Rifle Damage

So let’s go back to the Pulse Rifle for a moment and then I’ll toss some other stuff out there.

We have three modes for this weapon with a 20-round magazine. Single fire. 3-round burst. And full-auto. After looking at all the responses, I think this is the best combination of options I can come up with:

  • Single Shot: 1d6 damage per shot; normal To Hit roll
  • 3-Round Burst: 3d6 damage; To Hit roll is at a Disadvantage (roll two d20s and take lower of the two)
  • Fully-Auto: automatic hit, 6d6 damage, and you can separate the dice among the enemies within weapon range in a cone of fire; weapon requires one full round to cool down before you can reload

In the single and burst cases, the PC’s To Hit bonuses come into play. In the fully-auto case, it does not.

Some classes (i.e. Space Marine) will still be able to reload as a free action. Other classes must take a round to reload, like the good old crossbow. But I fully expect that most characters to have at least a backup pistol or melee weapon of some sort, so there will be options to continue firing during that cool-down period for a fully-automatic hail of bullets.

Ultimately, this eliminates the 20d6 problem I had in the last post and with a more reasonable approach. So I think we’ll start with this for playtesting and see how it goes at the table.

Sniper Fire

The other thing I want to figure out is sniper fire, which is going to come down to a three-pronged approach I think:

  1. Some weapons will have bonuses To Hit or Damage, just like magic weapons in Mazes & Perils.
  2. Taking a round to aim will confer a bonus of +1 to the shot, but they can’t be hit while in that round of aiming or the bonus is lost. It must be declared as their action.
  3. Some Space Marines may be able to specialize as snipers, which will give them an additional +2 bonus to the Aim.

So if a military sniper with that +2 bonus To Hit has a great rifle with a +1 (scope, rifling, or stock) To Hit and takes a round to aim, that’s essentially a +4 bonus To Hit, in addition to any other bonuses they may have by default.

Snipers are going to be deadly, because they are deadly. And I suspect there will be a few cases where a sniper will come in very handy when there’s a tactical advantage.

Space Maps

There are quite a few maps available on sites like DriveThruRPG, but for playtesting I may end up using one of these two suggestions:

Thanks for the great ideas!

Seeking Feedback

What do you think? Is this an improvement? With pistols, automatic rifles, and sniper fire, we cover three large categories of modern weapons. Grenades are essentially “Fireball” in a can, so we’ll see what kind of damage we can do with those…

Now I’m even more excited about getting some playtesting going!!

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