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Vehicles

Not every hero can fly (or teleport, or run at super-speed…). Sometimes heroes make use of other means to get around. Vehicles are used primarily for transportation, although they may come with additional capabilities—including weapons—making them useful in other situations as well.

VEHICLE TRAITS

Vehicles have the following traits: Size, Strength, Speed, Toughness, and Defense, most have Features, and many also have Powers in their own right. A vehicle’s Size category determines its base Strength, Toughness, and Defense, while Speed is acquired separately, based on its mode(s) of movement.

The basic cost for a vehicle is its Speed, but other things, like the vehicle’s ability to haul cargo or resist damage, cost points as well. Vehicles can even have power effects of their own. Equipment point costs are summarized on Table: Vehicle Trait Costs.

TABLE: VEHICLE SIZE CATEGORIES
VEHICLE SIZE (RANK) EXAMPLES STRENGTH TOUGHNESS DEFENSE
Awesome Space transport 20 15 -12
Colossal Passenger jet 16 13 -8
Gargantuan Semi, yacht, fighter jet 12 11 -4
Huge Stretch limo, SUV, tank 8 9 -2
Large Car, small truck 4 7 -1
Medium Motorcycle 0 5 0
TABLE: VEHICLE TRAIT COSTS
TRAIT COST
Size 1 point per size category
Strength 1 point per +1 Strength
Speed movement effect cost
Toughness 1 point per +1 Toughness
Defense 1 point per +1 Defense
Features 1 point per feature
Powers Power cost (see Advantages)
TABLE: VEHICLES
LAND VEHICLES
NAME SIZE STRENGTH SPEED DEFENSE TOUGHNESS COST
Motorcycle M 1 6 10 8 10
Car L 5 5 8 8 10
Police Cruiser L 6 6 8 9 11
Limousine H 8 5 6 9 6
Truck H 9 5 6 9 7
Armored Car H 8 5 6 12 8
Tank* H 10 4 6 12 65
APC* H 12 4 6 12 35
Bus G 12 5 4 11 8
Semi G 13 5 4 11 9
Train engine H 10 5 6 10 10
WATER VEHICLES
NAME SIZE STRENGTH SPEED DEFENSE TOUGHNESS COST
Jet-Ski M 1 5 10 7 8
Speedboat L 6 6 8 7 8
Yacht H 10 5 6 9 9
Cutter* G 13 5 4 12 27
Destroyer* C 16 5 2 14 38
Cruise ship A 20 5 0 15 10
Battleship* A 20 5 0 16 46
Submarine* C 16 5 2 13 30*
AIR VEHICLES
NAME SIZE STRENGTH SPEED DEFENSE TOUGHNESS COST
Helicopter H 8 7 6 9 16
Military copter* H 8 8 6 11 45
Private Jet G 12 8 4 11 19
Jumbo jet C 16 7 2 13 18
Fighter Jet* H 10 12 6 10 66
Bomber* C 13 9 2 13 59
SPACE VEHICLES
NAME SIZE STRENGTH SPEED DEFENSE TOUGHNESS COST
Space Shuttle* C 16 12 2 13 28
Space Fighter* H 10 14 6 11 56
Space Cruiser* C 18 14 2 15 79
Space Battleship* A 22 16 0 18 93
EXOTIC VEHICLES
NAME SIZE STRENGTH SPEED DEFENSE TOUGHNESS COST
Dimension Hopper* H 8 * 6 9 8
Mole Machine* H 11 4 6 12 10
Time Machine* H 8 * 6 9 8

* = See individual descriptions for more information.

Vehicles and Power Level

On their own, the unmodified vehicle templates by size category given are all power level 3, based on their Defense and Toughness ranks, with room for a +1 modification of either without changing power level. This allows vehicles to fit easily into virtually any series.

Vehicles generally have the same power level limits as characters, although in some series, the Gamemaster may wish to institute separate power level limits for characters and vehicles. This is most appropriate for settings where vehicles are common and characters are primarily intended to be their lower-level pilots.

Vehicles and Environments

A vehicle is assumed to provide the necessary life support for its passengers for the environments it is equipped to move through. So, for example, an aquatic vehicle is assumed to be water-tight and have its own oxygen supply, while a space vehicle is assumed to provide a safe, breathable environment, and even gravity. These are part of the vehicle’s descriptors and have no point cost. The GM may wish to permit the lack of such environmental systems as a Quirk on the vehicle’s cost or a complication in play. Certainly the disruption of such systems constitutes a complication!

Immunity to environments or other effects not normally part of the vehicle’s mode(s) of movement is acquired as a power for the vehicle, typically Affects Others and Others Only for a net +0 modifier, protecting everyone inside the vehicle.

Redlining: Vehicles & Fatigue

The Limits of Equipment notes that extra effort used in conjunction with equipment always places the strain on the equipment rather than the character. This is also the case for vehicles, where extra effort is known as “redlining” the vehicle, pushing it past its normal specifications and limits. Like characters, the vehicle has three distinct levels of strain from this effort: impaired, disabled, and immobilized. The circumstance penalties for an impaired or disabled vehicle apply to all checks utilizing the vehicle’s systems. Additionally, a disabled vehicle is hindered (–1 to speed rank) much like an exhausted character. These conditions persist until the vehicle undergoes maintenance to repair them (see Repair Checks under Vehicles in Action).

Movement Modes

All vehicles have a Speed rank, representing at least one, if not several modes of movement. The default is ranks in the Speed effect for movement along the ground, but vehicles can have ranks in any movement effect allowed by the GM:

  • Burrowing is good for “mole machines” and similar vehicles intended to tunnel through the ground and other obstacles. It is not necessary for vehicles that travel through already established tunnels (such as subway trains) just for those that create their own.
  • Flight is the basic movement mode for all kinds of aircraft (and spacecraft). This system does not address the details of runways, VTOL (vertical take-off and landing), hovering, and similar aircraft capabilities; assume most aircraft either have these capabilities or apply a complication for circumstances where their lack of them poses problems for the heroes.
  • Leaping is a relatively rare vehicle ability, but may apply to “leapfrog” designs or vehicles with “jumpjets” or similar capabilities.
  • Movement effects suit special types of vehicles. Dimension Travel and Time Travel suit trans-dimensional vessels, while Space Travel is a must for starships capable of leaving the solar system and visiting other stars. Wall-Crawling can suit an unusual vehicle capable of driving (or climbing) up vertical surfaces while Water-Walking works for a “surface skimmer” like a hovercraft. Vehicles do not generally require Environmental Adaptation, as they are assumed able to function in environments they can move through.
  • Swimming is the movement mode for waterborne and aquatic vehicles of all kinds. It is the same for both surface and submersible vehicles, although Gamemasters may wish to consider Swimming movement limited to the surface of the water to have a flaw (probably not much more than a 1 point Quirk, however).
  • Teleport is suitable for vehicles that can “jump” from point to point, taking their passengers and cargo along. Those that can teleport passengers away from the vehicle or back to it have a separate Teleport effect with Affects Others and Others Only. Interplanetary or interstellar “hyperjumps” are just a descriptor for the Space Travel effect (previously) rather than Teleport.

A vehicle’s movement applies to it and to all of its passengers and crew, just like a character’s movement applies to that character and everything he or she is wearing or carrying.

As noted under Vehicle Traits, a vehicle can have multiple movement modes, paying the full point cost for the most expensive mode, and acquiring the others as Alternate Effects of that primary mode.

Example: An “all-terrain” undercover car is truly all terrain: it is capable of Flight 6 (12 points) but can also drive like a regular car up to Speed 6 (normally 6 points, but taken as a 1 point Alternate Effect of Flight) and can air-seal and submerge like a submarine, with Swimming 6 (also 6 points, but taken as a 1 point AE of Flight). The car’s total Speed trait costs 14 points: 12 for Flight + 2 for the two alternate movement modes.

Generally, a vehicle’s drive system (the mechanics of its movement) are left as a descriptor, although certain systems may qualify as modifiers to the vehicle’s type of movement. For example, a hovercraft has Speed, but should also have Movement 1 (Water-Walking). A train’s Speed is Limited to moving along established tracks (should the point-cost of a train as a vehicle even become relevant).

Vehicle fuel is also handled as a descriptor and a complication on the occasions when fuel problems arise, the same as ammunition. See Ammo, Batteries, and Charges in the Equipment section.

SIZE

A vehicle’s size is measured in categories, as shown on Table: Vehicle Size Categories. A vehicle’s size determines its base Strength, Toughness, and Defense values. Vehicles start out at medium size by default, and each increase in size category costs 1 Character point.

STRENGTH

A vehicle’s Strength, much like a character’s, determines its carrying capacity. You can increase a vehicle’s Strength over the base rank for its size for 1 equipment point per Strength rank.

SPEED

A vehicle buys the appropriate movement effect(s) for its Speed, paying the normal cost. Vehicles with multiple modes of movement (air, ground, and water, for example) pay full cost for the most expensive and can acquire the others as Alternate Effects (see Alternate Effect modifier in Powers).

DEFENSE

A vehicle’s size determines its base Defense, which is used to determine the Defense Class to hit the vehicle with attacks. For sizes larger than medium, this is a penalty, making it easier to target the vehicle, even to the point where attackers can hit it as a routine check. You can “buy off” the Defense penalty applied to a vehicle for 1 equipment point per –1 penalty removed.

TOUGHNESS

Size category determines a vehicle’s base Toughness rank, used for Toughness resistance checks. You can increase a vehicle’s Toughness over the base rank for its size for 1 equipment point per Toughness rank.

VEHICLE FEATURES

Certain things are considered “standard” on any vehicle. These include seating, safety harnesses or seat belts, heating and air-conditioning, radio receiver, headlights, and similar things with little or no impact on game play. Features are “optional extras” for vehicles and cost 1 point each. The GM can determine if other features are included in the vehicle or cost points. Some “features” are actually powers, described in the following section.

Vehicles can have a wide range of Feature effects. As with other Features, those of a vehicle must be game effects significant enough to be worth a rank in their own right, but not already covered by an existing power effect. As the Hero’s Handbook notes, “standard” features for a vehicle, allowing it and its passengers to operate normally in its chosen environment(s), are included as descriptors at no cost. The vehicle Features provide a starting set of examples. Others may include:

  • Alarm: The vehicle has an alarm system that goes off when an unauthorized access or activation attempt is made. A Technology check (DC 20) can overcome the alarm. For each additional equipment point, the DC increases by 5.
  • Autopilot: The vehicle is capable of self-piloting with its own Vehicle skill of 4 skill ranks per rank in this Feature (half the usual cost of the skill, since it is Limited to just this vehicle).
  • Caltrops: A vehicle may be equipped with a dispenser for caltrops, spikes meant to damage tired. Activating the dispenser is a standard action. Caltrops automatically blow out the tires of ordinary vehicles that run over them (consider such vehicles “minions”). Heroes and villains can make DC 13 Toughness checks for their vehicles; tires are Toughness 3. One degree of failure slows the vehicle, while two degrees of failure immobilize it.
  • Communications: The vehicle has a communications system (CB radio, cellular link, even subspace or FTL radio) designed to communicate with similar systems. For an especially broad-spectrum system, the GM may wish to charge an additional Feature rank.
  • Computer: The vehicle has an on-board computer, capable of accessing information and controlling the routine operations of the vehicle.
  • Dual Size: Like the installation feature, the vehicle has two size categories: its inside category (purchased normally) and an outside category, one or more size categories smaller, making it larger on the inside than the outside. Pay the cost of the larger interior size, plus 1 rank in this feature for each size category reduction of the exterior size. Determine the vehicle’s str and tou from the larger size and its Defense from the smaller one.
  • Hidden Compartments: The vehicle has hidden compartments or cargo areas holding up to a tenth of the vehicle’s medium load in cargo. A Perception check (DC 20) allows the searcher to find the hidden compartment. For each additional equipment point, the DC increases by 5.
  • Navigation System: The vehicle is equipped with a navigation system that grants a +5 circumstance bonus on skill checks related to navigation.
  • Oil Slick: The vehicle can release an oil slick, covering a 20-ft. by 20-ft. area and forcing the driver of a pursuing vehicle to make a Vehicles check (DC 15) to retain control of the vehicle. Releasing the oil slick is a standard action.
  • Remote Control: The vehicle’s owner can operate it remotely using a transmitter and control device. remotely controlling a vehicle requires the same kind of action (usually a move action) as if you were actually behind the wheel of the vehicle.
  • Rooms: At the Gamemaster’s discretion, a Gargantuan or larger vehicle can incorporate some headquarters features essentially functioning like a mobile installation. So, for example, a Gargantuan jet plane might have an Infirmary and Living Space on board, while an Awesome-sized starship might have that plus a Gym, Hangar, Holding Cells, Laboratory, and more!

POWERS

A vehicle can have power effects of its own, usually reflecting the vehicle’s systems. Attack effects are suitable for vehicle-mounted weapons, while defense effects protect the vehicle (and often the passengers) from harm. Vehicle powers have their normal cost for the vehicle (meaning they cost one-fifth the normal amount for the vehicle’s owner, since the effects are incorporated into the vehicle and cost equipment points rather than Character points).

Unlike most equipment, vehicles are not necessarily limited to power effects based on available technology, and “super-science” (or magical) vehicles with unusual powers are possible, and still acquired using equipment points, since vehicles have other drawbacks compared to normal equipment, notably their size and maintenance.

  • Armor: Armor provides Protection for a vehicle in addition to its normal Toughness, possibly including Impervious Protection. Some vehicles may have Sustained Protection (such as force screens) instead of, or in addition to, Permanent Protection. 1 point per +1 Toughness.
  • Cloaking Device: A vehicle may have a “cloaking device” granting Concealment from visual senses. Some vehicles may also have Concealment from auditory senses or things such as radar, giving them a “stealth mode.” 4 points (normal vision or all of another sense type) or 8 points (all visual senses).
  • Defenses: Vehicles may have built-in defensive systems beyond just the vehicle’s inherent Toughness and Defense ranks. This typically involves ranks of Protection (sometimes Impervious) as armor-plating and structural reinforcement, although the vehicle’s Protection could be Sustained in the form of a force field or “defense screen” of some type as well. Some vehicles may even have layered defenses of both types. Vehicle defenses apply to all passengers inside an enclosed vehicle, so a vehicle with Immunity to Heat protects those inside from all heat effects, for example.
  • Immunity: Vehicles normally provide immunity to the normal hazards of environments they travel through—such as underwater or in space—at no additional cost. Additional Immunity effects are for unusual hazards or circumstances, such as a car that provides a sealed air system, granting immunity to suffocation and other atmospheric hazards.
  • Instruments: Instruments serve to control the vehicle’s other systems or provide information to its pilot and passengers. In particular, instruments often use the Senses effect for various sensors and scanning equipment. Probably the most common are radar (Accurate Radio, often with ranks of Extended) and sonar (Accurate Extended Ultra-Hearing).
  • Smokescreen: The vehicle can release a cloud of thick smoke or mist that provides an Area visual Concealment Attack to hide the vehicle or confuse pursuers. 12 points.
  • Systems: Systems are miscellaneous vehicle powers capable of various effects. They may include:

    • Cloaking: Concealment effects to make the vehicle difficult to detect, ranging from a “cloaking device” invisibility field to “radar invisible” stealth vehicles with Radio Concealment.
    • Manipulator: The vehicle has Extra Limbs proportionate to its size and Strength, typically a “cargo arm” or similar manipulator.
    • Self-Repair: The Regeneration effect allows vehicles to recover from damage on their own, for a vehicle with autonomous repair systems or even biological systems capable of rapid healing.
    • Tractor Beam: A Move Object effect for grabbing and manipulating things at a distance. Some vehicles may have the Limited Direction flaw for a grappler only able to pull objects towards the vehicle.
  • Weapons: Vehicle weapons are based on various attack effects, particularly Damage with various modifiers. Vehicles, especially military vehicles, may mount versions of some of the weapons listed elsewhere.

Vehicle Modifiers

If the Gamemaster wishes, the following modifiers to the Equipment advantage may be permitted for ranks allocated to vehicles. Note these are modifiers to the cost of the Equipment advantage itself, not the point cost of the vehicle, much like power modifiers apply to the cost of a power. These modifiers are optional and may not be appropriate for all settings.

  • Durable: Vehicles bought with Equipment ranks with this modifier suffer damage like characters rather than normal equipment. The vehicle still functions while staggered, but suffers a –1 penalty to Speed rank. It only stops functioning once it is incapacitated, and is only destroyed if its condition becomes “dying”. +1 point per rank.
  • Minion: Vehicles bought with Equipment ranks with this modifier are considered minions, having all the conditions outlined for character minions. –1 point per rank.
  • Summonable: The character with the Equipment advantage can summon the vehicle out of nowhere as a standard action, causing it to appear next to the summoning character. The character can likewise dismiss the vehicle back to wherever it came from as a free action, causing it to disappear. The vehicle reappears in the same condition as it was last seen. For an additional +1 modifier, the vehicle always reappears in its normal condition, recovering from any damage while it is “away”. +1 point per rank.
Vehicles in Action

Interaction with vehicles in scenes is generally routine, involving using them to get from place to place. Things become more involved during action time.

Vehicles Skill

The Vehicles skill is used for all checks involving operation and use of vehicles, regardless of their type. While this may be a bit unrealistic—making an expert driver also a skilled pilot, or even sailor—it’s generally how it works in the comics; characters good at driving or piloting things are good at all of it.

Vehicle Sub-Skills

If the GM prefers, Vehicles can be broken up into more distinct sub-skills, such as Driving and Piloting (for land and aerospace vehicles), perhaps with the addition of a separate Sailing or Boating skill as well. For most settings, however, a single Vehicles skill makes things considerably simpler.

Untrained Use

Note that although Vehicles cannot be used untrained, routine operation of vehicles is permissible without ranks in the skill. You do not have to be trained in Vehicles to know how to drive a car in the modern world, and most characters can be assumed to know how to do so. Lacking the ability to routinely operate a commonly known vehicle (in a way that is relevant to the story) can be treated as a complication if and when it arises.

Vehicle Combat Skills

“Vehicle Weapons” is its own specialization of the Close Combat and Ranged Combat skills, with the default assumption that ranks of the Close Attack and Ranged Attack advantages apply to using vehicle weapons as well as personal weapons. So attacks with vehicle weapons use Dexterity + Attack advantage (if any) + Vehicle Combat Skill (if any). Some vehicle weapons may also be Accurate, applying that bonus, or Area effect weapons requiring no attack check, except for a direct hit.

If vehicle combat is relatively rare in the setting, the GM may choose to allow personal combat skills to apply to similar vehicle weapons. For example, Ranged Combat: Guns might suit for firing a vehicle-mounted gun, and Close Combat: Swords might apply for wielding the blade of a giant mecha.

Vehicle Actions

Most Vehicles skill checks are move actions, unless specified otherwise. Controlling a vehicle in operation requires a move action each round, and may require a check. Routine operation, such as driving at a safe speed along a clear road, or flying under normal conditions, does not require a check. If no one is spending at least a move action each round controlling the vehicle, it goes out of control like a failed control check (following).

Maneuver Check

Difficult conditions or maneuvers require a Vehicles skill check. A failed check results in a control check (following).

Control Check

Control checks are required when a maneuver calls for a control check, or the vehicle suffers damage that causes a control check.

The control check is a DC 15 Vehicles skill check. You make only one control check per round per vehicle even if more than one is called for: every additional control check required instead increases the check DC by +5. Open terrain is –5 DC, tight terrain is +5 DC, and close terrain is at the normal Difficulty.

On a failed check, the vehicle crashes into an obstacle (or possibly another vehicle, depending on the situation). The vehicle and the obstacle (and any occupants of either) suffer damage equal to the Speed rank of the fastest moving vehicle, +1 for collision with another vehicle, +1 per difference in size category to the smaller vehicle, +2 ranks for two degrees of failure on the control check, +5 ranks for three or more degrees of failure. For vehicles moving in the same direction, subtract the lower speed rank from the higher to get the effective speed rank of the crash. Occupants make Dodge checks against a DC of (Damage rank + 10) to suffer half damage from the crash.

An air or space vehicle may stall on a failed control check if there is no hard terrain or other obstacle to crash into. The pilot can restart the vehicle with a successful Vehicles skill check (DC equal to the control check).

Defensive Check

The pilot of a vehicle can take a standard action for “evasive maneuvers” during a round. If so, substitute the result of the character’s Vehicle skill check, modified by the Defense modifier for the vehicle’s size, for the vehicle’s normal defense that round. So, for example, a character piloting a gargantuan fighter jet (–6 Defense modifier) takes evasive action and gets a Vehicle skill check result of 22. Subtracting the jet’s size modifier gives a Defense of 16 for that round.

Repair Check

When vehicles suffer damage in an action scene, characters may need to initiate emergency repairs or bypass some of the vehicle’s systems. This is generally a Technology or Vehicles skill check with the DC based on the severity of the damage and/or the complexity of the system, as chosen by the GM. See the guidelines for jury-rigging repairs under the Technology skill.

Vehicle Combat

Attacking a vehicle is just like attacking a character. Vehicles generally have an applicable size modifier included in their defense, and tend to be easier to hit than characters overall, unless the vehicle’s pilot is making a defensive check (previously).

Targeting Occupants

An attack against a vehicle occupant is made like any other attack, except that a character inside a vehicle typically benefits from both cover and concealment provided by the vehicle. See Cover and Concealment.

Vehicle Maneuvers

Vehicles can use many of the same combat maneuvers as characters. In particular the Accurate Attack, All-out Attack, Defensive Attack, Feint, Power Attack, and Slam Attack maneuvers may apply to vehicles, substituting a Vehicles skill check for the interaction check to feint. A slam attack maneuver with a vehicle generally consists of ramming a target with the vehicle itself, essentially subjecting the pilot and passengers to the effects of a crash (previously) for the slam damage.

Vehicle Damage

Vehicles suffer damage like equipment: a vehicle suffers the normal –1 cumulative penalty to Toughness checks result plus either a –1 penalty to checks involving the vehicle or the loss of a feature or a point worth of capability per –1 circumstance penalty. A “staggered” vehicle no longer functions. A vehicle that is staggered while moving drops one speed rank each round until it comes to a stop. The driver cannot attempt any maneuvers except a 45 degree turn. A staggered water vehicle may begin to sink slowly. An “incapacitated” vehicle is destroyed.

Vehicle Minions

At the GM’s discretion, some vehicles may be considered minions. This is particularly appropriate for large battles with a considerable number of enemy vehicles, where each successful attack takes out a target, and it’s not worth tracking individual vehicle damage.

Repairing Damage

Repairing vehicle damage requires the proper tools and a garage, hangar, or similar facility. A character without the proper tools suffers a –5 circumstance penalty on the Technology skill check, as usual. Repairing minor damage like a Toughness penalty is a simple check (DC 15, one hour), repairing a staggered result is a complex check (DC 25, one day). Destroyed vehicles cannot be repaired; they are “totaled” and must be rebuilt from scratch.

Chases and Races

Many vehicle activities involve one or more vehicles trying to catch up with or outpace each other, often through difficult terrain or circumstances. Whether it is a “death race” across the surface of an alien planet or a car chase through the streets and back alleys of a modern city, these situations can be handled using a challenge sequence.

This works like any other challenge in that the challenger must acquire a number of degrees of success before three or more degrees of failure. For a standard pursuit, the required degree of success is three as well, although the GM may modify this depending on circumstances.

The traits used in a pursuit challenge are typically those involving maneuverability (Vehicles skill or Acrobatics for characters), knowledge of the terrain (Expertise), and so forth, although players can potentially find uses for traits like Deception, Stealth, and various power effects.

A key element is speed rank: characters within one rank of each other have no modifier to their challenge checks. Two ranks of difference gives the character with the higher rank a +2 circumstance bonus, while three or more ranks of difference gives the character with the higher rank a +5 circumstance bonus.

Example: A hero piloting a Speed 7 hovercycle is taking part in a death race to test a variety of participants, promising a mysterious prize to the winner … and an eternity in limbo to the losers! The hero has a Vehicles skill bonus of +6. Most of the other vehicles in the race have Speed ranks within 1 of each other, although there is a saucer-pod with Speed 10, giving them a +5 circumstance bonus on their checks. The GM rules that the saucer-pod pilots have a +4 Vehicles skill bonus. They’re clearly the competitors to beat! The GM says five accumulated degrees of success are needed to win the race, before three accumulated degrees of failure, which put a competitor out of the race (and into the Gamemaster‘s limbo realm).

Upping The Ante

In addition to making checks to accumulate successes towards winning the contest, participants can choose to “up the ante” by performing difficult, daring, or dangerous maneuvers: moving at high speed through tight terrain, crowding out other vehicles, and so forth. In this case, the maneuvering pilot chooses a Difficulty Class for the skill check in that round of the challenge, with a minimum equal to the DC set by the GM. That becomes the new DC for the round and all contestants must roll against it to generate their successes.

Example: Unable to shake the saucer-pod, the hero decides to up the ante, maneuvering his hovercycle through narrow gullies and canyons, and taking the DC of the contest this round from 15 (set by the GM) to 20. The hero’s player then elects to spend a victory point on the Vehicle’s skill check, rolling an 8, but then adding 10 (for the victory point) plus the hero’s Vehicles bonus of +6 for a 24. The GM rolls for the saucer-pod (with an effective Vehicles bonus of +9) and gets a 10, just missing the DC. The pilot of the saucer-pod has to make a control check to keep the saucer-pod from crashing into the cliff-face, and the hero pulls ahead!

SHARED VEHICLES

A team of heroes may share a vehicle used by the whole team, particularly useful for shuttling around team members who cannot fly or move at super-speed. The members of the team divide the equipment point cost of the vehicle among them as they see fit, devoting the necessary ranks of the Equipment advantage to covering the vehicle’s cost.

ALTERNATE VEHICLES

Just like Alternate Equipment, characters may have multiple vehicles. These are generally Alternate Equipment by definition, since it’s difficult to drive or pilot more than one vehicle at a time! So the character pays the full cost for the most expensive vehicle, and then 1 equipment point for each additional vehicle with the same or lesser cost.

So a hero with an array of vehicles, such as a plane, boat, and car pays full equipment point cost for the most expensive of the vehicles and just 1 equipment point for each of the others. The hero’s player can even spend a Victory point to pull out a motorcycle, submarine, jet-ski, or whatever other vehicle the hero might have stashed away waiting for the right occasion.

GROUND VEHICLES

Most cars include such standard features as air conditioning, air bags, antilock brakes, cruise control, keyless entry, and an AM/FM radio with CD player. Luxury vehicles often also include extras such as power seats, leather upholstery, and a sunroof.

  • Cars come in many different varieties. For variations on the base model, add +1 or +2 Str for larger, full-sized, cars, and +1 or even +2 Speed for sports and racing cars.
  • Trucks include pick-ups, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), vans, and similarly sized vehicles.
  • Tanks are heavily armed and armored vehicles. The standard tank has Impervious Toughness 12 and comes equipped with a cannon (Ranged Damage 10, Burst Area 6) and a heavy machine gun (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6). It takes a move action to get into or out of a tank, and another move action to start it up.
  • APCs or Armored Personnel Carriers, are designed for carrying troops. They come with a smaller cannon (Ranged Damage 6, Burst Area 4), Impervious Toughness 8, and are set up so soldiers on board can fire their personal weapons from behind the cover of the APC’s armor.

WATER VEHICLES

Water vehicles range from small boats and outboards to massive sea-going ships.

  • Cutters are used by the Coast Guard and the Navy. They’re often equipped with light machine guns (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6).
  • Destroyers are main naval ships, carrying heavy guns (Ranged Damage 10, Burst Area 8).
  • Battleships have massive gun batteries (Ranged Damage 13, Burst Area 9) and heavy armor.
  • Submarines are equipped with torpedoes (Ranged damage 8, Burst Area 5) and often ballistic missiles (Ranged Burst Area Damage 15 or higher, not included in listed cost).

AIR VEHICLES

Air vehicles are all capable of flight, some of them at very high speeds.

  • Military helicopters are equipped with machine guns (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6) and rockets (Ranged Damage 9, Burst Area 6).
  • Fighter jets have machine guns (Ranged Multiattack Damage 6) and air-to-air missiles (Ranged Damage 11, Burst Area 8, Homing 6).
  • Bombers may have machine guns and missiles, but also have powerful bombs (Burst Area Damage 12 or higher) they can drop on targets.

SPACE VEHICLES

Space vehicles are intended for use outside the atmosphere, some of them for interplanetary or even interstellar travel. Generally space vehicles are found in the possession of alien civilizations, although the GM may choose to allow some organizations and individuals on Earth to have space vehicles.

  • Space fighters are armed with blaster cannons (Ranged Damage 10).
  • Space cruisers have larger beam weapons (Ranged damage 12) and often energy torpedoes (Ranged Damage 12, Burst Area 10, Homing 8).
  • Space battleships have the most massive weapons: blaster cannons (Ranged Damage 15) and high-powered energy torpedoes (Ranged Damage 15, Burst Area 12, Homing 8).

SPECIAL VEHICLES

These are unique vehicles, most likely found in the possession of supervillains, aliens, or eccentric inventors.

  • Dimension hopper is a vansized vehicle capable of moving between dimensions like a rank 3 Movement (Dimensional Travel) effect.
  • Mole-machines are classic weapons for underground villains, consisting of a metallic cylinder with treads and a rotating drill mounted on the front, allowing the machine to bore through the earth. Its speed is a Burrowing effect.
  • Time machines may be enclosed vehicles, from cubes to spheres or even pods on legs or police boxes, or they can simply be open platforms or projectors. They provide a Movement (Time Travel) effect, typically rank 2 or 3, although some time machines may transmit only to a fixed point in time.
Sample Vehicles

The following are some examples of the breadth of possible vehicles. See the “stock” vehicles and their basic game traits, which you can easily modify using the information here into a wide range of vehicles for specific uses and needs.

Raptor APC 45 ep

Size: Huge; Strength: 12; Speed: 4 (air); Defense: 6; Toughness: 12; Powers: Impervious ; Toughness 8, Ranged Damage 8 (AE: Ranged Burst Area Damage 5); Features: Autopilot (+4), Communications, Navigation System

The Raptor is a fast-deployment flying armored personnel carrier equipped with advanced, compact turbofan engines and vertical take-off and landing and hover capabilities, heavy armor, and a roof-mounted blaster cannon. The fold-down doors allow on-board agents to crouch behind total cover while using their personal weapons.

Star-Cruiser 95 ep

Size: Colossal; Strength: 18; Speed: 14 (space); Defense: 2; Toughness: 15; Powers: Laser Batteries (Ranged Damage 12), Energy Torpedoes (Ranged Burst Area Damage 10, Direct Hit Damage +2, Homing 8), Movement 2 (Space Flight); Features: Autopilot (+8), Communications 2, Computer, Navigation System, Rooms (Hangar, Holding Cells, Infirmary, Living Space, Personnel, Security System, Workshop)

A star cruiser is a vessel several city blocks in length, equipped with powerful blaster arrays and defensive screens, a crew of hundreds of trained soldiers, and a hangar bay filled with smaller landing shuttles.

Spaceplane 40 ep

Size: Gargantuan; Strength: 12; Speed: 12 (space); Defense: 6; Toughness: 13; Powers: Movement 2 (Space Flight); Features: Autopilot (+4), Communications, Computer, Navigation System, Remote Control

A spaceplace is capable of atmospheric speeds up to Mach 10 and has a fully-sealed life support system for space flight.

Phantom Cycle 25 ep

Size: Medium; Strength: 1; Speed: 11 (ground); Defense: 10; Toughness: 10; Powers: Movement 4 (Permeate 2, Wallcrawling 2); Extras Summonable (+2 to Equipment rank cost).

The Phantom cycle is a ghostly, translucent motorcycle. When “bonded” to a rider, it can appear out of the netherworld when summoned. It moves far faster than any earthly vehicle and is capable of ignoring the effects of gravity, driving up sheer walls, or even passing right through them (bringing its rider along with it). Although the phantom cycle can be damaged or even destroyed, it is always whole when it is summoned once again.

Rocket Skateboard 1 ep

Powers: Speed 5

This jet-powered skateboard (“piloted” with Acrobatics rather than Vehicles skill) is an example of a piece of equipment that provides a movement effect, but is not technically a “vehicle.” A jet pack (providing Flight) is similar.

Shadow Gunship 55 ep

Size: Huge; Strength: 8; Speed: 8 (air); Defense: 6; Toughness: 9; Powers: Blaster Cannons (Ranged Multiattack Damage 8), Rockets (Ranged Burst Area Damage 6 + Direct Hit Damage +3), Camo-Cloak (Passive Visual Concealment 4), Radarbane (Radio Concealment 2); Features: Autopilot (+4), Communications, Navigation System, Stealth (Subtle Flight)

A shadow gunship is a modified military helicopter. A true “black helicopter,” it is painted in dead-black radar-reflective materials (save for a Shadow emblem). It is capable of running in “stealth” mode, making its flight virtually silent, and has a camo-cloak able to make it virtually invisible, for lightning-fast surprise raids.

Urban Tank 30 ep

Size: Huge Strength: 10; Speed: 6 (ground); Defense: 7; Toughness: 12; Powers: Impervious ; Toughness 8; Features: Alternate Vehicle (emergency motorcycle), Autopilot (+4), Caltrops, Communications, Computer, Navigation System, Oil Slick, Remote Control

A low-slung urban assault vehicle with the armor of a tank, but the speed and maneuverability of a car, and an emergency ejector system that turns the pilot seat into the saddle of a high-speed motorcycle.

Starchopper 90 ep

Size: Medium; Strength: 5; Speed: 20 (space); Defense: 10; Toughness: 15; Powers: Cosmic Blaster (Ranged Damage 12), Immunity 5 (Space, Affects Others); Features: Communications

A starchopper is a “cosmic chopper”. Although they are open like terrestrial motorcycles, starchoppers still protect their riders with full life support.