Ion's Modern and Sci-Fi Homebrew Mishmash
The outrider makes use of the vehicle rules (from Ultimate Combat) and the relative positioning rules (see below).
Combat Vehicle Operations (Ex): The outrider is a master of vehicular combat. She is proficient with all weapons mounted on or built into vehicles (including siege weapons – see Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat for more information on siege weapons and vehicles) and is able to drive, pilot, or operate any vehicle after 1-6 minutes of study.
Additionally, once a round when the outrider’s vehicle is hit in combat, she may attempt a Ride check (as an immediate action) to negate the hit. The hit is negated if her Ride check result is greater than the opponent’s attack roll.
This talent also counts as the Mounted Combat feat for purpose of meeting feat prerequisites, and any feat the outrider takes that does have Mounted Combat as a prerequisite she may use for a vehicle.
Vehicle Focus (Ex): At 2nd level the outrider gains special mastery in one kind of vehicle.The outrider selects one type of vehicle available in the campaign, as defined by the GM (typical choices might include motorcycles, cars, trucks, big rigs, prop planes, jet planes, helicopters, airships, boats, and submarines).
When she is the driver, pilot, or operator of a vehicle of this type, the vehicle gains a + 1 dodge bonus to AC, and the outrider receives a +1 bonus to all Ride checks made to operate the vehicle and attack rolls made with the vehicle’s weapons. The outrider’s selects an additional vehicle type to specialize in at 6th, 12th, and 18th level.Her vehicle focus bonus (for all her specialized vehicles) increases to + 2 at 6th level + 3 at 12th, and + 4 at 16th.
Outrider Talents: The specialties of outriders vary by training and experience, often causing two drivers or pilots to be masters of very different skills and tactical options.As an outrider advances in level, she gains outrider talents selected from the list below. She gains her first outrider talent at 5th level, and gains additional outrider talents at 9th, 13th, and 17th level.Also, whenever an outrider gains a talent choice from her base class, she can choose one of these outrider talents instead.
Ace (Ex): The outrider takes no penalty to attacks made as part of a dogfight maneuver (see the Relative Positioning rules in Chapter Five ), and gains a +4 bonus to her VCD against dogfight maneuvers made by other driver/pilots.
Come On Baby! (Su): The special bond between an outrider and a vehicle she controls can actually extend to the metaphysical. Once per day, the outrider can repair damage to her vehicle as a swift action.She must be driving/piloting the vehicle to use this ability, and the vehicle must be functioning (though it can have the broken condition, as long as some part of it is still functional).The outrider restores 1d6 hp of damage per class level.
Dive From The Sun (Ex): When operating a vehicle she receives a vehicle focus bonus with, the outrider can select one foe or enemy vehicle that is unaware of her, and make a Stealth check to avoid being detected until she attacks, or the beginning of her next round.
Drive Offensively (Ex): When the outrider successfully performs a buzz maneuver (see the relative Positioning rules, below) the DC of vehicles attempting to perform close, dogfight, or ram maneuvers against her is 5 higher than the maneuver the outrider selected.
Gunner (Ex): The outrider can add her vehicle focus bonus to damage dealt with weapons attached to or built in to any vehicle, as well as to damage done by ramming a target with a vehicle under her control.
Heck’s Angel (Ex): When driving or piloting a vehicle she receives a vehicle focus bonus for, the outrider and her vehicle have a minimum AC of 10 + her outrider level.If the vehicle is stationary, or the outrider loses her Dex bonus to AC, she and the vehicle instead use their normal AC. Additionally, the outrider can hop on/climb into a vehicle adjacent to her, or climb out/dismount from it, as a swift action (and also start or turn off the vehicle as part of this action)..
Omnipilot (Ex): The outrider gains her vehicle focus bonus with all vehicles.
Thin Out the Mix (Ex): The outrider can make minor adjustments to her vehicle each day – cleaning its control surfaces, doing maintenance on its engine and systems, tightening its joints, mixing special fuels – to increase its move rate.
This takes one hour, and may only be done to vehicles the outrider has a vehicle focus bonus with.The vehicle’s movement rate is increased by 20% for the next 24 hours.
Relative Positioning Rules
When the primary focus of an encounter is vehicles interacting with other vehicles, the action quickly moves beyond the ability of rules built on the scale of character movement to handle. If a plane is flying at a casual 90 mph, it’s covering more than 150 5-foot-squares per round. Making such movement meaningful using the same rules designed to handle characters covering 4-12 squares per round leads to odd and unsatisfying results. Instead, if most movement is occurring in vehicles with similar kinds of move rates, it makes more sense to track their movement in terms of relative positions.
Rather than keeping track of exactly how far apart each vehicle is from everything else, and exactly how fast each is moving, the relative position rules give a general idea where they are in relation to each other. Stationary objects simply aren’t around long enough to matter when moving at 30-250 mph, as you’ll be past anything smaller than a terrain feature in less than 1 round. (Though stationary objects can be used as goals, hazards, and modifiers in the various rules below.) What’s important is whether the vehicles are close enough to interact with each other, and whether they can successfully get closer to or (often more importantly) get away from other vehicles.
The relative position rules introduce two new concepts that figure into most relative position encounters – Distance Intervals and Vehicular Combat Maneuvers.
Distance Intervals: Distance Intervals are an abstract measurement of how far apart vehicles are when using the Relative Positioning vehicle rules. Rather than note that two characters are exactly 35 feet apart, distance intervals tell you two biplanes are roughly as far apart as you’d normally expect them to cover in two rounds of movement, or two distance intervals. Distance intervals are used to track the movement of vehicles towards or away from one or more specific point of reference (called a locus, plural loci), and give both the player and GM a simple set of values to work from when making both tactical and roleplaying-based decisions in the middle of a race across a desert.
The exact length of distance intervals is intentionally kept vague, in keeping with the loose nature of the relative positioning rules.The length of intervals is in fact variable, as they are longer when dealing with faster vehicles (which can change their position quite quickly). For the most part distance intervals can be tracked with simple note taking or using dice to mark the number of intervals between a vehicle and a locus, though it’s certainly also possible to create a visual representation with models of vehicles and lines with various intervals marked on them to quickly and easily know how many intervals apart two vehicles are.
While distance intervals are designed to avoid specific definitions of distances, it’s sometimes useful for the GM and players to have some idea how far apart two vehicles are if they’re 3 intervals apart.As a general rule, it can be assumed in any given encounter than a distance interval is a number of feet long equal to the average mph of the vehicles involved in the encounter. Thus, in a furious car battle throuarsgh the Nevada between gangers firing tommyguns from corvegas at BoS knights in armored car, with an average speed of 45 mph, one distance interval is roughly 45 feet.
Locus: Distance intervals are measured in terms of their distance from one or more loci, each locus being either a vehicle determining the flow of action or (more rarely) a relative moving point determined by the GM. In the simplest encounters there’s just one locus, as all the vehicles are moving in (roughly) the same direction.This is true in chase scenes, races, and many running battles. In more complicated encounters vehicles may break off in different directions, potentially causing multiple loci to be tracked.
Lead Vehicle Loci: In a chase scene (or similar encounter) the distance intervals represent the distance between the lead vehicle and each vehicle behind it.As a result, all vehicles can be arrayed in a linear chart, measuring their intervals from each other as equal to the difference in their intervals from the lead vehicle.Anytime all the vehicles in an encounter are moving in roughly the same direction, the lead vehicle can serve as the locus.
Environmental Loci: The locus works very similarly when vehicles are all moving in roughly the same direction but the encounter is about accomplishing something in a certain amount of time or before some moving goal occurs, rather than chasing a vehicle down or beating it to a location. If a group of vehicles are all trying to drive across a bridge before it lifts to let a boat pass under it, or torpedo boats are fleeing ground zero of a fiend bomb, or vertibirds are seeking the refuge of a canyon before a sand-storm hits, the vehicles are all moving the same direction, but the “pace” of the movement is being set by something other than another vehicle.
In the case of an environmental locus, rather than the lead vehicle being used to determine the DC of various combat maneuvers made to change distance increments, the GM sets a DC based on how fast the environmental conditions are moving, and all vehicles use those values to see if they can stay ahead of the consequences.
Unless vehicles decide to take new routes (which may or may not be an option, depending on the circumstances of the encounter), then all vehicles’ relative distances to each other are determined by their relative distance increment from the environmental condition they are racing toward or away from.
Multiple Loci: If a conflict is more complex than a race or chase, and vehicles are diving in and out along multiple paths while engaging (or escaping) numerous other vehicles, it’s not possible to track all the relative positions of the vehicles with a single locus. Instead a central locus is declared (often the scene of the major action), and secondary loci are assigned by the GM as needed to track splinter groups of vehicles.
The central locus works much as the locus of a chase scene, with one vehicle (or a group of vehicles) forming the locus and determining the DC of close and disengage vehicular maneuver checks.
However, rather than all other vehicles determining their range from each other by comparing their relative distance intervals from the central locus, each area with one or more vehicles is treated as its own secondary locus with DCs set by a lead vehicle within the new locus. When vehicles at different secondary loci need to know their relative distance to each other, they calculate it as (distance intervals of the secondary loci furthest from the central loci) + (half the distance intervals of the other secondary loci). If a vehicle wishes to move from one group of vehicles to another, it changes its locus and makes close/ disengage checks as necessary.
When a secondary locus moves, it moves according to the wishes of the majority of the vehicles at the locus. If there is no consensus among the majority the locus itself does not move, and individual vehicles must choose to move from the locus to another locus (determining their distance from the new locus, and then measuring their position relative to it).
The important thing to remember with multiple loci is:
1. The central loci moves with the main action of the encounter.
2. Secondary loci only move if most of the vehicles in them go the same direction.
3. A vehicle only tracks its distance interval to a single loci at a time (and can switch at any time during a round).
4. You can easily calculate the distance interval between different secondary loci if you need to.
5. Any vehicle or group of vehicles that suddenly decide to go off on a new bearing can become a new loci (at the GM’s discretion), and if a secondary locus reaches the central locus, it becomes part of the central locus.
When using multiple loci, it can be useful to have figures to represent various vehicles, and circles to represent the loci and their relationships to each other. Each vehicle then tracks its distance to one loci, switching which circle it is in if it switches loci.
Intervals, Ranges, Sizes, and Spells
Distance intervals are based on the size and speed of the vehicles in an encounter, but often the vehicles in an encounter aren’t all the same size or speed.Since ride checks and VCB checks are used to close, disengage, and maneuver in the relative position rules, if larger and faster vehicles are not given a bonus to represent their innate abilities, well-driven scooters might out-race jet fighters on a regular basis.
For each encounter using the relative position rules, the GM should declare an average vehicle size and maximum speed.
Vehicles smaller than this average take a -2 penalty to Ride checks (as well as VCB/VCD calculations) for each size they are smaller than the average, while larger vehicles gain a +2 bonus per size category.
Similarly, vehicles with a max speed of half the average take a -2 penalty (and those with 1/4 the average take a -4, those with 1/8 take a -6, and so on), while those twice as fast gain a +2 bonus (and those x4 as fast take a +4 bonus and so on).
Because distance intervals are variable, the range their weapons (and other effects) can span to affect other vehicles is similarly vague. In general, a vehicle can attack things at no distance interval at no penalty, things one interval away at -2, those 2 intervals away at -4, and so forth up to a maximum of 5 distance intervals.Vehicles smaller than the average for an encounter treat all distances as one interval greater per size category difference (but an interval of 0 is never considered to be greater than an interval of 1) for purposes of making attacks, while larger vehicles treat all distance intervals as being 1 shorter (minimum of 0) for attacks.
The range at which a spell or other character effect can affect another vehicle is based on intervals.Spells with a range of at least 100 feet (Medium range) can affect vehicles one interval away. Those with a range of at least 400 feet (Long range) can affect vehicles two intervals away. Spells with a range of at least 25 feet but less than 100 feet can only affect vehicles in the same distance interval.
Vehicular Combat Maneuvers
Because the relative position rules don’t track the exact position, speed, or facing of vehicles, things like closing or engaging in strafing runs are handled with vehicular combat maneuvers. Every vehicle has a Vehicle Combat Bonus (VCB) and a Vehicle Combat Defense (VCD), which are calculated as shown below.
Vehicular Combat Bonus (VCB) = Driver/pilot’s Ride bonus + vehicle size modifier + vehicle speed modifier (see Intervals, ranges, Sizes, and Spells, above)
Vehicular Combat Defense (VCD) = 10 + drive/ pilot’s Ride bonus + vehicle size modifier + vehicle speed modifier (see Intervals, ranges, Sizes, and Spells, above).
For all vehicular combat maneuvers, “driver” refers to the character controlling the movement of the vehicle.This may be a driver, rider, pilot, or helmsman, depending on the vehicle making the maneuver.Each maneuver shows the kind of action it requires, and has a description of its effect.
Making any vehicular combat maneuver allows the driver/pilot to be in control of the vehicle (removing the need to take a separate action, as described in the vehicle rules in Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Ultimate Combat).
Move Action. The driver hugs his vehicle very close to dangerous terrain features.This maneuver can include flying low to the ground in aircraft, weaving through traffic or difficult terrain on a motorcycle, taking an atomic rocket through a dense asteroid field, or even making sharp turns down narrow alleys in a getaway car.A buzz maneuver is only possible if terrain exists that can pose a threat to the vehicle (GM’s discretion). A buzz maneuver can be taken as a swift action in any round the driver makes another vehicular maneuver.
When a driver decides to make a buzz maneuver, he declares a DC he is attempting for the maneuver (which represents how dangerous a buzz he is attempting, often defined by how close he is getting to dangerous terrain or obstacles). If his VCB check is successful against the DC, any vehicle attempting to perform a close, dogfight, or ram maneuver against the buzzing vehicle must make a VCB check at the same DC (as a free action) or automatically fail.
Any vehicle following the driver’s vehicle that does not make one of these maneuvers falls back two distance intervals. Any vehicle that fails a buzz maneuver by 5 or more strikes some piece of terrain and takes damage as if it had rammed a vehicle bigger than itself (see ram, below).
Occasionally, terrain requires vehicles perform a buzz maneuver at a specific DC in order to perform any other vehicular maneuvers (such as driving through a forest, of flying between buildings) as determined by the GM.
Move Action. The driver attempts to reduce the distance between himself and a locus (normally another vehicle). If the VCB check meets or exceeds the VCD of the locus vehicle (or the locus’s VMD, if it is not determined by a vehicle), the driver’s vehicle moves one distance interval closer (minimum of 0 intervals). If you exceed the target VCD by 5 or more, you close 2 distance intervals.A vehicle cannot make more than one close maneuver each round.
Move Action. The driver attempts to increase the distance between himself and either other vehicles or (more rarely) a locus. If the VCB check meets or exceeds the VCD of the chasing vehicles (or the locus’s VCD, if it is not determined by a vehicle), the driver’s vehicle moves one distance interval farther away. If you exceed the target VCD by 5 or more, you move 2 distance intervals away. A vehicle cannot make more than one disengage maneuver each round. If you are moving away from multiple vehicles you must beat the VCD of all of them to move away.
Standard Action. The driver locks on to one opposing vessel, and attempts to engage it in tight combat maneuvers.You may only perform this maneuver on vehicles at 0 distance intervals. As a swift action the driver may make one attack against the vessel targeted by this maneuver with a -4 penalty, using vehicular weapons under his control. If the VCB check meets or exceeds the targeted vessel’s VCD, the targeted vessel cannot disengage on its next turn, and the driver gains a +4 bonus to the first VCB check he makes against the vessel on his next turn.
Maneuvers Full-round action. The driver does everything possible to make his vehicle hard to hit.The vehicle gains a +2 bonus to AC and a +4 bonus to VCD until the beginning of the driver’s next turn.All attacks made from the vehicle suffer a -4 penalty, and the vehicle counts as being in “extremely violent motion” for purposes of spellcasting and concentration checks.
Vehicles with negative maneuverability ratings gain only a +1 AC and +2 VCD from evasive maneuvers.
Standard Action. Because the relative positioning rules don’t give exact locations for vehicles, ramming another vehicle isn’t automatic. This maneuver can only be attempted against targets in the same distance increment.
The driver attempts to slam the vehicle under his control into another vehicle (or a stationary object, which always has a VCD of 10). On a successful check, the ramming vehicle deals double its ram damage to the target, and takes its normal ram damage. (See Ultimate Combat for more information on vehicular ramming damage).