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House Carlson Rules for the Vehicle Manual

Copyright Mark Carlson ©2002

Edited by Lowell R. Matthews for The Guild Companion

Editor's note: Mark Carlson's collection of house rules modifies the Spacemaster Vehicle Manual standard rules.  The topics included are Point Defense Systems, Vehicle Attacks, and two new Equipment items, Cargo Module Systems and Powered Combat Armor.

  1. Point Defense Systems (PDS's)

    When using Point Defense Systems (PDS's), change the chance to block to a percentage.  For example, a PDS that can destroy incoming targets 8 out of 10 times becomes 80%.  This also allows for many more options when a character buys a PDS, for now he can buy a PDS with a destroying value of 76% or 46%—simply extrapolate the cost from the chart.

  2. Vehicle Attacks

    Thirteen possible vehicle attacks are listed.  Note that non-MIRC craft can only execute the Ram maneuver.  To make a MIRC craft completely hardened for all 13 attacks, allocate mass, volume, and cost for ten attacks.  The three-attack reduction in mass, volume, and cost come from areas that overlap when buying complete hardening.  Referees who allow for MIRC craft martial arts should not forget special attacks that may be gained at higher levels of knowledge.  For example, a martial art can be designed with only striking attacks, but a higher-level special ability allows the user to make a combination attack, first with the fist, then with the elbow.  Both areas would need to be reinforced.

    Note:  Referees who do not like the 10:13 ratio should change it to 8:13 or whatever value feels right, but they should try to keep game balance in mind.

    • Right and Left Fist
    • Right and Left Elbow
    • Right and Left Knee
    • Right and Left Kick
    • Right and Left Shoulder
    • Head Butt
    • Throw/Flip
    • Tackle/Ram


  3. Equipment

    1. Cargo Module Systems (CMS's)

      These cargo boxes are actually enclosed modules of varying types and designs but have some common features.  All are 3.5 m tall, 6 m wide, and 10 m long; they all have power couplings and other equipment that take up 0.5 m of the top of the container.  The containers hook together to form staterooms, laboratories, recreation rooms, dinning rooms, power plants, life support rooms, or almost anything that can be put into a starship.  (Note:  some containers provide vertical access so containers can be stacked one upon another.)  When designing the cargo system, the ship construction rules are followed except the cargo rooms cannot have any drives, weapons, or excreta, but they can interface with the ship if the proper connections are provided in the cargo bay.  There must be one connection junction in the crafts cargo hold, but it is advisable to place many more to facilitate a wide variety of cargo loads.  A junction box costs 10,000 and can interface with one cargo container, but other containers can access the ship's systems through the connections provided in the 0.5-m equipment space.  CMS's were designed to provide a means by which to move troops and personnel in standard freighters as well as a means by which to add additional functionality to military ships.

    2. Powered Combat Armor

      This powered armor was developed as an alternative to the APE system given in Spacemaster Vehicle Manual page 24.  The armor is a self-contained mini-starship with a reactionless drive* that provides 20 G's of thrust as well as a 50-kph walker system.  Unlike the APE system, this armor is not equipped with a life support system, but instead has a 24-h air tank that can be extended to 10 days (240 h) with a rebreather system.  Keeping in mind the ever-changing battlefield, this powered armor allows for 25 kg of weapons to be installed in ether arm or the compartment can be used for additional storage.  The armor comes in four basic weapon configurations with many optional configurations available.  The system costs about double the APE system, but it is worth the extra money since it has its own motivation, ultra-compact weapon systems, and a good-size cargo area.


      1. Notes
        • Abbreviations:  SM:P = Spacemaster Privateers, SM:EM = Spacemaster Equipment Manual, SM:RM = Spacemaster Robotics Manual
        • All Costs are given in Credits.
        • In the Options section (§III.B.3), the mass and volume figures are given as negative values.  This value is subtracted from the cargo mass and volume in the basic powered armor section.


      2. Basic Features

        • Crew:  1
        • Cargo:  See below
        • Mass:  5.826 tons
        • Hits:  7.28
        • CAT:  XVI
        • Vacuum Power Rating: 55 (see below for ratio of active power to total power)
        • DB:  Total 95 (Screens +70, Armor Belt +25)
        • EW [Active/Passive]: 0/42
        • Cost:  See below
        • Top Speed Walker:  50 kph
        • Top Speed Air:  6,000 kph
        • Top Speed Space:  20 G's
        • Translight:  None
        • Atmospheric Capability: Yes
        • Melee Attack Value/OB: 1(.05824)/+25


        Table I:  Armaments, Cargo, Power, and Base Price
        Armaments Vehicle Cargo (Mass/Volume) Power* Base Price (MCr)
        Compact Laser 1.308278 ton/4.24287     m3 42/55 2.57367971
        Compact Blaster 1.108278 ton/4.042876   m3 42/55 2.58367971
        Compact Ion Cannon 0.908278 ton/3.8428796 m3 42/55 2.60867971
        Compact Plasma Cannon 0.808278 ton/3.7428796 m3 47/55 2.60867971

        * Power ratings are listed as Active Power/Available Power.



        Table II:  Features
        Neural Interface (TL 17 or 18) (SM:EM) Magnetic Boots (SM:EM) Synth-Cord 200m (SM:EM)
        Grav Chute (SM:VM) Personal Kit (SM:EM) Bypass Kit (SM:EM)
        Molecutronic Scrambler Lvl 50 (SM:EM) Multi-Faceplate (SM:EM) Tactical Scanner (SM:EM)
        Bug Detector (SM:EM) Holo-Mapper (SM:EM) Holo-Viewer (SM:EM)
        Holo-Camera (SM:EM) Neural Recorder (SM:EM) Inertial Compass (SM:EM)
        Magnetic Compass (SM:EM) Rebreather (SM:EM) Air Tanks 24 Hr (SM:EM)
        Hardened for All Melee (See Options) Vapor Canteen (SM:EM) Filtration Canteen (SM:EM)
        Microfrequency Comm. (SM:VM) Tight Beam Comm. (SM:VM) Quantum Comm. 30ly (SM:EM)
        First Aid Kit (+150) (SM:EM) Medispenser (SM:EM) Cramped (SM:VM)
        Armored Cockpit (SM:VM) Infrared HUD (SM:VM) Lo-Lite HUD (SM:VM)
        Telescopic HUD (SM:VM) Artificial Gravity (SM:VM) 50 kg set aside for other weapons and 0.5 m3 (see description)


      3. Options

        1. Option Surveillance
          • Add Advanced Sensor System:  Mass −1, Volume −1, Power +1, and Cost +100 kCr


        2. Option Medical

          When adding the following medical tools it is also common to designate some mass and volume to medical supplies, such as splints, casts, extra drugs, or supplies that are mission-specific.

          • Mass +68, Volume +68, Power +7, Cost +37.3 kCr (all from SM:EM)


          Table III:  Medical Equipment
          Medical Scanner Diagnostic Computer Dermal Closer
          Laser Scalpel Field Hypo Spray Arterial Sealer
          Skeletal Knitter Tissue Regenerator  


        3. Option Technical

          When adding the following tools, it is also quite common to carry parts for the Powered Armor or parts associated with the mission.

          • Mass +61, Volume +61, Power +5, Cost +18.8 kCr (all from SM:EM)


          Table IV:  Technical Equipment
          Technical Scanner Basic Tool Kit AFV Tool Kit
          Space Craft Tool Kit Star Fighter Tool Kit Heavy Torch


        4. Option Improved Armor
          • Instead of Type XVI, the armor is made of Type XX.
          • Mass −0.017472, Volume −0.34944, Cost +23.24 kCr


        5. Option Advanced Composite Armor
          • The armor is enhanced with composites that add +25 to the suit's DB.
          • Cost (AT XVI) +147.56 kCr, new DB 120
          • Option Improved Armor may be combined with Option Advanced Composite Armor.
          • Cost (AT XX) +868 kCr, new DB 120
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