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So, I ran the skirmish with the Eldrazi Ruiner and I quickly realized that using walkers in combat requires a little bit of rules clarification. Thanks to the Savages on Facebook and Google+ for steering me in the right direction. Specifically, Rich Spainhour and Jon Mullenax for citing sources.

To begin with, you’ll need to fully read the section on Vehicles on pages 113-117 in the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer’s Edition (SWDE) and the section on Walkers on page 58-59 of the Science Fiction Companion (SFC). Walkers are considered Vehicles and use Piloting instead of Driving. The pregenerated characters in Secrets of the Dust (SotD) use Driving, so I simply changed their skill to Piloting.

Parry for a Walker is not exactly explained in the SWDE or the SFC but the consensus with citations from Savage Rifts is that it is half of the driver’s Piloting or Fighting skill +2, whichever trait is lower. I’m not sure why it has to be the person’s Fighting skill, though. For A!C/Dust, I will be using Piloting to calculate the Walker’s Parry because it’s much simpler. Besides, I feel like a Walker Pilot in this setting would be consumed with piloting the Walker in an effort to avoid the melee attack. I could see in a futuristic setting where the Walker is piloted more like a giant exoskeleton (e.g., like in the movies Aliens and Avatar). Then their Fighting prowess translates more directly to the action of the battle and the Walker’s movements.

The next issue I encountered was how to handle deceleration. The SWDE explains that a vehicle can decelerate at twice its acceleration speed with normal braking and three times its acceleration if doing a hard stop. This doesn’t really make much sense. I think it should be that a vehicle brakes twice as fast as it accelerates, which would actually be half the distance of its acceleration speed, not double. For example, a Walker that accelerates 7 on its first turn could brake to a stop in a move of 3.5 (we’ll round to 4) on its next turn. Why would it take 14 squares to brake if it was moving at 7, yet a hard stop would take 21 spaces. The wording is confusing. This is important because Walkers might use a tactic of running, stopping, and firing from a stand-still in order to prevent the Unstable Platform penalty that firing while moving incurs. So, for the Light Assault Walker (LAW), which has an acceleration of 7, it can brake at 4 (half acceleration rounded up) and hard stop at 3 (a third of acceleration rounded up). The LAW has a Top Speed of 15; what happens if you want to apply the brakes normally to slow down? Then it seems like our numbers don’t quite work. But the principle of halving the speed does work. We’re moving along at 15 and want to brake on our next move, halving 15 and rounding up gives us 8. I have to move at least 8 spaces on my turn. I can’s choose to only move 3 or 4 yet because I have too much momentum. Then, on the subsequent turn, I can stop in 4 spaces as that is my half acceleration number. Otherwise, if you keep halving each turn, you’ll encounter one form of Zeno’s Paradox and never stop.

For the campaign presented in SotD we’ll only be using Light and Medium Walkers. Even though the Walkers aren’t Heavy class Walkers, they are all still Large as regards rules that use the term “Large”. This means that where the SFC talks about Large Walkers can never take more than 2 wounds from a single attack, this applies to the Walkers in SotD.

When a walker is struck, the attack has the potential to knock the Walker over. When a Walker suffers a hit that meets or exceeds its Toughness, the first thing a Pilot does is make a Piloting roll. If they fail this roll then they have to roll on the Out of Control table (SWDE pg 117). Even if the Pilot succeeds, this still qualifies as a Shaken result. The Pilot is momentarily stunned from the attack and has to make their Spirit roll. Technically, though, the Shaken is applied to the Walker.

If the attack entails wounds, then the Pilot must make a Piloting roll for each wound or else the Walker falls over. In addition, each wound entails a roll on the Critical Hits table (SWDE pg 117). Each wound also inflicts a -1 penalty to the Piloting rolls so long as the Walker is still upright and functional (much like the penalties for wounds affect Pace and Trait rolls).

Also in the SFC is an entry on Ejection Systems. For our WWII Walkers, we’ll be ignoring this futuristic feature. The Light Walkers are open cockpit and are ridden more like a motorcycle than being in an enclosed cockpit. For our purposes we’ll be having the Pilot take falling damage when one of the Walkers goes down. But, there are two types of falling damage: high speed (1d6 per 5” of speed, SWDE pg 115) and low speed falling damage (1d6+1 per 10”, SWDE pg 101). To make this easy to use we’ll be using the Walkers Top Speed. If the Walker is moving more than half of its Top Speed up to its Top Speed, use high speed; if it’s moving at or below half of its Top Speed, the damage is low speed. This should take into account the height of the Walker too. For all of the Light and Medium Dust Walkers it’s much simpler to just use 2d6+2 for all of their low speed falls. When a Walker does fall, use a d12 and read it like a clock face to determine which direction it topples. A Walker also suffers Xd6 damage to itself (where the X is its size) when it falls over.

Some common modifiers that come into play with Walkers includes:

  • Walkers in motion are Unstable Platforms and incur a -2 Attack penalty (Firing a machine gun from a moving Walker incurs a -4 penalty. The Edges of Steady Hands and Rock and Roll would offset these penalties).
  • Moving targets incur a -1 penalty per 10” of speed.
  • The LAW has a Top Speed of 15 which incurs a -2 handling penalty (none of the other Walkers in SotD can go fast enough to incur this penalty.
  • Driving through rough terrain at over half of Top Speed requires a Piloting roll at -2 per round.
  • A Walker can move up to half its Top Speed in reverse. Driving rolls while in reverse suffers a -2 penalty.
  • Every difference of 2 in Size between Attacker and Target affects the Attack rolls by 2.

Some maneuvers of note that come in handy:

  • Hard Stop: No penalty but Piloting roll must be made in order to stop at a third of the current speed.
  • Bootlegger Reverse (-4): Stopping while pivoting the Walker around 90-180 degrees.
  • Avoiding an obstacle (-2 or -4 for difficult turns or pivots).
  • Stomping: Any creature or vehicle half a Walker’s size or smaller can be stomped upon. This is an opposed roll using the Attacker’s Piloting skill versus either Agility, Piloting, or Driving. If the Walker Pilot wins, the damage is Str+2d6. (Size and strength are given in the SFC as Light is Size 6 with a Strength of d12+4 and Medium is Size 8 with a Strength of d12+6).
  • Death from Above: The Allied Medium Walker (Mickey) is the only Walker in SotD that can perform this maneuver since it can jump. This, again, is an Opposed roll. A success equals damage to the target but a failure means the Walker suffers damage (see SFC pg 59).

Using this quick sheet in conjunction with the tables on page 117 of the SWDE should be sufficient to run the Walkers in SotD.

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