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[Hurt Locker] How does Capacity Mechanic work

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  • [Hurt Locker] How does Capacity Mechanic work

    Hello there

    Gotten to the the weapon section of Hurt Locker, which by the way has some rather annoying errors in the weapon tables, and I feel that there is missing some information on how the Capacity mechanic is suppose to work.

    As fare as I can read, it only mentions how it interacts with burst fire: "empties after x short/medium/long bursts". But what about normal use? How many times can you fire it

    A page number that explains it closer would be welcome.

  • #2
    I don't recall the page number and don't have access to the PDF at the moment, but I can tell you the mechanics. There are no fixed numbers of shots, it's all abstractions based on the results of the attack rolls. Low capacity weapons run out after a Failure. Medium capacity weapons run out after a Dramatic Failure. High capacity weapons don't run out with use, but jam on a dramatic failure and it takes an action to clear the jam.


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    • #3
      I really like the more abstract take on ammunition, but it sounds like I might not have understood it. It allows for less tracking and more describing..

      But it basically sounds like you have endless ammo as long as you don't don't fail (depending on capacity and die result of course).

      And the amount of prep work the characters have done (use of merits or buying extra ammo), determines the amount of "reloads" after these fails?

      Like, without doing some prep work/merits, someone with a low capacity won't have any "reloads" after a miss?
      And someone with a medium capacity will run out of reloads after a dramatic failure?

      But if the character spend some time and used his Allies ••••, he could get some extra "reloads" for his low capacity weapon?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Neros View Post
        I really like the more abstract take on ammunition, but it sounds like I might not have understood it. It allows for less tracking and more describing..

        But it basically sounds like you have endless ammo as long as you don't don't fail (depending on capacity and die result of course).
        The way I like to think about it is that under the capacity system, "running out" is less about using up all of the bullets in the magazine, and more about running out of bullets at a dramatic moment. It's assumed that you have a nonspecific amount of extra ammo on you, and as long as you're keeping mental track of how much you're using, you can reload between turns whenever necessary. As well, "single shots" aren't literally one bullet each. It's an abstract representation of few quick shots.

        So, with your revolver (Low Capacity), you're basically firing a few shots in rapid succession until you hit your target, and reloading occasionally. If you roll a Failure, your shots keep missing, until all of a sudden you're pulling the trigger and just hearing the gun go *click*. Suddenly you have to scramble for ammo while the monster is still charging right at you, hence you have to use your action to reload. Alternatively, if you fire a short burst, you just fan the hammer, emptying every chamber right into the monster, and if it survives that, you still have the dramatic moment of being empty at the worst time and having to take an action to reload.

        With your semi-auto pistol (Medium Capacity), you have a little more leeway. Even if you roll a Failure, you might miss several shots but there are enough rounds still in the magazine that you don't get that horrifying *click* moment. Same with a short burst, you do that once and there's still some bullets left over. Do it twice, or fire a Medium burst, or roll a Dramatic Failure, and you lose track of how many shots you've already fired. You think you should have enough, when all of a sudden, *click* *click* *click*.

        With your automatic rifle (High Capacity), as long as you keep it set on single-rounds, you never have to worry about running out at an inopportune time. Even if you miss several shots, there's plenty more and you can reload whenever it starts feeling light. You can even switch it to fire three-round pulses and squeeze off a couple Short Bursts, or switch it to full-automatic and fire a Medium Burst without risking running out of ammo. But if you go full Rambo and just spray-and-pray, you're going to be empty on your turn and have to reload. Also, fully automatic weapons are prone to jamming, so on a Dramatic Failure you need to take an action to clear the jam.

        Originally posted by Neros View Post
        And the amount of prep work the characters have done (use of merits or buying extra ammo), determines the amount of "reloads" after these fails?

        Like, without doing some prep work/merits, someone with a low capacity won't have any "reloads" after a miss?
        And someone with a medium capacity will run out of reloads after a dramatic failure?

        But if the character spend some time and used his Allies ••••, he could get some extra "reloads" for his low capacity weapon?
        So, the "extra reloads" thing is a little awkwardly written, but it does work. Basically, don't think of an "extra reload" as a single magazine. Remember, you're already assumed to be carrying an abstract amount of extra mags, enough that you can reload as needed between turns unless you fire too many bursts or get a bad roll. In this case, an "extra reload" just means you're carrying effectively double that abstract amount of ammo. As for prep work, that extra ammo is effectively equipment, just like any other. It has an Availability rating equal to that of the weapon it's for, minus one, to a minimum of one. So, you can buy it with Resources, or have your Underworld Allies steal it for you, requisition it with your Police Status, what have you.

        I do agree though that the way it's currently written isn't as clear as it could be. That's why I recommend turning "extra reloads" into a Condition, which David has expressed an interest in putting in with the errata pass. Here's the Condition as I wrote it:

        Pocket Full of Shells
        Your character is carrying extra ammunition for her weapon. Pick a specific ranged or thrown weapon when you acquire this Condition. By spending an Instant action and shedding this Condition, you can restore a weapon of that type that has run out of ammunition to full capacity. Shedding the Condition in this way does not grant a Beat. A character can have multiple instances of this Condition, each associated with a different weapon.
        Possible Sources: A character can acquire this Condition with a purchase at Availability one less than the Availability of the weapon it is associated with (minimum 1). At Storyteller discretion, a character may be able to get it by other means, such as robbing a sporting goods store or scavenging ammo off of someone equipped with the same type of weapon.
        Resolution: Have your ammunition confiscated or stolen.
        Beat: n/a

        Under this rule, the Loaded for Bear Merit would allow you to restore your weapon to full capacity without expending Pocket Full of Shells a number of times per Scene equal to your dots in the Merit.


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        • #5
          I also read "reloads" as an abstraction representing enough ammunition for a refile of the weapon after a round of panicked bullet fire at the wriggling thingy crawling toward you.

          For Example (would really have liked to have some examples in the book)
          Mike is attacked by a street thug whom seems a little out it, eyes wide open and froth spilling from his mouth. Luckily, Mike doesn't walk around the city helpless, packing a glock 17 in his pocket.

          Mike wins Initiative and opens fire at the thug, getting a couple shots into him, trying to prevent him from getting any closer (gets 2 successes). But the thug is still standing, charging strait at him. The thug is able to get a hit in on him though (3 successes),

          He tries to shoot at his assailant again, but with the thug being so close, he is much harder to hit (he has a chance die and get a dramatic failure). He keeps firing at the guy, but he just can't hit him. And just as he pulls the trigger again, he hears a surprisingly loud *click*. Mike wasn't prepared to be attacked in the streets, so hasn't brought any extra ammunition. Its either fight or flight now.

          As long as he hadn't gotten a dramatic failure, he would have been able to take shots at the thug?

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Neros View Post
            I also read "reloads" as an abstraction representing enough ammunition for a refile of the weapon after a round of panicked bullet fire at the wriggling thingy crawling toward you.

            For Example (would really have liked to have some examples in the book)
            Mike is attacked by a street thug whom seems a little out it, eyes wide open and froth spilling from his mouth. Luckily, Mike doesn't walk around the city helpless, packing a glock 17 in his pocket.

            Mike wins Initiative and opens fire at the thug, getting a couple shots into him, trying to prevent him from getting any closer (gets 2 successes). But the thug is still standing, charging strait at him. The thug is able to get a hit in on him though (3 successes),

            He tries to shoot at his assailant again, but with the thug being so close, he is much harder to hit (he has a chance die and get a dramatic failure). He keeps firing at the guy, but he just can't hit him. And just as he pulls the trigger again, he hears a surprisingly loud *click*. Mike wasn't prepared to be attacked in the streets, so hasn't brought any extra ammunition. Its either fight or flight now.

            As long as he hadn't gotten a dramatic failure, he would have been able to take shots at the thug?
            That's correct.


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            • #7
              Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
              Pocket Full of Shells
              Your character is carrying extra ammunition for her weapon. Pick a specific ranged or thrown weapon when you acquire this Condition. By spending an Instant action and shedding this Condition, you can restore a weapon of that type that has run out of ammunition to full capacity. Shedding the Condition in this way does not grant a Beat. A character can have multiple instances of this Condition, each associated with a different weapon.
              Possible Sources: A character can acquire this Condition with a purchase at Availability one less than the Availability of the weapon it is associated with (minimum 1). At Storyteller discretion, a character may be able to get it by other means, such as robbing a sporting goods store or scavenging ammo off of someone equipped with the same type of weapon.
              Resolution: Have your ammunition confiscated or stolen.
              Beat: n/a

              Under this rule, the Loaded for Bear Merit would allow you to restore your weapon to full capacity without expending Pocket Full of Shells a number of times per Scene equal to your dots in the Merit.
              I like it, but without restriction we get this

              Maybe max amount of conditions limited by Strength?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by OsuNeko View Post
                I like it, but without restriction we get this

                Maybe max amount of conditions limited by Strength?
                The picture isn't showing up for me, but I'm guessing it's someone carrying a ton of guns and/or boxes upon boxes of ammo. Note that Pocket Full of Shells specifies that you can have multiple instances - each associated with a different weapon. That means, at most, you can have one instance of Pocket Full of Shells for each weapon you carry. Granted, CofD doesn't have rules for carrying capacity so there is theoretically no limit to how many weapons you can carry (beyond common sense). But if you consider that a problem (I don't), it lies with the CofD general rules, not with Pocket Full of Shells.

                EDIT: Also note that Pocket Full of Shells doesn't functionally change the rules for extra reloads in Hurt Locker, beyond giving you a Beat if your ammo gets taken from you. It's just a more grokkable reorganization of the rules as written.
                Last edited by Charlaquin; 12-31-2016, 01:28 PM.


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Charlaquin
                  showing up for me
                  in case


                  But i have another question.
                  How would different bursts work in one load?
                  For example, character have "trigger discipline" and SMG. And i wont make one medium burst and three short, what would be logical IC (intimidate and finish). translation difficulties: I dont clearly understand would he have in one load thee short burst, two medium and one long or not. From examples it becomes clear that's not. But then what should we do with different bursts. It's clear that one short and one medium can be placed in one load.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by OsuNeko View Post
                    But i have another question.
                    How would different bursts work in one load?
                    For example, character have "trigger discipline" and SMG.
                    An SMG has High Capacity, so Trigger Discipline would allow you to use up to two long bursts with it without having to reload.

                    Originally posted by OsuNeko View Post
                    And i wont make one medium burst and three short, what would be logical IC (intimidate and finish). translation difficulties: I dont clearly understand would he have in one load thee short burst, two medium and one long or not. From examples it becomes clear that's not. But then what should we do with different bursts. It's clear that one short and one medium can be placed in one load.
                    I'm having a hard time understanding the question. It sounds like you're asking about how many of each type of burst you can use before having to reload. Theoretically with an SMG and Trigger Discipline, you could use two short bursts, one medium burst, and one long burst. After that, one more burst of any length will mean you have to reload, so you might as well use a long burst. It seems like this may be causing some confusion for you because if you use three short bursts you have to reload, but you can use two short bursts and one medium burst, you don't have to reload. This is because the Capacity system is highly abstract. Bursts don't represent a specific number of bullets being spent from the magazine in this system. In fact, you might describe the character reloading between bursts, without actually spending an "extra reload" (or the Pocket Full of Shells Condition). Using too many bursts isn't about running out of ammo in the magazine, it's about losing mental track of how many bullets you have used, which causes you to run out at a bad time.

                    If this doesn't work for you, an easy house rule would be to say that two short bursts add up to a medium bursts and two medium bursts add up to a long burst. That would mean with an SMG and Trigger Discipline, you could use two long bursts, four short bursts, or eight short bursts (or like... one long burst, one medium burst, and two short bursts or something). If you do it this way, I would recommend also having weapons' Capacity temporarily decrease when you use too many bursts. So, once you've made one long burst and one medium burst with your Trigger Discipline SMG, you'd effectively reduce it to medium capacity until the next time you reload. If you then used a short burst, it would be left with low capacity until you reloaded it again.


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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Charlaquin
                      If you do it this way, I would recommend also having weapons' Capacity temporarily decrease when you use too many bursts. So, once you've made one long burst and one medium burst with your Trigger Discipline SMG, you'd effectively reduce it to medium capacity until the next time you reload. If you then used a short burst, it would be left with low capacity until you reloaded it again.
                      Thanks, man! It's really help.
                      Originally posted by Charlaquin
                      If this doesn't work for you
                      It's not like it does not work for me but instead one ugly troll face i have them three. It's mast be logical to the last nail. They just can escape any punishment for firing long burst only every two rounds (or what make sense). Especially one who can roll 5 successes on four dice. On full time.

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                      • #12
                        I am still a little bit unsure whether I understood everything correctly.

                        1) There is no difference between a normal gun and an automatic gun anymore!?
                        2) You are usually out of ammunition the first time you have to reload!?
                        3) To prevent your character from going out of ammunition so soon you have three options:
                        a) Spend experience and buy the "Loaded for Bear Merit".
                        b) Search for ammunition somewhere and make a dice roll.
                        c) Buy more ammunition shortly before the combat.

                        I am also a little bit confused about the description regarding the ammunition you "bought". It sounds as if the ammunition vanishes if you don't use it during the scene or the following.
                        4) So one of my players bought a gun for availability 2. He has resources 2, so he could buy two packs of ammunition during the next chapter. But even without a combat it would disappear?
                        5) The other two are police detectives. They could theoretically take any amount of ammunition with them all the time!? (Unless they don't visit the precinct for more than two scenes.)
                        Last edited by Elythia; 02-11-2017, 06:08 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          1) There is no difference between a normal gun and an automatic gun anymore!?
                          Steel there: guns with low capacity can't fire medium or long burst. SMG and half-auto have tendency contain more cartridges in clips.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          ]2) You are usually out of ammunition the first time you have to reload!?
                          When you MECHANICALLY reload firs time. For dramatic meaning you reload as often as you need. But when you hit the bottom that's meaning you expended all your ammo.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          ]3) To prevent your character from going out of ammunition so soon you have three options:
                          Maybe you can craft/obtain roomy clips with extended ammo capacity.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          ]Buy more ammunition shortly before the combat.
                          Not only buy. Craft, obtain through your contacts, status or request to allies.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          ] It sounds as if the ammunition vanishes if you don't use it during the scene or the following.
                          I assume, professionals walk fully loaded only when they go onto fight. When they idle they carry with them only at max two-tree clips. There we assume that they automatically dispose unnecessary ammo.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          ]He has resources 2, so he could buy two packs of ammunition during the next chapter.
                          He can't simultaneously carry both reloads, only by turns. But he can obtain them twice per chapter.
                          Originally posted by Elythia
                          They could theoretically take any amount of ammunition with them all the time!?
                          Much depends on the laws of the country in which the action takes place. In our country for each extra shot they will devour detective/cop with the giblets.
                          Last edited by OsuNeko; 02-11-2017, 10:28 AM.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Elythia View Post
                            1) There is no difference between a normal gun and an automatic gun anymore!?
                            Automatic guns typically have higher Capacity, which means they can be used to fire more or longer bursts.

                            Originally posted by Elythia View Post
                            2) You are usually out of ammunition the first time you have to reload!?
                            Mechanically speaking, yes, but remember that these rules are highly abstract. Lets say you have a revolver. In real life, most revolvers can only hold about 6-8 rounds. Under these rules, it has Low capacity, which means it runs out on a miss. If you have a really high dice pool, you might roll more than 8 hits before you roll a miss, not to mention the fact that one attack roll doesn't necessarily represent a single gunshot. Instead, this ammo capacity system assumes you have some amount of extra ammo on you, and you can reload as needed without having to use an Action. It's only when you run out of ammo (a miss or short burst with a Low Capacity weapon, a dramatic failure, two short bursts, or a medium burst with a medium capacity weapon, or three short bursts, two medium bursts, or a long burst with a high capacity weapon) that you have to take an Action to reload, and then only if you are actually carrying more extra ammo than is typical for an average armed citizen (represented by Loaded for Bear or an "extra reload" that you bought as Equipment.)

                            Originally posted by Elythia View Post
                            3) To prevent your character from going out of ammunition so soon you have three options:
                            a) Spend experience and buy the "Loaded for Bear Merit".
                            b) Search for ammunition somewhere and make a dice roll.
                            c) Buy more ammunition shortly before the combat.

                            I am also a little bit confused about the description regarding the ammunition you "bought". It sounds as if the ammunition vanishes if you don't use it during the scene or the following.
                            Yeah, the part where the extra ammo disappears after a scene is weird. I am pretty sure that happens to prevent you from just stockpiling dozens of "extra reloads" in the downtime between action scenes. That's why I wrote up a similar mechanic in the form of a Condition, which David wanted to put in the book, but it seems to not have worked out.

                            Originally posted by Elythia View Post
                            4) So one of my players bought a gun for availability 2. He has resources 2, so he could buy two packs of ammunition during the next chapter. But even without a combat it would disappear?
                            I'm pretty sure you're only supposed to be able to have one "extra reload" for each weapon at a time, and that's why they disappear. Again, I think the Condition is a more elegant way to accomplish this and would recommend anyone who wants to use the Hurt Locker ammo capacity rules use it instead.

                            Originally posted by Elythia View Post
                            5) The other two are police detectives. They could theoretically take any amount of ammunition with them all the time!? (Unless they don't visit the precinct for more than two scenes.)
                            No, if they're requisitioning ammo from the precinct, that's still an equipment purchase at (weapon's Availability -1). They're just buying it with their Police Status instead of Resources.
                            Last edited by Charlaquin; 02-11-2017, 12:05 PM.


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                            • #15
                              I think a lot of people struggle with the Hurt Locker capacity rules because games have taught us to think of ammunition and reloading in terms of resource management, whereas this system handles ammunition and reloading in terms of dramatic tension.


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