Vehicles use most of the same general rules as characters, though on a larger scale of action. There are really only a few basic rules regarding vehicles and their behavior that need to be discussed.
Vehicles are fairly straight forward to operate. When characters enter a vehicle the vehicle assumes the Skill scores of a certain group of characters; essentially the characters and the vehicle behave as a single entity. One character automatically assumes the role of the vehicle’s pilot; this can be any character regardless of their Vehicle Piloting Skill, though it is common for vehicles that are used regularly by a group of characters to have one character be the sole pilot. The pilot’s Vehicle Piloting, Evasive Maneuvers, Combat Maneuvers and Orientation DC scores should be recorded on the vehicle’s stats sheet. A vehicle may have one or more mission specialists aboard as well; one or more of them may be put in charge of the vehicle’s weaponry (i.e. be a gunner). The Marksmanship, Ballistics and Targeting DC scores of all gunners should also be included on the vehicle’s stats sheet, with the specific set of weapons under a character's direct control also noted. The indicated Skills are particularly important in the event of combat (see Chapter 9.3). Finally, a vehicle may have a commander (like a ship's captain or other senior officer) whose job it will be to delegate responsibility over who controls what aspects of the vehicle's operation; the GM should go to this character when determining what actions a vehicle will take. On small, one-person vehicles, it is permissible for a single character to assume all of these roles. The Discipline Skills indicated above are the main Skills needed to operate a vehicle; other Skills will only be needed on very rare occasions.
Most of the procedures involved in the creation and maintenance of a vehicle are geared towards how it performs in combat. However, characters are not guaranteed to fight every time they get inside a vehicle; indeed, life would be far too rough if that were the case. More often than not, a vehicle will simply be needed to go from one place to another. Piloting a vehicle from one point to another requires a single Vehicle Piloting Check; for more information on the specifics of using vehicles to travel from point to point, see Chapters 8.2, 8.3 and 8.4.
When using a vehicle's scanners, any Science Skill may apply depending upon the target of the scan; Chapter 3.8 lists the specific Skills which apply in various situations (if a vehicle is scanning a lifeform, a Planetology Check is called for, if the target is a ruin an Archaeology check is called for, and so forth). Certain conditions may crop up in the course of game-play that can affect the DC of a scanning Check. The GM may consult the chart below to see if a qualifying condition exists; if so, the amount indicated is added to the DC of the Check. The player performing the Check should be so notified of the modifier.
|Scanning DC Modifier||Qualifying Condition|
|-5||For each Size Class the target is smaller than the scanning vehicle|
|+5||For each Size Class the target is larger than the scanning vehicle|
|+10||If the target is using its own active scanning systems|
|-10||If the target is not using any active electrical systems (i.e. is running silent)|
|-25||If the target is concealed behind another object at least three Size Classes larger than itself.|
Scale of Action and Vehicles
Vehicles operate on a larger spatial scale than characters and creatures. Whereas most creatures take up a volume of no more than two or three cubic meters, vehicles can be up to 600,000 cubic meters in volume; some are large enough to be considered capital ships. The sizes of vehicles and capital ships are categorized by a Size Class value, which is dependent on a "bounding box" volume. Size Class will be discussed more in Chapter 6.2 and Chapter 7.2.
Vehicles treat how they handle damage differently than characters. Vehicles have four HP counts, one for the vehicle's bow (front), stern (back), portside (left) and starboard (right) defensive arcs. Each count includes the number of shield hit points (SHP) and armor hit points (AHP) in the arc. Additionally, all vehicles can take systems damage and have a maximum amount of core damage they can take before being destroyed. For further details, see Chapter 9.3.
Certain vehicles can provide cover for characters. Cover comes in three levels: none, limited and full. When a vehicle offers cover, a character may receive a lessened amount of damage from weapons fire in the event that the vehicle is hit in combat. Cover is discussed in Chapter 9.2.
Purchasing, Owning and Maintaining Vehicles
A vehicle’s cost is dependent upon who is allowed to purchase it, whether or not the vehicle is used and any other modifiers a GM may choose to use. An example of a GM-imposed modifier may be whether a brand new model of a vehicle has just come out, thus lowering the demand for the older model and lowering its price while raising the demand and price for the newer model. Used vehicles may cost between 25 to 50% the cost of a new vehicle, but it is possible that it may have picked up a few flaws in its service lifetime. Military or any other kind of "illicit" vehicles may not be available for purchase by characters through normal means...
When a character buys a vehicle, it's not considered part of their equipment but rather an asset; ownership of the vehicle should be added to the character’s notes. A character must pay 10% of the purchase price of the vehicle for licensing, tags and insurance at the time of purchase. This amount will have to be paid annually to any local authorities in order to keep the vehicle legally licensed. If a character forgets to pay it, they have a three-month grace period during which time they can receive a fine if they get pulled over by a law enforcement official; these fines can run up to ¤100 or more depending on the local government. After that time, if a law enforcement official pulls over the vehicle, they have an obligation to impound it at once.
Characters may purchase vehicles in installments. These installments are usually set at a price of no more than ¤300 to ¤500 per month; higher rates can be found at less scrupulous dealerships. Failure to make a payment incurs the wrath of the financing institution, which may then decide to repossess the vehicle. For the first week after a payment is due, roll 2d10. On a roll of 0, the vehicle will be repossessed. For each week afterwards, increase the threshold by two. If a character has missed their payments for eight weeks in a row, repossession becomes automatic (though, of course, the repo man still has to come and take it...)
A character has to be able to maintain any vehicle they own; they alone are responsible for the payment of any repair and maintenance costs. If they will be leaving an area and cannot take their vehicle with them, they have to make arrangements to put it in a garage or an impound yard of some kind, or attempt to sell it. Impounding a vehicle can get expensive, but is probably a better option than selling it if the character won't be gone for an extended period of time; vehicles often pay for themselves in the sheer utility they can provide.