With the advent of Rigger 2, it’s time to clear away some of the murk surrouding rigging in Shadowrun.
Vehicle Control Rig cyberware is an interface that hooks up the midbrain and spinal column to a highly specialised simsense processor and control interfaces. The simsense processor is rather invasive because it brings in interfaces that most do not: the kinesthetic sense (the sense of where your body is) is incredibly heightened to make the rigger feel like a vehicle, and the peripheral vision wraps all the way around in a 360° sphere. A rigger can only focus on one particular section of their view (an act as easy as moving your eyes to track), but their perceptions go all around. (This is why the Essence loss for a VCR is on the order of that of Wired Reflexes: what it lacks in wiring up to the external nerves it makes up for in invading the sensorium.)
Since the spinal column is involved in rigging, reflex recorders do apply to rigging (in contradiction of Rigger 2, p.17); if your campaign permits “rigging” as a concentration on vehicle skills, such recorders can be bought for rigging only. Note that this interpretation also requires skillwires for vehicle skills, since the reflexes for driving the vehicle must be present. (Again, skillsofts may exists for rigging vehicles only.)
The vehicle control rig is designed to make full use of the human sensorium, including pain; while this can cause temporary side effects that are identical to being stunned, this is seen as a risk of getting good performance. Riggers who customize their machines to avoid pain signalling lose their extra initiative dice, since it is the level of realism presented by the potential of the sensation of hurting that brings their performance up and allows the adrenal stimulators to function.
The connection between a vehicle control rig or other datajack uses fiber optics, not a direct electrical connection. (Fiber optics give excellent bandwidth, are better shielded, and avoid the problem of worrying about a voltage surge causing brain damage. It doesn’t make sense that anyone would design cyberware any other way.) The only way that a person can be harmed through their jacks is for someone to figure out how to use the appropriate signalling protocol to harm them, such as black IC (which is carefully tuned to do bad things to the (meta)human nervous system). Random power surges cannot physically harm a rigger (or decker) through their headware, though they may have effects on their equipment that have repercussions through their interface and hence result in Stun damage. Really, random voltage spikes should only result in sudden sensory blackouts for the rigger as the system fails to produce coherent output and packets get dropped, but we’ll assume that ASIST rigs are highly shielded and translate spikes into something that lets the rigger know that Something Is Very Wrong.
(From a game-balance point of view, it also makes sense for riggers to only deal with two condition monitors: their own Stun track and their vehicle’s damage track. Allowing damage to vehicles and drones to inflict physical damage to riggers gives them three sources of penalties due to condition monitors, rather than two.)
Sensors divide up into the following areas:
Visible-light Optical: The usual spectrum that we humans see in, often augmented by flare compensation and low-light magnification. It is useful for broad scanning at ranges of up to 200m under good conditions (further, for large objects in uninterrupted terrain— multiply the range by the multiplier from human size?), and is easily fouled by fog, smoke, rain, and dust. The zoom lenses that provide (50×Rating)× magnification for sensor suites are excellent for investigating objects that have been spotted on radar, but do not help much with spotting such objects at long range in the first place. Within optical range, ECM and ED are much less effective, because a rigger can just effectively eyeball the vehicle. (Missiles, however, do not have the benefit of a few hundred million years of evolution in learning to recognize shapes, and are still going to have trouble locking on.) When using zoom lenses, increase penalties for fog, mist, smoke, and other interfering media as you see fit— I suggest adding the modifier again for each 3× zoom used.
Thermographic Optical: Sensitivity ranging into the infrared. It works well at ranges of up to ?? under good conditions.
Ultraviolet Optical: Not all that handy at night without an ultraviolet spotlight, but very useful for stealth missions and seeing other people with ultraviolet spotlights.
Passive Aural: A suite of sensitive microphones set all around a vehicle can do a fairly good job of detecting where objects are by matching sound arrival times. A good processor can also extrapolate details of the area by the sound. A noisy environment (like a battlefield) can make it very difficult to use aural sensors.
Active Sonar: Sonar (short for SOund NAvigation Ranging) requires that the vehicle emit its own ultrasound waves and listen for the reflections from nearby objects. (Underwater, the sound used can be an audible frequency, hence the familiar “pings” from submarine dramas.)
Chemical: Chemical sensors are only useful for picking up chemical traces that are upwind of the vehicle, but can be a handy warning if sudden microgram concentrations of expended rocket propellant begin filtering over the ridge.
Passive Radio and Microwave: A vehicle’s radio and microwave sensors can often tell a great deal about where the opponents are when they have their radar up, in addition to allowing eavesdropping on unencrypted communications.
Active Radar: Radar (an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging) is one of the best means of detection, but it lights the sensing platform up as it sweeps the area with radio waves. (One tactic is to place the radar emitter on a drone and have the drone communicate with the main vehicle through a laser or wire link; these are called “whiskers”.) Extreme range on active radar is 4 times the radar’s flux rating in kilometers, drastically exceeding most other means of detection and hence making electronic warfare important at ranges beyond visual detection. In addition to classic “blips” familiar to air traffic controllers, imaging radar can actually determine useful details about a vehicle— and can thus be spoofed by a good electronic deception system. A group of coordinated drones can take advantage of synthetic aperture radar, where a central computer can take input from a number of drones (or one drone moving around a stationary object over a period of time) and synthesize a better image than a single pulse would give.
Lidar: Lidar (short for LIght Detection and Ranging) is much like radar, but uses laser beams, which have a much higher resolution, varying from the microwave (2mm wavelength) to visible regions. Lidar, in addition to detecting mundane objects, can also sample such things as air density and turbulence, making it an invaluable aid in using indirect fire; it can also detect media with different optical properties (such as a transparent aerosol containing chemical or biological warfare agents). Lidar does an excellent job of illuminating (for a brief instant) the scanning vehicle with a bright flash in the spectrum it’s using, so it is another risky means of getting information. It is much harder to spoof with ED than radar. Battlefields of the Shadowrun era tend to be saturated with aerosols designed to make lidar less useful.
At any point, a rigger may wish to turn off their active sensing in order to become more stealthy. A rigger with active sensors has the “footprint” modifications to Signature as stated on p. 87 of Rigger 2. If they choose to shut down their active sensors, they lose most of their ability to detect things outside visual range (except by locking on to EM emitters). In general, for two sensor suites at the same level of technology, a passive sensor can dectect an active sensor at least twice as far away as the active sensor can detect “unlit” objects.
A good set of sensors (by the time Shadowrun rolls around) will be easily able to backtrack an object in a ballistic trajectory to figure out where it was launched from, probably before it hits. For this reason, any sane person using mortars, grenade launchers, or other such toys does their best to vacate their launch spot before their projectile reaches its target. To extrapolate from a ballistic trajectory, roll Sensors against ???.
Lidar makes it possible to use sniper rifles and thump guns for tactical indirect fire. This trick requires a steady firing platform and extremely precise aiming; it can only be performed from ground-based vehicles when stationary. Work out reduction in damage for using indirect fire bullets, thump guns, etc.
|Sensor||Short (4)||Medium (5)||Long (6)||eXtreme (9)|
|Radar||(Rating÷2 - 0.25) km||(Rating - 1/2) km||(Rating×2 - 1) km||(Rating×4 - 2) km|
Double the ranges on radar with respect to a radar detecting another radar in operation. (Radar ranges are not entirely accurate— you have to multiply the rating by 1.5 and look it up on the Flux Range Table in Rigger 2 for perfect accuracy, but my formula is fairly close.)
Signal warfare divides up first into two areas: digital and analog.
Analog signal warfare deals with the world of airwaves and radar. Electronic Deception (ED) involves spoofing radar by presenting a different signature than your vehicle should actually return— both with the vehicle’s physical profile and the Doppler shift account for its motion. A well-integrated ED suite on a group of several drones should make it possible to look like a fleet of panzers is arriving in the same airspace.
Analog signal warfare also involves the joy of jamming. ECM, having started life jamming radar, will have evolved into the role of jamming rigger networks by the 2050’s. Systems using technologies like CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access multiplexing) are harder to jam because they spread the information out across a wide band of channels, though they require a central coordinator to reassign bandwidth every second. There needs to be an explanation of what a standard SR2 signal jammer does in a situation like that. If you know which channels you’re hopping around for your transmissions, your ECM can locate any other channels that someone is using and jam them, even without knowing what the content is— if it has a carrier wave, it can jam it. (Note that ECM is not a stealth technology: it makes it very easy to know someone’s there, but hard to lock on to them.)
Digital signal warfare is much more difficult, because it actually involves invading your opponent’s signalling systems and introducing your own packets. It can be made very difficult by encryption, which can go anywhere from the breakable codes FASA uses to one-time pads (expensive, but worthwhile). A drone’s audio/video feed is usually about 2Mp per minute uncompressed, which should get down to about .01Mp per second compressed, or about 20K per second (comparable to modern wireless networks). Let’s assume that each channel is about 20K per second per drone, so any drone uses about 100Mp of one-time pad per hour. Ten hours can fit easily onto a single 1Gp optical chip. Introduce one-time pad generator using quantum effects to generate random numbers and fill up one-time-pad buffers. Cost for unscrambling should be minimal, since it’s XOR.
Laser communication requires a good line-of-sight from each end, but is much harder to meddle in. Introduce stats for laser communicators and wire-guided drones— Condors pretending to be kites...
One of the ways to counter jamming is to use multiple redundant channels for transmission, in a brute-force attempt to have more hardware for communication than your opponent does for jamming you.
Strictly speaking, ECM is any electronic system intended to make incoming fire miss its intended target, while ED is any electronic system intended to make opponents choose the wrong target. There is a little blurring between the two when, for example, an emitting decoy is used to lure homing missiles away from the real target. Either type of activity can be done in both analog and digital ways. For example, assume a radar-homing missile (one which goes active and tracks its own target during the terminal phase). Today ECM would be analog, including chaff and jamming to disrupt the radar lock, as would ED such as dropping a corner-reflector decoy to return a better signal. ECCM techniques involve better software in the missile to sort out the signals it receives. Modifying the outgoing radar signal to make this easier might well involve digital techniques, shaping the wavefront using D/A conversion or modulating a digital signal onto the radar carrier, so the transformations in the returned waveform can be used to deduce more about what it passed through. ECM measures for these techniques would then become digital, actively receiving and analyzing the incoming signal to produce the appropriate spoofing return signal.
Another form of ECCM for this problem is to replace the radar-homing missile with a radio-guided missile, which uses the bigger, more effective sensor systems of the launching platform to guide the dumber missile to the target. Of course, this has the big disadvantage that the firing platform must guide the missile, requiring attention and continued contact. ECM against this kind of system can exploit the guidance link, jamming or spoofing it. Again, that could be done in analog or digital ways.
The hybrid design where the missile has its own active guidance system but also receives information from the launching platform when it is available is, I think, what modern systems such as the Phoenix air-to-air missiles (AAMs), called radar-guided missiles, do. This sort of missile seems to be the model on which the FASA rules are based. Analog ECM systems can be used to jam the missile’s detection apparatus and the controlling signal. Digital ECM systems can be used to spoof them. Both result in a SOTA race.
While the models for ECM and ECCM seem to match the AAM and SAM (Surface-to-Air Missile) problem, ED tends to be more common in SSM and ASM (you get the idea) applications, especially in naval warfare. ED can be used to achieve tactical surprise, such as switching the signatures for the drone flight coming from the NE with the panzer flight coming from the NW, or as a form of ECM. The standard equipment of blip enhancers on small US naval vessels to complement signature-reduction methods on larger vessels is an example of this, where the carriers try to look like cruisers and vice versa. Since most naval missile engagements are stand-off affairs, the final homing phase of advanced missiles involves a target selection phase as well. The blip enhancers help direct the incoming missiles to less-valuable targets, often with more effective missile defenses.
Target-painting systems tend to be more used in land warfare. (It’s pretty easy to tell what is ship and what is water; it’s much trickier to tell a house from a tank when you have a missile’s brain.) A near-future battlefield missile system likely addresses the problems of traditional artillery fire (counterbattery evasion, delayed effect, accuracy, vulnerability of observers) by launching missiles before the target is painted, or even cruise missiles that take up an evasive holding pattern while waiting for a target to be painted. ECM and ED for this sort of missile might involve suppressing the painting signal or falsifying a painting signal on a useless target (or even a friendly one). Target painting is nearly always done with invisible lasers, to make it unlikely that the missile will mistake the painter for the target. I suppose you could use rasers (radio-frequency lasers) instead, of course.
In an electronic battlefield, sophisticated IFF systems will likely also be widespread, and likely represent the most aggressive area of SOTA advancement. Especially for a US-like political environment where friendly casualties are extremely costly and friendly-fire casualties are unacceptable, the safety of an IFF system is too attractive to miss. In a highly-trained force like the US army, platform commanders will likely have the authority and capability to override IFF systems if they believe they have been compromised and a hostile unit is blipping friendly.
|Size Reduction||Price Multiplier|
|-4 CF||Unheard of|
Sensors, ECM, ECCM, ED, and ECD can all be compacted according to the rules in RBB1.
The handling improvements on p. XX of Rigger 2 can? cannot? be applied to both aspects of a vehicle’s handling. Thus, a van chassis can be improved from 4/10 to 4/5 or 2/5 but not? or even? 2/5. These handling improvements do not? stack with improved suspension (p. XX), drive-by-wire (p. XX), or off-road suspension (p. XX).
Drive-by-wire is actually a descendant of the anti-lock braking systems of the 1990’s. Drive-by-wire brings computer control similar to anti-lock braking to acceleration and maneuvering, making use of controlled skids for improved maneuvering. Vehicles using drive-by-wire are distinctive in their ability to perform fishtailing and “bootlegger reverse” maneuvers easily, and an investigator can usually recognize the tire tracks of one by looking at the “stuttering” marks where it switched between ordinary driving and skidding. Turning off a drive-by-wire system cancels the handling bonus to a normally stable vehicle and may introduce problems if the other bonuses of drive-by-wire are needed for the vehicle’s usual performance. Detail this.
Increasing the number of power factors for a vehicle’s batteries costs no extra weight or CF. This suggests that Shadowrun battery technology is excellent, and that the cost of getting a given number of PF into a given space is linear with the number of PF. This actually makes a great deal of sense if you look at cyberware, since there are no rules suggesting that a person with cyberlegs can’t run a marathon without a recharge. I suspect that a large portion of the cost of cyberlimbs isn’t interface— it’s batteries!
It would be good to figure out what distinguishes a normal vehicle from Security from Military. (Quality, etc.)
There are a number of vehicle designs that should be available in the 2050’s that are not covered in Rigger 2.
There is no particular reason that an electric vehicle can’t accelerate as hard or travel as fast as a vehicle with a gasoline engine; the trick is getting the power requirements to a reasonable level.
Fuel cells can convert chemical energy directly to electricity without messing around with explosions and burning things. They produce no noise and have no moving parts, though they still create waste heat, and are more efficient at converting chemical energy to do useful work than internal combustion engines. They can run on a number of different possible fuels, anywhere from ordinary hydrogen (which is difficult to store) to methane, propane, coal gas, and similar organics with plenty of hydrogen in them. They can be used as large generators (suitable for keeping your building online when the power goes out) as well as vehicle power plants— a 1997 power plant providing 200kW is the size of a minivan and can help heat your home to boot. Most solutions for vehicles involved pure hydrogen, methane, or methanol (which, as a liquid, can be handled more easily than the other two fuels).
Pure-electric vehicles have some limitations, but a vehicle with an internal combustion engine as well as an electric motor and batteries (a hybrid electric vehicle or HEV) has some advantages. A serial HEV (SHEV) can take power from either batteries or a generator that is turned by an internal combustion engine; a parallel HEV (PHEV) is set up to hook both the electric motor and the IC engine up to the drive train. An advantage for serial hybrid engines (and flywheel hybrids) is that the engine, when running, can run at peak efficiency, since it only has to turn the generator and never needs to rev up and down as the vehicle shifts gears.
Purely flywheel-driven vehicles have limitations like purely electric ones, but having a small engine to charge up your flywheel can make a lot of difference. The flywheel itself is generally isolated from the rest of the vehicle: kept in a vacuum suspended by magnetic bearings, it never even touches its own chamber. It is spun up and down magnetically; it serves as a form of energy storage that lasts longer than a capacitor but not quite as long as a battery. Like other electric vehicles, flywheel-based ones can use regenerative braking to store up the vehicle’s kinetic energy when slowing down, though this won’t work in situations where you really need to jam on the brakes. A hybrid flywheel design uses a flywheel to store energy in place of a battery, and has another engine (in the modern Rosen Motors design, a gas turbine engine in a package designed to give "sports-car acceleration, very high gasoline mileage, [and] nearly zero emissions") that drives a generator that can charge up the flywheel or directly drive the motor.
Some of the problems introduced by flywheels include the gyroscope effect (which can be dealt with by mounting the flywheel on gimbals) and the fact that a flywheel is carrying a lot of kinetic energy that could be released in an unfriendly way if the flywheel is broken. (It’s comparable to hitting the gas tank on a vehicle that’s not designed like a race car to avoid such blowups...) Most flywheel passenger vehicles will be designed to (a) keep the flywheel from being crushed in an accident and (b) to minimize the amount of damage it can do when it spins down (by dumping a lot of coolant into the chamber in an accident and by making the chamber itself extremely tough), but this is not likely to be terribly helpful if an AVM scores a direct hit. I doubt that many security or military vehicles will sport flywheels.
A Dir-X simsense feed, widely known for its amazing clarity, only takes up 3Mp per second— 9Mp per turn. This leaves 14DFR unused on your standard rigger’s datajack. I cannot see why having a higher-bandwidth datajack will give you that much more advantage in perception if the fidelity of a 25DFR datajack is already that good. (It also suggests truly incredible bandwidth being shipped around between drones.) Ignore the rule about high-bandwidth datajacks giving extra dice for perception checks.
Flaw “Simsense Vertigo”: display links merely place images on your vision like a heads-up display, and have nowhere near the level of detail present in simsense hardware. Smartlinks are much further from “total immersion” compared to ordinary simsense applications. People with Simsense Vertigo can use display links and video links normally, and only take a –1 modifier for using a smartlink rather than the usual –2.
Szeto suggests that overhaul time for removing stress points should have a base time of eight hours times the number of stress points.
While the note about deckers having their datajacks on their temples and riggers have one behind the ear is a nice bit of flavor, it should not be a requirement, given that you can have a datajack in your finger.
Aural signature should be handled. Convert stuff from RBB1.
The large/very large handling modifiers only apply to large vehicles of a given type. The Car skill used in the example is a General skill that applies to trucks, vans, and so on, and should not take penalties for big rigs unless you’re defaulting from a Concentration. A vehicle that fits the configuration of a big rig but is much larger than your standard big rig should take the handling penalties.
Headware telephones obviously aren’t Flux 0, since they seem to operate at ranges of greater than about 250m in urban environments.
Encryption should not lower the range of digital communication. As far as the communications are concerned, bits are bits; encryption is merely something you do with them.
If a vehicle sustains Serious or Destroyed damage, the rigger should take 6M Stun damage. If the vehicle is destroyed, they should take 6S Stun. This damage is in addition to the physical damage they should take along with all other passengers of the vehicle.
A vehicle that resists damage only with Body and Combat Pool is highly vulnerable to attacks, especially autofire, and the vehicle armor rules provide a nonsensical continuum where an autofire attack with base Power equal to vehicle armor bounces off and one with Power one higher destroys the vehicle. Use the rule from SR2 p108: roll Vehicle Body + 1/2 Vehicle Armor against the Power of the attack minus the sum of Body and Armor.
The notion that there is no continuum between a mage moving normally at Quickness×4 and astral-fast speeds seems unmagical. A mage might have difficulty scouting out a jet aircraft because the details are blurry, but should still be able to return to their body if they project during flight. (Keeping a mage away from their body should be harder than hopping on the freeway and driving.)
Indirect fire is a concentration on Gunnery, and hence has no extra difficulty added when just using Gunnery. FDDM is needed for drones to be able to handle indirect fire without rigger intervention (simply giving orders, rather than popping into the drone and controlling it directly— after all, if the rigger has decent position information on their target, indirect fire shouldn’t need a hideously expensive system).
Note that humans have a Signature of 8, according to Fields of Fire, p83. You may wish to adjust the Rigger 2 statistics upward by 2, or make a note in your copy. (Rigger 2 is planned to supercede Fields of Fire.)
Subscriber lists should be limited only by the memory on the deck; assume that it costs 500¥ to increase the subscriber list capacity by one.
It doesn’t make sense that an RC deck gives a rigger worse dump shock because it can control a larger number of drones. Use 8S Stun.
ASIST backlash should not cause physical damage. Use Stun damage.
Commands that can be phrased in a few seconds of speech should not take hundreds of megapulses of storage. Come up with a more practical measure, perhaps substituting 1 Mp for 100Mp.
Zapper warheads should only do Stun damage. (This is a digital protocol, not a wire into the brain. Black IC is tuned to do bad things to a human nervous system through simsense feedback. Capacitors discharging into random electrical equipment aren’t.)
Methane fuel should be measured in kilograms, not bars. (Bars are units of pressure, and the amount of fuel present will vary with the size of the tank. Modern propane fuel is sold by weight. Szeto was thinking in terms of SCUBA gear, where you measure it by pressure.) Come up with a conversion.
Turbocharging shouldn’t give +10 to acceleration. Extrapolating from the Eurocar Westwind 2000, which has turbocharged and non-turbocharged models, it looks like it adds about 10% to acceleration, assuming it has two levels.
Designing smartlink integration into a turret costs 250–350 points (25k¥–35k¥) while customizing it in costs only 650¥–900¥? I think design points were scaled differently at some stage in the book, and this got past the editors. Use 5 and 8 points for designing in Smartlink I and II integration.
Turrets can be confusing. Here’s a table to make it easier to handle:
Typos: ECCM 1 is 10k¥; ECCM 3 is 50k¥. Insert missing M’s in the obvious spots on the price charts.
A standard bench or bucket seat should take 100kg of load, not 150kg.
A small sidecar should be able to seat one person, and so should be 6 CF. To scale appropriately, the medium sidecar should be 9 CF.
It is more expensive by an order of magnitude to increase strength in limbs; this is probably a typo. Assume 800dp and 1000dp in place of 8,000dp and 10,000dp.
Winches and cranes should not cost 75¥ or 1 design point per kilogram of lift; I suspect Load rating got changed midway through and editing didn’t catch it. When this entry talks of Load, assume a Load point is 25kg. (Szeto suggests 1 point × the square root of the load in kilograms, but points out that square roots are not something to have in ordinary gaming rulebooks. Giving them Ratings and making them 75¥ × Rating and lift equal to Rating2 could be a better way to look at it.)
The Chrysler-Nissan G12A ACV changes price by an order of magnitude, charges nothing for the previous 50k¥ passenger module, and its previous 7-meter cargo module, previously 1000 CF, is 66 CF and 1000kg. This bears investigating.
A 4-meter container that was 500CF in Rigger 1 is now 64 CF and 800kg.
The cost of an All-Terrain Vehicle should be 45, not 445. (Looks like a typo, and I don’t think an ATV chassis should cost that much more than the other bikes.)
A high-performance engine gives +50% to starting and maximum speed, acceleration, and load, lowers the vehicle’s thermal and aural signatures by 1, and gives 2/3 the fuel economy of the regular engine. They cost double the design points for gasoline and diesel engines, 2.5× for methane engines, and 3× for electric engines.
This armor uses the technology of hardened body plating from Cybertechnology, a polymer-ceramic composite that can only be manufactured in microgravity conditions available in orbit or under powerful Manipulation spells. It is much lighter than standard armor, but also much more expensive.
For triple the design point cost of a regular vehicle chassis, you can have a Troll-sized version created. It has the same stats as a regular vehicle chassis of that type, but all seating is reinforced. The power plant for that chassis also costs triple the design point cost of the regular one, and provides the same stats that the regular engine does to the massive chassis. (This makes it possible to create the Honda Viking motorcycle, which otherwise could not exist under the rules.)
For good rigger fiction, try Walter Jon Williams’ Hardwired.
Scientific American often has stories on technologies that should be mature by the time of Shadowrun.
The Air Force Library Fact Sheets have some useful descriptions of actual military aircraft, and the Air Force Space Command Library has additional interesting information. The USAF UAV Battlelab has some inspiration for drones from the modern day. (I suspect Jane’s could provide lots of wonderful information, if I could afford their products...) ArmorNet should have plenty of information for tank enthusiasts.
An excellent article on fuel cells from Scientific American is a good starting point; they have another one on flywheels. The Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Letter can keep you up to date on the latest technologies. The Hybrid Electric Vehicle Program of the Department of Energy has its own web site. The DOE also sponsors electric vehicles and fuel cells. Toyota and Daimler-Benz already have fuel cell-based vehicles in production. Electro-Chem-Technic has another good fuel cell page, as does Fuel Cells 2000. There are hybrid electric vehicle projects at the University of Florida and Cornell, and people are working on a hybrid electric motorcycle.
The blimp is back! Check out CargoLifter AG.
Now that Cyberpirates! is out, we should look at the FastShips and hydrofoils.
The Starting and Maximum specs for Speed, Load, and Acceleration on the Power Plant Tables only apply to Design Options that give a straight increase to those Ratings. They do not apply to the Turbocharging or Engine Customization modifications (which have their own specified limitations) bought as design options. So it’s possible (for example) to design a car that has a speed higher than the maximum for its power plant and chassis type, simply by buying up the Speed to the Power Plant maximum, and then adding several levels of Engine Customization on top. (It wouldn’t be safe to drive, but them’s the breaks.)
In the case of a pre-existing vehicle (such as the Saab Dynamit), the maximum level of improvement is based on the vehicle’s CURRENT specs (or specifically, 1.5 times the vehicle’s current Speed, Load, or Acceleration). (Yes, I know the Maximum Improvement under Customization Specs reads only Speed, but I intended it to apply to all three.)
If you play around with the design point cost of the car (by adding new design options or adding modifications as design options), it’s the conceptual equivalent of designing a new model of vehicle. (To use your example, the new car would be a Saab Dynamit 788, instead of a Saab Dynamit 778).
The –2×VCR modifier (as mentioned on p. 21 of R2) applies to all driving situations except those directly relating to vehicle combat (accelerate, position, ram, hide). This is in keeping continuity with the rule for vehicle operation on p. 183 of the BBB (note the final sentence at the end of that section, saying “These modifiers only apply to non-combat situations.”)
For vehicle combat actions, the modifier is –VCR (unless otherwise specified, but there shouldn’t be many/any of those). Vehicle combat is a unique sort of
stressfulspecial situation and plays by its own rules.
Note that non-combat actions performed in the middle of combat (landing a helicopter under gunfire, for example) still get the -2×VCR modifier, but they also get an additional +2 modifier (plus all others that apply) for trying to do it in combat. This is also mentioned on p. 21 of R2.
[W]ith all the concern about the ozone layer, fuel economies might go on the upswing, as car companies get pressured to build more fuel-efficient cars. But then again, Shadowrun is supposed to be a quasi-cyberpunk world where the corps don’t care about such niceties as “environmental protection.” With that in mind, I biased the economy ranges a bit to be on the lower end of the scale.
Availability and Street Index is calculated the same way as it is in the BBB. In case you’ve forgotten, here it is again:
The Availability of a vehicle is equal to its cost divided by 10,000. The base time is equal to half the Availability (rounded down) in days. Street Index is 0.75 for vehicles costing less than 10,000, 1 for vehicles between 10K and 50K, and 2 for more than 50K.
Okay, question about R2, can a rigger use control pool dice on sensors tests? Most drones are dealing with sensors 1 or 2, and that is not a whole lot of dice.
No. The control pool reflects the greater control vehicles have over their vehicles, and as such, it has no effect on systems not directly relating to maneuver, such as vehicle weapons, electronic systems (including Sensors) and so on.
Note that some other dice pools may handle some of these “other” vehicle systems (Combat Pool for vehicle weapons, Task Pool for using electronics). Also note certain cyberware or vehicle/drone accessories may also add dice. For sensor-related Perception Tests, advanced datajacks (from Shadowtech) and the IPA ClearSight autosoft (p. 100) add additional dice.