Going Over the Edge?
by: Brandon Thorne

(As a forenote, because we like FASA, we'd like to mention that Shadowrun, Mitsubishi Nightsky and all other related items printed herein are, of course, in FASA's copyright. We don't intend to challenge it, we don't want to challenge it, and we wouldn't know where a gauntlet was in this mess to throw it.)

SHADOWRUN 2ndEd Rules Appendix 23B:


The rules for finding the amount of damage a vehicle takes due to sudden contact with a solid, non-mobile object (i.e. the earth) while being accelerated towards the nearest high-gravitational force (i.e. the earth, again) is very similar to a standard crash, except that the vehicle's speed upon collision is based upon the pull of gravity rather than the cruising (or "pedal to the metal") speed of the vehicle.

STEP 1: The "Big Equation"

That is, of course, Vf^2=Vi^2+2gd.
What does that mean? Don't worry about it...

STEP 2: Using the "Big Equation" part 1;
Initial Downward Velocity

First, find the initial downward ("down" being the direction gravity is normally pulling you...just in case you were confused on that point) velocity of the vehicle. In most cases (such as a vehicle driving off the edge of a building) this is zero (0). However, if it isn't, chances stand that you're going to have to do some vector analysis to figure out the exact downward velocity of the vehicle in meters per second (see appendix 14D, "Vector Analysis of Vehicle Speeds", and 14D-1, "Vector Analysis of Vehicle Speeds, as it applies to Appendix 23B, 'Resolving Damage to Falling Vehicles'"). Or, if you prefer, just guess. This is, after all, only a game. Once this has been determined, record it as variable "Vi". Look! The letters in the "Big Equation" really DO stand for something!

STEP 3: Using the "Big Equation" part 2;
Initial Distance to The Afforementioned Solid Non-Mobile Object

In order to fall, there needs to be some distance between you and the object you are falling towards. This is represented in the "Big Equation" as the variable "d". "How do I find this magnificent number?", you ask? Simple...ask the GM. Then record your answer somewhere as "d"...just to make sure you don't forget it.

HOWEVER...if the distance is over 143 feet, there's no need to calculate further. At that point terminal velocity has been reached, which is approximately 53 meters per second. So, just take that number, and move on to step 5.

STEP 4: Using the "Big Equation" part 3;
Gravity, and Its Effect on Vehicles Falling Towards a Solid Non-Movable Object

The gravity on Earth (1g, for the feeble-minded), accelerates falling bodies at a rate of 9.8 meters a second (9.8m/s). Of course, this figure only stands if you remove the effects of air resistance...but if the vehicle is falling far enough for wind resistance to actually make a difference, save yourself some time and just declare it a 100D damage crash to the vehicle and all passengers. Or, if you prefer, refer to Appendix 19X, "Calculating Wind Resistance" or Appendix 19X-11, "Calculating Wind Resistance and its Effect on Falling Vehicles". Since this rules appendix assumes that the vehicle is falling from some location on earth, record the variable "g" as 9.8. If afforementioned nearest high-gravitational force is something other than the earth, find its G-force as related to that of earth, and multiply that number by 9.8. In this case, the answer would be your value for "g".*

STEP 4: Using the "Big Equation" part 4;
Putting it All Together

Take the variables you have just calculated and place them into the equation. Next, square the variable "Vi" (which may very well be 0), and add it to the result of 2 times the variable "g" times the variable "d". If you're having trouble, ask around for someone who knows how to read an equation, and have them finish for you. If that doesn't turn up any results, go back to school. Anyways, to continue, next take the square-root of both sides of the equation to negate the square of Vf. This final answer (the right side...the number, silly) is the speed at which the vehicle collides with the afformentioned solid non-mobile object, also known as it's final velocity.

STEP 5: Resolving Vehicle Damage Due to Colliding with a Solid Non-Mobile Object

Now that you have the vehicle's speed, you're set. To find the power of the "attack", divide the vehicle's final velocity by 3, rounding up. To find the damage level of the "attack", consult the table below:

Speed Damage Category
1-7 Light (L)
8-20 Moderate (M)
21-67 Serious (S)
68+ Deadly (D)

Use the vehicle's Body, plus one-half its armor as the amount of dice to roll to resist the damage. The vehicle's full armor value is reduced from the power of the crash "attack." No dice pools may be used to help resist damage. Every 2 successes reduces the damage level by 1. Passengers must make resistance tests against the same power "attack" as the vehicle, but the damage level is reduced to that of the final crash damage the vehicle sustained. No dice pools may be used, and only impact armor helps. Every 2 successes reduces the damage level by 1.**


Jimmy and the Gang are out driving around town in their Mitsubishi NightSky when, without warning, they realize that the asphalt they thought they were just driving on was really the tar coating on the roof of a building, and that the vehicle's tires are no longer in contact with the roof, due to the fact that they have just driven off of it.

The GM decides that the building is 100 feet tall, which gives us our value for "d". Gravity is 9.8m/s, the Citymaster had no downward velocity at the time it left the building's surface, and the GM doesn't want to bother with air resistance.

Pulling out their copy of Rules Appendix 23B, the GM inputs all the variables into the equation, giving them:

After doing the multiplication and addition, they get:

Taking the square root of the right side (to negate the square of Vf), the players find out, to their utter dismay, that they hit the ground below at a speed of approximately 43 meters per second.

Next, they divide and check from the chart to see how dead they really are. Seems they're facing a 15S attack. Rolling 6 dice (Body + 1/2 armor) against a modified attack of 12S (due to the vehicle's armor), The players manage to pull off 1 success...which, unfortunately, does nothing. The vehicle takes a serious wound as it is suddenly decellerated from 43m/s to 0m/s due to contact with the ground. If someone could manage to turn the thing over onto its tires, it's not a total loss...

Jimmy and the Gang end up faring the same. Trying to resist 15S attacks with little body armor, they wind up taking some bad wounds. What a way to end a perfect evening drive.

* Reprinted here for ease of use. Originally found in Appendix 9C-5, "Calculating The Downward Acceleration of a Falling Vehicle in a Non-Earth-Gravity, Wind-Resistance-Negligable Environment".

** Step 5 is taken from the "crash test" section of the Shadowrun 2nd Edition rules, page 107, edited to take into account the vehicle's speed in regards to meters/second rather than meters/combat round, and to keep this Rules Appendix from being longer than it already is.

***Okay, so I lied; there isn't a "***" anywhere in Rules Appendix 23B. However, this is a good place to note that these rules, although based on reality, are as unrealistic as half of the other things in the Shadowrun system. I'm not one to complain, however; I did, after all, waste my time writing up these rules. Long, grueling hours researching. Really.

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j n m ( m n j )
"I'm going to really enjoy seeing the chair attack him,"
from Saint Raven in regards to the bad luck
the LintKing was carefully accumulating.