Mines and Explosives

Hi there… I’m currently preparing a modern setting game, where the characters may have access to some explosive stuff like mines or Semtex / C4. How would you rule these items? First I thought, I could have it loosely oriented at the grenades, but setting a mine is not quite an action you take in a combat. It’s much more an item you set outside of the combat, which then acts kinda on its own. So how could the stats for such an explosive look like?

My approach was:
Category: Close Ranged
Properties: Expendable / Area (10’ cube) / Delayed Ready / Stationary
Banes: Persistent Damage, Knockdown, Forced Move

But what could the attack attribute be? And should it be the attack attribute of the character who set the mine, or should the mine itself have an attack attribute value?

Depends on how important the character’s skill at setting it is. If just anyone can set it down to full effectiveness, then give the item an attribute to attack with (probably Energy). If there’s some skill in setting it up for optimal damage then the character rolls for it with any attribute you think is suitable (Logic is the default for setting traps though). There’s three main ways you can do that:

  1. Have the character roll when it’s triggered. This is usually the best method when there’s not a lot of time passing in between setting the trap and it going off.
  2. Roll when it’s set, write down the result in your notes and recall it when the trap gets set off. This is helpful when you don’t want the players to know when the trap goes off.
  3. The GM rolls using the player’s attribute, in case you don’t want them to know when or how effective the trap is
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Ah, makes sense. Also I just made a closer look to the extraordinary items section, where actually some items have an attribute on their own. So I will make mines just an extraordinary item I think…
Thanks!

edit: The more I read, the more I like the system, but coming from D&D and Pathfinder it’s quite hard to wrap your mind around these mechanics…

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Hm, but now I struggle with calculating the wealth level.
My mine looks like this now:

Anti-Personnel Mine
Properties: Energy 5, Persistent Damage 2, Expendable, Autonomous, Area (Cube 10’)

…which brings it to a WL of 7. And a 10’ explosion is very small for a landmine…
Roughly it looks the same like a grenade from the normal item list, which is only WL 2…

Is the mine I created that powerful? Or rather that more powerful than a WL 2 grenade?

edit: Ok, I think I have a good solution…

Semtex / C4
WL 1
Properties: Expendable, Area (Cube 10’), Damage (Energy)

Claymore Mine
WL 4
Properties: Autonomous, Expendable, Area (Cone 10’), Damage (Precise), Persistent Damage 2

Antipersonnel Mine
WL 4
Properties: Autonomous, Expendable, Area (Cube 10’), Damage (Precise), Damage (Energy), Persistent Damage 2

Anti Tank Mine
WL 8
Properties: Autonomous, Expendable, Area (Cube 15’), Damage (Energy), Deadly 2

And I will let the player roll on one of his attributes to proper set the explosive

One minor correction: you probably want the Baneful property not just giving it the Persistent Damage bane. The difference being that with Baneful it inflicts the bane on a damaging attack that deals 5+ damage, whereas with Persistent Damage 2 it gets one bane attack with an attribute of 2 (i.e. d20+d6) or a damaging attack with the regular attacking attribute that doesn’t inflict a bane.

The key thing that’s driving the WL up in this case is the amount of different potentially powerful effects it’s being given.

  • Autonomous lets players make things happen further away in both time and distance without exposing their characters to risk, if you’re planning on introducing these items to your game then I’m sure you’ve already thought about how they could make things difficult for you as the GM.
  • Giving an item an attribute can let players access banes and boons from that attribute without spending any points on their character; though if you only want it for one thing and it’s not granting access to powerful effects, you could knock a WL off this property.
  • Area lets you hit multiple enemies with one roll, multiplying the effectiveness of whatever other properties you give it.

All that being said, there’s a “common sense” clause to item prices.

Calculate the total wealth level accrued in the previous steps. Then, compare the item to others of similar power. If necessary, adjust the wealth level up or down slightly so that it is an accurate representation of the item’s influence on the game compared to other extraordinary items.

If mines are meant to be reasonably cheap and easy to get hold of in your world then as the GM you have full authority to make that so. You just need to be aware of what effect that will have on your world and your game. Will players frequently have the opportunity to set ambushes? Are you trying to encourage more caution and planning in your players, even if that means exciting things will happen much slower? Are you prepared for when your players hit the wealth level above the cost of the mines and can afford as many as they want?

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Oh, it seems there is quite a bit to learn for me. I thought with an attack that hits and deals damage, it would automatically inflict the persistent damage 2 (so 1d4 damage ongoing). I additionally need the baneful property for that?

It’s not additional, it’s instead of. When you give an Extraordinary Item a bane, the following rule applies:

The wielder can use the item to invoke the listed bane or boon. The numeric value is used to determine both the power level and the attribute dice used for the invocation roll.

So the item having a bane doesn’t interact at all with damaging attacks, whereas for Baneful, the rules are as follows:

Baneful (bane) - When making a damaging attack with this item, you may automatically inflict a listed bane if your attack roll exceeds the target’s defense by 5 or more. The bane can be triggered this way in lieu of other banes, even if the item or wielder cannot access the bane. The invoking attribute for this bane is equal to the attacking attribute.

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Ah, so the Claymore would read:

Claymore Mine
WL 5
Properties: Autonomous, Expendable, Area (Cone 10’), Damage (Precise), Baneful(Persistent Damage)

Well, tha campaign will be a military campaign, so wealth level is more some kind of logistics level, which represents the level of logistics and infrastructure, a base must have, so that the characters can request equipment for their missions. If they keep filling every pocket with mines, because they want to abuse them, I can still deny that by telling them that mines are out of stock until the next resupply transport arrives

You only need baneful on there if you want it even more likely to do persistent damage. If the attack ends up dealing 10+ it can inflict the Persistent Damage Bane. With Baneful it just means if the attack ends up dealing 5+ it will inflict Persistent Damage.

Furthermore this would just be 2 items. The base item that does the damage, and then the device being added to make it autonomous (a trip wire in the case of a claymore I believe).

The base item could be triggered without the Autonomous, but that would be dangerous to the player naturally. And of course depends on if you think it can be more effective by the player placement, but I feel that is done via the roll for damage rather than the player’s direct attribute.

Anyways, something like this:

First a “Mundane Item”

Explosive Device
Close Ranged, Precise, Expendable, Area (10’ cone)
Banes: Persistent Damage, Knockdown, Forced move
WL: 2

Now an “Extraordinary Item” upgrade

Claymore Mine
Weapon (Explosive Device)
Autonomous (When trip wire trigger in area, attack goes off)
Expendable
Baneful (Persistent Damage)
WL: 3
This one relies on the player’s Agility to do the attack, but via special section you could state Logic/Learning could be used instead

Claymore Mine
Weapon (Explosive Device)
Autonomous (When trip wire trigger in area, attack goes off)
Expendable
Energy 5
WL: 4
This one uses the Energy 5 attribute to deal the damage


Now either one of those could have their WL lowered by 1 to fit more into the setting and costs. Those are just quick examples I made.

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Ok, that’s complicated… In Pathfinder it would just be a mine, do xDy damage and adds some effects…
To be honest, I already thought about making it two items, but that seemed to be over-complicated for such a simple device. In the case of the claymore it would be even 3 devices. The Explosive Device, the Steel balls, that inflict the bleeding wounds (Persistent Damage) and the Trip Wire.

Maybe I try it explaining the other way round. The claymore mine is an explosive device, that does damage in a 60° cone in front of it. The damage is the main explosion and 700 steel balls that get shot into that cone, which I think would cause horrible bleeding wounds (persistent damage) additionally to that damage. Finally that device can be set as a trap and set off via trip wire or remote.

It’s not really complicated, that is just showing you how to do it with a lower WL in the end. Just breaking down some of the mechanics.

That’s why you can create it at a WL of 3 and not the 5 you came up with. There are multiple ways to come to the same answer in OL.

The big thing about OL is it is more about the player than the items. That’s why you can have a demolitions expert via an Attribute of Energy, and they have the items on them to make the various bombs, explosives, etc that they throw out at the enemies. Then they are just rolling their Energy Attribute.

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You can absolutely just do that, FYI. There’s a “special” property, plus your usual GM prerogative to just write out any rules you feel you need. What we’ve been guiding you through is using the item creation rules, which are there to guide you in the default price of items and therefore roughly how powerful they are.

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Yep, totally understood that. I was already tempted to make an item and state all the additionally stuff in the special block, but I wanted to do it “right” :wink:

The approach of making it two items actually seems quite ok for me after thinking about it a bit. Especially because I already have that mundane item (Semtex / C4), and the different mines could be a “reconfiguration” of that (pack of steel balls and a trigger)…

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Ok, I did it like this now:

Mundane Item:

Semtex / C4
Close Ranged, Precise, Expendable, Area (10’ cube)
Banes: Knockdown, Forced move
WL: 2

Special Items:

Antipersonnel Mine
A mine triggered by a person stepping on a trigger. Comes in two variants, the first just explodes, dealing energy damage, the second gets hurled approximately 1 meter into the air and then shoots small steel balls dealing precise damage.
Weapon (C4)
Autonomous (Pressure trigger)
Expendable
Area (15’ Cube)
Damage (Precise)
Damage (Energy)
Special: May be set using Logic or Learning Attribute
WL: 4

Claymore Mine
A directional mine triggered by a trip wire or remote, that shoots 700 steel balls in a 60 degree cone at its front side
Weapon (C4)
Autonomous (Trip Wire or Remote trigger)
Expendable
Area (20’ Cone)
Damage (Precise)
Special: May be set using Logic or Learning Attribute
WL: 4

Anti Tank Mine
A large amount of explosive, triggered by a pressure detector. A single person may not trigger the mine, but a soldier with full field pack may overcome the triggering weight
Weapon (C4)
Autonomous (Pressure trigger)
Expendable
Area (25’ Cube)
Damage (Energy)
Deadly 2
Special: May be set using Logic or Learning Attribute
WL: 8

I ditched the persistent damage but cranked up the area effect to a more credible value (still very small, when you consider the claymore has an effective range of 100 meters…)

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They all look reasonable, glad we could help you with them. Don’t worry too much if the range ends up much smaller than in real life, that’s the case with almost all modern-era ranged weapons in any system that includes them; it’s a deliberate decision made to keep the gameplay dynamic and stay away slow-paced, extreme ranged realistic engagements. Consider what these weapons are like in videogames, and how annoying they would be if the effective ranges were realistic.

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