CWIN Vol. 2, No. 8
The Daemon Mechanic
New Skills and Equipment for Car Wars

Weitten by Tony "Manycubes" Kontes
Boneheadz of New Idaho

Web Posted August 14, 1999
Updated August 05, 2000

The skill listings in CWC 2.5 were a welcome addition for those of us with role playing campaigns set in the Car Wars universe. I will now expand on that list with new skills, and revise a few others. My reasons for this are to create a list that will be useful to players who are trying to set up organizations in Car Wars, and to set the framework for my later articles on organizations.

Note the phrase Tech Level (TL) usually refers to the technology level of the device being made or the skill level of the individual performing a task. The TLs of the campaign and the characters in the campaign are decided by the GM, and may vary depending on location and any special circumstances the GM creates. (See my "Tech Levels" article in CWIN 2.05 as a guide to the ones used here.)

Unless otherwise stated, this article supplements or replaces respective rules in CWC2.5.

New Skills


This skill is necessary for running a business, religious organization, political campaign, or any other non-military group or function. At base level, the character understands group dynamics as well as basic business functions. This skill also allows the character to lead a number of other leaders equal to his or her Leadership score (see the expanded Leadership Skill) in any non-military type function. For every +1 bonus in Administration, double the number of people the character may lead. If no one in the organization has this skill, then there is no one to lead and the organization falls apart. Even warlords and gang leaders should have this skill at base level since they won't be under combat conditions all the time.


This skill is the ability to grow food, either by planting crops in the ground, harvesting fungus from a nutrient tank, or synthesizing food from waste, depending on the TL and the means available. The number of people one "farmer" can feed in one year is determined by the following formula.

Number of people fed in one year = A + B + C + D + E + F + G

A = Agriculture skill level * TL of farmer
B = number of field hands * TL of farmer
C = TL of fertilizer used
D = TL of pesticides and herbicides used
E = TL of the equipment used * number of pieces of equipment
F = TL of vehicles used to transport food * number of vehicles
G = TL of food storage area

If an item being used is of a higher TL than the farmer in charge it will drop down to the his TL in effectiveness.

Example:  A TL7, Agriculture+2 farmer (14), with 4 field hands (28), using no fertilizer (0), TL 8 herbicides and pesticides (7), two TL 7 pieces of farm equipment (14), 2 TL 6 ten wheeled trucks (12), and storing the food in a TL 5 cellar (5).  Will feed 14 + 28 + 0 + 7 + 14 + 12 + 5 = 80 fed people that year. The TL 8 pesticides and herbicides are used as TL7 because the farmer's TL is lower than TL8.

If this is too much work, use the table below.

Extra food can be stored for (TL of the storage facility * 2 months) or sold for ($150 per person * TL of farmer). Each one-year supply weighs 2,100 lbs and takes up 15 spaces.

Farming operations aren't cheap. Here is the breakdown of prices for a start-up organization. Fixed-cost items, ones you acquire then never need to buy again unless lost, destroyed, or stolen, will be listed first. Next will be variable-cost items, paid for once at the beginning of every year.

Fixed Costs

Equipment: $2,000 * TL per piece

Transport: $3,000 * TL per piece Storage: $1,000 * TL. This can be an earthen cellar, stone granary, or refrigerated warehouse, depending on tech level.

Variable Costs

Fertilizers: $200 * TL once each year. Lowest TL use dead fish and animal dung. Highest TLs use nitrates and advanced chemical compounds.

Weed and Bug Control: $300 * TL once a year. This can be people paid to pull weeds and swat bugs on up to nano-tech devices designed to attack individual bugs and weeds.

Hired Field Hands:  $500 * farmer TL per person each year.

Farmers Fee: ($600 * TL of farmer) + ($500 * TL of farmer) per Agriculture level above basic knowledge.

Maintenance Costs

Starting at TL4 these are equal to 50 percent of the fixed costs, and are paid once every year. These represent gas, spare parts, electricity, and other things need to keep high-tech farms running.

Simplified Crop Chart

Listed below is a simplified chart to save on calculations. (This chart also shows the maximum number of people that can be fed at each TL. This number cannot be exceeded using the above equation. Any excess is lost.)

The following assumptions were made to create this table: all items and knowledge of same TL, Agriculture+2 farmer, four hired hands, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, two pieces of equipment, one storage unit, and two transport units.

Tech Level
No. of People Fed
Fixed Costs
Variable Costs



By now you've probably compared the variable costs to the amount of $150 * TL paid on the open market for each person fed and have added it up to a nice juicy profit. Well before you hang up your dueling helmet to sit on a tractor, talk to a few farmers. They'll be the first to tell you, "Every year is a crap shoot." Bad weather, bugs, fires, and floods are the natural losses. Then there are strikes, bandits, and poor market conditions as well as many other problems. To simulate this roll 2d6 at the end of each harvest, and consult the chart below.

2: Lose entire crop
3, 4: Lose 50% of entire crop (rounded up)
5: Lose 25% of entire crop (rounded up)
6-12: Crop succeeds
Note that even if some or all of the crop is lost the variable costs are still accrued. GMs may bring in acts of man or nature anytime to confound the players and force them to work out a solution that saves the harvest.


Farms at TL5+ need a number of power units per day equal to TL * 20. This is normally part of the variable cost if the farm is connected to a main power grid. However, if a farm is not connected to the main grid, and cannot average this amount on a daily basis, reduce the number of people fed by the percentage of power missing, rounding up.

Example: A TL6 farm requires 120 PUs each day to function. If the farm was only able to receive an average of 80 PUs through out most of the year, then it's final crop yield would only be 80/120 = 67% of 111, or 75 people fed.


A character with this skill can synthesize the following substances (others determined by the GM) based on the TL available.

TL 1: Charcoal, pitch (a sticky flammable substance -- treat as flaming oil), wine, beer
TL 2: Greek fire (this is made from several compounds including wine, sulfides, and olive oil that burns when it contacts seawater (treat as flaming oil)
TL 3: Black powder, grain alcohol
TL 4: Nitroglycerine, dynamite (made from 1 lb. of nitroglycerine), smokeless powder, mercury filament caps, refined crude oil (treat as flaming oil)
TL 5: Gasoline (made from two times it's weight in refined crude oil), methanol, ethanol, low-grade rocket propellant.
TL 6: Plastic explosives, medium-grade rocket propellant
TL 7: Napalm, high-grade rocket propellant
TL 8: Advanced-grade rocket propellant, advanced bullet propellant
A Chemist can create any items on this list that are equal to or lower than his or her TL. To do this, he or she must have a workshop worth at least $1,000 * TL and $250 * TL in chemical supplies of equal or greater TL (see the Supply Caches section at end of this article), and roll a 9+ on 2d6, applying the modifiers below. Note a chemical supply cache, regardless of the quality of chemical equipment available, is required for any chemical project to be performed.
  • Actual chemistry laboratory: +2
  • Kitchen or other makeshift laboratory: +1
  • Limited chemical equipment: -1
  • No chemical equipment: -2
  • Examples: The penalty for limited chemical equipment would apply when the Chemist has only has a kitchen measuring cup, fire, knife, and a bowl to mix chemicals. When the Chemist only has a broken soda bottle and a stream for a water source, use the modifier of -2 no chemical equipment available.

    A failed roll means the chemical supplies are ruined and nothing more can be tried that time period. When mixing explosives, if a 2 is rolled re-roll one 1d6. If the result is a 1, an explosion doing 1d6 in a 2" blast radius has occurred.

    Rocket Propellant
    Pitch: 50 lbs. 
    Black Powder: 4 lbs. 
    Tech Level 5: 4 lbs. 
    Greek Fire: 20 lbs. 
    Smokeless Powder: 3 lbs. 
    Tech Level 6: 3 lbs. 
    Flaming Oil: 2 lbs.
    Dynamite: 2 lbs. 
    Tech Level 7: 2 lbs.
    Gasoline: 2 lbs. 
    Tech Level 8: 1 lb.
    Methanol: 8 lbs. 
    Ethanol: 6 lbs. 
    Nitroglycerine: 1 lb. 
    Plastique: 1.25 lbs. 
    Napalm: 1 lb. 
    Adv. Gunpowder: 2 lbs.



    Amounts of combustibles required to create the same amount of damage as flaming oil (1d6-2) in a 1" radius. These quantities are also the amount of each substance that can be made in one eight-hour period. Each batch requires one roll from a chemical supply cache in order to find the proper ingredients, and one Chemist roll to mix correctly.


    Amounts of each explosive required to inflict 1d6 damage in a 1" radius in Car Wars. These quantities are also the amount of each substance that can be make in one eight-hour period, except for methanol and ethanol, which must be distilled over a 24-hour period (more on these liquids at the end of this article). Each batch requires one roll from a chemical supply cache in order to find the proper ingredients, and one Chemist roll to mix it correctly. The amount used is based on the Explosives Chart in GURPS High-Tech Third Edition Revised, with the base weight being the quarter-brick of plastique as found in CWC2.5 and UACFH. Remember, nitroglycerine is extremely volatile and the GM should have players make luck rolls to transport it safely.

    Rocket Propellant

    Amounts needed to move a 1d6 damage warhead to its target. These quantities are also the amounts each substance can be made in one four-hour period. Each batch requires two rolls from a chemical cache. Warheads are assumed to be the best explosive type of the TL currently available.

    Gun Powder and Primers

    Primers are made at the rate of Chemist TL * 10 in a laboratory per four-hour shift, and require one roll per batch from a chemical supply cache. The table below lists conversion factors for determining the amount of gun powder and primers needed to create bullets for various weapons.

    1 lb. black powder = 30 rifle shots
    1 lb. smokeless powder = 40 rifle shots
    1 lb. advanced gun powder = 50 rifle shots
    10 rifle shots = 1 MG shot = 1 LMG shot
    15 rifle shots = 1 VMG shot
     3 rifle shots = 1 SMG shot = 1 AR shot


    Beer, wine and grain alcohol all need time to ferment before they can be consumed. I don't know the exact times, but I usually allow five days for beer, three days for grain alcohol, and one month for wine. Beer and wine are produced two gallons at a time, and require 4 lbs. of food products per gallon. Grain alcohol is distilled one gallon at a time, and requires 6 lbs. of food products per gallon. All require one roll from a chemical supply cache.

    An alcohol still may be substituted for a laboratory in the case of grain alcohol. An alcohol still gives a +2 bonus to a Chemist roll, and also allows for larger amounts of alcohols to be made. An alcohol still gives an additional +2 for beer, an an additional +1 for wine.

    Beer sells for $2.00 U.S. per gallon, wine for $8 per gallon and grain alcohol for $5 per gallon. If the Chemist has the room, he or she can have a number of batches of beer and/or wine being produced equal to (Chemist bonus + 2) * 5.

    Electrical Engineer

    This skill is available at TL4+. An Electrical Engineer can create windmills and water wheels (and their accompanying generators), and storage batteries. Electrical Engineers can also make gas-powered generators at TL5, hydrogen fuel cells at TL7, and solar-powered generators at TL8. In addition, these individuals can set up the lines to run machines and appliances, as well as change the voltage and current of an item. When combined with the Chemistry skill, these characters can make storage batteries and vehicle power plants. (The new equipment at the end of this article for time and material to create storage batteries.) Finally, an Electrical Engineer can repair any electrical device, but at one skill level lower then his or her normal level (i.e. a base level Electrical Engineer performs all repair rolls at -1).


    Leadership allows a character to control four characters at base level. For every bonus in Leadership, an additional four characters can be controlled (i.e. Leadership+1 gives control over people, Leadership+2 gives control over 12 people, etc.). These individuals must all be in the organization the character is part of, or willing to be lead under the immediate circumstances and cannot be leaders themselves. These NPCs will follow all reasonable requests and should only make a moral check if asked to do something stupid and/or suicidal (exact nature of this situation to be determined by the GM). Leadership alone is not sufficient to lead an organization bigger than a small gang or to run a business.

    The effectiveness of this skill can be increased by Administration (for non-military organization) Strategy, and Tactics (both for military operations). Administrative skill allows the character to lead others who are leaders, thus creating a hierarchy. Every level of Administration above base knowledge doubles the number of people a character can lead, and allows him or her to lead up to this amount in leaders who are also leading people (including other leaders). Tactics doubles the number of people that the character can lead in a combat situation, but does not allow the character to lead leaders. Strategy doubles the number of people that can be lead in a combat situation and also allows leaders to be lead. If Strategy and Tactics are combined, the number of individuals (followers and leaders) that can be controlled is quadrupled for each level above base knowledge.

    Examples: 1). A character with Administration+2 and Leadership+1 can lead a total of 32 people and/or leaders in a business venture. 2).  A  character with Leadership+1, Tactics+1, and Strategy+2 can lead a total of 64 people and/or leaders in a combat situation.


    In addition to the description in CWC2.5, every level in Politics above base knowledge gives +1 to all request rolls (success checks when trying to acquiring items, information, or help from an NPC) The "Character Generation Tables" and "Tech Levels" articles in CWIN 2.05 give details on request rolls.


    This skill includes all the skill bonuses listed under the Search skill, and supersedes it on the list of military skills. Everyone still starts with the Search skill at base knowledge, and they can still buy higher levels, but since it includes Search plus other skills, Scout is a better investment of character points. In addition to the Search bonuses, Scout allows characters to set up and detect ambushes, track people and animals, and avoid hazards when searching ruins.

    A distinction needs to be made between spotting and detecting. Spotting is done during combat and uses the rules as listed in Car Wars Tanks. Scout can be substituted for Search with no penalty. Detection takes place before combat, and covers such things as ambushes or standing sentry. (See notes below for why I make this distinction.)

    Detecting Ambushes

    A person without the Scout skill detects ambushes 12+ on 2d6. Someone with the Scout skill detects ambushes on 9+, with a +1 bonus per level above base knowledge. A roll to detect an ambush is allowed once for every alert character as soon as the group is within ambush range. If one or more characters make their roll, the ambush is detected. If they all miss, they get no other chance to detect the ambush, and must walk into it.

    When an ambush is detected, it is spotted a certain number of seconds before it is sprung, regardless of distances between the ambusher and the ambushed. Non-Scouts will detect ambushes 1 to 3 seconds before they occur.  Scouts detect ambushes 1d6 seconds plus 2 seconds for every level base knowledge, before they occur. These extra seconds can be used by the character for whatever actions they chose before the ambushers have a chance to fire. (At this point, GMs may require the Scout and others to make search rolls to see the ambushers, or rule the Scout has automatically spotted several of them.) All ambushers are fired on at a -1 or -2 (GM's choice). These penalties represent cover and concealment.

    The following modifiers affect the detection roll, and are cumulative.

    Ambush Detection Modifiers

    Example: If one ambusher had Scout+1, and another had Scout+2, only a -2 would be applied to the detection roll.

    Springing an Ambush

    If an ambush is not detected it may be sprung by the ambushers with the following benefits. All first shots may be considered aimed, and braced, where appropriate. Cover and concealment provide an extra -2 penalty for the ambushers to be hit. Scouts who are ambushed freeze for one second regardless of level. Non-Scouts freeze for 1d6 seconds. Freezing means pedestrians or riders may not react, but must stand and endure attacks until they have recovered. Vehicles must continue traveling in the direction they were going the second before the ambush was sprung and may not fire, but may slow down or swerve to avoid hazards.

    Sentry Duty

    When a person is on sentry duty, he or she will have one chance to detect each incoming hostile. A 6+ must be rolled for a Scout, while 7+ must be rolled for a non-Scout. A 2 is always a failure to detect someone on foot, but not if they are in a vehicle. This roll is only necessary if the hostile is making an effort to sneak up on the area being guarded.

    Each sentry covers one or more zones, and only gets one roll to detect each person or vehicle coming through a zone. A normal compound will have at least four zones, with large or oddly-shaped compounds having more. A zone is approximately 100 to 150 yards of a compound's side, and extends away from that side to the edge of the sentries line of site (zones may overlap). The sentry can be moving no faster than 10 mph.
    The following modifiers apply to sentry duty and are cumulative.

    Sentry Duty Modifiers

    Example: A sentry covering three zones would be at -6 to all detection rolls for each zone.

    Detection Distances

    These are the ranges at which the hostile has a chance to be detected, and if the roll is successful, the range at which he or she is first spotted. Use only the best terrain that the sentry can see into.

  • Open terrain, such as deserts, parking lots, roads, or flat lands): 2d6 * 100 yards
  • Light ground cover, such as hills, plains or scrublands: 1d6 * 50 yards
  • Medium ground cover, such as forests or hills: (1d6 + 1) * 10 yards
  • Heavy ground cover, such as dense woods, jungles, towns, or cities: (1d6 + 1) * 5 yards
  • These are rough numbers and the GM should modify the detection distance on a case by case basis.

    Example: If a hostile must first cross through buildings (heavy ground), and then across a parking lot (open terrain), the detection roll would be made at the parking lot.


    Tracking men or animals over terrain requires 9+ on 2d6.

  • Every level of Scout skill or a hunting skill above base knowledge belonging to tracker: +1
  • Every level of Scout skill or a hunting skill above base knowledge belonging to person being tracked: -1
  • Each person being tracked that does not have Scout, Survival or hunting skills: +2
  • Tracking a vehicle: +3
  • Damp conditions: +2 (-1 if raining)
  • Arctic conditions: +3 (-2 if snowing)
  • Every four hours trail has lain cold: -1
  • A new tracking roll should be made every 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the conditions. In order to make a tracking roll, the Scout must be on foot and take about 10 minutes to survey the scene.

    Avoiding Hazards

    Finally, this skill provides a bonus of +2 when attempting to avoid injuries while searching dangerous places like ruins or caves. An article on post-apocalyptic living, containing details for searching ruins, will be published in a future issue of CWIN.

    Detection versus Spotting

    Under the Search rules, when a character comes within spotting distance of an ambush, he or she would begin rolling against Search skill for every single ambusher every second they were in the arc he or she was searching. If the ambush was taking place at long distances with several ambushers, this could result in the possibility of hundreds of search rolls. The same situation applies to people sneaking up on a guarded area.  Were the sentries looking in the direction of the hostile every second? Did they use binoculars or other detection devices every second? If they only used binoculars part of the time, the detection range would change continuously and dramatically from second to second. This is too much! Thus, search rolls are only conducted once combat is joined to see other hostiles that were not originally detected. Detection is used before fighting starts, to find hostiles, so combat can be initiated. The detection roll tries to take into consideration all possibilities, and simplify it to one roll.

    Design Notes

    Here are my reasons for creating the Scout skill. First, the Search skill doesn't have enough options to make it worth spending points on. My gaming group rarely used the skill, and when we did it was usually for tracking, or trying to detect ambushes. Second, there was the problem of setting ambushes. What skill did one use to set one successfully? How did that affect spotting rolls? How about covering ones tracks when escaping? Third, could the Search skill be used to detect hazards when searching abandoned buildings? From all of these questions, the Scout skill was created. Characters still receive the Search skill at base level for free, and can buy higher levels in it, but now it is more profitable to invest any starting points in the Scout skill instead.


    This is the art of leading and maneuvering military forces, gives several advantages to a character. First, Strategy at base level or higher provides the character with the working knowledge of military movements and supply at a grand scale. Second, for every skill level bonus, Strategy doubles the number of people/leaders Leadership allows a character to lead when engaged in military activity. Third, Strategy has other benefits which that be detailed in the Car Wars Mass Combat system under development.

    Example: A character with Leadership+1, Tactics+1, and Strategy+1 would be able to command a total of 32 leaders and/or non-leaders.


    A person with this skill may 7+ on 2d6 each day to find food for himself or herself and others. The character must roll a 7+ on 2d6 for each person he wants to provide food for. If any one of these rolls is unsuccessful the character can make no more food gathering rolls that day. If he or she wishes, the character may try to gather more food than there are people to feed and store the rest for later. However, as soon as the first roll is missed no more food may be gathered that day. Food gathered in this manner weighs 8 lbs. per day, and can be stored for several days depending on the TL of storage devices available. Finding water is handled in the exact same way, but can be stored for several weeks if containers are available. Bonuses to this roll may be given at the GM's discretion if game is plentiful, a freshwater stream is nearby, a rifle and/or traps are used, or any other good idea the players can come up with. Penalties may also be assessed for barren or radiated areas, time of year, and number of recent searches made in the area. Survival also provides a +1 bonus level above base knowledge when searching ruins, buildings, caves, or other areas for useful items.


    For every skill level above base knowedge, Tactics doubles the number of people Leadership permits a character to lead in a combat situation.  When combined with Strategy, Tactics quadruples the number of people/leaders that can be controlled. This skill also provides a +1 to the initiative of anyone directly under this individuals command in a tactical battlefield setting for every level base knowledge. Other benefits of Tactics will be listed in the Car Wars Mass Combat System.

    Example: A character with Leadership+1 and Tactics+1 would be able to control 16 non-leaders.

    Weapons Smith

    With this skill a character can repair any hand-held or vehicle weapon by using the Mechanic table. (When using Weapons Smith as a repair skill, the maximum bonus allowed is level 3.)

    A Weapons Smith can convert semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic in one hour (parts costs are equal to $5 * TL, or make one roll from the weapons repair cache), and create a silencer or flash suppresser in two hours (parts costs are equal to weapon cost divided by 4, or make one roll from the weapons parts cache). Considering the TL of the Weapons Smith and depending on the item, melee weapons or homemade firearms can be constructed in 1 to 30 days. All of these tasks succeed with a roll of 7+ on 2d6.

    When combined with the Chemist skill, a Weapons Smith can make grenades, rockets, mines, and ammunition for vehicle weapons at the rate of 10 lbs. per eight-hour period. (Each round requires its cost in parts, or 1/5 its weight, rounded up, in rolls from a weapons repair cache, as well as its damage dice in the appropriate TL and type of explosives, rounded up.

    Example: A TL8 recoilless rifle shell weighs 5 lbs. and inflicts 2d6 of damage, therefore one roll from a weapon repair cache, 2 lbs. of rocket propellant and 2 lbs. of plastic plastic explosive are needed to create this shell.

    A character with the Weapons Smith skill can also attempt to customize a hand-held weapon in order to give it a +1 to hit bonus. This process is difficult, costly and time consuming. All customizing rolls are done at a -2 penalty and take 2d6 weeks to complete. Costs of these customizations are equal to five times the original cost of the weapon, or require five  rolls from a weapons repair cache. If the roll is unsuccessful, the parts from the cache are used up. Roll 1d6 and consult the table below to determine the condition of the weapon after the failed conversion.

    1, 2: Weapon ruined and must be scrapped
    3, 4: Weapon still functions but can never be customized
    5, 6: Another attempt can be made to customize this weapon
    Only smallarms and melee weapons can be customized in this fashion.

    New Ideas


    When leading a group of people, the morale of the followers is positive on a result of 7+ on 2d6. Modifiers to this roll include the level of Leadership of the person in command, hazardous conditions of the situation, bold or cowardly acts by the leader, or anything else the GM considers a factor. For the most part, I don't bother to roll for morale unless the players want the group to do something really stupid or suicidal or have just committed a major blunder. I use the morale roll to let my players know they are doing something that has a negative effect on the people they are leading.

    Lengths of Work Periods

    Normal characters cannot safely work past 12 hours a day. If someone tries to push past that time, apply a -1 penalty to the character's skill rolls for every 4 full hours beyond 8 (i.e. -1 at 12 hours, -2 at 16 hours, -3 at 20, etc.).

    There are rare individuals who can work 16 to 20 hours a day for months on end. These people tend to be workaholics with no social lives. If players wish to have these people in their group, then this ability must be taken as a skill by each "workaholic" character. At base level, this person can work to 12 hours with no penalty. Increase this time by two hours for every level above base knowledge to a maximum of 20 hours. A person with this skill can maintain this level for one month, plus two months per level above base knowledge.

    Characters who want to avoid work penalties must rest for 6 hours before going back to work.

    New Equipment

    Gasoline Engines

    These are not new pieces of equipment, but can be used in combination with a generator to create power units that can be stored in a battery.  Cost and weight of these engines are each 50 percent less, rounded up, because there is no transmission, large cooling system, or other items necessary to run a vehicle. This also means that these engines cannot be used to run vehicles.

    To determine the number of PUs a gas engine produces, take its PFs and divide by 20, rounded down. This is the number of produced each hour. To determine the number of gallons consumed each hour take the MPG of the gas engine and divide it into 80, rounded up to one decimal point.

    Examples: A TL 8 10 ci ICE uses 1 gallon and produces 15 PUs per hour. A  TL 8 150 ci ICE uses 1.777 gallons (rounded up to 1.8) and produces 95 PUs. A TL 8 700 ci ICE uses 8 gallons and produces 650 PUs per hour.

    Engines that are already in vehicles can be turned into power generator units by having their wheel run a belt attached to a generator. To set this up takes two hours and an Electrical Engineer roll. Gasoline engines set up in this manner are only 50 percent as efficient (the amount of PUs generated are rounded down) as standard ICEs.


    These items are needed to harness the power created by windmills, waterwheels and gas engines. Windmills and waterwheels may use the same type of generator, but gasoline engines need a separate type. When creating power, a generator of equal or greater TL to the power source must be used. A generator of a lower TL will burn out after 1d6 hours of operation. One generator is required for each windmill, waterwheel, or gasoline engine being used. Any Mechanic or Electrical Engineer can determine the type, TL, and maximum PU input of a generator just by looking it for five minutes.

    Wind and Water Generators

    To build a wind or water generator from scratch requires an Electrical Engineer roll, one roll from an electrical supply cache, and the weight of the generator in scrap parts. The amount of time need to make this type of generator is equal to half of its TL in days (rounded up). Cost is equal to $20 * TL, weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 20 lbs., space occupied is equal to weight / 50 (round up).

    Internal Combustion Engine Generators

    To build an ICE generator from scratch requires a successful Electrical Engineer roll, two successful rolls from an electrical supply cache, and the weight of the generator in scrap parts. The amount of time need to make this type of generator is equal to its TL in days. ICE generators connected to gasoline engines that produce more power units than the generator can handle will burn out after 2d6 hours of use. Cost is equal to $20 * (maximum PUs handled + TL), weight is equal to (maximum PU output in 60 minutes + 15 - TL) * 5 lbs, and space occupied is equal to weight / 50 (rounded up).

    Example: A TL7 ICE generator that can handle an output of 25 PUs per hour would cost $165, weigh 65 lbs., and take up 2 spaces in a vehicle.  This generator could handle an ICE of TL7 or lower with power factors totaling 500 or fewer without fear of burning out. Any gasoline engine of a higher TL and/or producing more than 500 power factors will burn this ICE generator out in 2d6 hours of use.

    Hydrogen Fuel Cells

    Hydrogen fuel cells create electricity through the chemical combination of hydrogen and oxygen. The best fuel for these cells is straight hydrogen, which will allow the fuel cell to generate PUs equal to its TL * 3 per gallon per hour. Hydrocarbons, such as gasoline or natural gas, are next on the list, able to generate TL * 2 PUs per gallon per hour. Methanol will generate 25 percent of this amount (rounded up), and ethanol will generate 33.3 percent of this amount (rounded up). At TL9+ water itself may be used and generates power equal to 50 percent of the cell's TL (rounded down) per gallon per hour.

    Construction of a hydrogen fuel cell requires a successful Chemist roll, an successful Electrical Engineer roll, and the weight in scrap parts. The amount of time need to make this type of generator is equal to TL * 2 days. Hydrogen fuel cell construction also requires TL * 1 success rolls from an electronic cache, and TL * 6 success rolls from a chemical cache! Cost is equal to $2,000 * TL, and weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 100 lbs.

    Hydrogen fuel cells can be turned on and off at will, and do not need to store their power in a battery. To recharge a power plant faster than the rates given above, the energy would have to be stored in a battery.

    Laboratories, Workshops, Tool Kits, and Garages

    In order for an individual to make proper use of a supply cache, he or she must have the appropriate tools. Laboratories, workshops and garages all give +2 to any repair or creation rolls when working on the devices they were designed for.

    Examples: Garages for Mechanics, chemical labs for Chemists, weapon workshops for Weapon Smiths, etc.

    Some of these work stations can be substituted for others with no penalty, such as a garage being used as a weapons workshop. Others, like a Chemist lab, cannot be substituted, except in rare circumstances. (The GM will determine these circumstances.)

    Tool kits can be bought for weapons and electronics at the same costs and bonuses to rolls as mechanical tool kits. The "Mini Mechanic" is functions the same no matter if it used for weapons, electronics or vehicle repair tasks.

    At TL5+, each of these work stations require power to operate at full efficiency. If they are unable to receive the amount of power they need, they function at the same equivalency as a tool kit (i.e. no +2 bonus) of the same TL. The amount of power required is equal to lab TL * 2  in power units per hour that it is in use.

    Tool kits cost $1,000 * TL, and suffer a -2 penalty per difference in TL when used on devices of higher TL.

    Optional Rule

    Portable shops of TL7+ require the tools in them be charged with power for the portable shop's +1 bonus to be in effect. A tool charge requires 1 PU per case, and is good for 1 month.

    Scrap Parts

    These supplies consist of metal and plastic pipes, sheet metal, aluminum siding, or other odds and ends of useful junk. They are usually found in ruins, or taken from other projects or groups. Scrap parts will be of a specific TL, and can be used to make items of that TL or less with no penalty. Items of higher tech levels cannot be made. Scrap parts take up 1 space for every 50 lbs. (rounded up). If scrap parts cannot be found, they may be purchased at $1 per 10 lbs. per TL.

    Example: TL7 scrap would cost $7 per 10 pounds.

    Alcohol Stills

    These facilities are special types of laboratories used to create methanol, ethanol, and grain alcohol. They are cheaper than an actual laboratory, and do not require PUs (only a fire), but still provide a +2 to a Chemist roll to make any of the above substances. Alcohol stils also allow for larger batches of chemical to be created with each success roll. Ethanol and grain alcohol can be made from the same type of still. Methanol still have the same characteristics as the stills described below, but they can only be used for making methanol.

    All stills take up space in a vehicle equal to their weight / 10 (round down). Construction of an alcohol still requires one successful Chemist or Engineer roll, as well as the time and items listed below. Note as the TL decreases, the weight of an alcohol still increases.

    Small Alcohol Still

    Cost is equal to $50 * TL, and weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 5 lbs. A small alcohol still built from scratch requires one day, TL * 25 percent (round down) success rolls from a general building supply cache, and the weight of the small alcohol still in scrap parts. A small alcohol still will produce 2 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day, or 2 gallons of grain alcohol in three days.

    Example: A TL8 small alcohol still would cost $400, weigh 35 lbs., and occupy 3 spaces in a vehicle.

    Medium Alcohol Still

    Cost is equal to $100 * TL, and weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 10 lbs. A medium alcohol still built from scratch requires requires two days, TL * 50 percent (round down) success rolls from a general building supply cache, and the weight of the small alcohol still in scrap parts. This still will produce 9 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day, or 9 gallons of grain alcohol in three days.

    Example: A TL7 medium alcohol still would cost $700, weigh 80 lbs., and occupy 8 spaces in a vehicle.

    Large Alcohol Still

    Cost is equal to $500 * TL, and weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 50 lbs. A large alcohol still built from scratch requires requiresseven days, TL * 50 percent (round down) success rolls from a general building supply cache, and the weight of the small alcohol still in scrap parts. This still will produce 100 gallons of methanol or ethanol in one day, or 50 gallons of grain alcohol in three days.

    Example:  A TL6 large alcohol still would cost $3,000, weigh 450 lbs., and occupy 45 spaces on a flatbed trailer.

    Storage Batteries

    These items hold electricity created by generators to be released at a later time. Each battery can have a number of generators simultaneously supplying it power equal to its TL.

    All storage batteries weigh 3,000 lbs. and occupy 10 spaces, but their storage capacities and costs depend on their TL. A TL8 storage battery has the capability to hold 1,000 PUs. This amount of power is reduced by 50 percent for every TL below TL 8, and is increased by 50 percent for every TL above TL8. The cost of a storage battery is equal to $15 * PUs.

    Examples: A TL6 storage battery has a capacity of 250 PUs. A TL4 storage battery has a capacity of 62 PUs.

    Construction of a storage battery from scratch requires a successful Chemist roll, a successful Electrical Engineer roll, (TL * 1) success rolls from an electronics cache, (TL * 5) rolls from a chemical cache, and the item's weight in scrap parts. The number of days to complete this project is equal to the TL of the battery.

    These items transfer power at a rate up to 200 PUs every 10 minutes. Halve this amount of time for every TL below TL8, and quadruple it for every TL below TL8.

    Storage batteries may never be used to move vehicles directly; only to recharge their power plants.

    Supply Caches

    Characters in isolated areas can't always run down to the nearest Uncle Al's every time they need to fix the gears on their bikes. The same holds true in a post-apocalyptic world where the nearest store might be the ruins down the road. Here is a simple way for characters to keep spare parts and other items around without having to detail every nut and bolt.

    Supply caches all have the same general characteristics: cost equal to $250 * TL (when bought at the appropriate store), weight equal to 100 lbs., and occupy 2 spaces. Caches can also be scavenged from ruins, or stolen from rival groups.

    Each supply cache must be designated a specific type and TL. For instance, a TL6 chemical cache would have all the ingredients to make plastic explosives and anything of a lower TL. A TL8 car parts cache would allow a Mechanic to repair power plants, gasoline engines, turrets, and other vehicle components, but not electrical devices, or weapons; these items would each need their own supply caches. Armor is a special case; see below.

    Other possible types of supply caches would be truck, boat, helicopter, motorcycle/tricycle, airplane, hovercraft, or general building supplies for fixing structures. Anything that needs to be repaired or made will have its own supply cache. More than one supply cache of the same type may be kept on hand, but they all must be kept separate.

    Using Supply Caches

    When a character needs to repair or make an item, he or she must have a supply cache and appropriate tools (type and TL) available, then must roll  7+ for each required success roll to find the necessary parts in the cache (these rolls are never modified by skill levels). If the rolls are successful, the character has found what is needed and can begin work. If a roll is not successful, he or she may roll again.

    Each time a roll is made to find parts, whether successful or not, make a mark by the side of this cache. After every five marks, reduce the chance of finding a desired part in this cache by one.

    Example 1: Five attempts are made to find spare parts to fix a machine-gun. The first four rolls of 4, 6, 3, and 6 were unsuccessful. The last roll, 9 was successful. After these five rolls, the weapons cache our hero is looking in would now yield desired parts on 8+. After 25 attempts, whether successful or not, this cache is used up, ceases to exist, and no further rolls may be made on it.

    Example 2: A Chemist and an Electrical Engineer are making a TL8 hydrogen fuel cell. They need to make eight rolls of 7+ in an electrical supply cache, and 64 rolls of 7+ in several chemical caches to find the items they need. If a supply cache is depleted before all the rolls are successful (or even made), the characters can move on to another new cache without penalty. In this example, the characters will have to go through at least three chemical supply caches, since 25 rolls per cache is the maximum that can be made, whether successful or not.

    Characters can use a higher tech supply cache to repair or make lesser tech items, but they suffer a -1 on their chance to find useful parts, regardless of difference in TLs. Anyone trying to use a lower tech cache to repair a higher tech item suffers a -2 per tech level difference to find useful parts, and -2 per level to their repair rolls. No items of a higher TL than the TL of the supply cache can be built; only repaired.

    Minor items that can be made from supply caches include any chemicals listed under the Chemist skill (provided the TL of the cache and the Chemist are high enough), small arms and melee weapons can be fashioned by a weapons smith from an arms repair cache, but these will be very crude, and take from 1 to 30 days.  This uses up 3 rolls for melee and muscle powered weapons and 5 rolls for firearms.  If non-working fire arms are also available these can be made into reasonable semi-auto and even full automatic guns at the rate of two every four hours, using up three success rolls per gun for full automatic, two for semi-automatic, and one roll to have the weapon fire single shots.  (An inspiration -- During the Cuban Revolution, gun smiths converted lever-action Winchesters into full-automatic submachine guns using only a screwdriver and file. Each rifle yielded enough parts for at least two submachine guns.)

    Electric caches can turn out short-range radios, bugs, bug detectors, and other small items at the rate of one every 4 hours. These accessories will have only about 1/2 to 2/3 of the power of regular devices, and be much more prone to breakdowns when used under combat conditions.

    Optional Rule

    In the above example, 64 success rolls is a large amount to perform, especially considering around 50 percent may be failures. In order to save time, the GM can simply double the number of rolls to subtract from all the same type of supply caches, and declare all the necessary parts found.

    Example 3: The above 64 rolls would be doubled to 128 and then applied to six full chemical supply caches. Five of these caches would be used up completely, and the sixth would have a total of three rolls taken from it. No rolls would have to be made, and the players would have all the parts they need.

    In order to use this rule, all the supply caches required must be full and available for immediate use.

    Vehicle Armor

    This useful accessory is not kept in caches, but rather in sheets, and later in tubes. Regular plastic armor costs $1 * TL per 5 lbs., and usually comes in 100-lb. sheets that occupy 5 spaces. To determine the statistics of other armor types, simply apply the same modifiers for vehicle frame armor.

    Regular plastic armor is heat-formed, fitted to the vehicle, then glued on in early TL8. Later in this era, it comes in a tube and spray can that only takes up 3 spaces, but costs and weighs the same. The plastic is squirted from the tube, and molded into place. It will stay soft and pliable for up to five days until sprayed with the nano-tech items in the spray can. Within 30 minutes after applying the nano devices, the plastic hardens into an armored patch. (Don't touch the patch while the nano-tech is working, or you could end up with a nasty burn!) Metal and AFV armors cannot come in this form until TL9.

    Crude metal armor can be made from scrap parts. It takes four hours per point and a successful Mechanic or Metal Working skill roll. Each point weighs 10 times the weight of regular plastic armor, and uses twice the crude metal armor's weight in scrap parts.


    Waterwheels are placed in fast-moving streams or waterfalls to generate electricity. They must be combined with a generator, and then to a storage battery to save the power for future use. To build one requires an Electrical Engineer roll, an electrical cache roll, a general building cache roll, the weight of the waterwheel in scrap parts, and a number of days equal to the waterwheel's TL. A waterwheel will create a number of PU equal to its TL every hour. Cost is equal to $5 * TL, weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 10 lbs., and space occupied is equal to weight / 10.


    Harness the wind to create power. These devices must be combined with a generator, and then to a storage battery to save the power for future use. To build one requires an Electrical Engineer roll, an electrical cache roll, two general building cache rolls, the weight of the windmill in scrap parts, and a number of days equal to the windmill's TL. A wind turbine will produce a variable amount of power every hour, but on average it will produce 50 percent of its TL in PUs, rounded up in calm conditions, its TL in PU's in average conditions, and TL * 2 in PUs in windy conditions. Stronger winds will destroy the unit. Cost is equal to $10 * TL, weight is equal to (15 - TL) * 10 lbs., and space occupied is equal to weight / 10.

    Alternative Fuels

    In my campaigns, gasoline is not quite as scarce as the world of Car Wars, and only costs $5 a gallon. The Grain Blight never happened, therefore alcohol fuels are readily available. Methanol costs $1 per gallon, ethanol costs $2 per gallon, and pure hydrogen costs $15 per gallon.  All of these fuels weigh 6 lbs. per gallon.


    Synthesis of this liquid requires 6 lbs. of grain crops per gallon. It can be consumed as a liquor, but will cause blindness after prolonged use.  Because ethanol does not burn as hot as gasoline, an ICE using ethanol is less efficient. When an ICE uses ethanol, its MPG rating is reduced by 33.3 percent.


    This liquid is a mixture of appoximately 50 percent gasoline and 50 percent ethanol. Although ICEs using gasohol have their MPG ratings reduced by 50 percent, the cost of gasohol is only costs $3 per gallon.


    This gas can be created by the breakdown of water into hydrogen and oxygen. This requires a laboratory, a successful Chemist roll, and four hours per gallon. The hardest part of using hydrogen is its volatility makes storage difficult. The equivalent of a racing fuel tank is needed to store it safely. Storing hydrogen in anything else causes 10 to 60% of it to evaporate every day. This release of flammable vapors means there is also a good chance of an explosion occurring. The exact nature of this problem is left up to the GM. Hydrogen should always have at least a +1 chance to catch fire or explode, over and above any other modifiers.

    (Editor's Note: Electrolysis of water will produce hydrogen and oxygen gases in a 2-to-1 ratio, a fact that may be useful to consider when performing production of these two gases in a limited amount of time.)


    This fuel can be created from many items, including, but not limited to, wood chips, corn stalks, pig dung, and most other scraps from vegetable matter. The production of one gallon of methanol requires 6 lbs. of the substances mentioned previously. This fuel cannot be consumed because it is a poison. Ingestion of methanol will cause blindness and death. When figuring the fuel efficiency of methanol, divide the MPG rating of an ICE by 25 percent (round up).

    Storage Drums

    Storage drums are typically 55-gallon barrels, weighing 20 lbs. and occupying 3 spaces. Storage drums can be found in most industrial ruins, or purchased at $10 each. These barrels have 2 DP. After taking only one point of damage, these barrels have been breached, and will begin to leak their contents in the same method as the fuel tanks in CWC2.5 and UACFH. When one of these barrels is hit, there is a 4 in 6 chance it will catch fire. Once a storage barrel that is not in a vehicle is on fire, the storage barrel has a 2 in 6 chance of exploding. Barrels that are in a burning vehicle add an extra +2 to the chance of the vehicle exploding. A full storage drum loaded with volatile chemicals that explodes will inflict damage equal to 1d6 for every 10 full gallons of gasoline in a 1" radius, and half that amount (rounded down) in a 2" radius. If you wish to have better storage devices, construct them using the same rules as vehicle fuel tanks.

    Final Thoughts

    Most of these skills and rules were created and playtested over the course of the last 15 years. The figures for alcohol stills and alternate fuels are based loosely on information gathered from the roleplaying game Twilight: 2000, and various articles from the magazine Popular Science. The information on the Chemist and Weapon Smith skills came from GURPS, Living Steel, Twilight: 2000, articles from Popular Science, The Anarchist Cookbook, and various other sources. The amount of people a farmer can feed at TL7 has been quoted in several sources as being between 130 and 150. I went with the lower figure. Crops are a generic term and can stand for any type of foodstuffs you want. The rules for power generators and consumption are the least researched, and I welcome anyone's comments and suggestions to improve these sections.

    Why go to all this detail? Because my games are usually set in a post-apocalyptic setting where stores, manufacturing facilities, and transportation systems rarely exist. My players have to reload their own ammo, create explosives, make fuel for internal combustion engines, create power, and feed the people they lead. Playing organizations in the ruins of civilization requires a lot more large-scale planning than playing individuals, however the reward of conquering and running your own kingdom can be worth it.

    In future articles I will be expanding on these campaign ideas with information on searching ruins, more new skills, how to learn new skills, ransoming people instead of killing them, running large organizations, and several other rules additions. I would also like to present information on my group's current campaign. It is set in the wastelands of New Idaho and includes mutants, lots of ruins to search, and many powerful enemies and allies.

    Hopefully, this article will inspire other Car Wars enthusiasts to look beyond arenas and road duels to a new way of playing the game. Please elmay me with any comments or suggestions you may have regarding these rules. They are a work in progress, and always subject to improvement.