CWIN Vol. 2, No. 6
The Daemon Mechanic
Pedestrian Melee Combat

Written by Tony "Manycubes" Kontes
BoneHeadz of New Idaho

Web Posted June 03, 1999
Updated August 05, 2000

While refereeing several different campaigns I became aware of some deficiencies in the way pedestrian combat is handled. These rules will attempt to smooth out some of the rough spots and add new ideas and equipment.

Melee Weapons

Though I have never been able to find the rule, I assume that the to-hit number for melee weapons includes all bonuses and penalties, including the -3 for aiming at a pedestrian, and point-blank bonus of +4. To keep it simple I also use the same to-hit number when characters swing at vehicles and other fixed objects (my reasoning is that while they may be easier to hit, it's harder to hit an object in a spot that will hurt it). I have also made the assumption that the minimum damage a melee weapon will do, except for debris used as a weapon, is 1 point even if the damage die indicates a 0 or less. Unless otherwise stated the skill Blades will be necessary to use these weapons without a -2 penalty to hit. All weapons are taken from Uncle Albert's Catalog From Hell (except for the new ones) and any changes to the original description are listed in italics. I have also listed the weight for all weapons, and whether or not a weapon requires two hands to use.

Axe: To hit 9, $50, 4 lbs., 3 GEs, 2-handed, HTH only, 1d6 damage to pedestrians and vehicles.

Baton/Club (New): To hit 7, $20, 1 lb., 1 GEs, 1-handed, HTH only, 1 point of damage to pedestrians.

Bowie Knife/Bayonet: To hit 8, $50, 1 lb., 1 GE (0 GEs when attached to the end of a rifle or assault rifle), HTH only, 1d6-3 damage to pedestrians and tires.

Brass Knuckles (New): To hit 8, $15, 1 lb., 1/2 GE, 1-handed, HTH only, 1 point of damage to pedestrians. No weapon skill is necessary to use this item.

Chainsaw: To hit 9, $150, 15 lbs., 4 GEs, 2-handed, HTH only, 1d6+1 damage to pedestrians and tires. Breaks on a to-hit roll of 2; fixing is an Easy job for a Mechanic.

Hatchet: To hit 9, $25, 2 lbs., 1 GE, 1-handed, HTH only, 1d6-2 damage to pedestrians and vehicles.

Knife: To hit 7, $25, 1/2 lb., 1 GE, 1-handed, HTH only, 1d6-4 damage to pedestrians and tires.

Machete/Short Sword: To hit 7, $100, 3 lbs., 2 GEs, 1-handed, 1d6-3 damage to pedestrians and tires.

Nunchaku (New): To hit 7, $50, 2 lbs., 1 GE, HTH only, 1 point of damage to pedestrians. The Martial Arts skill is used for this weapon instead of the Blade skill. All bonuses for to hit rolls, damage, and extra attacks given by the Martial Arts skill apply to the use of this weapon as well.

Replica Spear: Change damage to 1d6-4, weighs 5 lbs., 2-handed weapon when set to receive a charge, 1-handed weapon when charging or stationary but not set to receive a charge. This weapon can attack out to two squares past the edge of the characters counter. When stationary, if a successful hit is rolled, and the target was a living being, who hasn't attacked yet, that target is kept at a 2-square range for that turn and may only use missile weapons or melee weapons at least as long as the spear to engage the character. Characters may charge their full movement and still attack with a spear. This increases the damage to 1d6-3, but allows the target to close normally even if hit. Characters with spears on vehicles or animals that hit a target apply full collision damage to the target based on the mounts speed. Also if a target moves into a set spear (the carrier remains stationary for the full turn and uses two hands to hold the spear) and is hit, the target takes full collision damage based on its speed.

Replica Sword: To hit 7, $200, 3 lbs., 2 GEs, HTH only, 1d6-1 damage to pedestrians and tires.

I changed these weapons stats around because some of them had to-hit numbers and damage values that were out of line with their costs. In particular a $50 spear had the same chance to hit as a $75 short sword but did more damage, and the knife with a to-hit of 5 and minimum of 1 point of damage was too deadly.

Improvised Melee Weapons

Instead of using the rules on page 44 of CWC2.5 for picking up random debris and using it as a weapon, use the rules below.

Small, Balanced (fist-size rock, grenade, or pistol): To hit 5, 1-3 lbs., 1 GE, 1d6-4 damage (0 points possible).

Medium (tree branch or lead pipe): To hit 7, 1-8 lbs., 2 GEs, 1d6-3 damage (0 points possible).

Large (rifle or chair): To hit 9, 9 lbs. or more, 3 GEs or more, 2-handed, 1d6-2 damage (0 points possible).

Body Armor in Hand-to-Hand Combat

Does body armor (regular, improved, impact or military) get damaged by hand-to-hand weapons? I can't find a ruling so I made up the following rules.

Regular body armor will completely stop a melee weapons damage if the wearer rolls 1 through 4 on a 1d6. If the wearer rolls successfully then no damage is taken by the character or his armor. If a 5 or 6 is rolled however, the armor is completely bypassed and all damage is applied directly to the wearer. Note: Weapons that would normally do half or full damage to vehicle armor will do full damage to all types of body armor but still have a chance of bypassing it completely.

Improved body armor will stop melee attacks on a result of 1-5 on 1d6 with the same consequences as above.

Impact and military body armor suits stop melee attacks on a result of 2-10 on 2d6 with the same consequences as above.

Body Armors

The following table provides for different styles of body armor. These styles may not be worn with any other type. All armor is considered to be Tech Level 8 and made of advanced plastics, ceramics, and composite alloys of the GM's choosing. The damage points of these armors is non-ablative and cannot be increased. This armor does not protect from falling or collisions.

Body Armor Type Cost Weight Protection DP
A $25 6 lbs. 1
B $50 10 lbs. 1-2
C $75 20 lbs. 1-3
D $100 30 lbs. 1-4
E $100 6 lbs. 1-2
F $150 10 lbs. 1-3
G $200 20 lbs. 1-4

How to read the table above:

Type: Generic term to refer to the different armors and the GM is encouraged to come up with brand names for each.

Cost: Price in Tech Level 8 dollars.

Weight: Number of pounds the suit weighs. This weight can be decreased at an added cost of $10 to the suit for every 1 pound shaved off. The minimum amount a suit can weigh is half its beginning weight, as listed on the table (i.e. the 6-pound suits can be taken down to a minimum of 3 pounds for a total of $30). All the armor types listed in this table are available at lower tech levels by increasing the weight by 4 pounds and reducing the cost by $2 for every tech level below 8.

DP: Number of damage points it stops from hand-to-hand, pedestrian, and vehicle weapons.

Protection: Range of numbers that must be rolled on 1d6 for the DP to absorb damage from a weapon hit (i.e. a 1-2 result means a 1 or a 2 must be rolled or the armor is completely bypassed and the character is hit directly).


Shields protect from hand-to-hand and missile weapons targeted at the shield holder through his front arc. This is normally the square right in front of the pedestrian counter and the ones forward and to the left and right. If there are any questions the referee has final say. Shields stop damage through this arc in the same way that body armor stops damage and the table is set up the same way, except that shields cannot be made to weigh less. Tech levels are also not factors in weight or cost.

When taking damage though the front arc, first see if the shield stops any and then the body armor. When taking damage from any other direction ignore the shields damage stopping capabilities.

Shield limitations: Shields can not be used inside a vehicle or while a pedestrian is prone. Characters on motorcycles may use shields at -1 to their handling class. Characters mounted on creatures do not suffer a penalty for their beast handling skills. No two-handed weapons may be used when a shield is unslung. One handed missile weapons may be fired at -1 to-hit while the shield is deployed. Melee weapons do not suffer this penalty. It takes 3 seconds to sling or unsling a shield, at which time the character may only move at a walk or less, and may not draw weapons or attack. Of course shields can be dropped to the ground in 1 second.

Shield Type Cost Weight Protection DP
H $20 2 lbs. 1 1
I $30 8 lbs. 1-2 1
J $40 15 lbs. 1-3 1
K $60 25 lbs. 1-4 1


Who goes first in pedestrian combat and why? The "I want to shoot now" rule works well in arena style combat with human players for each vehicle, but in referee-moderated role playing campaigns it doesn't.

First, missile weapons always go before melee weapons (I will be dealing with ranged weapons modifiers in a different installment). Second, the initiative of pedestrians is based on their skill, encumbrance, type of weapon they're using, and whether they are employing a shield. All this can be figured out before combat and this number should remain constant through out the battle. The higher the number the sooner a pedestrian may attack. In the event that 2 or more combatants are fighting each other and have the same initiative modifier: Roll 1d6 for each combatant with the highest number going first. Ties are rerolled. Characters with multiple attacks get all of their attacks when their initiative number is reached.

Initiative Modifiers

Pedestrian Modifiers

Weapon Modifiers Examples

Designer's Notes and Optional Rules

I was originally going to create initiative modifiers for both closing and in range combat, but this game is already complicated enough and these seem to work well enough in the play testing my group has subjected them to.

I didn't include any modifiers for using these weapons on a moving vehicle. I say, " If Dog Boy wants to charge a line of police interceptors on his unarmored cycle while wielding a long sword, who are we to penalize him?" If it's good drama let it be. However two-handed weapons should be limited to being used on flatbeds, backs of pickups, and other large open spaces.

Quick Drawing Weapons. To fast draw a melee or missile weapon from a holster (not to unsling it from your back or some other inconvenient place) roll your skill level +1 on 1d6. A successful roll means you can use the weapon that turn, and an unsuccessful roll means it takes a full second to draw. Weapons drawn from a holster take 1 second and may be done while walking. Larger weapons like chainsaws, axes, rifles, spears, and other weapons strapped across your back take 3 seconds to bring into use, with a successful quick draw roll reducing this to 2 seconds.

Parrying. In order to parry an attack a character must roll higher than his opponents to hit number on 2d6. All skill bonuses or penalties apply to this roll. Debris items of all sizes have a -2 modifier to a pedestrian's parry roll because they are unbalanced. If a pedestrian parries he will not be able to attack that turn unless he has a skill that allows him more than one attack per second. In that case he loses one of his attacks per parry, and may only parry each attack once. Parries are made before shields or armor come into effect and must be announced before those rolls are made. Unarmed combatants can parry melee weapons but their arms will automatically take damage (allow armor but not shields a chance to absorb this damage). The only time this might be useful is if you are using the optional wound rules where a crippled arm is better than death.

Remember your character can move up to half his walking movement and still attack with melee weapons. He can make a full move, but not a sprint move and attack with a spear.

The changes I made to the melee weapons may not be readily apparent so I will list each change here.

When using body armor at lower tech levels I encourage my players to briefly describe what it is made out of. Football shoulder pads with a chain mail shirt and leather pants sounds cooler than armor type D. At lower tech levels I consider armor type A to be a leather vest, while armor type G may be a flak jacket at Tech Level 7, or half plate at Tech Level 4.