CWIN Vol. 3, No. 5
The Daemon Mechanic
Safe Zone Vehicles

Written by Chris French

Web Posted May 10, 2000
Updated August 05, 2000

Car Wars is oriented towards duelists, convoys, and the like; cars filled to bursting with heavy weapons and armor. But what about areas like the EDSEL-dominated East Coast, or major cities with little to no major gang activity inside the perimeter walls? What sorts of cars do the townies in a city like Portland, Oregon, take to the grocer?

Design Rules

Below are designs for "Safe Zone" cars, trikes, and cycles. While the specifications differ, all share certain design details:

Body: Normal (no streamlining, sloping, etc.). Safe Zone campers are often called sport utility vehicles (SUVs).

Chassis: Standard.

Suspension: Heavy. Typical townie drivers have Driver or Cyclist only at base level, so they need all the help they can get.

Power Plant: A car or trike has the smallest engine which has sufficient power factors to move it; a cycle has the smallest plant which gives it acceleration 10, whether or not the cycle has a sidecar (light or heavy) attached.

Power Plant
Small Car
Medium Car
Large Car
Mid-size, Sedan, Luxury, Station Wagon, Van
Super Car
Pickup, SUV
Small Cycle
Light Cycle
Medium Cycle
Medium Cycle, Light Trike
Large Cycle
Heavy Cycle, Medium Trike
Super Cycle
Heavy Trike
Super Trike
Extra-Heavy Trike

Tires: Heavy-Duty. (Standards would be used as spares.)

Crew: Weight and space for a driver has been allocated; allowances for passengers are taken from cargo capacity.

Weapons and Accessories: None are allocated; weapons aren't needed (or, in some cases, allowed) in Safe Zones. Accessories are added as the car's owner desires.

Armor: Cars and trikes have 60 points of frame armor (10 points per location); cycles have 20 points (10 points per location); sidecars have 15 points (3 points per location, except for the side closest to the cycle).

Vehicle Specifications

Cars (Acceleration 5, HC 3)

Subcompact -- Cargo capacity: 2 spaces, 190 lbs. Top speed 92.5; 2,110 lbs., $2,310.

Compact -- Cargo capacity: 4 spaces, 1,030 lbs. Top speed 100; 2,670 lbs., $3,180.

Mid-size -- Cargo capacity: 6 spaces, 1,510 lbs.  Top speed 105; 3,290 lbs., $4,860.

Sedan -- Cargo capacity: 9 spaces, 1,650 lbs. Top speed 102.5; 3,450 lbs., $5,230.

Luxury -- Cargo capacity: 12 spaces, 1,890 lbs. Top speed 95; 3,610 lbs., $5,600.

Station Wagon -- Cargo capacity: 7(+7) spaces, 1,890 lbs. Top speed 95; 3,610 lbs., $5,600.

Pickup -- Cargo capacity: 5(+11) spaces, 2,330 lbs. Top speed 102.5; 4,170 lbs., $6,970.

SUV -- Cargo capacity: 9(+7) spaces, 1,950 lbs. Top speed 102.5; 4,530 lbs., $8,700.

Van -- Cargo capacity: 17(+6) spaces, 1,950 lbs. Top speed 90; 4,050 lbs., $6,700.

Motorcycles (Acceleration 10, HC 2)

Light Cycle -- Cargo capacity: 1 space, 180 lbs. Top speed 120; 620 lbs., $1,500.
Medium Cycle -- Cargo capacity: 2 spaces, 360 lbs. Top speed 127.5; 740 lbs., $2,320.

Heavy Cycle -- Cargo capacity: 3 spaces, 465 lbs. Top speed 137.5; 835 lbs., $3,140.

Sidecars (HC 2)

Light Sidecar -- Cargo capacity: 2 spaces, 105 lbs.; 295 lbs., $1,075.

Heavy Sidecar -- Cargo capacity: 3 spaces, 290 lbs.; 460 lbs., $1,525.

Tricycles (Acceleration 5, HC 2)

Light Trike -- Cargo capacity: 5 spaces, 640 lbs. Top speed 97.5, HC 3; 960 lbs., $2,710.

Medium Trike -- Cargo capacity: 6 spaces, 855 lbs. Top speed 100; 1,245 lbs., $3,420.

Heavy Trike -- Cargo capacity: 8 spaces, 1,270 lbs. Top speed 95; 1,530 lbs., $4,340.

Extra-Heavy Trike -- Cargo capacity: 9 spaces, 1,610 lbs. Top speed 92.5; 1,590 lbs., $5,910.

Reversed Tricycles (Acceleration 5, HC 3)

Reversed Light Trike -- Cargo capacity: 4 spaces, 640 lbs. Top speed 97.5; 960 lbs., $3,085

Reversed Medium Trike -- Cargo capacity: 5 spaces, 855 lbs. Top speed 100; 1,245 lbs., $3,870.

Reversed Heavy Trike -- Cargo capacity: 7 spaces, 1,270 lbs. Top speed 95; 1,530 lbs., $4,940

Reversed Extra-Heavy Trike -- Cargo capacity: 8 spaces, 1,610 lbs. Top speed 92.5; 1,590 lbs., $6,735.

How might these vehicles come into play? In "Rush Hour"-type scenarios, these would serve as the Innocent Bystanders (read: mobile
barricades). Maybe the players have to escort one (or more!) of these soda cans through an area where a biker gang has taken up residence. Imagine the fun of a bunch of NPCs with base level skills faced with a major biker assault, and the PCs acting as security. Safe Zone vehicles would serve as transports for the PCs during a mission inside a Safe Zone. (Those nasty old dueling machines having been impounded for the duration . . .) Your players may never forgive you for presenting such a challenge.

Even more fun would be an arena event based around a team of pedestrians with one or two of these available as mobile gun carriages. For an example, look up the Montana Mountain War scenario under the Verdun Downs Arena section of Arena Book 2038.

Modifications may be made -- some might be altered for off-road use (pickups, SUVs, cycles and trikes are most likely). Others might have "sport" (higher-performance) variants; to make one, increase PFs to give acceleration 10 (either by adding PlatCats and/or SuperConductors, or by removing the basic PP and adding the next most powerful on the list). Spoilers, airdams, and streamlining would be seen on racing models (The Portland International Raceway and Portland Speedway have thriving amateur racing classes.)

Designer's Notes

I chose HD tires over standards so Safe Zone vehicles could have a decent chance of surviving one or two mine counters. Armor levels were
based on being able to survive one solid 2d6 or one average 3d6 hit (any more and the driver is likely to either crash or surrender); sidecars weren't meant to survive more than one 1d6 hit.

I only allocated specific space and weight for the driver; if I tried to specify what the rest of the space and weight was for, I'd be on the receiving end of a storm of, "What about a fill-in-the-blank car?" questions. Instead, I'll just let y'all out there figure it out.

Have fun, and drive defensively. (How can you drive offensively without weapons?)