Written by Michael Garrity
New Omaha Vehicular Association
Web Posted January 13, 1999
Updated August 05, 2000
As every long-term player of the game knows, Car Wars has been in a
state of technological stasis for years, even considering such anomalies
as X-ray lasers, cloning and braintaping In the standard GURPS timeline,
the world of Car Wars is about to enter Tech Level 9. This article will
provide suggestions on how to bring campaigns to this technological
At its most basic, a Car Wars campaign revolves around vehicles of every
description. Advances in materials science and other technologies have
yielded the following benefits:
Vehicle bodies of all types now weigh 25% less, with the cost remaining
the same as before. Chassis and suspension modifiers are still based on
original body cost. Regular vehicle bodies are made of tougher materials,
taking -1 per d6 of ram damage. Carbon-aluminum frames now take normal
Older power plants couldn't operate under water without being shorted
out. The new power plants are fully-capable of operating underwater,
even if the vehicle isn't waterproofed. These new power plants also store
25% more energy (with the same cost, weight and space). ICEs powered by
gasoline have been phased out in favor of magneto-hydrodynamic (MHD) turbines.
MHD turbines are available in the same sizes as the older gas engines.
The main difference is that they burn a mixture of hydrogen and oxygen
(hydrox). This mix costs $5.00 per gallon and allows the turbine to work
under water. MHD turbines cost half as much as a gas engine of equivalent
size. They also weigh 10% less and are 1/3 more fuel-efficient (round up).
Vehicular armor still costs the same, howeve, it is lighter. One point of this new armor weighs 33% less than a point of the old armor. This allows for the same protection at 2/3 the weight, or a 1/3 increase in protection for the same weight.
Energy-proof armor is also available. It costs three times as much as
normal armor. Vehicle protected by it take half-damage from lasers of all
types, -2 per d6 from flamers and -1 per d6 of damage from particle-beam
The new fuel tanks are available in the same grades as the old gas tanks,
with the same cost and the same weight. They have 50% more DP and hold
50% more fuel (round up).
Tires cost and weigh the same, except that they have 25% more DP (before
steelbelting benefits are applied). In normal driving, they wear out at
25% of the normal rate.
The need for a Car Warrior to do harm to his fellow man has caused more
progress to be made in weapons technology than in almost any other field.
New types of weapons have also been developed. The range modifiers for
all types of offensive weaponry have decreased by 50% (from -1 per 4" to
-1 per 6"), said decrease coming from better optics and fire-control.
New versions of a previously-existing weapon type cost half as much
as the original. All such weapons get 50% more shots for the same cost
and weight. This represents the use of liquid-propellant technology, which
is much more efficient than caseless weapons using solid cakes of propellant.
Explosive weapons (grenades, rockets, missiles, etc.) now get a +1 per
d6 of basic damage (this doesn't apply to non-explosive ammo types
such as DU or APFSDS). The damage increase comes from the use of more powerful
Energy weapons of all types get a +1 per d6 of damage, which represents
the greater power of a laser beam or higher velocity of a Gauss gun. The
basic cost is halved and the power consumption rises by 50%. Rules for
Gauss weapons are available in the Daemon Mechanic article, "Gauss
Weaponry," in CWIN Vol. 1, No. 6.
Dropped weapons which use explosives (mines, explosive spikes, cloud bombs, etc.) get a damage bonus of +1 per d6 (see the entry for explosive projectile weapons above). The CPS and WPS remain the same.
Flammable weapons (flaming oil, flame clouds, napalm mines, etc.) burn
hotter and last longer (+1 FM, +1 BD; burn times for FOJs and FCEs
are increased by one second). The D-hazard for oil is increased from D2
to D3 (slipperier compounds are used).
New Weapon Technologies
Flamers are advanced versions of flamethrowers which project a stream of superheated plasma (instead of some type of burning fuel). A flamer shot is a continuous discharge that lasts an entire second. Thus, if a flamer is fired on phase 2 of turn 3, the discharge will last until phase 2 of turn 4. There are four types of this weapon available.
A flamer shot uses no fuel (only power) and produces no smoke. Regardless
of the size of the weapon, a flamer shot has a fire modifier of 6 and a
burn duration of 1. Flamer shots automatically melt 1 DP of metal armor
per d6 of damage. As with other Ultra-Tech energy weapons, the power figure
assumes that a high-capacity power cell is being used. If an old-style
laser battery is substituted, power consumption doubles.
Unlike flamethrowers, flamers will not cause damage to the vehicle using the flamer if the weapon is fired in the same direction the vehicle is moving.
Light Flamer -- To-hit 6, 1d6-2 damage, cost $1,000, weight 150 lbs., 1 space, 2 DP, consumes 1 PU per shot. Maximum range 8".
Medium Flamer -- To-hit 6, 1d6 damage, cost $1,500, weight 250 lbs., 2 spaces, 3 DP, consumes 2 PUs per shot. Maximum range 15".
Heavy-Duty Flamer -- To-hit 6, 2d6 damage, cost $3,500, weight 400 lbs., 3 spaces, 5 DP, consumes 3 PUs per shot. Maximum range 25".
Extra-Heavy Flamer -- To-hit 6, 3d6 damage, cost $5,000, weight 500
lbs., 4 spaces, 6 DP, consumes 5 PUs per shot. Maximum range 40".
These weapons damage their targets by firing beams of sub-atomic particles. If a beam cannon shot penetrates to a vehicle’'interior (even if by one point), all electronics in the vehicle will be shorted out. The effect is as if an anti-power-plant rocket has hit an electric power plant. The use of a surge protector will prevent this on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6. Shielded electronics are immune to this effect, but cost three times normal.
Light Beam Cannon -- To-hit 6, 3d6+3 damage, cost $12,000, weight 600 lbs., 3 spaces, 3 DP, uses 6 PUs per shot.
Medium Beam Cannon -- To-hit 6, 5d6+5 damage, cost $15,000, weight 750 lbs., 5 spaces, 5 DP, uses 10 PUs per shot.
Heavy Beam Cannon -- To-hit 6, 8d6+8 damage, cost $25,000, weight 900
lbs., 8 spaces, 8 DP, uses 15 PUs per shot.
High-capacity laser batteries are now available. These items have double the cost and half the weight of the originals, but store 50% more power. Non-rechargeable high-capacity laser batteries cost the same as rechargeable versions, but store twice as much power. Weight, DP and spaces for both versions are the same as the old laser battery.
Targeting computers of all types (from SWCs to cyberlinks) get an additional +1 to-hit bonus (coming from more computer power and better targeting algorithms).
The cost of all other accessories is halved. Where rolls are made to
determine their success, there is a +1 bonus. Failure rolls are reduced
by -1, which will reduce the chances of any failure.
Personal Weapons and Equipment
In their eternal quest to assist one's fellow man in shuffling off the mortal coil, weapons engineers have devised the following means of doing just that. For those who wish not to go softly into that dark night, there is a selection of defensive equipment.
New versions of older personal weapons cost 25% less. They also have
a +2 to-hit bonus (this is from a built-in combination LTS/rangefinder).
The range penalties for personal weapons are halved (from -1 per 4" to
-1 per 8"). They have 50% more shots for the same CPS (weight is unaffected).
The new types of personal weaponry presented in this article do not gain
the full +2. Instead, they get a +1 to reduce range modifiers only.
Their range penalties are also halved. Other modifiers for hand weapons
(damage bonus, burn time, etc.) are as for vehicular weapons of the same
These weapons use high-capacity power cells which can be removed and recharged. The xaser pistol and the xaser rifle can be recharged for negligible cost. A recharge for the xaser LAW costs $10 and takes five minutes.
X-ray Laser Pistol -- To-hit 6, 1d6 damage, cost $2,000, 20 shots, encumbrance 1 GE.
X-ray Laser Rifle -- To-hit 6, 2d6 damage, cost $3,500, 10 shots, encumbrance 2 GEs.
X-ray Laser LAW -- To-hit 6, 3d6+3 damage, cost $5,000, 4 shots (RoF
1/2) encumbrance 3 GEs.
Particle Pistol -- To-hit 6, 2d6+2 damage, cost $3,500, 8 shots, encumbrance 2 GEs. This weapon is a large pistol, resembling an SMG in size. Recharges cost $10 and take five minutes.
Particle Rifle -- To-hit 6, 4d6+4 damage, cost $5,000, 5 shots, encumbrance
3 GEs. This weapon is the same size as an AVR. Recharges cost $20 and take
These weapons are portable versions of vehicle-mounted flamers. They have the same effects as the larger versions.
Flame Pistol -- To-hit 6, 1d6-2 damage, cost $1,500, 10 shots, encumbrance 1 GE. Maximum range 5".
Flame Rifle -- To-hit 6, 1d6 damage, cost $3,000, 6 shots, encumbrance 2 GEs. Maximum range 10".
Flame Claymore: $1,000, 5 lbs, 1 GE, 2d damage, 3" range. This device
is a one-shot flame discharger which looks like a standard claymore mine.
It is command-detonated (either by wire or radio). This mine can also use
proximity fuzes at the normal costs.
Gauss Pistol -- See the Daemon Mechanic article, "Gauss
Weaponry," in CWIN Vol. 1, No. 6.
Power Pack -- Cost $1,000, encumbrance 4 GEs. This device is a high-capacity
power cell worn as a backpack. It multiplies the number of shots for personal
energy weapons by 50% (round up).
Personal armor is now equal to vehicular armor in all respects. All
types of personal armor have twice the DP for the same weight and cost.
Heavier versions (metal-composite, laminate, etc. ) are available. Laminate
body armor costs twice as much and has 1/3 more DP (round up).