Archives of Nethys

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Chapter 8: Tactical Rules / Vehicle Tactical Rules

Attacking from a Vehicle

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 281
Anyone attacking while on a vehicle takes that vehicle’s penalty to attack rolls, as listed in the Modifiers entry of the vehicle’s statistics (see page 228). It’s especially difficult to attack from a vehicle that’s moving at high speed, so a vehicle might have a higher modifier on attacks (shown in parentheses) when traveling at full speed. The penalty for moving at full speed applies if the vehicle moved at full speed during the last round. The attack penalty doesn’t apply when the vehicle is stopped.

Firing Vehicle Weapons

Firing a weapon mounted on a vehicle works like firing a normal ranged weapon, but you must activate the vehicle’s weapons instead of ones you hold. The penalties to attack rolls in the vehicle’s Modifiers entry also apply to attacks made with a vehicle’s weapons.

Some vehicles have weapons bound to their steering devices or weapons that are operated from the same control panel. These can be fired when you are piloting, though you normally can’t fire the vehicle’s weapons on the same turn that you race (or on the same turn that you take another full action) because you don’t have enough available actions. Weapons mounted in other manners typically need to be fired by creatures on the vehicle that are dedicated gunners.

Drive-By Attacks

Because many vehicles have full speeds that might let them move across an entire battle map, the GM may need to make a judgment call when vehicles leave the map and want to return. The GM determines how long returning takes, but it normally takes at least 1 round to double back, since it takes a move action to drive and change heading.

In theory, creatures could pile on a vehicle, ready actions to shoot enemies as soon as they’re within 30 feet, race the vehicle across the map, and fire in passing. Such a maneuver might seem like a sure thing, but it comes with a few problems. First, the attackers take a big penalty to all their attacks, but enemies who ready actions to fire back don’t take those penalties. Second, enemies have time to prepare while the vehicle is off the map. They might take cover, set up obstacles to prevent the vehicle from racing through, or just leave. The GM might also rule that the attackers can’t keep a good watch on what’s happening while they’re off the map or that the vehicle breaks down after the stress of using such a tactic.