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Vehicles / Vehicle Encounters / Vehicles In Tactical Combat

Power Level

Source Tech Revolution pg. 88
Technically, a vehicle doesn’t have a Challenge Rating, and it’s not part of an NPC’s typical gear allowance. So how does one account for a vehicle when building and balancing an encounter? There’s no magical formula, but there are important qualitative considerations. A vehicle might simply grant a creature more mobility without significantly increasing their power, such as how ysoki on motorcycles don’t have greater firepower or defenses, in which case no adjustment is needed. A vehicle that provides substantial cover, passenger space, or mobility options might significantly change the encounter, though, allowing gunners to fire freely from untouchable heights or behind durable barriers. A vehicle might even have potent integrated weapons that could exceed the passengers’ usual gear allotments. In these cases, consider increasing the CR by 1, much as recommended on page 389 of the Core Rulebook.
Don’t overlook the impact vehicles can have on the PCs’ resources. A powerful vehicle might make a fun challenge, but it could also represent a huge boost to wealth if captured. In some cases, stealing such a tank is the encounter’s goal, yet it could easily upset the balance of subsequent encounters. Lower-level vehicles, on the other hand, are unlikely to upset wealth and encounter balance, even if sold.