Driving Tutorial

This tutorial is meant as a guide for how to drive a ground vehicle in a combat situation against other ground vehicles, in the game of Shadowrun. It is not going to cover drones nor specifically cover air, sea or space vehicles.

Combat Turn Flow Chart

Combat Turn Sequence
1: Setup First round only, determine starting distance and speeds for each vehicle
2: VTS Calculate Vehicle, Speed and Terrain points for each vehicle
3: Control Pool Riggers may allocate CP dice to the test to determine his driver points.
4: Maneuver Score Determine each vehicles Driver Points and Maneuver Score
5: Initiative Each vehicle rolls initiative as per their drivers reaction +1d6 (Unless modified via VCR)
6: Actions Each vehicle declares its action, resolved in the order of initiative
7: Changes Evaluate actions and results, determine changes to speed, distance and terrain
8: New Round Go to step 2

The Driving Test

In most situations, a character can drive a car. It's a cultural skill anyone from a city will have. This is basic point B to point B driving with no risk, surprise or urgency. Any time a character attempts something dangerous or out of the ordinary, a driving test is called for.

To make a driving test, the driver uses the appropriate vehicle skill (Car, bike, rotor aircraft, suborbital, submarines or what have you) to roll against a base TN of the vehicles handling. This is modified by the chart below. Riggers who are currently rigging may use control pool up to their vehicle skill to augment this. Additionally, if a vehicle's autonav is active, the driver may add dice equal to the rating of the autonav to tests to resist collision and defensive driving. However, the autonav actively hinders offensive or risky driving otherwise.

Apply specific modifiers, such as Terrain or VCR or Datajack mods only once, even if called for on other tables. Combat counts as any action taking while in a race, or opposing/fighting another vehicle. If the modifiers change, use the modifiers from the appropriate actions chart.

Driving Test Modifiers Mod
Unfamiliar vehicle +1
Non-stressful situation -1
Stressful Situation GM's call
Large Vehicle of Type +2
Very Large Vehicle of Type +3
Bad Weather +2
Terrible Weather +4
Action Performed During Combat +2
Non-Rigger using Datajack -1
Open Terrain -0
Normal Terrain +/- 0
Restricted Terrain +1
Tight Terrain +3

The Maneuvering Score

The Maneuvering score is foundational to the flow of vehicular combat, be it racing a sports car or attacking a tank from the air via missile. It is used to judge the relative strength and weakness of vehicles engaged in combat and is used in resolving nearly all combat maneuvers. A bonus or penalty may be assigned based on a vehicles current maneuver score. The specific applications of the maneuver score are listed in the rules for each specific action.

The Maneuver score consists of four components. Vehicle Points, Terrain Points, Speed Points and Driver Points. Each is determined differently, and each can change during the course of a combat turn. It is VERY important that players and GM's track these numbers accordingly.

Maneuvering Score

Vehicle Points

Vehicle points are the simplest to determine. A vehicle's vehicle points never change, and are based on the chassis the vehicle uses.

Vehicle Type Vehicle Points
Car/Pickup 0 Suborbital/HSCT -15
Fighter Jet +20 Large Airplane -5
Heavy Truck -5 LAV/T-Bird +10
Helicopter +5 Limo/L. Truck/Van -3
Hovercraft +2 LTA/Zeppelin -10
SemiBallistic -25 Small Airplane 0
Small Motorboat 0 Sports Car +3
Tracked Vehicle -3 Tractor Trailer -7
Train/Monorail -10 Ultralight Aircraft +10
Yacht -10

Terrain Points

Like Vehicle points, Terrain points are determined by a chart of limited options.

Terrain Points Table
Open 0
Normal -2
Restricted -4
Tight -10

Speed Points

Speed points are determined by dividing a vehicles current speed by 10. A vehicle with a current velocity of 200 meters per second, will have 20 speed points.

Driver Points

Driver points are assigned by an open skill test. In this test, the driver rolls his relevant skill (Car, bike, ect) and the highest die number is his Driver Point total for the combat turn. A player may elect to spend control pool if he is a rigger in this test, though the dice are subtracted from his pool for the rest of the turn.


Initiative in a vehicular combat scenario is not like any other system of combat. All the cyberware in the world will not make you a better driver if your interface is still a steering wheel. The only cyberware that adds in to the initiative score for driving is a VCR. No other effect, be it magical or physical, effects the initiative score. While it seems counter intuitive, this includes bonuses to reaction from any ware, spell or effect beyond the VCR. Only base reaction. The exception to this is a character controlling a vehicle via Datajack. They receive a +1 reaction bonus.

(Player Reaction)+(1d6)


There are five distinct actions a driver can take while in vehicular combat. Each one has a different system and can be found in Shadowrun Third Edition, page 141-145. All of these actions are considered complex.

  • Accelerating/Braking: The driver attempts to make their vehicle go faster or slower, either to increase the distance between a pursuer or to close the distance to a vehicle being chased.
  • Positioning: The Driver attempts to maneuver in to a better position, gaining a bonus to next turns maneuver score and thus a better tactical position.
  • Ramming: The driver attempts to ram another vehicle.
  • Hiding: The driver attempts to break contact with other vehicles; fleeing.
  • Non-Driving Action: Any action not one of the four above, such as using on-board electronics, firing a weapon, activating cyberware, ect.

Accelerating or Braking

The A/B test is a fairly simple and straight forward roll. In either case, the driver rolls the appropriate vehicle skill vs a target number of the vehicles handling (+/- any modifiers). If the roll succeeds, the vehicle accelerates (goes faster) or decelerates (slows down) by (Vehicles Acceleration*successes).

However, a vehicle that exceeds its speed rating suffers a +1 TN modifier and a vehicle may NOT exceed its speed*1.5. Additionally, if a vehicle decelerates more than (Vehicles Acceleration*4), the driver must make a crash test immediately.

If an acting vehicle behind a target vehicle is able to increase its speed to equal to or greater than the distance between the two vehicles by a factor of 2, the acting vehicle may ram the target vehicle during the acting vehicles next available action.

A/B Modifier Value
Fleeing 2+ vehicles +1 for every
vehicle over
the first
+ 1-10 Maneuver -2
Autonav On Autonav
+ 10 or greater Maneuver -4
VCR Implant 2*VCR
- 1-10 Maneuver +2
Exceeding speed rating +1 - 10 or greater Maneuver +4
Open Terrain -1 Restricted Terrain +1
Normal Terrain 0 Tight Terrain +3


Positioning is the art of tactical driving, be it offensive or defensive. How to move your vehicle in to the optimum position for attack or how to use your vehicle to prevent attack. This action includes things like bringing ones vehicle to a stop at a specific point to provide cover for friends, to cut off an enemy, to get in position for a ramming attempt, to place the vehicle in such a way as to give passengers a chance to shoot and take actions, and so on and so forth. Anything involving moving your vehicle is likely a positioning test.

To position a vehicle, the driver makes a skill-test (Appropriate vehicle skills) against a TN of his vehicle's handling score, modified by the chart below. If the driver succeeds in this test, add the NUMBER of successes scored to the drivers Driver Points the following combat round, reflecting a superior or improved position.

To position a vehicle at a specific point, such as to stop or be at X location at X time, the driver rolls as per normal, with the successes compared to the vehicles acceleration rating. If the sum of (successes*acceleration) meets or exceeds the distance to that spot(or Inversely, bleeds off enough speed) the maneuver succeeds. If not, the maneuver fails.

Positioning Chart
Speed Rating Exceeded +1 Autonav active +Rtg
Open Terrain -1 Normal Terrain -0
Restricted Terrain +1 Tight Terrain +4
VCR -(2*rtg)


In a ramming maneuver, in the shortest possible explanation, a driver attempts to use his vehicle as a weapon against a person, vehicle or other object. In order to Ram, a vehicle must be close enough to hit the other car, (Acceleration factor in meters). If it is to far away, it must accelerate to within that range. It may then ram the other vehicle on its next available action.

To resolve a ramming attempt, the driver makes a skill test against a TN of his vehicle handling rating modified by the chart below. The other driver does not get to directly dodge or otherwise avoid the other driver, as he should have been making his own maneuver and acceleration tests to avoid this eventuality.

Ramming Chart Mod
Speed Rating Exceeded +1 Autonav active +Rtg
Open Terrain -1 Normal Terrain -0
Restricted Terrain +1 Tight Terrain -4
VCR -(2*rtg)
+ 1-10 Maneuver -2 + 10 or greater Maneuver -4
- 1-10 Maneuver +2 - 10 or greater Maneuver +4

Successful Ramming

On a successful ram, both the ramming vehicle and the rammed vehicle make damage resistance tests as per the crash test rules.

If a vehicle, attacker or defender, takes any damage, they must make an immediate 'real' crash test with appropriate modifiers. To find these, look under 'Crashing'.


These rules will not be covered here, as they are not required for basic vehicular operation such as racing.


Crashing is a specific type of impact that happens when the driver of a vehicle loses control due to unique circumstances such as sustaining damage, bad road conditions, being rammed, stopping too fast, the vehicle being shot to hell out from underneath the driver, ect.

Crash tests are automatically triggered by the following events:

  • The Vehicle takes any damage during a Ramming action, either as aggressor or as the defender.
  • The Vehicle takes Serious Damage in any single attack, including Weapons or Magic.
  • The Vehicle's condition monitor reaches Destroyed (D wound sustained or any combination of lesser wounds to reach 10 boxes of damage)
  • The Vehicle decelerates by more than its Acceleration*4.

The Crash Test consists of a driving test against a base TN of the vehicles handling, modified by the chart below. The driving character may use the Control pool dice and additional dice equal to the rating of the vehicle's Autonav/Drone pilot (If active) for a crash test. If this test fails, the vehicle crashes and must make a damage resistance check to resist the impact damage.

Crash Test Modifiers
Driver Wounded +Dam-Mod
Vehicle Damaged +Dam-Mod
Speed less than Drivers Reaction x 20 0
Speed less than Drivers Reaction x 30 +1
Speed less than Drivers Reaction x 40 +2
Speed greater than Drivers Reaction x 40 +4
Open Terrain -1
Normal Terrain 0
Restricted Terrain +2
Tight Terrain -4

Crashing Damage

To calculate the damage crash does, determine the difference in current speed between the two vehicles, divide the number by ten and round up to the nearest whole number. The power is reduced by the vehicles body (but not armor, as thats for other attack types and has no effect on vehicular crashing or ramming). For the level of damage, see the chart below.

Impact Damage Chart
Speed 1-20 L Wound
Speed 21-60 M Wound
Speed 61-200 S Wound
Speed 201+ D Wound

Vehicular Damage Mods

From then on, for every roll, the following modifiers apply based on the level of damage taken

Damage Level TN Mod Initiative Mod Speed Mod
Light +1 -1 N/A
Medium +2 -2 25% reduction
Serious +3 -3 50% reduction
Deadly NA NA Vehicle inoperable

People inside the car

When a car takes impact or collision damage, passengers can take damage too. All appropriate vehicle safety system damage modifiers apply, such as safety restraints and other systems. The damage the passengers take is equal to X/X-1, where X is the damage the vehicle itself suffered. Passengers take the full power level of the impact, but the damage is automatically staged down one level, so if the vehicle took 12M, the passengers will take a 12L wound and must attempt to soak the damage. Personal armor does apply.


A listing of common ground vehicles can be found here: Cars, Motorcycles, Trucks

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