Attacks and Damage

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When making an attack, you must first determine the appropriate combat active skill to use. Your weapon (or lack thereof) dictates the skill to use. For purposes of the following rules, weapon test refers to the skill test being rolled for your attack.

DV and Damage Type

Each attack has a specified Damage Value (DV), which is the normal amount of damage dealt by the weapon or your unarmed attack. Each DV is appended by two letters which indicate the type of damage being dealt and to which health track the damage applies. The first letter will indicate the type of damage:

  • Energy (E): This is damage caused by chemical reactions or rapid molecular change of state. Acid, cold, electricity, flame, light, and radiation are examples of what cause Energy damage.
  • Impact (I): Blunt impacts or forces that can be distributed over an area. Blunt and hacking weapons, most solid ammunition firearms, and falling are examples of what cause Impact damage.
  • Piercing (P): A type of damage inflicted by focusing force into minimized area of impact. Slashing and puncturing weapons and shrapnel are examples of what cause Piercing damage.

Following the type designation will be another letter for Light (L) or Critical (C). If the target of your attack is hit, any damage the target fails to resist applies to that health track.

Defending from an Attack

When attacked, you aren’t assumed to just stand there and take it. However, your options for evading attacks depends largely on what kind of weapon is used against you. For purposes of these rules, the skill or attribute test chosen to evade attacks is referred to as the defense test.

Melee and Thrown Attacks Accelerated Projectile Attacks
Dodge + Reaction Dodge + Intuition
Gymnastics + Agility Gymnastics + Agility
Parry + Reaction Agility + Edge

Melee attacks consist of any swung or thrusted weapon, unarmed attacks, and generally any simple attack from an adjacent enemy. Thrown weapon attacks (in this context) refer to any projectile or weapon used at a distance, but not accelerated beyond a metahuman’s ability to hurl it at you. Thus, while slings are used by the Thrown Weapons skill, they are not considered a thrown weapon for these purposes. Accelerated projectiles are any remote attacks that reach their target faster than the target can react to them. Defense tests against these attacks represent anticipation of an attacker’s assault or simply being as hard a target to hit as possible.


Armor and shields don’t prevent an attack from hitting you, but they do absorb or partially deflect attacks. Mechanically, these devices reduce the amount of damage dealt by attacks that hit. The amount of damage reduced by an item is equal to its Armor Value (AV). AV is listed as three values: one for Impact damage, one for Piercing damage, and one for Energy damage. Tables that list an item’s AV will list the values in this order (I/P/E). When you take damage of one of these types, you subtract the appropriate AV from the total damage being dealt.
     Note that armor has no effect on which health track damage will apply toward. Also, any damage that is not typed as Energy, Impact, or Piercing cannot be reduced by AV.
     Armor Penetration (AP): Some attacks have AP, which is added to your AV. If the AP of an attack is negative, the AV that applies to that attack is reduced by the indicated amount. If the AP is positive, the AV that applies to the attack increases by that amount, but cannot increase more than twice its normal value. In other words, if AP increases your AV, you take the lower of the total sum or double your AV.

Defense Frequency

Dodging one attack leaves you more vulnerable to the next. Each time you roll a defense test to avoid an attack, you gain a cumulative -1 dice penalty to future defense tests you roll. This penalty is reduced by 1 at the start of your turn every initiative pass. If you rolled no defense tests since the start of your last turn, this penalty is instead reset to 0.

Resolving Attacks

Resolve the following steps in order.

  1. Opposed Test: You roll your weapon test against the target’s defense test. If you roll as many or more hits as the target, the attack hits and you proceed to the next step.
  2. Calculate Damage: Add any net hits from your weapon test to your attack’s DV. This is your modified DV.
  3. AP: Apply the attack’s AP to the defender’s AV, increasing it or reducing it to a minimum value of 0. This total is the modified AV.
  4. Apply Modified AV: The defender reduces the modified DV by their modified AV. If this reduces the damage to 0 or less, the defender takes no damage from the attack. Otherwise, the defender proceeds to the next step.
  5. Damage Resistance Test: The defender rolls a damage resistance test, which has a dice pool equal to their Body attribute and is never subject to wound modifiers. The modified DV of the attack is further reduced by the number of hits scored. If this reduces the modified DV to 0 or less, the defender takes no damage. Otherwise, the defender moves on to the last step.
  6. Apply Damage: If the defender is taking Critical damage, an amount equal to the number of hits scored on their damage resistance test is treated as Light damage instead. The defender then marks a number of boxes for each health track equal to the corresponding Light and or Critical damage taken.


If an attack only requires contact, you need only tie with the defender’s opposed defense test. If your weapon test scores fewer hits than the target, you do not establish sufficient contact.

Special Damage

Some aspects of gameplay can inflict damage without an attack. Also, some attacks impose negative effects in addition to raw damage. For rules on these unconventional effects, refer to the Special Damage section.

Automatic Knockdown

You can be knocked Prone through excessive damage. If you take more damage in one attack than your Body rating or Willpower rating (whichever is higher), you fall Prone in addition to the normal effects of the attack.

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Attacks and Damage

Nymsilet Shadowrunners TheWaylander