Rapid Fire in Conditional Injury

There was a discussion on the GURPS Discord between Douglas Cole, fellow discordite Dingo and myself today about simplified handling of rapid fire attacks with Conditional Injury. By using those rules as published, each penetrating hit from a rapid fire attack would need to roll for wound accumulation separately, if it weren’t more severe than the character’s current wound in the first place. This results in many accumulation rolls slowing down play so we were looking at how to speed it up. Eventually, we settled on abstracting all hits from an individual rapid fire attack into a single injury and then rolling for accumulation only once using the rules already in place. Here’s how it works.

Roll damage for all hits from a rapid fire attack normally. Note the number of hits penetrating DR, and use the highest damage one to determine initial severity. If only one penetrated, we’re done. Otherwise, look up the number of penetrating hits in the Linear Measurement column of the Size and Speed/Range table, and increase severity by a number of levels equal to the corresponding value in the Size column, plus one.

This increases wound severity of rapid fire attacks by one level for two penetrating hits, two levels for three hits, three levels for five hits and so on. Once the final severity is determined like this, it is applied as a single new wound, causing at most one roll to accumulate.

This both simplifies rapid fire attacks in a very elegant way, and makes them more dangerous on average when compared to vanilla CI.

If less lethality is desired, I’d use an alternative solution which modifies the accumulation rules instead:

Roll damage for all hits from a rapid fire attack normally. If the character is not yet injured, set their wound severity to the level indicated by the highest damaging attack that penetrates DR, and consider only the remaining ones for accumulation. If the character is already injured, look at all the penetrating hits. If the highest damaging one would indicate a more severe wound than the character’s current one, set severity to that level and consider the remaining penetrating hits for accumulation. Otherwise, consider all penetrating hits for accumulation.

Now check for accumulation (if any penetrating hits remain). Out of all the hits considered for accumulation, figure out the base penalty to the accumulation roll due to wound severity based on the highest damaging one. Make an accumulation roll with that penalty, plus a penalty equal to the number of hits considered for accumulation. If you fail, increase wound severity by one level as normal.

This variant results in less severe wounds from rapid fire attacks than the first one, which may be preferred in games where rapid fire shouldn’t be significantly more dangerous than a hit with a vibroaxe, for example.

On the flipside, it’s not nearly as elegant which is why we originally discarded it in our discussion. It modifies wound accumulation rules instead of “core” CI rules. This isn’t ideal because the accumulation rules are already the least solid part of CI and something that could be thrown out entirely without loss if a better solution could be found.

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