Fallout 3 Tabletop Game 3: Equipment

Fallout 3 "Courage Today, Victory Tomorrow" poster.
Art from Fallout 3, by Bethesda

Hello to you, gentle reader. I know that I dropped off the face of the planet for a few days, and missed my regularly scheduled Friday post. I promise, I had a good reason. Or at least an okay reason. I’ll make it up, though, really I will. For now, it’s time for me to get back to tabletop writing, and more specifically, outlining the Fallout 3 Tabletop Game. If you haven’t read the other parts of this series yet, you may want to read up on how to create a character, and the details of the skills system.

There’s not all that much more to cover. As I said at the start, this isn’t a serious attempt to create a comprehensive game system. The skills detailed in part 2 should serve as adequate resolution mechanisms for most conflicts, and that’s all any RPG really needs: conflict resolution mechanics. Anything else can be handled through discussion between the player and the GM. In terms of setting, the Fallout games themselves provide ample setting information. I would not presume to improve upon the fine work done by the developers. All that remains  is to cover the game’s weapons, armor, and enemies. I’ve no intention of creating any comprehensive lists, but over the next two days we’ll go over how equipment and foes will work, and I’ll provide a few examples.


Armor and other items of clothing serve two functions within the game. First, most clothing has some kind of Damage Resistance. Any time the a character takes damage while wearing armor, they subtract their damage resistance from the amount of damage they will receive. So if Kestrel is wearing a regulator duster with a DR of 5, and she is hit by a weapon which deals 11 damage, then the protection of her armor means she only takes 6 damage. The second function of armor is to provide miscellaneous bonuses, to various skill rolls. For example, pre-war clothes, or a vault jumpsuit, will likely provide bonuses to speech or charisma based skills, because you appear to be more respectable. These miscellaneous bonuses need not make perfect sense (A raider wouldn’t care about respectability, but the clothing should still provide its bonus.) While this may weaken the game’s verisimilitude, it is in keeping with the spirit of the video game on which it is based.

Both of these functions decrease according to the armor’s durability score. Durability ranges between a minimum of 1, and a maximum of 100. A durability of 100 represents how the item might have appeared prior to the Great War. If durability ever falls below 1, the item is broken and does not confer any benefits whatsoever, save perhaps covering the character’s nakedness. Any time a character take damage their armor’s durability decreases by 1/2 of the damage dealt to the player, rounded down. To use the example above again; Kestrel’s regulator duster had a durability of 89 before she was hit. At that durability, it offers her a Damage Resistance of 5. So when she’s hit by a weapon which deals 11 damage, Kestrel takes only 6. Her armor’s durability decreases by half that amount, which is 3. So after the shot, Kestrel’s regulator duster has a durability of 86. If she has another regulator duster handy, Kestrel can use the repair skill to attempt to raise the items durability back up later.

Example Armor

Vault 101 Jumpsuit (Wt 4)
Durability: 100-75; DR: None, Speech +5%
Durability: 74-50; DR: None, Speech +4%
Durability: 49-25; DR: None, Speech +3%
Durability: 24-1; DR: None, Speech +2%

Raider Painspike Armor (Wt 20)
Durability: 100-75; DR: 20
Durability: 74-50; DR: 17
Durability: 49-25; DR: 14
Durability: 24-1; DR: 11
Special: 5 damage inflicted on anyone who performs an unarmed attack on the wearer.

Brotherhood of Steel Power Armor (Wt 45)
Durability: 100-75; DR: 40, Strength +4, Radiation Resist +15
Durability: 74-50; DR: 36, Strength +3, Radiation Resist +13
Durability: 49-25; DR: 32, Strength +2, Radiation Resist +11
Durability: 24-1; DR: 28, Strength +2, Radiation Resist +9

Metal Helmet (Wt 2)
Durability: 100-75; DR: 4
Durability: 74-50; DR: 3
Durability: 49-25; DR: 2
Durability: 24-1; DR: 1

Brotherhood of Steel Power Armor Helmet (Wt 5)
Durability: 100-75; DR: 9, Radiation Resist + 5
Durability: 74-50; DR: 7, Radiation Resist + 4
Durability: 49-25; DR: 5, Radiation Resist + 3
Durability: 24-1; DR: 3, Radiation Resist + 2


Weapons are slightly more complicated than armor. And, in fact, I would recommend that both weapons and armor ought to be recorded on index cards which are kept in the player’s possession, rather than listed on character sheets. I’ve found this to be a much simpler way of keeping track of the information. (I do not presently have access to a scanner, but will endeavor to post an example once that is remedied. )

Weapon damage is a static number, which decreases according to the durability of the item. Like armor, weapon durability ranges from a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 100, with 100 representing a pre-war state, and less than 1 representing a complete lack of function. Durability decreases by 1 each time the weapon is fired, but misses its intended target. This is because characters who are more familiar with the weapon they’re using–and thus able to hit more often–are better able to maintain their weapon, and prevent its deterioration.

In addition to damage and durability, most weapons require ammunition. The type, and weight-per-unit of ammunition is listed with each weapon entry. Players must scavenge for their weapon’s ammunition. Each unit of ammunition is good for a single battle. Any time the player uses a weapon in battle–regardless of how many times they fired that weapon–they expend one unit of ammunition. Most weapons also have a special attribute, which helps make the various weapon choices distinct from one another. Finally, all weapons have bonuses and penalties to their hit chance, based on the range between the weapon’s wielder, and the target. There are five ranges: Melee, Close, Mid, Long, and Distant.

When using any weapon, players have a 1% chance to score a critical hit, for every 5% chance to hit they have. If, for example, a character has a 15% chance to hit, then they have a 3% chance to crit. A player’s crit chance cannot be higher than their luck score.

Hunting Rifle (Small Guns)(Wt 7) [Ammo: .32, Wt 2]
Durability: 100-75; Dmg: 30
Durability: 74-50; Dmg: 24
Durability: 49-25; Dmg: 18
Durability: 24-1; Dmg: 12

Melee: -60%
Close: -5%
Mid: +10%
Long: +10%
Distant: +0%

Special: Each round spent studying a target without taking a shot adds +10% to the hit chance, up to 30%.

Sawed Off Shotgun (Small Guns)(Wt 8) [Ammo: Shotgun Shells, Wt 3]
Durability: 100-75; Dmg: 40
Durability: 74-50; Dmg: 30
Durability: 49-25; Dmg: 20
Durability: 24-1; Dmg: 10

Melee: -30%
Close: +30%
Mid: +0%
Long: -60%
Distant: -100%

Special: Regardless of small guns skill, all wielders have +20% crit chance with the sawed off shotgun at close and melee range. At those ranges, all crits deal x3 damage instead of x2.

Lead Pipe (Melee Weapon)(Wt 2) [Ammo: None]
Durability: 100-75; Dmg: 14
Durability: 74-50; Dmg: 10
Durability: 49-25; Dmg: 8
Durability: 24-1; Dmg: 6

Melee: +0%
Close: -20% (Thrown)
Mid: -60% (Thrown)
Long: -100% (Thrown)
Distant: -100% (Thrown)

Laser Pistol (Energy Weapons)(Wt 2) [Ammo: Energy Cell, Wt 1]
Durability: 100-75; Dmg: 25
Durability: 74-50; Dmg: 20
Durability: 49-25; Dmg: 15
Durability: 24-1; Dmg: 10

Melee: -20%
Close: +10%
Mid: +0%
Long: -30%
Distant: -60%

Special: If the wielder has a crit chance with energy weapons, then there is a 5% chance that an opponent who has been hit will be completely vaporized.

Minigun (Big Guns)(Wt 30) [Ammo: 5mm, Wt 10]
Durability: 100-75; Dmg: 70
Durability: 74-50; Dmg: 60
Durability: 49-25; Dmg: 50
Durability: 24-1; Dmg: 40

Melee: -95%
Close: +60%
Mid: +50%
Long: +0%
Distant: -30%

Special: Any time the gun stops firing, one round of ‘warm up’ is required before it can begin to fire again. While the gun is firing it creates a stream of bullets which cannot be crossed by friendly players without taking damage.

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One thought on “Fallout 3 Tabletop Game 3: Equipment”

  1. In my opinion it looks good but as far as skill bonuses for things such as speech or medicine, I would probably just use a solid number that modifies their total skill value.
    While this does prevent the items from scaling with level, this also allows players that are not quite proficient in the skill to gain benefit from it unless you are implying that the x% bonus simply applies to the end result of their checks.

    In that case its all up to you, I’m probably just nit-picking because % based games always seem like more of a hassle to go through the numbers than d20 based games.

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