The BlackHammer CyberPunk Project
RELOAD that beast!

Kristan Speaks

After a blackhammer game a few weeks back when Alex (the player) got into a discussion with Hound (the GM) about how fast his Solo with super high speed boosting should have been able to reload his Taurus snub-nosed .357ETE revolver, I decided that the reloading rules could use improving (for fun and mayhem).

My idea is this...figure out what all the vital steps are to reloading a gun, make each step an action, and make each an easy gunskill roll to do successfully while in combat (unless completely behind cover and out the line of fire - then just call it as one roll and a full turn at rest to do).

For a revolver, you'd have the following steps...

#1 Open the cylinder
#2 Eject the casings
#3 Pull a new speed loader
#4 Insert the speed loader
#5 close the cylinder

For a Automatic you'd do the following...

#1 Eject the magazine
#2 Catch the magazine and place it in a pocket (optional)
#3 Draw a new magazine
#4 Insert the magazine
#5 Cock the slide/bolt

Now with each step being an action with a Difficulty 10 roll to succeed, you ask how you accomplish a full reload in ONE turn. Well, for most you can't. Their body won't move faster enough. But bear with me here...

We apply the same -3 multiple action penalty and it becomes clear that if you're rushing to do this in ONE turn (combo of High initiative and double-actions on a few steps and it IS possible) most people will make mistakes and not do something right...and if they fumble...drop the gun...the bullets fall out of the speedloader onto the floor...the magazine spring breaks...etc.

We'll use Alex as an Example for the revolver...

He had an initiative of about 50 most rolls (4 actions - the house rules for speedboosting). Ref 11 / Handgun skill 8 for a base 19.
  • 1st action (dif:10) he opens the success
  • 2nd action (dif:13) he ejects the success
  • 3rd action (dif:16, as long as he doesn't fumbler) he grabs a new speed loader
  • 4th action (dif:19, again no fumble and he'll succeed) insert new speedloader
  • 5th action (dif:22, 80% chance of success) closes the cylinder.

But it takes him a FULL turn plus one extra action.

Now if he double-acts on say, Step #1 and #2 (as the cylinder pops open he pushes the ejector with his left hand) and he can do it in 3.2 seconds even but the difficulty just went up a bit.

If he used an automatic that was a smartgun (which would do steps #1 and #5 for him automatically) he'd cut it to 3 actions, possibly 2 if he either multi-acts two steps together or skips the optional second step.

So what do you think?

Rewards people who go for cover to reload and punishes people who stand there to take it, but would argue how long it'll take to reload a gun.
Hound Speaks

That same game session got me thinking about reloading and enhanced nervous systems and so on. First I wanted to see how other RPGs handled reloading and I dug through my better "modern" systems to see how they did it.
Top Secret
This game has wonderful levels of detail... I mean, 1 second combat rounds! The very same rules that bog down game play of course. They make reloading take 4 full combat rounds (4 seconds) unless you have two magazines taped end-to-end in which case it takes 3 combat rounds. Reloading fresh bullets into a magazine or revolver is at one round per 2 seconds (which is about how fast I can reload when I'm in a real rush so I buy that too).

First and Second edition T2K used 5 second combat phases. In both systems (as in most systems it seems) reloading took one full action, or 5 seconds.

ShadowRun 3rd Edition
A standard character gets either 2 simple actions or 1 complex action per three second turn in SR3. Ejecting a clip is a "simple action" (unless the weapon is smartlinked) and loading in a fresh on is also a "simple action". So it still takes a full turn to reload unless using a smartgun, in which case it takes a 1/2 turn. Using a speedloader on a revolver also takes a complex action (without a speedloader a character can load their Quickness in rounds - or 1/2 REF for CP2020).

Reloading any weapon takes 1 full round and allows only basic movement (3m) in addition. If you are in a major hurry you can reload and attack, (but not attack then reload) in a round, at -25% on the attack (or -5 for CP2020). But CyberSpace also uses 10 second rounds (which starts feeling too abstract to me).

My Take On This

So what did I glean from all this? It's gonna take at least 3 seconds to reload, choombah.

What about enhanced Reflexes / Initiative?

I've decided that for my games at least, this is improved reaction time, not actually increased movement speed, so it won't be helping you out too much for reloading except for the possible bonus to your REF stat on the reloading roll (see below).

What I've settled with is quite close to UPCC's system at left, but simplified down to a single roll so we don't have to take into account each minute detail. A character rolls on the table below to see how long they waste fiddling with magazines. I would actually suggest a TECH + (appropriate firearm skill) roll here instead of REF, since it's about fine motor skills, but that's just me trying to irritate all those REF10 combat monsters.

If you get a result that allows for multiple actions, you must be allowed to have multiple actions using the system you use (most games allow REF/3 actions per turn, others like ours use Initiative/15 actions). If you try to reload with an action other than your first in a round, you lose the number of actions you've taken this round off the actions you get the round you finish reloading. (So for example, if you shoot once (1 action, -3 on your next action) and then reload getting a 20 on the table, next round you are assumed to have already taken one action, and will be at -3 on your next by default).

FumbleLose this turn dropping gun and ammo, next turn picking them up, then roll again
10Take 6 seconds to reload
15Take this round to reload, act at -3 next round
20Take this round to reload
25Act at -6 again this round
30Act at -3 again this round

Using a SmartGun+5
Magazines taped end-to-end+1
Magazines locked side-by-side+2
Using two handguns-10