Fallout PnP
Fallout PnP

Combat in a world filled with firearms, radscorpions, and hostile plants can be a tricky thing. Combat is sequential, with characters performing turn-based actions. Combat begins when characters take an aggressive action or when the Overseer believes it is imminent. Combat ends when hostilities have ended for a reasonable period of time, determined by the Overseer.

Turns and Actions


When combat begins, everyone rolls for initiative, the order in which turns are taken. Each player adds their Initiative modifier to a simple 3d6 roll. Reroll ties.

Each turn lasts a few seconds.


Each turn, a player gets 2 actions: A Small Action and a Large Action. In addition, they get one Free Action per turn under certain conditions.

Small Action

This is a quick movement performed by the character, and must be done before the Large Action. A small action can be:

  • Moving up to the character's speed
  • Grabbing an item from your inventory
  • Using a readied item (such as a Stimpack)
  • Unloading or Loading a gun

Large Action

This is a specific and focused action, such as shooting a weapon or performing a skill

  • Anything that can be performed as a Small Action
  • Attacking a target
  • Performing a Skill Check
  • Ready an action, preparing it to be used as a Free Action in response to a specific condition

Free Action

Between a player's turn, they can perform one Free Action, which is a reflexive act in response to something. Each of these requires something to happen for the player to use their free action.

  • 5ft Step. The character can move 1 square, as long as an ally is moving directly next to them.
  • Speak. The character can say a short line of dialogue.
  • Do a readied action.
  • Attack of Opportunity (Movement). If an enemy tries to leave or move through any squares immediately adjacent to a character wielding a melee weapon, they can roll Initiative against each other. If the moving character loses the roll, the other character gets to make a free attack against them
  • Attack of Opportunity (Prone). Should you find yourself readied for combat and an enemy is suddenly unguarded within attacking distance from you (such as walking into a room casually while you were holding a rifle) you can roll initiative against them. if you win you get a free attack.



To hit an opponent, a player must specify a target for the attack. The character then selects a weapon and rolls 3d6, adding all Attack Bonuses affiliated with that weapon, including Strength or Perception Attack Bonuses, Lesser Perk Attack Bonuses and Tactical Advantages. If this rolled total equals or surpasses the target's Defense (determined by the Overseer), then it is considered a hit and deals damage.

Attack Bonus

There are a number of ways a player can become more accurate with weapons. For the most part, Strength, Perception and Lesser Perks will form the backbone of a player's chance to hit a target.

  • Strength directly adds to Attacks using Melee and Brawling Attacks
  • Perception directly adds to all Attacks
  • Lesser Perks raise a character's attacks with specific weapons.
  • Tactical Advantage (listed below) grant bonuses in combat.

Rate of Fire (RoF)

Some weapons, such as machine-guns and light melee weapons can fire or be swung multiple times in a single attack. This is determined by a weapon's Rate of Fire (aka RoF). A weapon has a chance to hit a number of times in a single attack equal to its RoF. All of these chances to hit are based on the single Attack Roll.

When a player performs and Attack Roll for a weapon with a RoF higher than 1, all the attacks after the first suffer a penalty to Attack Rolls. The first shot suffers no penalty, the second suffers a -3 Penalty and all shots beyond the second suffer -6 to hit. These all share the same Attack Roll.

For example: Bob fires a machine-gun with a RoF 3 against a target with Defense 15. After the Attack Roll and bonuses, Bob rolled an 18. This means that his three bullets attacked with 18/15/12, so 2 hit and 1 missed.


  • Light Cover: +2 Defense. This is anything that covers you but offers limited protection. This can include trees, wall corners and low barriers. This only effects ranged attacks.
  • Heavy Cover: +4 Defense. This is a fortified or extremely tactical position, such as windows, sandbags or turret slits. This only effects ranged attacks.
  • Full Cover: Cannot be attacked. This is essentially putting 100% cover between yourself and the enemy, making them unable to hit you and you unable to return fire.

Height Advantage

  • Height Advantage: Attacking a target which you have a significant height advantage (5+ ft vertically above) grants a +1 to Attack Rolls. Attacks against you while in a height advantage suffer no penalties.
  • Drop Attack: Attacking an opponent from a Height Advantage with a Melee Attack grants a +2 to Attack instead, and a +2 Damage Bonus. Every 5 more feet dropped adds 1 Additional damage (though you might take damage in the process).

Visibility Penalty

  • Clear: No Penalty. A clear day in a field.
  • Obscured: -2 Penalty (dim lighting, heavy underbrush, smoke, underwater, camouflaged)
  • Heavily Obscured: -4 Penalty (outside on a new moon; using a Stealth Boy; backlit)
  • Cannot be Seen: -10 (Pitch black, behind a screen, can only be heard by sound)

Critical Hits

Particularly accurate attacks have a chance of dealing a critical hit (or Crit), which deals extra damage or a special effect. Depending on the weapon and player's luck, critical hits can be more or less likely to occur. Any Attack Roll add's a weapon's Crit Chance after landing. Should the Attack Roll + Crit Chance beat the target's Defense by 10 or more, the hit is considered a Crit and deals extra damage.

Rolling a triple 6 on an attack roll is an automatic critical hit. Only the first hit in an attack roll can ever be a critical, regardless of RoF and other hits.

For example:

  • Ted of the Wilds has 2 Luck and a Pistol with Lucky(3) chance and 2 Luck.
  • He lands an Attack Roll of 18 on an enemy with Defense 12.
  • 18 Attack + 2 Luck + Lucky(3) = 23
  • 12 Defense + 10 = 22
  • 23 > 22, so the Overseer declares it a Critical Hit.
  • His weapon deals double damage on critical hits, so he rolls twice for damage.

Called Shots and V.A.T.S.

A player can select a specific part of an enemy's body to attack. Doing so incurs a penalty to hit, but grants a special bonus, such as bleeding damage, knocking the target down or crippling a limb. If the player has a Pip-Boy, they can also use the Vault Assisted Targeting System (V.A.T.S.) to target limbs, costing AP rather then incurring an attack penalty.

It takes 25% of a creature's max health in damage to cripple a limb.

  • Arm (-2 Attack Penalty or 2 AP) - A crippled arm becomes useless and cannot hold items.
  • Leg (-2 Attack Penalty or 2 AP) - A crippled leg halves a character's movement Speed. Both legs crippled renders them immobile.
  • Head (-4 Attack Penalty or 3 AP) - Crippling a head reduces the character's Perception by 4, and critical hits against heads deal 50% more damage.


Weapons usually deal the same damage on a successful hit regardless of the wielder's skill. Bullets, frag grenades, knives, lead pipes, and fists all deal Physical Damage. Lasers, plasma, molotov cocktails, and ridiculous jury-rigged fire swords all do Energy Damage.

After rolling for damage and modifying the result based on Perks and Traits, subtract the target's PDT from all Physical damage and EDT from all Energy Damage. A hit always does at least one damage; a very determined Raider with a zip gun could, theoretically, take down an Enclave trooper, given fifty turns to wear through their armor.

Some weapons or ammo types have Armor Piercing. Reduce the target's PDT and EDT by the Armor Piercing amount before calculating damage. These attacks usually deal reduced damage, but reliable armor mitigation is usually worth the tradeoff.

Weapon Statistics

Damage Type

Most weapons have a damage type of Physical or Energy. Some unusual weapons instead deal Radiation or Toxic damage, which are resisted by a character's Radiation Resistance and Poison Resistance the same way as environmental radiation and toxins.

Weapon Range

Every Weapon has a range. This is the optimum distance for which the weapon works. Beyond this, it begins suffering penalties. Most pistols have no minimum range, but all ranged weapons have a maximum. For every 5ft beyond the maximum or under the minimum, the weapon suffers a -1 Penalty to Attack Rolls.

Melee weapons work differently. Most Melee weapons have a Range of one square, but some, like spears, have a Range of two. A Melee weapon cannot attack outside of its range.

Rate of Fire (RoF)

Rate of Fire, as described above, is the number of Attacks performed during an attack roll.

Magazine Types and Reloading

Every gun holds bullets. Some have an internal magazine that is integrated into the weapon, and some hold box magazines which can load larger stores of rounds.

  • Internal - A weapon with an internal magazine, such as a Revolver or Pump shotgun. This weapon loads faster, but the ammo must be loaded individually, 2 at a time.
  • Clip or Battery - This weapon uses external containers to hold ammunition. This allows for larger sums of Ammo to be loaded at once, but requires specific clips or batteries and takes slightly longer to reload. This process takes 2 small actions (1 to unload, 1 to load) instead of 1.
  • Complex - This weapon has a very large and complex system, such as a belt feed or muzzle-loading tube. These weapons takes 3 Small Actions to Load. Weapons such as missile launchers, mini-guns and crossbows require Complex Reloads, as does replacing the batteries in powered melee weapons.

Attack Style

Actions apply mostly to firearms and energy weapons. They apply mostly to Attack Bonuses and various Perks.

  • Single-Action - This weapon uses a Bolt, Leaver, Break, Pump or Revolver Action to chamber rounds and ready the bolt.
  • Semi-Auto - These weapons use the force of being fired to ready a new round in the chamber and wait till the next trigger pull. One squeeze, one bullet.
  • Automatic - These weapons will sustain continuous fire as long as the trigger is being pulled. They function similarly to Semi-Auto weapons, but can keep rocking-and-rolling till they run out of juice.

Weapon Qualities

Many weapons have additional special effects, such as overcoming armor or dealing damage over time.


This Weapon gains a bonus to landing critical hits equal to the given value.


The Critical Hit multiplier is increased by the given value. For example, a normal Critical hit would deal x2 Damage, and a Critical Hit with a Brutal (0.5) Weapon would deal x2.5 Damage. A Brutal (1.5) Weapon would deal x3.5 Damage.


Some weapons fire multiple projectiles at once, or fire a spray (such as a flame thrower). For every point of spread, a weapon can also deal half damage to an additional foe directly adjacent to the primary target (rolling to hit as usual).


Weapons with the Lethal effect automatically kill the target if they bring the target's HP below the Lethal value. For example, if a weapon has Lethal (5) and dealt damage to a target, if 5 or less HP remains the weapon deals an additional 5 Damage to kill the target.


Some weapons start slow and increase their RoF each consecutive round they are attacking. The weapon begins at RoF 1 and gains an additional RoF each round till their Max RoF is achieved. A player can opt to Warm-Up a weapon without Attacking.


A recharging weapon reloads itself with a number of shots per turn equal to the Recharging value.

Stunted Range

This weapon cannot fire beyond its range.


This weapon fires an arcing projectile. For a -5 Attack Penalty it can fire over Full Cover at a target. This can only happen if hitting the target would be physically possible and the attacker has a rough idea of the Target's location.


This weapon's damage is dealt in an explosion, radiating out from a center point. Targets in the center take full damage, and every foot of distance away from that point reduces the damage by 1.


This weapon lights a target on fire. Roll damage an additional time, subtracting the target's EDT. This damage is dealt over time, up to the Burning value every turn until the burning damage is fully dealt or the fire is extinguished. The damage over time is not directly affected by DT. A character can only have one burning effect on them at a time. If re-ignited, the higher of the old and new Burning values applies.

For example, a Weapon with Burning (2) that deals 2d6 E Damage Instantly (rolled for 8), Then rolls again (rolled 6) would deal 2 damage per-turn until 6 damage had been dealt.

Armor Vulnerable

This weapon is weaker against high armor opponents. The Target's DT is multiplied by the Armor Vulnerable value before calculating damage.

Armor Piercing

This weapon is adept at overcoming Armor. The Targets DT is reduced by the Armor Piercing value before calculated damage.


Mods are customized attachments on a weapon, which change its statistics in particular ways. These can include scopes, laser sights, suppressors, extended barrels and magazines, higher rate of fire or even the ability to fire additional or different projectiles. They are located on the Mods Page.

Other Rules

Using Two Weapons

Typically only used in situations of desperation or extreme advantage, characters can use a weapon in each hand simultaneously (or perform other actions simultaneously). The player chooses to perform two actions simultaneously. The actions must be logically possible one-handed. A character could not, for instance, fire one gun with their right hand and reload another gun with their left hand. Both actions can be performed, but both actions suffer a -8 penalty to any related skill rolls on top of all other penalties.

Pistol Whip

Pistol Whipping is the act of swinging a ranged weapon as a club. While not the most effective of method, it is useful when cornered. Pistol whipping is considered a melee attack with a -1 penalty to hit. Swinging with a 1-handed weapon deals 1d4 damage, and 1d6 for 2-handed weapons.

Sean Wagemans Fallout PnP
Rules Character Creation | Skills | Perks | Lesser Perks | Traits
Armory Armor | Repair | Firearms | Energy Weapons | Melee | Launchers | Hand Thrown | Ammunition
Gear Items | Chems and Consumables | Food and Water | Skill Books | Crafting
Bestiary Abominations | Animals | Ghouls | Insects | Robots | Super Mutants
Reference Glossary | Play Materials | Combat and Actions | Survival | Reputation and Karma
The Sound Seattle Introduction