Monday, July 1, 2013

Discussion: How Often Does a PC Use Explosives?

I'm just curious at this point. Almost all the stories of PCs being PCs involve things getting lit on fire, blown to bits, or shot up. So, honestly, how often do people actually use explosives in your game and why do they do it?

In my groups, there is an explosives guy on the Shadowrun team but he doesn't use them as an end all be all. Most of the time he is content to punch a guy in the face instead of actually bring the boom to town. In my L5R game in 2 generations no one has used explosives. Maybe I'm doing it wrong.

Still, I felt it was worth asking. Especially when lines like "if you're not using explosives, you're doing something wrong" is so common to hear in PC advice threads.

Oh, and also, HAPPY CANADA DAY! Enjoy the day if you're in Canada. Or hell, even if you're not!


  1. Far too often in my case. I have lost more Party members to grenades then I can count. Almost lost an entire power armored infantry to EMP grenade thrown at close ranged during a no ATMO mission.

    I think the best way to get players using explosives is to make a point of giving them explosives.

    Example: "You have been given a explosive satchel for this mission case things get messy."

  2. It really depends on the specific game. I've had games where it was the standard, and games with nary a boom in sight. Currently out of 10 games only my Pathfinder alchemist(grenadier)/gunslinger uses explosvies.

    Here's some of the things to balance:
    * How easy is it to get explosives? - Is it an adventure just to ge the explosives to go on another adventure?
    * How availabile are other area effects -
    Why bother with gunpowder when your wizard knows fireball?
    * What are the penalties for getting caught with explosives? - "No officer, those are C4 brand energy bars. They taste like crap, but they are loaded with nitrates!"
    * What's the MO of the group? - Explosives are the antistealth. I've been in some groups where if anybody knows you were there, you've let the group down.
    * How effective are explosives in this game? - I remember a rifle grenade that did a really good job of knocking a dozen people on their ass, but didn't actually harm anybody.
    * How dangerous are explosive in this game? "Roll for scatter." "Roll your demolitions check." "Roll your saving throw."
    * Does any character have a high "F*uck it all!" factor? When you're rolling with A**hole Bob, expect explosives. Expect him to pause to light his cigar with the old, sweaty dynamite.

  3. My group started out chucking grenades routinely. A significant part of the reason was they were bottom-level characters (Dark Heresy), they had access to them & they were by far their most effective attack. They had 2-3 bad misthrows but no one ended up dying from them.

    Most have gained a level or two since then, their other attack choices have notably improved & grenades, while accessible, are not as available or as cheap as ammo.

    After the most recent session just last night they were actively talking about perhaps they should be thinking about utilizing demolitions but they don't yet have the expertise so I wouldn't expect it for a while. If & when it happens, I think it'd be interesting.

  4. We've used explosives in SR once, hidden away in small drone-toys like dolls and bears who could be radio-controlled. It was highly effective.

    I remember a Deadlands session where one PC kept throwing dynamite and failing his throwing rolls. Almost killed the group. We also blew up a haunted train with a case of dynamite, that was fun.