Rules Index | GM Screen | Player's Guide


Chapter 3: Subsystems / Vehicles

Piloting a Vehicle

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
In encounter mode, a vehicle moves on its pilot’s turn, and the pilot must use their actions to control it. A vehicle can take part in only 1 move action each round, even if multiple creatures Take Control as pilots on the same round.

Vehicle Momentum

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
A vehicle in motion builds up momentum that keeps it in motion. Each round, if the vehicle has moved in the previous round, the pilot must either use another move action or Stop the vehicle. If the pilot does neither of these things on their turn (even if the pilot Delays), the vehicle continues to move and becomes uncontrolled, as described in Uncontrolled Vehicles on page 176.

Piloting Checks

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Many actions related to vehicles call for the pilot to attempt a piloting check. The skills a pilot can use for a piloting check are listed in the vehicle’s stat block, but most vehicles use Driving Lore or Piloting Lore along with others determined by their propulsion. The creature piloting a vehicle when an encounter begins can usually roll an appropriate piloting skill for that vehicle for initiative.

The GM sets the DC of the piloting check using a standard DC for the vehicle’s level, with adjustments based on the circumstances. Generally speaking, an action that would move a vehicle through difficult terrain increases the DC to a hard DC for its level, and moving through greater difficult terrain increases the DC to incredibly hard. Other factors, such as turbulent winds for a wind-powered vehicle, monsters threatening the creatures pulling a pulled vehicle, or rough seas for a water-based vehicle could all increase the DC of a vehicle’s piloting checks.

Piloting Actions

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Characters use the actions listed below to move and interact with vehicles. The effects of the reckless trait appear on page 176.

Board Single Action

Move
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Requirements You are adjacent to a point of entry on the vehicle you are attempting to board.
You board a vehicle through an open top, a door, a portal, or a hatch; if you’re already on board, you can instead use this action to disembark into an empty space adjacent to the vehicle’s point of entry. Using this action while the vehicle is in motion is challenging, requiring a successful Acrobatics or Athletics check with a DC equal to the vehicle’s AC.

Drive

Move
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Requirements You are piloting a vehicle.
You pilot your vehicle to move. Decide how many actions you intend to spend before you begin Driving. The effects depend on the number of actions you spend. You can’t Drive through spaces occupied by creatures, even if they are allies.

Single ActionSingle Action Attempt a piloting check. On a success, the vehicle moves up to its Speed and can turn normally. On a failure, the vehicle moves its Speed in a straight line. On a critical failure, the vehicle moves its Speed in a straight line and becomes uncontrolled.

Two ActionsTwo Actions(reckless) The vehicle moves up to twice its Speed in a straight line at the vehicle’s current heading.

Three ActionsThree Actions (reckless) You take a –5 penalty on your piloting check to maintain control of the vehicle. The vehicle moves up to three times its Speed in a straight line at the vehicle’s current heading.

Run Over Three Actions

MoveReckless
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 176
Requirements You are piloting a vehicle.
You try to run over creatures with your vehicle, possibly also ramming one larger creature or object. If you maintain control of your vehicle, the vehicle moves up to twice its Speed in a straight line at the vehicle’s current heading. You attempt to run over any creatures in your path two sizes smaller than the vehicle or smaller, and you can attempt to ram one target creature or object in your path one size smaller than the vehicle or larger.

Each creature in your path, including a rammed target, takes the vehicle’s collision damage (basic Reflex save at vehicle’s collision DC). If the rammed target is a vehicle, its pilot can attempt a piloting check in place of this Reflex save, with the same results. If the target of your ram takes damage, you and your vehicle each take collision damage (no save) and your movement ends.

Stop Single Action

Manipulate
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 176
Requirements You are piloting a vehicle in motion.
You bring the vehicle to a stop.

Take Control Single Action

Manipulate
Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 176
Requirements You are aboard the vehicle and adjacent to its controls.
You grab the reins, the wheel, or some other mechanism to control the vehicle. Attempt a piloting check; on a success, you become the vehicle’s pilot, or regain control of the vehicle if it was uncontrolled. Some vehicles have complicated controls that cause this action to become a multi-action activity.

Reckless Piloting

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Actions that have the reckless trait push the pilot and the vehicle beyond the normal parameters for safe operation, and the pilot risks losing control of the vehicle. When performing a reckless action, the pilot must first attempt an appropriate piloting check to keep control of the vehicle, with the following effects. Resolve this piloting check before resolving the action itself.
Success The action occurs as described.
Failure The vehicle moves its Speed in a straight line along its most recent heading, drifting up to 45 degrees at the GM’s discretion, and becomes uncontrolled.

Uncontrolled Vehicles

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Some situations can cause a pilot to lose control of their vehicle. Most commonly, this is due to a failed piloting check for a reckless action, but it can also occur if a round passes without a pilot using a move action to control the vehicle or Stopping the vehicle. A vehicle can also become uncontrolled if the pilot becomes unable to act during a move action to control the vehicle. For example, if a vehicle’s movement triggers an Attack of Opportunity that knocks the pilot unconscious or paralyzes them, the vehicle becomes uncontrolled.

An uncontrolled vehicle continues to move each round at its most recent pilot’s initiative position. The distance it moves each round is 10 feet less than on the previous round, always in a straight line at its current heading until it crashes or it comes to a stop. At your discretion, it could slow down more if it’s on uneven terrain, difficult terrain, on an upward slope, or facing adverse wind conditions; by the same token, it could stay at the same speed or even accelerate if it’s on a downward slope or being pushed by strong winds.

An uncontrolled vehicle in motion interacts with obstacles, other vehicles, and creatures using the effects of the Run Over action, except that the distance it moves is dictated by the factors above instead of the Speed specified in that action.

Vehicles in Combat

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
Whether driving a chariot in an arena or fighting off a boarding party, characters sometimes attack from a vehicle or target other creatures aboard a vehicle. Attacks made while on a vehicle that has moved within the last round take a –2 penalty, or a –4 penalty if the vehicle is uncontrolled or any action in the last round had the reckless trait.

While on a vehicle, a character might have cover from certain angles of attack. A vehicle with sides but no top, such as a chariot or a keelboat, usually provides lesser cover, or standard cover from an attacker on the ground. An enclosed vehicle, such as a carriage, provides greater cover or may prevent attacks entirely. Breaking the vehicle can reduce the cover it provides.

Some vehicles have special mounted weapons that can be used by the pilot or passengers. These are typically ranged weapons, such as a crossbow, and use the same rules as any other weapon, save that they might be able to target only creatures in a certain range or direction.

Broken Vehicles

Source Gamemastery Guide pg. 175
When a vehicle is broken, it becomes harder to use. It takes a –2 penalty to its AC, saves, and collision DC, and the DC of all piloting checks related to the vehicle increase by 5. The broken vehicle’s Speeds are halved.

A vehicle reduced to 0 HP is destroyed, like any other item. If the vehicle is in water when it’s destroyed, it sinks; if it is flying, it falls and everyone aboard takes falling damage. A pulled or rowed vehicle that becomes wrecked, regardless of which method of propulsion it’s using at the time, deals its collision damage (no saving throw) to the creatures pulling or rowing it, and the creatures may have to be physically freed from the wreckage.