Vehicles

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With Bungle at the controls, the supercharged Neo-Ford Mustang IV idled awaiting a challenge. Its five-star rims gleamed almost like peering eyes against the darkness.
As the city's reactor core went critical, a billowing purple cloud of gas spread through the area.
Outside, Smitty said: "Mind if I grab a ride with you, Bungle?"
The Ford Mustang drove away to the north at full speed.
Smitty: "Fuck..."

-- Sons of Mercy Terrorist Incident, New Carthage 

Futurists predicted a revolution in clean, efficient transportation and mass transit that would revolutionize urban travel and contribute to the ubiquity of a "global village".

In the dark future, they couldn't be farther from the truth.

Years of strife, unrest, and economic collapse have stunted technological growth in transportation, alternative fuels, and aviation. The most innovative vehicles are versions of deltas and aerodynes. These pre-war designs are now over two decades old. Ground and air vehicles alike are merely re-hashes of existing designs, modified to run on an improvised array of hybrid fuels, re-processed hydrocarbons, or (extremely rare) refined fossil fuels. With populations packed into the last habitable slivers of Earth's ravaged biosphere, getting around the crowded inner city is characterized by bustling highways, overloaded trains, and swarming air traffic.

Predictably, the highest tech rides are developed by corporate military sectors, with many stolen or salvaged vehicles falling into an active black market of gang, nomad, and private vigilante users. A teeming trade has developed around the repair, resupply, and upgrade needs for vehicle owners, with many raw materials coming from Waste-side scavengers.

All vehicles depend on speed to evade threats, and only a quickly moving vehicle can realize its full maneuverability potential. Driving or piloting skills can similarly coax the most out of your ride, but little proficiency is required for basic, everyday movement through paved urban transportation grids. On the other hand, rough terrain or cross-country driving and flying can tax even the most talented operators, sometimes causing incidental damage to the vehicle. In combat situations, all bets are off, and only the most skilled will prevail. Pedestrians usually have an advantage if they're smart enough to use cover and concealment to stay out of harm's way... but the open road is a dangerous place in Cybersphere's future, and road rage is all the rage.

Cycles

Cheap and popular among boostergangs and street jousters, bikes require little upkeep. They range from small econo-scooters to giant land torpedos designed for maximum speed and agility, but all are relatively lightweight and vulnerable to even minor damage: "Speed is life". Bikes are strictly "Bring Your Own Weaponry"-- their light frames and emphasis on quickness make the installation of reliable ordnance hardpoints impossible. Drivers are limited to one-hand weapons, but ganger tactics commonly employ a back-seat rider armed with a heavy melee weapon, firearm, or launcher for biker duels. Because of their small size and inherent maneuverability, bikes are well-suited to almost any terrain. Some exotic hover-lift versions exist, but these are mostly limited to use in city-spanning mass transit systems.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability High
Durability Low
Weaponry None
Seating 1-2
Cargo None
Skillset Biker

Groundcars

The most common transportation solution, groundcars include a vast array of fairly inexpensive old and new vehicles, most with some level of offensive or defensive modifications. Two and four-door sedan/coupe models are most common, but vans and other specialty models are widely available. Various types of engines, tires, drive trains, and advanced control/interface systems combine to determine a groundcar's overall performance, speed, and handling, but in general, groundcars possess limited maneuverability compared to other vehicles like bikes or aerodynes. The style factor is typically low with groundcars, with most seeing service in utilitarian roles, though certain niche makes cater to retro tastes or extremely high-end luxury transportation. Common groundcars are optimized for street travel in urban areas, and have trouble with off-road or cross-country situations.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Medium
Durability Low
Weaponry Light
Seating 2-10
Cargo Medium
Skillset Driving


Heavies

"Heavies" include jeeps, heavy trucks, buses, and other large, relatively expensive utility vehicles. Aside from obvious applications in urban workzones and factories, heavies see common duty in wasteland applications, where their durability and robust drive trains give them an edge over rough terrain. Large chassis designs allow the flexibility of additional armor or weaponry in most cases, but speed and handling are typically poor.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Low
Durability Light
Weaponry Heavy
Seating 2-20
Cargo Heavy
Skillset Driving

Tanks

Though not technically correct, the slang term "tanks" encompasses all manner of armored fighting vehicles like armored personnel carriers (APC's), light armored vehicles (LAV's), or main battle tanks (MBT's). Most military vehicles are several decades old and scavenged from pre-war stockpiles, but corporations continue low-rate production of extremely effective, updated, and extravegantly expensive designs. Most models possess formidable armor, but even small-arms fire, if well placed, can erode or destroy the effectiveness of many armored vehicles. While some designs trade protection for increased speed and agility, tank-like vehicles generally suffer from extremely poor maneuverability, especially in urban operations. Nevertheless, they are highly adaptable and prized for cross-country and wasteland applications.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Low
Durability High
Weaponry Heavy
Seating 2-8
Cargo Light
Skillset Driving

Hovercraft

Hovercraft and ground-effect vehicles typically use lift fans and air cushion aprons or specialized jet engines to provide minimal lift and a few inches of terrain clearance. Conventional propellers, fans, or jets are then used for movement. Since high speeds and agility are possible, hovercraft tend to be large behemoths that maximize the mobility of a heavy, tank-like chassis. They are adaptable and extremely useful in rough terrain, and traverse water and solid ground with equal ease. In urban situations, they see some use as municipal transports or commuter vehicles, but are less popular than groundcars because of their complexity and expensive propulsion systems.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Medium
Durability Medium
Weaponry Heavy
Seating 2-8
Cargo Medium
Skillset Pilot

Aerodynes

The kings of 21st century transportation, aerodynes are the signature vehicle of the dark future. Combining extremely lightweight lift fans with highly efficient jet or ducted fan propulsion, aerodynes are the realization of sci-fi's "flying car" concept. Many models are focused on personal transportation and resemble sleek, souped-up groundcars. Others are heavy-lift versions designed as shuttlebuses or cargo carriers. Military versions apply to a broad spectrum of applications, including air/ground attack, medical evac, and assault transport, with most identified by the "AV" designation. In general, AV's tend to be fast, light, and agile, but larger AV's are usually less maneuverable and more durable, while the opposite is true for smaller, speedier models. Obselete aircraft, like tiltrotors and other exotic gyrocopter designs closely emulate AV performance, but see little use except in fringe zones and wasteland scavenger settlements.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability High
Durability Medium
Weaponry Medium
Seating 1-8
Cargo Medium
Skillset Pilot

Deltas

While aerodynes dominate short-range aviation, hypersonic jet transports and orbital shuttles have cornered the markets for global and gravity-well transportation. Nicknamed "deltas" for their highly swept, triangular wings, these aircraft usually feature some degree of vertical or short takeoff/landing capabilities along with extremely powerful engines for high-altitude supercruise. Orbital shuttles include specialized SCRAMjet or hybrid rocket motor designs for boost into low earth orbit. Exclusively the province of very rich and powerful corporations, deltas see more and more use as humanity continues its rebuilding and reclamation of a tortured planet.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Medium
Durability Low
Weaponry Light
Seating 2-400
Cargo Heavy
Skillset Pilot


Pods

Derived from the remote-controlled and autonomous vehicle concepts of the early 21st century, pods are miniaturized vehicles and tripod stations developed for a variety of applications. Most are employed as robotic sentries for crowd control in urban combat zones or nightclubs and bars with particularly rough clientele. While many are extremely simple, portable tripod stations, some are self-propelled hover units or rotocraft.
Ingame Information
Maneuverability Low
Durability Low
Weaponry Light
Seating Unmanned
Cargo Low
Skillset Automated


Accessories

Vehicle accessories are crucial for the security, repair, and upkeep of any ride. Any vehicle mods or repairs require a set of appropriate tools, and toolkit quality factors heavily along with mechanical skills to ensure success. Without good tools or skills, progress will be slow with shoddy, unreliable results. Some quick fixes can be done right on the street, but long-term installs require the use of a garage facility. For major repairs or mods, a well-stocked overhaul facility is best, and a trained eye often inspects a garage to gauge its quality before beginning work.

Vehicle accessories
Body Panels Lightweight exterior panels make widespread use of composite materials. Required for simple repairs.
Armored panels Heavy protection designed to shatter or ablate when hit by bullets. Vulnerable to missiles and large-caliber projectiles. Lowers speed, maneuverability.
Engine parts Many engine parts are interchangeable and modular across various vehicles. Required for complex repair of serious damage.
Palm-lock security Deters smash-and-grab carjackers and lock-pick attempts with moderately boosted security.
Screamer security The ubiquitous car alarm combines security circuits with an obnoxious siren or warning voice-chip.
Com security Highly sophisticated security system; notifies owner of threats via municipal com network.
Countermeasure security Top-of-the-line systems feature complex locking algorithms and actively employ weaponry against theft attempts.
System circuitry Replaceable circuitry modules require skilled electronics experts; often used to repair EMP damage.
Smart paint Nanomachine laced paint configures its color, coating properties based on user preference, used for touch-up and styling.

Instrumentation

A variety of sensors and displays are available. Most instrumentation has electronic uplink connectors capable of controlling a vehicle's weapon system. With all weapon instrumentation and targeting systems, the assistance of a dedicated gunner eases workload and speeds up the process of spotting, aiming, and firing.

Vehicle instruments
Visual consoles Simple line-of-sight targeting system uses aiming cameras or telescopic sights.
Laser designators Sophisticated and accurate laser spot targeting; limited to visual range.
MMW radars Hi-res millimeter wave radar displays detailed images of vehicles or personnel or wide area search.
TSW radars Upgraded MMW systems provide simultaneous track while scan (TWS), allowing area search while following a single target.
Multimode radars Combined multiple TWS and MMW modes, allows additional tracking and engagement of high altitude airborne targets.

Ordnance

Vehicle weaponry often features adaptations of heavy infantry weapons mounted on servo turrets or similar armatures. The heaviest mounts require multi-stage installation, where the mechanic assembles several modules before attaching the completed system to the vehicle. All vehicle weapon setups require a fire control system, usually in the form of a weapon console or radar/laser sight for target acquisition and designation.


Vehicle weaponry
Machinegun mounts Cheap and effective against vehicle, personnel targets. Fast firing rates, low damage.
Autocanon mounts Expensive and large dual-purpose cannons, highly effective against vehicles, slow rates of tracking & fire limit capability against personnel.
Smoothbore canons Large, slow, single-shot cannons designed to pierce heavy vehicle armor. Mostly ineffective vs. infantry.
Missile launchers Fire several varieties of guided missiles with various warheads, ineffective against small personnel targets. Long-range homing capabilities against fleeing vehicles.
Flamethrower turrets Ineffective against most vehicles, useful for neutralizing large crowds of personnel; incendiary gel is sprayed across a wide area.
Gas mortars Effective for dispersal of riot suppressing CS gas or other chem/bio agents across a wide area.
Proximity mines Proximity fuses most effective against light, fast vehicles like cycles and hovercraft.
Contact mines Contact fuses most effective against heavy or slow vehicles like groundcars, heavies, tanks.