The following rules are 1 adjustment to how Speed works, combined with multiple add-on rules on top of that one, part to add fixes to the core rules and part to add fixes to the houserule. For the motives behind these rules, read this introduction post.
I’m not getting into Vehicle Chases here, because while I know a lot of people got issues with them, I haven’t actually done an actual Chase Scene yet* so honestly I don’t feel confident tackling a detailed alternative for them. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.
* The one chase I did was without a traditional Chase with Range Categories, using rolls and tricks and gunfire and thinking on the fly instead.
Rule: The Speed->Movement table is updated
Rather than double every step, this table doubles every two steps. Speed 5 is kept equal, lower Speeds become faster and higher Speeds become slower. No silly 768 km/h Westwind (which has 368 km/h instead), and no family cars that cannot handle the Highway. Now Speed 3 vehicles can go 80 m/CT so 96 (round that to 10o) km/h.
Rule: Acceleration determines actual acceleration/deceleration
Rather than blindly leaving it up to the GM, this puts an actual mechanic to acceleration and deceleration. Under this rule, Acceleration does not only matter for Vehicle Chases but also for changing your speed.
If your vehicle has an Acceleration of X, then it will be able to change X Speed categories per Combat Turn. Accelerating past that is impossible normally, Deceleration past it can require a Crash Test to determine if the vehicle goes out of control, and also is limited by GM fiat (no going from 400 to 0 in 3 seconds).
For example, the Ford America can hit 75 km/h in 3 seconds, whereas the Bulldog needs 9 seconds to hit 100 km/h. The Westwind would take 6 seconds to go from 0 to 300 km/h and will hit its topspeed 3 seconds later. Vice versa the Westwind can easily break fast, while a Bulldog has some rather annoying inertia to deal with. If you’re driving at 100 km/h, it will take more than 3 seconds to stand still on that sluggish car.
Rule: Each Speed category also has a minimum Speed
We already have Walking and Running Rates. Basically if you drive really fast, you’ll be pushing the vehicle causing you to suffer the traditional -2 Running penalty. With the table adjustment each Speed Category has its own Walking and Running Rate. To this we add a minimum movement rate, so a player cannot go ‘no I’m driving at Speed 7 but I only go 20 m/CT’.
Basically, a Speed category becomes like a gear, with a minimum and a maximum it can handle. If you go below the minimum Speed of a category without changing gear, the vehicle won’t like that. Consequences up to the GM, chances are the car shifts down automatically though.
Rule: Rotorcrafts get +1 Speed Category outside cities
The actual Speed remains the same, but outside urban environments Rotorcrafts can go 1 Speed category above their Speed. So a 4-Speed Helicopter can go 150 km/h inside a city and 200 km/h outside.
Page 200 notes Helicopters and tilt-wing aircrafts can go “around 220 kph cruising over open terrain” versus 140 inside urban airspace, while tilt-wings can hit 300 in rural airspace. Two out of three helicopters have Speed 4, under our rule that’s 120 m/CT -> 144 (~150) km/h. With the +1 we’re near-200, which is relatively close to the listed 220.
Rule: Rotorcrafts get +1 Speed Category, risk crashing in cities
An alternative to the previous rule. Rather than letting Rotorcrafts only get extra Speed outside urban airspace, instead we can let them also go that fast inside urban airspace. However the local law enforcement won’t be happy with it.. Plus going too fast makes it rather risky so will require Vehicle Tests to avoid crashing into things.
Note that one could also raise the actual Speed by 1, but this impacts Speed Chases so instead we merely modify the Speed Categories.
Rule: VTOL/VSTOL get +2 Speed Categories
There’s 3 airplanes in Core. The Commuter which somehow can only go 50 km/h (and only 100 in our table), the Venture which could hit 800 and now only 400, and the Banshee which dropped from 1600 to 600 in earlier table. The Banshee would need Speed Category 11 for supersonic, while the Venture would need 2 extra categories to get back.
All in all, if Airplanes get +2 Speed Categories and the Banshee gets an exception of +3 instead, then the Commuter hits 200 (versus a 250-benchmark on p200), the Venture hits its old 800 (hitting the 800-benchmark on p200) and the Banshee is back to Supersonic. This fixes the Commuter and also undoes the damage our table-changes did to the other airplanes.
Rule: Drones lose 2 Speed Categories
Since we buffed movement rates, Drones are suddenly significantly faster… For some of them that gets us numbers that are a bit unrealistic, so in return we want to roughly their movement rates. No Duelist running at 100 km/h, thank you very much. This could be done by simply halving their movement rates, but that means they accelerate rather slowly. Instead we simply take off 2 Speed Categories, letting us still use Speed as limit and general indicator. And yes, this means the Kanmushi is permanently stuck in Speed Category 0, while the Dalmatian can hit its topspeed of 100 km/h in 3 seconds.