Vehicle Speed (1/2): Introduction

This post explains why Speed is weird in SR5, as introduction to an adjusted table. Said adjusted table, as well as a few smaller fixes, can be found in this follow-up post.


Vehicle Speed has changed significantly in SR5. In previous editions each vehicle had its own maximum speed and acceleration, which led to complicated situations such as ‘okay so my max speed is 200 km/h, BUT I’d need >15 hits on a vehicle test to hit that. What the hey.’

In SR5 it’s been simplified to two single-digit numbers. Your Speed number translates to how fast you can go. And Acceleration now simply matters for Vehicle Chases. (I looked through the rule and there’s no actual mechanic for the relation between Acceleration and movement speed… It’s merely implied.)

The reason for simplifying Speed seems quite reasonable: With Limits, you want an actual limit on movement speed. And I personally really like the unification of vehicles, where you don’t have a vehicle that can go 165 km/h versus one that can go 180 km/h. Of course Speed Chases don’t make much sense at all, but that’s a different story…

Limits aside, the Speed stat also translates to how fast you can go. A Speed 3 vehicle can at most go 40 m/CT (x1.2=48->~50 km/h), a Speed 5 can at most go 160 m/CT -> ~200 km/h. Every +1 Speed = x2 movement rate. Which is utterly insane. A Ford Americar can only go 48 km/h, whereas a Eurocar Westwind 3000 can go 768 km/h simply because it has 1 Speed more than the best of the rest…

It gets even sillier if you read the book. The book notes (SR5 Core p200) that Ground Crafts go 80 km/h on urban highways and 120 km/h outside the cities. But the number 1 family car cannot get close at all to that 80 km/h, and only 3 cars, including the Westwind and a luxury car costing 65k, can actually reach that 120 km/h…

And as far as boats are concerned, there’s a Speed-6 boat which thus can go 384 km/h. Page 200 notes 200 km/h for cigarette boats instead. Meanwhile almost all drones can go 48 km/h with the Medium/Large Air drones capable of going faster, while the Commuter aircraft is slower. It’s a tilt-wing, which classically can hit 400 km/h, but it only has Speed 3 while all the airbound drones are twice as fast or worse…

So on one hand your #1 family car cannot go faster than a fast Shadowrunner and even the Walking Ares Duelist can keep up with it, while on the other hand it can keep up with a classic commuter airplane.

The rules also note how Helicopters are faster outside city borders, but again this does not translate into an actual mechanic which is a damn shame. So I have designed a few changes to the vehicle mechanics that keep the vehicle stats intact but give them a different meaning.

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