Friday, August 24, 2012

Bang Bang You're Dead: Elevating the Stakes in Crime Network

When we originally designed Crime Network, it was built around its own set of mechanics and didn’t use the network system. Intended to capture the paranoia and carnage of life in the mafia, the damage rules were quite lethal with most weapons far exceeding a typical character’s hit points. So while it was possible to graze foes you always had a stronger chance of gunning them down.  When we shifted Crime Network to the Network system, I believe some of this was lost.

Don’t get me wrong, the Network system is a great engine for gritty and lethal games, but it falls short of the kind of lethality I wanted in my mafia campaigns. Generally speaking there is usually a chance of killing someone provided you roll tens, but it isn’t the more likely outcome. This is why we added in the optional rule for Open Damage when we wrote Horror Show.  Because the longer I played Crime Network, the more I kept thinking back to how the old system made every gunfight a potential bloodbath.

For this reason I recommend everyone adopt the Open Damage rule for all damage rolls in Crime Network. Using this method you count all successes on damage. This is a good way to elevate the stakes and make mob hits a bigger feature of the game. Not only does it raise the chances of killing foes outright but it increases the likelihood of doing multiple wounds in a single shot.

Another approach, which I personally like, is to treat any 10 result on damage as a kill. This is clean, doesn’t require counting up successes and means any shot has kill potential. In practice this means a small pistol (which does 2d10 damage) has about a 19 percent chance of killing someone at range. At point blank the chance rises to about 27 percent. A heavier gun, like a magnum or shot gun, has a 27 percent chance at range and roughly 34 percent chance of killing at point blank.

I strongly suggest using these options (or even combining them) if you play Crime Network.


  1. Well Brendan, as you know I am a big component of increasing the lethal-ness of Crime Network, and glad to see these options espoused.

    However I also like to ensure that things do not go too far in the other direction as there are many cases where a mob hit was not successful. Case in point is Johnny Castle, who we both know lived through what was thought to be a clean hit, (inside joke).

    It would be interesting to play around with some of these rules and see how they play out in game over the coming months from everyone.

    For myself I welcome each 10 being damage *OR* it being considered an open ended roll, but not both. This means most kills would take 2-3 hits.

    However if someone is an assassin, and performs all the necessary pre-reqs for their hit. Aiming, appropriate position, etc, then allowing them with the right weapon to have that 10 be a KILL shot...or every success counting as damage.

    And of course the bullet to the back of the head is ALMOST always a successful hit...but almost is what makes the game very interesting.

    Johnny Castle LIVES!!!

  2. Open damage is probably a good choice in that case.