Box Cars - What kind of effects?

I'm just wondering what people usually do when someone rolls boxcars. To be fair... I seem to be the only one that ever rolls box cars in our game, as the GM, but I was just sort of wondering what kinds of effects people went for. It seems to me that there needs to be some kind of effect but at the same time I don't want it to be too amazing or to devastating... and thus just how mechanical the effect should be comes in to question.

For me it depends on the circumstances a lot. I'll generally encourage the players to help come up with the effects, too.

If it's a boxcars success by a player, then I'll often add something that gets them closer to their objective or helps give the bad guys a setback.

If they're shooting arrows at the eunuch sorcerer who's performing magic experiments on some abducted kids, then perhaps one of the arrows hits a magic artifact or a torch which falls and blows up/sets something on fire or otherwise causes the bad guy a problem. It could mean the bad guy loses a couple of shots to deal with the distraction.

If it's one of the heroes leaping onto the wing of a bad guy's plane as it flies off with somebody's girlfriend tied up inside, perhaps a boxcars success means that one of the henchmen opened the plane's door to try to shoot at the hero. This means the door is open instead of locked, so if he can get past the henchman it'll be easier to get inside.

If they're fighting Hong Kong gangsters who have tied up the granny of one of the heroes outside the window of a tower block, then maybe the guard who's standing nearest the granny gets distracted by some gunfire and leaps into the fray, leaving granny unguarded.

For a boxcars failure, I just try to think in the opposite way--what are some aspects of the environment that could go really badly for this hero?

If they're shooting arrows at the sorcerer, perhaps the sorcerer redirects the arrows with magic and they knock a torch onto a tapestry near the hero, causing the hero to lose a few shots.

If the hero gets boxcars failure leaping onto the wing of a bad guy's plane, maybe the plane has already started to take off and he plummets to the Earth, taking some falling damage as he watches the villains fly away with the kidnapped girlfriend.

If the gangsters have granny tied up, maybe a boxcars failure by the heroes means the rope holding granny starts to come lose! If one or more heroes doesn't immediately use their next 3 shot action to dive for it and grab it, granny will fall to the ground, breaking a hip or possibly more!

Basically, I just look around for something in the environment that the heroes want badly, and mess with it in one way or another.

Thanks for the input.

We had a great fight last week at a construction site last week with a lot of collapsing scaffolding and enemies falling to the ground and losing their sniper like perches.

We also had our first death... which was a bit sad...

I recently changed my way of applying this thread, banjo666 suggested to take shots away from the player or NPC. I don't like that, because punishing a player by forcing him to act less is in my opinion and experience a terrible thing. They've already lost 3 shots by failing their attack, so potentially making them not play for an extended period while everyone else is having fun feels really overkill and unfair to me. Unfair as in "not fun". People with a bad initiative roll already suffer of watching the other players play without them, and I don't think it's a fun way to play your failure.

So now, I'm doing this.


Success after Boxcars against mooks : The player hits as many mooks as his final outcome allows, regardless of how many targets he had declared (it's still limited to how many the GM says are in range, though : a suggested maximum is 5-6)

Success after Boxcars against Featured Foes and Bosses : The Foe doesn't substract their Toughness from the damage.

Way Awful Failure against anyone (on a failure after Boxcars or from too many -6s) : you take damage equal to the absolute value of your swerve, with a maximum of 5 damage. Don't substract your Toughness. it should be described as the Scroungetech implant shorting out and sending an electric shock, as the opponent blocking your Martial Art attack and injuring you in the process, etc...
If the attack used Sorcery or Guns, you don’t use this rule and suffer the Backlash or Malfunction rules instead.

The only way to get a Way Awful Failure outside combat is by getting a negative Action Result (almost invariably from one or more rerolled sixes on your minus die).

Rolling Boxcars works differently and immediately implies that you’re either going to succeed or to fail, whatever your skill and whatever the difficulty.

You roll again, ignoring further doubles, until one of the dice is greater than the other. You don’t calculate the Swerve : a greater positive die means an automatic success (even if your skill was very low), and a negative die means an automatic failure (even if your skill was high enough).

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And I'll add to my rules that if the skill check for which you get a positive/negative boxcars needed a quantifiable result (a medicine roll for example), you exceptionally calculate a swerve, and add/substract 12 to it (as if the two first 6s counted).