These rules offer a more realistic, and quicker, method of handling automatic weapon fire.


For simplicity sake, automatic weapons fire bursts of five rounds or the number of bullets left in the magazine/belt, whichever is smaller. Note that weapons fired in three-round burst mode are handled separately (see below).

Each round fired adds 5% to the shooter's skill. The shooter's chance of hitting the target can not more than double. One full burst of 5 bullets will add 25% to the shooter's skill. Two bursts will add 50%, etc.

The character's skill percentage is increased based on the number of bullets fired before the percentage is reduced due to range and blind fire.

Autofire Example 1: Agent Graham has a 40% chance to hit with a submachine gun. He fires two bursts at a target. The target is outside Graham's base range, but less than twice his base range.

The two bursts equal 10 bullets. Agent Graham gains 5% per bullet, so his modified skill percentage would be 40% + (10 x 5%) = 90%. However, he can not increase his chance of hitting by more than double, so his skill is increased to a maximum of 80%.

Because the target is beyond base range, the chance to hit is halved. This is done after Graham's skill was increased due to the number of bullets fired. Half of 80% is 40$, so Agent Graham has a final modified chance to hit of 40%. If he had fired only a single bullet, his chance to hit would have been 20%.

Autofire Versus a Single Target

If the character hits the target, a bullet strikes the target for every 10% by which the character made his skill roll. In other words, subtract the dice roll from the chance to hit. If the difference is 0 to 10, one bullet hit. If the difference is 11 to 20, two bullets hit, etc. The maximum number of bullets that hit are the number of bullets fired at the target.

If a target is struck by multiple bullets and the dice roll is an impale result, only half the bullets (rounded up) do impaling damage. As an option, if the character rolls a critical success all the bullets count for impaling damage.

Autofire Example 2: Agent Graham fires as in example 1, above. He has a final modified chance to hit of 40%.

If Agent Graham's player rolls 30 - 40, one bullet hits the target. If the player rolls 20 - 29, two bullets hit the target, etc. The player rolls the dice. He rolls a 23. Agent Graham has hit the target with two bullets.

If the player had rolled an 08, he would have hit the target with four bullets, and two of them would have done impaling damage. If the player had rolled a 01, all four bullets would have done impaling damage (if the optional rule was used).

Autofire Versus Multiple Targets

A character can fire bursts of bullets at mroe than one target.

The number of bullets fired increases the chance to hit a target as listed under Bursts, above.

The chance to hit each target is reduced by 10% per target. This assumes that the targets are packed together in a tight group. For every target that is more than 2 yards away from another target reduce the chance to hit by an additional 10%. (In other words, treat every two to four yard gap as an additional target.)

Like Autofire Versus a Single Target, above, the number of bullets fired can not do more than double the character's skill, and the character's skill percentage is increased before it is reduced due to firing at multiple targets, range and blind fire.

The player decides how many bullets are fired in total, and how many bullets are fired at each target. This must be decided before the player rolls the dice. If the player doesn't say how many bullets are fired at each target, the bullets are spread evenly between the targets, dropping any extras. For instance, if 10 bullets were fired and there were 4 targets, each target would have 2 bullets fired at it, with 2 left over (which are ignored).

Each target must have at least one bullet fired at it. Also, if targets are spread out by more than 2 yards, a bullet is wasted for every two yards of distance separating the targets. (In other words, a bullet was fired into the gap.)

The player rolls the dice for each target. He must roll less than or equal to his modified skill percentage. The number of bullets that hit are figured out the same way as Autofire at a Single Target, above. The maximum number of bullets that hit are the number of bullets fired at each individual target.

Resolve hits on multiple targets from left to right or from right to left (player's choice). It is important to specify the order in which the targets were shot because of the Jamming rules, (see below).

Autofire Example 3: Agent Georgia fires at a group of cultists within her base range. Three cultists are grouped together on one side of the street, and another cultist is on the other side of the street 12 yards away. Agent Georgia has a 60% chance to hit.

She fires four bursts of five bullets. That would increase his chance to hit by 100% (5% x 20 bullets), but since her chance to hit can not be increased by more than double, her chance to hit is 120%.

There are four targets. The chance to hit each target is reduced by 10% per target. This drops the character's chance to hit to 80%. The last target is 6 yards away. Since every 2 yard gap is treated as an additional target, it's as though she's firing at a total of 7 targets ((6 yards ÷ 2) + 4 = 7). Agent Georgia now has a 50% chance to hit each target (120% - 70% = 50%). One bullet hits on a roll of 50 to 40, two on a roll of 39 to 30, three on a roll of 29 to 20, etc.

There are four targets and 20 bullets. Three bullets are wasted due to the 6 yard gap between the first group of three cultists on one side of the street and the fourth cultist on the other side. (One bullet is lost for every two yards.) This leaves 17 bullets. The player doesn't specify how many bullets are fired at each target before she rolls the dice, so the bullets are spread evenly. Each target has 4 bullets fired at them (17 ÷ 4, dropping any fractions, is 4).

The player rolls for each target, rolling a 11, 47, 73, and 06. The first target is hit with four bullets. One bullet strikes the second target. The third target was missed. The fourth target was hit by all four bullets. This final roll was also an impale, so 2 of the three bullets impale the target.

Three Round Autoburst

Some weapons have a "three-round autoburst" setting. If the weapon is fired on this setting, three bullets are fired. These bullets do not increase the character's chance of hitting the target. If the target is hit, roll damage for all three bullets (in other words, it is assumed that all three bullets strike the target).

If the player rolls an impale result, two of the three bullets impale the target. Optionally, if a critical success is rolled all three bullets impale the target.


If the weapon's malfunction number is rolled, something went wrong with the weapon. Roll percentage dice. Roll against 90% or the weapon's malfunction number, whichever is lower.

If the roll succeeds, nothing happens, the bullet simply missed.

If the roll fails, there was a minor jam (or dud). It takes one "fire action" to clear the jam. Simply subtract one from the weapon's rate of fire for the next combat round only. The jam clears automatically with the use of this action.

If the roll was a critical failure, there was a serious jam. It takes a full combat round to attempt to clear the jam, and the character must also roll their weapon skill to figure out how to clear the jam.

When firing at a single target, assume that a jam (minor or serious) occurred after half the bullets were fired, rounding up. When firing at multiple targets, assume that the jam occurred after half the bullets aimed at a specific target were fired. If a jam occurs before all targets have been rolled against, assume that the weapon jammed before the later targets could be shot at.

Jam Example: Agent Graham finds a rusting old World War II era German MP-40 among some reanimated zombies. Three more zombies shuffle towards him. He fires the weapon at the zombies two bursts (10 rounds). He fires four bullets at the first zombie and three at the other zombies. The player rolls the dice and hits the first target. When resolving fire on the second target he rolls a 00. The gun jams!

Four bullets were fired at the first zombie. The jam happened half way through firing at the second zombie. Since three bullets were fired at this zombie, assume only two bullets hit this reanimated corpse. This means that the gun has used up 6 bullets. The jam occurred before the third zombie could be fired at.

The MP-40 has a malfunction number of 75. The player rolls the dice again. This time he rolls an 85. The weapon is jammed. It will take one "shot" next round to clear the jam. That means the player will not be able to fire on his Dex rank in the Aimed Fire Phase of the next round, but he will be able to fire later in that round. If he had rolled 00 again, the gun would be seriously jammed. Agent Graham would have to spend the entire next round attempting to clear it, and he'd have to roll under his submachine gun skill to be successful.


Design Notes

The rules in the Call of Cthulhu rulebook are somewhat cumbersome for resolving automatic weapons fire. They are also less than realistic. In real life, the more bullets you fire the worse the recoil on the weapon. The weapon will start to pull to the side and climb with each additional bullet. After the first few shots, the bullets become increasingly wild. The rules as written are slow to resolve, as the player has to roll to see how many bullets hit the target, and then roll damage for that number of bullets.

The rules on this page speed up play by removing the roll for the number of bullets that hit. It also means that a player has to roll fairly well to get more than one or two bullets hitting the target. It simulates recoil by requiring a player to roll low to hit with more bullets.