Shooting into Melee


May have missed something but are there any rules for firing at someone already engaged in close combat with an ally?
1st Edition Mongoose Traveller imposed a -2 DM to hit. If you miss, roll 1d6. On 4+, you randomly hit one of the other creatures/characters within melee range of the original target.
Thanks Arkathan. I'll base a house rule on the above: -2 to hit, if it is this DM that makes you miss then you hit someone else in the melee, otherwise it's a wild shot. Think that will work.
Sorry, but shooting into close combat from the outside is always a bad idea. I really wonder where the idea does come from. The combatants do not just stand around but move unpredictable. Plus bullets, lasers, etc. can easily pass through a body. and hit anything that is behind it.
I think it is on purpose that there is no official rule for such an action.
Last edited:
Bane for firing into melee, if you succeed you hit what you were aiming for - if you 'miss' but would hit without bane then you hit a random target within the melee.
I ran a Star Wars game back in the day. The system was based on D&D 3.5. Had someone playing a Xexto, tiny little 4 armed mother fucker. Insisted on having a gun in every hand, because he could. That bastard fired into melee every chance he got. By the time he had a fatal "accident" he had shot every member of the party at least 3 times. Now in that system there was a feat called Precise Shot. With this feat you could shoot into melee all day and never hit anyone but your intended target. He refused to ever take that feat. Shame he had that "accident".
Did you fumble? Y/N:
N = You're fine. The round embeds in something harmless
Y = A Very Bad Thing has happened. Roll to hit ally in the scrum. If it didn't hit an ally, it hits something in the environment that you didn't want to hit [a water pipe aboard a ship, the sensors on your ATV in the wilderness, an onlooker in a city, etc.]
I'm generally of the feeling that since the participants in a melee are moving around a lot (which isn't well-represented in a turn-based grid environment), the gunner is firing during that one moment when they do have a clear shot.

This might not be applicable if combatants from both sides are mixed together several layers deep, but that's a fairly rare circumstance in my experience.
I would use a different approach if a general rule is really needed. I would randomly determine which of the combatants is the target first. Then I would resolve the attack as normal. If it is a miss both close combat participants are safe. Otherwise the determined target is hit and receives damage as normal.
This should make a player think twice before he/she decides to shoot into a close combat situation.
Narrative combat is a different matter of course. Opportunities to fire "safely" into close combat scenarios might occur there.
Look guys, the whole point of using dice is to cope with the vagaries of situations like this. Firing into a scrum is a random situation, so roll the dice and find out what happened.
One of the great problems with experienced gamers is that we have a hard time just letting go and NOT developing a table rule for every conceivable situation. THEN we complain when a game is 'too rules crunchy'. And don't get me wrong here... I have to stop myself from doing this crap too. I'm not waving my finger at anyone.
So just roll the dice and make up the narrative of the results and move the story along.