Some reflections on hand grenades

MonsterX

Banded Mongoose
There are a wide variety of grenades in Traveller, and their effects are very different, but I'll start with the standard-issue fragmentation grenade from the core rulebook. The rule for throwing a grenade is the standard 8+ to succeed, and that "Missed attacks with grenades will generally result in nothing
interesting happening unless there are dangerous or amusing targets nearby, at the discretion of the referee." Given that the range of a grenade is 20 meters (not unrealistic, as this means 40 LR, and 80 XR) and the blast radius is 9 meters (also realistic) this rule seems insufficient. Grenades are short ranged weapons, IRL often used indoors or against fortified positions, but obviously can't be TOO short ranged. They do 5D damage in that radius - also realistic. Where exactly it ends up will be a matter of keen interest to everyone in the area. Some on-line discussions suggest random rules for that, often related to the effect of the attack roll, and this seems like a good idea.
Looking at what the military practice suggests about grenades is:
1) while the "injury radius" is 9 meters - meaning if it doesn't land that close, it probably won't do the job, fragments can fly considerably farther and there is no safe distance. So the practice is to throw and immediately get (back) behind cover. As a referee, I would impose a need to expose oneself (minor action), throw (major action), and dodge behind cover, or suffer danger from fragmentation appropriate to the distance from whereever the grenade lands. I would also allow one aiming action too, standing in the open to gauge the target and get a proper throw, as a standing throw is considered better - with the obvious limitation being that the enemy will shoot you if they can while you are standing there.
2) damage is from a combination of concussion and fragmentation if you are close, but only fragmentation if you are far. Especially the concussion can get through body armour IRL, fragmentation less so but it happens. Probably the 5D is enough to represent this. However, it seems like damage should fall off with distance from the blast. I'm not sure what would be a simple rule for this, maybe -1 per dice for every 1-3 meters distance? So on target 5D, 1 -3 meters 5D-5, 4-6 meters 5D -10, 7-9 meters 5D - 15, 10-12 meters 5D - 20, and so on.
3) Grenades usually have a 4 or 5 second fuse, so the better part of a combat round. The rules allow a reaction to a grenade throw, of diving for cover, giving the grenade attack a -2 and in some cases granting the target armour depending on the nature of the cover, at the expense of target loosing his or her next attack. Looking at options people have pursued IRL, this is the recommended one: generally, there is enough time to dive for cover if you see the grenade coming. If it is a surprise, a recon check might be appropriate, though. Also, the diving for cover option really depends on having an option for cover. Often the purpose of the grenade is to force a dilemma on the target: stay in your foxhole and get blown up, or jump out quickly and get shot. A person in a bare empty room with no open doors is going to get the full 5D, but if there is a sturdy sofa handy, the outcome will be totally different - taking cover behind it will expend an action though.

There are stories of soldiers catching or picking up the grenade and throwing away or back at the thrower, but this is not recommended because if it explodes too soon, you've just created an airburst which increases the blast radius and damage potential. As a referee, I'd allow this, with maybe a very difficult athletics dex check, and serious consequences for failure. The other reaction is to jump on the grenade one's self - this would be pretty survivable in some advanced Traveller armour, and actually there are some soldiers that have survived in IRL, albeit badly injured. Doing this is a reliable method of ensuring all the damage goes only to that one person. The problem with putting something on top of it is that it will blow the object up and away and fragmentation will fly out the bottom, unless the object is heavy. This should reduce the damage a lot, though, depending on the object.
4. another thing to think about is the lay of the land, and the potential for the grenade to roll or bounce. If it hits the side of a foxhole, it has a high potential to bounce in, but if it hits inside, it won't be bouncing out. If it lands on some stairs, it is probably going to bounce down them until it either comes to the bottom or explodes on the way. There can't be standard rules for this, but certainly it it something for the referee to think about.

In short, fragmentation grenades are extremely deadly if used under certain specific circumstances, but allow the target some options to react and mitigate the situation. They also have a high potential be dangerous to the user. Adding in some house rules about where the grenade lands could increase suspense, and modelling out their properties more realistically can both allow them to be as deadly as they should be, while also enforcing sensible limits on their use. There is a reason guns see a lot more use than grenades in firefights IRL. Understanding how they are used IRL can also create interesting tactical dilemmas and also offer solutions for the players: in particular you shouldn't be able to throw a grenade without thinking pretty hard about where it is going to end up.

How do you handle fragmentation grenades? Or other types of grenade?
 
Glue on an anti armour grenade.

I think the safe distance between you and a fragmentation grenade is supposedly fifty metres, which is one reason the preference is for grenade launchers.

They're also used as ad hoc bomblets, letting drones park themselves overhead, and dropping them.


 
I borrow from the Battlefield Evolution rules.
Attacker nominates a target square.
Defender gets two dice, or the negative effect, whichever absolute value is greater. Attacker gets dice equal to skill, Dex DM plus positive effect, or just skill and Dex DM if a fail, Minimum of 1d6.
I toss a directional die and move the grenade that way the distance in squares on the defense die, and then the attacker can move it back up to the number of squares on their dice.
If the defender succeeds in deflecting, bounce at opposite angles if it hits something on the path.
 
A glue on anti-amour grenade which really can't be pulled off, it needs a special solvent (which might be at the bottom of your pack), with a (loud) verbal countdown fuse might raise everyone's blood pressure for a while.

I've thought about getting Battlefield Evolution just to borrow rules to use in Traveller. Combat in Traveller is realistically deadly but some of the tactics trained soldiers use to mitigate that aren't available in the Traveller mechanics, at least not as such, so I figured maybe their would be portable rules in Modern Combat. But I haven't yet, are there a lot of portable rules in there?
 
I forget which RPG (the 'game', not the 'grenade') ruleset was being described, but I remember the commentary. Something like:
"And then he (the player) said 'I'm going to throw a grenade', and everyone groaned. Half an hour later..."
So there's a trade-off between simple rules and 'realism'. Whatever works best for the players.
 
The players seem to like the system above, laughing at the player when he lobs and misses... as long as it isn't heading their way.
 
I was in a sword worlder Merc game, and the GM had a grenade bounce back and hit me.
I launched it under barrel grenade launcher, like 20 meters way. I rolled a 7. It went right back at me. I was fruastrated about that. Same GM that wanted crit failures and describe a laser rifle as jamming. Dude rulled a 8 while getting a 2 on the dice. Nope. Photons got jammed.
 
The players seem to like the system above, laughing at the player when he lobs and misses... as long as it isn't heading their way.
It's all fun and games until somebody gets fragged.

I launched it under barrel grenade launcher, like 20 meters way. I rolled a 7. It went right back at me. I was fruastrated about that. Same GM that wanted crit failures and describe a laser rifle as jamming. Dude rulled a 8 while getting a 2 on the dice.
Grenade launchers seem more like guns on how they should be treated. 20 meters is a long way to bounce. Referees that have dead-eyed snipers shoot themselves in the head every time they roll snake eyes don't understand the laws of probability. Their games must feature frequent misjumps.
 
It's all fun and games until somebody gets fragged.
The vast majority of the time, the player gets the blast over part of the targeted group, or at least off the friendly group. Only had it come close once, and this guy loves to throw stun grenades.
 
Keep in mind that as technology increases new and more sophisticated grenades will likely emerge. I can certainly see a frag grenade with some sort of impact fuse, using a protected switch rather than a pin and spoon kinda thing to arm them, and even one's that won't blow up with in X meters from the person who through them. At lower tech levels grenades would still work like in ways we know, but certainly as technology increases someone would begin to recognize the drawbacks to grenades and attempt to fix them.
 
Keep in mind that as technology increases new and more sophisticated grenades will likely emerge. I can certainly see a frag grenade with some sort of impact fuse, using a protected switch rather than a pin and spoon kinda thing to arm them, and even one's that won't blow up with in X meters from the person who through them. At lower tech levels grenades would still work like in ways we know, but certainly as technology increases someone would begin to recognize the drawbacks to grenades and attempt to fix them.
There are some higher tech grenades available, but the sort of stuff you list makes a lot more sense than what's really in the rules. Proximity fuses or other devices allowing the user to specify more precise conditions for denotation would be really useful
 
There are some higher tech grenades available, but the sort of stuff you list makes a lot more sense than what's really in the rules. Proximity fuses or other devices allowing the user to specify more precise conditions for denotation would be really useful
This version of Traveller is designed to be very simple and quick to play. Refs totally have the prerogative to add what ever they want.
 
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