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MyGURPS - Savage Borderlands Old Elemental Notes

Savage Borderlands Old Elemental Notes


Elemental attacks are either extra effective against certain enemies or add a certain bonus effect. Choosing which elemental weapons to carry, and which to use against which opponents, is an important part of the setting.

Adding elemental damage to a weapon doesn't change its base damage. Instead, that base damage is now assumed to be partially from the (slightly weakened) bullet and partially from a few seconds of DOT (damage-over-time) from the new elemental effect.

All elemental damage comes in four levels, though only Maliwan guns typically hit level 4. (If a combination of effects pushes an elemental level past four, just follow the existing progression.) As a general rule, no weapon has more than one type of elemental damage; legendary weapons are often exceptions, of course.

Most elements should just be listed by level; e.g., a gun might show "corrosive 2." For incendiary, however, it's much easier to list the bonus damage; e.g., "incendiary +d6".


Corrosive destroys body armor and non-living targets (like robots). A successful hit permanently reduces physical Armor by the corrosive level, before applying damage. Against humans wearing body armor, this is the only effect; once it hits Armor 0, the body armor literally disintegrates.

When attacking machines, however, after wiping out Armor, apply any "leftover" corrosive levels as a damage bonus. For example, if a robot has Armor +2 and you attack with a corrosive 3 weapon, the robot loses the 2 Armor and the attack gets +1 damage. If you attack the same robot (now Armor +0) again, your attack does +3 damage.

Treat light cover and thin walls like other non-living targets; where applicable, corrosion reduces their Toughness instead of Armor. Thick walls, including all external walls, are designed to be corrosion-resistant.


If the damage roll of a cryo attack exceeds Toughness (before taking Armor or Shields into account), the target becomes "semi-frozen" and slows down, taking a penalty equal to the cryo level to Agility rolls, Pace, Parry, and Toughness versus melee attacks. (If their Pace is higher than 6, reduce it proportionately. Parry and Toughness cannot drop below 2.)

A subject may roll against Vigor to recover, as a free action at the beginning of their turn.

If an already "semi-frozen" target is hit with another cryo attack, or the initial cryo attack inflicts one or more Wounds, they must roll their Vigor die (along with the wild die if a Wildcard). Don't look at success/failure here. Instead, if the rolled result is equal to or less than the cryo level, they are now "fully frozen"! They can take no actions (even free actions) except for trying to recover, the difficulty to hit them with any attack drops to 2, and they have Toughness 2 versus melee attacks.


Incendiary adds extra damage against any living being with no body armor or "up" shield, per the table below.


When attacking a shielded target, if the base damage roll (without the bonus incendiary die) is enough to drop the shield, go ahead and add in that incendiary damage.


Any subject hit by a radiation attack, regardless of whether the attack hurts them, emits an invisible aura that makes them and those around them weaker and more vulnerable to further attacks. Apply the Radiation level as a Toughness penalty to the target and everyone adjacent to the target. This lasts until the end of the next combat round.

Anyone who dies while irradiated explodes for damage equal to their Strength + Vigor, plus the same radiation level that they were currently suffering.

Targets affected by multiple radiation attacks use the worst level; they don't stack.

(The use of "adjacent" instead of "SBT" is intentional. Larger irradiated subjects are more of a danger to those around them!)


Shock weapons are amazing at dropping shields. If the attack is successful, reduce the current Capacity of any shield by the shock level before applying damage. Assuming the shield has Capacity left, it may use it normally; see BAE How Shields Work.

Elemental Resistance and Immunity

Some shields and NPC special abilities provide Elemental Resistance. This comes in levels, which reduce the effective level of elemental damage on a one-for-one basis. For example, a shield that gives you Shock Resistance 2 will reduce shock 1 or 2 down to 0, reduce shock 3 down to 1, and so on.

A foe who is immune to a certain element ignores all extra elemental effects. In addition, because part of the base damage of the gun comes from elemental DOT, that base damage is reduced by 4.




Explosive is not an element. It is a descriptor for most area-effect attacks, which may also be elemental. It therefore does not come in levels like elemental damage.

If a normal gun or melee weapon is made into an explosive attack, it now affects an SBT around the target hit. That is, if you shoot a human with an explosive bullet, he and everyone immediately adjacent to him takes damage. (For rapid-fire attacks, don't apply this "splash damage" multiple times; just use the highest value rolled.)

When a melee attack is explosive, it is automatically designed to shield the wielder from the blast, though it will hit any friend or foe in the splash radius.