(Or “the John Maclane” rule…)

I’ve been a shooter for a long time, in civilian, military, and other capacities. One thing that most RPGs don’t model well, more for game balance than anything else, is multiple shots from a handgun. This rule is presented for those GMs that want their Cortex-based game to have a more modern, gun-fu sort of flavor to it.

Much like burst fire, rapid fire lets the character blast off multiple rounds with a single die test. But whereas a burst fire/automatic weapon doesn’t require the character to pull the trigger multiple times, a semi-automatic or revolver does. When using RAPID FIRE, the character trades a skill step for a damage step — this represents multiple rounds fired at a single target. Additionally, any other actions taken that round — like, say, during rapid fire on a second target, suffer from the usual multiple actions step down from whatever number of steps were used on the initial attack.

Example: SGT Snuffy of the Metro Dade County Police is up against a pair of baddies who are heavily armed. He’s gotten initiative and doesn’t want to get stredded with their MP5 sub-guns. He pops off three rounds from his Bren Ten in rapid succession against the first target. The 10mm has a d6W damage (he’s using substandard ammo), so he wants to crank his damage +2 steps. He has a d10 Agility, so he rolls his agility as a d6 plus his excellent pistol skill of d8. He gets lucky and maxes the roll for 16. He now rolls a d10W for damage on the guy. Still worried about the next bad guy, he turns his attention to him and rapid fires again — he can only do a single step, since his second action starts with a d4 — so he rolls a d2+d8 on the next guy and gets lucky, just hitting, and rolls a d8W damage.

Had he chosen to roll for cover after the first rapid fire, he would have rolled a d4 agility plus his athletics

This should give you the appropriate magazine-draining action that has been the norm in action movies since the ’80s.