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Shaped Charges

First, just to be clear, rules already exist for shaped charges in the Shadowrun rule book under the heading "Placing Explosives" on pages 96 and 97 (American softcover). What will be provided here is a clarification of those rules so that they will be easier to use.

First, what is a shaped charge? A shaped charge is, for lack of a better definition, a formed piece of explosive material that is used for cutting through structural material, usually doors, walls and armor. The shape of the charge is usually made up of a metal frame or container that is designed to direct the force of the blast in a single direction, either in a plane or in a straight line, resulting in a cutting effect. Certain shaped charges can also be made with the explosive material itself. Because the force of the explosion only has to move in one direction instead of in a sphere, all of the compound can be spread thinner so as to maximize the effect of the explosion.

Examples of shaped charges include small hole punchers and entry charges. A small circular charge can easily be made that will cut a hole in a door or also be used to blow though door hinges or the like, knocking the door open. An entry charge can be a light metal rectangular contraption made of angled iron or steel. The explosive compound is placed in the acute angle, the whole device is placed against the surface to cut through (held in place by a pole or an adhesive), like a wall or door, and detonated. The actual force of the explosion is directed so that a section of the surface is cut out, as if it were an article from a newspaper, without seriously harming anything near by. The area affected by both of these types is very localized and damage should only be applied to the barrier in most cases.

How does this work different from grenades? When the explosion of a grenade, or other explosive that hasn't been placed for a specific effect, reaches a wall or barrier, twice the barrier's rating is used to calculate the chunky salsa effect. Anything left over gets through the barrier to some extent. When an explosive is placed, like a shaped charge, the barrier's normal rating is used to resist the damage. The person placing the charge rolls their demolitions skill with a target number of 2 adding any successes to the power of the explosive. If the resulting power of the explosive is equal to or greater than the rating you get a hole that can be moved through. Read the table for exact effects.

Barnaby has rigged a small series of shaped C-12 charges to literally blow a door off of its hinges. A small shaped charge is placed over each of the locations where he has determined the hinges to be. He rolls his demolitions skill and gets 4 successes. He feels pretty good about things as the power of the explosive is now 16S. He takes a few steps to the side, back against the wall, and triggers the charges with a handheld device. The door has a barrier rating of 16 (armored glass security door). The door is blown clear and Barnaby and his friends rush through to do whatever it is that they're doing.

Simple, neh? Since the power of the blast was equal to the rating of the door the desired effect was achieved. Here's another example of possible uses of shaped charges:

Boomer has prepped a series of shaped C-12 charges for use as diversions when he and his teammates enter a manufacturing facility: one will cut the base of a light pole, another will cut a power line into macaroni, and a third will cut the top off of a fire hydrant on the street. As they enter the grounds, he cuts the power line, using his head radio and a radio detonator, causing a number of systems to fail temporarily, allowing them to more easily gain access to the building. As they exit the facility, he drops the light pole on the parking lot causing some havoc with the grounds security. As they're making their escape, he blows the top off the fire hydrant as a little added insurance and as a coup de grace. Somebody on the staff there is not having a good day at this point in the evening.

Why haven't you been using shaped charges in your game? :-)

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