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In an effort to cheese out a high-powered game, we've allowed the race builder from SW Deluxe. One of the characters is a 4-armed gunslinger. We're trying to figure out the penalties to shooting 4 guns in a round.

How does ambidextrous affect attacking with more than 2 arms? Does it eliminate the off-hand penalty for all the arms, just one, or something different? Does Two Fisted eliminate the multi-action penalty for all the attacks?

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This is totally up to your GM. I'll go over the rules as written to clarify the situation, but Savage Worlds is not a legalistic game and your GM can and should adapt the rules as necessary. (In fact, if you're working with your GM, you might get more favourable rulings than if you spring this on them without warning.)

Rules as written

Normally, fighting with two weapons gives two separate penalties. You get -2 to all actions (which are considered to be simultaneous), and an additional -2 to actions taken with the off hand. So the normal case is a two-gun gunslinger firing both guns with -2 to one and -4 to the other Guns roll.

Ambidexterity removes the penalty for taking an action with an off hand. A gunslinger with Ambidexterity would be making two simultaneous shots, both at Guns -2.

Two-Fisted removes the multi-action penalty when using a weapon (or just fist) in each hand. A gunslinger with Two-Fisted would make two simultaneous shots, one with no penalty and one with -2 for attacking with an off hand.

Combining the two obviously takes care of both penalties, letting you (by a literal reading), attack exactly twice with each of two hands, at no penalty. Because the rules-as-written specifically say "two" and "off hand" (singular), then a literal interpretation of the rules is that anything beyond two is unaffected by these Edges.

Since you can't attack with the same weapon twice ever according to the multi-action rules, your four-armed gunslinger does have some default advantage: you can shoot four times at all, while a two-handed gunslinger can shoot a maximum of twice. Additionally* you get no multi-action penalty for attacking with the additional arms according to the Multiple Limbs racial ability. With Two-Fisted and Ambidextrous you would get the first two without penalty, and the extra two limbs' attacks would have either a -2 (including the off-hand penalty) or no penalty, depending on whether your GM rules that Ambidexterity takes care of one off hand (just the first) or all off hands.

* This paragraph edited with corrections to the math to accurately reflect the Multiple Limbs text, as pointed out in comments.

One way a GM could rule

If it were me GMing, I would totally allow for a four-armed gunslinger to get good with all hands simultaneously. To start I'd say that each pair of arms has a dominant and an off hand, so you already have a slight edge with two hands (not just one) on top of being able to fire four times. For full advantages of Two-Fisted I'd require that it be taken twice – once for the first pair of arms, and again for the other pair of arms. I'd similarly require that Ambidexterity be taken twice to offset the two off hands.

Another GM might just say you can never get that good with all four, and limit you to the rules interpretation that the Edges are limited to "two" literally. Yet another GM might say the Edges cover all your arms just fine, no extra Edges needed. Yet another another GM might rule as I would, but require an Ambidexterity Edge for each off hand.

Talk to your GM and find out how they want to handle it, and remember: if you can do it, NPCs can do it! Your enlightened self-interest should take into account whether you want to face enemies who can easily use four wands at once, for example.

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Great answer. I found the forum post about this as well: peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=36535 –  Toast May 31 '12 at 22:24
    
@Toast Oh, useful! I completely failed to look at the actual text for Multiple Limbs; I edited the answer to correct the math. –  SevenSidedDie Jun 1 '12 at 0:11
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I've seen rules for this in D&D 3 which may be good for inspiration. How about this set of Edges?

Multi-Limbed: Character has two additional limbs.

Ambidexterous: Can attack with second hand without off-hand penalty.

Multidexterous: Can attack with all hands without off-hand penalty.

Two-Fisted: Can attack twice with two weapons without multi-action penalty.

Three-Fisted: Can attack thrice with three weapons without multi-action penalty.

Four-Fisted: Can attack four times with four weapons without multi-action penalty.

Note that the character still gains many benefits from just Multi-Limbed, Ambidexterous and Two-Fisted. They can use the following loadouts:

  • Two handguns, a shield, a torch. Shields and torches are usually used in an off-hand.
  • Two rifles. Rifles are usually used in a primary-hand and an off-hand and you have two of each.
  • Two handguns, while swinging from chandeliers. -2 penalty for taking two actions.

Enjoy!

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