So Shadowrun has a number of machine guns and assault cannons, but we still have the iconic minigun variant that allows us to shoot red hot death-lead at things. However, our resident heavy weapons character has been looking at it and can't find the effectiveness for herself. The way it looks, the recoil of the weapon is just too much to be effective. Even with as many slots as they can manage to recoil comp, they still have around -7 or -8 dice, reducing their dicepool to around 5 or 7 if they throw edge. And, when you're trying to mow down multiple people with that gun, you're splitting that pool up and throwing even less, including the -2 for switching targets.

So here's what I'd like to know. How would you build a human who wants to specialize in heavy weapons like the Vindicator and still be able to throw around 6 - 10 dice at a problem once you've spun that thing up. Maybe it's not realistic or even practical, but I'd like to see if it's even possible. Note, I don't care how you build the person, but the current character that's wanting this is building a gun wielding adept.

(You can use either the 400 BP or 750 Karma build)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ miniguns tend to get mounted on vehicles or choppers...any chance that is the intent here? \$\endgroup\$
    – wax eagle
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 13:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ Which rulebooks are fair? I have a feeling you can work something up with Arsenal's armor mods. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 27, 2012 at 23:57

3 Answers 3


If you have a Gyroscopic Stabilizer attachment and Gas Vent III modification/attachment, you can get -9 recoil (alternatively, Tripods do the same thing as Gyroscopic Stabilizers but don't help reduce movement mods), you can add a Shock Pad for -10 recoil, which should be plenty, and add Electronic Firing modifications (-11 in total), and you can still put on a Smartgun System. It's also pretty easy to build the final die pool up to 12 just from Agility and Heavy Weapons if you're willing to drop everything else for it, plus the Smartgun means 14 dice if you're totally specialized.

If I correctly understand that you're firing "Full Bursts", you should wind up with 9 recoil, which means you'll completely compensate for it, and the Smartgun System will compensate for one additional target or give a +2 die pool for your shooter.

Alternatively, I think that I read somewhere that you can also get strength/body based recoil reduction (Arsenal or 20th Anniversary Edition, but searching isn't turning it up).

For an adept, put six points in Agility, six points in Heavy Weapons, and max Improved Ability (Heavy Weapons); this should give you 15 dice (consider Natural Aptitude [Heavy Weapons] for the ability to put a seventh point in reaction), add Smartgun System's dice plus headwear (not head*ware*) that adds Smartlink capability, and you're at 17 dice, plus use the modified Vindicator above to get no recoil. If you use Enhanced Attribute [Agility] and Natural Aptitude [Heavy Weapons] you're throwing 19 dice and have 115 BP left out of 400 (and a few thousand Nuyen to spend in addition to what you needed for smartlinked glasses and the Vindicator with modifications). For enhanced lethality, include AV/APDS rounds (or explosive/hollow point ones if you're more open) and fire away. You can also add Attribute Boost or Improved Attribute; if you go the Improved Attribute path you can get an additional point (raising Agility to 8 and giving you 20 dice), though Boosted Attribute is cheaper (but the drain could hurt you). If you were willing to put three more points in Magic you would wind up with Agility 10 after Improved Attribute 3 (Agility), and your final dice should be 22; this would leave you with a mere 70 BP for other things, though, and some money.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I think there are a couple of issues with incompatible recoil mods in here, but I would have to check Arsenal. Also, there is a flat skill cap of 20 dice IIRC. \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 13:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yeah, I think there are incompatible mods, but the gyroscope and gas vents should stack (giving -9 recoil), plus probably Electronic Firing and Shock Pads (giving -9 recoil with the ability to reduce two points of movement modifier). I thought that was a GM discretion thing on the dice cap. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 14:32
  • \$\begingroup\$ That was my major point about the RC, was that many of them were incompatible. I'll have to pass this by the books and see if I can see that rule somewhere. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 19:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Optionally, gamemasters may choose to cap dice pools (including modifiers) at 20 dice, or at twice the sum of the character’s natural Attribute + Skill ratings, whichever is higher." - page 61 of SR4 20th Anniversary Edition. They've had that rule for a good while, too, it was at least in 3rd Edition and I think it was in earlier ones too. The gripe about incompatible RC modifiers is definitely valid, though I think that the Gyroscope/Tripod is compatible with Gas Vents which provides 9, and Electronic Firing and Shock Pads would logically still reduce that. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Mar 28, 2012 at 22:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ The rules for which recoil comp item is compatible with which are in Arsenal, in the weapon mods chapter. \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Mar 29, 2012 at 0:56

Use suppression-fire exclusively. All recoil is bypassed. You're not really aiming, you're just spraying an area and hoping people are stupid enough to be there. You won't deal as much damage as focus firing will, but you'll hit a lot of people. The entire point of the miniguns, combat mechanic-wise, is that instead of base damage, they deal 1.5x base damage to anyone unlucky enough to catch some lead.


I don't have the books in front of me right now, but what mods are you using? Have you checked out the gyro harness, and tripod, for example? I feel like you should be able to get it down to -3 or -4.

I also vaguely recall that there was an optional rule for mitigating recoil penalties for heavy weapons based on the character's strength - I could be thinking of 3E, but you might check in Arsenal or Runner's Companion and see if it's there.

You can also make changes to increase your basic dice pool above 12 dice. Increase your Agility. Max out the skill (possibly with the Skill Aptitude quality). Get a Specialization for that particular type of gun. Add smartlink. If you were making a street sammy, you could get two cyberarms with high Agi, and 'ware like Enhanced Articulation, and that other bioware mod (forget what it's called) that improves a specific physical skill or skill group.

I agree that it's impractical. Using a HVAR with APDS rounds is just as effective. Very cool, though.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Does SR4 make HVAR and APDS both capable of being bought by the average character? I remember from SR3 that the ammo was darn near impossible to acquire, and the HVAR could be acquired, but was mucho expensive. \$\endgroup\$
    – Pulsehead
    Commented Mar 22, 2012 at 17:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ There is a quality called Restricted Gear in SR4 that lets you get these items at chargen, if you're determined to have them. \$\endgroup\$
    – RMorrisey
    Commented Mar 23, 2012 at 1:36

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