In Savage Worlds a Double Barrelled Shotgun has a Rate of Fire of 1 or 2. Under the descriptive text is says that you can fire both Barrels together and roll to hit twice. One of my player wanted to know if he can fire at two different targets instead of both at the same targets. Weapons that have Auto Fire can at increasing penalty up to there RoF. But a Double Barrelled Shotgun does not have the Auto Fire feature. I have no experience of a real Double Barrelled Shotgun so I have no idea if it should be able too. My players think so. I think the rules as written say you can't but I am not sure that this is what they intended or it is correct IRL.


2 Answers 2


Yes, you can fire at two different targets with each barrel.

Any ranged weapon with a RoF of greater than 1 can be fired at two separate targets. ("Ranged Attacks, Rate of Fire", p. 67, Savage Worlds Deluxe edition)

The double-barrel shotgun is special in that it has this additional rule (page 50):

Double Barrels: Shotguns with two attached barrels are called “double barrels.” If the attacker wants to fire both barrels at once, he rolls an additional Shooting die just like when firing Full Auto (plus Wild Die), including recoil (which cancels out the usual +2 for shotguns). Roll damage for each successful shot separately.

This means that unlike other RoF 2 weapons, it can use the Automatic Fire rules (p. 70), which are normally only available (and are mandatory for) weapons of RoF 3 or more. The "Double Barrel" rule doesn't restrict a double-barreled shotgun to only using the Automatic Fire rules, it just gives you an extra option to access the AF rules by "fir[ing] both barrels at once".

So there you go: the rules easily allow for using the barrels separately, one at a time, on two targets. Like many Savage Worlds rules, this follows from default rules, but it's not explicitly said about the shotgun. It's easy to read the special notes under Shotgun on page 54 and assume that this overrides the normal multi-attack rules, but it's in addition, not in replacement of, those rules. Go forth and double-barrel those multiple targets!

A tangential note

A shotgun-user shouldn't overlook the Innocent Bystanders rule (p. 73). This is really very tangential to your question, but it relates to how we intuitively expect shotguns to work with multiple targets and is easily overlooked.

This rule means that when you miss with a ranged or thrown weapon (and it's dramatically-appropriate in the GM's judgement), you automatically hit a target adjacent to the original. With a shotgun, this happens instead on a 1 or 2, because they're just so wide-effect. It means firing a shotgun into a cluster (of, say, zombies) makes it very likely you'll hit something – just make sure that other something isn't a friendly who's engaged in melee with your original target! This is especially effective when using the Double Barrel rule, since you might miss with one and hit with the other, allowing two targets to be "hit" at once.

As a side note to this side note, by the rules any shotgun, even one firing non-spreading slugs, will hit a bystander on a 1 or 2 when using this rule. I would personally rule as the GM that the extra chance on the 2 only applies to regular shot, because I think it's an oversight in the rules and not intentional to have it apply to slugs. As the GM it's up to you in your own game, but I wanted to highlight that as something to consider.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Agreed after confirming on the official Savage Worlds website. My answer was totally wrong :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 21:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Phil But very easy to miss! I didn't expect to find the opposite of your answer—I just started looking for corner cases that could be used to get "sort of" two targets. The Innocent Bystander rule was going to be my whole answer until I re-read the attacks section with shotguns in mind! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 0:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - I oscillated back and forth on how to read this and I think on reflection you are correct. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Seven: shotguns are not rifled (they lack the grooves that spin a bullet so it goes straight-ish). Because of that, the chance of a slug going off-target are very real at anything but close range. There are other considerations on precise aim with a shotgun too, so I think the RAW are a nice simple way of dealing with these. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 25, 2012 at 12:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ In the current printings of Savage Worlds Deluxe, the Automatic Fire rules (page 70 in original layout, page 79 in Explorer's Edition layout) state that they are applicable to weapons with a RoF of 2 or higher. So the comment about "unlike other RoF 2 weapons" is no longer justified. The original printings said 3 or higher, as quoted by this answer. \$\endgroup\$ Commented May 2, 2016 at 8:43

I don't have access to the rules, but in general, especially with respect to the real life application, a double barrelled shotgun can only be fired at to specific targets simultaneously, if they are really close together. Even then, I would rule it more as a colateral damage and not as a result of specific targeting.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi C. Tomm, and welcome to the site! I'm not the one who downvoted your answer, but I thought I would drop you a comment explaining why I think you got downvoted. You answered with a specific lack of knowledge of the Savage Worlds ruleset. What we're worried about here is how it works in that game, in particular. So while your real-life experience would be a lot of help in informing your opinion of the rules, without any knowledge of the rules it doesn't help our asker here. And providing concrete answers to questions is what RPG.SE is all about. So don't be discouraged, we want your help! \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 17:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ I up-voted you as even though the information was not specific to the system it is useful to know. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 21, 2012 at 16:42

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