Deadlands: Reloaded rules say Fanning the Hammer works like Automatic Fire from Savage Worlds:

Assuming his six-gun is fully loaded, he may fire up to 6 shots in a single action as if taking the Automatic fire maneuver. Each shot suffers a -4 Shooting modifier [snip]

I think the rules mean to say the player who wants to fan the hammer gets to make six attack rolls. But this clearly conflicts Savage Worlds Automatic fire rules, where the weapon's Rate of Fire means the amount of attack rolls to be made when firing the same amount of bullets squared:

The Rate of Fire is how many Shooting dice the character rolls while firing the weapon. [snip] Each die rolled for a fully-automatic weapon represents a number of actual bullets equal to its rate of fire. An Uzi with a Rate of Fire of 3, for example, uses 3 rounds of ammunition per shot (or 9 bullets if it fires with all 3 dice).

Six attack rolls would imply a Rate of Fire of six - that's four times as fast as a gatling gun in terms of shots per turn, and seems to be quite overpowered - not to mention that the revolver only has six chambers, not 36. But that's the only reasonable way I can think of: I would rather not roll ~2.45 dice (square root of six) to resolve the attack. How is this supposed to work?

(house rulings for resolving the fanning confusion are welcome, as long as they're backed with either personal or documented experience)


2 Answers 2


Fanning the Hammer is not automatic fire. Your confusion relates to the wording in the quote you have given. If you reword it as:

Assuming his six-gun is fully loaded, he may fire up to 6 shots in a single action in the same way you do when using the Automatic fire maneuver.

it is more accurate. This is confirmed by the next sentence:

Each shot suffers a -4 Shooting modifier...

which shows that the rules for Fanning the Hammer are not the same as the Automatic Fire maneuver. If they were, the penalty would be -2 and not -4.

The essence of the quote is that when you use Fanning the Hammer, it counts as a single action and not six actions, which is the same way it works with Automatic Fire. None of the other rules for automatic fire apply to Fanning the Hammer.

This means, in the same way that Automatic Fire works, you roll a single Wild Die, and as many Shooting dice as shots you are firing. For example, if you had four bullets left in your single action revolver, and your Shooting die was d10, you would roll 4d10 and 1d6 with a -4 penalty to all dice rolled.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Wibbs, yeah. Although it confirms my fears that it seems to be horribly overpowered and a poor fit over the underlying Savage Worlds system. Not your fault, obviously :P \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:22
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Not that overpowered. -4 is a huge penalty, and it usually gets worse with cover, lighting etc. Don't forget the innocent bystander rules and the fact that it also means you usually have to reload in the next round. It's no worse than a Deal with the Devil Huckster, or a Mad Scientist with a flame thrower. Remember there is also an equivalent for melee attack in the core rules called Rapid Attack. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's also worth noting that the Rapid Attack combat option introduced in Savage Worlds Deluxe is a modified version of Fannin' the Hammer from DLR. In fact, Pinnacle's new Western setting The Sixth Gun treats Fannin' the Hammer as exactly the same as a Rapid Attack. I imagine that a future version of DLR will do the same. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 22:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well it does make far more attack rolls than a gatling gun, which is just absurd. \$\endgroup\$
    – kviiri
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 11:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ A gatling has longer range, much more ammo and only fires at -2. However this isn't a conversation to have in comments. I'd be happy to discuss further in Role-playing Games Chat. \$\endgroup\$
    – Wibbs
    Commented Nov 3, 2015 at 11:57

To cut the chance of Fanning being overpowered, I house ruled it to be you can fan the trigger and fire one extra shot at the -4 stated penalty for each die type you had as a shooting skill. So at Base level, a person with Shooting at d4 could fire two shots, Shooting d6 could fan three, maxed out at d12 Shooting skill firing all six chambers.

This seemed to work better and reward gunslinger for investing in that skill.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Hello, and welcome to answering on rpg.se please take the tour for further guidance. Could you get into a bit more detail about how that rewards the gunslinger and how that was received at your table? :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Akixkisu
    Commented Mar 31, 2020 at 18:38

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