On page 118 of the core book, it states that grenades go off "in the next Combat Phase of the character making the grenade attack". However, it does not specify if it goes off at the start, the end, or somewhere in the middle of that phase.

Here's what I'm trying to figure out:

Situation 1

  1. I throw a grenade in my phase.
  2. The enemy picks it up and throws it back in his phase.
  3. It immediately blows up when my next phase starts.

Situation 2

  1. I throw a grenade in my phase.
  2. The enemy picks it up and throws it back in his phase.
  3. I pick it up and throw it back in my next phase.
  4. My phase ends, and it blows up.

Situation 3

  1. I throw a grenade in my phase.
  2. The enemy picks it up and throws it back in his phase.
  3. I take a simple action unrelated to the grenade.
  4. It's now the middle of my phase, and it blows up.

Which of these is a more accurate timeline, and where is it specified?

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't think picking it up and tossing it back constitutes a new grenade attack, even though you would use the thrown weapons skill to do so. \$\endgroup\$
    – Fibericon
    Mar 24, 2016 at 14:24

3 Answers 3


SR3 has fairly specific grenade timing rules (SR3 p. 118). Grenades go off when any of criteria are met; they are checked in order:

  1. The next Combat Phase of the character
  2. The end of the next Initiative Pass
  3. The end of the Combat Turn

These are all very specific time references, but they require us to look at the Initiative section, starting on SR3 p. 100.

At the beginning of each Combat Turn, characters generate an Initiative Score. These scores are compared to determine order.

The count starts from highest Initiative Score and descends to zero; one full cycle is an Initiative Pass (SR3 p102, first column). When a character's Initiative Score is reached, it becomes that character's Combat Phase (SR3 p. 104).

Once every eligible character has taken a Combat Phase, all Initiative Scores are reduced and a new Initiative Pass starts at the top. Anybody reduced to an Initiative Score of zero or less does not get a Combat Phase during that Initiative Pass.

SR3 p. 103 reiterates the same timing paraphrased above, and adds the note that timed items always lose ties. If you need to split a tie within a given Combat Phase, the bomb always goes last.

So, example time!

Init   Init
Pass   Score  Character
1      32     Schneller-als-Sie does stuff, unrelated to Bombs-at-Midnight.
1      17     Bombs-at-Midnight throws Grenade A.
1      0      End of Pass 1 - Grenade A does not go off yet, none of the
                 criteria were met; Criteria 2 is the end of the NEXT Pass.

2      22     SAS does stuff to BAM; she reduces BAM's Initiative Score by 2.
2      7      BAM would have gone, if SAS hadn't done things...
2      5      BAM throws Grenade B.
2      5      Grenade A detonates; Criteria 1, but timed items lose ties.
                 Despite changes in BAM's Initiative Score, it's based on BAM's
                 Combat Phase, not Initiative Score 7.
2      0      End of Pass 2

3      12     SAS throws a Grenade C at BAM, because turnabout is fair play.
3      0      End of Pass 3
3      0      Grenade B detonates; Criteria 2, because BAM didn't get to go in
                 Pass 3. We'll say SAS looses 3 initiative from things.

4      2     When SAS would have gone, if BAM hadn't bombed her at midnight.
4      0     End of Pass 4
4      0     End of Combat Turn
4      0     Grenade C detonates, Criteria 3, because there are no more passes
             and the turn is over.

I think the windows where somebody could pick up the grenade and throw it back are fairly obvious. Note that when the bomb goes off has nothing to do with what the ah... secondary thrower... does. It's based off when the initial thrower pops the spoon and lets fly.

I've left out any many of the details of the Initiative system as possible, like how values are generated and modified, because they're not relevant. It's worth noting that in SR3, an entire Combat Turn is very short in comparison to many other games - three seconds (SR3, p.100, middle of the second paragraph).

Also, there is equipment in Cannon Companion (p. 32, et. al.) that can make launched grenades explode on the same Combat Phase they are fired.

  • \$\begingroup\$ In that last paragraph, such a modification essentially turns that grenade launcher into, like, a low-explosive rocket launcher, yes? Are those impact-fused or on metagame timers? \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2016 at 20:57
  • \$\begingroup\$ @HeyICanChan Air burst, actually, like the OICW or XM25 CDTE. The appropriate equipment is in Cannon Companion. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 11, 2016 at 21:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ (Might be worth a page reference in that final paragraph.) So are such grenades proximity-fused or altitude-fused? (And if this is getting too complicated, that's cool, and I'll drop it. It's just that, despite being an American, I'm no gun-nut, yet grenades are maddeningly difficult to simulate in tabletop RPGs, so I'm always interested to see what designers come up with.) \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2016 at 22:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ Nah, it's cool. Frankly, I have no idea if the rules are realistic, but the technology in the setting is 40-60 years beyond ours, so could be. The fluff describes them as air-timed, programmed electronically to explode after sufficient time-in-flight based on range. Considering the short length of SR3's combat rounds, you're talking fractions of a second. Though, now that I think about it, the fluff may have been from SR2's "Fields of Fire," which is the "mercenary sourcebook" and basically gun porn. Not that "Cannon Companion" is less porny, it's just that SR2 books had more fluff in general. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 11, 2016 at 22:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whoah, whoah. You mean according to the fluff, the dude firing the weapon is supposed to have picked in the heat of battle before firing when the grenade explodes in, like, microseconds? And he gets it right, like, all the time? That's some serious battlefield discipline... and some badass trig skillz. \$\endgroup\$ Apr 11, 2016 at 22:23

It has been a while since we played Shadowrun third edition, but we usually went with the setting on the grenades. One of them was "impact"

  1. You set detonation on the grenade for impact.
  2. Trow the grenade (hopefully without missing your aim)
  3. Grenade hits target and immediately explode. All sensible and able persons in the grenades blast radius makes reaction dodges to get out of the way.
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ A different option,. but not an answer to the question asked. \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Apr 10, 2016 at 14:29

It isn't defined.

At least, anywhere I can find. I think the sanest option is to pick one (start of the phase or end of the phase), and use that from that point forward. Obviously, timed grenades have a certain time before they go off. The 'one phase' time limit seems pretty clearly designed to give targets of the grenade attack a limited amount of time to react before the grenade goes off. You could fairly safely allow grenades to have timer settings to change how many phases before they explode, and you already have the choice of 'impact' grenades that go off when they hit, so the utility of allowing different timers is low. The one issue might be that impact grenades can't be 'bounced' around corners, and timed grenades can, so a timed grenade that goes off at the end of your phase and doesn't allow a phase to dodge might be a bit lethal combined with pipes, corners, etc.

So, just decide if it's at the start or the end of the first thrower's phase, use that from then on. It isn't defined in the rules that I can find and there's no real benefit to deciding either way.

  • \$\begingroup\$ It's actually very well defined. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Apr 11, 2016 at 20:47

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .