Home > Uncategorized > Carcosa Wacky Races: all the rules you need to know

Carcosa Wacky Races: all the rules you need to know

In Carcosa Wacky Races it’s not just the vehicles that are crazy, jury-rigged and untested – the rules are too!

Here’s everything you need to know in order to play –

The good news:

Each turn you decide what you’re going to do, write in your orders and hope. Your goal is to advance in the racing (like “marching”) order and finish the race at the front. The race will run for 6-8 turns, so if you’re at the back at the end of turn 4, you’ll have to get creative.
You do that by (a) going at a higher SPEED than the rest; (b) ATTACKing the other racers with your weapons/pets/vehicle/fists; (c) messing them up with dirty TRICKS.
All these actions are contested rolls – I roll a D6 for each participant in the action, the one who scores higher gets their wish.
But you can choose to add bonuses to your rolls! As high as you like! Just write in your orders: +3 SPEED and I will know to add 3 to your SPEED roll. Or +1 TO HIT and I will add that.

Possible actions are:

–          Go Faster! (add bonuses to your SPEED roll) – at the end of each turn I calculate the marching order after rolling the dice – equal scores means more than one player in the same march position. Everybody starts in the same race order position, natch.

–          Hit someone! You can shoot at or ram a vehicle in the same march position as yourself, or one rank before or behind. Roll TO HIT, they contest with a roll to which they add their AC.

–          Pull a trick! You have to narrate these in your orders. Try stuff out, ask questions. I may give you one piece of advice letting you revise your trick before the turn is resolved and we see what happens. Anyway, everyone gets to save vs your trick, adjusted by its sneakiness, according to some obscure set of highly complex calculations.

The bad news:

Each turn there are also MISHAPS. You save vs. mishap by rolling below 10 on a D10. Easy! But every action you take adds +1 to your MISHAP roll. And every +1 you add to any of those actions adds +1 to the MISHAP roll. So let’s imagine you say: SPEED +3! And SHOOT Eddie-the-motorbiking-zombie +3! Well, that’s +7 on your MISHAP roll (a total of +6 for bonuses, +1 for the action of shooting). So now you have to roll a 1 or 2 to avoid a mishap yourself.

And mishaps get worse, the more drastically you fail your MISHAP roll. Best case, every point you fail by reduces your SPEED by 1. Fail it badly enough and the mishap interrupts whatever else you were planning to do, because you were so busy shooting, dodging and taping gelignite to those tumbleweeds that you didn’t see the cliff. Get way up above “failed by 5” and I get to use not only my own bad-news-for-vehicles mishap table, but also the Arduin crit tables and/or other OSR death and dismemberment fun.

Simple? That will never do. Here, have some needless complications:

Maneuvers, a special kind of action

You can also declare a maneuver for the turn instead of/as well as a + to SPEED. Each maneuver has pluses and minuses built in, but it does not cost an extra +1 mishap to declare.

1: shields up! +2 AC, +2 MISHAP. You may attack forward only.
2: hunker down! +1 SPEED, +1 AC, no attacks, +2 MISHAP. You stretch out long and low, taking advantage of cover at the cost of being less able to see hazards in your way.
3: riding tall! The opposite of hunker. -2 AC, +1 TO HIT, -1 MISHAP.
4: sling out the anchors! You automatically drop back one position, but take the vehicle behind you/previously together with you by surprise. +3 MISHAP, but +4 TO HIT.


You can in general only attack vehicles in the same position as you, or one position before or behind. Unless you come up with some smartass plan.

1: fire cannons! Can hit the chassis (for HP damage), the power supply (for speed/special damage) or the crew (that’s your PC and anyone else along for the ride). Vehicles take HP damage equal to the amount by which you defeat the target’s AC on the contested roll.

2: ram! +3 MISHAP to both cars, and the car with less AC takes the difference in AC as damage. And you can use any special ramming attacks, chompers etc.

3: grapple! If you declare a grapple that’s the only attack you can do in the turn. +2 MISHAP, and the grapplee gets to save each turn to get free. Vehicles grappled together average their speed and add together their MISHAP penalties, and each rolls each turn for a MISHAP while grappled. So why would you do it?

4: hoik! Because after grappling you can board the enemy, and once boarded you can try to sling the enemy driver right out of their vehicle (STR vs STR contest). Adds an extra +3 MISHAP. Following the hoik attempt, melee ensues (yup, this is where being high level is an advantage).

There are several attacks that might lead you to crawl around the outside of your vehicle as it careens through vindictively spiky canyons. Say which character is trying an EVA. They’ll have to save or fall off in the event of a mishap.

Once the HP are gone, all further damage prompts an automatic roll on the mishap table. The amount of damage acts as a modifier.


Have to be run on a case-by-case basis.

What else?

Oh right. Every turn there will be Special Conditions on the track, maybe obstacles to deal with, choices to make, wandering monsters, hitch-hikers, stuff like that. The lead vehicle obviously encounters these first, which may slow them down some. Any and all special stuff is of course fodder for using in TRICKS, aside from being hazardous all by itself.

Terrain is classified as SMOOTH or ROUGH – in general wheeled vehicles are faster on the smooth, legged/weirdo vehicles are faster on the rough. Rest assured, the Carcosa Wacky Races track will not relentlessly favour one type of vehicle.

Wait are you running Pure and Proper First Edition Carcosa? Shouldn’t I be re-rolling my hit points every round and…

Not quite exactly, no. It’s mix-n-match Carcosa. If this goes well you may get to see more of the not-quite-Carcosa world. But for now just chill, go with you instincts, and know that you know as much as anyone else does.

Where’s the chargen? What’s an ekranoplan?

Here and here.

  1. Tim
    April 17, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Godspeed on the Wacky races. I regret my current lack of time wouldnt make me a reliable racer. But I look forward to spectating.

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