HOE Improvised Explosive Devices


Being cobbled together from an assortment of materials, IEDs are unstable. The default stability of an IED is 18. Stability functions exactly like Stability for Junker items, but with a different table for failures.

Roll (2d6) Effect Result
2-5 Major Malfunction IED fizzles.
6-10 Minor Malfunction IED deals only half damage.
11-12 Catastrophe IED explodes before it is thrown or otherwise fails in a spectacular and painful way.

Additionally, IEDs are like dynamite in that they can explode when struck or subjected to other impacts. If this happens, roll a d6; on a 6, the IED explodes.

Good Construction

The base Demolitions TN listed will construct the basic device with a stability of 18. Raises on the construction roll can improve an IED in various ways:

  • Increase Stability - A raise can be spent to increase the stability of an IED from 18 to 20.
  • Increase Power - A raise can be spent to increase the damage of the IED by one die.
  • Increase Burst - A raise can be spent to increase the BR of the IED by 3.
  • Armor Piercing - A raise can be spent to increase the AP level of the IED by 1.
  • Impact Ignition - A raise can be spent to allow the IED to explode on impact (see below).

In addition, each raise on the Demolitions roll to create the IED (up to two) halves the construction time.


The most common method of igniting an IED is via a fuse. Unless a large amount of fuse is needed, only an inch or two is used by default (a negligible amount) giving the IED a detonation time of about 1 round.

Electronic detonators can also be used, if available. This uses the standard rules.

With a raise on the construction roll, an IED can also be made to explode on impact (this is most commonly used with explosives that are meant to be thrown at an enemy). This can be dangerous, however — if subjected to shock or other impact unintentionally, the device explodes on a roll of 4-6 on a d6.

Small IED

Examples: Explosives smaller than a pipe bomb
Construction TN: 3
Construction Time: 1 minute
Damage: 2d6
Burst Radius: 2
Components: 1 Chemical, 1 Structural

Small IED's are often used more for noise or distraction rather than actual damage. Typically, they are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

Standard IED

Examples: Pipe Bombs
Construction TN: 5
Construction Time: 5 minutes
Damage: 4d8
Burst Radius: 3
Components: 2 Chemical, 2 Structural

The typical IED that many soldiers removed from car hulks, toys, and other traps throughout the third world.

Large IED

Examples: A suicide bomber vest
Construction TN: 7
Construction Time: 30 minutes
Damage: 4d12
Burst Radius: 5
Components: 4 Chemical, 4 Structural, 2 Mechanical

A large packets of improvised explosives. Large IED's are generally too big to be thrown very far, so they are typically planted in a specific location for a specific purpose.


Examples: Molotov Cocktail
Construction TN: 5 (3 if a rag and bottle of accelerant is available)
Construction Time: 5 minutes (1 minute with rag and accelerant)
Damage: 3d8
Burst Radius: 3
Components: 2 Chemical, 1 Structural

Firebombs can be made in various ways but the molotov cocktail is the most common. They are often used to start fires and sow confusion. Targets hit by a firebomb must make an Onerous (7) Nimbleness roll or catch fire, suffering the same damage they took originally each round until they can put it out.

Proximity Bomb

Examples: Laser tripwires
Construction TN: 9
Construction Time: 30 minutes
Damage: 4d8
Burst Radius: 3
Components: 2 Chemical, 2 Structural, 2 Electronic

The specifics of a proximity bomb can vary, but they all use some sort of primitive sensor to detect when something moves close, then they explode. Because there's more involved than simply packing explosives in a certain way, they're a bit harder to make; the character must have some sort of skill or concentration related to electronics (Science, Trade, Profession, etc) or take a -4 penalty to the construction roll. When set, the sensor doesn't take effect for a while, usually about 30 seconds. This gives the bomber time to get away from the device before it becomes active.

Stamp of Approval: Tanner

Back to Deadlands Homebrew Material

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License