A vehicle in game mechanic terms is some kind of craft that one or
more characters can ride in or on, and typically control when
doing so. Vehicles are distinct from characters by having a different format to
their sheets and by often just being a nonliving object or
machine, though a vehicle can be sentient or semi-sentient. A
large craft that functions as a fully explorable area will
generally not get a vehicle sheet, though hypothetically it has hidden and massive HP, Defense,
Weight, and possibly Platform stats. Similarly, a small object such as a
skateboard would typically not get a sheet either, though if it can be destroyed then it
hypothetically has HP. Typically, the kinds of vehicles that get sheets will be things like cars,
motorcycles, space fighters, and pilotable robots, but they may also include things like
the clouds that Lakitus ride.
When a character drives a vehicle in battle, any attacks targeting the driver will instead deal their damage to the vehicle, which will have its own HP and Defense Power stats, and will be destroyed when its HP reaches 0. The major exception is psychic attacks: because psychic attacks sense the target's brainwaves and deal damage on a mental plane instead of a physical one, for the most part they will still affect the driver of a vehicle as though there were no vehicle at all. However, some vehicles may have their own artificial intelligence, in which case psychic attacks will hit the vehicle instead of the driver; AI or lack thereof will be indicated on the vehicle's sheet.
Unlike most armor, vehicles block all damage directed at the driver, not just some of it. However, armor-piercing [X] attacks will penetrate vehicles and deal their damage to both the vehicle and the driver (as well as damaging the driver's armor, if any). [/] attacks will merely bypass the vehicle's own Defense Power in dealing damage to it, still not hitting the driver. Most vehicles will be immune to Poison-type damage due to being inorganic, and metallic vehicles may resist most other Elements due to being generally hardy, but will probably have a Thunder weakness since metal conducts electricity.
In addition to being used defensively, vehicles can be used to attack. In fact, while inside a vehicle, a character cannot perform any of their normal attacks (except for... wait for it... psychic attacks. Actually, it's just anything that would logically work, so magic spells that conjure harmful substances onto the target without technically needing to fly from the user's hand or such will work too, but melee attacks and things like guns and bows won't work) without getting out of the vehicle. All vehicles can be used to directly ram into the target, but some vehicles, like regular cars, will not have any other means of attack. Vehicles outfitted with additional weapons, such as a tank's cannon, can obviously use these to attack; these kinds of attacks will often have a limited supply of ammunition, but some vehicle attacks can be used an unlimited number of times until the vehicle is destroyed, such as laser guns or punches by giant mechas. All vehicle attacks, including the basic ramming attack, will have their power listed individually rather than being based on an Attack Power stat. If more than one character can ride inside a vehicle at the same time, only the driver can select the vehicle's attack (unless it's specifically designed otherwise).
A vehicle's basic ramming attack will be given a Strength stat for use in the field, but as a rule, characters can ride in vehicles even if their Weight exceeds the vehicle's Strength, and the vehicle will still function properly and be able to transport them to the full extent of its abilities. A vehicle may have more than one seat, meaning that more than one character can ride in it at the same time, so the number of seats rather than any Strength/Weight comparisons is what determines a vehicle's maximum occupancy.
Vehicles can also be used to store extra items. A vehicle will have one ten-slot item inventory per seat, so large vehicles will be able to carry quite a number of extra items. However, vehicles do not have separate weapon inventories, so weapons must be stored in the same ten-slot inventories as regular items. When a vehicle's HP is depleted and it is destroyed, it may explode; this explosion will cause damage to the occupants and will also destroy all of the items being stored in the vehicle, although some vehicles do not explode, so the items will remain sitting in the wreckage. Normal healing items and items that grant Status Benefits often take the form of food, and for this reason they can't be used on vehicles. Instead, there will exist vehicle-specific healing items that will probably instead take the form of repair tools or spare parts, etc. These can only be used on vehicles, and will have no effect if used on characters. However, comparable to an inn or heal point for characters, there may exist a repair shop for vehicles, wherein their HP may be fully restored.
It's likely that players may attempt to squeeze their entire party into a vehicle that doesn't have enough seats to accommodate this, making arguments about sitting on the floor rather than in a seat, etc. To compensate for this, the Maestro may equate item inventories with extra seats, in most cases effectively doubling the seat count listed on the sheet. This trick should only work with empty inventories, forcibly ejecting all items in an inventory that's being used as an extra seat. My default vehicle sheets have actually been designed around this idea, giving a normal car only 2 seats when it would realistically have 4, so keep that in mind when designing your own vehicle sheets.
In battle, getting into or out of a vehicle uses up a character's turn, but does not activate Burn damage. When nobody is inside a vehicle, it will be left sitting on the battlefield on the side of one team (the Players, the Enemies, the Partners, or the Other characters), and will be hit by multitarget attacks targeting that team, and can even be targeted by single-target attacks. However, more usefully, if the vehicle is empty, any character in the battle can jump in (on their turn), which will move the vehicle to that character's team's side of the battlefield. Once inside, a character cannot be pulled out of a vehicle except with attacks specifically designed to do this. If a vehicle has more than one seat, it is conceivable that an opponent of the driver could enter the vehicle and occupy an empty seat, at which point the two occupants are likely to attempt to fight each other entirely inside the vehicle; in such a situation, attacks of various kinds may not work properly due to a lack of space, but this will be determined by the Maestro on a case-by-case basis.
If there's something like a convertible that could be driven but wouldn't logically shield the driver from attacks, then the driver will still take damage normally but the vehicle will still have HP and can be attacked separately. While riding in these types of vehicles, characters can use projectile attacks that they can't use inside fully enclosed vehicles, but they still can't use melee attacks unless they get out of the vehicle. These types of vehicles will be labeled "Open-cockpit" in the "Notes" section of their sheets.
If a vehicle has an AI, then it is possible for the AI to have a mental disorder. Other conditions might also apply, for example, the vehicle could be Spiky, or it could gain a power boost when its HP falls into the Danger Zone. However, only some Status Problems and Status Benefits can be applied to vehicles. If the vehicle is actually organic, then it might be possible for it to be Poisoned or put to Sleep or whatever, but standard vehicles can only be affected by the following Status Conditions:
- Stat Decrease (if the vehicle has the corresponding stat; Attack Decreases affect Collision Power)
- Time Freeze
- Psych Out (if the vehicle has an AI)
- Silence (if the vehicle can cast any magical spells)
- Instant Death
- Stat Increase (if the vehicle has the corresponding stat; Attack Increases affect Collision Power)
- Nirvana (if the vehicle has an AI)
- Somebody Else's Problem
- Flying (some vehicles always fly)
- Underground (again, some can accomplish this state without a Benefit)
Status Conditions applied to a vehicle are technically separate from those applied to the occupants. This means, for example, that support bonuses are not awarded to vehicles. Characters inside vehicles can still have Status Conditions; for example, if the driver of a vehicle is Invisible but the vehicle is not, and if a [X] attack is used on the vehicle, the vehicle will take damage but the attack will miss the Invisible driver (unless it is a fieldwide multitarget attack, of course). Status Problems affecting the driver of a vehicle can indirectly affect the vehicle's performance; a drunk driver may miss with an attempted vehicle attack, or one inflicted with Slowness will be unable to make the vehicle do anything during an inactive turn, and so on. When a vehicle is destroyed, any Status Conditions applied to it are lost, rather than being transferred to the driver or something.