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Author Topic: Reopening guns  (Read 9282 times)
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« on: May 21, 2003, 01:12:51 AM »

Hi all,

A little while back there was some discussion about rules for black powder firearms in RoS.  Since I would run any RoS game of mine in the real world historical Renaissance (I have a great interest in the period) this would be something I would need to add for my game.

Has anyone actually tried out blackpowder rules in actual play?  How did it go?

It seems to me in principal fairly straightforward.  Just assign some stats to the relevant guns, use all other rules pretty much as written and away you go.

Thoughts?
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AKA max
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2003, 05:47:44 AM »

Renaissance is the setting I am planning on employing. I have been contemplating the use of firearms in the game as well. Several things must be considered historically.

1). While they were easier to use, they were not at all accurate beyond a few dozen yards at the beginning of the Renaissance.

2). Arquebuses were notoriously innaccurate, but the muskets were amazingly heavy (like 20 pounds heavy).

3). Loading and prep times could lead to the loss of an entire company of Arquebusiers/Musketeers if the captain was not thinking that far ahead.

4). Rain... Matchlock... 'nuff said.

5). Remember! Always rewind your wheellock after reloading but before firing!

So... I had been contemplating some stats based upon what I know about firearms of the day.

ARQUEBUS:
The Arquebus was the standard weapon at the very beginning of Modern History with the first examples being fielded by the Spaniards in 1475. The weapon was heavy and fairly clumsy, but was proven to be effective in volley. The Arquebus was a popular move due to the fact that the industrially based weapon could not be readily made by the masses and the support of the weapon required specialized knowledge. This meant that the weapon was easier to collect and if not collected, the person posessing the weapon had a limited use before he was either caught, or ran out of powder.

Firing Type: Match ( + 10 - 20 rounds prep in wet weather)
20 rounds preparation time.
Refresh begins once the Arquebus is leveled.
3MP dice to reduce prep time by one second at Reflex/TN of 8.
Attack Target Number (ATN): 7
Effective ST: 4 - 7 (depending upon amount of charge)*
DR: ST + 4p (8 - 11)
Range: +1 ATN per 15 yards.

*For every additional Effective ST beyond 5 there was a chance the weapon would explode in the user's face. To reflect this, reduce the number of successes by one for every additional Effective ST beyond 5. If a botch occurs the weapon explodes causing 2 + 1 for every additional charge on Puncture Wound Table: Zone XIII. Other wise a Botch indicates the weapon did not fire due to the powder failing to ignite or the match having gone out.

Cost: 4g/2g/16s
Powder (per Effective ST): 3b/2b/1b
Bullet Mold: 8s/4s/2s,8c
Match (per foot): 8c/4c/2c,3b

Matchlock Musket:
The Matchlock Musket was an advance upon the Arquebus, being more accurate, but much heavier at the same time. The matchlock was in fact heavy enough to warrant requiring an aiming fork (And the Arquebusier laments, "Great! more things to carry")!

Firing Type: Match ( + 10 - 20 rounds prep in wet weather)
20 rounds preparation time.
Refresh begins once the Musket is leveled.
4MP dice to reduce prep time by one second at Reflex/TN of 8.
Attack Target Number (ATN): 6
Effective ST: 4 - 7 (depending upon amount of charge)*
DR: ST + 4p (8 - 11)
Range: +1 ATN per 20 yards.

*For every additional Effective ST beyond 5 there was a chance the weapon would explode in the user's face. To reflect this, reduce the number of successes by one for every additional Effective ST beyond 5. If a botch occurs the weapon explodes causing 2 + 1 for every additional charge on Puncture Wound Table: Zone XIII. Otherwise a Botch indicates the weapon did not fire due to either the powder failing to ignite or a match having gone out.

Cost: 6g/3g/2g
Powder (per Effective ST): 3b/2b/1b
Bullet Mold: 8s/4s/2s,8c
Match (per foot): 8c/4c/2c,3b
Fork: 1s/6c/4c

For those who want to know, the Arquebus was between 10 and 14 pounds on average and the Musket was between 20 - 25 pounds. The fork weighed about 2 - 3 pounds. The average Arquebusier/Musketeer would carry perhaps 20 rounds of shot and powder, which weighed about 2 pounds.

Wheellocks exist, but are incredibly expensive and are most often seen as pistols used by the wealthy.

Wheellock Pistol:
The Wheellock is the first weapon to use a flint and steel system to create the spark needed to fire the powder. The wheellock is usually made by conglomorate. A clock maker would produce the firing mechanism while a weapon smith would make the barrel and a carpenter would produce the fittings. The wheellock was an incredibly expensive weapon due to its complexity and was reserved for the wealthy. As fire arms of the day were reserved for the battle field,  it would be rare to see a person wandering around with a wheellock for any other reason than to "doo mischeef moste greivous".

Firing Type: Wheel
20 rounds preparation time.
Refresh begins once the pistol is leveled.
2MP dice to reduce prep time by one second at Reflex/TN of 8.
Attack Target Number (ATN): 7
Effective ST: 3 - 5 (depending upon amount of charge)*
DR: ST + 3p (6 - 8)
Range: +1 ATN per 8 yards.

*For every additional Effective ST beyond 3 there was a chance the weapon would explode in the user's face. To reflect this, reduce the number of successes by one for every additional Effective ST beyond 5. If a botch occurs the weapon explodes causing 1 + 1 for every additional charge on Puncture Wound Table: Zone XIII. Otherwise a Botch indicates the weapon did not fire due to either the powder failing to ignite or the wheel not being wound properly.

Cost: 12g/6g/4g
Powder (per Effective ST): 3b/2b/1b
Bullet Mold: 8s/4s/2s,8c
Winding Fork: 4s/2s/1s,6c

I have yet to start the campaign, but I have been doing some research on the weapons and culture. I have to say that I am glad I have been nosing around the Renaissance as I have come across some startling information. I will be using it in my game.

While I have not yet used these stats in play, they are what I have been able to come up with. Balance be damned is the motto and I put these together as historically accurately as I could. The bit about firearms being picked up at that time and how it was easier to collect them and keep the population from having them is mostly conjecture, but makes sense considering the cost and effectiveness of bows and crossbows was superior up until the tail end of the 16th century. The early Renaissance harness was no longer proofed with a crossbow quarrel, but with a musket ball, so the advent of fire arms did not lead to the fall of full harness. I have heard several theories, most of them quite interesting.

Hope this helps...
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Brian Leybourne
Member

Posts: 1793


« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2003, 12:48:59 PM »

Nice stuff, but I just wanted to comment on this:

Quote from: Salamander
but makes sense considering the cost and effectiveness of bows and crossbows was superior up until the tail end of the 16th century.


Crossbows I'll accept, but bows? It took many many years and a lot of money to train a longbowman, I can't believe that even with the high cost of producing a gun, bows were more cost effective. Once the gun is made, anyone can use it with minimal instruction (like a crossbow) but each longbowman needed to be a highly trained individual, almost irreplacable if they were wounded or killed in combat.

Anyway, as I said, nice work.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2003, 01:51:16 PM »

Good point Brian! Some clarification is required I believe.

Okay, as far as training the folks to use bows, that was a peasant levy if I am not mistaken, so you give them the bows and a few score of arrows every Saturday and have them train. I believe there was a lord who outlawed footie to ensure the men trained in their skill at arms instead of playing a few matches...

Also, thanks Brian! :)
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2003, 02:38:13 PM »

I think I should expand upon the above statement. The Longbow man was expensive to train, from what I can figure out. The longbow was a cheaper initial outlay, but it was more destructive than a crossbow in most cases due to raw penetrating power and the number of shots that could be loosed in relation to a crossbow or discharges of a Arquebus/Musket (Seige Arbalests and Cannon excluded). Brian makes a valid point and this was one reason the crossbow stayed around as long as it did. The training was not as difficult and while the weapons were pricier, they were easier to use.
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Stuart DJ Purdie
Member

Posts: 69


« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2003, 05:34:46 PM »

I may be displaying my ignorance on my sleeve, but what's an Arquebus.  Particuarly in how it differed from a musket - from the stats you suggest, it sounds like a small rifle?

The prep time you give is really the loading time, and can be done ahead of time, right?  In fact, wasn't it a standard tactic to have one guy loading muskets, and passing them off to another to fire [0]?  In which case, using MP dice to reduce the prep time seems a little counter intuative.

Some preptime for going from a carried (loaded) weapon to aimed (analogus to drawing and pointing a bow) would be handy, and that would be the time that MP die could reduce.  Oh - and the aiming fork for the musket, would that take prep time to set up?

Stuey!

[0] Although I have a feeling I'm thinking a century or two too late.
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gmouser
Member

Posts: 22


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2003, 10:58:57 PM »

Nice work!!! If I'd not playing in XII century I surely use those firearms stats. but I have a question:

Quote from: Salamander

Firing Type: Match ( + 10 - 20 rounds prep in wet weather)
20 rounds preparation time.
Refresh begins once the Arquebus is leveled.
3MP dice to reduce prep time by one second at Reflex/TN of 8.


why anyone would bother to spend 3MP to gain 1 second out of 20? It's a very little gain for a great penalty and things don't change too much if I shot after 19 or 20 seconds.

Grey Mouser
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Amy1419
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2003, 09:50:11 AM »

I am curious about using guns as well. I have a player who wants to make a Zapo character and use their firearms.
I'm not sure how to create one and what the stats should be on it at all.
Any suggestions?
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Ron Edwards
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Posts: 16490


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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2003, 10:54:07 AM »

Hello,

This is one of those terminological points that ends up being way more useful than one would might expect:

... it ain't a "rifle" unless there's a spiralling groove cut into the interior of the barrel, which causes the bullet to spin. It's a comparatively recent invention and term.

I'm not sure what the generic term for a long but portable gun is, rifled or unrifled. I know that a musket is unrifled.

Some more distinctions: muzzle-loading, in which you poke the projectile down the barrel from the end you shoot through; and breech-loading, in which you "break" the weapon in order to load the projective into the end you shoot from.

Prep time provides several variables beyond just loading, and in the older guns (gunnes?), the main ones involve fire - do you use a matchcord, do you provide a spark, or what? The modern version of including the powder in a jacket along with the projectile, to be ignited through pressure, is again pretty recent.

CP costs then break, I think, into (1) getting the bullet etc into its place in the gun, (2) getting the powder ignited, and (3) having some kind of preparatory pointing at the target, even if it's way cruder than "aiming" in the technical sense. #2 and #3 overlap considerably.

Anyway, so even if someone loads the gun for you, you still have #2-3 to cope with, both of which seem worth at least a couple of CP to me.

Best,
Ron
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Eamon Voss
Member

Posts: 108


WWW
« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2003, 11:35:25 AM »

Quote from: Salamander
. The longbow was a cheaper initial outlay, but it was more destructive than a crossbow in most cases due to raw penetrating power and the number of shots that could be loosed in relation to a crossbow or discharges of a Arquebus/Musket (Seige Arbalests and Cannon excluded).


I think you are wrong on the penetrating power of a longbow versus a crossbow.  Certainly against the light hand-pulled or foot stirrup crossbow a longbow on the powerful side of things might have the advantage.  But most longbows weren't that powerful and many crossbows had levers or cranks to get more power in the draw.  

In any case, the longbow does have the advantage of rapidity of fire over the crossbow.
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Realism in a melee game is not a matter of critical hit charts, but rather the ability to impart upon the player the dynamism of combat.
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2003, 11:57:29 AM »

Actually just to be pedantic about it, there are Smoothbore Muskets and Rifled Muskets.  Musket in its current useage refers to muzzle vs breach loading not smooth vs rifle.  IIRC, most of the muskets used in the ACW were rifled muskets.

Rifles have been around since at least the early 1700s in numbers large enough to be deployed on a battle field in small numbers...usually in a sniping skirmishing mode to pick off officers or artillery crews.  I don't know how much earlier they go, but it wouldn't surprise me to find individual examples (particularly fowling pieces) that date much much earlier than that.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2003, 12:18:42 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

I'm not sure what the generic term for a long but portable gun is, rifled or unrifled. I know that a musket is unrifled.


That would be gun (earlier there really was only one category).

An Arquebus is a gun, specifically a very small cannon, mounted on a fork. Really. They were horribly inacurate, and extrememly dangerous to the user. But ya gotta start somewhere.

A small arm is a pistol and later handgun, and it's simply an unfortunate source of confusion that handguns have no rifled/non-rifled terminology in parallel. Occasionally you'll hear the term "smoothbore" used to discriminate a non-rifled weapon. As in the M1 Abrams has a smoothbore 120mm cannon.

Cannon were also refered to as guns, but also as bombards, mortars, or whathaveyou, based on specific design. This is all predicated on the English, however, where guns were a relatively late arrival. Often these are taken from French terms which were invented previously, which adds to the confusion along with the etymylogical and spelling/pronunciation variances over the years. See Gonne for example.

Mike

P.S. A bit OT, but while we're at it, an M-16 is not a machinegun, it's an assault rifle. Machine gun is a term reserved for support weapons of a generally much more deadly nature, and often quite a bit less portable. Sub-machineguns are another unfortunate naming, as they are, by definition, simply fully automatic weapons that fire pistol ammunition, but are slightly longer barreled. There are also, oddly, fully automatic pistols.

Oh, and just to be clear there, automatic means that a new bullet is loaded into the chamber after every pull of the trigger by some mechanism other than a revolving cylinder (as in a double action revolver). Enabling a user to fire repeatedly without any other reloading action. Fully automatic means that the weapon will generally fire rounds repeatedly for as long as the trigger is held down. Big difference. And a source of a lot of controversy in the whole American gun banning debate.
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Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2003, 06:47:35 PM »

Quote from: Eamon Voss
Quote from: Salamander
. The longbow was a cheaper initial outlay, but it was more destructive than a crossbow in most cases due to raw penetrating power and the number of shots that could be loosed in relation to a crossbow or discharges of a Arquebus/Musket (Seige Arbalests and Cannon excluded).


I think you are wrong on the penetrating power of a longbow versus a crossbow.  Certainly against the light hand-pulled or foot stirrup crossbow a longbow on the powerful side of things might have the advantage.  But most longbows weren't that powerful and many crossbows had levers or cranks to get more power in the draw.  

In any case, the longbow does have the advantage of rapidity of fire over the crossbow.


As I indicated, "in most cases". On the battle field you would see the majority of Arbelestiers using goatsfoot draws (~100-120lbs pull with a quarrell of lighter weight than that of a longbow arrow). The Longbow often had a pull of ~100lbs as well and used a heavier arrow. The crossbows with a higher pull were the cranequin and windlass types, often only had by the wealthy or proven arbelestiers. These examples often had a pull of about 300-400lbs using a quarrel of greater mass than the longbow arrow. Of course we can also discuss the seige arbelest if you like, ~1200lbs pull firing a quarrel that weighed in at about a pound... of course the seige arbelest itself usually was so heavy as to require a mounting of some sort to keep steady during the aim.
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Salamander
Member

Posts: 450


« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2003, 07:09:04 AM »

I forgot to mention the Claw & Belt Draw, usually it had a pull of 100-120lbs as well.
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"Don't fight your opponent's sword, fight your opponent. For as you fight my sword, I shall fight you. My sword shall be nicked, your body shall be peirced through and I shall have a new sword".
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2003, 10:39:03 PM »

Hello everyone. I'm new to TROS, and I'm planning a game in which firearms will be important, so Salamander's post was very useful. I have a couple of questions, though.

Quote from: Salamander
ARQUEBUS:
Firing Type: Match ( + 10 - 20 rounds prep in wet weather)
20 rounds preparation time.
Refresh begins once the Arquebus is leveled.
3MP dice to reduce prep time by one second at Reflex/TN of 8.


Someone already asked: what is the point of spending 3 MPs to reduce preparation time by 1 second?
One thing I think might be good would be to make the Reflex (or some other) roll each round of preparation: if successful, you reduce the remaining time by 1 second.
So, in the first round, you make this roll and succeed: 20 rounds = 40 seconds. You have reduced the time by 2 seconds for the time spent, and an extra second for your fast loading. It might only take you 13 rounds to prepare if you succeed every round, and if you botch, you might drop whatever you're doing and start over.
It would be good to break the preparation down into the different steps, so that you have a better idea of what a botch might mean.
How does an approach like this sound?

Quote from: Salamander

Effective ST: 4 - 7 (depending upon amount of charge)*
<snip>
*For every additional Effective ST beyond 5 there was a chance the weapon would explode in the user's face. To reflect this, reduce the number of successes by one for every additional Effective ST beyond 5. If a botch occurs the weapon explodes causing 2 + 1 for every additional charge on Puncture Wound Table: Zone XIII. Other wise a Botch indicates the weapon did not fire due to the powder failing to ignite or the match having gone out.


The above rule looks a little odd. There seems to be no advantage to boosting ST above 5, only disadvantage.
ST5: inflict damage equal to 5 +4 + successes.
ST7: inflict damage equal to 7 +4 + successes -2.

Is this right?
Perhaps a better solution would be to either reduce the dice in the attack for each point of ST above 4, or increase the ATN for higher powered loads: this increases the botch chance, and reduces the success chances, but not necessarily on a 1:1 ratio.

Quote from: Salamander

<snip>
Match (per foot): 8c/4c/2c,3b


How much of a match is needed for each shot?

Quote from: Salamander

Hope this helps...


Yes indeed. Thanks.
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