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Old 10-29-2009, 08:58 PM   #9
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Originally Posted by SuedodeuS View Post
It looks like you've got the mid-range niche covered fairly well. The powder is too expensive for close-range (handguns and shotguns), and the lack of rifling kind of rules out long-range.
Well, handguns and shotguns are far from impossible. They've been useful for boarding actions on ships, for example, where the ability to rain down many bullets in one initial volley before entering melee range could be worth the price of the powder.

There's also the speciality market of nobles, knights and adventurers to consider. People with plenty of disposable income might like the idea of a small handheld weapon that can penetrate heavy plate armour.

Originally Posted by SuedodeuS View Post
One option might be to have some muskets that fire smaller bullets so that you can either get more range or use less powder when engaging lightly-armored targets. Such weapons might be useful against cavalry (shoot the horses) and light infantry, while the ones you've listed are best against heavy infantry.
Lighter (hence smaller) spherical lead bullets would mean lower 1/2D Range, higher Max Range. Which is all but useless, since no one can hit anything out to Max Range anyway. In real world terms, you'd get a flatter trajectory, but that's not modelled in GURPS.

In any case, such weapons would be competing against crossbows and bows and in that comparision they would come out very inferior. Even if we assume that it requires training since childhood to wield warbows, even hunting bows are superior to firearms when it comes to shooting horses or unarmoured infantry. And crank-driven crossbows are powerful enough to kill horses or people in light armour and have a rate of fire that is at least as good as matchlocks, usually better. And the cost per shot is several orders of magnitude less.

Originally Posted by SuedodeuS View Post
In a setting with extremely expensive powder, I suspect bayonets will have been thought up sooner. In fact, the concept of them as spears that can also spit fire might help the technology spread more quickly.
I wonder whether matchlocks would be less sturdy than flintlocks if the musket is used in melee. If not, I agree, bayonets would be a very fine thing to discover.
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