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Old 07-12-2014, 07:46 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

Artillery is the skill of using indirect-fire heavy weapons. There are several specialisations, with no defaults between them; it's a single skill only because the different kinds of weapons it uses all use the same rules. Splitting it off from Gunner, and making it IQ-based was a significant change from 3e.

GPS- and laser-guided smart bombs come under (Bombs), as (Guided Missile) seems to be for missiles with significant propulsion of their own. Some heavy guns can be used for both direct and indirect fire, but <edit>you need Gunner (Cannon) for direct fire.</edit> Mortars use (Cannon), with a familiarity of their own, and heavy anti-aircraft guns would be the same. Torpedoes can be used for direct fire, but aiming them is generally a matter of calculation, so it's IQ-based Artillery, not DX-based Gunner.

Forward Observer is mostly used with Artillery, so might as well be covered here. It isn't described in much detail in Basic, but see B412 for laser designators, and High-Tech p139 for lots of detail and an example. That example is a cut-down version of a classic passage from earlier editions of High-Tech; it was really too long, but it was very evocative.

High-Tech and Ultra-Tech have a lot of weapons for Artillery skill. I'm not clear what would count as Fine equipment for +1 to Forward Observer, although the concept is mentioned on B345 under Equipment Modifiers. Low-Tech has artillery for its period, expanded on in Low-Tech Companion 2, but Forward Observer doesn't seem to exist at TL1-4.

Naturally, Artillery only gets used in games that feature heavy weaponry. I've used Artillery (Bombs) as a bomb-aimer in a WWII game, and (Guided Missile) in Reign of Steel: Will to Live. It's also going to be used for planning attacks, and for setting up targets: positioning flares in the target area to guide an air attack felt a lot more plausible with the use of (Bombs) specialisation.

What have you done with Artillery and Forward Observer skills? I realise, thinking about them, that my main image of these skills and their usage comes from Spike Milligan's war memoirs, Adolf Hitler: My Part In His Downfall and "Rommel?" "Gunner Who?". Amongst the chaos, there's a fair amount about using artillery.

Last edited by johndallman; 07-13-2014 at 10:30 AM. Reason: Correction to RAW
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Old 07-12-2014, 09:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

For what its worth, if artillery rolls come up in my game, people are probably on spaceships using advanced weaponry with automated targeting systems. Missiles has been brought up, but Ghost particle beams, Displacer beams (Go Stargate Asgards!), and gravity weapons (I'm sorry, but If you're aiming at a point instead of a beam you should be using artillary) are all fun as well.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:24 AM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

I used it in a Supers game for lobbing objects over the horizon at a base and mechs. Also a high fantasy game to aim a meteor strike.
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

Personally, outside of Artillery(Guided Missile), I find Forward Observer far more fun. A hero who must slip deep into enemy territory, fight off patrols, and then call in the artillery (or orbital!) strike is far more fun than playing the guy who pushes the "And then we killed them all" button.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:04 AM   #5
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

Any thoughts on using this for some Jules Verne-style spaceship launching? From the Earth to the Moon involved a literal "moon shot" from a really, REALLY big cannon.
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:53 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

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Originally Posted by Rocket Man View Post
Any thoughts on using this for some Jules Verne-style spaceship launching? From the Earth to the Moon involved a literal "moon shot" from a really, REALLY big cannon.
Hum ... that needs to start with Physics/TL6 (Ballistics), to work out the required velocity and trajectory, since Navigation (Space) isn't relevant to a purely ballistic trajectory and Artillery (Cannon) clearly relies on Physics for the principles of trajectory calculation, but its normal tables and quick methods won't serve for orbital or higher velocities.

Then you need Engineer/TL6 (Heavy Weapons) and Armoury/TL6 (Heavy Weapons) to build the gun. Engineer/TL6 (Civil) would probably also help. You also need Engineer/TL6 (Spacecraft) and Mechanic/TL6 (Spacecraft) to build the projectile.

Now you're ready, you use Artillery/TL6 (Cannon) to fire the gun, and some pretty fancy magic - RPM can probably do it most easily - to keep the crew from being killed by the acceleration on firing and to keep the projectile from being stopped and/or destroyed by the resistance of the atmosphere.

Finally, you need a succession of miracles - Powers: Divine Favor seems appropriate - to allow the crew to survive the trip, the re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, and the landing, and to be found in time. I have a strong feeling that any projectile strong enough to survive the launch is too heavy for any parachute it can contain to slow it enough to keep the crew from being killed in the landing.

Last edited by johndallman; 07-12-2014 at 12:01 PM. Reason: Put in TLs
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:02 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Hum ... that needs to start with Physics/TL6 (Ballistics), to work out the required velocity and trajectory.
You don' think you can do it with just Newton?
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:03 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post

Finally, you need a succession of miracles - Powers: Divine Favor seems appropriate - to allow the crew to survive the trip, the re-entry into Earth's atmosphere, and the landing, and to be found in time. I have a strong feeling that any projectile strong enough to survive the launch is too heavy for any parachute it can contain to slow it enough to keep the crew from being killed in the landing.
Okr you could just give the crew IT:Toon and call it a day :)
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:30 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

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Originally Posted by Anders View Post
You don't think you can do it with just Newton?
Probably. I was just classifying the whole of the Gun Club - the protagonists of From the Earth to the Moon - as TL6. This is something of a compliment since the novel is set in the 1860s, but they were definitely high-tech for their time. Methods for astronomical and ballistics calculation definitely improved post-Newton: orbital calculations for asteroids and comets had become a routine matter.
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Old 07-12-2014, 12:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Artillery (and Forward Observer)

I really missed having this skill (i.e., I didn't have it, but needed it) during a Weird War II game, playing a commando in Pas de Calais.
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