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Old 01-11-2018, 03:33 PM   #281
Anthony
 
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Default Re: Cloning, cracking and otherwise compromising smartphones

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Are there any espionage possibilitieswith near-field communication? It sounds like it offers very gamable scenarios...
Probably? I've never heard of an exploit (though I have heard about exploits involving phone charging cords; Apple made it so you couldn't use third party chargers a couple years back and claimed security reasons for doing so), but I'm not in the business of tracking that kind of thing and there could always be something unrevealed.
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Old 01-13-2018, 02:56 PM   #282
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Default Late TL8 optics, quality, reticles and aiming time

The GURPS rules for scopes are simple and playable, detailed enough for most games.

It does bother me somewhat that magnification level is almost the only stat that matters for scopes. Well, sure, the HT stat of the equipment provides one way to distinguish between cheap, low quality optics and the really impressive top-of-the-line stuff, but in real life, ruggedness is not the only measure of optic quality. All 10x (or 4x, 6x or any magnification level we select as the example) scopes don't necessarily have equal image clarity and basic TL6-7 10x scopes with maybe 16mm-19mm, 22mm-25mm or even 30mm-32mm objective and fairly undistinguished lenses will not be equally effective at 1,000 yards as a high quality late TL8 10x56 scope with crystal clear glass.

To some extent, the difference appears in how well the optics utilise available light and, all other things being equal, greater objective lens will mean better low-light performance. In GURPS, the more expensive, heavier scopes may justify reducing the darkness penalty by 1 over smaller, cheaper scopes, just as illuminated reticles do. Yes, this is already reflected in that TL7-8 scopes reduce it by 1, but I'm thinking that very high quality optics may do even better than just typical TL7+ low light performance and thus justify reducing it by 2.

But what about the difference in clarity and image quality between a fairly inexpensive TL6 scope and late TL8 Nightforce or Schmidt & Bender optics in the same magnification? Is there no way to provide some rule to model this difference?

What about reticles? Should they not matter at all? Is there no reticle design, other than illuminating them, that provides any tangible benefit over a basic TL5-6 crosshair worth modelling in GURPS?

The Horus Vision H58, H59 and TReMoR reticles, as well as various high quality designs proprietary to individual optic companies, certainly seem to offer utility beyond the primitive crosshairs of the first scopes attached to 19th century rifles.

I was thinking that lower quality optics or optics not designed for the task at hand might interact somehow with the rule from Tactical Shooting, where 22 + weapon Acc x 2 caps effective skill. Maybe there is also a cap to effective skill based on optics or sight quality. Or just a penalty when the equipment is used for shooting at ranges beyond the limitations of the design.

Certainly some optics (and iron sights) will not allow the same precision at longer ranges as others, for the simple reason that they are not adjustable that far out. Reticles that are bigger than the target at that range or poor lens quality where the target is just a blurry blob should probably also either cap maximum skill or at least give a penalty.

And should all scopes of the same magnification take equally long to Aim with to claim the bonus (1 second per +1)? Aren't there any technological aids that measurably make it faster to acquire the target, get a good sight picture and align the point of aim?

Might not some late TL8 optics designed for fast target acqusition justify allowing the full scope bonus faster?

For example, are the Trijicon ACOG 4x sights not faster to use than various 4x scopes made at TL5-7? Faster, for that matter, than many more economical TL8 designs that aren't designed for fast shooting at short to medium range?

If you can get the +1 Acc bonus for a basic 3x TL6-7 scope by aiming for 1 second, is it unreasonable to get the +2 bonus for a 4x TL8 Trijicon ACOG TA01NSN sight by aiming for the same time?

And what about the Bindon Aiming Concept (BAC)? Does that make enough of a difference to quick target acquisition so that optics which can use it should receive some positive modifier in GURPS? Like a 1 second reduction in the time required to Aim for the full bonus?

Or, if high-quality late TL8 fixed optics made for CQB already get that benefit, maybe scopes allowing the use of BAC simply allow a Perk allowing them to function as improvised Reflex sights in game terms for users that have mastered the use of the BAC?
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:19 PM   #283
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Default Re: Late TL8 optics, quality, reticles and aiming time

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
It does bother me somewhat that magnification level is almost the only stat that matters for scopes...
The problem is the granularity of the game system, and a lack of numbers to be affected by scope quality.

Something that might be worth considering is giving +1 Acc for slightly less magnification if the scope is high-quality. That helps with scopes like the Elcan C79, which is x3.4, a fairly common magnification. Lower magnification should helpful in getting on-target quicker, and getting a brighter image.
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Old 01-13-2018, 06:56 PM   #284
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

When I went to buy a scope in the past I went to the gun store, and the gun store was very proud of its cool shiny Zeiss scopes, and told of their light amplifying capabilities as compared to say the other not as cool shiny scopes

The story the gunsmith told of why he wanted to sell the cool, shiny and expensive Zeiss scopes was that he had in the past gone and looked at the Zeiss and something else, and did not see much difference

The gunsmith said "It is dark out, here, go and look into the dark alley beside the store"

He went and looked, and saw a dark alley.

"Here," said the gunsmith "Take this other scope and go and look into the dark alley beside the store"

The guy did, and came back.

"Did you see the cats?" asked the gunsmith, he had seen the cats he replied.

"What color were the cats?" asked the gunsmith. He had not been able to tell.

The gunsmith gave him the Zeiss scope, "Take this, and tell me the color of the cats."

He went, and he saw the color of the cats.

I have no idea how true this is, but it sounded really cool

I just got some cheap Nikon scope though for a few hundred bucks, because cool or not, I couldn't buy the Zeiss scope
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Old 01-13-2018, 09:29 PM   #285
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

A scope with an objective lens smaller than 7mm x magnification (i.e. basically all of them) actually makes your night vision worse; figure anything under 5mm x mag increases darkness penalties by 1, anything under 2mm x mag increases it by 2.
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Old 01-13-2018, 10:06 PM   #286
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

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A scope with an objective lens smaller than 7mm x magnification (i.e. basically all of them) actually makes your night vision worse; figure anything under 5mm x mag increases darkness penalties by 1, anything under 2mm x mag increases it by 2.
I like that. It's simple enough and it gives a game mechanical reason for characters to buy the heavier and more expensive scopes with larger ovjective lenses.

I might not give a penalty until the ratio goes below 4:1 for decent optics, to avoid having many of the most popular and well regarded optics give penalties. 10x42 doesn't seem that bad.
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Old 01-13-2018, 11:29 PM   #287
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

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I might not give a penalty until the ratio goes below 4:1 for decent optics, to avoid having many of the most popular and well regarded optics give penalties. 10x42 doesn't seem that bad.
It usually isn't, but most people don't hunt at night. Basically, to figure the image size when it reaches your pupil, divide objective lens size by magnification. If that's smaller than your pupil, it means you aren't getting the full light gathering capability of your eye. A full dilated pupil is about 7mm, which is why 7x50 binoculars used to be a standard. On the other hand, pupil size is probably 2.5-3mm in bright light, so even things like 10x25 will not cause you noticeable issues for daylight observations.
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Old 01-14-2018, 07:08 AM   #288
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

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It usually isn't, but most people don't hunt at night. Basically, to figure the image size when it reaches your pupil, divide objective lens size by magnification. If that's smaller than your pupil, it means you aren't getting the full light gathering capability of your eye. A full dilated pupil is about 7mm, which is why 7x50 binoculars used to be a standard. On the other hand, pupil size is probably 2.5-3mm in bright light, so even things like 10x25 will not cause you noticeable issues for daylight observations.
I've more experience with binoculars than riflescopes, which is why I mentioned 10x42. And those are used for bird watching in the twilight. And having them give -1 compared to 8x42 doesn't seem realistic to me, from my limited experience.

Basically, if 5:1 was a functional breakpoint, I'd expect to see a definite trend for higher ratios than that for any optic which could be used in twilight. But it seems that the trend is instead for 4:1, at minimum, with only optics below that ratio being clearly regarded as unsuitable for lower light conditions.

There is even something called a 'twilight factor' for optics, which is only slightly more complicated to calculate than just the ratio between objective lens and magnification, but which is apparently better for typical 10x42 binoculars than 8x42.

In any event, modern glass with good coating gives much better low-light performance from the same size and magnification than older or cheaper alternatives. So it's not just the ratio between objective lens and magnification.

So if 1950s vintage binoculars in 10x42 give a -1, modern Zeiss 10x42 probably do not.
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Old 01-14-2018, 09:28 AM   #289
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Default On the subject of binoculars...

Does anyone have a feel for how plentiful issue binoculars are in the modern US military?

Or with the federal agencies under Homeland Security tasked with border control around El Paso?

The PCs were equipped at Ft. Bliss before the current adventure. They were issued some stuff that the Onyx Rain task force had access to, apparently mostly from the stores of agencies under Homeland, but evidently there were some means to borrow US Army equipment from the base if there was a vital need, as they got Christini special operation bikes with a good Administration roll.

And then the PCs got discretionary funds with which they were expected to buy most of their gear. I'm finalising it, but haven't put down what model of binoculars they got. And it's not like the budget will stretch to buying high-end models, as it's mostly allocated already.

I'm wondering if the PCs could have used Scrounging, Savoir-Faire (Military or Police) and/or Administration to creatively acquire some M22 and M24 binoculars without having to pay for them (they do hope to bring them back in like a week). Or at least Fast-Talk, Merchant and possibly Sex Appeal to get a sweetheart deal on surplus glasses that still work fine.

I've read that there used to be so few of the Steiner 7x50 M22 available per unit, and so many bureaucratic headaches associated with taking them out of storage and putting them into the hands of troops who might damage them, that it was very common for officers and even enlisted men to buy their own commercial brand binoculars, as getting their hands on Steiners when needed was basically impossible.

That was in the peacetime Army, though. I'm hoping that the M22 and the smaller M24 are much more widely available in 2017, after years of wartime experience where soldiers actually getting some use out their equipment hopefully mattered more than supply clerks being able to account for all of it at all times.

The Steiners started to be phased out in 1991, but I don't know of there are still some of them around or not. I know that BORTAC and other law enforcement bodies that now fall under Homeland had a bunch of surplus Steiners in 2001-2004, which argues that Onyx Rain could dig up a lot of these older models from storage. Of course, 30+ year old binoculars which have been used by both soldiers and cops might not always be in perfect condition and performance might be reduced due to dirty lenses, damage, etc.

The new M22 (which I've seen referred to as M22B, but am not sure whether that's correctly the binocular or the ARD filter which was made by Tenebraex) was made by Fujinon (distriburd, at least initially, through Kama-Tech) and as far as I know, those are still the standard issue. Does that mean that none of them will be available as surplus? And are they plentiful and easy to borrow for a week or too few and hard to get?

The M24 started to be issued around 2002. They seem to have been made by Fujinon too and sold to the military through Northrop Grumman, though it's possible other contractors filled some orders. The Weems & Plath 7x28 Apache is apparently made to M24 specs and fairly popular with soldiers, but I don't know if they were ever issued or these are all private purchases.

What binoculars would it be most plausible for the PCs to acquire at Ft. Bliss as loaners, surplus or otherwise at nominal expense? Assuming that they tried both officially requesting some through Onyx Rain from Homeland agency inventory and less officially tried to get some through the time-tested NCO friend-of-a-friend network (the PC team lead is a federal Special Agent who retired from the Army as an E-6 just over a decade ago).
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Old 01-14-2018, 11:34 AM   #290
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Default Re: [Modern Firepower] Technothriller gear for secret DHS team in 2017

Honestly? The most common binocular to find in a US Army unit right now is an off-the-shelf model that was bought with discretionary funds. The actual allotted number of M22s is incredibly low, so units just buy other commercial (but ruggedized) binoculars. Ones with vibration dampening are very popular.
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