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Old 10-30-2009, 01:05 AM   #21
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Originally Posted by Miles View Post
EDIT: Wait, Bulk -5? That's a typo, right?
'fraid not. The matchlock mechanism means that it is very unwieldy (an extra Bulk penalty) and it is, after all, a 4,5 lbs. gun with a barrel more than a foot long.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:19 AM   #22
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Ah, right then, my mistake on both counts.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:24 AM   #23
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Why?
At a guess, metallurgy. Gunpowder (and smokepowder, I guess) imparts large stresses on gun barrels. Any weaknesses could cause the gun to blow up. Thus, they started off with cannons, making them pretty thick. As they grew more confident, they reduced the thickness, but still had to use bronze (it wasn't until they got super-hot smelting that they could cast iron to make cheaper cannon barrels). As their metallurgy improved, they even put it in small "hand cannons," working their way down to regular muskets and pistols.

But this is a fantasy realm, with gods of crafts and artifice. They could possibly have the high-grade metallurgy needed to not have man-portable guns blowing up in people's faces all the time.

But I'm not sure of anything I just said, so take with a grain of salt. :-)
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:25 AM   #24
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I thought a combination of gnomish engineering, Gondish inspiration, higher TL, and adventuring convenience had made wheel locks appear in FR about the same time smokepowder became widespread. Given the cost of the powder, it's worth it to spend more on the gun.

I'm not sure how much you've integrated the DnD flavor into GURPS, but in traditional FR, any significant town needs an anti-adventurer option, and any significant nation needs an anti-high level adventurer option. The books tended to scatter high level wizards and priests around for this purpose, but a squad of musketeers might be as useful for that purpose as against dragons.

As for smokepowder abuse, well, suicide bombers are much easier with golems, zombies, mind control, and such.

Careful manipulation of air spells and elementals might lead to "smart dust" explosives that seem mere wisps before suddenly condensing and exploding at the target site.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:32 AM   #25
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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At a guess, metallurgy. Gunpowder (and smokepowder, I guess) imparts large stresses on gun barrels. Any weaknesses could cause the gun to blow up. Thus, they started off with cannons, making them pretty thick. As they grew more confident, they reduced the thickness, but still had to use bronze (it wasn't until they got super-hot smelting that they could cast iron to make cheaper cannon barrels). As their metallurgy improved, they even put it in small "hand cannons," working their way down to regular muskets and pistols.

But this is a fantasy realm, with gods of crafts and artifice. They could possibly have the high-grade metallurgy needed to not have man-portable guns blowing up in people's faces all the time.

But I'm not sure of anything I just said, so take with a grain of salt. :-)
I know why it happened in the real world.

I was just making the point that in a fantasy world where metallurgy was already at a similar level to our 17th century, it is unlikely that there is any great mystery involved with making strong gunbarrels.
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Old 10-30-2009, 01:37 AM   #26
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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I thought a combination of gnomish engineering, Gondish inspiration, higher TL, and adventuring convenience had made wheel locks appear in FR about the same time smokepowder became widespread. Given the cost of the powder, it's worth it to spend more on the gun.
Wheellocks are canonically possible in FR, but not widespread. It has only been 14 years since smokepowder started to become known, after all.

I quite agree that it makes sense to spend more on the gun. Guns, even military models, would probably be quite well made.

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I'm not sure how much you've integrated the DnD flavor into GURPS, but in traditional FR, any significant town needs an anti-adventurer option, and any significant nation needs an anti-high level adventurer option. The books tended to scatter high level wizards and priests around for this purpose, but a squad of musketeers might be as useful for that purpose as against dragons.
There is definately need for weapons that can defeat magically powerful and unpredictable outsiders with access to heavy armour and dangerous spells.

But what do smokepowder weapons do against adventurers that bows don't? Sure, the knight in his plate is more vulnerable, but the rest are glad to face 10 inaccurate shots per minute instead of sixty more accurate, if less powerful, arrows. Not to mention that the town can afford to shoot a hell of a lot more arrows than shot (which also impacts training, in that few small towns could afford to train with smokepowder weapons).

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As for smokepowder abuse, well, suicide bombers are much easier with golems, zombies, mind control, and such.

Careful manipulation of air spells and elementals might lead to "smart dust" explosives that seem mere wisps before suddenly condensing and exploding at the target site.
Interesting, but, nothing that can't be done as well or better with traditional spells.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:39 AM   #27
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The main advantage of muskets is that they require little training and allow you to mass-produce soldiers. After Lepanto the Janisaries simply were out of action, because though they knew the techniques of loading a musket they hadn't caught on to that particular point and just used them as a back up to composite bows. Used in that sense, they become just another addendum to the warrior caste and weren't very useful in that regard. By contrast, Europeans had discovered what the real advantage of muskets were and started to be able to field effective soldiers year after year.
People say that muskets are much, much easier to use than bows. I find this extremely hard to believe. Can anyone help me?

(1) Muskets are much more complex to use.
(2) Beyond a few 10s of yards, arrow flight times become long enough that accuracy is nigh irrelevant against moving targets (working from sub 100 yd/sec speeds). At longer distances, bows move into plunging fire (forget about accuracy/skill) where muskets would still have nearly flat trajectories.

The only way I can make sense of "bows are harder" is the sheer muscle strength/conditioning needed for sustained 100+lb bow use. One the other hand, that shouldn't take too long to gain and would be easy to lose through a bout of disuse or poor food supply.
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Old 10-30-2009, 05:59 AM   #28
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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I know why it happened in the real world.

I was just making the point that in a fantasy world where metallurgy was already at a similar level to our 17th century, it is unlikely that there is any great mystery involved with making strong gunbarrels.
But they wouldn't have any experience of making strong gunbarrels, would they? While it's great to have the materials, you still have to figure out how to use them for a specific application. Unless there's a large body of physics, it's likely to be trial-and-error.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:20 AM   #29
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Can FR mages bind elementals? If yes make windbusche guns. What is the shot capacity of an elemental? Will it basically work until you run out of shot? Larger elmentals could be bound to organ guns. Larger elementals may be able to produce more than the 2dpi+ damage of the windbusche in High Tech.

If binding an elemental to a gun is too expensive then bind it to a resupply cart for a jaeger company armed with windbusche guns. It fills reservoirs. Constantly.

I suspect that air elementals are restricted to subsonic speeds. I am not sure why I think that but it makes sense to me. If you are already carrying fire around for matchlocks and want to go supersonic you could try using a fire elemental to create a steam explosion. Yes it will torment the fire elemental but what do you care?

It may be that the economy of the magic rules dictates that small elemental powered guns would be too expensive. It may make sense to go for a larger cannon then. I don't have Magic rules and therefore I am extrapolating from common myth.

Straight magic may prove useful too. Isn't there an Air Jet spell in GURPS? If that was enchanted into the breech how would it translate it's effects onto a 1 ounce lead ball? How about Create Air in the breech or a reservoir chamber?Again economics may interfere with it or the benefit of having it always available with the gun rather than a seperate expense may work out.
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Old 10-30-2009, 08:35 AM   #30
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Originally Posted by Kraydak View Post
People say that muskets are much, much easier to use than bows. I find this extremely hard to believe. Can anyone help me?

(1) Muskets are much more complex to use.
(2) Beyond a few 10s of yards, arrow flight times become long enough that accuracy is nigh irrelevant against moving targets (working from sub 100 yd/sec speeds). At longer distances, bows move into plunging fire (forget about accuracy/skill) where muskets would still have nearly flat trajectories.
Aiming bows had to be done by experience, not by sighting the arrow, since warbows were drawn so far back. And even hitting the right area is non-trivial at hundreds of yards.

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The only way I can make sense of "bows are harder" is the sheer muscle strength/conditioning needed for sustained 100+lb bow use. One the other hand, that shouldn't take too long to gain and would be easy to lose through a bout of disuse or poor food supply.
Historically, it took about ten years to gain. We're not just talking about muscle mass, we're talking about developing muscular and skeletal strength in areas that most people are very weak in. Archers were built differently because they had been shooting heavy bows since childhood.
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