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Old 09-12-2018, 10:45 PM   #21
Icelander
 
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

I rarely get to play characters instead of being the GM, but I have played two different modern characters who were veterans of special operations forces with a sniper background.

One was a US Marine Scout/Sniper who served briefly with Det One/MARSOC after a decade with Force Recon and the other was/is a Special Forces Weapon Sergeant who went to Sniper School and took the Special Operation Target Interdiction Course.

Both characters were master armourers, largely because most serious professional shooters develop their own handloads, customise their gear and are intimately familiar with the care of their weapons. I won't say that every biography of a sniper I have read focuses on their study of gunsmithing and handloading, largely because I seem to recall a Canadian WWI sniper who just shot his issue ammunition from his issue Ross rifle, but an overwhelming majority of snipers whose biography I've read describe experimenting with loads to fit their individual rifle and many describe multiple other personal touches which require the Armoury skill in GURPS.

My current character has Armoury (Small Arms) at skill 18 and has so far used it for a multitude of things, including: assembling one functional M16 rifle from two broken ones found in a guard armoury, selecting functional weapons and magazines for the whole party from the stock of a black market arms dealer, cleaning and dremel-ing the internal works and replacing the magazine springs of a couple of old Browning pistols to make them as reliable as newer Glocks as long as the magazines are underloaded and the weapon maintained, mounting optics and other accessories for the newly acquired weapons, developing loads for the pistols and handloading a couple of magazines worth of match accurate hollow-point rounds, developing a match load in 7.62x39mm for a semi-automatic AK type rifle and developing a long-range match load for a 5.56x45mm for a 16" barrel Colt LE6920 AR-15 rifle.

And while the other PCs were showering, rambling around the pretty hacienda, eating Mexican food and generally relaxing after a stressful drive and full day, my PC sat at a table handloading a couple of magazines each of the match rifle rounds while wishing he'd had a larger lunch and that dinner would come already. After dinner, he went straight back to work while the other members of the party Caroused with El Patron and his loyal retainers. Which happened to serve to illustrate both my character's Selfless Disadvantage (he was loading for another PC with good Guns skill, but no Armoury) and the fact that he was moping and avoiding another member of the party.

As it turned out, though, his self-imposed exile was interrupted and we do not have nearly enough handloads for an extended firefight at 300+ yards (if our weapons hadn't had to fit into very tight hidden compartments, maybe we could have had one rifle in a proper precision rifle caliber). Which, granted, no one not trained to always prepare for the worst would expect, as any firefight we get into will probably be at point blank ranges. Uh, not that we're going to get into a firefight. Fingers crossed.

Any kind of Monster Hunting campaign pretty much screams out for a master gunsmith and, especially, a character who can cast his own exotic bullets. Making two-piece hollow-cavity shotgun slugs with either silver shot or a small wooden stake inside, large caliber hollow-points with enough volume for a dose of wolfsbane or other toxic-to-supernaturals material or a jacketed silver bullet, these are core parts of proper Monster Hunting preparations and in a gritty campaign, managing it without ruining the weapon, compromising reliability or function as a ballistic projectile, well, it calls for the skills of a master armourer.
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