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Old 09-21-2016, 04:03 PM   #211
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
Spending 1k to kill someone wearing much more than 1k of loot able enchantment dripping armor is always a good deal

Its just an issue of how many 1k shots are needed
Just so.

Note that a charge of of smokepowder and a non-magical bullet for a .60 caliber caliver comes to 'only' around $25 to $30. If the PCs ever manage to get a reliable supply of the exotic incredients and some of the apprentice alchemists in their employ get proficient enough, that price might drop down to $10 a shot.

That's still enormously expensive compared to the cheap black powder available in the real world, well over an order of magnitude more expensive,* but it's well short of the opportunity cost of a magical item, such as a fairly powerful magic arrow or a Javelin of Lightning, that would allow a common soldier to plausibly threathen, say, an elite guard or a knight with DR 8-10 armour at range.

An attractive element of Fine (Accurate) rifles is that the cost for the charge is similar, even if the gun itself is three or four times more expensive.**

*A real-world musket shot is less than half a GURPS $, i.e. $0.50, 0.2% of the current cost my PCs are paying and 5% of their best case price.
**It actually makes little sense to make $150 to $300 firearms in a world where ammunition cost is a tenth of that each time you fire them.
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Old 09-21-2016, 05:02 PM   #212
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
An observation on the use of really pricey weapons, such as missiles, against lightweight targets: The equation in those cases isn't really $ per casualty. It may well be $ per Morale, and not necessarily your side's or even combatant morale. Similarly, you can get into situations where preventing allied casualties is paramount, and the equations change again.
"In war, the moral is to the physical as three to one." :-)

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
I suspect I was wrong about using a powder per casualty metric. It's too valuable and the best bang for the buck isn't in whacking soldiers. You want a powder per capability metric, using it to deny or disrupt things that require a substantial time critical response. That sounds like directed fire to me.
Volleys of fire have been used as well, but only against heavy troops that would otherwise be fairly impervious to missiles. Since the strategic realities are that the PCs have fought every battle in this war either at sea or on a coast while being supplied from the sea, it's worthwhile for them to spend a lot of money on allowing a numerically inferior fast-moving force (hence more easily transported quickly to outmaneuever the enemy) to defeat even well equipped heavy infatry.

Basically, the PCs have a TL advantage in tactical, operational, logistics and strategic terms. They've parlayed that into a superiority at sea, which has pretty much put paid to the enemy's existing strategy and caused him extreme logistical disadvantages.

They are, however, facing an enemy with a lot more potential resources and historically, no cultural constraint has been enough to prevent nations from adopting clearly superior military technology from their foes, if they are economically able to do so. So the only chance that the PCs have is to take the fullest possible advantage of their current ascendancy over their foes and win the war before the other side can weather the necessary political and military changes.

This means that extreme spending for even minor advantage may be justified if it has a chance of tipping the balance and resulting in the enemy losing the political will to continue their invasion, as no long war can possibly end in anything other than disastrous defeat for the PCs' side.

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
That said, it occurs to me that guided missiles and torpedoes are well within the reach of your party.
Ankhapet can shoot Spell Arrows that trigger Find Weakness on his target (often a ship or a fortification) and then designate it for mechanical artillery with smokepowder bombs. Abadas often uses fiery bolts or a blaze to mark ground targets for his air Dropping wizards.

Both of them have Forward Observer/TL4 at high levels. They also have high Observation and Abadas has Cartography and Mathematics (Surveying). Forward Observer/TL4* is actually being taught to element leaders in Abadas' flying mage force. Knowledge spells like Measurement and Know Position, among others, are very useful in precise targeting for artillery and help with Dropping too.

Ankhapet has been pestering a variety of wizards in his employ to develop more enchantments to allow the guiding or homing of artillery ammunition, slaved to his arrows, of course. Abadas could benefit from the same, with dropped bombs, though in his case he'd prefer that he be able to designate the target with a fiery bolt. Worst case scenario, he'll use his very high Dropping skill to make an accurate strike that will then allow homing for other bombs.

*I guess a case can be made for TL4+1 or even more, using magic to substitute for technology.

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
Impact triggers + elementals are a pretty devastating combination. A natural tactic is to use a relatively low expense/high threat lure, say a sniper (assuming we're talking sharpshooters not SF types), and a forward observer that can direct an elemental guided bomb to immediately counter the reaction to the sniper. You can reverse this just as easily, drawing elite teams into sniper traps as they try to eliminate controllers, but I'd imagine the ability to direct elementals is more rare than the ability to be above average with a long gun.
The emphasised part is an excellent reason for why smokepowder weapons are worth using, even in a world with wizards and priests who can cause damage at a range with merely a prayer or a murmured phrase, guano and a bit of sulphur.

It's not really that hard for someone to get pretty good at shooting a gun. If he has the temperament to be a soldier and the necessary ruthlessness to kill, the technical challenge of hitting a human chest at 300 yards with a rifle, even one comparable to Low-Tech ones, is not that remarkable. A good marksman with a crossbow can probably pick it up fairly quickly and there are thousands of mercenary crossbowmen in the setting.

Even a very different ranged skill, like using a sling, probably has a lot of aspects that transfer over. Judging distance, motion of target, etc. It might not change cost in GURPS, but it justifies a fairly fast pace of learning for a good slinger learning to be a rifleman.

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Were I to do this, I'd continuously deploy air elementals to do the drops, whittling away at the elite and counter sniper capability, until they adopt some sort of overlapping close in counter fire.
Actually summoning useful air elementals and binding them to serve for a useful period of time is confined to pretty powerful wizards and priests, in setting. Enough so that training griffons, hippogriffs, pegasi and even giant albatrosses to serve as aerial mounts is worthwhile.

If you merely wish to bomb your enemy while remaining safe yourself, you don't need to have an elemental under your control to do it, anyway. You can use a mage or someone capable of using Imbuements who can fly high above the battlefield, learn the skill Dropping and use either spells (Hawk Vision, True Strike, etc.) or Imbuements to direct the bomb.

As Abadas (PC) and his ever growing band of flying mages (and other things) delight in demonstrating against the hide-bound and tactically out-dated Mulhorandi, it really sucks when the other side controls the air and has no cultural constraints on using it to attack an enemy that can't strike back.

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Originally Posted by Gedrin View Post
The described opponents can come up with some pretty natural tactics to shoot down weapons and protect troops close in. Then I'd switch to an earth elemental deployment system with a heavier load (with cobbled streets, you don't even need fragmentation effects on your warhead).
The Mulhorandi (the enemy) have really suffered for being an army with a TL1+1* to TL2+1** doctrine, theocratic/aristocratic command, a lot of generations since a real war and monumental cultural resistance to change. Their biggest problem is that their society considers war to be largely a backdrop to duels between divinely-powered champions and their merely human soldiers have mostly had to worry about overawing the population, hunting down barbarian bandits and occasionally surpressing a revolt among some desperately poor subject peoples or outright slaves.

The upper echelons of the Mulhorandi know, on a level far deeper than mere experience has so far been able to reach, that the proper function of a flying chariot or a winged horse is to allow a champion to dramatically approach his opposing counterpart in order to face him in a famous duel between the armies.

There are a lot of clever men among their armies, who can see very clearly that they need to concentrate their magical assets that allow for aerial operations or counter-air capability and come up with a unified doctrine for these, but most of the magic in question isn't controlled by military commanders. It's owned by the Pharoah personally, the churches or by nobles.

And a mere common-born commander of soldiers, even if they are thirty thousand soldiers and involved in an enterprise that requires hundreds of thousands to support them, does not have the authority to confiscate church property or noble family heirlooms just because they would be better used by someone else under his command.

So far, the most effective aerial capabilty among the Mulhorandi has been provided by champions who were loaned or gifted with their magic (or flying mount) by the Pharoah himself, e.g. religious champions in the Royal Guard who can take on the form of birds of prey.

There was also a group of griffon riders belonging to one of the churches that worked together well, albeit not subject to any coordination with ground forces. And once a band of powerful clerics summoned a flight of warrior angels to face Abadas and his merry flying men.

Much of the rest of their capability is scattered in a haphazard way, each man with a way to magically fly deciding for himself how he will best try to counter the flying enemy.

My point being, so far, just being able to fly has been a really reliable way to be able to drop explosive or incendiary things on Mulhorandi armies with relative impunity. Well, apart from the individual champion duel, which is always entertaining.

*The really prestigious priests, nobles, temple guards and aristocratic retinues, as well as the largely ceremonial army of the Pharoah.
**The regiments that are largely responsible for any genuine success at arms over the past century, mostly descended from a caste of originally foreign mercenaries and/or belonging to a less prestigious religious order that actually accepts some innovation in the hallowed art of war, at least if they are hit hard enough over the head with it on the battlefield.
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Old 09-23-2016, 05:02 AM   #213
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Default Considering pistols, Rcl and ST

On the subject of loading pistols similar to muzzleloading wheelock, flintlock or percussion cap military and naval pistols with a heavier charge than one which yields 300-700 fps* velocity, I wondered whether I could use higher tech firearms as a guide to MinST and Rcl.

After all, x grains of projectile accelerated at velocity y is the same no matter what your propellant is and I don't know that the shape of your projectile should affect Newton's equal and opposite reaction.

On the other hand, I don't know if propellant burn rate, projectile shape or the design of the gun have a major impact on the felt recoil that I should be factoring in. I know that the GURPS stats for semi-automatic firearms often assign a lower MinST and Rcl than for revolvers or single shot weapons of the same chambering and weight, as the working of the action reduces the felt recoil.

So, should muzzeloading single-shot pistols have the same MinST and Rcl as black powder revolvers with similar weights firing loads of the same weight and velocity? Can I use Frontier Colts, Lancaster Howdahs and Tranters as a benchmarks for the recoil impulse of heavily charged muzzleloading pistols firing round balls, assigning the same MinST and Rcl as long as the momentum and energy are similar?

What about semi-automatics? Does the Desert Eagle .50 AE have lower MinST and Rcl than a similarly powered chambering would have in a single-shot muzzleloader, because of the gas-powered action?

*The velocities that I got for the examples in High-Tech and Low-Tech when I plugged them into Doug Cole's spreadsheet and got the listed damage. Most were around 350-500 fps.
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Last edited by Icelander; 09-23-2016 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 09-25-2016, 10:44 AM   #214
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Default Giff Pistols

Giff Heavy Pistol; .80 caliber double-barreled wheelock pistol:
Dmg: 3d+2 pi++;
Acc: 1;
Range: 90/900;
Weight: 5/0.26;
RoF: 1;
Shots: 2(20i);
ST: 14†;
Bulk: -4;
Rcl: 7;
Cost: $1,350;


A wheellock (Malf. 15) heavy pistol with two 15" barrels that can each fire a 750 grain lead round ball, charged with 200 grains of fast-burning REF 0.5 pistol smokepowder.

Giff Light Pistol; .65 caliber wheelock pistol:
Dmg: 2d+2 pi++;
Acc: 1;
Range: 65/630;
Weight: 3/0.08;
RoF: 1;
Shots: 1(20);
ST: 11;
Bulk: -3;
Rcl: 5;
Cost: $600;


A wheellock (Malf. 15) pistol with a 9" barrel that fires 400 grain lead round ball, charged with 150 grains of fast-burning REF 0.5 pistol smokepowder.
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Last edited by Icelander; 09-26-2016 at 07:49 AM.
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Old 09-25-2016, 02:48 PM   #215
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Default Re: Considering pistols, Rcl and ST

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Originally Posted by Icelander View Post

What about semi-automatics? Does the Desert Eagle .50 AE have lower MinST and Rcl than a similarly powered chambering would have in a single-shot muzzleloader, because of the gas-powered action?
No. The case & breech keep the action closed until after the bullet has left the muzzle. If there is any reduction in projectile velocity it is less than a percent or two.
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Old 09-26-2016, 01:28 AM   #216
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Default Re: Considering pistols, Rcl and ST

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Originally Posted by fredtheobviouspseudonym View Post
No. The case & breech keep the action closed until after the bullet has left the muzzle. If there is any reduction in projectile velocity it is less than a percent or two.
Fair enough. That means that the actual recoil will be the same.

I was, however, looking for something akin to the felt recoil reduction of a Browning semi-automatic shotgun compared to a normal pump-action shotgun. As felt recoil is more important than actual recoil to the GURPS stats of MinST and Rcl, a semi-automatic shotgun will have MinST and Rcl at 1 step lower than a manual-action shotgun of similar weight firing the same round.

I was wondering if the MinST and Rcl of semi-automatic pistols in High-Tech held a similar modification, making analogies to the MinST or Rcl of a muzzleloader from the momentum of their loads imprecise and misleading.

For example, I know that the shape of a TL6+ bullet allows a lot better sectional density and range, but Dmg (at least at muzzle) is still largely determined by mass and velocity. A muzzleloading pistol firing a projectile of the same weight and velocity as the Desert Eagle .50 AE might have slightly lower Dmg, because of the larger size of the lead ball penetrator.

But could I use the MinST and Rcl unchanged or should the muzzleloader have higher MinST and Rcl because none of the felt recoil is absorbed by the operation of the action?
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:04 AM   #217
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Default More smokepowder pistols

Unfallen Stars Pirate dag; 51. cal wheellock pistol
Dmg: 2d-1 pi+;
Acc: 1;
Range: 45/400;
Weight: 2/0.035;
RoF: 1;
Shots: 1(20);
ST: 9;
Bulk: -2;
Rcl: 3;
Cost: $620;
Notes: Malf. 15.


A handy pistol with a short 6" barrel, easy to carry slung in the belt. The pistol grip has a distinctive enlargened bulb at the end of the butt, giving +1 to Fast-Draw (Pistol). The weapon fires a 200 grain lead sphere and uses 20 grains of REF 0.8 smokepowder or 32 grains of REF 0.5 smokepowder.


Milvaraune Gnomish Heavy Wheelock Pistol; 60. cal wheellock pistol
Dmg: 2d+1 pi++;
Acc: 2;
Range: 60/630;
Weight: 2.75/0.05;
RoF: 1;
Shots: 1(20);
ST: 10;
Bulk: -3;
Rcl: 4;
Cost: $2,100;
Notes: Fine (Accurate and Reliable (Malf. 16); +1 CF); Robust (+1 CF), Styling +1.


This weapon is often carried by mercant captains and naval officers sailing from ports near Milvaraune. It is also commonly seen in the belts of gnomish warriors and guards, as well as priests of Gond the Wonderbringer around the eastern Inner Sea. The pistol comes with a long 12" barrel of good steel and scratch rifling, the lock shielded from the elements and the barrel decorated with a brass snarling drake's head from which the ball emerges.

Fires a 320 grain lead sphere and uses 30 grains of smokepowder. Using a more powerful charge of 40 grains of smokepowder would result in ST 11 and 3d-1 pi+ dam, Range 70/750 and Rcl 5.
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:35 AM   #218
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

I would think a pistol with two 15in barrels would weigh more than 1.5x a pistol with a single 9in barrel
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Old 09-26-2016, 07:41 AM   #219
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

The perceived recoil difference in firing my Winchester 1400 semi auto shotgun vs firing my Montgomery-Ward single shot break action shotgun is huge
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:01 AM   #220
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Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

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Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
I would think a pistol with two 15in barrels would weigh more than 1.5x a pistol with a single 9in barrel
You're right, forgot to adjust it better in the process of changing other stats.

On the other hand, GURPS Low-Tech pistols do not necessarily differ that much in weight according to barrel length or caliber. After all, empty space inside a barrel doesn't weight very much. :-)

The .56 cal Light Dragoon Pistol has a 9" barrel and weighs 3 lbs. The .65 cal Heavy Dragoon Pistol has a 12" barrel and weighs 3.1 lbs.

I'm arbitrarily deciding that additional pistol barrels add only 50% to Weight and Cost per barrel, as opposed to additional longarm barrels. I'm basing this on LT and HT designs such as the Duck's Foot Pistol, Allen Pepperbox and Deringers, none of which seems to weigh from 85-90% of what 2 or 4 single-barrelled guns of their caliber would weigh.

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Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
The perceived recoil difference in firing my Winchester 1400 semi auto shotgun vs firing my Montgomery-Ward single shot break action shotgun is huge
Indeed. And GURPS assumes this for semi-automatic shotguns, reducing MinST and Rcl compared to other action types.

But is there such a huge difference in perceived recoil between 230 grains of projectile at 850 fps from a semi-automatic pistol and the same ball weight and velocity from a muzzleloading smoothbore?

Should I assume that the MinST and Rcl stats of semi-automatic pistols already assume a -1 or even -2 to MinST and Rcl compared to muzzleloading pistols?

*We might also say 280 grains of projectile at 700 fps, for a heavier and slower load with equivalent momentum.
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