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Old 07-05-2014, 04:36 AM   #1
johndallman
 
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Default [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

The skill of building, repairing and modifying weapons or armour. Requires specialisation, such as Small Arms, Body Armour, Melee Weapons or Heavy Weapons. The specialisations vary with TL, as do the defaults between them. This is a "build" skill in Design-Build-Use triads, as per B190. It defaults to IQ-5, or the corresponding Engineer specialty, which is what you need to design weapons or armour. Those Engineer specialties also default to Armoury. Connoisseur (Guns) also defaults to Armoury; remember that the reaction roll modifiers for styled weapons (High-Tech p10) only apply to collectors, potential buyers (and possibly serious gun fans), not to everyone who sees them.

B407 describes using Armoury on firearm malfunctions, which can be bought up with the Immediate Action technique (see High-Tech). Repair rules are on B484, and the Intuitive Armourer perk (High-Tech) allows you to maintain one weapon without Armoury skill, as an example of One-Task Wonder (Power-Ups 2: Perks). Action: Exploits gives common activities and uses for the skill in the modern day. Most GURPS books that give templates for fighters include appropriate Armoury specialisations. They seem to generally agree that trained soldiers have a point in Armoury, soldiers expected to operate independently have 2 points, and a professional armourer has 4 points or more. Armoury is an optional skill in many martial arts gun-based styles.

B345 gives equipment modifiers. My experience is that characters either use Armoury very rarely, or a lot, without much middle ground*. If you use it heavily, boosting skill with a quality toolkit or a full workshop (gives +2, as per Action: Heroes p30, High-Tech p24) is very worthwhile, because there are lots of rolls, and critical failures tend to mean bad things happen in dangerous fights. If you can't get to skill 16 that way, take Extra Time (B346). Working on equipment for someone with a different SM gives a penalty (Fantasy p137).

Gun-Fu naturally has a lot about Armoury (Small Arms) for TL6+, including modifiers for weapon upgrade tasks in quite a lot of detail, along with perks, combat moves based on Armoury ... the works. Tactical Shooting covers much of the same ground, but not all of it and has more rules for realistic concerns, like adjusting gunsights. Check with your GM if you should use Gun-Fu or High-Tech rules for upgrading guns, as they aren't the same. High-Tech has much more breadth of coverage. It also has the "Exotic Bullets" and "Handloading and Reloading" boxes, which definitely repay careful study. Hand-matched rounds and drastically upgraded rifles can get you to Acc 9, plu 'scope bonuses, which makes a big difference to hitting at range. I suspect that for exhibition shooters, tuning a rifle and cartridge for one specific distance might let you squeeze in another +1 Acc.

Monster Hunters has some streamlined rules for Armoury (Small Arms) and a longer list of exotic ammunition. Horror has an additional specialisation, Armoury (Esoteric) and rules for using it. Low-Tech adds another specialisation, Armoury (Liquid Projector), deals with variant ammunition in low-tech firearms, and has a little on making low-tech armour, considerably amplified in Low-Tech Companions 2 & 3.

Making useful weapons or armour with spells from Magic or abilities from Powers usually requires Armoury skill. Fitting battlesuits to their user requires appropriate Armoury, too, as per Ultra-Tech. And in a Zombies campaign, you'll need it for salvaging and repairing scarce weapons.

There aren't a whole lot of modifiers or TDMs for Armoury, except for equipment modifiers and some Gun-Fu modifiers for difficult tasks. BAD applies in Action, of course. Simply fitting appropriate accessories and the like is +4 to armoury. However, if you end up using armoury a lot, critically falling a roll will happen eventually, and cause problems.

What bizarre specialisations of Armoury have you used? What cool things have you done with it?

*I bought Armoury up to 15 on a character last weekend so that I could try the skill out in the context of a campaign, and write about it here. So far, I'm upgrading most of the party's pistols and loading hand-matched ammunition for them, getting them to effective Acc 4 instead of Acc 2. And that feels like a really worthwhile use of downtime in a WWII counter-intelligence campaign.

Addendum: Since post-apocalyptic reloading of cartridges is a frequent subject of discussion, it seemed worth noting that Pyramid #3/88: The End is Nigh has a definitive treatment of the subject by S.A. Fisher and Hans-Christian Vortisch.

Last edited by johndallman; 02-21-2017 at 08:04 AM. Reason: Pyramid #3/88
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Old 07-05-2014, 11:49 AM   #2
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

I've seen Armoury show up a great deal in my military sci-fi games involving maintenance of arms and armor (I know Soldier can cover a lot of it, but if you want to go beyond the basics, you need Armoury). But I've never seen it come up when making new weapons, but I don't run games with many inventors.
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Old 07-05-2014, 12:23 PM   #3
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

I recall two uses of it in my games,
A gadgeteer in a Supers game who built all kinds of weapons for himself and the other players. Resulted in an Arms race for awhikle there.

The other was a Musketeers campaign where one guy made a box gun and a number of other minor things. It was highly used to deal with malfunctions as well.
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Old 07-07-2014, 06:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

Well, either Armoury is unusually uninteresting, or I was overly thorough in running down references, and didn't leave much for anyone else to say.
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Old 07-07-2014, 09:47 AM   #5
Mailanka
 
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Well, either Armoury is unusually uninteresting, or I was overly thorough in running down references, and didn't leave much for anyone else to say.
More the latter. I used it a ton, but you already stated what we used it for. Though I will say I've never seen a character who really centered on it, or watched someone pump it up and have other people jealous of him, as I've seen with some other skills. It's not that it isn't useful (a gadgeteer could make some serious use out of it), just that it doesn't seem something people want to really focus on. And in games where people might want to focus on it, you're more likely to see Engineer! than to see, say, Armoury (Heavy Weapons)-20.

EDIT: Though now that I reread your post, I notice you've missed a serious use of Armoury! And I only notice it because I've been tinkering a lot with spaceships. It's the skill you use for repairing vehicular armor and vehicular weapons. This means it's the skill used for repairing certain parts of a starship. Furthermore, an engineer can temporarily boost the output of engines. Now, this has nothing to do with Armoury, but you do this by using the repair skill of the engine (so, like, Mechanic(Subwarp drive) or whatever). If you wanted to have something similar with weapons, like "Overcharge the phasers and FIRE!" then you'd probably use the Armoury (Heavy Weapons) skill. No such rule exists, but I think it would be relatively easy to create a house rule, using the overcharged engines as a model.
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Last edited by Mailanka; 07-07-2014 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:01 AM   #6
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mailanka View Post
EDIT: Though now that I reread your post, I notice you've missed a serious use of Armoury! And I only notice it because I've been tinkering a lot with spaceships.
Yeah. I never try to use RPG spaceship design systems. I find fictional technology beyond the currently-plausibly-foreseeable sufficiently arbitrary that if I'm playing an SF RPG, I prefer to stick to the people-driven parts.
Quote:
If you wanted to have something similar with weapons, like "Overcharge the phasers and FIRE!" then you'd probably use the Armoury (Heavy Weapons) skill.
Makes sense. There are precedents in loading firearms with "hot" charges, as per High-Tech p165. A general rule might be something like "Use appropriate Armoury to increase damage and its side-effects by +10%, with -1 to Malf. For each extra +10%/-1, the Armoury roll is at -2."
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

I have an armoury question and felt this was likely the best place to ask it. Armoury (Body Armor) has a specific note that shields is not covered by it so are shields handled by Armoury (Melee Weapons) instead or would they have their own specialty not listed in the RAW?
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:31 PM   #8
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

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Originally Posted by nerdvana View Post
I have an armoury question and felt this was likely the best place to ask it. Armoury (Body Armor) has a specific note that shields is not covered by it so are shields handled by Armoury (Melee Weapons) instead or would they have their own specialty not listed in the RAW?
Yes. Read the paragraph at Melee Weapons again. See that "as well as all kinds of shields". Personally I'd have no problems in letting you use Body Armor at no penalty too, but some people get upset when multiple skills will cover exactly the same task.
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Old 01-11-2015, 05:34 PM   #9
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

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Originally Posted by malloyd View Post
Yes. Read the paragraph at Melee Weapons again. See that "as well as all kinds of shields". Personally I'd have no problems in letting you use Body Armor at no penalty too, but some people get upset when multiple skills will cover exactly the same task.
Doh! Thanks for pointing that out. Completely missed that.
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Old 01-11-2015, 06:13 PM   #10
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Default Re: [Basic] Skill of the week: Armoury

Making weapons and armor, duh. :)

But seriously, Armoury(small arms) can be used at low levels and with minimal equipment. With a circular saw with a carbide blade, a set of good files, a good drill and a vise, you can make a variety of firearms out of common piping. Oh, a torch helps too.

The simplest zip guns are shotguns or .22s with simple slam-fire pins. You make two lengths of pipe, one the size of the shotgun shell, one slightly larger than the other one, so that they will slide inside each other. Rig up a simple pin set up, load a shell into a barrel, slide it into the reciever(heh), and then slam it back to fire a 12 guage shotgun shell! Poof! That can be done with off the shelf parts from any hardware store(or plumbing store) and wrenches, hammers and nails. And JB Weld. Probably a base time of 4 hours or so to plan and build. It's a single shot weapon that requires a ready action to take apart after firing, a ready action to remove the spent casing, a ready action to draw a casing, and a ready action to load it into the barrel, then another ready action close the breech(HAHAHAHA. "the breech" he calls it..). That's a 1(5) ROF, and a Fast Draw Ammo roll can shave that down to 1(4). No safety, no sights(use a fluorescent zip tie around the barrel with the catch up as a bead if you wanna get fancy), a crude stock at best. It's dirty, nasty and cheap.

But it's also something you can build with a bare minimum of equipment or materials. And if you're a decent shot, turning some pipes and washers into a shotgun is better than using it as a club. It takes a bit of time to do, but it's not hard. Useful if you're playing some sort of "weapons specialist" type who is separated from his firearms for whatever reason. Being able to fashion a crude gun is a useful ability if you are already heavily invested in firearms.

You can also scrape the phosphor off of matchheads and use that as a crude propellent for a muzzle loader built from pipes and wood.

With access to a vise, drill, saw, torch and power, you can make simple single-shot weapons out of pipes and barstock in a day or two with a safety! I wouldn't drop it. Unless you built in an ejector of some sort, it's going to be a ROF 1(5) weapon as well. But it's a little bit safer.

These weapons are not built to very high tolerances and use low pressure rounds. The sloppy tolerances help to keep them from catastrophically failing, as much of the pressure of firing is vented and lost through gaps between the action. This creates a noisy and impressive shot though, with lots of smoke and fury. You're going to get less performance out of these weapons(I'd say atleast -1 per die) for cartridges they can safely handle.

The more time you have, the more you can do. With sufficient time, using nothing more than the aforementioned power drill, torch, power saw and some miscellaneous tools(hammers, screwdrivers, punches, etc) you can manufacture a working gas operated semi-automatic, magazine fed smoothbore rifle. Not ideal, no, but it's better than those jokers trying to use muzzle loaders and those crude pieces of junk I started the thread with.

Armory Melee weapons is good for taking those wall hanger pieces of junk you find in a looted pawnshop and turning them into real weapons. For many of them you can cut off the crappy rat tail tangs and then cur down a portion of the blade to make a true tang, slap some wooden grips on there, then wrap it with wire. It takes about 4 hours for simple modifications.

You can take rebar and heat it up and shape it into survivable spikes or short blades and affixed to hafts or handles for a variety of different weapons.

Armoury can be used to fashion a shank from almost anything. Taking a newspaper and rolling it up, then wrapping it with wire from headphone sets stripped of the rubber insulation will make a rather lethal stabbing implement. heavy enough paper(like poster board) can be folded and taped to make a crude shank that will stab someone. It probably won't kill them, but multiple stabs to the throat would probably prove a point.

Armoury body armor allows you fashion body armor from buckets, street signs and cars with some shears, drills and/or punches, rivets, hammers and plastic. I think you could probably get DR 2-3 from multiple layers cut from plastic buckets, body panels of cars and street signs riveted together. There's my much talked about paper armor(an inch of paper will protect pretty well against a lot of low velocity things), though it is really improvisational(it's going to fall apart, quickly). But there's a lot of everyday stuff that is out there that can be turned into crude armor to protect you from bludgeons and light weapons.

It's a really useful skill, and complemented nicely by scrounging in a survival or post-apocalyptic setting.
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