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Old 04-08-2012, 08:44 PM   #1
graham_s
 
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Default Developing Azoth-7

Hey Guys/Gals,

I'm toying with the idea of running a campaign set on Azoth-7, and since there's only a couple pages of published material on that setting, I'm having to fill in quite a lot of details myself. There's one area where I've hit a bit of a snag in terms of design, though.

The description of Azoth-7 in Infinite Worlds mentions rubies from Regulus that make cannons of holy flame. This sounded quite cool to me, and I decided that it would be even cooler if you could make small arms with those rubies. Now, I could treat these basically as fireball-shooting wands that happen to have a trigger on them, but I don't like that idea. I want them to feel like a product of the same industrial design that produced the mundane firearms that the PCs are using, but with different sorts of strengths and limitations.

With that in mind, I came up with these principles: first, that the Regulan rubies are effectively the ammunition that these guns use, and each ruby gets you several hundred shots. Second, the process of firing these weapons produces a great deal of heat, and managing that heat so that the barrel of your gun doesn't melt is the weapon's limiting factor in a firefight. Third, since the setting is TL 4+2, the heat limitation should restrict the use of these weapons approximately as much as ammunition concerns restrict use of TL 6 guns.

So for example, the Browning Hi-Power has a RoF of 3 and a clip of 13+1 (3), so after five or so rounds blazing away with the thing you have one to three rounds of downtime reloading. My goal with the heat management system would be to have a flame pistol that's roughly analogous to the Browning have a similar ratio of uptime to downtime.

The challenge for me has been to actually come up with a system for all of this. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could start?
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Old 04-08-2012, 10:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

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The challenge for me has been to actually come up with a system for all of this. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I could start?
You could just assign a maximum number of consecutive shots, based on the mass of the barrel and power output of the ruby. Each second spent not firing reduces the heat by X "shots". For example, a typical pistol might have Heat Capacity 12 and Cooling 4, meaning after a dozen shots it has to wait three seconds to fire again. However, that means that the shooter could let it cool only partially, and just keep firing.

An alternate is to do something similar, by have the gun's Malfunction rating go down as heat increases. An "overheating" result would mean the gunman would have to wait for the barrel to cool completely before firging, while a more severe malfunction could melt the barrel! They are likely to carry barrel replacements for such an occurance.

Either way, I expect to see Gatling-style guns used to increase fire rate by spreading the heat build-up between multiple barrels. This might be limited to mounted guns, or infantry may deploy with 3- or 4-barrel portable versions.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

Thanks for the suggestion. That's pretty close to what I was thinking, though I don't think I could have articulated it as well as you did.

As for the Gatling versions, I think that's an excellent idea. I could definitely see them deployed as a sort of squad support weapon. I don't know if I'd go so far as to have individual rifles that function that way- in my head, the whole alchemical revolution the setting has undergone has left the field of mechanical engineering a bit retarded relative to what you might otherwise expect from a TL 4+2 society, and I think shrinking the Gatling-type mechanism down to a level where it could be used as a shoulder arm is probably a bit beyond their capabilities. Though perhaps the Prussians have something like that in the works....
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:15 AM   #4
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

Something else to consider is single-shot high-powered sniper guns, which are intentionally designed to burn out the barrel when fired, similar to some fictional one-shot railguns. They could even discharge the entire capacity of the ruby with one firing. Perhaps something about this process allows them to gain range and armor penetration, but keeps their damage at a reasonable amount. This should prevent them from being too potent, restricting them to dedicated sniping or light anti-armor use, sort of a cross between a .50 sniper rifle and LAW.

What sort of armor or vehicles will be available in the setting? I could picture anything from armored knights on horseback, to mana-powered AFVs with gatling rubyguns. Your description of their stagnated engineering tech makes me thing old-school might be a good fit, though. Perhaps a Civil War or early WWI feel, with massed riflemen in relatively mobile formations (compared to Napoleanic-era Line Infantry, at least) and occassional cavalry or dragoons, armed with saber and carbine.

Last edited by vierasmarius; 04-09-2012 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 04-09-2012, 01:24 AM   #5
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

Oh, another thought. What sort of artillery will be used? Presumably there are large-scale ruby guns, but they sound like direct-fire beam weapons, preventing them from using high angle indirect fire. Without some gunpowder analog, the only artillery available would be trebuchets and catapults, though they may have magical payloads available.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:25 AM   #6
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

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Oh, another thought. What sort of artillery will be used? Presumably there are large-scale ruby guns, but they sound like direct-fire beam weapons, preventing them from using high angle indirect fire. Without some gunpowder analog, the only artillery available would be trebuchets and catapults, though they may have magical payloads available.
Oh, there is definitely gunpowder. Per the book, Azoth-7 diverged from Homeline during Isaac Newton's life, so conventional cannons are definitely a thing.

I'm thinking that most guns in my version of the setting will essentially be Napoleonic era rifles firing lead balls. The difference is that instead of black powder, the ball is propelled by an alchemical reaction that occurs when the gun's hammer strikes an alchemically sensitive plate. I'm also thinking that most of them will be repeating- I'm envisioning a tubular magazine running below the barrel, though I'm not really sure how the feed mechanism would work. Lever action seems like the way to go, since that seems to be what the earliest repeating rifles used. Again, the concept here is to make weapons that are roughly equivalent to TL 6 guns while emphasizing that most of the improvement over TL 5 weapons has come from innovations in alchemy rather than improved mechanical engineering.

As an aside, I think pistols will also be lever action repeaters, just because I think the idea of a character dual-wielding lever action pistols with the One Armed Bandit perk would be ridiculously cool.

If any of the resident gun and/or physics geeks can think of reasons why the above would be ridiculous or unfeasible, do please let me know =)
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:35 AM   #7
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

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What sort of armor or vehicles will be available in the setting? I could picture anything from armored knights on horseback, to mana-powered AFVs with gatling rubyguns. Your description of their stagnated engineering tech makes me thing old-school might be a good fit, though. Perhaps a Civil War or early WWI feel, with massed riflemen in relatively mobile formations (compared to Napoleanic-era Line Infantry, at least) and occassional cavalry or dragoons, armed with saber and carbine.
I haven't really thought much about vehicles. I want the space-faring ships to retain the feel of TL-5 ocean-going vessels, though that is obviously going to take an absurd amount of hand-waving. I think there are probably train equivalents available, though I don't have any ideas yet about how they might work. Beyond that, I think people mostly ride horses, though perhaps there are a handful of alchemical cars in the works.

Otherwise, yeah, I'm thinking the major powers have armies that are basically at the Edwardian era in terms of development. They have fairly modern weapons, but they retain a lot of 19th century affections like colorful uniforms and a tactical emphasis on massed manpower. It seems like the major engagements in the setting's history were primarily naval, so I don't think they've had an experience like the Great War to strip them of their outmoded practices.
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Old 04-09-2012, 02:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Developing Azoth-7

Well, unless you're going to be running a heavily military game, you can probably leave things like artillery and dedicated military vehicles in the background.

For space flight, you could check out some of the designs in Spaceships 7. The Ether Steamship and Ironclad (TL5+2) seem like they could be appropriate, just replacing the steam power with mana engines, and the cannon with Heat Rays. The Star Galleon (TL4^) could represent a more primitive design, used by some of the less industrial powers.
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