Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-30-2016, 03:35 AM   #251
Polydamas
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Obviously.

I wasn't saying that Kentucky rifles should have replaced heavier muskets, I was using them as an example of a muzzleloading black powder weapon that used a smaller caliber ball at higher velocities without needing massive barrels to handle high pressures.
Sure, but at the same time, barrel weight is not just about keeping the gun from exploding.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander View Post
Out of self-respect, authors should probably avoid having the stats fly in the face of common sense.

The TL4 Flintlock Carbine is listed as being as accurate as full-size combat rifles like the TL5 Baker rifle while remaining a smoothbore that was as fast to reload as any carbine, fusil or musket, not to mention weighing only 3.9 lbs. and being cheaper than the Baker. When used as a pistol, it has higher Dmg than any muzzleloading pistol of reasonable size listed in a GURPS supplement (equal to the Petronel, which has a 40" barrel and is no handier than a long rifle). It also has Acc 2, higher than a TL5 dueling pistol and equal to the best smoothbore muskets. It's either made out of unobtainium that no other historical weapon can use or the stats are wrong.
Which is why I said, if you don't trust the stats in the book, go research real guns then create your own stats using Doug's damage formula and 19th and 20th century firearms as your benchmarks. I think that Bill Stoddard would have liked to include footnotes in Low Tech (so that he or someone else could go over them again in later years). But the market does not support that. You should have your copy of the playtest mailing list, and I think that SJG maintains a password-protected archive somewhere.

Game authors do their best, but they are limited by house style, by a market which does not reward authors who show how they know what they know, and by being individuals not a whole research team. You were part of the playtest, so you had a chance to ask questions then ... and we are lucky that many people who have spent a lot of time and money researching are willing to write GURPS books for a tiny reward.
__________________
"It is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." H. Beam Piper
Polydamas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2016, 08:27 AM   #252
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
That's true, as I said above even if just keep in to TL4 there is a huge range of results and capabilities within a pretty short period of time.
And TL5 has probably the fastest progression of world-changing technology in history over the latter half of the 19th century.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
True, but steps were also taken to keep the guns form over heating and mishaps when fires at that rate, resting them, wet blankets, swabs etc, etc.
Absolutely true. But with note that firing a personal firearm fast enough and long enough so that you need wet blankets to cool it is likely to end in permanent damage. Cannon were seriously overbuilt for a variety of reasons, among them that it made overheating damage or dangerous accidents rarer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
either way over engineering was a pretty natural tendency when metallurgy wasn't as uniform as it could be (and later would be), and that's not going to change going form big to small.

(although that could be another factor you could tweak in your setting)
I believe I will. Articulated plate and steel-spring crossbows are centuries old technology in the setting. Breastplates and helmets for mercenaries are widespread and cheap enough to make any explanation other than large-scale production of munition plate implausible.

Golems and even more, clockwork creations, imply that powerful mages can easily acquire metallurgy and smithing that would have been considered miraculous at our TL4. Elven steel, dwarven steel, enhanced 'hardened' bronze, orichalum, mithril, adamantine alloys and various other metallurgy-related products imply that there are a lot of high-quality options available for those who want better than TL3-4 steel.

And it's easy to explain advanced metallurgy. Dwarves have an instinct for prospecting and mining, clerics of various Earth gods can commune with rock, stone and mine shaft, Earth elementals can be summoned to help with mining and processing ore, wizards and priests can analyse samples with as much precision as they can understand using simple spells and there are artificer mages who make swords or armour for the purpose of enchantments with purely magical methods, thus learning a great deal about the properties of the metals they use.

Even bombards, rockets and gonnes have more than a century of history in known lands on Toril.* To be sure, at first among isolated cultures and working with very inferior (and dangerous) smokepowder, but there has been plenty of time to learn to work out the kinks in gunsmithing. Spelljamming vessels tend to be secretive about their true nature, but any polity with significant contact with those who sail the phlogiston technically has the possibility of trading with late TL4 / early TL5 smiths with full access to ordinary gunpowder*** and the resulting experience of gunpowder warfare.

The smokepowder weapons coming into use now aren't the first experiments with a new technology. They can rather be said to represent a formerly niche product, pretty much restricted to those who were connected with the Spelljamming world or had some way of getting smokepowder reliably at an economically sustainable price, but that respected master craftsmen are now learning how to make to satisfy increased demand.

*There are also several hundred years of history during a prior age of the decrepit Mulhorandi Empire, but divine politics resulted in some pretty strict bans on most of the more advanced engineering marvels of the Church of Thoth, including all smokepowder weapons. Even general knowledge of this period is now restricted to the upper echelons of the churches and specialised scholars and sages, while the technological knowledge and blueprints are kept as closely guarded secrets by the inner circle of the House of Tholaunt.**
**The hereditary divinely-descended upper priesthood of the Church of Thoth.
***Which works in most places Spelljamming ships visit, even if it does not work on Toril.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Well I think it pretty low velocity and relatively short barrelled for use at close range, also comparing it later elephant guns seems to be a bit unfair ;-)
Fine. The Swivel Gun is also pretty wimpy compared to the Wall Gun, which is much, much lighter, but not all that much less effective.

I'd really like to see a clear gain in effectiveness when going from a powerful man-portable weapon to a mounted one with a crew of 2-3.

I'm okay with poor long-ranged ball performance, but I'd really like to be able to get grapeshot and canister performance that approach historical figures from short-barrelled carronades.

If 24-lb carronades could get around 200 oversized iron balls to over 1600 fps velocity, surely there's some hope for 1-lb and 3-lb swivel guns where the goal is to get from 27-100 lead shot of around a half-inch diameter (heavier for the smaller load) to a similar velocity?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Cool, what is the driving force behind these prices by the way, constituent parts or labour?
Almost exclusively labour for the wizards using magic, a combination of labour and rare parts for the magico-alchemical ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Could work of course it requires judging if that was the thing that stopped the chap from falling over (you could just have missed etc, etc), and your gambling a pretty expensive resource. One of the down sides of this muskets ets was the smoke made it hard to tell immediate effect.
A $250 enchanted bullet is expensive, but not as expensive as a mage, cleric or other champion getting to unleash their awesome-ity on your side.

The PCs pay, feed and house their soldiers very decently. They even have a system of family death benefits and retirement benefits for those crippled during their service. Losing men is expensive.

A soldier with three months of basic training and three months of in-unit apprenticeship is already a $5,000-$10,000 investment in trainers' time, as well as his CoL and salary, depending on his exact unit and background. Add some $5,000-$15,000 of PC-owned equipment he's wearing and carrying* and $10,000 to the family of a dead soldier or to support a crippled veteran, and you're up to pretty high numbers. If the soldier had to be given emergency clerical treatment and perhaps kept in a hospice for a year, one casulty can end up costing as much as $50,000. And that's not even assuming an experienced and valued soldier, NCO or officer.

This may not sound much in modern terms, but I assure you that their war profiteering and shady mercenary dealings would not remain profitable very long if they often suffered massive casualties.

Better by far to spend some money on causing casualties among the opposition and hopefully forcing them to abandon their war in the near future.

*Which they would not charge his family for if it could not be recovered from his dead body.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Actually that's a point I've been assuming smoke powder, creates a lot of smoke when used, in this the case though can we get smokeless smoke powder?
The REF 0.8 version produces much less smoke than the REF 0.3-0.5 versions. This applies especially if it is magically ignited and totally consumed.

The substance was first named 'smokepowder' when it appeared in the first, low-explosive, imperfectly mixed forms, where it ranged from REF 0.2-0.3 and produced a choking cloud of foul smelling smoke. Despite the much better varieties available a century later, the name stuck.

Assuming non-magical guns and ignition, smokepowder guns still produce smoke like black powder firearms, but may perhaps be compared to the amount of smoke seen in the finest modern 'black' powder, with a burn rate and charge matching the barrel length.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Absolutely you could spin it both ways i.e "your nothing but pair of hands for the gun" vs. "look we value you by trusting you with this resource", etc, etc
So far, smokepowder weapons have mostly been issued to experienced soldiers who already had skill in weapons such as crossbow, sword and spear; as well formation fighting, marching, garrison duty and enough combat engineering to build fortified camps.

While it is true that the PCs are looking to equip some new soldiers with them, those new soldiers will still be chosen from the most promising prospects among some 1,500,000 people.*

*And those 1,500,000 being those who have survived the past half century of turmoil, strife and war (full-scale civil war since 15 years ago, invasion and conquest some two years ago), with 6,000,000 being a more reasonable population number for the recruitment area. The very young and the very old have mostly died, anyone unhealthy is dead and the living are pretty well self-selected for mental toughness, adaptability and willpower.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Cool, so the smoke powder itself is the limiting factor, I'm guessing some kid of R&D on that?
Yep and that will improve things slightly, but since there are exotic components involved, it's unlikely that the price will ever be less than terribly high. There are several different alchemical recipies, but all of them have some components that require one to pay extremely courageous adventurers huge sums of money for taking unreasonable risks.

Some known incredients from some of the most well known recipies: powdered beholder eyeballs, sulphur harvested from an active volcano, fire crystals which only appear in one (monster infested) volcano range in the world, red dragon scales, amethyst dragon larynx (powdered), powdered remorhaz heat organs, essence of smoke mephit breath, diamond dust, ashes from the nest of a tshala, etc.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-11-2016, 04:23 AM   #253
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Names for cannons and other ordnance in FR

Code:
Name	 	Diameter		 Shot Weight 	Gun Weight	Notes
Stirge		1.2-1.4 in	3-6 oz.		30-150 lbs. 	Swivel-gun
Naga		1.5-1.8 in	7-14 oz.		45-200 lbs.	Swivel-gun
Manticore	1.9-2.4 in	1-2 lbs.		60-330 lbs. 	Swivel-gun
Bantam		1.2-1.4 in	3-6 oz.		200-300 lbs.
Dragonet 	2.4-2.9 in 	2-3 lbs.		150-350 lbs.	Swivel-gun
Serpentine	1.5-1.8 in	7-14 oz.		300-400 lbs.
Harpy 		2.6-3.1 in 	3-4 lbs.		330-660 lbs.	Light gun
Falconet		2.0-2.5 in	1-2 lbs.		500-700 lbs.
Peryton 		3.3-3.6 in 	5-6 lbs.		500-900 lbs.	Light gun
Falcon 		2.6-3.1 in 	3-4 lbs.		670-1,200 lbs.
Medusa 		8-8.5 in 	20-30 lbs.	500-1,500 lbs.	Thayan bombard(L)
Saker 		3.3-3.6 in 	5-6 lbs.		910-2,000 lbs.
Wyvern 		4.5 in 		12 lbs.		1,350 lbs.	Light gun
Drake 		4.1 in 		9 lbs.		1,500 lbs.	Light gun
Wyrmling		5.1 in 		18 lbs.		2,000 lbs.	Light gun
Eagle 		4.1 in 		9 lbs.		2,500 lbs.
Dragon 		5.65 in 		24 lbs.		2,700 lbs.	Light gun
Griffon 		4.5 in 		12 lbs.		3,600 lbs.
Roc 		5.1 in 		18 lbs.		4,500 lbs.
Basilisk 	12-12.5 in 	60-90 lbs.	1-8 tons		Thayan bombard(H)
Prices for a 'typical' example of each gun, from most to least expensive:

Basilisk --- $700,000
Dragon --- $425,000
Wyrmling --- $275,00
Medusa --- $225,000
Wyvern --- $220,000
Drake --- $150,000
Roc --- $130,000
Peryton --- $110,000
Griffon --- $100,000
Eagle --- $75,000
Dragonet --- $70,000
Harpy --- $60,000
Saker --- $35,000
Falcon --- $20,000
Falconet --- $13,500
Serpentine --- $7,500
Bantam --- $5,000
Manticore --- $3,500
Naga --- $2,000
Stirge --- $1,500

Note that none of these are exactly common and some of the larger cannon exist only as the work of a few master craftsmen or even only in prototype.

The magical versions of the Thayvian bombards are not available for purchase by anyone not in the service of the Red Wizards. There exist alchemical emulations of their bombards (these are at the higher ends of the weight range given), but the prices might be much higher and the effectiveness might be less.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 10-15-2016 at 07:32 PM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-13-2016, 04:01 AM   #254
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Cannon in FR

For the most part, cannon are not widely used in the Forgotten Realms. Bombards have been known for over a century, but early examples compared unfavourably to mages as weapons of destruction and accidents* around early experiments left a lasting prejudice against smokepowder among many people. Only in the last 15 years did that begin to change, with a combination of divine backing for the development of guns and the introduction of reliable, relatively safe smokepowder and handguns.

Large smokepowder weapons remain under-represented in the Forgotten Realms. Individual craftsmen and engineers may build marvellous examples, but the cost of smokepowder is so astronomical that no polity has been willing to adopt a military technoogy that requires the expenditure of many pounds of it per shot at the enemy.

A master bronzesmith in the service of the Selkirk family of Sembia has for the fifteen years made some dozens of falcons and sakers to arm privateering ships owned by the family and their allies and business partners, as well as developing prototypes of heavier bronze guns, but not many buyers for such big guns exist. Being early designs, these Sembian guns are extremely long-barrelled and heavy. Experiments have revealed that with carefully cast bronze guns that have been magically checked for quality and consistency, it is not necessary to use such massive weight of metal. In addition, more consistency in smokepowder quality means that barrel length of 30 times caliber is not actually necessary for the propellant to burn up.

Six years ago, a Lantanese alchemist and engineer built the first 9-pounder 'Drake', a light, but powerful bronze gun with a 6' long barrel. The island of Lantan is extremely unusual in that its small navy is extensively armed with smokepowder weapons and the 9-pounder Drake was adopted as standard armament for the most powerful Lantanese ships. Copies or stolen cannon were quickly adopted as chase guns by several pirate ships in the Nelanther Isles and wealthy privateers from Luskan, Baldur's Gate and (illegally) Waterdeep.

Lighter bronze guns of this new light pattern, such as 'Harpies' and 'Perytons', emerged from Lantan shortly thereafter. In 1370 DR, a light 12-pounder with only a 5' long barrel, dubbed the 'Wyvern', was the subject of intense public interest in the Tashalar after a marvellous schooner put into port with three pirate prizes and reports of burning a flotilla of piratical vessels under a pirate 'Admiral'. It was reportedly not built in Lantan, but the design principles behind this light 12-pounder are clearly analoguous to the high-quality bronze guns coming from there.

The absolute height of smokepowder weapon technology are the new Lantanese 24-pounder 'Dragon' and its slightly smaller cousin, the 18-pounder 'Wyrmling'. These are short, like the Wyverns, only 13 calibers in barrel length, but they fire their huge round iron balls at low supersonic velocities and can penetrate the hull of any ship afloat at a thousand yards. So far, the Lantanese navy has only fielded a single prototype 'Dragon' chase gun on a new ship designed to fire a single powerful cannon, but they have adopted four of the slightly smaller 'Wyrmlings' on their four most powerful existing ships.

Another exception to the limited military impact of cannon in FR are Thayvian bombards. Not only do the Thayvians themselves use them fairly extensively, but they even supply inferior versions of them to pirates on the Sea of Fallen Stars, their allies in Mulmaster and 'freedom fighters' in Unther.

Thayvian bombards are closer to late 18th century or early 19th century howitzers or mortars than they are to historical bombards. Muzzle velocity is low and fire at moving targets is difficult. Metal shells filled with Alchemist's Fire can reap terrible destruction aboard ships that sail within firing range, however. The Thayvians also like to use magical shells that unleash area of effect destructive spells on impact. Fireball shells are popular, but perhaps the most terrible one is the Cloudkill one, which kills by means of a lethal toxic gas.

Thayvian bombards exist in three versions. There is the magical version, the manufacture of which is a highly controlled secret of the ruling class of Thay, the Red Wizards. These bombards are less than 10 years old. These are very light for the weight of shot, the light model weighing only 500 lbs. and throwing a shell of 20 lbs. or a stone projectile of 30 lbs. They also don't require any propellant, as they propel their projectiles magically. This obviously means a great saving, enough to allow Thay to arm their navy with light bombards and even spend massive resources on magical shot. So far, no one outside Thay has managed to reverse-engineer their magical construction process and it may be that this is impossible for any power that does not have the wizardly resources and organisation of Thay.

Then there is the older (dating back to at least 1350 DR), now the 'export' version**, which is an alchemical weapon, but not a smokepowder one. It instead uses a liquid propellant which seems to be related to Alchemist's Fire, but burns faster, fast enough to propel low-velocity bombard shot. The REF of the explosive liquid is 0.5, which is lower than smokepowder, but it is much more efficient in short-barrelled bombards than even fine grained smokepowder. Maximum velocity is achieved using only about 1/12th of the weight of shot. Even with the cost of $1,000 per pound of the substance, this means that shells filled with Alchemist's Fire can be worth firing, especially considering what they do to ships.

Most of these liquid propellant bombards are quite heavy and mounted in seaside fortresses with fixed aiming points, to defend approaches to the ports. An ally of the PCs, however, is experimenting with using the liquid propellant for 12-lb to 24-lb short-barrelled, low-velocity cannon, much like historical carronades.

The third variety is an unlicensed copy using smokepowder, which emerged in 1359 DR, shortly after some priests of Gond were able to investigate Thayvian bombards among the pirates of Immurk's Hold. These bombards are mostly used by pirate lords out of favour with Thay, most of whom rarely fire the weapons, due to the massive cost of the smokepowder. These bombards range in quality from dangerously amateurish to quite good.

Light guns of up to 3-lb are usually enough to threathen ships on the Inner Sea. While no navy fields smokepowder cannon of any size, a fair number of Calauntan, Mulmastran and Sembian vessels have one or two small guns for emergencies. Such small guns also have applications for monster hunting and pintles and traversing firing platforms for such guns are unusually advanced for a TL4 world. Swivel-guns are particularly popular among adventuring sailors for shooting down flying monsters, competing with muskets, wall guns and heavy bore rifles in that role. This is particularly effective if combined with a ship's mage or enchantments, as that enables much more accurate fire at longer ranges, as well as lethal explosive shells with magical fuses.

The 3-lb 'Dragonet' is a Thayvian swivel-gun using the same liquid propellant as Thayvian bombards, which has been rushed into service in the Thayvian fleet in the current year, 1373 DR, as dragon attacks have increased dramatically, due to an ongoing 'Rage of Dragons', some sort of magical effect which drives dragons insane with fury. The Dragonet is longer-barrelled (in comparison with caliber) than Thayvian bombards and operates at the maximum velocity possible with the alchemical liquid propellant, around 900 fps. Loaded with grapeshot, it is a potent deterrent for the smaller types of dragon, and firing solid cannonballs or a magical bomb, it can theoretically seriously wound or kill even a big dragon at short range.

*Not actually accidental. Mages can be conniving rascals and some of them do not like anything that allows the common people anything approaching the power of wizards.
**Only supposed to be supplied to a few 'trusted' allies of Thay, such as certain factions among the pirate lords of the Sea of Fallen Stars and the most effective forces fighting Mulhorand in Unther.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!

Last edited by Icelander; 10-13-2016 at 05:36 AM.
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-14-2016, 08:56 AM   #255
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Sure, but at the same time, barrel weight is not just about keeping the gun from exploding.
True enough, but a barrel strong enough to contain the explosion of the propellant is a fair benchmark for the minimum level of engineering sophistication and weight of material needed to make a firearm of a given power.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Which is why I said, if you don't trust the stats in the book, go research real guns then create your own stats using Doug's damage formula and 19th and 20th century firearms as your benchmarks. I think that Bill Stoddard would have liked to include footnotes in Low Tech (so that he or someone else could go over them again in later years). But the market does not support that. You should have your copy of the playtest mailing list, and I think that SJG maintains a password-protected archive somewhere.
I've been trying to work out if Doug's damage formula works for smoothbore cannon firing roundshot or if there's some factor that's not accounted for that overrates damage for them.

The spreadsheet gives the 12-pounder Napoleon 6dx7 pi++ instead of the 6dx5 pi++ that it is statted with in GURPS High-Tech. Before using the spreadsheet for cannon damage, then, I need to work out how to get the model to be consistent with that (presumably realistic) canon Dmg for cannon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Game authors do their best, but they are limited by house style, by a market which does not reward authors who show how they know what they know, and by being individuals not a whole research team. You were part of the playtest, so you had a chance to ask questions then ... and we are lucky that many people who have spent a lot of time and money researching are willing to write GURPS books for a tiny reward.
To my regret, I was not able to address all the areas of Low-Tech that needed addressing during the playtest. It seems that GURPS Vehicles 3e was used to stat ships and artillery, both mechanical and black powder. I knew that the results diverged fairly severely from reality with ships and I pointed this out at some length, but as I was not currently using artillery much for my campaign during the playtest, I did not go over the artillery stats well enough.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2016, 06:40 PM   #256
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Heh, Ok I;m going to split this post off as it is a bit of a tangent, and I don't want to get this response too bogged down the more thread relevant stuff.
How easy it is to recruit and train people who can use ST 11-13 weapons is at least somewhat related to the subject of the thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Well given navy seals are what a two and a thousand chaps selected and culled through an intensive vetting process from an armed service that numbers a million+, which itself sits within a country with potential a recruitment population of up to a hundred million and benefits of C20th training and selection processes. (As do the navy seals themselves once they make the grade). So I'd say no, historical heavy infantry in general and navy seals are in no way analogous in this regard.
Kromm seems to have used 'Navy SEALS' as shorthand for 'really elite soldiers'. I doubt he was going for an exact correspondance. In any case, most of what makes Navy SEALs rare has little to do with their physical strength. It's true that GURPS assigns the average Navy SEAL ST 12, but that's simply because any human male of a reasonable size (i.e. no smaller than 5'6" or so) who has the willpower and mental discipline to be selected as a SEAL will develop at least ST 12 as a natural consequence of his training and lifestyle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
To make a historical comparison one for the historical societies that woudl have been most able to select and train with concerted effort was the roman empire (but still not in the same league as the Modern day US in terms of methodology).

The total population of the roman empire at it's height seems to be between 50-90m so even if we divide the highest by 3 to get recruitment population (which I did to get the US one) for elite infantry we end up with 30m significantly less than the current US one. Were each legion was approx 5k men. Not that I have problem with exceptional legionary's having ST12 or higher it's just they will be increasingly exceptional and not the norm.
ST 12 for encumbrance purposes will certainly be the norm, otherwise you'd have to give them all Move 8+ for them to be able to march at anything even approaching historical speeds over the five hours per day that they did.

On the other hand, note that the Roman legions specifically aren't the type of 'heavy infantry' that Kromm was talking about. Roman legions are heavy infantry in the sense of Mass Combat, but they do not wield heavy weapons that require ST 12+.

Those who do are the Varangian guard with axes, Swiss guard with halberds, doppelsoldners (double-pay experts in mercenary companies with ten years or more of longsword training) with two-handed swords, etc. They are tiny minorities even among the comparatively small percentage of the populations who can be accounted as professional warriors and it is very reasonable to assume that people would not be numbered among them if they could not manage the weapons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Personally I view a ST of 10 as being the average result for a reasonably average healthy diet and exercise regime. These discussions only ever seem to see ST10 as the possible starting point for rather than the average point (possibly an artefact of how we create characters in GURPS!)
GURPS Attributes aren't entirely inborn and they certainly aren't static. ST less than any other. ST 10 is average for largely sedentary modern adult males, who are very well fed and extremely tall compared to earlier, more active populations. In general, smaller and less well fed males of earlier times will also average ST 10, because they are much more accustomed to physical exertion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
On top of this historically armed forces we're just not groomed and selected like this most of the time. Yes you might have occasional elites with extensive training, to call on but that was the exception, both in terms of numbers and context. Now this changed over time, but it took a long time.
A centralised government setting up camps and extensively training soldiers was a new development in Early Modern Times, only partially matched by the Roman legions. But that's not to say that there weren't alternative systems in place before that. In the main, those were cultural, with elite military units being recruited from social classes and populations where certain training to arms was expected of male youths.

The lifestyles of certain groups of people were designed, consciously and unconsciously, to train boys and young men to be elite soldiers in certain traditions. The games and sports they engaged in while boys were military training; the hunting and riding they delighted in as young men in peacetime were continuing military education.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Then we get into the point that sadly throughout history an awful lot of soldiers arrived on the battlefield, hungry, exhausted or sick. Or a combination of all three, and this was often a decisive factor for performance. The Crimean war was famously the first war were death by disease didn't out match death by enemy action (or was it the last one that did, I can't quite remember).
This is true, but most soldiers who have used weapons with ST 12+ in combat have been imperial, papal or royal bodyguards, specialists with certificates for years of training at arms paid at double rates or similar elites. The Varangian guard or mercenary doppelsoldners would eat much better than Status -1 common soldiers and would less commonly be subjected to the rigours of campaign life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
So yes even you have ST12 at peak condition back home in your castle sleeping in you own bed, chances are you won't after only a pretty short time on campaign.
Many humans have a pretty remarkable way of developing enough physical strength to cope with the exertions of their daily lives. Soldiers on campaign have always carried a ridiculous amount of gear compared to what an average person would accept for a hike, but they somehow manage to adjust and be able to perform even with these huge weights.

In GURPS terms, that's higher ST, either just Lifting ST or general ST. I wouldn't hesitate to give the average soldier +1 or +2 Lifting ST, but the elites who are chosen to wield special weapons, like two-handed swords or halberds, will simply have higher ST than the average soldier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
We seem to assume that all soldiers had the raw ST to match the MinST of their weapons. This is a huge assumption, I think more realistically some weapons where just harder to wield in certain ways, and so a lot of halbardiers may well have been suffering a -1 to hit etc. The former assumption is based on a perfect world that really didn't (hell still doesn't) exist in war, reality in war is much more making the best of less than perfect situations.
The extra 1 FP cost for fighting a battle with a weapon that's too heavy means that it's profoundly dangerous and stupid to use a weapon that doesn't match the physical strength of the character. Either he'll end up delaying everyone else while they wait for him to recover from exertion or he'll enter a negative feedback loop where he'll have less FP than his fellow soldiers at the start of battles, this will reduce his ST further and action will cost him proportionally more of his waning endurance, until he's no use to man or beast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
This also leaves aside the point specific training tends to give specific results, so I find the idea of a well trained halberdiers having a the big hands perk to offset the The MinST deficit rather than training tp fight with halberds suddenly giving them all the benefits a blanket +1 to ST would give. (not that I assume they all be 8st weakling either of course)
I agree, but I'd use such Perks to ensure that elite troops did not just meet the minimum ST for their chosen weapon, but could continue to use it even when less than 100% fresh and rested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomsdad View Post
Lasts and not least, how weapon weight and MinST works.

First off the weights of these weapons even in LT are historically speaking too high (Dan Howard has said this, beofre you take my word for it). Secondly I think BL and MinST give conflicting results here. A ST13 chap can lift with both hands 270lbs above his head without effort for as long as he likes, you're telling me he can only just use a Halbard that weighs 4% of that without penalty?
I agree that weapon weights can sometimes be a bit too high. On the other hand, I don't really have a problem with assuming that people can only fight effectively with a melee weapon that weighs a small fraction of the maximum weight they can lift over their head.

Also, note that just because there is no FP cost listed for a single lift of maximum press over a character's head, it should not be assumed that this is effortless and can be done for an infinity. Moving at full move, punching at full power or shooting a warbow on a combat time scale doesn't cost FP for each individual action either, but it's nevertheless extremely tiring. It's just less tiring than redlining the system so hard that it will render you unconscious in less than half a minute, which is what the rules for lifting heavier weights than 12xBL imply.

There aren't any generic rules in GURPS for assessing FP costs for physical effort over time, but I'd personally look at the Digging, Running and Swimming rules to adjudicate extended lifting or dragging.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2016, 02:26 AM   #257
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Recoil padding

In the absence of rubber, what is a good material at TL3-4 for making the end of stocks softer and better at absorbing felt recoil?

Curved wood stocks like Pennsynvania long rifles really hurt with a decent caliber and even a fairly normal musket stock is less than comfortable with heavy bullets at the upper range of historical black powder velocities.

Leather or fabric are possibilities, but I'd want something that was possible to keep fairly dry and clean with proper care and wasn't a breeding ground for diseases. Something that would be suitable for shipboard service.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2016, 04:56 AM   #258
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Semi-disposable cork but plates, leather you have mentioned but maybe laminated or stuffed with horse hair or wool. Another possibility would be complex basket weaves of hemp/sisal/linen rope. Oilskin or oiled canvas with padding.

A more complex leaf spring maybe, torsion and compression springs for that matter.

Alternatively padding could be part of a soldier/sailor/marine's uniform.

Horn might work but it may be too susceptible to water damage

Just ideas anyway
__________________
Waiting for inspiration to strike......
And spending too much time thinking about farming for RPGs
Contributor to Citadel at Nordvörn
(E) is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2016, 08:27 AM   #259
Nereidalbel
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Ellicott City, MD
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Natural rubber has been in use since prehistoric times. In a setting where alchemy is actually a thing, somebody would have tried adding sulfur and heat along the way, and you should have vulcanization available. If it counts as a Trade Secret, adjust the price as necessary.
Nereidalbel is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-18-2016, 08:35 AM   #260
Icelander
 
Icelander's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Iceland*
Default Re: Emerging smokepowder weapons in my fantasy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nereidalbel View Post
Natural rubber has been in use since prehistoric times. In a setting where alchemy is actually a thing, somebody would have tried adding sulfur and heat along the way, and you should have vulcanization available. If it counts as a Trade Secret, adjust the price as necessary.
That's true. But natural rubber, while it exists in the setting, exists nowhere closer than some 6,000 nautical miles over monster-infested, mostly uncharted oceans. There is actually a possibility of alchemists buying some from better known places, as there is a 15,000 mile torturous trading route in existence to places where rubber grows, but as of now, the PCs have no knowledge of rubber or specific interest in it.

When they do, it will probably be for mechanical artillery. Padding will have to be made from something locally available for the time being. The climate locally is Mediterranean Levantine, more or less.
__________________
Za uspiekh nashevo beznadiozhnovo diela!
Icelander is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
cabaret chicks on ice, forgotten realms, low-tech, mass combat

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:28 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.