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Old 07-29-2014, 12:19 PM   #11
Ulzgoroth
 
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
This is weird. The skill cap, I mean. Ballista bolts are unguided too, but they aren't capped at 9, nor are larger, actual military rockets, such as those on High-Tech 148-150 or Fantasy 144.
Ballista bolts aren't unguided and self-propelled. The combination gives much room for problems, especially when the aerodynamics and thrust of the projectile are not well standardized.

High Tech direct-attack rockets (like the ones launched from helicopter pods) have short enough flight times that I'd argue this approach shouldn't apply regardless.

I don't know whether it should apply to High Tech artillery rockets (of which I think one or two are in the book)...possibly not due to superior engineering. On the other hand, I don't think unguided rocket artillery has ever been a precision weapon.


What a weapon like this really needs is proper rules for saturation attacks. We don't really have a way to say what the consequences are when you volley a lot of explosives into an area. Actually the case of the rocket as written in Low Tech is an exception to that...they're fired singly, so a large volley could be resolved (impractically, but consistently) as a whole lot of individual attack rolls with scatter.



One thing that never, ever can make sense is the cap being impervious to target size. You can't really have better than even odds of missing the entire planet, but taking the rules at face value...
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
What a weapon like this really needs is proper rules for saturation attacks. We don't really have a way to say what the consequences are when you volley a lot of explosives into an area.
GURPS lacks rules for area targets at all.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
GURPS lacks rules for area targets at all.
Suppressive fire kind of is one, but otherwise, yeah.

Despite having stats for a variety of weapons with which it's not actually possible to avoid attacking an area, like automatic grenade launchers and cannon, or rocket pods, or, IIRC, cluster bombs.
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Old 07-29-2014, 12:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
This is weird. The skill cap, I mean. Ballista bolts are unguided too, but they aren't capped at 9, nor are larger, actual military rockets, such as those on High-Tech 148-150 or Fantasy 144.
Primitive rockets aren't simply unguided. They're far worse than that. Have you ever fired a bottle rocket? Those are like the rockets being discussed, except modern bottle rockets are a bit more accurate (more consistent burn and probably a bit less top-heavy). Go to around 7:30 in this video to see a recreation of a man-portable version of Anders' weapon (there's a video somewhere of a recreation of a much larger one somewhere, where you can more readily see how random the dispersion is, but I'm couldn't find it with a quick search).
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Old 07-29-2014, 03:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Primitive rockets aren't simply unguided. They're far worse than that. Have you ever fired a bottle rocket? Those are like the rockets being discussed, except modern bottle rockets are a bit more accurate (more consistent burn and probably a bit less top-heavy). Go to around 7:30 in this video to see a recreation of a man-portable version of Anders' weapon (there's a video somewhere of a recreation of a much larger one somewhere, where you can more readily see how random the dispersion is, but I'm couldn't find it with a quick search).
Absolutely agreed. An argument can be made that these kinds of Low-Tech rockets shouldn't be permitted a "to hit" roll at all. Targets are completely random. There is a reason why they didn't see widespread use in battle. Even the Chinese used them primarily for their demoralising effect - not their ability to inflict casualties.
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Old 07-30-2014, 03:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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According to Medieval Total War 2, the Chinese had lots of rockets connected to a frame, with the fuses timed so that if you light the master fuse, the rockets will go off at more or less the same time. Or the whole thing explodes.

Regardless of whether this is true or not, TL4 rockets according to Low-Tech are unguided, meaning they function as Wild Swings. They get -5 to hit and can have a max skill of 9. They also get a bonus to hit since they have a RoF of more than 1. Can that bonus raise the skill above 9? It seems a little strange that I can fire 300 rockets at someone 2 yards away and have a less than even probability to hit.

Note: I don't really care about whether the Chinese had such a weapon. This is a question of rules and awesomeness.

ETA: Corrected the details according to Varyon.

Use Scatter rules, probably also using Attacking an Area rules too (Which is conveniently next to scatter) on Basic:Characters P.414. The attack is off by a margin based off of the roll, in random directions. Take special care to note that by default you're not using the artillery skill for the Chinese rocket set detailed in Low-Tech. Chances are something will hit him (And the rocket team) with 300 rockets due to of explosive splash with scatter, not to even mention the shrapnel involved (Basic:Characters P.414-415). Shrapnel rules will also shred the man (And the rocket team); literally death by a thousand cuts if you roll well, fittingly enough.

However, simulating it and rolling for everything would be tiresome at best. I'd rule that the dude is gone, except on a critical failure, for simplicity's sake.


As per attacking an area, there's Spraying fire and Suppression Fire rules on Basic-Characters P.409 that detail how to hit multiple hexes. These combined with Scatter, Attacking an Area, and Shrapnel give a very detailed (And lengthy..) exposition of how such an attack will go down.

It's not exactly convenient in terms of speed, but the rules are there.

Last edited by Edris; 07-30-2014 at 03:33 AM.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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Originally Posted by Varyon View Post
Go to around 7:30 in this video to see a recreation of a man-portable version of Anders' weapon (there's a video somewhere of a recreation of a much larger one somewhere, where you can more readily see how random the dispersion is, but I'm couldn't find it with a quick search).
The Mythbusters Build Team tested one. See it fire in this YouTube video at about the 3:57 mark.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:08 AM   #18
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

The Mythbusters team used modern blackpowder rockets and fuses that are far more reliable and even-burning than anything available during the time in question. I'm not sure they would be so quick to say "confirmed" if they tried using genuine TL4 rockets. The contraption they constructed would more likely simply have blown up.
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Old 07-30-2014, 04:51 AM   #19
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

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The Mythbusters team used modern blackpowder rockets and fuses that are far more reliable and even-burning than anything available during the time in question. I'm not sure they would be so quick to say "confirmed" if they tried using genuine TL4 rockets. The contraption they constructed would more likely simply have blown up.
I don't remember watching the episode especially well, but I seem to recall that they hand-made the rockets.
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Old 07-30-2014, 05:56 AM   #20
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Default Re: Rocket Artillery (TL 4)

Still a great difference from using serpentine powder.
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