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 04-28-2016, 02:45 PM   #11
Polydamas
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Central Europe
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phayman53 View Post
The [AtE] line assumes that people would initially stabilize at about TL4 in terms of what kinds of new equipment groups could responsibly produce after a civilization ending catastrophe.
I don't think it says that, but that wanderers in the wasteland can make themselves TL 4 kit without too much trouble. The places which have stabilized and organized a few hundred thousand or million survivors produce goods with a higher TL ... but those patches of stability are not the wasteland any more.

I would expect that most of the new revolvers, bolt-action rifles, etc. in the wasteland are imported from settlements, along with new smokeless-powder cartridges. Whether they would go back to black powder or stick with smokeless is a question which the gun geeks on this forum can answer better than I ... there are places in Pakistan and South-East Asia where craftsmen make modern firearms with files and patience, but they rely on supplies of good steel, and don't make the cartridge cases and propellant themselves.
__________________
"It is easier to banish a habit of thought than a piece of knowledge." H. Beam Piper

This forum got less aggravating when I started using the ignore feature
Polydamas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 02:49 PM   #12
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I suspect the most common item will be improvised hand cannon made by rubes who don't know much beyond how to weld and how to make simple explosives. These will probably have matchlock style firing mechanisms.

(SNIP)

Remember the tech in ATE isn't actually TL4 -- that's wealth level and what a wander can keep in use.
I was thinking along the same lines, but rather than match lock the ignition system may have been electric or piezoelectric or at least in enough cases to make life interesting for the PCs.
__________________
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 04-28-2016, 02:54 PM   #13
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
Whether they would go back to black powder or stick with smokeless is a question which the gun geeks on this forum can answer better than I ...
Based on the last discussion, it seems unlikely that nitrocellulose can be safely produced with the tools that ATE would be likely to have access to.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 04:44 PM   #14
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

I think you're misreading that thread, Anthony. You can't make safe, reliable double base or single base powders with TL4 (or 3+1), and you can't make them in any great quality in TL5.

But ATE technology isn't TL4. It's all kinds of tech levels, including scavenged and reproduced TL6 chemical production lines. Most villages can't produce smokeless powders, but it's perfectly reasonable for their to be advanced city state or two that can.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 04:48 PM   #15
phayman53
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
That you believe the above reflects your knowledge base.
First of all, I never said any of this would be easy or automatic, I was asking about what would be possible for people with primarily TL4 capabilities in machines, power, and tools to do with legacy TL8 knowledge of what is possible, the theories on how to do it, and even some practical expertise--as well as academic values like scientific experimentation that did not exist at historic TL4. I was not asking about day 1, year 1, or even decade 1 after the apocalypse, but rather a generation or more--after things had stabilized to some degree (as is the assumption in AtE).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
There are actually many fiddly little things required to turn powdered saltpeter, charcoal and sulphur into even serpentine powder much less the advanced blackpowder that historically went with the minie ball era..

As a simple example even though you can find saltpeter crystals under manure piles what you get that way will be too wet to use without extensive drying and I don't know how that works on any sort of detailed basis. It'd probably require weeks or even moths of experimentation to find out.

Charcoal burning was once reckoned a skilled profession too. There's large quantities of practical experience that has to back up theoretical knowledge.
Except that you are forgetting that there will be people who survive the civilization killing disaster that will know how to make black powder (and many other things) to a much greater degree than we on this forum do. LT pg. 85 points out how relatively easy it is to make black powder, even before TL 3, it says, "The major problem is curiosity: an interest in picking up saltpeter crystals in the first place, purifying them, and mixing them with other substances." Assuming you know to do this, it only requires, in GURPS terms, a Chemistry or Explosives (Fireworks) roll at +4, which indicates that the authors of LT thought it would be relatively routine for someone with these skills. Some survivors of the apocalypse would definitely know the formula for black powder and how to make it (though maybe not with LT tools), so they would have an incentive to experiment on the process with the tools at hand given how useful firearms and explosives are for long-term survival in a hostile environment, especially when there are human (and/or non-human) hostiles. There are also gunsmiths who would survive (with their tools and knowledge), some of whom work on black powder weapons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
If you want a high tech magic trick where little more than knowledge is needed the Heimlich maneuver might be your best bet. Turning natural petroleum into a jellied incendiary that you can probably call "Greek fire" might be your next best bet. Making powder and guns will require skilled hands and not just a head full of knowledge.
There are many other things where head knowledge really is the biggest obstacle. Take Mendelian genetics and scientific cross-breading--that would definitely be useful and is post TL4. The farming examples I discussed do not really rely on higher technology, they rely more on human experience over time alongside some experimentation. Understanding human anatomy and physiology, disease processes, and other things would be helpful even without advanced medical tools and drugs. Boat designs, even for wooden boats, have come a long way and rely heavily on experimentation and practical physics knowledge for both hydro and aerodynamics and do not necessarily require advanced tools.

This is not to say it would not require work or experimentation to put the theoretical (or practical, but higher tech) knowledge to use with TL4ish infrastructure. Rather, what I am saying is that, given that people know what sorts of things to try and what the payoff will be, there should be higher tech things that are likely to be produced within this society that is an odd mix of TL4ish infrastructure but TL8ish knowledge. What I am less sure of is what those things are (specifically for firearms, since this is an RPG), and what technologies really do require total build-ups of technology to support them (such as the obvious example of modern computers).

It seems from other people's answers that muzzle loaders will probably be likely, some of them rifles and some of them muskets. Breech loaders are not out of the question, but are problematic given the difficulties of strong seals. Things like lever actions, revolvers, and bolt actions are more difficult and therefore unlikely except in communities that managed to salvage or preserve, and then maintain, an unusual level of infrastructure.
phayman53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 04:55 PM   #16
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I think you're misreading that thread, Anthony. You can't make safe, reliable double base or single base powders with TL4 (or 3+1), and you can't make them in any great quality in TL5.

But ATE technology isn't TL4.
That's true, but it's also not "large-scale industrial chemical production" TL, it's small-scale chemistry, and that's going to have the same problems.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 04:56 PM   #17
(E)
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New Zealand.
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

From memory you can make nitric acid using a process that uses sulphuric acid. Sulphuric acid is fairly commonly available at industrial purity.

One other thought regarding AtE weapons. If you are dealing with isolated communities there will be no standardization. Community A has a stockpile of 7.62 russian so all there gu s work around that. Community B has lots of half inch stainless pipe so they work with that. Equally you have self taught gunsmith A doing things one way and self taught gunsmith B doing things a different way because they are from different technical backgrounds.

Another thought, how much home made explosives can you get into an aluminium arrow?
__________________
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 04-28-2016, 05:11 PM   #18
johndallman
Night Watchman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by (E) View Post
Another thought, how much home made explosives can you get into an aluminium arrow?
Not much, since if you're willing to double the weight of the arrow, you have a total weight of 3.2oz.

Making a detonator that will reliably go off when it hits a person (fairly soft) and is reasonably safe to carry in a quiver while running and on firing from a bow is not trivial either. A piece of slow-match might work as a time fuse, if it doesn't blow out when the arrow is in flight, and you can judge the length well enough to have it detonate reasonably soon after arriving, rather than taking long enough that it can be put out or thrown away.
johndallman is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 05:31 PM   #19
phayman53
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polydamas View Post
I don't think it says that, but that wanderers in the wasteland can make themselves TL 4 kit without too much trouble. The places which have stabilized and organized a few hundred thousand or million survivors produce goods with a higher TL ... but those patches of stability are not the wasteland any more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
But ATE technology isn't TL4. It's all kinds of tech levels, including scavenged and reproduced TL6 chemical production lines. Most villages can't produce smokeless powders, but it's perfectly reasonable for their to be advanced city state or two that can.
These both make good points--though my understanding of the setting default is that there really isn't anyplace with a few hundred thousand or million survivors working together. But certainly communities large enough for reasonable specialization and innovation are likely a generation or more after the disaster. About the current TL, AtE 1, pg. 29 says:

Quote:
For economic purposes, the world has stabilized at TL4, because TL0-4 gear is relatively easy for small, post-apocalyptic social groups to create and maintain. Thus, while higher-TL gear exists, its effectball value is inflated. Multiply all costs in the Basic Set (or other gear books) by the multiplier shown on the Equipment Cost Table. Note that the GM is within his right to further increase the cost of luxury goods, or any item that he feels should be especially rare – such things can be 2-5x more expensive than what the table suggests!
This certainly indicates to me that some communities will be able to produce better than TL4 stuff, but it will be relatively rare, and therefore expensive. And, based on people's answers on this thread, it seems that this rule should hold up for firearms pretty well, with some exceptions like the minie ball most likely being the standard round for black powder rifles.

Edit: which has really helped because my initial uncertainty was whether people would botber making muzzle loaders (rifle or musket), or if more advanced actions would still be producible enough to make muzzle loaders still infrequent.

Last edited by phayman53; 04-28-2016 at 05:39 PM.
phayman53 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-28-2016, 05:46 PM   #20
SRoach
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Default Re: What kinds of firearms would people start making [After the End]?

I think the real issue with recovering TL won't be the availability of knowledge, and possibly won't be the availability of materials in the long run, (in the short run, they can salvage,) but the availability of hands to do all the work.
It takes a lot of different people, all doing different jobs, to pull off our modern manufacturing base. Even sliding back to TL7 would require a lot of people to sustain.
Consider the lowly lightbulb. The classic tungsten filament bulb is made using a vacuum former from thin sheets of glass. The threaded base is probably aluminum or tin, shaped into the corkscrew shape we know. There's an insulator in the middle, possibly of glass, or Bakelite. The soldier that connects the bulb to the Edison base is likely an amalgam that includes lead and tin. The filament itself is a thin Tungsten wire, manufactured to very high standards.
Copper, Tin, Lead, Tungsten.
Glass. Maybe Bakelite.
What else?
Light bulbs aren't made by a single person, and that's TL7 light bulbs. There is nobody, as far as I know, who goes out to the mines with a rock hammer, and turns that ore, that they collected with their own hands, into completed light bulbs, all by themselves.
TL8, Compact Fluorescent Lights, with their semiconductor ballasts, and even more recent LED bulbs, are even more involved in their manufacture.
The division of labor means only a very large workforce, on the order of millions of people, have a hope of recreating them.
SRoach is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
after the end, firearms, tech levels, world building

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 08:57 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.