General Guns of War Discussion

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Jard
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General Guns of War Discussion

I figured I'd wait until somebody else made a post about guns of war, but nobody made one so I'm posting now!  I also wasn't entirely sure where to post this, so I went with D@W since this was a stretch goal of that project.  This is a mix of comments/questions/speculations and a few potential typos if I see any (I thought I did but now I can't seem to find them on the most recent pass of the document).

-Muskets: they don't appear to offer any advantage over an arquebus. As far as I can tell they do the same damage, have the same range, same rate of failure, and they cost/weigh more.

-Rate of Failure: is this a d% that has to be rolled with each attack? or is it meant to be only rolled on a 1?  This seems like an annoying extra level of fiddlyness.  I would personally consider instead apply the failure rate to the bottom 1-X of a d20, although that does prevent the failure chance from negatively affecting what would have been a hit.

-If the whole point of guns is that they're easier to use, why do only already skilled combatents get to use the best kinds? Maybe I just secretly wanted mages with muskets too badly.  I guess in the long run they're only losing a scant few improvements to their attack throw over a normal man, and by then they'd be casting more spells anyway, just my thoughts.

-What do we imagine the typical dungeon configuration is going to be like now, assuming people bother with guns at all in the dungeon?  Will everyone have pistols ready in the front, arquebuses/muskets in the back, shoot once and then drop/stow and draw swords/spears?  Will some people stay exclusively melee? Will a dedicated ranged character still bother with guns or will they stick to bows?

-Maybe this is a little too World of Warcraft, but I'm surprised there's no consideration for ogres or possibly giants using cannons, either as personal arms or having them strapped to their backs. You can't tell me the idea of a giant/troll/ogre with a cannon strapped to his back, being climbed over by his kobold/goblin crew, doesn't excite you?

-How would you go about wanting to have traditional levels of availability, but with dwarves being better than most at gunpowder.  This is in contrast to them being the exclusive purveyors of gunpowder weapons. Or is that probably a bit too much work over just using the dwarven gunpowder rules as is?

-it seems like for personal firearms the gist is that Early-> Matchlock only, Middle->Matchlock for troops, Wheellock for rich adventurers, Late->Flintlock for everyone?  I kind of like the idea of the cost of a gun being a progression factor where adventurers get to experience being able to afford increasingly superior weaponry. Would it break assumption too much to set a game in the middle era with Flintlocks being available at a price even higher than wheellock?

 

Alex
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As a reminder (and as noted in the credits), the Guns of War rules were based on the firearms rules in Lamentations of the Flame Princess. 

The difference between arquebus and muskets is that arquebuses only ignore 5 points of armor at short range while muskets ignore 5 points of armor at any range.

I presented the misfire rules as they appeared in LOTFP. Rate of failure can be rolled separately or treated as a natural roll of 1 (or 2). 

Jard
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aha! a subtle but important difference to note, I can see how I missed that.  Thanks for that clarification.

Yeah, I think I would favor failure rates tied to the low end of the d20, not unlike how the Pathfinder game does it, over the extra percentile roll.

Would it be opening pandora's box, since you mentioned the rules being from LotFP, how you might have done things differently if you were writing the rules from scratch?

Alex
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It's not something I've given thought to. It likely would have come out quite similar. Perhaps some marginal differences in rate of fire, range, or damage. 

jedavis
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Some thoughts:

Dungeon configuration: Melee vs guns: does strength bonus apply to firearm damage? That might locally influence decisions of high-strength-low-dex characters (Firearm cleaving is also never addressed in G@W). I think there's definitely an argument to be made that firearms behind the 2nd row don't make any sense; with a bow or dart you can sort of justify arcing the shot, but you can't with a firearm and friendly fire becomes a hazard. The utility of the shield wall in front depends on whether your opponents also have firearms. Having pistols-and-polearms (man that would be a good name for a game) in the second rank seems to make sense, especially with the morale impact of gunfire and the light weight of pistols (... although probably also hearing loss, in a confined stone dungeon corridor). Muskets don't seem utile for dungeoneering if their primary advantage is range at the cost of encumbrance. Arquebus are alright, but matchlocks nix stealth and the extra range probably isn't worth it for the weight most of the time.

I am on board with carried artillery, though I'm not sure whether that would make accuracy worse or better...

You could give dwarven weapons a "tech up" from early to mid-era or mid-era to late, with appropriate increases in cost and reduced availability.

wmarshal
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It's hard for me to really see firearms from the Guns of War eras really being able to cleave. It's somewhat of a stretch with crossbows for me already. I don't they they're really the weapons of individual heroes, but  are used by common soldiers fighting in formations to counter the advantages of armored cavalry. I could see characters using gunpowder to make bombs in certain situations, and I can see integrating Guns of War with an ACKS campaign, but guns seem to be of limited use for any small party of dungeon crawlers. Carrying a 1 stone weapon to fire and drop seems like a lot of weight to carry around to just shoot 1 round   in a combat.

I might be missing something. I'm not real familiar with the history of the time period that Guns of War is based on. Were their any famous gunfighters from era? 

jedavis
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Mm, true, the opportunies for bombing in dungeons are pretty good. Stats for smaller bombs would be pretty useful, actually.

And that one shot is so, so good. Up to +5 to hit against heavily-armored targets means they're useful against strong, heavy opponents (dragons, giants, enormous beasts) to get them down to half HP quickly to force a morale check, and automatically forcing a morale check if their targets are ML+0 or worse means they're also useful against masses of weak foes.

The Dark
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I would allow cleaving with pistols if the user had multiple loaded pistols on them. Blackbeard (along with other pirates) was known for tying flintlock pistols to his belt with ribbons, so he could fire and drop them without losing them. There were also mounted cavalry troopers that would carry four to six (or more) pistols so that they could fire multiple times before having to reload.

Alex
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I'm stealing that rule. Thank you.

 

The Dark
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It does lead to a question about morale checks, which I think can be best illustrated by a scenario.

 

6 goblins corner a dwarven pistolier with 4 loaded wheel-lock pistols. The dwarf wins initiative and shoots a goblin. It falls, he cleaves and shoots a second goblin. The same thing happens, and he drops a third goblin, cleaves one more time and drops a fourth goblin, but now is out of pistols and cannot attack again.

 

How many morale checks do the two survivors take? Because goblins have a -1 morale, gunfire triggers a morale check, and the multiple shots and multiple deaths allow multiple scenarios. I can see a few possibilities:

1. The goblins make morale checks after each shot, plus a check at the end of the round at -2 due to having more than half their group killed in one round.

2. The goblins make morale checks after each shot, with the two at -2 due to the shots killing a target and half the group being dead.

3. The goblins make one morale check at the end of the round at -2.

4. (this one extrapolates from the rules) The goblins make one morale check at the end of the round at -4 because there are three situations forcing a check (firearm discharge, death, and half dead).

5. (the roll, roll, roll your die method) There are tons of morale checks - one for each shot and one for each death.

6. (my favored one, with totally no rule support) The goblins make a morale check immediately upon the first shot being fired. They make a second check at -2 immediately upon the first death, and a third check at -4 once half the group has been killed. The rolls occur only when the morale penalty gets worse, so if the dwarf had fired, killed a goblin, shot again, and didn't kill that target, there would be morale check #1 for the gunshot and check #2 for the death, but no check for the second shot, because it doesn't cause a further morale drop.

Alex
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I think I'd go with #4. 

Jard
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wow, all this talk of cleaving with pistols makes me realize that they do a d8 for damage, just like 2-handed guns.

This seems a bit off to me.  My first instinct is to either lower their damage to 1d6 or to cap their ability to "cleave" to a maximum of 2, meaning you can only cleave with a gun in your hand.  Unquestionably, there's still an advantage to having numerous pre-loaded pistols at the ready, even if it takes a couple rounds to use them all.

Alex
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Blame James Raggi for the d8 damage! :)

Jard
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Agreed, I think the cost and weight involved is a fair balance against the additional shooting power.

koewn
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Ogre/Giant/Etc carried artillery - See what they can carry from D@W and go from there, I'd be curious what it comes out to be. I'd kind of start wondering about recoil in that sort of situation as well...

I'd previously envisoined rocs carrying a small cannon/gun and, after their one shot, dropping it as an additional attack.

Dungeon Firearms - I agree that it'd be mostly a point-shoot-drop sort of situation - a shock-and-awe sort of thing before melee is joined whenever possible to do. The reload times don't make a lot of sense for small parties in tight spaces - fang and claw reload instantly :)

The noise would certainly be a factor - and I can't even imagine how many wandering monsters would come running for that. 

STR bonus doesn't apply; same as crossbows (AFAIR)

Eras - I'd seen those as recommendations for someone looking to achieve a measure of authenticity in a historical game. There's no assumptions to break if you're not worried about that. I'd make the argument that the wheellock is more expensive due to complexity of the device, and I'd expect that to carry over in future eras as well.

Dwarves - Better than most in what way would be the start - better at producing gunpowder? The guns themselves? Perhaps at a start you could keep the availability changes as mentioned, and have non-dwarven product be just a touch more expensive - 10-25% or so, and see if that keeps availability in non-dwarven markets around the same as relating to market classes.

 

 

jedavis
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We never did find a place in the rules where it said Str bonus didn't apply to crossbows, though we spent a while looking; ended up giving crossbowmen the benefit of the doubt and justifying it as "Strength is more than just physical capabilities; it's also killer instinct / natural aptitude for fighting."

bobloblah
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Really? I thought it was straightforward, but maybe I missed something. Wouldn't exactly be the first time!

Apply the ability bonus or penalty for Strength to all attack throws and damage rolls in melee (hand-to-hand) combat. 

- ACKS Core

Emphasis mine, obviously. What am I missing?

jedavis
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Hm, we were referring to page 104, "The weapon’s damage will be modified by Strength, magical bonuses, and the character’s class bonus (if any).", which did not condition on melee, ranged, or anything else. Also it made sense to us that thrown weapons and bows with a stronger pull should do more damage.

(Also the fact that explorer, as a class which strongly emphasized ranged combat, had Str as a prime req suggested that ranged combatants should get some benefit from strength to us)

Jard
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I think that's a level of specificity that didn't show up until 3rd edition.  3rd edition and it's derivatives (Pathfinder) have specifically that thrown weapons add STR to damage but DEX to accuracy (by 4th ed they made thrown weapons use STR for both) and the composite bow, for which you had to pay more for each point of STR you wanted to be able to add to your damage (still had to add DEX to hit chance).

wmarshal
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There's a good argument for Strength modifying ranged combat, except in the case of crossbows since they are at set pulls. It does seem to be RAW, but I haven't played that way. I don't like that adding Strength to non-crossbow ranged weapons really nerfs crossbows compared to bows. What I like even worse is trying to come up with a bunch of house rules to bring crossbows up to par, or adding house rules to make ranged combat more realistic. You could add some of the rules after this paragraph, but I'm afraid that you'd wind up creating "Advanced ACKS" which I wouldn't want to adjudicate as a DM. I do like rules that allow me to play with how the game is built such as custom character class creation and custom magic rules. However, I don't want to start complicating the resolution mechanics from where they are now. Sorry if this comes off as a rant. That's not my intent. It is a bit of a tangent from the focus of this thread, so I aplogize for that. Some possible house rules that could lead one down the path of the Dark Side: • Crossbows are built to accomodate various strength modifiers from (-3 to +3). This means that if there is a mismatch between the crossbow and the shooter they can either wind up not being able to fire the crossbow at all, or they fail to take full advantage of their strength. • Strength could mean that the range increment could be either increased or decreased by 10' per point of strength modifier at short range, 20' at medium range, etc. • Crossbows could be allowed to pierce a set amount of armor. Shouldn't be as much as a firearm, so maybe 2 points? Maybe crossbows only get this at short range while arbalest get this a medium range as well.
jedavis
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That was pretty much where we ended up - felt other ranged weapons ought to have strength to damage, didn't want to nerf crossbows relative to other ranged weapons, and didn't want to overcomplicate things. So we accepted the absurdity of crossbows with str to damage as the least evil.

bobloblah
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I do think this weakens Fighters.

jedavis
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Relative to explorers? Possibly. We had a way-overpowered explorer with str16 dex18 once; he was a pain in my ass. In the general case, though, explorers have to split their stats between both reqs while fighters can just dump it all in one; I think it helps fighters more in the wilderness levels than it does explorers (since you can go from plate-and-spear dungeon phalanx to plate-and-longbow wilderness phalanx and keep more of your damage).

bobloblah
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No, I mean because it improves everyone's damage across a broad range of weapons. Anything that does that effectively weakens the Fighter, as it dilutes their dominance in the realm of weapon damage.

jedavis
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Only if your party contains high-strength characters who aren't already classes with fighter damage bonus. This isn't something I see with my group; if they have a high stat, they either play a class that has that stat as a req, or aggressively trade that stat down to boost a req for some other class that they want to play. In an 11 man party, they have a total of 5 points of positive modifiers that aren't prime reqs for that character (4 of those 5 points are in Con, and the last is a 13 wisdom on a henchfighter whose stats they didn't get to optimize).

Jard
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Ogre Cannons: I'll admit to having largely skipped reading D@W battles because I was more interested in Campaigns, but I can see there's some interesting stuff here.  There might be stuff in Campaigns too, it's been a while since I've read it, and I want me some Giants with cannons on their backs.

Dungeon Guns: yeah, it seems like taking noise into account would be super important, but I'm a little worried that if it's too punitive people basically won't bother with them. I also have no idea how to make a balanced mechanic to figure how far away they'd be heard. 

Eras: so the interesting thing is, Flintlock appears to be superior to Wheellock in almost every way, except that for some reason Flintlock has a higher failure rate than wheellock in wet conditions.  At least according to tables, I've already demonstrated I have poor reading comprehension at least once in this thread.

Dwarves: I was just thinking that since dwarves don't do arcane magic it would be interesting if they were the best at casting "gun" instead :-P  Essentially I'm imagining a scenario where guns are roughly as available in the era, but with dwarves being known for their gunsmithing and gun use, even though other demihuman races have no qualms about using them.  I guess that's about as far as I got.

 

jedavis
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Re Dwarves, you could achieve something like that by changing the relative availability of mercenary types for different demihuman races, with dwarves having fewer crossbowmen / bowmen / slingers and more arquebusiers and musketeers. That would nicely reflect a cultural difference without changing commonly available tech.

Re dungeon guns, you're already supposed to roll for a random encounter after each combat (iirc?), so you could change the odds (maybe from 1 in 6 to 1 in 3) for said roll when firearms were used.

koewn
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Dungeon Guns: yeah, it seems like taking noise into account would be super important, but I'm a little worried that if it's too punitive people basically won't bother with them. I also have no idea how to make a balanced mechanic to figure how far away they'd be heard. 


-Jard

That's a good question, actually; I can't imagine there's not studies around that could be mangled to fit an average case. Have to see what the decibels are on a musket shot first, I guess.

Eras: so the interesting thing is, Flintlock appears to be superior to Wheellock in almost every way, except that for some reason Flintlock has a higher failure rate than wheellock in wet conditions.  At least according to tables, I've already demonstrated I have poor reading comprehension at least once in this thread


-Jard

Right. To simplify immensely, imagine the Flintlock as your default Bic lighter - anyone who used to smoke knows they occasionally didn't work very well, and those are machine-made, not a hand-shaped flint on a hand-made mechanism. Little metal bit spins against a flint stone to create a spark. If either the flint or the starting powder is damp, ignition may not happen.

The wheellock, however, is a spring-loaded mechanism that has a lot more motive force behind it than just 'flicking your bic' - I dunno if you remember those spark-throwing toys that you pulled the plastic strip out of to make the metal wheel spin and throw sparks? Vague memory from the 80s...?

Anyway, the wheellock has enough spin/friction/heat generated that it burns out any collected moisture, and therefore is generally immune to moisture-related failure.

 

 

Jard
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Fascinating.  Today I learned :-)

So it seems like with slightly increased prices and an across-the-board failure rate of 10%, (or possibly 10-20-20), matchlock could be the "upgrade" that spendy adventurers use for themselves.

Aryxymaraki
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Was there a new Guns of War release? (I backed L&E at the Guns of War level but wasn't expecting to see the current version for a week. Well, six days now.)

Jard
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the release was posted as an update to the Domains at War kickstarter. it's a playtest document aka still a .docx with no art and limited formatting.

Aryxymaraki
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Ah, that'd explain why I missed it. (My D@W backing was a complicated process!)

Kiero
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Since this is general discussion, I've just been reading the Backer's draft, and saw my contribution to GoW: dragoons. Came about from a very timely conversation with Alex about them. Awesome.
Jard
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Dragoons have been a favorite of mine ever since a translation mistake in Final Fantasy 4 labeled one of the classes as one!

The Dark
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An additional firearm for Guns of War, predating even the matchlock:

 

Handgonne - the handgonne is a late medieval firearm, developed in the 1300s and still in use in the 1500s. Visually, it resembles a small cannon on a thick pole, held by the gonner and lit by a slowmatch or hot piece of metal. Early handgonnes simply used a small hole in the top, with a slight concavity for the priming powder; later handgonnes used a priming dish to the side, which would be duplicated and improved on by most later firearms. By the standards of later guns, they're primitive and slow to fire, but have the same damage and armor penetration as any other smoothbore.

 

Handgonne - 1d8 damage, range 50/100(-4)/200(-10), reload 12 drilled, 15 undrilled, misfire chance 30%/60%/90%, encumbrance 2 stone, cost 10gp, can be used as staff in melee.

wmarshal
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Has there been any consideration for how to include something like the Hussite war wagon?

http://www.peashooter85.com/post/51857782070/medieval-tank-warfare-the-hussite-war-wagon-in

It predates the Age of Pike and Shot, but in a setting where access to guns were limited to a small group such as the dwarves then something like the Hussite war wagon would make a lot of sense. Once guns become relatively common the war wagon is just a nice big target for the enemy guns, but if your opponents are using medieval technology the war wagon can be a valid technology. Could it be modeled as a kind of mobile fortification? Does the combined arms nature of the troops manning the war wagon preclude making this a unit?

In a setting where dwarves control the firearms production I can see them developing the war wagons as a counter to armored cavalry without even having to involve Machinist trying to come up with clockwork tanks.

James K
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Bear in mind that Dwarves live in the mountains, which is not prime War Wagon terrain.

wmarshal
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Perhaps not, but when they organize trade caravans through dangerous regions, or they travel to another dwarven realm to render assistance making use of war wagons could be a powerful tactic turning the caravan into a fortified position from which firearms and small artillery pieces could be fired. In some settings trade with the dwarves doesn't happen right at their front gate, but at some point relatively removed.

Admittedly this might be an edge case, and not needing resolution for most campaigns. In scenarios where this could exist I can see dwarven realms launching campaigns into other realms using the war wagons as a means of reaching deep into enemy territory without having to worry about their lack of cavalry.

susan_brindle
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Being mixed doesn't preclude it from existing as a unit. In game terms, wouldn't it just be a high AC unit that can't charge, but is always readied against a charge?

The Dark
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I'm going a bit off on a tangent (as usual), but in my reading on naval ships, I ran across Tudor breech-loading artillery. Most of their artillery was muzzle-loading, but a few items (bases, slings, and port-pieces) used a barrel with a separate chamber, which could be lifted out of the gun, loaded with powder while the shot was placed in the barrel, then set behind the barrel and wedged tightly before firing. I realize the rules are trying to avoid modern breech-loaders, but what sort of rules could be set up around these pieces?

 

Some miscellaneous information:

Breechloaders tended to be light. Most were 2 inch caliber or smaller, although some 8" breech-loading guns that fired stone balls were recovered from the Mary Rose in the 1830s.

Heat dissipation was still a concern, so rate of fire, while it may improve, wouldn't be vastly greater.

Because of the relatively weak seal at the chamber, breech-loaders were known for not firing as strongly as muzzle-loaders.

 

My first thoughts:

Breech-loaders improve rate of fire by 10% (rounded to the nearest), but subtract 10% from all ranges (round to the nearest 10 feet). They also cost 10% more to account for the cost of an additional breech.

The Dark
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Actually, this leads into another question - do any of the drafts have rules for calculating cannon RoF? I went back and checked my copy, and that section is blank.

Alex
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The backer draft distributed as part of the L&E Kickstarter (v20) had these rules. I've pasted them below for your convenience:

ROF:  An artillery piece may fire a number of shots per day determined by its barrel caliber, using the formula SPD = 90 / (Shot Weight /12)0.4. Using shots per day, ROF is calculated as 1 / [1/ (shots per day / 2880)]. Multiply shots per day for mortars by 0.833. (Note that the ROFs of the artillery pieces presented on the Gunpowder Artillery Characteristics table are often slightly better than the ROFs calculated with this formula. This represents the fact that highly standard artillery pieces should have optimized their rates of fire through years of minor improvements and crew training.)

The Dark
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Ah-ha. I didn't download that one because I didn't notice it was a newer version than the v1.2 I had. That'll teach me.

Opiyel
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Where can one download a copy of these rules? I'm running a game more set in the Renaissance and these would fit very well.

Jard
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the rules have currently only been handed out as a playtest document for backers of two out of the last three kickstarters (Domains at war and Lairs & Encounters).  However, once the final PDFs is laid out, it should go up for sale on drivethruRPG, and you can rest assured there will be an announcement about it on these forums, and probably by Alex on G+ (and wherever else he promotes his products)

Opiyel
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Ah okay, cool. I definitely look forward to that. In the meantime, looks like I can use the LotFP rules for firearms. Thanks!

Jard
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yes, the ACKs rules were inspired by/based on the LotFP rules, so they'll get you most of the way there.  When it's out, Guns of War will add to those rules some ACKsification, suggestions for modifying the price of firearms to make them more or less common, and ways to use firearms/cannons as part of sieges and battles in mass combat.

Opiyel
Joined: 2016-02-03 16:03

With artillery cannons and such, I wonder if there will be options for star fort strongholds seen during the rise of gunpowder weapons.

Jard
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Joined: 2012-07-11 23:23

Having read through the playtest, I don't recall anything about star forts, but I believe that's because it focuses on the extremely early era of gunpowder (1500-1600s) so the star forts may not yet have become adopted.

The Dark
Sinister Stone of Sakkara BackerLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

Some history of firearms for those who are curious:

 

The earliest personal firearm was the hand cannon or gonne. The oldest surviving firearm is a 7.8 pound bronze hand cannon excavated in Banlachengzi (China) in the 1970s, and was manufactured in 1288 or earlier (it was used in a battle there in either 1287 or 1288). There are some earlier recorded uses of these weapons, including the Battle of Ain Jalut in 1260, when the Mamluk Sultanate stopped a Mongol invasion between Acre and Jerusalem with the aid of hand cannon. (Note: This is around 150 years before full plate armor was used, so hand cannon are as medieval as plate armor)

 

A hand cannon was essentially a metal tube on a stick. Pour in some powder, drop in rocks or an arrow with a leather plug or an iron ball, then light off the powder with a smoldering piece of wood, slowmatch, or a hot iron. It was either wielded with a two man team (a holder and a firer), or one person with a forked stick to balance the hand cannon. It was weak and inaccurate (the weakness due to using mealed powder, the inaccuracy because it was a smoothbore), but it required less training than a bow and less strength (or fiddly mechanical cocking devices) than a crossbow.

 

 

The first dated illustration of a developed matchlock occurs in 1475. The matchlock was a slightly refined firearm. It was the first weapon to have the three distinct components of modern longarms – the lock (the firing mechanism), the stock (a means of bracing the firearm against the firer's body), and the barrel (the container of the gunpowder and ammunition, and the director of the force of the weapon). The lock consisted of an s-shaped bar called a serpentine. One end was manipulated by the user, while the other end held a smoldering slowmatch (hemp or flax cord soaked in potassium nitrate), which was lowered into a pan of powder; that pan was under a hole in the barrel that led to the main gunpowder charge, detonating the charge (if all went well). The matchlock was incredibly vulnerable to poor weather. The match also glowed in the dark and gave off a distinct smell, both of which reduced the ability to remain concealed with the weapon. The match also got used up quickly – it was estimated that a single night watchman would use a mile of slowmatch over the course of a year. And of course, there's always a danger from having a smoldering match near gunpowder.

 

The observant will note I mentioned 1475 being for the “developed” matchlock. There is an illustration of a hand cannon with a serpentine in 1411, apparently a transitional type from the original hand cannon to the more developed matchlock.

 

There were some interesting variations on the matchlock. In the Palazzo Ducale in Venice, there is a triple-barreled matchlock revolving firearm, about 21 inches long with 12 inch barrels, with a caliber of 11mm. It weighs 3.5 pounds, making it one of the earliest revolving firearms (of the “pepperbox” type) developed (circa 1540). The Luigi Marzoli Museum in Brescia has a triple-barreled arquebus from 1550, which weighs 10 pounds, is 33 inches long with 20.5 inch barrels, and has a caliber of 11.5mm. There's a German 8-shot revolving arquebus with a single barrel in the Germanisches Nationalmuseum Nürnberg that dates to the 1580s, although I haven't found as much information on that one.

 

 

While the matchlock was easier to use than the hand cannon, it still had the flaws associated with the lit match. Looking for ways to shoot in worse weather and have less chance of accidentally blowing one's self up, the wheel-lock was invented around 1500. It used a steel wheel that had a spring, which spun against a piece of pyrite to create sparks. Pyrite was preferred over flint because it causes less damage to the steel. The wheel was wound up using a wrench-like device that engaged a square in the middle of the wheel. When the trigger was pulled, the wheel would begin spinning, the pan cover would open, and then a lever with the pyrite would drop onto the wheel (if it dropped first, the spring would need to be much stronger to spin the wheel). White-hot fragments of pyrite would be generated in the pan, igniting the powder. The wheel-lock was (compared to the matchlock) expensive and difficult to maintain, but safer, concealable, and able to be carried around without an inconvenient smoldering match. Also, the covered pan made it more weather-resistant.

 

 

The various forms of flintlock began their development in the 1540s, and used flint dropping onto a piece of steel to create sparks (hot pieces of steel) that would fall into the pan. Early snaplocks and snaphaunces had pan covers separate from the steel (the snaplock's cover had to be manually opened, while the snaphaunce's was opened by pulling the trigger), but around 1600 the frizzen (a combined steel/pan cover) was developed, and the true flintlock was born. They were mechanically simpler than the wheel-lock, and quickly became almost universally used (with the exceptions being places where the technology was not introduced, such as parts of Africa or Japan, and weird showpieces like the multi-shot matchlocks I mentioned above).

 

What's this all mean for someone using Guns of War? Honestly, whatever you want it to. It's just a history of what happened on Earth. In your world, maybe nobody hits on the idea of using springs with guns, so matchlocks stay as the most advanced firearms for centuries. Maybe flint's really rare but pyrite isn't, so wheel-locks stick around longer as the guns of the elite. Possibly everyone is bad at chemistry, and slowmatch isn't developed, so the hand cannon is as far as firearms technology advances.

susan_brindle
Patreon SupporterLairs And Encounters Backer
Joined: 2013-06-05 15:49

Fascinating writeup! I have a very poor head for dates and creating mental timelines so things like "150 years before plate armor" do a number on my skullsponge

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