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Kest

Ranged weapon classes

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I'm having a really tough time dividing ranged weapons into seperate skill categories. There just doesn't seem to be a logical or interesting division that's broad enough to divide it all into 3-5 groups. I started out by seperating them into four common groups: handguns, SMGs, rifles, and cannons. The thing that really started to bug me was that the SMG group was too specific compared to the others. They're short automatic rifles. Handguns, rifles, and cannons can all be auto, or not, but SMGs are always auto. Still, their compact shape is really interesting - somewhere between a pistol and rifle, so I don't want to just discard the group and call them rifles. But what can I call them? Next, I tried dividing them into three size categories: small, medium, and large firearms. But it didn't take long to realize how bland and uninteresting that is. It also doesn't really divide them in an interesting way regarding the skill of their use. Not that I'm really worried about that, but the blandness makes it worse. The weapons have different types of damage: laser, pulse, plasma, and frag. But it's important to me that the damage types are not used to divide skills. I would also like the skills to fall into a short list, so players don't feel too confined to a limited set of weapons with one character. Other than that, the types of weapons are pretty typical for your every day sci-fi video game setting. I'm totally brainlocked, so I really appreciate any ideas.

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Why exactly are SGMs always full auto? Last I knew, they didn't take the fire selector off the MP-5. You can also use things like PDRs and PDWs, Counter Sniper, Carbine, SAW, Shotgun, Special uses and so forth.

Another way to look at it is your forms of engagement, and then let everything fall into place.

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Again, consider looking at pencil and paper RPGs. Ex: Shadowrun 4 groups firearm skills as: Pistols, Automatics, Longarms and Heavy Weapons, where SMGs and assault rifles are both automatics, but shotguns and sniper rifles are longarms.

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What criteria are important for the player to select a weapon? Sort your weapons according to that.


So, if firepower and mobility are important aspects, something like the following could do:
  • support weapons: good firepower, low mobility
  • assault weapons: average firepower, average mobility
  • standard firearms: low firepower, high mobility

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To original poster, In my opinion, I think there is nothing wrong with sorting them handguns, SMGs, rifles, and cannons.

SMG are alright by themselves, in real life they are a class of weapon by itself.

Handgun: your normal handguns(pistols etc)
SMG: Weapons which use handguns ammunition but have range etc(Styer TMP, HK MP5)
Rifles: Assault Rilfes and their carbines version
Cannon: LAW, SMAW etc

Sidenote:
SMG are generally a more powerfull version of a pistol, but have less stopping power and effective range from a rifle class group. Hence SMG weapons normally use pistol rounds/cartridge with expanded capacity.

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You've got lots of details you can handle, depending on how your game is gonna work. Things like:

Base Damage
Portability
Accuracy
Rate of Fire
Stopping Effect
Different Kinds of Armour Piercing
Splash/Shrapnel Damage
Method of Fire (e.g. direct/timed/arc/placed/etc)

Get as many out of that as you can.

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Quote:
Original post by Elhrrah
Why exactly are SGMs always full auto?

I didn't say they were. But an SMG that only has single shot pulse fire isn't an SMG at all.

Handguns: Silenced pistols, pulse pistols, laser pistols, machine pistols, other small hand-held gadgetry.
Rifles: Shotguns, sniper rifles, pulse rifles, laser rifles, plasma rifles, machine guns
Cannons: Laser cannons, plasma cannons, huge machine guns, rocket launchers

I can't provide the same type of diversity with the SMG group. It's too specifically linked to the fact that it has automatic fire, unlike every other group.

Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
Again, consider looking at pencil and paper RPGs. Ex: Shadowrun 4 groups firearm skills as: Pistols, Automatics, Longarms and Heavy Weapons, where SMGs and assault rifles are both automatics, but shotguns and sniper rifles are longarms.

But then which class would an automatic pistol or automatic heavy weapon fall under? As a player, wouldn't you feel slightly ripped off that your expert pistol wielder can't use a machine pistol?

Quote:
Original post by Captain P
What criteria are important for the player to select a weapon? Sort your weapons according to that.

I want to be careful about dividing the weapons by their usefulness. The player needs to have a great deal of stretching room when choosing between different firearms that are linked to one skill. I'm not at all worried about realism. I just want an interesting and logical division that gives lots of room to breathe.

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How do you want your skills to actually function? Why not post an over view of how they work in other areas, could help people better understand how the rest of the game is going about the problem of skills.


Firearms are very much alike, which makes them hard to split into distinct skill groups. Aiming, Action, and Reloading are where your firearms are different.

For Aiming, you have several factors.
1. Stocked vs Unstocked weapons. (pistols and some SMGs have no means to hold against your shoulder, unlike nearly all rifles or shotguns. Guns with a shoulder stock are far more accurate, and often far more powerful, but can be harder to bring to bear on your target, or to fire blindly around a corner. Give someone a Machine Pistol or handgun, and they could stick it around a doorway and fire down a hall at you far easier than with a long rifle)

2. Supported vs Unsupported weapons. (Most weapons can be supported on something if you are in the right place, resting your hands on a table or windowsill to steady for firing, but smaller weapons aren't likely to take as much of a bonus from it as larger ones. And some aren't going to be of much use unsupported, many medium and all heavy machine guns I can think of can't be fired unless they're being supported on something. Using a bipod, or a tripod greatly increases this effect. The drawback of some supported weapons can be the limited field of fire they give you, some heavy tripods can mean shifting your base of fire much beyond 45 degrees either side of you requires that you move a fair bit.)

3. Length and Weight of the weapon. Short weapons are easier to bring onto a target and shoot, while longer weapons provide superior ranged fighting. A long weapon is also going to snag and catch on things in close quarters.

4. The Action and Recoil of the weapon. Single shots with a low recoil will make aiming easier, while a full automatic with heavy recoil means most of your shots will be off target. At close range a higher rate of fire will do you better, you don't aim so much as spray in their general direction.

5. Sights. Plain iron sights aren't going to do much good at 2000m, but a scope you don't know how to set properly isn't going to help much either.


The weapon's Action. How good are you at cycling the weapon? Never used a bolt action before? You'll be slow reloading. Pump actions are fast and easy and need little training, but often are slow to reload.

Does your character know how to use Magazine release switches on automatic weapons? If he doesn't he'll be far far slower reloading one. Skilled with belt fed weapons? You'll get that machine gun reloaded faster to spew forth more screaming death fury.


I see main skills of:
1. Long Distance Shooting
2. Close Quarters Combat Shooting
3. Semi/Full Automatic Weapons Control

Minor Skills of:
1. Magazine Handling
2. Clip Handling
3. Single Round Handling
4. Optical Sights

I'm not sure if I would include thes skills in Major or Minor skills:
1. Pistols
2. Long Arms (assault rifles, sniper rifles. SMGs would use long arms and pistol skills together)
3. Heavy Weapons (Machine Guns, .50cal + rifles etc.)
4. Specials (Rocket Launchers, grenade Launchers, each with their own sub skill)


Also something that could be useful is have all weapons share different traits for things. I can't instantly pick up any assault rifle and use it perfectly the first time I touch it, but if I use Royal Armoury's Mk4 Self Loading Rifle, chances are I can pick up their Mk5 and know how to use it. If I haven't had time to look at where things are on it, and had never seen that model before or one like it, I'm not going to be able to reload it, it would take me a bit to find the safety and fire selector. If I'm just sitting around in a store looking at it, no problem, I take the time and then I know how to use that weapon. But if I'm in the middle of a firefight, picking up some unknown experimental weapon comes with a risk. Do I have any idea what will really happen when I pull the trigger, and others are already firing at me?

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Not sure how complex you want this system to be — with three to five categories, I'm thinking not very complex — but your dilemma sparked an idea. How do you feel about using a synergistic system where two or more skills are combined to generate a specific weapon skill? For example, have small-to-large weapon skills, and then have automatic and semi-automatic skills. Combine the two to generate a "real" skill value, which may or may not be visible to the player, your choice.

Another option would be to have skill "enhancements," similar to White Wolf systems, where players can purchase a specialty for each skill that grants a bonus under specific circumstances, e.g., "automatic fire" for rifles, "dual wield" for pistols, etc. In this case you'd have to decide if you want a separate SMG category or if you want to classify them as pistols (or maybe heavy pistols) since they technically can be wielded one-handed.

How do you classify flamethrowers and recoilless rocket launchers, just out of curiosity? What about mounted weapon systems, like the .50-cal on a Hummer? Miniguns? The "smart" rifle in Aliens, which has a harness? I'd consider a category called "support" for super-heavy weapons like this.

Anyway, thanks for inspiring some thought on the matter, as this is something I would have to consider myself in the future.

EDIT: Whoops, Talroth beat me to the punch!

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Quote:
Original post by Kest
Quote:
Original post by SiCrane
Again, consider looking at pencil and paper RPGs. Ex: Shadowrun 4 groups firearm skills as: Pistols, Automatics, Longarms and Heavy Weapons, where SMGs and assault rifles are both automatics, but shotguns and sniper rifles are longarms.

But then which class would an automatic pistol or automatic heavy weapon fall under? As a player, wouldn't you feel slightly ripped off that your expert pistol wielder can't use a machine pistol?

In SR4, machine pistols are used with Automatics. However, I wouldn't feel ripped off since (a) machine pistols are pretty crappy weapons in SR4 and (b) there are burst fire capable heavy and light pistols.

However, SR4 isn't the only pencil and paper RPG with modern weapons in it. If you went to GURPS you'd find that Pistols, SMGs, Rifles, Shotguns, Light Machine Guns, etc. are all different skills. However, if you have Pistols skill, you can still pick up a SMG and fire it with your pistol skill, albeit at a penalty.

Again, you might want to go spend an hour or two at a local game or comic shop that stocks RPGs and just browse through what they have available.

If you want to go super detailed you can make a separate skill for each grip, firing mechanism, projectile type, reloading type, etc. and just combine the skills for the weapon. For example, using a machine pistol in full automatic you'd sum together the user's Pistol Grip, Light Ballistic Ammo and Full Auto skills together and use that to fire. But for a heavy pistol then use Pistol Grip, Semi Auto and Medium Ballistic Ammo.

If you want simpler than that you're just going to have to accept some arbitrariness in your system. It's pretty silly in Fallout that I can have a 300% firearms skill and a 45% energy weapons skill when shooting a laser pistol, but it wasn't the end of the world.

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