Jump to content
  • Advertisement
Sign in to follow this  
cjke

Guns/tech coexisting with swords/magic

This topic is 3375 days old which is more than the 365 day threshold we allow for new replies. Please post a new topic.

If you intended to correct an error in the post then please contact us.

Recommended Posts

Hey guys, Just want to have some open discussion on how you figure guns/tech can coexist in the same gaming universe as swords/magic. For example the Final Fantasy games, like number 7, where Barret and the Shinra guards all have fully automatic machine guns and Cloud gets a sword. I understand why they chose this way, it wouldn't be very fun if they were all lugging around m16's through Midgar, but i'm looking more at the story element. For example:: ~ Very limited gunpowder in the world ~ Firearms are hard to come by ~ Firearms are illegal, maybe only possessed by the worlds military ~ Swords have a pocket where you can store your spare change ~ etc Anything is welcome, the floor is open, use your imaginations..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Advertisement
I think swords are often seen as somewhat magical, or at least very strong, making them a better match for guns. This means guns and swords are simply long and short range weapons, similar to a crossbow and a police baton.

Adding guns to the mix may therefor make the game look a bit more versatile, and you can let different races / cultures have different types of weapons while keeping the same basic gameplay.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hmm...

Realism:

Black powder guns in the early days were inaccurate, slow to load and prime, moderately complicated, expensive to run, prone to jamming and they didn't always penetrate armour. Rifles helped a little and technology did move along, but the old cliché of pistols at 20 paces comes from the fact that you couldn't be sure of hitting your opponent at any greater range with a flintlock and even hitting them did not mean that you would do more than bruise them.

Many nations restrict gun ownership, such as the UK, and bullets would be very hard to come by in those nations. At the same time, swordsmanship can be learnt with wooden swords or even with rebated (blunt) blades. Ergo, you have a nation with more competent swordfighters than gunfighters.

In close-quarters, a rifle is a glorified club, which is why soldiers up to WWII had bayonets and officers still carried swords.

A rapier can cut through a bullet-proof vest like a razor parting silk.

style:

It takes more skill to use a sword effectively.

Katanas can cut through tanks according to some anime... (or a car in the Matrix films)

Heroes run around with bullet-holes in them, but one good hit from a zweihander and nobody will expect them to get back up.

We are so used to Errol Flynn with a sword that we equate swords to style, finesse and panache. If they use a sword against people with guns, they must be brave enough that they deserve to win...

Sci-Fi:

In Star Wars, a light saber deflects energy weapons, can send them flying back at the attacker and can cut through even the thickest of bulkheads. Also, since Jedi have the force, they don't even need a blaster.

The Dune books included forcefields which could stop any fast-moving projectiles, so people learned to use knives or swords and martial arts styles were invented that revolved around moving your weapon slowly enough to break through the field and fast enough to get past the enemy's own defences.

In the Warhammer 40K universe, powered armour and forcefields were invented that could stop a bullet nine times out of ten. in response, weaponsmiths developed devices which could short-circuit the deflection technology; these units were big enough that they could easily be added to a sword or axe, but were too big to put into a bullet. Suddenly, you have armour that is immune to anything but melee weapons and so melee weapons become the de facto standard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In the Napoleonic wars, it took around 160 rifle shots to inflict a single wound. The accuracy of the weapons was not the main reason, especially since elite sharpshooters could score head shots on enemy officers. The problem was that most soldiers who used rifles had no actual training to use them efficiently, so they tended to fire volleys in close ranks (so that at least some bullets had some chance of hitting the targets) and then charged with their bayonets.

In short, if you were good with a rifle then you would definitely use one, but if you were bad with firearms you would stick to swords instead.

Then, there's the prestige factor. There has been at least one battle where the officers of the French imperial guard ordered their soldiers to enter melee directly because firing their rifles against an inferior enemy was degrading: «La garde ne se bat qu'à la baïonette.» Needless to say, enemy morale took a hit. Can't remember the name of that battle off the top of my head, though (maybe Austerlitz?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In close combat, you'd still prefer a gun or even a riffle to a sword. The reason there are still bayonets on rifles is that they don't use any space (they are knives with a special handle, usually not mounted) and they can be used as a last resort weapon when ammunition is depleted.

About the possible co-existence settings, the first black-powder portable weapons were inaccurate and of short range, less efficient than longbows, but they could be used by unskilled fighters more easily (aim, shoot) they just had to learn how to recharge. They also provided a shock and awe effect due to the huge thundering sound and the smoke they produced.

The production of portable guns depends heavily on the ability to found steel. One could imagine an universe where this alloy is unheard of but natural and scarce occurrences exist (like Damascus steel) or a setting where iron, its core element, is rare (like Ancient Egypt, where it was extremely valuable as its only source was meteorites)

About science fiction settings, Prince of Cats already covered most of them. Swords have a stylish feeling that many authors want to recreate. Another variants : The "Eternal War" comics tell about a device that changes the speed of light to a lower one and changes the laws of motions inside a bubble of up to a few dozen meters, rendering projectile weapons unfeasible.

In one of my pen & paper RPG game, I used a setting I found funny. In an alternate reality, there was a forest where lived a strange kind of parasitic insect : it develops in the trunks and when mature, it grows a bubble filled with explosive chemicals in order to project its spawns inside another trunk. It can be triggered by a lightning or by a shock, like the one of another insect hitting the trunk, or... a bullet hitting it. Meaning that any missing bullet in this forest had a chance of triggering a chain reaction that amounted to an automatic burst for all the characters present. You can shoot, but don't miss !

In Shadowrun pen & paper, there are monomolecular whips and blades that cut really more easily into armor than bullets. They also have a specific kind of "magic weapons" they call focus weapons, that must be on physical contact with a magic user in order to be active and that are almost the only way to damage spirits and astral creatures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You could have some sort of personal device that emits a magnetic field when it detects a fast approaching projectile (thus deflecting it) making swords a useful alternative. I'm sorry to all the people who are better in physics than I [smile]

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
"it took around 160 rifle shots"

It took around 160 MUSKET shots. Rifles were issued to the elite skirmishing units; whose shooting was far more accurate.

"which is why soldiers up to WWII had bayonets"

Soldiers still have bayonets. The UK has only just handed out a medal to a soldier who ran out of ammunition and carried on the assault using his bayonet in Afghanistan.


"I think swords are often seen as somewhat magical"

Certainly through early warfare, swords -- and the creation of them -- was seen as a magical act, and the sword itself was a badge of office. Peasants didn't carry swords because their leaders carried swords. It was how you told who was the leader.

As early as the 15th century, handheld 'guns' were causing casualties on battlefields, but officers retained their swords in battle conditions through until the late 19th century -- because being armed with a sword was what being an officer meant. It was part of the distinction between men and officers.


"There has been at least one battle where the officers of the French imperial guard ordered their soldiers to enter melee directly because firing their rifles against an inferior enemy was degrading"

There were, through the 17 and 1800s, several doctrines of musket use.

The French tended to favour an attack called "a pret" which is a rapid march closing the distance between 150yds (extreme musket range) and ending with a brief charge with levelled bayonets. In order to dissuade their soldiers from stopping to return fire if fired upon, they sometimes actually had them advance with their muskets empty. This was considered showing their "elan" -- their fighting spirit.

The British army, quite often being outnumbered, tended to be a little more defensive. One of their tactics was to stand with loaded but grounded muskets, so that there could be no early shooting. And then wait...

Actual melee in open ground in linear warfare turns out to be extremely rare. The contest basically turned out to be a battle of determination between the defenders and the attackers. The casualties generally are caused during one or other side running away.

The attackers must march towards the enemy soldiers. It is to their advantage to get as close as possible as quickly as possible (minimising the amount of fire they will take). Hence the French not stopping to shoot. If you are going to shoot you want to be as close as possible. But crucially you still want to fire first. As you approach, the longer the defender holds their fire, the closer you'll be when they shoot... and the worse the effect will be.

The defender must try and hold their fire as long as possible. Why? Musketry exhibits extreme range effects - it falls off rapidly between 10-30 yards, quickly out to 100 yards and beyond that it's only minimally effective. You want to fire first in the hope that the attacker simply won't get a chance to shoot but the ideal, for the defender, is to hold their best shot (the one they've loaded unhurriedly) for the last possible moment. Ranges of three and five yards are mentioned in historical accounts. At those ranges, musketry is *devastating*. While the enemy is disoriented by that barrage, bayonet charge them and drive them away!

Other countries adopted other firing mechanisms believing that it was worth the extra time in the advance to cause extra casualties, or to shoot at advancing infantry as early as possible and try and cram as many shots in as possible as they closed.

There's a lot of interesting psychology in there...



(My other hobby is military history :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quote:
Original post by cjke
For example the Final Fantasy games, like number 7, where Barret and the Shinra guards all have fully automatic machine guns and Cloud gets a sword.


Range wasn't a factor in that game. When the time came for cloud to attack, he could rush clear across the battle area, do his attack, then jump back as easily as the characters could aim and fire thier projectile weapons.

This mix of swords and guns workes because combat in the battle system is very abstract and stylised...completely negateing the longer range weapon advantages yet allowing characters to have "signature" combat styles...Really, if Square wanted, Barret could be blowing kisses to the enemies inorder to damage them and the battle system could work just as effectively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guys, some great and varied replies!

Really like the points that Prince of Cats bought up, esp. the later points.

Its great people are thinking both in a literal sense and also outside the square

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Has anyone mentioned Arcanum? Highly technical contraptions tend to fizzle and explode or fail to work when in the presence of powerful magic users. And powerful magics sputter or are diminished in effectiveness when used against technical people or contraptions.

Arcanum was a great setting. A wonderfully depressing game, though. Not your typical hero saves the world, but more of a hero uncovers a sad, sad chain of events.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Advertisement
×

Important Information

By using GameDev.net, you agree to our community Guidelines, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

GameDev.net is your game development community. Create an account for your GameDev Portfolio and participate in the largest developer community in the games industry.

Sign me up!