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> Longarms vs. Automatics?, Why two skills?
counterveil
post Mar 24 2008, 10:23 AM
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Just wondering if anyone else sees strangeness in splitting Automatics and Longarms into two skills...I've fired Assault Rifles and Shotguns before, and other than the kick they're not a whole lot different in targeting mechanism, trigger pull, and hell the way you hold them is the same. Ditto for sniper rifles - especially multi-role rifles like the M-14. An AR on 3-round-burst setting is not that different either.

It just seems odd to me that someone with an effective Automatics skill rating of 4 with say, an Agility of 4 (DP 8 ) is going to be firing a shotgun with only DP 3 (assuming 0 points were taken in Longarms.

I can see the split of Pistols into its own group, having only recently learned to fire one (they are pretty different from shoulder arms), but it seems odd to me to split Longarms and Automatics into two separate skills. I had considered folding them into one skill, and then moving the Heavy Weapons skill under the "Firearms" skill group umbrella since it contains skills to fire LMGs and MMGs (again, not *that* much different from assault rifles), but am not sure how powerful it will make the Firearms skill group.

Hell, one could say similar for Blades and Clubs...they're objects you put in your hand and hit people with. Slightly different, yes, but if you have great skill at using a blade shouldn't there be some kind of defaulting to skills inside of the same skill group? Maybe I'm just missing the old skill tree...or maybe I'm missing an entire section of the skills chapter wherein they discuss this...

Thoughts?
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Critias
post Mar 24 2008, 10:28 AM
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That's what skill groups are for, I figure. It's primarily a game balance issue, the way I see it, so that we don't get back to the good old days (good for some of us!) where "Firearms" was a single skill that covered everything. They want to keep the costs spread out, so that everyone needs at least 3-4 skills to be a fairly well rounded character. No more "Firearms, Unarmed Combat, Stealth, and Etiquette" being all someone needs to make it through the day. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/wink.gif)

And it's a lot better than it used to be -- when Assault Rifles was one skill and SMGs was another (so that an AK 97 with a folding stock and a shorter barrel used a whole different skill than a full sized one) and Shotguns was another and Rifles was another, etc, etc.
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Ed_209a
post Mar 24 2008, 01:04 PM
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I think the designers split the skill because of muzzle jump from autofire.

If you look at muzzle jump as just another variable making it hard to keep the weapon on target, then shouldn't "firing from a moving vehicle" be a separate skill? In both cases, you have to compensate for an external force jerking your weapon off target.

I would set up the skills based solely on the technique required. Handguns and longarms, for example. Compensating for muzzle jump should be just another penalty to fire (as it is already). Perhaps there should be a steeper penalty to compensate for only one skill?
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Siege
post Mar 24 2008, 01:24 PM
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Longarms, I believe, was intended to represent the finesse and accuracy required for long range shooting - snipers, hunters, Olympic marksmen and so on. Besides sight picture, trigger squeeze and breathing, I suspect it would also include such considerations as elevation, windage and all the other fun sniper terms.

By comparison, automatics refers to engaging targets with a burst or full-auto capability on the weapon - usually done at close to medium ranges which requires a slightly different skill set and shooting techniques worked into muscle memory.

As Crit says, it tends to be more of a game balance issue rather than a representation of reality - although I'd require the skill to reflect the situation. Shooting an AK on burst or full auto? Automatics. Shooting a target at long range on single shot with an AK? Longarms.

Just my two bits.

-Siege
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Fortune
post Mar 24 2008, 01:46 PM
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A common house rule for those that have a problem with canon is to split the Firearms Group into Small Arms (pistols and the like), Long Arms (rifles, shotguns, etc), and Heavy Weapons (um, duh! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) ) instead.
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Ed_209a
post Mar 24 2008, 02:00 PM
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QUOTE (Siege @ Mar 24 2008, 09:24 AM) *
As Crit says, it tends to be more of a game balance issue rather than a representation of reality - although I'd require the skill to reflect the situation. Shooting an AK on burst or full auto? Automatics. Shooting a target at long range on single shot with an AK? Longarms.

-Siege

I can certainly agree that long-range shooting is an entirely different supplementary skillset from close quarter battle. I wouldn't fuss if there were skills for each setting.

What about using controlled double-taps (IE, what SR4 calls semi auto) at close range? Which skill would that be?

How about having specializations based on setting, not just weapon? A former UCAS sniper could have Firearm Group 3, break out longarms to 5, then specialize in "Marksman" to 7. Marksman would only come into play with aimed shots from a braced position, but it would work with any reasonable longarm, or even a slug shotgun.

Likewise, a LS SWAT officer may have Firearms 2, SMG 4, Specialize in "CQB" for 6 total.
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CircuitBoyBlue
post Mar 24 2008, 04:25 PM
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I find it kind of weird that the rating 4 skillsoft I use to fire my character's uzi will also let him fire an assault rifle. But then again, I suppose if I weren't always firing from the hip, and actually using the folding stock and two hands like I'm "supposed" to (RL firearms instruction isn't generally geared towards users with recoil-reducing cyberarms), I could see it being more similar to firing an assault rifle.

Also, because I'm not really a gun person, the term "small arms" usually refers to any basic infantry weapon, from handguns to assault rifles, right? Or is the definition that military people use more or less inclusive than that?
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Wounded Ronin
post Mar 24 2008, 04:32 PM
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Actually, OP, they needed this crap for the longest time. Before it was broken into Pistols, Rifles, Assault Rifles, SMGs, Shotguns, and so forth and was much more fragmented.

Seperating the finesse of precision semi automatic marksmanship from effective use of automatic fire is probably much more reasonable.
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Siege
post Mar 24 2008, 04:37 PM
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QUOTE (Ed_209a @ Mar 24 2008, 03:00 PM) *
What about using controlled double-taps (IE, what SR4 calls semi auto) at close range? Which skill would that be?


Handgun. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/nyahnyah.gif)

Seriously though, I'd probably just say "automatic" based on the weapon type - it's a) close range and b) dealing with weapon control over recoil - "burst" or "really quick semi-auto fire" generate similar issues in gun control. Close enough, in my mind, to warrant applying the same skill to both. SR doesn't do well when you dispense with too much abstraction, imho.

CBB - yes. In broad strokes, until you get to a LMG like the SAW or 240-B, it's a catch-all "small arms." Realistically, only armored vehicle crews make the distinction - if you don't have a couple inches of armor plate surrounding you, any hostile weapons fire demands your immediate attention. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)

-Siege
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Whipstitch
post Mar 24 2008, 04:52 PM
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I'm a proponent of the system Fortune mentioned. I don't give two shits about reality though, just the appearance of it. I wanted people in my game world to use the weapon that's thematically appropriate for the task at hand more often without being penalized for it. I never saw shotguns around because the longarms skill sucked since anything you could do with a sniper rifle you could do with a machine gun or assault cannon instead, plus you'd also get to use that sexy li'l underbarrel grenade launcher the Alpha came equipped with as a bonus. My players wanted to use shotguns and sport rifles for things like poaching paracritters in the NAN territories, but instead they ended up using their White Knights, H&Ks, Alphas and machine pistols instead because they'd be stupid not to. So I eventually just tossed things together under a "Shooting stuff" skill group. It resulted in lower dicepools overall as more people opted for the skill group rather than the standard Samurai move of taking some combo of heavy weapons and automatics for their rating 5-6 skills plus people are now more likely to blow wads of nuyen on their own li'l arsenal rather than just using the Alpha and a machine pistol for everything. YMMV.
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counterveil
post Mar 24 2008, 05:16 PM
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QUOTE (Fortune @ Mar 24 2008, 02:46 PM) *
A common house rule for those that have a problem with canon is to split the Firearms Group into Small Arms (pistols and the like), Long Arms (rifles, shotguns, etc), and Heavy Weapons (um, duh! (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif) ) instead.


Yeah, I'm liking this, with maybe slightly different terminology (Handguns instead of Small Arms). Then lump LMGs, MMGs, HMGs, and Assault Cannons into Heavy Weapons (still under the Firearms group). I would put man-portable launched weapons into its own Active Skill, outside of the Firearms Skill Group, and that will probably satisfy my desire to mirror "reality", such as it were, more to my liking.

I totally understand the game balance thing, and I think in my methodology it would still provide some of that, though not to the same level.

Thanks much for all the comments folks!
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Slymoon
post Mar 24 2008, 05:59 PM
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QUOTE (Siege @ Mar 24 2008, 08:24 AM) *
Longarms, I believe, was intended to represent the finesse and accuracy required for long range shooting - snipers, hunters, Olympic marksmen and so on. Besides sight picture, trigger squeeze and breathing, I suspect it would also include such considerations as elevation, windage and all the other fun sniper terms.

...
-Siege


I have to agree, must be game balance issues.

I do shoot and hunt quite a bit. And the concept that shotgunning = rifle shooting is not at all accurate.
No breathing requirements or trigger squeeze in shotgunning.
However, follow through and leading is far far more important with shotgun than it is in rifle.

I know plenty of damn fine shotgunners that cant hit their ass with both hands using a rifle. Same with some very good rifle shots and shotgunning.
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CircuitBoyBlue
post Mar 24 2008, 06:03 PM
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QUOTE (Siege @ Mar 24 2008, 12:37 PM) *
CBB - yes. In broad strokes, until you get to a LMG like the SAW or 240-B, it's a catch-all "small arms." Realistically, only armored vehicle crews make the distinction - if you don't have a couple inches of armor plate surrounding you, any hostile weapons fire demands your immediate attention. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)



Thanks. I was mostly asking because all my GI Joes used to come with dossiers that said macho things like "Certified in all Nato and Warsaw Pact small arms." This was in the 80s when my older brother was wearing shirts that said "You can't hug a child with nuclear arms." When I pointed out that you could hug them with small arms, which might be better suited to the task, everybody thought I was an incredibly witty, if somewhat morbid, 6 year old.
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Whipstitch
post Mar 24 2008, 06:10 PM
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QUOTE (counterveil @ Mar 24 2008, 12:16 PM) *
Yeah, I'm liking this, with maybe slightly different terminology (Handguns instead of Small Arms). Then lump LMGs, MMGs, HMGs, and Assault Cannons into Heavy Weapons (still under the Firearms group). I would put man-portable launched weapons into its own Active Skill, outside of the Firearms Skill Group, and that will probably satisfy my desire to mirror "reality", such as it were, more to my liking.

I totally understand the game balance thing, and I think in my methodology it would still provide some of that, though not to the same level.

Thanks much for all the comments folks!

Yeah, I finally decided on sidearms, small arms and special weapons. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/smile.gif)
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counterveil
post Mar 24 2008, 06:15 PM
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I'm liking "sidearms", it has a good ring to it.

How did you split specializations up? Currently I'm doing something like this:

Firearms
- Pistols/Sidearms (Holdouts, Revolvers, Machine Pistols, Semi-Automatics, Tasers)
- Longarms/Small Arms (Assault Rifles/Carbines, Submachine Guns, Shotguns, Sniper Rifles, Sporting Rifles)
- Heavy Weapons/Special Weapons (Assault Cannon, Grenade Launchers, Machine Guns)

No skill group:
- Launchers (Guided Missiles, Mortars, Rocket Launchers)
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vladski
post Mar 24 2008, 08:12 PM
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Why not jsut default? I mean sorta like we used to be able to do in SR3? It's an easy concept to do, especially now that we don't have to mess with Combat pool.

Something like this:
All small arms from pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, long rifles and shotguns are related skills. If the player wants to use another firearm, jsut default to the most appropriate skill(s) you have and subtract 2 dice from the Skill rating (to a minimum of 1.)

This makes sense to me, because; the more proficient you are in firing any gun, means you are likely to pick up another type of gun and quickly determine it's particulars. A guy with Automatics:5 should surely be able to fire a regular semi-automatic rifle pretty accurately, especially since that's a regular part of his use of the assault rifle in SA mode. I don't have an issue with allowing him a 3 on the Skill portion of the test.

YMMV

Vlad
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Kyoto Kid
post Mar 24 2008, 08:45 PM
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...I agree that the split makes sense. It takes a lot of skill and practise to hit something at a distance with a single round. Meanwhile, it doesn't take a whole lot of extensive training to just hold the trigger and hose down an area, you're bound to eventually hit what you're shooting at.

...just put everything you got in that one sector Dimitri and you can't miss.
--President Merkin Muffley on the hot line to Premier Kissoff from Dr Strangelove.
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Fortune
post Mar 24 2008, 09:15 PM
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QUOTE (CircuitBoyBlue @ Mar 25 2008, 03:25 AM) *
Also, because I'm not really a gun person, the term "small arms" usually refers to any basic infantry weapon, from handguns to assault rifles, right? Or is the definition that military people use more or less inclusive than that?


Shrug. We've been through this before here, and I kind of figured someone would bitch, which was why I specifically put the types of firearms in brackets next to the categories. I don't really care what the actual categories are called (and I couldn't for the life of me remember 'Sidearms' when I made the post), as I was merely trying to impart information about the basic idea. Oh well, feel free to be picky. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/biggrin.gif)
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kigmatzomat
post Mar 24 2008, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE (Kyoto Kid @ Mar 24 2008, 04:45 PM) *
...I agree that the split makes sense. It takes a lot of skill and practise to hit something at a distance with a single round. Meanwhile, it doesn't take a whole lot of extensive training to just hold the trigger and hose down an area, you're bound to eventually hit what you're shooting at.


that's only true if you have infinite ammo, which most people don't. I've fired a couple of automatic weapons and it's a right pain to hit what I want with more than the first 2-3 rounds. I'm told that doing that well is unusual since most unskilled users are more concerned with controlling the recoil than round placement, whereas 20 years of sport shooting has me trained to choose and aim at a target before I put my finger on a trigger.

Some of my military friends had a long critical discourse of a cheesy action flick where full auto weapons mowed down baddies like a harvester. They recounted various military truisms, one if which was that a lightly trained rifleman (e.g. BUDS only) taking quick, but individual, shots against multiple close targets tended to be as effective as a moderately well trained shooter (e.g 2nd or 3rd term marine) going full auto and was only slightly slower. At least one instructor used that as their example that marksmanship was important speech, usually after having one of the biggest guys rock and roll on a set of targets while having one of the middle-of-the-pack shooters single- or double-tapping.

I see no trouble with automatics being a separate skill because anyone not trained in single-shot riflery is going to hold the weapon different, it requires completely different muscle memory, and has an altogether different flinch-reflex to overcome.
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Cthulhudreams
post Mar 24 2008, 09:41 PM
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The funny part about the current arrangement is that, in my experince, 'non gun' characters end up going for automatics because a SMG (with concealability mods) and an assault rifle covers your firearms needs.
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Siege
post Mar 24 2008, 11:56 PM
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Yes, but there are times when only full auto will do.

Usually, that's when you're spraying rounds to make people duck - but hey, every once in a while you get lucky. (IMG:style_emoticons/default/grinbig.gif)

Although in really close quarters with bullet resistant targets, I imagine full auto capabilities would prove very handy.

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-Siege
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Lyonheart
post Mar 25 2008, 12:52 AM
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I've considered the possibilities of using the Automatics skill as a Die pool limit on Long arms, Pistols, and Heavy weapons, basically representing your ability to control Automatic fire, Rifles and SMG's used two handed would then be long arms, and Machine Pistols and SMG's used one handed would be pistols.
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cx2
post Mar 25 2008, 02:14 AM
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The two most contentious areas on here seem to be weapons and computers related rules, but we must bear in mind that only a fraction of the playerbase is likely to be skilled in either. The current system is an effective way to allow players and GMs who have little to no knowledge of guns, doubly important in countries like Britain here where the vast majority of the population have never even seen a real life gun in all probability, to work out what to roll without fussing. Having the skill situation determined may or may not be more realistic, but for many groups will result in unnecessary and unwelcome slowdown and complication.
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Siege
post Mar 25 2008, 02:20 AM
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I think, ultimately, the fundamental rule of GMing applies: "Use what works for you."

Some people like rule-intensive games. Others like free-forming it. Some people prefer the rules to reflect their experiences in real life.

But half the fun of this forum is a chance to hash out ideas, pros and cons, with other people and take from their experiences and perspectives.

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Shrike30
post Mar 25 2008, 07:01 AM
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I've ruled that if you want to use a stocked SMG or larger weapon on SA when you'd usually use Automatics, you can use Longarms instead (assault rifle on SA, for example), and if you want to use a pistol-grip SMG (like the Ingram) or smaller Automatic on SA, you can use Pistols instead. That's about it.

I'm pretty handy with civilian semiauto AR-15 variants. I've got no experience shooting an M-16, essentially the same weapon with a different trigger group that includes FA. Pretty safe to say my Automatics skill sucks (I've got no personal experience whatsoever trying to counteract full-auto recoil), but I should be able to use Longarms with that AR-15 and get by just fine.
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