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> What do people want out of fire arms skills, From a story telling point of view
WeaverMount
post Sep 3 2008, 09:00 PM
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So there are lots of opinions and house rules about better ways to chop up the fire arms skills. My question is what what do people want out of fire arms rules. Why should/n't fire arms all be one skill? While there are real difference between using an AK and a Garand, they pail next to the differences between using a stiletto and a katana. So my question is what impact to people want the fire skills to have on there stories? Do you want use the a variety of skills to flavor different shooters? Do you want to allow a Sam to have a terrifying 'A-game' like sniping with 18+ dice, but still have the ability to force them out of there comfort zone? Does the balance implication of "Improved Ability (Guns)" seem terrifying?

The reason I ask is that answer to the question should wholly inform how(if) fire arms skills are modeled.
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Ol' Scratch
post Sep 3 2008, 09:15 PM
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I'm quite happy with a single Firearms skill with specializations for specific subcategories (Small Arms, Longarms, Heavy Weapons, etc.). I'm of the same mind regarding melee weapons, too. And, well, most other skills that were overspecialized for no apparent reason.

If anything I'd want to change how specialization works so as to make it more attractive and maintain a character's ability to stand out without gimping them in nonsensical ways. Unfortunately SR4's dice mechanic isn't very forgiving in that fashion as everything is pretty much a dice pool penalty/bonus and there's no real difference between skills and attributes in that regard.
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DWC
post Sep 3 2008, 09:20 PM
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I maintain that the fragmenting of the Firearms and Armed Combat skills between SR2 and SR3 was the second worst decision made in that changeover, right behind shuffling the initiative order to reduce the effectiveness of ridiculously expensive initiative boosting cyberware and adept powers.
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kzt
post Sep 3 2008, 09:25 PM
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For there to be advantages and disadvantages to just about everything.

I don't want one gun that is objectively the best in terms of accuracy, damage and armor penetration. If one is why bother even putting the rest of the crappy guns in the game?

I want people to have to trade off the huge loss of accuracy that you get when trying to shoot when running vs the ease of shooting a non-moving target.

I want to end the crazy milspec arms race with weapons.

I want automatic weapons to be useful without crazy "recoil compensation" BS.

I want people to fear longarms and shotguns. I want players to be terrified of HMGs because of how deadly they are.

I'd like hand grenades to be deadlier and more unpredictable in effects, to be something that people don't casually carry around or use.

I want it to damn hard for a skilled person to shoot non-evading people at 900 meters, somewhat difficult for an expert and impossible for a casual person. I want it to be really hard to shoot evading people at 900 meters even for an expert.

I want players to feel that being around really loud weapons in close spaces isn't good for them.
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Remjin
post Sep 3 2008, 10:21 PM
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All in all, it all comes down to how much granularity you want... balance and all that aside, how different is it all and how different do people want it to be? Some people like it when there are a lot of differences and realism is the core idea. Others like things generalized and more free-form or loose because they don't care about it. The current system is toward the lighter side but with a nod toward a bit more specificity.

Shadowrun, I think, runs way into the fantasy realm of things as is. It is odd that some "realism" is thrown in there like it is.

From a realism stand-point, guns are guns are guns... and the basics of operating any firearm is pretty much the same. Hold it, point/aim it, press the trigger. Rounds go in at slot A, which fits into slot B. Push Tab A. Going further into the various operations in differences between long guns and pistols, their use is quite a bit different simply due to shorter sight radius, no integrated support or bracing system (stocks and the like), and general purpose. Each firearms specifically can operate quite a bit differently, using the example of H&K's "squeeze-cocker" pistol versus striker fired, hammer fired, and even electronic firing... safeties, location of slide releases, decockers, combination levers, magazine releases, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum - and I'm only picking at the surface of all the differences.

If we really wanted to be specific, we might require that a specific firearm be required to have its own skill at a level higher than X. Really, though, does it add to the game?

All I want out of the rule system is a way to have fun, make a decent amount of sense, and let me do what I want. Outside of that, I don't really care and the current system is fine for me and the overall feel of the game. I think it would be nice to have an optional, more granular system for those who like that sort of thing, but overall I prefer more in the way of extra things I can do rather than the basics of the system.

I agree with kzt in that I like it a lot better when people aren't really that overly concerned with the optimization of firearms. The whole arms race thing is always annoying. I HATE it when people run around trying to tote Panther Assault Cannons and HMGs into clubs and the like, because it doesn't make any sense.

One of the things I miss from 3rd edition is the damage codes which made the heavier weapons much deadlier in many ways. I don't mind the new way, but it requires a certain amount of scale enforcement, it seems, and is more about the 2ndary values than the damage.

I somewhat agree with the automatic thing, though, if you're into "realism," automatic fire is usually a bit tough to work with and does require weapons to have compensation systems for it even now... the bigger the round, the harder it is to deal with. Its why all that stuff exists, and many are the stories of men with automatic weapons who have thrown themselves backwards by going fully automatic. I think that rule should be more based on the power of the rounds used than on the number, though. The recoil of a fully automatic HMG versus that of a 9mm SMG is hardly the same.
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sunnyside
post Sep 3 2008, 10:39 PM
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Ok on those things I remeber seeing developers notes or something.

The idea was this. By picking up one skill the teams mage or whatever was as good a shot with the same weapons as the teams sammy.

Their solution was to split the firearms skill up to make it more expensive. Either the mage would be a worse shot or they'd only be able to fire pistols or something.

Of course this meant Sammies took it in the shorts having to cough up big piles of points to get their combat skills.

I kind like the skill group now. So long as you go with that it isn't so bad. The problem is when a person can fire an AK47 with pinpoint accuracy but give them a sniper rifle and they can't hit the broad side of a barn. Ugh. Really there's nothing to be done for that. Just say the guy really likes using automatics and hope it never comes up where they have to use a sniper rifle.

-------------------------

And I actually agree with the initiative thing. Back in the old editions many fights would be over before the slower people even got to do anything. Argue reaction times all you want or whatever. I starting bringing a book with me to game sessions because I was a slower decker and I wanted something to do during combat.

In theory there can be some wait time while people finish the combat turn out. But combat in Shadowrun tends to be short and violent. And it's easier to deal with if you actually got to do something.



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WeaverMount
post Sep 3 2008, 10:41 PM
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@kzt: I'm totally with you everything you wanted. IMO though you get that by treating weapons differently, not the skills to use them.

I was all set to get some data to help me think about ways to chop up the fire skills, but DS has kind of knocked my out of my RAW box. Now I'm thinking about whether or not to have them at all. Can anyone make the a case for having multiple gun skills?
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psychophipps
post Sep 3 2008, 11:34 PM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 3 2008, 03:41 PM) *
@kzt: I'm totally with you everything you wanted. IMO though you get that by treating weapons differently, not the skills to use them.

I was all set to get some data to help me think about ways to chop up the fire skills, but DS has kind of knocked my out of my RAW box. Now I'm thinking about whether or not to have them at all. Can anyone make the a case for having multiple gun skills?


Strangely enough, I like the new separation of skills as shown in the skill groups. It's broad enough to make the skill handy but not so broad that anyone can take "Shoot Gunz!" as a skill without a serious investment in BP.
While the separation of action types was mentioned above, there is also the fact that firearms skills, like any combat skills, are quite perishable. If you were to take some the real high-speed/low-drag types and force them to take only one month off from firearms training you would see a pretty significant drop in their proficiency, especially in any precision work they might have had themselves tuned up to. Besides, the fact remains that pistolcraft, rifleman, and SMG use all require different techniques and skill sets to use effectively, especially in combat. There is a reason why the pistol, rifle, SMG, and shotgun shooting champions are all different people, after all.
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WeaverMount
post Sep 3 2008, 11:46 PM
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yes I totally recognize that shooting different types of guns requires different skills. That's obvious. It's also obvious that people enjoy having multiple gun skills at there table. So I'm asking what do people feel that brings to the table. The fire arms skills are far more specialized than any other skill. There isn't an 'I shoot guns skills', but there is a 'I know all strikes, blocks, parries, holds, throws, and subdual techniques' skill called 'unarmed combat'.

Is it just it as simple as an 'I shoot guns skills' is less palatable to some DSers than other skills that could easily broken down more? How do you enjoy the skills. Is it a balance concern? Do people like having the ability to sink more than 6 ranks and a specialty into fire arms?
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kzt
post Sep 4 2008, 04:35 AM
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The two critical elements to shooting all guns are trigger control (so you don't jerk the sights off target) and sight alignment (so the bullet is aimed at the target).

A double action revolver and a 1911 pistol are about as different in how they are brought into action and reloaded as it's possible to be, but they are both "pistols" for SR4. And that's OK. And I'm more or less ok with separating pistols from rifles.

But there is just as little (or much) difference between an "assault rifle" and other "longarms" as there is between the pistols. So the SR4 approach is pretty crazy here. You can shoot a man sized target at 300 meters with an M16 just like you can with a hunting rifle. It's all the same skill.

I'd argue that long range shooting does take a different skill, but you could also make the argument that in most cases electronics could take a lot of the specialized skill out of that. I'd suggest that there are times you don't really want to hit a target with a laser rangefinder, but I'm not sure how common that would be.

Using a belt-fed machine gun is very different from using a rifle, but it's not like infantryman have to spend two years getting a masters degree in support weapons to learn to use them effectively.
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Riley37
post Sep 4 2008, 05:11 AM
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David Drake wrote a novel, "Starliner", in which a pair of veterans were minor characters, one passable with pistol and SMG and expert with sport and sniper rifles, and the other vice versa. It was a minor story point; and I'd like my RPG to have enough granularity to make that sort of distinction. I suppose that if each of them had a different Specialization, that would be enough.
WeaverMount and I discussed breaking out the skills, or specialties, by aiming method, rather than by firearm. There's pointing, without lining up the barrel on the line between shooter's eye and target; some argue that's the fastest way to get on target in a point-blank handgun fight, and some people fire shotguns from the hip. Sighting, eg with standard iron sights. Scope-sighting. And lobbing, eg grenade launchers and underbarrel grenade launchers.

If you have an Ares Alpha, and you set the fire selector to single shot, do you still use Automatics to aim it? The skill of firing an Alpha or AK that's set to single shot, and the skill of firing an M1 Garand, should be the same skill.

Yes, the mage/hacker/face/gadgeteer can easily rival the sam on the firing range, if the non-sam has Skillwires 4. In SR4, the way that a sam sinks lotsa points into mundane combat is more about defense; Reaction, Dodge, heavy armor and the BOD to wear it, various augware for soaking damage... see the munchkin tank builds a while back.
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jago668
post Sep 4 2008, 06:40 AM
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You could always tighten it back up with a short range, mid range, long range gun skill set. Would make as much sense as the split they have now, gives some diversity, but takes the choices down just a bit.
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WeaverMount
post Sep 4 2008, 07:53 AM
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Forgive my clumsiness but I think I finally hit on the proper question. I'm less interested finding a good split, and more interested how you judge a given split. The reason I find this an interesting question is that realism in this case would be one skill to rule them all. Not because all guns are identical, but because that level of abstraction is most equivalent to the other skills.
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sunnyside
post Sep 4 2008, 08:54 AM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 4 2008, 03:53 AM) *
Forgive my clumsiness but I think I finally hit on the proper question. I'm less interested finding a good split, and more interested how you judge a given split. The reason I find this an interesting question is that realism in this case would be one skill to rule them all. Not because all guns are identical, but because that level of abstraction is most equivalent to the other skills.



Again the level of abstraction is there to make the skill more expensive.

I do like that different types of weapons/shooting use different skills, but like others I think automatics is silly, at least except for when they are firing on automatic.

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psychophipps
post Sep 4 2008, 12:29 PM
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The reason for the lack of separation, for example, of the unarmed combat skill is the lack of range and much less unbalancing effect this lack holds in RPG combat. To be frank, the addition of an semiautomatic, autoburst, or fully automatic weapon into any given combat scene of an RPG session and you have introduced an object that can easily turn the whole scene on it's head. There is no real need to close with your enemy and endure possible dangers that this movement might create. They can't hit you back unless they too have a ranged weapon or firearm. A firearm can shoot through light cover. You can use it to cover a retreat. You can attack enemies before they see you without having to make a stealth roll at all.

The list just goes on and on as to why a gunslinger, with the exception of a few circumstances, is much better to have and is much more unbalancing in almost any given combat situation than an unarmed or melee weapon specialist.
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Sir_Psycho
post Sep 4 2008, 02:04 PM
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I'm pretty happy with the fire-arm rules. With the exception of sniping. Sniping is easy in Shadowrun. Range barely ever factors in, and you can usually take aim + take aim + take aim etc. + lie prone + bipod + vision mods and it just gets silly. Personally, I would like to see some special modifiers for shooting at those ranges, like windage and firing arc. Maybe even the use of spotters/targeting computers/special spotter cyberware/software. Also, there should be some serious penalties for burst/auto sniping.
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Jhaiisiin
post Sep 4 2008, 06:40 PM
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Wouldn't smartlink cover things like windage and such?
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WeaverMount
post Sep 4 2008, 06:53 PM
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i would say a trivially modded or top of the line smark link could offer that functionality assuming it had the data feed to it in some manner. It would need extra sensors to take a wind reading at it's location. Even better would be it it had some extra data points from down range some how.
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jago668
post Sep 4 2008, 07:09 PM
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In second edition you had tac computers for that. You fed them input, and they fed dice pool bonuses. Which would equate to them figureing out windage, etc for you. However I believe smartlinks are supposed to do that also. Figure out bullet drop over the given distance, etc.
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psychophipps
post Sep 4 2008, 08:34 PM
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QUOTE (Sir_Psycho @ Sep 4 2008, 06:04 AM) *
I'm pretty happy with the fire-arm rules. With the exception of sniping. Sniping is easy in Shadowrun. Range barely ever factors in, and you can usually take aim + take aim + take aim etc. + lie prone + bipod + vision mods and it just gets silly. Personally, I would like to see some special modifiers for shooting at those ranges, like windage and firing arc. Maybe even the use of spotters/targeting computers/special spotter cyberware/software. Also, there should be some serious penalties for burst/auto sniping.


I have to agree here. There is a reason why real snipers are really rare, after all.

I think that this is one area where I kind of go "Huh?" as the system is obviously designed as a threshold system, but then for wound penalties, range modifiers, and a few other random bits bolts on a dice pool modification system that well...doesn't really add anything of real value that can't be handled via the already-defined threshold system. I can't help but think that these rules additions came from the "playtester's are bitching" part of the initial development by the sudden swap from an otherwise perfectly workable gaming engine.

I honestly would have preferred a straight threshold system throughout the ruleset in hindsight...
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Wounded Ronin
post Sep 4 2008, 08:55 PM
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This subject has come up before.

1.) Is it can it be Raygun time now pleaze?

2.) I personally still want to sit down and make a set of simulationist rules for firearms. I think once I've got that it would be simple to adapt it to any number of genres, such a Vietnam War, 1980s international relations, cyberpunk, etc.
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psychophipps
post Sep 4 2008, 08:59 PM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Sep 4 2008, 12:55 PM) *
This subject has come up before.

1.) Is it can it be Raygun time now pleaze?

2.) I personally still want to sit down and make a set of simulationist rules for firearms. I think once I've got that it would be simple to adapt it to any number of genres, such a Vietnam War, 1980s international relations, cyberpunk, etc.


Well, fire up a thread and we'll see how deep that rabbit hole goes, homie...
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Wounded Ronin
post Sep 4 2008, 09:05 PM
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QUOTE (psychophipps @ Sep 4 2008, 04:59 PM) *
Well, fire up a thread and we'll see how deep that rabbit hole goes, homie...


What, simulationist firearms rules? I don't have any real good ideas this time. I had really wanted to pull something together in the past but I've started a new job and haven't really had the time to sit down and keep thinking of good rules though. But I actually have some notes on suppression fire, random hits, and things like that which I already posted to DSF and got comments on. And the comments basically revealed how those rules are flawed as I'd written them at the time, so right now I'm sort of back at square one.
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WeaverMount
post Sep 4 2008, 10:59 PM
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QUOTE (Wounded Ronin @ Sep 4 2008, 03:55 PM) *
I personally still want to sit down and make a set of simulationist rules for firearms.

Yeah this is actually exactly what I was trying not to do. I'd deal with swapping my table to a GURPS mod first about as much work and fixes a bunch of other issues.


QUOTE
I think that this is one area where I kind of go "Huh?" as the system is obviously designed as a threshold system, but then for wound penalties, range modifiers, and a few other random bits bolts on a dice pool modification system that well...doesn't really add anything of real value that can't be handled via the already-defined threshold system. I can't help but think that these rules additions came from the "playtester's are bitching" part of the initial development by the sudden swap from an otherwise perfectly workable gaming engine.

I think that the modifiers have there place. SR4 is very very streamlined, and the size of dice pools and (in)frequency of tests benifit the game a lot. The trade off though is granularity. At the end of the day the system just needs the fine tuning of threshold adjusts, and the 1/3 step of a DP adjust is needed IMO.
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Wounded Ronin
post Sep 6 2008, 03:49 PM
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QUOTE (WeaverMount @ Sep 4 2008, 06:59 PM) *
I'd deal with swapping my table to a GURPS mod first about as much work and fixes a bunch of other issues.


Does GURPS handle suppression fire well?

In my mind, I feel like if there could be a good RPG engine that handled suppression fire well, that would deal with a lot of other issues that are hard to manage in RPGs.

If there were a suppression fire mechanism, you would also at the same time have a way to treat stray rounds that missed, as you could treat the missing rounds as limited suppression fire.

If there were a way of determining the "accidental" hits caused by unaimed fire, there'd probably also be a mechanism for it to be possible for a poorly aimed unskilled shot randomly hitting someone in the forehead and killing him instantly, whereas one issue in SR is if you don't have many dice to roll that can become literally impossible, which isn't realistic.
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