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> Rifles(Sniping) and Pistols(Flechette), Alternate specialisations
Lilt
post Apr 19 2004, 09:35 PM
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Has anyone considered allowing different specialisations for skills rather than the standard "By weapon type" specialisations?

Examples from the title:
Rifles(Sniping) is used when sniping regardless of which rifle is being used. It is GM's disgression as to exactly what counts as sniping. In-general the character must remain stationary, preferably prone or in a stable firing position, and have performed at-least one aim action to gain the bonus dice. Some GMs may add additional requirements such-as additional actions.

Pistols(Flechette), or rather: specialisation by ammunition type. This specialisation implies extensive experience with particular ammunition types. This covers practicing to overcome disadvantages with the ammunition type (Poor penetration, explosive if mis-handled) and capitolising on the advantages associated with the ammunition type (where to hit a target to cause the greatest trauma with the round type). It also covers experience with the ballistic properties associated with the rounds (Trajectory, Speed, Penetration, ETC).
A character could even specialise in regular ammunition which implies inexperience with any other type of ammunition.

Do such specialisations seem reasonable? Does anyone have/Can anyone think-of other alternate specialisations?
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Arethusa
post Apr 19 2004, 09:41 PM
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Personally, I find specialization by ammo type to be quite silly. Realistically, you'll see specialization for specific weapon classes, and even in extreme cases for specific guns, but not for ammunition types. As for sniping, I think your definition of sniping's a bit strict, but on the right track. Specializations for something like SMGs(CQB) seem potentially sane, though rather hackish, given that SR doesn't handle the whole mess terribly well under canon.
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Shockwave_IIc
post Apr 19 2004, 09:42 PM
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I'm liking the idea. im guess the by ammo type could also be applied to any of the small arms?
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 19 2004, 09:46 PM
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Sniping: Standing should count, as long as you don't move. Having spent at least one Take Aim action is a good descriptor too. I'd add that you must not be under fire -- if someone is firing at you or at the area you occupy during this CT or the prior CT, then you are not sniping. Overall, I like it, and have used it before in my games.

Flechette, at least how it's described for non-shotguns in SR canon, could probably count as a specialization. Most other ammunition types, however, shouldn't. Specialization in Explosive Rounds is pretty silly, as is APDS specialization. I do not think it's a good idea to assume people will automatically be aiming for less armored body parts if they've "specialized" in poorly penetrating rounds. According to the newest official stand, like it or not, that's a Called Shot, which instead might serve as a specialization.
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Arethusa
post Apr 19 2004, 09:53 PM
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Ok, I have to disagree about sniping not applying if you're taking fire. If I can grab a suppressed M21, slap a scope on it, fast rope from a Little Bird to a downed Black Hawk, and proceed to snipe hundreds of people trying to rush me, I think it can apply.

Also, I am not even sure just what flechette is supposed to be per SR canon. Do the rounds explode in the barrel? Is this just a misnomer for frangible? I don't get it.
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Lilt
post Apr 19 2004, 09:58 PM
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CQB as a specialisation sounds good. When exactly would the specialisation not apply though? Also: What other specialisations could there be allong the CQB/Sniping progression? IIRC with only 2 specialisations it becomes cheaper to buy both specialisations rather than the basic skill up.

I could see shooting flechette ammunition having significantly different properties than normal ammunition. In-fact it would probably have a larger difference than between particular firearms. You would probably want to shoot people in different locations for maximum effect with gel and capsule rounds than you would with regular ammunition.
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Arethusa
post Apr 19 2004, 10:09 PM
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See, that's the problem. Defining what counts as CQB is something of a GM call, though if you read through my Canon Revision thread (likely now buried on the second page, as Austere was pretty much the only one who responded to it more than twice), you could define it as all combat taking place with 15m. I considered 20 or 25, but I'm not sure if that goes too far. It probably does, and it's a call people who've actually handled guns are far better at making than me.

As for other specializations, who knows. CQB and sniping are pretty solid, though I guess you could theoretically specialize in midrange combat. But with two specializations in a skill, you've paid enough to raise the base skill, which is why it never makes sense to take two specializations. The system could really use some work.

And you would aim for different spots with a gel round, but I'd suggest a non lethal specialization as opposed to a single round specialization. Single types are just too specific to be worth anything, and, really, when you're in the head of combat, you don't calculate where the liver is and then aim there. You shoot. You shoot again. And if he's still standing, you repeat until successful.
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Smiley
post Apr 19 2004, 10:39 PM
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I agree about taking fire not necessarily precluding sniping. Maybe only firing one shot? Definitely not moving, whether that be just standing or laying prone with the trusty loop sling. You can take fire and still place some well-aimed shots. I almost got set ablaze by my squad leader popping a smoke too close to me, but i still did really well on the combat course.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 19 2004, 10:46 PM
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QUOTE (Arethusa)
If I can grab a suppressed M21, slap a scope on it, fast rope from a Little Bird to a downed Black Hawk, and proceed to snipe hundreds of people trying to rush me, I think it can apply.

They were on a Black Hawk, and the BH actually landed to let them out. :P I would not call that "sniping", since they were ducking in and out of cover, exchanging fire constantly. That's far from what I consider sniping.

To me, sniping is the closest to a shooting range environment that you'll get in a war. It's when you don't have to actively preserve your own life constantly, allowing you to aim effectively at long ranges. The opposite of that is charging a place with guns blazing, or moving rapidly behind obstacles while occasionally taking a few quick shots without aiming much. When you are being fired at, aiming suddenly becames a heck of a lot more difficult. Shooting 500 meters away while under heavy fire is inhumanely difficult.

Maybe you could limit it so that having used Combat Pool in Dodge Tests during the CT in which the firing takes place or the preceding CT disqualifies from the sniping bonus. That way a ganger firing a few shots with a Predator at 90 meters in the general area won't screw up your aim, but suppressive fire certainly will.

QUOTE
Also, I am not even sure just what flechette is supposed to be per SR canon.

They're miracle nanobullets which hack people to death with tiny little swords. Either that, or they're bundles of sharp metal slivers (probably of random shapes by the description on p. 116 in SR3) that break into a cloud of slivers once they leave the barrel. Both explanations make as much sense, and with both a specialization is as reasonable as it is for a specific weapon.

For CQB range, I'd put it closer to 15m than 20-25m. 20-25 meters is often a really long way...

QUOTE (Smiley)
You can take fire and still place some well-aimed shots. I almost got set ablaze by my squad leader popping a smoke too close to me, but i still did really well on the combat course.

I'd say that's not a particularly good comparison. Sure, it might distract many people, but I'm sure it's absolutely nothing compared to the complete panic that hits most human beings when they realize they could die any nanosecond unless they start doing something radical really fucking soon.

The people who don't panic when under fire are the kind of people I'd expect not to mind too much even if they were set on fire by said smoke grenade and had to finish the course with large 1st degree burns.

This post has been edited by Austere Emancipator: Apr 19 2004, 10:55 PM
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Smiley
post Apr 19 2004, 10:58 PM
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Being UNDER fire and ON fire are both really goddamn stressful situations. They both require focus and a cool head. Do you, Austere Emancipator, have any kind of military experience are are you merely speculating on something you've never been through and really don't know that much about?
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Arethusa
post Apr 19 2004, 11:02 PM
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Whoops. That's what I get for not having finished the book and relying on the movie for that scene. Ahem.

I guess it's fair to not call that sniping. Honestly, it can get very screwy when you want to nail down a solid definition in combat, which is why the game needs two skills: combat and non combat. Combat applies to everything in combat. Non combat applies to everything not combat. That would stop all the debates.

Seriously, I don't like the idea of creating extram mechanics for suppression fire interrupting sniping, etc. I'd much prefer that to be emergent, and if you want to stand up and aim, you go ahead do that, boy. We'll be down here with the cover and the bandages.
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Kagetenshi
post Apr 19 2004, 11:05 PM
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I'd like to state that some of us with no military experience nonetheless have experience with being on fire.

~J
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Smiley
post Apr 19 2004, 11:08 PM
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Yeah, not pleasant, is it?
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 19 2004, 11:10 PM
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QUOTE (Smiley)
Do you, Austere Emancipator, have any kind of military experience are are you merely speculating on something you've never been through and really don't know that much about?

(Déjà vu. Somehow I always get asked this...)
I spent 9 months in the holiday resort called "Finnish Marine Forces", yes. I'm still only speculating based on my reading of several accounts of battles. I've never been under live fire (other than from BB guns), and I've never been on fire long enough to get serious burns. I have, however, fired several different kinds of rifles at all kinds of targets in all kinds of conditions.

I have spoken with several soldiers who've been under live fire (although most are war veterans, and that was 60 years ago), and I've spoken with several specops soldiers and people who've represented Finland in different kinds of "soldier skill" competitions, such as for sniping. I am not simply talking out of my ass. That's a large part of it, but not all of it.

And you yourself said that you "almost got set ablaze", which I take to mean the smoke grenade was right next to you but did not set you on fire. That does not, in my mind, qualify as the same level of stress as the realization of having a really good chance of dying within the next 3 seconds.
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Smiley
post Apr 19 2004, 11:19 PM
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What i was responding to was the immediate discounting of my little analogy. For some reason, a certain few of the posters here seem to focus not on the POINT someone is trying to make, but the way in which they try to make it, even when the point is fairly easy to discern. However, to remove ALL doubt...

Under Fire = Stressful
On Fire = Stressful
Under Fire and On Fire = Undesirable Conditions, but not EXCLUSIVE conditions. One CAN operate under them.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 19 2004, 11:24 PM
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I got your point, and I disagreed with it enough to call for the response that I gave. Like I already conceded, a few shots in your general direction might not be enough to break your concentration/aim or force movement. However, when you start using Combat Pool dice in Dodge tests, it becomes pretty obvious that you are no longer being completely still with your eye constantly peering through the scope.

And as for operating under them, of course you can. That was not the point, however. You can operate perfectly well in a battlefield environment, and still be incapable of doing any sniping.
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gknoy
post Apr 19 2004, 11:25 PM
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QUOTE (Austere Emancipator)
QUOTE (Smiley)
[does] Austere Emancipator  have any kind of military experience ... ?

(Déjà vu. Somehow I always get asked this...)
I spent 9 months in the holiday resort called "Finnish Marine Forces", yes.

I take it that's a "No"? :verybigwink: J/k, AE :)

On topic, though ...

I think that a better way to handle sniping, in general, and CQB, even, would be to have them be complementary skills.

For Sniping:

How would a Rifles (Sniping) that be any different from "Free dice as long as you aren't getting shot at"? Wouldn't EVERY sniper take that as much as they could?

How is this any more realistic than simply having Rifles (Your Rifle) ? I believe that weapon specializations should reflect time devoted to a particular rifle (or perhaps by close-family-of-rifles). You spent a year training with that marine sniping unit (which seems, stats-wise, to be pretty much like a heavy sport rifle with sniper-rifle ranes than a PSG-1, for example), why not simply specialize in it? Sure, you probably already have at least a professional (or better) skill with rifles in general -- heck, given a Sharps' single-shot rifle, I'm sure you're STILL be quite formidable, but that's no reason to think that you're AS good with weapon A as you are with Weapon B.

I think that the situation you're describing is already handled by the aiming rules:
AIming is a simple action, and your aiming effects are ruined if you do anything else: I take this to include using combat pool for dodging. (That part IS mostly IMO, but I imagine others agree with me.)

in short: Take Aim + Rifles (Your Rifle) as a specialization seems to be quite balanced and already is in the game.

For CQB: I think that perhaps an applicable specialization of Small Unit Tactics might help (but applied to yourself, or something)? I don't remember how SUT works, but there is probably a way to apply it to yourself or teammates in a CQB situation. That could simply be a specialization of SUT -- SUT (CQB) , as opposed to SUT (jungle warfare), or something.
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Smiley
post Apr 19 2004, 11:28 PM
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Concur. Good point, gknoy.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 19 2004, 11:31 PM
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QUOTE (gknoy)
Wouldn't EVERY sniper take that as much as they could?

Some might even think it desirable for all snipers to take a skill specialization of Sniping. :P

If you consider Take Aim to be broken by using Combat Pool in Dodge tests, then the simple limiter of "Must have used at least 1 Take Aim" is enough, IMO. Some things must still be ruled on a case-by-case basis.
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Arethusa
post Apr 19 2004, 11:45 PM
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I actually quite like the idea of breaking aiming if you're forced to actively dodge.
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mcb
post Apr 20 2004, 02:13 AM
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To be honest I skipped part of this thread so if I repeat something I apologize. When I think of snipers I think of more than simple marksmanship. Any good solder whether they’re sniper trained or not know correct weapon control, good positions, and good trigger control. Snipers excel at shooting at very long distances. A typical solder is taught to engage at ranges were the weapon are still in a point blank trajectory for most of that engagement range. Out to 250 meters you can pretty much point and shoot at man size targets with the standard M-16 or similar rifle and if you have zeroed the weapon at 200 meter then you will still hit the targets any where from zero out to 250 maybe 300.

Snipers excel at shooting at ranges that require the ability to compensate for extreme bullet drop and compensating for wind effects. Shooting at a man size target out to 250 meter is pretty straight forward. As you start moving past 300 meters bullet drop and moderate wind will make you miss a man size target without compensating for it. Snipers excel at compensating for these extreme ranges. Snipers also learn a lot of other skills the normal solder does not but within the rifle skill I think that a sniper’s ability to adapt to extreme range is his real skill that differentiates them from the regular trained solder.

Just my $0.02
mcb
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Smiley
post Apr 20 2004, 03:37 AM
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For what it's worth, the Marine Corps rifle range series does have a 200 and 300 yard line field of fire where you stand, sit, and lay prone, then a 500 yard line where you're prone. The SNIPER snipers go all the way back to 600 yards and further. Hitting a still target at 200 and 300 yards ain't that hard, assuming you remember to change the dope on your iron sights (a mistake i've made once or twice).

Just trying help out with what mcb said earlier.
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Voran
post Apr 20 2004, 09:01 AM
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I don't claim any real knowledge on the subject, but the impression I get through books and browsing the web and such, sniper training is not so much about the gun-training, and more about the stealth/stalking/having the constitution to continuously see your bullets plow through heads.

As such, its not so much a rifle related skill, for SR at least.
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Lilt
post Apr 20 2004, 09:35 AM
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While skill in stalking and sneaking is good, IIRC you really want to be able to control your breathing well and keep your hands steady, which probably would come onder the bracket of the skill itself.

I could see sniping as a separate skill. Possibly one that allows effectively complimentary skill dice, maybe even a centering against penelties style roll, under appropriate circumastances.

Another way it could work would be like marksmanship from SLA Industries the role-play game. That helps sniping by allowing you to take extra aim actions up-to your rank in the skill as-long-as you are in a good firing stance with a rest. I suppose that could be applied as Marksmanship Skill/X extra aims, where X depends on what situation you are in. With firing stance and rest, X=2. With firing stance and no rest, X=3. Without either, X=4.
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Austere Emancipa...
post Apr 20 2004, 11:34 AM
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If "Sniping" is a separate skill, then you're opening the door for all kinds of skill that provide complementary dice to all kinds of actions. "Breaking & Entering" is one. "Tactical Assault" might be another. "Ambushing" perhaps? Etc etc. If you want all those skills in your game, no problem. I'm just getting a similar vibe from this Sniping skill as from those discussions about a separate "Ninja" skill...

Yeah, a sniper's highest skill rating could easily be in something other than Rifle. Stealth is often more important in that line of work. But a Rifle/Sniping specialization still makes sense. Pistol is not a cop's most important skill, but he might still have a Pistol/(Own pistol model) specialization.

And while we're sharing sniper stories: As a rest for a sniper rifle, a small bag of sand is far better than a bipod. Keep along a sturdy sock and fill it with dirt/sand on site for that purpose.
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