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> Hollowpoint houserule, Getting feedback on a really minor tweak.
FuelDrop
post Jul 13 2020, 07:21 AM
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In 4E Hollowpoints are availability 6F, cost 50 nuyen per 10, and do +1 damage, but also give the target +2 armour.

In the same system Explosive rounds are availability 8F, cost 50 nuyen per 10, and do +1 damage without giving the target +2 armour.

Given that explosive rounds are just better and hollowpoints shouldn't be that hard to make I propose to houserule them to cost 30 per 10, making them a cheap damage boosting ammo with a tradeoff.

What are peoples thoughts?
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bannockburn
post Jul 13 2020, 09:30 AM
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Sure. Sounds reasonable. The BOOM-factor of explosive is negligible either way.
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FuelDrop
post Jul 13 2020, 09:39 AM
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QUOTE (bannockburn @ Jul 13 2020, 05:30 PM) *
Sure. Sounds reasonable. The BOOM-factor of explosive is negligible either way.


I just figured there should be a reason to ever use hollowpoint rounds over explosives.

+1 damage is equivalent to 1 extra hit, or about 3 extra dice.
+1 damage with +2 to the target's armour is about on par with one extra dice, all things being equal, and may actually cause you to do stun damage instead of physical. I feel like the difference between these ammunition types needs to be more than negligible differences in availability.
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Koekepan
post Jul 13 2020, 06:43 PM
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This whole thing always bothered me a bit.

Hollowpoints (leaving aside some ballistic considerations on modified tip spitzer bullets) work because when they hit tissue, their relatively soft construction means that they expand, so you get a larger wound channel disrupting tissues on penetration. There are balancing acts; if it's too soft or frangible, you'll get a wide but shallow wound - fine for annihilating squirrels, but pretty useless for doing anything except annoying a troll (or even a fat man in a leather jacket). If the bullet is too hard, it won't significantly distort, meaning that there's little incremental benefit over a ball.

Spitzer bullets (pointy tips, generally high velocity rounds typically fired from rifles) create large wound channels, but because of a different mechanical effect; they hit their target and then, with a heavier rear to the bullet than the narrow tip, they yaw, and tumble through flesh, churning it up as they go. Some manufacturers would even put lighter materials in the nose of the bullet, to increase the propensity to yaw on impact.

Making a hollowpoint rifle round compromises its flight characteristics with little or no incremental wounding benefit. (This doesn't apply to lower velocity bullets such as shotgun slugs, which behave more like pistol rounds.)

A spitzer pistol round is unlikely to have sufficient velocity to tumble reliably, and consequently makes little sense in most chamberings.

Armour-piercing rounds generally have penetrators, which are hardened inner parts that continue through armour while shedding the outer part of the bullet, spending their energy on disrupting armour rather than distorting. They're bad for wounding, because they tend to drive narrow wounds, rather than large wound channels.

Explosive rounds, at the level beneath that of grenades, tend to explode once they hit anything hard enough to disrupt them - there's some penetration of softer targets, but hardened targets disrupt the explosive rounds while they're still on the outside - so while they'll explode on entry of tissue or unarmoured materiel, their major virtue is that they create localised disruption without substantial overpenetration. Fancy things that will do penetration and then explode once inside are the field of much more complex rounds like antitank missiles.

Basically, explosive rounds out of anything below a Panther should be very nearly a waste of time unless you have a morbid loathing of prairie dogs, or you're trying to damage a thin-skinned vehicle's internal components.

Hollowpoint bullets don't work well on armour because they expand on impact, wasting kinetic energy on plastic deformation, as well as reducing their sectional density by flattening out against the armour. However, their greater cohesion compared to explosive rounds means that they are more inclined to tear through tissue rather than blow a crater in it. Explosive rounds that work well on armour, by being hard enough to penetrate to some extent before shredding the armour open, are highly unlikely to go off while penetrating unarmoured tissue.

The difference between the behaviours of armour piercing and regular rounds was rather dramatically illustrated in WWII by soldiers of the british empire who were stationed in desert areas, and in an effort to supplement their rather boring rations, they tried shooting desert rabbits. Their regular ammunition from their .303 rifles would simply shred the animals on the spot, leaving little or no usable meat. Then after some thought, they tried armour piercing rounds, which would drill a neat hole right through the animal with no disruption at all beyond that. Plenty enough damage to drop a rabbit on the spot, but plenty of meat left for the soldiers.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 13 2020, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jul 13 2020, 08:43 PM) *
Making a hollowpoint rifle round compromises its flight characteristics with little or no incremental wounding benefit. (This doesn't apply to lower velocity bullets such as shotgun slugs, which behave more like pistol rounds.)

This is why you make hunting rounds using partially covered tips. They work perfectly fine, though are banned for warfare for historical reasons. A polymer tip has the same effect, BTW.

Which is why modern rifle bullets are designed to break up in the middle upon tumble.

QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jul 13 2020, 08:43 PM) *
A spitzer pistol round is unlikely to have sufficient velocity to tumble reliably, and consequently makes little sense in most chamberings.

Can be done, just too exotic currently.

QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jul 13 2020, 08:43 PM) *
Fancy things that will do penetration and then explode once inside are the field of much more complex rounds like antitank missiles.

Not really.

QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jul 13 2020, 08:43 PM) *
Explosive rounds that work well on armour, by being hard enough to penetrate to some extent before shredding the armour open, are highly unlikely to go off while penetrating unarmoured tissue.

It's more a timing thing for the fuse - though if the fuse is not triggered at all, this leaves you indeed with the problem.

QUOTE (FuelDrop @ Jul 13 2020, 09:21 AM) *
Given that explosive rounds are just better and hollowpoints shouldn't be that hard to make I propose to houserule them to cost 30 per 10, making them a cheap damage boosting ammo with a tradeoff.

Still pretty expensive for a standard bullet that essentially had it's tip drilled or some of the casing stripped.
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Koekepan
post Jul 13 2020, 11:21 PM
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QUOTE (Rotbart van Dainig @ Jul 14 2020, 01:24 AM) *
This is why you make hunting rounds using partially covered tips. They work perfectly fine, though are banned for warfare for historical reasons. A polymer tip has the same effect, BTW.

Which is why modern rifle bullets are designed to break up in the middle upon tumble.


True, but not really germane, and actually worse in the case of armour because the polymer insert starts to mechanically open the bullet's profile before the bullet itself even penetrates and thus making it even worse for armour penetration. It's effectively the opposite of an armour-piercing round.

Some modern rifle bullets do the break in the middle - it's not a uniform design choice, depending on what the intended target is. I wasn't really going to go into the whole matter of things like custom jacketed hard cast or solid copper rounds for pachyderm hunting (as one example).

Now there are some rounds that have a teeny-tiny hollow in the tip of the nose (about the size of the head of a pin) but that's for in-flight ballistic reasons, not for terminal ballistics, and those rounds are designed to yaw and tumble.

QUOTE
Not really.


It's more a timing thing for the fuse - though if the fuse is not triggered at all, this leaves you indeed with the problem.


I was fairly terse. Allow me to be more specific: exploding ammunition works, and has existed and was quite commonly used. However, the envelope of operation tended to be rather specific. For example, rounds that were used in aircraft for air-to-air combat, were expected to explode after hitting another aircraft, and were tuned in their design so that they would not simply explode outside the outer surface of the target, but would also not penetrate like ordinary machinegun rounds, as opposed to exploding after some degree of penetration. The goal was to have something explode inside the enemy aircraft, spraying shrapnel inside what would otherwise have been a comparatively safe space, adding to the odds of disrupting key control or fuel systems. Trying to get a similar envelope of performance on flesh targets isn't particularly difficult in the big scheme of things. However, what is considerably harder is getting a single round design that will explode in a timely fashion on penetrating an inch or so in soft flesh, but on contact with a hardened armour plate will penetrate and only explode after penetration through the plate, while still retaining sufficient structural integrity that such an explosion will occur with some degree of reliability. This is why that sort of flexibility of performance is something more to be expected from projectiles with the scope for additional internal functions that would enable that sort of context-based operation.

Shadowrunners don't know for sure whether that day's business will have them trying to stop a Bulldog or an elf with that exploding round, which is why the flexibility of operation is such an important open question. In addition, bear in mind that the more space you take up with exotic mechanisms that can survive the stresses of entry, the less you have available for actual explosive.
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FuelDrop
post Jul 15 2020, 09:45 AM
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My main problem with hollow points is the price tag being identical to the outright superior explosive round for no logical reason, either mechanically or in universe. As has been pointed out above hollow points are not exactly hard to make, certainly not hard enough to justify a price tag of 2 and a half times the cost of a regular round.

Mechanically they are the poor man's flechette round, with superior damage but inferior penetration that encourages called shots to ignore armour (as the penetration bonus/penalty on a weapon is not calculated into the called shot penalty, it's the best use of these low penetration weapons).

Though that leads me to wonder... at what point is it more effective to take a penalty to ignore armour rather than just called shot for extra damage?

Called shot to ignore armour is effectively 1/3 of a point of damage per point of armour ignored, while called shot for extra damage is up to 4 damage for an equal number of dice.


That means you'd need to be dropping the enemy's effective armour value by 13 or higher in order for a called shot with a regular bullet to be cost effective.

However, with hollow point and flechette rounds it's a bit different.

So with a hollow point (barring a weapon with an ap bonus such as a colt agent special), you need to negate 9 armour before getting a benefit on a regular round with called shot for extra damage. The math here is that if each point of armour is 1/3 of a hit then we need to reduce the effective armour rating by 4 from 13 in order to be averaging a 1/3 of a hit advantage on a regular called shot for extra damage.

That's -9 dice to get a marginal benefit over -4 dice for a called shot for damage. Not really cost effective, but hollow points are dealing 1/3 of a point of damage more than a regular round most of the time anyway so they're not useless. merely horribly overpriced.

Flechette rounds are another kettle of fish entirely. Convert the +2 damage into 6 dice of armour and add the +5 from the actual modifier and you'll find that as long as you negate at least 2 armour from the called shot you are coming out ahead over a called shot for more damage with a regular round. Even a called shot for more damage with an APDS round, a called shot to ignore armour with a flechette round is cost effective as long as you negate at least 6 armour with it.

The Ares Viper is even more effective, coming out over a generic heavy pistol with APDS provided you negate at least 3 armour, and being the equal of a heavy pistol with explosive rounds even if armour is in play (though it will struggle to penetrate)
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Koekepan
post Jul 15 2020, 03:41 PM
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In the real world, you get two classes of hollowpoint, as it were.

Class A is very basic. It's like a normal bullet with a dimple in front, made from relatively soft lead, sometimes with a jacket, sometimes just lead. They cost basically the same as ball ammunition (regular type). They're often made at home by people who make their own bullets. I don't bother, but I buy basic hollowpoint bullets for reloading at prices largely indistinguishable from those of other profiles.

Class B is fancy hollowpoints, with some kind of sophisticated construction intended to enhance terminal ballistic function. Here you might get differential hardness, prepared fragmentation lines, scored jackets, tapering jacket thickness and all sorts of other stuff intended to have sophisticated results on impact and during penetration.

They are more expensive, for good reason. They're simply more complicated to manufacture.

I think that the 5/2 price ratio is out of whack, because the bullet is only one part of the whole. The primer, propellant and casing (where relevant) are functionally identical to that used with a class A hollowpoint or more simple profiles such as roundnose, truncated cone or what-have-you.

I would propose tweaking the price differential. And suggest to players who are genuine gun-bunnies that they do what real-world folks generally do: keep multiple magazines, loaded with different loads appropriate to different uses. Often colour-coded. Then when the job adapts, change magazines.
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Rotbart van Dain...
post Jul 17 2020, 10:44 AM
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That's a good point - like 'APDS' can be interpreted as a simple term for armor-piercing rounds, 'hollowpoint' can be interpreted as a simple term for deforming rounds - both according to the tech level of Shadowrun.

While the RAW boom-factor of explosive rounds is just silly (your weapon is more likely to explode in your face when shooting at mice), it is worth noting that deforming rounds are safe to carry even in the event of shock... while explosive rounds might not be.
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FuelDrop
post Jul 17 2020, 01:19 PM
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I'd like APHC rounds to be a thing (Armor Piercing Hard Core). Maybe -4 armor piercing but at the cost of -1 damage rating
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Koekepan
post Jul 17 2020, 04:22 PM
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QUOTE (FuelDrop @ Jul 17 2020, 04:19 PM) *
I'd like APHC rounds to be a thing (Armor Piercing Hard Core). Maybe -4 armor piercing but at the cost of -1 damage rating


APHC is a real thing already, and has been since at least the second world war if not earlier. Where I spoke about shooting animals in the desert earlier, that was basically that kind of bullet.

There are quite a few subtleties that go into the design, but your gunbunnies probably don't care about the finer points of terminal ballistics.

I'd consider making them -4 armor piercing, -2 damage rating (they poke deep, but usually not wide holes), up the restriction rating (because of moral panics), and substantially raise the cost (more for logistical reasons than the technical cost of manufacture).
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FuelDrop
post Jul 17 2020, 10:57 PM
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QUOTE (Koekepan @ Jul 18 2020, 12:22 AM) *
APHC is a real thing already, and has been since at least the second world war if not earlier. Where I spoke about shooting animals in the desert earlier, that was basically that kind of bullet.

There are quite a few subtleties that go into the design, but your gunbunnies probably don't care about the finer points of terminal ballistics.

I'd consider making them -4 armor piercing, -2 damage rating (they poke deep, but usually not wide holes), up the restriction rating (because of moral panics), and substantially raise the cost (more for logistical reasons than the technical cost of manufacture).

I said they should be a thing because I knew they were a real thing and would like a lower availability, cheaper AP round in Shadowrun.

That said, -2 damage for -4 armour is a terrible trade, with a net effect of -2/3 of a point of damage over regular ammunition for a meager 2 point net difference when it comes to overcoming armour.

In optimum conditions APDS is about on par with Ex-ex.

In optimum conditions my proposed APHP (-1 damage for -4 armour) would be comparable to hollow point rounds, with the tradeoff being more effective against drones, hardened armour, and high armour in general at the cost of damage.

In optimum conditions your proposal (-2 damage for -4 armour) would actually have a net negative to damage output when weighed against regular ammunition, with a net effect to damage comparable to subsonic rounds. While it would penetrate armour about as well as ex-ex ammunition, it ends up with 3 points of damage between itself and those rounds.

If APHC's role in the game is to have a form of armour penetration round that is relatively cheap and available, perhaps 6F-8F and 40 nuyen per ten, something that is relatively affordable for automatic weapons and can be bought at chargen, then having other outright superior ammunition able to compete from the jump will have it relegated to the same place as hollowpoints.

APDS, as a more expensive and harder to get round, outshines APHC. However, that doesn't mean that APHC shouldn't have a role as the cheap and easy to get alternative.

While I understand where you're coming from, mechanically that second pip of reduced damage makes APHC non-competitive with the alternatives so from a game balance point of view we want to avoid that.
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