A discussion of medival arms pricing

Holy CRAP, this is awesome. Prices for artillery, conventional arms, and guns from the 1500s in the Low Countries; these were bought for town watches and militias in a particularly.. timultuous time.
http://james.wardware.com/J-Europ-Econ-Hist.pdf
I am sooooo playing around with this – brother and I have spent the evening going over it already

Borderlands PNP Discussion

So this is a thing that happened.
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/24409531/
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/24428558/
http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/24458756
Usual disclaimers apply to anything coming from 4chan. Up to and including an obscene haiku about Zer0.

I’m toying with a D6-derived version, but the idea has merit in general. Other front-runners for a system to hack include DH D100, 4e, and Shadowrun. Now off to work a character sheet.
Only problem I can think of is dealing with the guns, since d6 is so abstract about weapon damages

Update: up to four pages of stuff not counting the basics of good old D6.

LotFP Playtest rules: Firearms

Got tired of waiting on Jim, and my brother and I are both setting up games with them in – he in the death of the Middle Ages, me in the age of Colonialism. Because what good is a Colonial game where you can’t trade guns to the natives?
Keep in mind, these are a rough-out playtest draft. It also adds onto the rules for bows and crossbows: it makes a high-STR fighter devastating with a custom-crafted longbow, but a high-dex Halfling with a heavy crossbow or anyone with a gun will give him a very good run for his money.
If the damage seems a little low to you, remember that these will reliably kill 2nd-level characters and even 0-level dwarves in a single hit. And as someone who’s killed a boar with modern firearms, “angry” game with multiple hit dice is hard to take down; I know a man who took 12 bullets and not only lived, but pistol-whipped the guy who shot him with his own gun.

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Playtest firearm rules. These rules assume an ascending AC, 5-save system, and are loosely based on the crossbow rules from Lamentations of the Flame Princess. They are intended to cover (very roughly) the period from the late middle ages to mid-19th century.

When using bows, if a character has a -STR modifier, the target’s armor class is improved by that amount. Bows otherwise ignore 1 point of AC per point of STR modifier of the targeting character. Light crossbows have an effective STR of 16 (-2 AC). Heavy crossbows have an effective STR of 19 (-4 AC). Light guns, such as pistols and blunderbusses, have an effective STR of 19 (-4 AC): heavy guns like muskets and hand-gonnes have 22 effective STR (-5 AC). Cannon ignore armor completely, but suffer a -10 to-hit any target smaller than a house. Pellet bows and slings DO NOT ignore armor in any way.

Bows are typically made to accommodate a STR 10-12 character; a custom-made bow can be had for a small premium. Short bows, however, cannot be made heavier than STR 16. When using a bow heavier than they can normally draw, characters suffer a -1 to-hit per 2 points of STR required above their own. There is no bonus for using a lighter bow.
Any crossbow may be quick-drawn as a move action on a successful opposed STR check. Failure may result in injury to the character or bow, and drawing the bow cannot be attempted again that turn.
All blackpowder guns may be fired only once per combat, unless the character can somehow find a way to spend the better part of a minute doing delicate, fiddly work that requires their full concentration (IE, withdraw from combat for 6 rounds to reload).
Historical note: There were a tiny handful of faster-loading guns in the late middle ages (the cartridge was actually invented sometime near the turn of the fifteenth century, albeit as a set of hand-forged removable breeches), but these are expensive, vanishingly rare, and frequently extremely unsafe.

Pistols do 1d8 damage, long guns like muskets or handgonnes 1d12, and blunderbusses 2d6 (2d4 with improvised ammo). Cannon balls instantly kill any character hit unless they successfully save vs. poison: on a successful save, the character is reduced to 0 HP, possibly maimed. Grapeshot does very bad things to a moderate area. The cannon suffers only a -5 to-hit using shot, and anyone within 10 feet of the target is also hit on a successful shot. For damage, use multiple dice based on the size of the gun (a typical light field gonne would be around 3D6, a full-on 12lb cannon more like 5 to 6 D6); cover reduces the rolled damage by its miss percentage, and characters may make a further save vs. Breath Weapon to halve that damage.
Use your own discretion as to what category a given weapon falls under, and don’t hesitate to increase or decrease the damage dice based on the individual weapon, your needs, and possibly the use of fell magics.

Most guns run the risk of deafening the user in enclosed spaces; save vs. Paralysis or go deaf for 1d6 turns when firing in these circumstances. Make an immediate Morale check – AND Wandering Monster check, if applicable – when a gun is first fired in combat. Most natural animals will spook instantly when fired upon, making hunting harder but potentially more rewarding. When hunting, a gunner expends only 1d3 ammunition per roll, but must roll 2 dice against his fieldcraft skill and take the worst. If the roll succeeds and the dice come up doubles, the party gains that many HD worth of additional meat.

UPDATE: Tacking on a Pistol
A small-caliber pistol may be built into virtually anything. They do 1d4 damage, but take the normal amount of time to reload. They may well wind up costing several times the amount a regular pistol would, however, and are usually more fragile and prone to misfire. Still, the Morale checks and ability to conceal the gun can be worth the expense.

Fortuna Favet Paratibus

Fortuna Favet Paratibus

While making an exhaustive list of rules for each type of available gun would be silly, here’s some basics to consider when you’re choosing what technology your world will use. Disadvantages are in normal type, advantages in italics. They are listed in rough chronological order.

No Lock: must be hand-lit, distracting, requires matches (and thus their stink/light, expends matches, useless in rain) or a fuse, hard to aim when it’s not on a trunnion, exposed touch-hole, high accidental discharge risk, higher risk of explosive failure/operator injury. Extremely simple design, cheap to make, and reliable ignition. First available guns. A fuse and a clay packed touch-hole resolve most ignition issues. Only real option for cannon for most of history. Requires only matches or fuse, shot, and powder to function.

Matchlock: Produces stench and light when prepped, useless in rain, exposed touch-hole, matches burn down (consumes 1 match per hour lit and prepped). Accidental discharge risk from most flame sources (or igniting a match attached to the gun). Simple and robust system; cheap and easily-made. Relatively easy to re-cock. Allowed triggers for guns.
Note that, contrary to popular opinion, matchlock pistols did exist, they just sucked.
benno_pistol600

Wheel-lock: delicate, temperamental, most designs useless in rain, v. expensive. Unreliable ignition, requiring reprime and rewind for a flash-in-the-pan. Very slow load/reload process. Requires spare pyrites (it goes through them very quickly) and a key or crank, can only be repaired by a watchmaker or equivalent. Silent and scentless until triggered, and can be carried loaded and wound without fear of accidental discharge. Can be carried on a horse. First lock design actually suitable for pistols.
There’s a reason these bitches cost 7+ times what a matchlock does
Gold-chased double-barreled wheel lock
Flintlock: Late origins in real world. Still can’t usually be safely fired in the rain, but it will work in the damp. May squib. Requires spare flints, but few other non-ammo consumables. Requires some precision metalwork, as well as screws. Requires less maintenance and can fire more times than a wheelie before needing an overhaul. Can still be carried loaded relatively safely. Compact and silent/scentless before discharge. Can be swiftly reprimed and re-cocked if the flash-pan squibs. The first revolvers (in the 1620s..) were flintlocks, but required insane levels of metalwork.
1299004067179Other attempts at multishot flintlocks were.. less successful.
1368517150754
Percussion Lock: Very late development. Requires small, fiddly caps, making combat reloads stay annoying. Requires some precision metalwork, but not nearly as bad as the other locks. Virtually immune to rain or damp on first shot, although reloads in the rain still aren’t happening. No flashpan, so no priming and more reliable ignition. Made true semi-automatic weapons practical. Very robust ignition system, with few moving parts; losing the cap, or accidental discharge from keeping the hammer down on a cap, while jostling it are your worst problems..
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Air Rifle (yes, they existed, and yes, they were lethal): Mid-late colonial period. Lower damage (still enough to kill a man, though – the Austrian Army and Lewis and Clark both used them to good effect), air reservoir is delicate and slowly leaks. Cannot be used as a melee weapon. Requires water, shot, and leather gaskets to function, and reloading after the reservoir is empty takes a long time (up to 10 minutes). Accurate, rifled. Bolt-action, repeating weapon with as many as 30 shots per reservoir of air and a 20-round magazine. Comparatively, it’s very quiet – about as loud as a suppressed .308 – and produces no smoke. No powder or fire required. Gunners can carry additional loaded reservoirs.

Magic Items: Stygian Mirrors

The Stygian Mirror
Not truly a mirror, but a thin layer of the jet-black waters of the river Styx pressed into a hollow lens of glass. Legend ascribes many marvelous powers to the mirrors, but the magic on most has faded as the water stagnates and loses its connection with the River. Even the most debased of the Stygian Mirrors retain a most singular power; when light passes through it, one who has – or should have – crossed the Styx is afflicted with illusionary stigmata in the sight of all. These have included water pooling at the feet, pennies on the eyes (only on those dead but a short time), winding-sheets and other paraphernalia of the grave, or the sudden appearance of lethal wounds. 072

Heathen Clerics and pagans treasure the waters of the Styx for another reason; if even a drop touches the most accursed undead, they say, it will summon forth the Ferryman to take back what is his. But leave the Devil’s works to his own..

Well shit

Got hurt badly on the bus. Too high on painkillers to post or write particularly coherently.

The Shadow Realms: an introduction

The plane of Shadows is a dying realm, far more ancient than our own. It is not coherent or pervasive. It is a collection of reflections, pockets of Almost-Wasses and Never-Weres. They congregate on the other-other side of the mirror: there’s a reason no sane man looks into the infinity of a double reflection. Its apocalypse was not a final destruction, but the triumph of Order. It is a place of absolute Law, of cold and darkness; not because it is evil, but because even the twitches of the Atom are slowly becoming linear, even light is slowing and one day will stop. Now it parasitizes our more Chaotic realm, mining us for heat and light, for creativity and impetus.

The vast majority of Shades have no will, aping out the lives of their reflections. A select few, however, are infected in the mines. They do more than parrot, move in courses proscribed to their kin. Wizards call forth Shades to labor; only the Undead are easier to bend to the will, and the Shade is grateful rather than resentful to feel the Sun again.  Sometimes a magi calls up one not yet overtaken by the Law. It is well this happens seldom.

A Shade lives slightly out of phase with reality. They interact poorly with this good Earth even when Summoned, and frequently find objects rebelling against their ministrations (no matter how tender or wrathful). On the other hand, a quarter of all attacks made against them simply fail to connect, and a quarter of those rebound upon the ones so foolish as to assault these (generally) inoffensive creatures of Law. Encountered on their home “plane”, Shades are either rapacious hunters or scenery.. and the Hunters are old beyond knowing and cunning beyond ken.

Quadrofarius - Artem Ogurtsov

Quadrofarius – Artem Ogurtsov

Somewhere in the world, rumors claim, there are the parts to build a great Gate. If assembled and aligned perfectly, every pocket and hole, every faintly-lit fragment of a dead realm, could find a path to the noise, heat, light, and geneation of a world still in flux, sucking it dry as well. Even a badly-built Gate is a danger; all it requires is two mirrors – and patience…

Pictoral distraction

Since I’m working on another post today, here’s a picture I’ve always found amusing:1336678955030

Free Museum Day: April

Seattle has an excellent tradition, Free First Thurdays. Almost every museum in or near the city has free/drastically reduced admission on the first Thursday of every month. My sister-in-law (12) was visiting for the weekend, and all agreed that a museum run was a good idea.
First we hit the the Kenwood House exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum. We’d missed it in March, mostly because we needed to save money for Con. The special exhibition price was cut in half, they consider disabled veterans “military” for discount purposes, and my SiL was free, which saved us about 50 bucks total.. It didn’t allow pictures, sadly, and most of these aren’t available on-line (Remember kids: museums are for preserving our heritage to whore it out, not spreading knowledge or beauty..). It’s the collection of one of the founders of the Guinness brewing company, funded by his vast fortune. It includes various Rembrandts, which the SAM has been advertising to the virtual exclusion of all else, as well as many other European masters. Their ads basically go “REMBRANDT and also Van Dyck and some other guys you don’t care about REMBRANDT SELF-PORTRAIT OMG”. But in addition to the big names, the travelling exhibition includes a LOT of miscellaneous 1630-1660 art, which is one of my favorite periods for art, fashion, and gaming. More on that in another post. It also had some gorgeous sea scenes, mostly by Cuyp – and since the only things I like more than airplanes and guns artistically is a wooden ship… There was a good bit of Regency and late 1700s art tucked away in the arse-end of the exhibition, but I didn’t get much time back there. I’ll likely have more next month, though.

I found it disappointing that they hid all the religious art in a side gallery, ignoring it on the audio tour.. but really, did we expect anything else? The main gallery was all about the cultus of celebrity, barely acknowledging the turmoil of the time or even the heavy Classical symbolism in the portraits, like one of James Stuart and his hunting dog arrayed as Adonis, or of a young girl as St. Agnes among a flock of lambs. Anyway, there was an absolutely gorgeous Annunciation and Pieta hidden in the back with the sketches, not to mention some lovely Regency art.

My favorite painting overall was of the crown prince of France ~1630-something in absolutely gorgeous banded mail. Every rivet was a gold-plated Fleur-de-lis, his Cuiriassers’ helm was exquisite, and you could practically feel the buffs and lace in the shot. This one of Princess Henrietta was also lovely. After about an hour, my wife dragged me away from salivating over clothes (irony? Perhaps.) to grab lunch and hit the second stop on our tour – one that actually allowed photographs!
This link goes to another blogger discussing the exhibition, with a few more pics.

The second stop on our tour was the Seattle Museum of History and Industry (aka the MOHAI to locals). I learned quite a lot, and managed to snap many pics of cars, guns, and ships; did’st expect anything else? We rode the South Lake Union Trolley, whose acronym is an endless font of lulz to Seattleites (we’ve got shirts that loudly advertise riding it around town, for example). I’ll let the pics do the talking for a bit.
The original Toe Truck (my other pics came out really shittily)
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An extremely succinct argument in favor of the second Amendment. There was an attempted mass-deportation and murder of the Chinese in Seattle, which ended with a gunbattle between (among others) Know-Nothing and Klan rioters against an ad-hoc militia of Whites and Chinese; Seattle was placed under martial law for over a week afterwards.  IMG_20130404_145608_942

The rest of the display caseIMG_20130404_145623_246

A stunning model of the USS Decatur, a Sloop-of-War named after one of my personal heroes (Cmmdre Stephen Decatur). She took part in the “battle of Seattle”, which consisted largely of shooting Natives with cannon.

IMG_20130404_150102_430A purty clock.
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H.M.S. Discovery. She was a little chunky, but not unlovely. She was converted into a bomb ship and later a prison vessel.
IMG_20130404_150430_366HMS Beaver, a hybrid steamer, and a very nice “pepperbox” revolver into the bargain.
IMG_20130404_150444_636Some shots of the 4-gun (?!) turrets of USS Nebraska, laid, built, and christened in Seattle. Scrapped after the WNT, since (obviously) she wasn’t exactly at the cutting edge of naval tech and we needed to give up something to keep the JPs in check doncherknow. The side-mounted casemated gundecks are another pretty little curiosity.
IMG_20130404_152149_379 IMG_20130404_152157_382 IMG_20130404_152202_227
One of the early UPS trucks – UPS was actually founded in Seattle as a messenger boy company. These were built in the SODO Ford plant, now demolished.
IMG_20130404_142241_646Most of the rest of my pics were a little sketchy, but the excursion was fun, educational, and free! And I didn’t suffer too badly for it the next day – remembered my Ibuprofen this time..

Sakuracon Rundown, or What I Did For Holy Week

I’m back and alive, albeit in some pretty impressive knee pain. I still have some stuff to do from this con, but I honestly woke up around 2 PM and I had errands to do, so ain’t shit happening today.

Highlight: Meeting several really awesome people in the industry – the behind-the-scenes people, not the “stars” – and from other cons. I also talked briefly to the developer for the upcoming Robotech Miniatures game, after which I have been lusting for months. I’m actually getting a social calendar put together for the upcoming weeks (not something one usually takes away from an anime con..), and enhancing a few friendships I’ve meant to strengthen for years. I got to help out a Make-A-Wish family, and bring smiles to the faces of dozens of people. I may be an introvert, but smack me and call me Shirley if I don’t like helping others.

Bad things? I missed my favorite part of the convention because of a Bad Thing happening elsewhere, and my own panel was.. well.. pretty lame, albeit fun. It boiled down to about 25 of us sitting in a room meant for 150 shooting the shit and spamming catchphrases. Then again, that’s not that far off from the regular content of the panel, and everyone seemed to have a good time (unlike some of the more “scholarly” panels we’ve done). Also, bronchitis combines poorly with a CPAP machine.

Spoils: Boxed set of Slayers seasons 4 & 5, and of Lost Universe, both of which I’ve been meaning to pick up for years. Still can’t believe I’ve left my favorite series in the lurch for so long, even if my wife hates it. Maybe LostU will change her mind. Should probably start with the chicken suit episode..
Picked up Sapphire, my first Pokemon game that’s not a third game or a “red”-side version (Yellow, HeartGold, Platinum, and Black/Black2). The cartridge had been cleaned completely out, so there’s nothing stopping me from restarting right now, and restart I have. Torchiccing it like a boss. I also grabbed a cheap copy of Advance Wars Two. I’ve heard good things about the series for so long I figured I might as well. Won a Young King Ours promo item (B-5-sized Asuka report folder) from the Dark Horse Evangelion panel, and got the autograph of my favorite translator yesI’manerdstoplookingatmethatway. Other than that my purchases were mostly food, buttons, and a couple gashapon (including my second bloody chase figure of Destiny Gundam, which I hate. Gave it away to a friend). The Macross ones were slightly too large to use for N-scale BT, more’s the pity, but they’re still pretty cool.

Food: AWESOME. I finally FINALLY FINALLY found a restaurant in downtown that serves fish and chips and doesn’t huck shrimp into the deep fryer – doesn’t even have the shit inside the building – so I can eat one of my favorite foods without hugging my Epi-pen. And it’s good, too. The fries were great, fried chicken tasty (wife bought it, we shared), and they know their way around a mac and cheese. Beer’s merely okay, but I can give up good beer for excellent food. Had an excellent burger at the Taphouse too, although the bacon-wrapped Jalapenos were shite – undercooked, huge, and unseeded.

Now the fun really starts as far as convention work goes. Even though we can’t actually do anything about next year until the elections happen, this is when the real feedback comes in. Not the usual “your staff are mean” or “why didn’t you pay attention to my awesome guest suggestions” or “I can’t understand what a policy is and I’m illiterate, how dare you enforce your rules? I’m special!” stuff, but “well, shit, THAT didn’t work at ALL”.  Also, politics. I hate them, but sometimes it’s necessary.
Secondly, it’s time to start going through our policies with a fine-toothed comb. There is a lot of infelicitous phrasing, not to mention at least one outright and horrendous typo, and some concerns about potentially conflicting policies. I know the majority of attendees never actually read them*, but it’s still important to keep them straight.
*look, I work the Q&A email box, and 95% of the questions are shit that is clearly stated in the policies, on the “Schedule” page, or on the “registration” page.
I also have a presentation to give on the con itself and the anime fandom in general.. to a room full of old rich people on the Eastside, in about two weeks. So time to start writing that.

And now, away, unto bed.