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How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

I know that the idea of a Street Samurai is part of Shadowrun, but it's likely not unique to it.

 

A Street Samurai is mercenary (usually working for companies, but not necessarily) that's augmented with cybernetic implants, highly skilled in the art of war, and sometimes dons a trenchcoat plus katana (this is more thematic than anything). They also, at times, have origins as street urchins or orphans that had two choices growing up due to the dark future in which they inhabit: crime, or violence-for-hire.

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

What's the setting like?

 

Growing up in poverty and deciding to become a gun for hire is totally plausible. Though I will say, most of the mercs I know IRL are ex-military guys that grew up in pretty "normal" middle class families. Then again, most of the guys I know are from 1st world countries like the US or England...

 

Skill in the arts of war totally depends on training and experiences, but it takes more than being able to throw out quotes from Sun Tzu or Hgakure. The idea behind the Street Sam is that they are in some way above the average street thug and it's more than just having chrome.

 

The rest of the concepts that really make them work require the correct setting IMO.

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

What's the setting like?

 

Growing up in poverty and deciding to become a gun for hire is totally plausible. Though I will say, most of the mercs I know IRL are ex-military guys that grew up in pretty "normal" middle class families. Then again, most of the guys I know are from 1st world countries like the US or England...

 

Skill in the arts of war totally depends on training and experiences, but it takes more than being able to throw out quotes from Sun Tzu or Hgakure. The idea behind the Street Sam is that they are in some way above the average street thug and it's more than just having chrome.

 

The rest of the concepts that really make them work require the correct setting IMO.

 

Is the sword feasible at all?

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Feasible in what way?

 

In real life, swords are dangerous as hell in close combat or against unprepared opponents. Most ballistic armor will turn aside bullets, but isn't very impressive against sharp pointy things (knives, swords, arrows...)

 

Over a distance of 20' or so, a good guy with a sword or knife can get in close before average dude with a gun can unholster, aim and pull the trigger. At 30' or so, the average dude with gun beats awesome dude with a knife or sword more often than not. We've run simulations like that and most gun guys are pretty horrified by the results, but it's still just a simulation. Realistically, there's a pretty good chance of a double kill in either scenario. The odds just start to stack in favor one way or the other as the distances gets longer or shorter...

 

Modern militaries don't tend to issue swords for combat because they are just big, pain in the ass hunks of metal that get in the way, won't get used much and serve no real utility. Knives are MUCH more functional in everyday situations and are good enough to excellent in hand to hand. But close quarters melee is total last resort territory anyhow...

 

And lets not forget that real world samurai learned how to use bows, spears and firearms. The sword has almost always been a secondary weapon in almost every culture, often times after the spear. It's really more often associated with leadership and ceremony than down and dirty fighting.

 

But in a world with cybernetic implants that enhance speed and reaction time, I imagine you can get away with some truly ridiculous stuff...

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

"Bodie McLean grew up on the rough streets of Los Angeles. He's been back a couple of times, but not since the Quake of

'09 dumped half the city in the ocean (there's a running joke that calls the earthquake 'urban improvement').

Kids who grow up the way Bodie did generally have two choices; one, they turn to crime, or two, they make the much

harder transition to violence for hire, and become street mercenaries. The very best of these are called 'street samurai'.

Bodie's been one for some years now.

 

Bodie made his first foray into the quasi-legal world of 'have gun will travel' when he was eighteen; in the ensuing two

decades and more, he has risen through the ranks to become a recognised force in his own right, from being a follower to a

leader. In this time, he has travelled to distant places, and faced foes he never would have imagined. The cumulative

effects of injuries have forced him to take cybernetic and bioware enhancements, some of which he could barely afford. But

those same enhancements have saved his life on more than one occasion, so he isn't complaining.

 

Bodie's last mission was to hit an R&D company which was researching some esoteric tech. This tech turned out to include a prototype dimensional door. It would not have worked, but when Bodie blew it up, the power surge weakened the fabric of the universe enough that ...

 

... over in Reich-5, scientists working for the Ahnenerbe-SS parachronic division suddenly had a success on a project which had been reading a flat zero for months. The idea was to pull in a living human being from another parallel - any human, any parallel - and interrogate him (or her) for local conditions. The ultimate goal, of course, was to create a fully-functional two-way gate.

 

What they got was Bodie.

 

Severely stunned by the explosion (he had been in a firefight seconds before) and the very rough transit, he did not put up much of a fight. So they had him down and sedated and under interrogation before he fully regained his wits.

 

Of course, at this point, things started going wrong for them. There were several facts about Bodie that they didn't know, and all of these would cost them dearly.

 

Firstly, he has internal nanobots designed to flush poisons out of his body; by the time they got past "what is your name?" he was mostly lucid, though still faking it. The interrogation drugs gave him a mild buzz, nothing more.

 

Secondly, he has implanted ceramic blades between his knuckles, invisible to 90% of scanning methods.

 

So when he spat out blood (from biting the inside of his mouth) and faked a seizure, they panicked and undid one of his restraints. They never got a chance to regret their mistake.

 

Thirty seconds later, he left that room, dragging one of the scientists with him. Everyone else was dead, from either blunt trauma, slashing trauma or bullet wounds - they had left his equipment in the same room.

 

Five minutes after he left the facility, with alarm bells still shrilling, the building blew up; he was trained in demolitions, after all.

 

A rough and ready interrogation of the scientist gave him an idea of the world he was in. Eager to see the back of him, the scientist also told him about the Chronobahn - a transdimensional 'highway' that could be accessed under the right circumstances, and be used to travel from reality to reality.

 

He thanked the man before he broke his neck. Under the circumstances, a live witness was something he did not need.

 

Upon locating the Chronobahn, he began exploring it. Apparently his personal 'trigger' was the light of the full moon; after midnight, the hexagonal stones of the 'bahn would stretch much farther than possible during the day, disappearing into misty obscurity in both directions.

 

So he began exploring it. From time to time, he located a Reich-5 outpost, and he did what he did quite well - he killed them.

 

It took the high command of the Raven Division some time to catch on to the fact that there was a lone operative stalking and killing off their outtime personnel, but eventually they did. And so they dispatched Jager-teams, seeking him with orders to kill without mercy.

 

He's met some of them. Occasionally they put up a good fight.

 

Bodie McLean is a tall, grizzled man with a neatly trimmed vanDyke and shoulder-length hair. He wears a broad-brimmed hat and a long-coat, as well as a pack of supplies. His weaponry includes paired auto pistols, a high-end TL9 assault rifle, and a katana (because you can't be a street samurai without owning a katana). The more obvious weaponry can be stashed in a duffel bag he generally keeps folded up in the pack.

 

He can be found on basically any world where Reich-5 has a presence, or may be scouting for potential incursions, or that he has a suspicion that they might have wandered on to."

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

It seems okay to me. Some blades in the Shadowrun setting can cut through armor like butter. That would make a sword on par with what you see in things like the matrix and highlander

CES

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

It seems okay to me. Some blades in the Shadowrun setting can cut through armor like butter. That would make a sword on par with what you see in things like the matrix and highlander

CES

 

But would you need cybernetic implants to make swords consistently viable weapons alongside firearms?

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

But would you need cybernetic implants to make swords a consistently viable weapon alongside firearms?

 

Depends. I think Bloodstone is right about distance involved. I think it depends on how trained the character is, can he lure someone into close combat time after time, and how deadly the blade is.

 

Most professionals like to stay far away from their enemy so guns are a better alternative.

CES

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

But would you need cybernetic implants to make swords a consistently viable weapon alongside firearms?

 

No, I don't think so. Strength enhancement would make the sword stroke faster and deadlier; reacton speed enhancement would make parrying more effective; enhanced movement speed would increase your area of lethality. But the main thing remains that a blade is quicker to use than a gun at short range, and a long blade moreso than a short one, generally (though a Katana, being a slicing blade, is poor at defeating armor - I'd choose a sabre). I think it's more of a case that "enhanced beats unenhanced" - and that's likely true in any case of each having commensurate arms.

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Street Samurais are known for hacking their way through their enemies so I don't see the problem other than pragmatism. I'm sure some of them would kill people with tea cups.

CES

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Street Samurais are known for hacking their way through their enemies so I don't see the problem other than pragmatism. I'm sure some of them would kill people with tea cups.

CES

 

"Look out! He's got the bone china!!"

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Most street samurai carry pistols or even bigger guns. They don't limit themselves to razorclaws or swords' date=' at least in books and Shadowrun.[/quote']

 

S'why I said "alongside" firearms.

 

 

Shadowrun_Rigger_Samurai_by_raben_aas.jpg

 

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Feasible in what way?

 

In real life, swords are dangerous as hell in close combat or against unprepared opponents. Most ballistic armor will turn aside bullets, but isn't very impressive against sharp pointy things (knives, swords, arrows...)

 

Over a distance of 20' or so, a good guy with a sword or knife can get in close before average dude with a gun can unholster, aim and pull the trigger. At 30' or so, the average dude with gun beats awesome dude with a knife or sword more often than not. We've run simulations like that and most gun guys are pretty horrified by the results, but it's still just a simulation. Realistically, there's a pretty good chance of a double kill in either scenario. The odds just start to stack in favor one way or the other as the distances gets longer or shorter...

 

Modern militaries don't tend to issue swords for combat because they are just big, pain in the ass hunks of metal that get in the way, won't get used much and serve no real utility. Knives are MUCH more functional in everyday situations and are good enough to excellent in hand to hand. But close quarters melee is total last resort territory anyhow...

 

And lets not forget that real world samurai learned how to use bows, spears and firearms. The sword has almost always been a secondary weapon in almost every culture, often times after the spear. It's really more often associated with leadership and ceremony than down and dirty fighting.

 

But in a world with cybernetic implants that enhance speed and reaction time, I imagine you can get away with some truly ridiculous stuff...

 

Why are we making the gun guy unholster but not forcing the swordsman to unsheath? It seems that if we want a honest comparison of the two weapons, if the sword fighter is expecting combat and it ready to go should the gun fighter.

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

There is a very simple reason why swords are not commonly issued in militaries these days - and why, when they are, they are used for parade duties.

Guns are better. Better at range, better at close combat, better at killing. And for small arms, easier to work with, to boot.

Cyberpunk style chroming will certainly improve your survivability with a sword - but it'll amp your survivability with a gun even more.

That said, the last cyberpunk game I played my character toted a katana - and even used it sometimes.

Not because it's a viable weapon, because, let's face it - it isn't (and actually that was true in Kazei 5, too: anything I could kill with my katana, I could kill faster, easier and more safely with a gun).

But for style.

 

People do lots of things for style, and in a game setting where your rep counts for something - like for example badass-for-hire - style becomes more than just personal grooming.

So for me? If you want a sword - carry one. It'll look good. And it's a pretty safe bet that it'll end up being more than a fashion accessory from time to time.

 

Just carry a big-ass handgun as well :)

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Do you envision that these trenchcoat/leather jacket street samurai operating with guns and swords could be a "realistic" evolution of mercenaries in regards to maturing cybertechnology and how companies are changing in the 21st Century?

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

cheers, Mark

 

There are many benefits to using guns, so we don't have to tread over them.

 

That said, blades are almost always quieter (yes, even moreso than suppressed subsonic pistols using "silenced" ammunition, which likely also deal less damage), cut things a heck of a lot better, work better against beings/materials that can resist ballistic/piercing damage, pass ranged metal detector screenings if ceramic (you could theoretically have a ceramic or plastic pistol, but some parts of it would still likely be metal), only require a "damage upgrade" once (guns will need specialized ammunition over and over), parry comparable/weaker melee weapons better (barring a very well balanced longarm), and don't require ammunition.

 

Plus, there's the minor side benefit of being intimidating: someone carrying a sword into battle knows how to use it (exceptions aside). The difference between this and a pistol? Well, the pistoleer has up to around thirty chances to hit. The swordsman presumably is good enough to close in and get a chop. This, of course, is probably not an issue on a long battlefield, so the sword loses most of it's psychological potency in that environment.

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Re: How (un)realistic are Street Samurai?

 

Street samurai tend to carry weapons. Lots of them. ARs, SMGs, Pistols, Grenade Launchers, Miniguns, the lot. How many of each depends on your GM. Some Street Sams are simply buying into the bushido mystique. Some want the badass factor. Some know that when you're surrounded by half a dozen mooks carrying found weapons, the ability to slash in a big circle with something vicious looking is very useful. The ultimate reasons (from a gaming point of view) are ammo and armor. Swords don't run out of ammo (old wisdom, but wisdom nonetheless). It's one reason that modern soldiers still carry knives (or hatchets, in some cases). If you've fired everything, you still have a chance of killing a bad guy and taking his gun.

 

Armor gets interesting in cyberpunk. Personal firearms are assumed not to get significantly more powerful than they are today. Whether that's realistic or not is up for debate. What does get better is armor. It's lighter, more flexible, and better at stopping incoming rounds. Decent armor in Shadowrun will stop even heavy pistol rounds more often than not (no damage). Good armor will let you take bursts from ARs and maybe still be standing. Swords will, in some systems, penetrate those selfsame armors more readily, especially if you have a buffed up blade (diamond-coated, vibro, monofilament, etc). Since you can probably stop a couple of pistol rounds with your Black Trenchcoat without breaking stride, the 20 feet mentioned above becomes much farther.

 

Now, different systems give different grittiness. CP2020 will kill you in a heartbeat, and the only reason anyone carries a sword is to look cool. Shadowrun offers a more heroic feel, and the sword becomes useful in light of the armors available (not to mention magic). HERO and similar systems can be modified how you like, of course, but a certain amount of dirt goes along with any real cyberpunk campaign.

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