Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

bpmasher

Muskets in HERO

Recommended Posts

Hero system does not take into account over penetration

a .50 call sniper rifle will go through 2 people and might think about stopping after the 4th
most rifles are made to punch through body armor/light protection and wound the target

a Brown Bess would get stopped by body armor rated for a .22
If a Brown Bess hit your femur odds are you would lose the leg

if a modern assault or battle rifle hit your femur it might break it

one of the bennies of a musket ball is it does not over penatrate

So you get complete application of kinetic energy poisoning

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True, the ball's shape, and the lower velocity changes the wound profile, but 4D6 attacks can cut folks in half...and that is likely to much granularity for Hero. :) And over penetration is a thing, but it does not change things that much. I'd be real surprised to hear an account of someone who took a .50 to the torso, and walked away...

 

If you use hit locs, and bleeding fire arms are plenty deadly without doing huge amounts of dice (in my experience, in games)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given the round ball's lack of penetration power, it might make more sense to have the musket deliver normal damage rather than killing damage. An 11d6 normal attack is still pretty devastating; it doesn't have to be a KA to incapacitate a normal person (like a soldier). It might also make sense to have its DCs diminish over distance due to its drag characteristics.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, in general I have found that recent (the last 20 years? :D) products seriously over power guns in all sorts of ways...I'm not sure why...But I find it interferes in the "daring do". And I think 2D is a lot of Killing, that averages Most of a base NPCs Body! (basic dude 8 Body, avg on 2D= 7...)  So 2D+1 does on average a lethal injury.  3D sounds like Grape shot to me..."Style" I reacon...

 

If you use bleeding, crippling, disabling, and hit locations 2D is scary indeed!

 

In a world without armor -- it can be scary even without the optional rules.

 

However, options like cinematic safety, combat luck, evasion, and heroic grace are good ways to inspire "daring-do" from the protagonists.

 

All of them have limitations or potential "fail-conditions" while keeping characters alive where genre appropriate.

 

Just limit those tropes / talents / super-skills to "named characters" or arch-villains, important henchmen, and the main cast.

 

I find the problem is the "arms race" people get into -- once there's a level or two of combat luck people start looking for bigger wads of dice to throw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hero system does not take into account over penetration

a .50 call sniper rifle will go through 2 people and might think about stopping after the 4th

most rifles are made to punch through body armor/light protection and wound the target

a Brown Bess would get stopped by body armor rated for a .22

If a Brown Bess hit your femur odds are you would lose the leg

if a modern assault or battle rifle hit your femur it might break it

 

one of the bennies of a musket ball is it does not over penatrate

So you get complete application of kinetic energy poisoning

 

Its hard to model the complexities of ballistic (or even edged) wound factors in game-mechanics. A Brown Bess would be stopped by modern body armor, but the odds of broken ribs, deep bruising, and potentially organ damage or internal hemorrhaging from the impact remain relatively high. A .50 BMG would rip through the armor, and cut a nasty swath on the way through, but wouldn't do the same "impact" damage. Hero doesn't really model that "as is." You almost have to just say "real weapon" and hand-wave it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I worked up a set of BP rules for Hero back in 03ish.  I had them uploaded as an attachment but it looks like the thread didn't make it to the new forums intact.  I'm on travel right now, but I can post it when I get home.

 

In a nutshell I used a baseline reloading time for pistols, rifled pistols, muskets and rifled muskets.  I then had a skill roll to reduce or increase time within restrictions.  Firing and loading were separate skills. 

 

This made it possible for a "well trained man to fire 3 rounds per minute"  or a tad bit better whiel still allowing for misfires or taking longer to load. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I vaguely recall messing around with a "Fast Load" skill...that a trained shooter (like an English soldier) could use...I think it was meant to let a "master" shoot 4 times per min...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I vaguely recall messing around with a "Fast Load" skill...that a trained shooter (like an English soldier) could use...I think it was meant to let a "master" shoot 4 times per min...

 

RAW allows you to use the Fast Draw skill to reduce reload times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't worry too much about getting it exact.  Hero is a cinematic game, not a realistic game.  Remember that in the game, soliloquies take no time, but anyone who has ever talked to an angry woman knows that it actually takes a lot longer than that in real life.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Reloading a musket depends on the skill of the soldier, and their ability to do so while under fire.  A good soldier could load, aim, and fire his musket three times in a minute.  However, an untrained soldier could take up to three minutes to do so.  That means a force of Veterans could fire nine shots before a New Soldier could get off a shot.

 

Perhaps there should be a Requires Skill Roll to reload a Musket.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is part of the old black powder doc I was working on with a few comments on the end.

I never got to play-test any of this.  But maybe it will be of use to someone out there.

 

***start doc***

 

Of all the periods, in my opinion the best to base a BP rule adaptation is the Napoleonic period.  The two references I have found most helpful are Hughes' "Firepower" and Haythornthwaite's "Weapons and equipment of the Napoleonic Wars".  While there are others, these two provide a good store of information and generally agree with eveything else.  Also, please excuse my writing style.  I tend to state the obvious.  It is not intended to disparage anyone. It is more so anyone reading this can better understand what I “mean” as opposed to what I write. 

 

When looking at BP weapons, I chose to break-up the different “characteristics”. 

First, smoothbore or rifled.

Second, type of firing mechanism.

Third, is whether the weapon is being used by civilian hunters or a military.

Fourth, training/experience of the user.

 

1)  Smoothbore or rifled.  Smoothbore’s are generally referred to as muskets, rifled as rifles (doh!).  Muskets tend to be very inaccurate.  The round will “tumble” down the barrel when fired, and general fly in “that general direction”.  The only thing you can do is use a patch, which will increase range/power of the shot by reducing blow by and maybe add a fraction of accuracy.  Unlike a musket, a rifles’ accuracy depends on the tightness of the bullet/ball in the barrel.  While a musket ball (as used in the Napoleonic period) will simply roll down the barrel unless "patched", a rifle ball or "bullet" won't. It fits tightly and has to be forced in, with the use of a starter tool or even a small mallet to start. And then it must be rammed all the way down to seat the round and ensure the rifle grooves cut into the bullet. It is this tight fit that ensures that a good spin is imparted to the round when fired as well as reducing/eliminating blow by.

 

2)  Type of firing mechanism.  There were several different designs, but in general you had three basic “types”.  In the first, after loading, you would pour some powder into the touch hole and then use a “match” to light it off.  Think “Matchlock”.  Very inefficient and not generally used once the “flintlock” was developed so I will not dwell on them.  The next was the flintlock.  For this post I am going to use the term flintlock for any of the mechanisms that utilize a flint, a striker and a pan, wheelock, flintlock, snaphaunce, etc.  Powder is placed into a pan which feeds the touch hole.  A cover is snapped down to hold/protect the powder.  A piece of shaped flint is held, usually by a “hammer”, which is powered by a “spring”.  When the trigger releases the hammer it will strike the flint against the pan cover, knocking it away and at the same time igniting the powder with sparks.  These sparks fire the weapon.  While this was years ahead of the previous methods, there were still many things that could go wrong.  In the heat of battle it is easy for the flint to be knocked out of alignment or cracked, the powder to be knocked out or the touch hole fouled, and so on.  The next development was the percussion cap.  The entire pan/cover mechanism is replaced with a “nipple” which was a small tube screwed into the touch hole.  A “cap” was then fitted on the nipple.  When a hammer or pin struck the cap would explode a mini charge directly down the touch hole, firing the weapon.  While it still has its own share of disadvantages, the percussion cap is light-years ahead and much more moisture resistant.

 

3)  Whether the weapon is being used by civilian hunters or a military.  Hunters rely on accuracy, especially with a muzzle loader.  You will only get one shot.  Knowing this, you would use a rifle if at all possible and if not you would very carefully load your musket with patch and wad.  The weight and shape of the round as well as the exact measure of powder would all be carefully determined for each shot.  In other words, loading was a careful and deliberate activity to achieve the best accuracy possible. 

For a military, it was and entirely different proposition.  Most armies developed their tactics based on the musket and even with the appearance of the rifle, they changed little.  The physical characteristics between rifle and musket as well as the difference in the training requirements fairly well decided that the musket would remain the primary infantry weapon until well into the early industrial age.  Insanely, tactics held on even after the rifle became predominant, as demonstrated by the horrendous losses in the American Civil War.  But that is a topic for another time.  Let’s talk about the musket. Unlike rifles, accuracy wasn't even a concern for troops firing muskets. Understanding the inherent inaccuracy of a musket, the thought trying to achieve it was abandoned. Rate of fire was everything. Even the definition of terms are different. An "aimed" shot simply meant the firing trooper could see the enemy troops and point in the general direction. In fact you didn't aim at a specific "man" you aimed at the formation and hoped it hit something.

 

Picard in his "La Campagne de 1800 en Allemahne" states that a test against a target measuring 1.75 meters by 3.00 meters under battle conditions gave the following results:
 

Range.... ……………...Percentage of shots hitting
75meters(82 yards)…..60%
150m(164y)........ .........40%
225m(246y)......... …....25%
300m(328y)......... …....20%

 

Muller in his "Elements of the Science of War, 1811" gives results against a target representing "a line of cavalry" by both "well trained men" and "ordinary soldiers":
 

Range...............Percentage of hits obtained
.........................Well trained.....Ordinary
100 yards..........53%.................40%
200 y................30%.................18%
300 y................23%.................15%

 

Since rate of fire was the primary concern, several steps would be modified by "veterans" to increase their fire. A couple are skipping the priming step (non-percussion cap) and ramming the main charge in hard enough to force powder into the pan or discarding the paper altogether and just dropping in the ball. Also rate of fire was aided by the ammunition used. An example is the British using a "standard No. 11 bore" with a ball of "No. 14 bore" giving a 1/20th inch difference or gap between the sides of the barrel and the ball.  This could allow the trooper to skip the ramrod altogether.  Firing independently an experienced soldier could fire five shots a minute or while when in ranks firing "volleys" this would be reduced to 2 or 3. As the weapons become fouled with burnt powder these rates will decrease.  I have read accounts where elite troops would urinate into the barrel to clear powder build up and maintain fire.
 

A repeating theme through-out all of my reading is the agreement that no one was ever killed in a period battle (in formations and such) by the man who "aimed" at him. In other words a soldier in ranks who aimed specifically at the eighth guy from the left in the advancing enemy line hand a snowballs chance in hell of actually hitting that guy. Now he had a good chance (at least 60% at 75 meters depending on your reference) of hitting “someone” in the enemy line.
Another thing is "misfires" I don’t have all my references and the only one I have on hand states 1 misfire in 6.5 shots, with a increasing misfire rates if the weather was damp, rainy and so on.

 

So in a nutshell we have a soldier able to load and fire 1 to 6 shots a minute (unless the 1 in 6.5 shot misfires) at a general target somewhere "over there" getting somewhere around 3 to 6 hits per 10 rounds actually fired. Not a really good ratio considering this assumes the firing trooper is standing in place and NOT MOVING.

 

Now to rifles. Unlike a musket, a rifles’ accuracy depends on the tightness of the bullet/ball in the barrel. While a musket ball (as used in the Napoleonic period) will simply roll down the barrel unless "patched", a rifle ball or "bullet" won't. It fits tightly and has to be forced in, with the use of a starter tool or even a small mallet to start. And then it must be rammed all the way down to seat the round and ensure the rifle grooves cut into the bullet. It is this tight fit that ensures that a good spin is imparted to the round when fired. It is the very mechanism which imparts the rifles range and accuracy which cut its rate of fire to the 2 to 3 rounds a minute by an experienced veteran. Which would be quickly reduced to 2 or even 1 round a minute as the barrel fouled. Of course a rifles accuracy would mean a much higher kill rate at range than a musket could ever hope to achieve at the same range. However a company of musket bearing soldiers would cut a company of rifles to shreds if they faced off in formation at 100 yards or less. At an optimistic 200 rds a minute for the rifles even if 100% hit, the 60% of 600 rds fired by the musket unit would still yield 360 hits. Of course this kind of face off probably never happened (at least I haven’t found a specific reference to a face off at less than 100 yds by a pure rifle unit vs a musket unit) as rifles were usually employed by skirmishers who tended to avoid the stand-up fight.

 

4)  Training/experience of the user.  This was a critical aspect.  Training varied wildly.  The majority of training involved dry runs.  The soldier would execute the drill (formation marching) and perform the firing drill without powder.  The other involved firing “blanks” (powder but no shot) and live rounds.  For regulars (center companies)  and levy none of their practice was versus a “mark”.  Usually firing at a mark (target practice) was reserved for skirmishers, some light units and rarely Grenadier’s (elite).  In the period most commanders were paid by the “crown” and then in turn paid/equipped their troops.  Any “saved” money was theirs to keep.  The result was that on average 2 live rounds and 6 blanks a year was considered a lot for training regulars.  Skirmishers might double that and some “rifle” companies were given up to 20 live rounds and 50 blanks a year.  I have a reference that speaks of on army being “trained” on 1 live round and 5 blanks.  Now all of my figures are a compilation of multiple sources.  I have “split the difference” with many of them.  The British gained a real edge when the government of the time changed the process to providing their troops with powder, rounds and equipment directly from the Crown rather than cash, bypassing the commander.  This meant that British soldier, at the worst, doubled his practice ammunition.  This allowed an increase in the use of targets in training across all troop types. Which in turn enabled British troops to reach their rightly feared accuracy and rates of fire. 

            I haven't rewritten my Blackpowder rules for FRED yet, but a 6 phase reload essentially means a rate of one round per 30 (36 but who's splitting hairs) seconds or 2 rounds per minute for a speed 2 character (actually 1 minute plus one turn (or about 72 seconds). In my version of BP weapons, smoothbore and rifled weapons require different familiarities. My list is familiarity with: smoothbores, rifles, matchlocks, wheelock and flintlocks. The familiarity with "locks" covers the maintenance and use of the firing mechanism. Smoothbore/Rifle covers proper loading and aiming of the used version. Having just the basic familiarity with a weapons type allows a load speed of 5 phases (one shot per minute) for smoothbores and a load speed of 10 phases (one shot per 2 minutes) for a rifle. I was using a "Rapid Fire" skill which could be bought to reduce load time allowing a "veteran" to be able to reach the 6 round a minute historical rate of fire, but FRED has a maneuver by that name so I have to do a little redesign.
All in all my rules tended to force the PC's to adopt "a fire once and drop it" approach to fire arms. A musket was powerful enough to drop pretty much anyone they came up against if it hit, but too slow and inaccurate to be relied on as a sole weapon.
Anyway, tell me what you think.  

 

*****end of original doc*****

 

 

While I can’t seem to find it, my idea was to divide firearms into three skills.

 

Weapon Maintenance

Weapon Loading

Firing.

 

Weapon Maintenance would be just that.  The care and feeding of ones firearm.  This skill could simply be ignored depending on the grittiness of the campaign.

 

But the other two skills are where the bread and butter are.

Weapon Loading would determine not only how fast the shooter reloads, but also how successful the load.  My intent was to use a base chance of reload with each +X over minimum reducing the time.  For example a simple success (11-) indicates the musket is reloaded in 5 phases. If a +2 reduces reload time, then a roll of 13 would mean the reload takes 4 phases.  And so on.  

 

In a cinematic game I would just worry about speed of the load.  In a gritty “realistic” game a failed Loading roll could also indicate a critical mistake such as forgetting to pour powder before ramming the ball or even breaking the rammer or some such to something less damaging as taking longer to load. 

 

Firing would of course determine whether a target is hit or not, and the chance of misfire. 

 

None of this has been play tested and any input/constructive criticism would be most welcome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was the Brown Bess/Charleville Musket from a 4th Ed game of ours.

 

2d6RKA+1, +1 Stun, AP vs archaic armors only

Red by Range, +2 DC - only to offset Red by Range

-2 R Mod

Act 14-

OAF - Bulky (1/2 DCV), Real Weapon, 2H, Str MIn 10 - Str doesn't add to damage

Increased reload time - 1 phase, Concentrate while reloading 1/2 DCV 

Charges 1, 12 clips (musketeers ofen carried 12 preloaded bottles called the '12 apostles')

 

How that will translate to the current edition, I do not know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

×