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  • Arquebus ranges and cost

    While researching for reasons why firearms were introduced into warfare, I found several sources that claim an arquebus could punch through plate armor up to 30 yards away.

    The FAGE corebook gives a few incentives for Black Powder weapons (high damage), but these seem somewhat offset by very poor ranges.

    In the first volley battle in Europe the Ottoman musketeers brought down the Hungarian heavy armoured cavalry by formation fire.

    I am considering a houserule beefing up arquebus range to 24/48. Any comments or suggestions?

    (Also, arquebuses seem to have been cheap in manufacture. Ein arquebusier could be equipped with less than a third of the cost for a pikeman in helm and breastplate. So, perhaps one could cut the FAGE corebook cost in half?)

  • #2
    Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

    Originally posted by mdlthree View Post
    So here are some improved range hit modifiers:
    • -5 : < 1/4x range
    • +0 : >= 1/4x range
    • +3 : >= 1/2x range
    • +0 : >= 1x range
    • -2 : >= 2x range
    • -5 : <= 10x range

    The 1x range is calculated by
    Code:
    =DEGREES(ATAN(IF(B14=0,1E+307,0.5*$A$4/B14)))*2*2
    where B14 is the desired TN11 range, and A4 is the width of one square in the same unit of measure as your range is (yards, and one square is 2 yards in AGE)
    This was some analysis I did with ModernAGE. Your 24/48 range won't be broken in terms of dice mechanics. What ever you feel is a historically relevant short range is, 2x is the long range.

    Check out the whole thread - https://roninarmy.com/threads/7525-T...eapon-Accuracy

    Maybe the penalty at short range appeals to you. Definitely provides a trade off mechanic for the close and long range combat. For a 24 yard weapon, less than 6 yards would have the -5 hit penalty. 30 yards base would be fine as well.
    [URL="http://herdingdice.tumblr.com/"]Herding Dice[/URL] - A tumblr where I put things about Adventure Game Engine design.

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    • #3
      Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

      Something that you'll find with most tabletop games that try to mix medieval melee & ranged combat with firearms is that the reality of what guns can do cuts back on the balance of the game. Yes, an arquebus could punch through armour at 100ft away (as proven at one point by curators of the Zeughause Museum in Austria); but accurately reflecting this in game means those with guns will easily outclass the melee / bow focused characters. Even most of the popular tabletop wargames that include firearms have to play around with ranges and lethality in order to keep things interesting.

      Players are very good at min/maxing when we include something as powerful as firearms in a campaign. If you want them in there, know that the sword cuts both ways. That player with the realistic arquebus is going to annihilate that hulking brute in full plate armor... but then again, they'll not be terribly happy being on the receiving end of it when their opponents are firing on them.

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      • #4
        Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

        Honestly, assuming a relatively normal reload speed, a matchlock musket should be a rough case of 1/battle realistically. Of course, this incentives carrying a barrel of guns around with you, but that might not be as massive a problem as it seems.

        Lets assume that our 'new firearms' deal 2d6 each. That puts a firearm on about equal footing with a bow damage-wise. Let's also use don'tcha flintlocks, so we don't have to deal with rain making our weapon misfire.

        Now if we want them to punch through armour, let's say at SR/2 all armour values are halved. Alternatively we could give an additional 1d6 or 2d6 damage if we want to keep it simple. Although it well encourage carrying a barrel of guns a lot more.

        Now let's have a road reload speed. Of five rounds. Once you've fired your gun it takes you five turns to reload. For every shot your arquebuser makes a longbowman can make six shots.

        For range, let's actually have it as shorter than a longbow's. I'd give some exact figures but I'm AFB. Well edit them in later. But F-AGE ranges are already shortened from reality. EDIT: now I've checked my book, shortbow ranges feel reasonable, so SR 16 and LR 36.

        Now our basic firearm is going to be the Musket. Sure, I could keep arquebus as the name, but it feels wrong if we're assuming flintlocks. Pistols have [s]half the range of muskets[/s] the old arquebus range and cost, rifles (/rifled muskets) have a range equal to longbows but require additional reload time (and cost more).


        If you don't give your players too much treasure that should give them enough advantages/disadvantages to make them an interesting option without overshadowing everything else. It's also personally let guns misfire on an unmodified roll of 5 or less, 7 or less if your powder is wet, requiring additional cleaning time before you can reload.


        If you want to play with more realistic ranges for guns than I recommend doing the same for bows (thrown weapons I'd likely leave as is, or at the most double). Using the GURPS Basic Set as a reference, because it intends to be as realistic as possible, a longbow wielded by a trained user has a maximum range of about 220 yards (+20 yards per point of Strength above 11), while a flintlock musket has a maximum range of 1,500 yards. But GURPS also has an 'effective range' after which attacks hit for half damage, and that range is 110 yards for a longbow and 100 yards for a musket.

        Therefore, for more realistic ranged combat bows should have a SR of 100 yards and a LR of 200, a shortbow 75/150, a crossbow 150/300, a musket 100/300, a pistol 50/100, and a rifle at least 150/300. This is still lowballing everything, I believe particularly for rifles. But at this point battles that aren't in enclosed spaces start moving in favour of ranged weapons, as a user who engages at full range can get nearly ten attacks on a melee combatant before they get into range, not taking abuse of the Skirmish stunt into account or the ranged combatant's own movement.

        Of course if you want to be more realistic start adding range penalties long before maximum range. This will help swing it back to being more equal, although ranged combat is still incredibly good.

        EDIT: added range information and the realistic ranges discussion.
        Last edited by AnonymousWizard; 07-07-2018, 07:20 AM.

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        • #5
          Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

          Thanks for the input.

          One of my players added that non-rifled guns are quite inaccurate. To reflect this, I decided on a compromise: give the arquebus a range of 16/32, thus reflecting the inaccuracy, but also the ability to do quite some damage in the 30 yards range.

          In addition, we will use the houserule of letting the projectiles in range combat fly up to ten times small range, but with a -5 roll modifier on hitting any intended target.

          @AnonymousWizard: A lot of RPGs use the ranges you mentioned, but I think they do not really take the difficulty of aiming accurately into account. Really fixing on a rather tight spot on something in 30, 50 yards distance or more is, with no scopes available, probably more of a guessing game than actual aiming. The FAGE houserule of letting projectiles fly 10 times their small range, but with a huge malus to hit, seems to be more "realistic". My two cents, at least.
          Last edited by rulandor; 07-07-2018, 12:15 PM.

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          • #6
            Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

            Damage and reload rate are likely the biggest influences when trying to balance against melee attacks. Let's try and build some reasoning for relating those two factors. I think using minor actions is appropriate since it governs reload mechanics and also the movement of a melee opponent trying to close the distance. (Note: melee attack is speed 0, but with a 2d6 base damage)
            • At a distance of <=20 speed, shooter needs 1 reload action and attack to attempt a 2d6 attack.
            • At a distance of <=30 speed, shooter needs 2 reload actions, but to keep the damage per round the same, we have 7 * 3 / 2 which is 10.5 or 3d6
            • <=40 speed, 3 reload actions, 4d6
            • etc.
            • At a distance of <=10 speed, shooter doesn't need to reload but attack is base 1d6 (throwing weapons?)

            That may not seem like much variation when the rules have a max-ish damage of 3d6. If you mix it with my range house rules I think it ends up being just enough.

            Throwing weapons (10 speed range) get +3 bonus a 5, and have a max range of 100 speed with the - 5 penalty. 100 yards is probably a good bench mark if you consider how far an average strength but proficient ball thrower can throw a baseball weighted object.

            The 30 speed weapons (long bows, rifle things) have a max range of 300 speed/yards at the max penalty.

            So TLDR; here is a table of recommended ranges and base damage based on my house logic.

            Max Base Range Damage Reload (minor actions)
            10 1d6 0
            20 2d6 1
            30 3d6 2
            40 4d6 3
            PS - in terms of movement speed, 1 major action can be equivalent to two minor actions since the major action run moves you double speed.
            [URL="http://herdingdice.tumblr.com/"]Herding Dice[/URL] - A tumblr where I put things about Adventure Game Engine design.

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            • #7
              Re: Arquebus ranges and cost

              Originally posted by rulandor View Post
              @AnonymousWizard: A lot of RPGs use the ranges you mentioned, but I think they do not really take the difficulty of aiming accurately into account. Really fixing on a rather tight spot on something in 30, 50 yards distance or more is, with no scopes available, probably more of a guessing game than actual aiming. The FAGE houserule of letting projectiles fly 10 times their small range, but with a huge malus to hit, seems to be more "realistic". My two cents, at least.
              True, I was keeping to the F-AGE rule of 'SR=LR/2'. Really the way I'd deal with it is with range increments with a -1 or -2 modifier per full increment to the target. At least at beginning levels a -5 to your attack roll is a big deal, and in theory at later levels where -5 can be dealt with enemies should have more tools to close the distance or avoid ranged attacks. With -2 per RI we can have some decent size RIs so that archers aren't encourage to stand where melee opponents can walk up to them.


              On reload times, I actually like the idea that guns have reload times measured in rounds instead of actions. The idea being that while reloading a firearm you're not going to be doing much else, except maybe walking. Although note that a long reload time isn't always a drawback, particularly if you can carry around multiple weapons.

              FWIW characters in Titansgrave should probably have to take a minor action to ready a Blaster before firing. The rules seem to be written under the assumption that players will use blaster pistols and maybe sweepers, carbines and rifles just render all other ranged weapons obsolete. Even with taking a minor action to ready (and who doesn't like a dramatic blaster cock?) blasters are still good weapons, but they're not strictly better.

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