Firearms and modern combat

Raleel

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So, first off, a person on the Mythras Discord posted this video
I'll be honest, I mostly hate videos from other gamers, but this one really struck me. This prompted me to start a long narration, and I thought "well, these pub guys love these sorts of discussions" so here it is - random thoughts. I'd appreciate any insights you all have - there are a lot of points here, and it's a fun topic I think.

so, first off - I think you have to implement some kind of fog of war on this, or at least not giving away everyone's exact position. This gives some purpose to the Sneak Peek action. this also implies that most every shot is going to be taken at a penalty, and often Formidable or Herculean.

i agree with his notion that the abstract concept isn't really there for Mythras. one thing that comes to mind is that Lore of the environment, in any fashion, becomes important. this sort of gets represented as a Home Turf advantage. so what this points to us Locale for John Wick, but also just some rather automatic knowledge. it's his house - all locale rolls are at Very Easy. then you might incorporate other lores into this, like say, architecture. an architect or builder turned to crime and attacking john wick might know that the walls are probably dry wall and a 9mm will pass through them like nothing. With a good roll, they might have some more serious knowledge, like this is a particular design. a good place for a person to do research as well. (which, come to think of it, sort of sounds like a cross between a lore and a passion - you can build up a set of knowledge based on research or casing the target location).

it is very much like ships and shield walls "choosing the battle field"
"For most battles the selection of the battlefield will be contested, the overall commander of each side making an opposed roll of their Locale skills, or Lore (Specific Region) if not native to the area."
naturally, this means you pick an environment that matches that.

one thing that i've explored and is related to this is bullpup configurations of weapons - they are much shorter than a traditional long arm. and thus i think "why would you want one?" well... length has to make a difference. and thus you have to leverage a penalty of some kind against using a long arm in a space. Call it Confined, and now your environment has Traits as well. it's not like it isn't there already (darkness, mist, etc), but expanding that aspect makes sense
then something like the john wick home invasion scene isn't actually as much about combat skill with the pistol as it is about using other skills to reduce penalties before you use the combat skill with the pistol

the map thing has frustrated me heavily over the years - firearms have MUCH longer range than most of the maps allow
the stock 1"=5' scale that we've seen over the years is just incredibly short. the close range of pistols in Mythras is 33" of table space, and is just not suitable for most game surfaces (we have a large one at 8x4 and it's still very tight along one axis).
 

Panzerkraken

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one thing that i've explored and is related to this is bullpup configurations of weapons - they are much shorter than a traditional long arm. and thus i think "why would you want one?" well... length has to make a difference. and thus you have to leverage a penalty of some kind against using a long arm in a space.
That's part of it, but there's an additional aspect to being able to maintain the overall length of the barrel while shortening the weapon. It means they're just as good for long shots as a full length AR, but they don't have the bulkiness of length associated with those. The downside is that you lose out on sight radius for iron sights (generally based on the distance between the front reticle and the rear sight post) which means most bullpups are reliant on optics for accurate distance shooting (roughly anything past 200m).

For comparison, the FN2000 is 688mm long with a 14 inch barrel, while the M4A1 is 838mm with the same barrel length (with stock extended). While we can use shorter barrels to reduce the overall length to the same size as the FN2000, the long range accuracy suffers for it.

This is intended as a complimentary comment, not an opposing viewpoint, the rest of your post about shooting in confined spaces definitely applies in my experience.
 

Raleel

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I appreciate the comment, actually, as I felt like there should be some downside there, and now I have a good idea what to do (shift it up the range penalty table 1 step, which is a small penalty for the particular weapon).
 

CRKrueger

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Well, of course no tabletop game will be able to address 3D tactics like a movie. A movie is a shared visual medium. Only another shared visual medium will be able to convey the same amount of information in practically zero time.

His arguments against maps are very weak.
1. The maps are small - Bullshit. Get bigger ones.
2. Players won’t treat the dumpster on the map like a dumpster - Bullshit. Tell them the stuff on the map is real.
3. Players won’t see the same things and ask questions - laughably Bullshit. Any physical depiction unless it’s drawn by Bizarro World Picasso will lead to far less questions than any form of narration.
Maps and pictures will always be superior in information flow than the spoken word from a tactical/spatial awareness sense.

Abstraction through skills is a good idea. We don’t have to know exactly what the Spec Ops dude does, his Tactics Skill/Close Quarter Combat Feat/whatever the mechanic is can stand in just the way the Research skill does when digging through the Miskatonic U. Rare Books vault.
 

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First off I did watch the video and he has some good points but honestly I drifted at times.

A major problem is the solutions are often unpopular, rules heavy and they can restrict player control (many players hate when the rules limit their actions, charm person, seduction, fear etc). Players often resent the idea that the rules tell them how their character reacts. Lets say you create a rule that require a perception roll or some such to ID a target and due to failure they misidentify and shoot a friendly. How will your players respond to that kind of negative result?


This is something I have long struggled with and have explored in some depth even reading several books on how people react under stress. The answer as always comes back to Phoenix Command. :dice: Not that you have to play Phoenix Command as written, but it is an excellent source for ideas if you can locate a copy. It has earned a reputation for being unplayable that really isn't deserved.

I think rules that limit action are critical to separate the average conscript from those with a high level of training / experience. S.L.A. Marshall's Men against fire has generated quite a bit of controversy in recent years over his methodology, but his general conclusions are still more or less accepted (out of a group of soldiers a relatively small number conduct the bulk of effective action). Dave Grossman's, On Killing supports this general premise. Somewhat based on Men against fire it's conclusions have also been questioned. The major issue with studies such as these is they are almost entirely based on anecdotal experiences and interpretation. regardless of the faults of these works they remain among a very small number of studies on how people respond in combat and these are good enough in my opinion for a game.
My personal experience working with people under stress (firefighting and EMS, not military or combat) I agree with the general points of these books in that under stress people fall back on their training and prior experience, and there is a smaller group who can continue to initiate action under highly stressful conditions rather than just following directions. Those with better training tend to retain their ability to function better than those with minimal or poor training.

Action points are a popular way of handling this, RQ Strike Rank, HERO System's Speed etc. Twilight 2000's Coolness Under Fire was a specific attempt to deal with this. This again returns to rules limiting what PCs can do which rankles many as well as adding more complexity. How much loss of Player control and rule complexity is acceptable?

It has been claimed that many of the "old west" gunfighters were successful because they actually aimed when firing (either intentionally or just naturally) at a time that most didn't. Prior to WW2 the sights on most handguns were an after thought, they were meant for close range instinctive shooting and many were laughably bad to modern shooters.
There was a lot of advancement between the 2 World Wars in close combat training brought forward from men like William Fairbairn who developed his ideas for close combat shooting, hand and armed fighting while with the Shanghai police in the 19-teens through the 1930s. He would go on to collaborate with Rex Applegate to develop close combat training programs for the British SOE and US OSS as well as the various US and British special forces. Through the 1940s "regular" pistol training tended to focus on one handed straight arm aimed fire, or instinctive point fire "hip shooting".
After WW2 you have people like Jeff Cooper and Jeff Weaver who advanced what we would recognize as modern 2 handed pistol shooting with an emphasis on "realistic" scenarios rather than standing in a line at the firing range.


As far as ranges go, "maximum" range is generally only applicable in rare cases. If you look at military rifles at the time if WW1 many had sights graduated out to 2000, 2500, 3000 yards / meters which theoretically bullets can reach, but the odds of hitting let alone seeing a man sized target in the open at that range over iron sights is optimistic at best. Most 7.62mm / .30 caliber "sniper" rifles equipped with modern telescopic sights are only considered effective to 800-1000 yards / meters.
Studies done during and after WW2 found that most infantry combat occurred at ranges of less than 100 yards / meters, with 300 yards / meters being the upper limit of combat effectiveness. Most modern assault rifles are meant to be effective at 300-500 yards / meters with sights generally out to 500-800 yards / meters. Of course many modern military rifles are now being issued with low powered optical sights.
Off the battlefield FBI stats indicate most civilian shootings (including Law Enforcement) occur within 7 yards / meters.



Getting long winded here, so I'll stop here for now except to say what are you actually trying to emulate? We often see the term "realistic" casually thrown around but it doesn't have the same universal meaning.
 
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Toadmaster

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On bullpups. I think there is a place for weapon length whether that is a dagger vs a sword in a tight tunnel or a firearm in a small space. To some extent weapon length matters, tunnel rats in Vietnam used pistols because anything bigger was simply impractical, but beyond extremely tight spaces short weapons seem to have more benefit in general handling, getting in and out of vehicles, long duration carrying and such rather than shooting. This seems to have been more of the inspiration for them rather than close combat with a rifle.
A bullpup has some advantages over a folding stock which is the usual means for making a rifle or SMG more compact. Bullpup also brings along some luggage.
Bullpups became the new hotness in the 1980s when many nations were transitioning to 5.56mm rifles, AUG, L85, FAMAS being some of the better known. As these rifles are replaced in service, they are almost entirely being replaced by conventional rifles, so it would seem the bullpup design did not work as well as hoped.

Here is a very good video on the practical merits and deficiencies of bullpup rifles.

 

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I recorded an actual play of the final encounter with the BBEG in a "Way out Mythras" mini-campaign. It was an almost a TPK, but the player with the writer PC managed to talk his way out. One of the PCs (with the Little Bill character) had to use his last luck point to convert a Major Wound into Serious, but messed up his last chance to take down the Boss. The party had gathered a large group of underlings for the final battle but because the Boss had a 'Dread' creature ability, their skills were capped by their Willpower and they missed every shot, if they weren't shot first.


I'm not sure if the CGA makes it clear he's talking about gun kata and not more realistic firefights, but using John Wick to illustrate means that is what you're talking about. If that's the case it's difficult to mix realistic consideration with what's really a fantasy setup, and in this case maps are likely to work against more inventive use of skills to manipulate the fight because maps tend to lock down the specifics - and I've definitely found that players *do* take what's on the map as what's actually there. If I was to run gun fights I would lean more towards Unforgiven than John Wick, if I could come up with something workable that better represented the terror and chaos of being in that situation.
 

Ronnie Sanford

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That's part of it, but there's an additional aspect to being able to maintain the overall length of the barrel while shortening the weapon. It means they're just as good for long shots as a full length AR, but they don't have the bulkiness of length associated with those. The downside is that you lose out on sight radius for iron sights (generally based on the distance between the front reticle and the rear sight post) which means most bullpups are reliant on optics for accurate distance shooting (roughly anything past 200m).

For comparison, the FN2000 is 688mm long with a 14 inch barrel, while the M4A1 is 838mm with the same barrel length (with stock extended). While we can use shorter barrels to reduce the overall length to the same size as the FN2000, the long range accuracy suffers for it.

This is intended as a complimentary comment, not an opposing viewpoint, the rest of your post about shooting in confined spaces definitely applies in my experience.
Also remember many of the first bulkpup weapons could be left handed or right handed but not both....
 

Raleel

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His arguments against maps are very weak.
1. The maps are small - Bullshit. Get bigger ones.
2. Players won’t treat the dumpster on the map like a dumpster - Bullshit. Tell them the stuff on the map is real.
3. Players won’t see the same things and ask questions - laughably Bullshit. Any physical depiction unless it’s drawn by Bizarro World Picasso will lead to far less questions than any form of narration.
Maps and pictures will always be superior in information flow than the spoken word from a tactical/spatial awareness sense.
see, I disagree with all of these - larger map doesn't necessarily work, but larger scale can help. then it gets harder to maintain multiple scales at the same time.

I've experienced the others personally, and seen it in my group. Communication is not always perfect. if people were robots, maybe this would all work smoothly, but it is not always that way.

Of course, it happens on both sides of the table here too, so sometimes you are not communicating to them well.

A major problem is the solutions are often unpopular, rules heavy and they can restrict player control (many players hate when the rules limit their actions, charm person, seduction, fear etc). Players often resent the idea that the rules tell them how their character reacts. Lets say you create a rule that require a perception roll or some such to ID a target and due to failure they misidentify and shoot a friendly. How will your players respond to that kind of negative result?
I think this is a problem at many tables, and not just restricting actions. Leveraging serious penalties can be an issue. Trying to get your players to understand that their calm rational gaming mind is not the position their character might be in.

I have one player i struggle with this on. The game here is not a board game, you don't get perfect knowledge, control, or reactions. Sorry?

As far as ranges go, "maximum" range is generally only applicable in rare cases. If you look at military rifles at the time if WW1 many had sights graduated out to 2000, 2500, 3000 yards / meters which theoretically bullets can reach, but the odds of hitting let alone seeing a man sized target in the open at that range over iron sights is optimistic at best. Most 7.62mm / .30 caliber "sniper" rifles equipped with modern telescopic sights are only considered effective to 800-1000 yards / meters.
Studies done during and after WW2 found that most infantry combat occurred at ranges of less than 100 yards / meters, with 300 yards / meters being the upper limit of combat effectiveness. Most modern assault rifles are meant to be effective at 300-500 yards / meters with sights generally out to 500-800 yards / meters. Of course many modern military rifles are now being issued with low powered optical sights.
Off the battlefield FBI stats indicate most civilian shootings (including Law Enforcement) occur within 7 yards / meters.
indeed. those ranges are very close, and some of them get down into the ranges that can be held on maps of very small (i.e. D&D level) size. I imagine the whole John Wick scene could be done on one 2'x2' map per floor of the house.

Getting long winded here, so I'll stop here for now except to say what are you actually trying to emulate? We often see the term "realistic" casually thrown around but it doesn't have the same universal meaning.
nothing specific at all yet, but rather trying to make those sorts of combats more interesting. Moving into different parameters. I like the notion that the real game is not in the shooting but the manipulation of the penalties and bonuses.
 

Nobby-W

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[ . . . ]
the map thing has frustrated me heavily over the years - firearms have MUCH longer range than most of the maps allow
the stock 1"=5' scale that we've seen over the years is just incredibly short. the close range of pistols in Mythras is 33" of table space, and is just not suitable for most game surfaces (we have a large one at 8x4 and it's still very tight along one axis).
I wouldn't get too worried about range. There's the range that the weapon is lethal at, and then there's the range you can actually hit anything at. Most actual fire combat of the sort a party of adventurers might get into happens at fairly close ranges. You might want to twiddle rules to reflect that.
 

Raleel

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Have you checked out Top Secret S.I.'s Commando supplement? I know it isn't Mythras but it has some interesting and non-clunky rules for firefights, including line of sight, you may be able to nick, tweak or convert.
I have not and will probably check it out. I've got things like Friday Night Firefight and GURPS too, so I'm exactly looking, but I'm always interested in throwing in a new nuance to add.

I'm largely coming to the opinion that I'm far too nice, and that I need to be leveraging a lot more penalties.
 

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I have not and will probably check it out. I've got things like Friday Night Firefight and GURPS too, so I'm exactly looking, but I'm always interested in throwing in a new nuance to add.

I'm largely coming to the opinion that I'm far too nice, and that I need to be leveraging a lot more penalties.
I like Friday Night Firefight but I'd give the edge to Commando as Cook obviously did his research or has some experience with actual firefights and military tactics. I also think he finds a way to integrate these tactics into the game without making it too convoluted, not something I've found GURPS manages most of the time.
 

Nobby-W

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I have not and will probably check it out. I've got things like Friday Night Firefight and GURPS too, so I'm exactly looking, but I'm always interested in throwing in a new nuance to add.

I'm largely coming to the opinion that I'm far too nice, and that I need to be leveraging a lot more penalties.
Estimated casualty rates in WWII were around 10,000 rounds fired for every enemy casualty; for Vietnam the rate was more like 100,000. There were documented instances of fire bases using over 1 million rounds in battle without actually hitting anything. Actually hitting things under stressful conditions of being shot at in a firefight is quite hard. Someday I may do a fire combat system where the most likely outcome is being forced to back off or stay behind cover.
 

Chris Brady

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I wouldn't get too worried about range. There's the range that the weapon is lethal at, and then there's the range you can actually hit anything at. Most actual fire combat of the sort a party of adventurers might get into happens at fairly close ranges. You might want to twiddle rules to reflect that.
Exactly. Most firearms combat is between 7 to 21ft.
 

Raleel

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Someday I may do a fire combat system where the most likely outcome is being forced to back off or stay behind cover.
thus far, i've been happy with the probabilities with Mythras on this, though I'm more speaking about the broader firearms combat idea. I suppose I should post up something and have it nitpicked!

Exactly. Most firearms combat is between 7 to 21ft.
indeed, I believe that number is for pistols in urban environments, specifically the NYPD. take your average person and to throw some numbers on it
stat + stat as base of skill
3d6 human stats
both skills at 11 (so, 22 base)
occasional practice, but no real formal training (call it 8 points of skill increase, which is maybe 3 weeks of training formally)

you are looking at a 30% base chance to hit. then tack on 1/3 off for it being a pistol (short barrel, less stable) and you are at 20% at standard difficulty, which would be humans at less than 20m. Trained officers probably have a bit more (call it 50% base) but they are looking at 33%, which is darn near the NYPD stats without any modifiers for environment (wind, darkness, etc). Target is running (away? towards?) or wind or even moderate obscurement and that drops to a 25%, which is dead on. combine a couple and we are looking at 5%.

and thanks @Toadmaster for the video, it was highly educational. I think a lot of it was finer granularity than I want, but it does bring up some interesting points and things to think about. I particular find the ambidexterity argument and constrained environments vs not interesting. It should be possible too add those in, though I don't know how much I feel like tracking handedness of the character
 

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Estimated casualty rates in WWII were around 10,000 rounds fired for every enemy casualty; for Vietnam the rate was more like 100,000. There were documented instances of fire bases using over 1 million rounds in battle without actually hitting anything. Actually hitting things under stressful conditions of being shot at in a firefight is quite hard. Someday I may do a fire combat system where the most likely outcome is being forced to back off or stay behind cover.
As I understand it, the US army doctrine is (or at least was from WWII to Vietnam) pretty much lock the enemy down with suppressive fire, and call in artillery or air to finish them off. So a lot of rounds are intentionally just fired against the general area, instead of aiming at an individual.

You also have suppressive fire while part of the unit move to outflank the enemies.

Still, even if not using a lot of suppressive fire, I'm guessing it would still just shave of one or two zeros from those numbers.
 

Chris Brady

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indeed, I believe that number is for pistols in urban environments, specifically the NYPD.
It's for most urban combat environments, actually. Or so I've been told.

Now, don't quote me, as this is anecdotal, but one of my cousins who's in the Canadian military mentioned that the reason that Bullpup configured weapons are being looked into is because of that. But I have no numbers, nor facts to back that up.
 

Toadmaster

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and thanks @Toadmaster for the video, it was highly educational. I think a lot of it was finer granularity than I want, but it does bring up some interesting points and things to think about. I particular find the ambidexterity argument and constrained environments vs not interesting. It should be possible too add those in, though I don't know how much I feel like tracking handedness of the character
In Range and Forgotten Weapons are much more cerebral than the average youtube gun channels.
I'm not sure if you picked up on it but a major issue they were highlighting was not simply handedness as in you are a right or left handed shooter, but unlike most conventional style rifles using a bullpup with the wrong hand often puts the ejection port right against your face. So if you take cover around the "wrong side" corner of a building with most bullpup rifles you either shoot it handed as it is set up exposing more of yourself to fire, or you take hot brass in the side of your melon (not a fun experience). With a conventional rifle worst case you have brass bouncing off the wall in front of you.

Personally I wouldn't bother with that level of detail unless I was specifically giving bullpups a specific advantage, but it is an interesting issue I don't think many have considered.


As I understand it, the US army doctrine is (or at least was from WWII to Vietnam) pretty much lock the enemy down with suppressive fire, and call in artillery or air to finish them off. So a lot of rounds are intentionally just fired against the general area, instead of aiming at an individual.

You also have suppressive fire while part of the unit move to outflank the enemies.

Still, even if not using a lot of suppressive fire, I'm guessing it would still just shave of one or two zeros from those numbers.
The massive amount of rounds fired per kill is somewhat misleading because it is often given as if a guy has to shoot 10,000 rounds to score a hit. As you point out ammunition expenditure isn't limited to direct aimed fire and one casualty doesn't necessarily equal just one hit. Suppressive fire, straffing by aircraft, recon by fire (shooting where the enemy might be), evacuated casualties not being counted and casualties absorbing multiple rounds being counted once all lead to large numbers of rounds expended. They are also averages, well supplied troops assaulting a potion with automatic weapons in the jungle are going to skew much higher than troops short on ammunition defending a fixed point.
 

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Personally I wouldn't bother with that level of detail unless I was specifically giving bullpups a specific advantage, but it is an interesting issue I don't think many have considered.
and I am looking at giving them a specific advantage, but not sure I'm going to go there yet. One thing I've been thinking about is reasons to use things like pistols. legality and social considerations are all well and good, but these things also get used when other options are legally available and socially acceptable. Bullpups fell into that space, and poking around with notions. Instinct tells me when range is not as important but higher caliber is gives them a reason.

I'm not 100% certain why a carbine vs a bullpup, but I can take some guesses.
 

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Bullpups have the ability to be used in close combat (for firearms) without having to worry about getting snagged up on something. They have the same purpose as an SMG, but with higher power/damage.
 

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Bullpups have the ability to be used in close combat (for firearms) without having to worry about getting snagged up on something. They have the same purpose as an SMG, but with higher power/damage.
largely what i figured. power of a full sizes, more compat
 

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There are a whole lot of variables feeding into real-world firearm design that could be ported into RPGs if A) your group is into guns enough to appreciate them and/or B) the additional complexity is made up for by sufficient fun. B) is closely related to A), of course. ;)

Carbines are usually scaled-down rifles - small to medium calibre, shorter barrel length, and thus reduced weight. Bullpups can be full-powered rifles in a shorter package, with the advantages and considerations already mentioned.

There is a case to be made for exploring rules that give appropriate advantages and disadvantages to weapons in close combat, if only because that's such a ajor consideration in weapons choice and tactics in the real world. Sticking to firearms, just look at the various solutions tried, tested, discarded, or adopted in WWI, where for the first time major gun battles were fought in trenches rather than across open ground. Unfortunately, I haven't yet seen a set of rules that captures this without slowing the game down unacceptably. Thus I'm watching this thread!

GURPS Tactical Shooting is supposed to be a realistic treatment of gun combat in RPGs, though I haven't looked at it closely enough to judge.
 

Toadmaster

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and I am looking at giving them a specific advantage, but not sure I'm going to go there yet. One thing I've been thinking about is reasons to use things like pistols. legality and social considerations are all well and good, but these things also get used when other options are legally available and socially acceptable. Bullpups fell into that space, and poking around with notions. Instinct tells me when range is not as important but higher caliber is gives them a reason.

I'm not 100% certain why a carbine vs a bullpup, but I can take some guesses.
I think it is reasonable to treat a bullpup weapon as the next class smaller if you use some sort of weapon size system. They do tend to be bulky for concealment compared to a folding stock carbine, but since they can't have a folding stock, I think that issue sort of takes care of itself.

Comparisons

Bullpup
FAMAS 30" long with a 19.4" barrel
Styer AUG 31.1" long with a 20" barrel
L85 30.9" with a 20.4" barrel
FN P90 PDW 19.9" long with a 10.4" barrel

Conventional
M16 39.5" long with a 20" barrel
M4 carbine is 33" (stock extended) / 29" (stock collapsed) with a 14.5" barrel
H&K G36 39.3" (stock extended) / 29.8" (stock folded) with an 18.9" barrel
H&K G36K 33.9" (stock extended) / 24.2" (stock folded) with a 12.5" barrel
FN-FAL 43" long with a 21" barrel
M1 Garand 43.5" long with a 24" barrel
M1 Carbine 35.6" long with an 18" barrel
H&K MP5 9mm SMG 27.6" (stock extended) 21.7 (stock collapsed) with an 8.9" barrel

Pistol
Walther PPK 6.1" long with a 3.3" barrel (a small "pocket" pistol)
Beretta M92 8.5" long with a 4.9" barrel (a standard size service pistol)
Desert Eagle 10.6" long with a 6" barrel (a ridiculously large magnum handgun)


As far as use in close quarters comparing to a conventional rifle you are looking at about 75-80% of the length, but even comparing to an old school full power rifle (M1 Garand) that is only about 12-14" difference in length so it would need to be very tight confines to make a difference, ship board or a home perhaps, someplace with lots of corners.
A typical service pistol on the other hand is about 25% the size of a bullpup, but beyond 20m all the advantage goes to the rifle.


As far as carbine goes, that is a really vague term. It has been used for a short version of the standard rifle, as well as for light rifles using a pistol or intermediate cartridge (this use mostly prior to the adoption of assault rifles). In modern use it tends to just refer to a "short"* rifle, with pistol caliber carbine being used for carbines using pistol caliber cartridges (bet you didn't see that coming).

* short also being ill defined, the M1 carbine has an 18" barrel which was short for a military rifle in the 1940s, the HK33 has a 15.5" barrel and is considered a full size (if a bit shorter than typical) assault rifle. The M4 with a barrel only 1" shorter is called a carbine, as it is a short version of the M16.


Confused? Well you should be. :tongue: Personally for game purposes I think using overall length is the best way to distinguish weapons and leave the vague terms out in the cold. The M16 very much met the definition of carbine in 1960, but is now firmly in the rifle camp.
 
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CRKrueger

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see, I disagree with all of these - larger map doesn't necessarily work, but larger scale can help. then it gets harder to maintain multiple scales at the same time.

I've experienced the others personally, and seen it in my group. Communication is not always perfect. if people were robots, maybe this would all work smoothly, but it is not always that way.

Of course, it happens on both sides of the table here too, so sometimes you are not communicating to them well.
Where did I say perfect, my friend? No communication is perfect, you and the players will never have the same mind’s eye image. Even if you’re all watching the same John Wick action sequence, your understanding of that sequence will differ based on your personal knowledge of HTH, firearms, construction, combat, etc.

However, I think it’s obvious and really unarguable that a detailed map can, for the purpose of small-unit tactics, (please do not forget that qualifier), display a wealth of information at a millisecond glance, as compared to the spoken word. It’s like smoke signals vs. optical fiber for information flow.

Map as a base, with quick narration to complement, will always be superior to Theater of the Mind when it comes to tactical information flow...unless you’ve abstracted highly enough to let the actual situation be a “Schrodinger’s Map”, to be filled in either with successful or failed skill use or drawn in via narrative mechanics. You’re free to play that way, but that’s not my jam.

But we’re not talking just about information flow. The main thrust of his video is how to let player choice and action mimic tactics in a real sense, allowing them to...
  • Reset Initiative, allowing them a break to do something besides engage in combat.
  • Gain some form of force multiplier that makes an action other than “Shoot” worth something.
For this, Skill or Special Ability use seems an obvious choice. If we’re talking Mythras, there are many Special Effects that can be tactically superior to just increased damage, without requiring exacting detail of the space around the character and thus useful with both ToM and Tactical Map play.

Mythras also has complimentary skill use, combined with creative use of other mechanics (like using Dread to simulate the reputation of a legendary hero or villain) that can provide the tactical crunch needed and work with either method.

So, while his arguments against Tactical Maps for Information Flow was just pure diarrhea, he’s right in that Tactical Maps are not the answer to his goals of providing specific tactical choices.
 

Raleel

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man, this post is going to be nuts long.

I think it is reasonable to treat a bullpup weapon as the next class smaller if you use some sort of weapon size system. They do tend to be bulky for concealment compared to a folding stock carbine, but since they can't have a folding stock, I think that issue sort of takes care of itself.
This is by and large where i think I am going to go with it. Essentially, it's a bigger caliber SMG - maybe not quite as accurate at long range as an assault rifle, but more damage than an SMG, which tend to be loaded with pistol rounds.

As far as use in close quarters comparing to a conventional rifle you are looking at about 75-80% of the length, but even comparing to an old school full power rifle (M1 Garand) that is only about 12-14" difference in length so it would need to be very tight confines to make a difference, ship board or a home perhaps, someplace with lots of corners.
Ya, this is why I felt like I was going to have to sort of blanket define an environment in that space. "If you have a rifle or larger in here, you are at a penalty for bringing the weapon to bear" (likely a ready weapon action is required first, which in a firefight would really suck).

As far as carbine goes, that is a really vague term. It has been used for a short version of the standard rifle, as well as for light rifles using a pistol or intermediate cartridge (this use mostly prior to the adoption of assault rifles). In modern use it tends to just refer to a "short"* rifle, with pistol caliber carbine being used for carbines using pistol caliber cartridges (bet you didn't see that coming).
i noticed this as well a few months ago. I spent a rather ludicrous amount of time digging into carbines, PDWs, assault rifles, and SMGs, just sort of trying to understand the lines so I could decide if I wanted that kind of detail.

However, I think it’s obvious and really unarguable that a detailed map can, for the purpose of small-unit tactics, (please do not forget that qualifier), display a wealth of information at a millisecond glance, as compared to the spoken word. It’s like smoke signals vs. optical fiber for information flow.
Oh sure. a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes it even provides too much information!

Map as a base, with quick narration to complement, will always be superior to Theater of the Mind when it comes to tactical information flow...unless you’ve abstracted highly enough to let the actual situation be a “Schrodinger’s Map”, to be filled in either with successful or failed skill use or drawn in via narrative mechanics. You’re free to play that way, but that’s not my jam.
I think that's some of the question at hand really. Sometimes those narrative mechanics go a long ways towards allowing something to happen that would otherwise require a lot of information flow, either via map or narration, that would bog down a game. Call it a condition, say.

But we’re not talking just about information flow. The main thrust of his video is how to let player choice and action mimic tactics in a real sense, allowing them to...
  • Reset Initiative, allowing them a break to do something besides engage in combat.
  • Gain some form of force multiplier that makes an action other than “Shoot” worth something.
For this, Skill or Special Ability use seems an obvious choice. If we’re talking Mythras, there are many Special Effects that can be tactically superior to just increased damage, without requiring exacting detail of the space around the character and thus useful with both ToM and Tactical Map play.
It really does for this sort of thing. This is why I am moving into the camp of "default is heavily penalized, skill use will reduce the penalties, allowing a higher chance of effective application of combat skill".

Mythras also has complimentary skill use, combined with creative use of other mechanics (like using Dread to simulate the reputation of a legendary hero or villain) that can provide the tactical crunch needed and work with either method.

So, while his arguments against Tactical Maps for Information Flow was just pure diarrhea, he’s right in that Tactical Maps are not the answer to his goals of providing specific tactical choices.
I think that's where I am going here. I love my minis and my tactical maps and my 3d printed terrain, but there is a certain spot where they are either burdensome or are giving the wrong kind of information. I think it's one place where a VR set up would really change the face of gaming.
 

Black Vulmea

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If I was to run gun fights I would lean more towards Unforgiven than John Wick, if I could come up with something workable that better represented the terror and chaos of being in that situation.
The morale rules in 2e Boot Hill do a pretty good job of this: non-player characters who failed morale rolls fled, hid, threw up their hands, or just plain froze in the middle of a fight, while those who passed against ridiculous odds proved to be 'improbable paladins.'

While visiting a line shack on a ranch outside Promise City, three regulators jumped my character. The first, armed with a Winchester, pulled his horse down to use as cover while the other two rode around behind the shack - the rifleman was supposed to pin my character while the others closed to cut him down with a scattergun. However, the rifleman's Winchester jammed on his second shot; my character killed one of the regulators on horseback as they rode past, then stepped around the corner of the shack to find the fellow with the scattergun frozen in fear. My character gunned him down where he sat on his horse, then walked over to the rifleman. With my character standing over him, Colt pointed at his heart, the rifleman cleared the jam, passed his morale roll, and raised the gun with a snarl, whereupon my character killed him where he knelt.

Now, tell me again how old school isn't cinematic?

Players often resent the idea that the rules tell them how their character reacts.
I have very little sympathy for this perspective, at least when it comes to stress, fear, losing one's cool, &c. This idea that missing a turn or some-such is a penalty or a 'punishment' to a player isn't an opinion I share. Then again, I don't play games where missing a turn means kibitzing for the better part of an hour, either, so that undoubtedly shapes my perspective

That said, I do like 2e BH here again, where your character's Bravery score affects her Speed and Accuracy but doesn't limit player choices.

(I can't ever remember playing a game where player characters could be seduced against their will, but I would find such a rule squicky right from the giddyup and probably house-rule it out.)

Lets say you create a rule that require a perception roll or some such to ID a target and due to failure they misidentify and shoot a friendly. How will your players respond to that kind of negative result?
I'd hope they'd roleplay the fuck out of really dramatic moment.
 

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The weapons I'm most used to myself is the Swedish variant of H&K G3A3 (AK4) which I had in the army and the home guard, and the Swedish Mauser which I learned to shoot as a kid and had in the army for when we stood guard at the royal residence.

I don't know if it's just a matter of what one is used to, but I imagine switching mag is a bit cumbersome on a bullpup than when it is located in front of the grip. As it is mainly in urban situations one would want a bullpub, that could put most of those designs at a disadvantage.

The ability to not switch shoulders is another one. I know many practice with leaning out to shout out from a corner on the wrong side, or just move the shoulder stock over to the other shoulder (those things might be a bit more forgiving with a 5.56N weapon), we practiced a lot firing from either a left-handed or a right-handed stance.

Now, both the G3 and the MP5 have the handle to cycle the bolt (giving it the famous H&K slap), so a weapon like the M4 is quite an advantage on reload as it has it's bolt release button and thus not need as many things to do if the mag has been emptied (I think the placement of the bolt cycling handle is at a quite awkward location on the AR-15 family, but that might be because I don't have that much experience with that system). If I recall correctly, it is possible to release the mag with the trigger finger on an M4, which also shave of a little bit of movements when reloading. You need to have very big hands to do that on a G3.

Now, the FN P90 as a replacement for submachine-guns I can actually see. At least if it is reliable enough, and can easily be fieldstripped and cleared if jammed. The ejector port is downward, more powerful rounds (sort of halfway between a 9mm and a 5.56 round), more ammo per mag, small and fairly lightweight. The main drawback I can think of is that a reload probably will be slower.
 

CRKrueger

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The small footprint of the Bullpup weapon isn’t for advantage of doorkicking in close quarters. It’s for paratroopers, mounted troops, etc. who at some point will need a full-range rifle, but a full-size rifle is inconvenient or impossible to carry on the way TO the fight.
 

Lundgren

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The small footprint of the Bullpup weapon isn’t for advantage of doorkicking in close quarters. It’s for paratroopers, mounted troops, etc. who at some point will need a full-range rifle, but a full-size rifle is inconvenient or impossible to carry on the way TO the fight.
Now, I would love to hear the reasons on why picking a bullpup over a folding stock for that use.
 

Nobby-W

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Bullpup layouts seem to be a mixed bag. Some folks are still making new rifles with a bullpup layout (e.g. Tavor) but other folks have gone back to using conventional layouts - for example, the NZ Army is in the process of replacing their Steyrs with ARs made by some outfit I've never heard of, and the French are phasing out the FAMAS in favour of something with a conventional layout.

Some people are of the view that bullpup rifles have ergonomic issues that outweigh the length advantage. Whereas maybe 30 or 40 years ago it was being touted as the way of the future it seems to have ended up as a mixed bag in practice.
 

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Bullpup layouts seem to be a mixed bag. Some folks are still making new rifles with a bullpup layout (e.g. Tavor) but other folks have gone back to using conventional layouts - for example, the NZ Army is in the process of replacing their Steyrs with ARs made by some outfit I've never heard of, and the French are phasing out the FAMAS in favour of something with a conventional layout.

Some people are of the view that bullpup rifles have ergonomic issues that outweigh the length advantage. Whereas maybe 30 or 40 years ago it was being touted as the way of the future it seems to have ended up as a mixed bag in practice.
Yep, the only military currently using a bullpup rifle that is looking to replace it with another bullpup is the UK and that is really just an upgrade of the existing weapon, L85A2 to L85A3 not a replacement. France has used the Bullpup FAMAS for 40 years and is replacing it with the HK416 which is essentially an improved M4 carbine. New Zealand is replacing their Styer AUGs with another M4 like weapon, Austraila is staying with the AUG but issues the HK416 to their special forces. Israel is issuing a new bullpup rifle, but has not previously used one. The US has evaluated many bullpup "future combat weapons" but has never adopted one even in small numbers. China adopted a bullpup rifle in the late 1990s which is currently in service although new conventional rifles have been issued in recent years, unknown if replacements, special use or supplemental. Russia has dabbled with bullpup weapons but has not issued any.

It appears the short barrel conventional layout assault rifle is the new hotness for the early 21st century.
 

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Dunno if that 17 minute long video mentions it, but bullpups also typically have worse triggers due to the need for a longer / more complex linkage.
 

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On the map thing, wargames have two solutions: figure scale+compression and map compression.

Figure scale is the easiest to deal with.

A 28-32mm figure (GW standard) is 1/60-1/50. A 1m tabletop (slightly over 3ft) is 50m, a good scale for urban combat in WWII.

A 15mm figure is at 1/100-ish scale. A 100m battlefield, as @Toadmaster mentioned is a good fit for a close-in meeting patrol in WWII.

A 6mm figure is roughly 1/300 - that metre-wide table is perfect for a bigger battle, say a couple of companies or larger facing off.

Troop number compression is typically a wargame thing. People like bigger minis, and even the tiniest figures will never match the number of real troops 1:1 in a big battle.

Map compression is the other compromise. Many battles are a mile or more wide - that 1600 metres is still the size of a room in 6mm!

Once tanks get involved, tank-on-tank engagement ranges are typically 500m to 1000m. It's not unusual to use 1/300 figures and a 1/1500 to 1/3000 ground scale. Mind you, plenty of games have 28mm scale tanks engaging at 25 metres in game...

Truly in-scale mortar blasts would be terrifying at 28mm!

Houses and other tabletop furniture look weird, far too big, with compressed ground scale. The rule of thumb is that you can step them down one scale compared to the minis and they still look ok. 28mm minis can use 20mm houses, 15mm can use 10mm.

Model trees kind of work with all scales.

You can have variable-scale tabletops too - things may move from 1/50 to 1/300 further away from the centre of the action. It means you need more calculation for your measurements, and can be fiddly - one for when you really need it.

Some features scale the other way. Minis are all effectively standing on a door for a base, so building interiors are often expanded relative to the minis. Gives them space to move

Vehicles too - as minis often stand on 5mm tall bases, they have to be 1/48 to 1/43 to look "right" with 1/56 figures. It's less of a problem with smaller minis.
 
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Toadmaster

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Adding to the thoughts of the hedgehog avatared poster above, another thing taken from war games that might be useful is dummy counters. Use figures for those known individuals, and dummies for noises and other things that go bump in the night (coat racks, Roombas etc). This favors PCs somewhat as they can see each others locations on the map, but still leaves a lot of uncertainty. I suppose one could even use dummy counters that when revealed move a PC's "believed" position to that of the counter if players do not maintain contact with each other.



Something that I didn't see mentioned as an advantage held in those John Wick clips is he was alone. That removes a huge issue of shooting a friendly, if he sees a shadow skulking, or hears footsteps approaching a corner he is pretty safe in assuming it is an enemy combatant. He also knows if he has a rogue Roomba running loose. Friendly fire and fields of fire are a big liability for groups.
 

CRKrueger

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Dunno if that 17 minute long video mentions it, but bullpups also typically have worse triggers due to the need for a longer / more complex linkage.
Actually, they did mention the generally mushy triggers.
 

Raleel

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it feels like to me at the scale I'll be looking at, i'll just call bullpups and carbines the same thing, drop their accuracy slightly, and call it a day.
 

CRKrueger

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Now, I would love to hear the reasons on why picking a bullpup over a folding stock for that use.
The arguments I’ve always heard is that first, a bullpup weapon is always ready to fire, while a folding stock must be deployed. Second is the folding stock is not as strong as a fixed stock, and can leave the soldier with a stock-less rifle. Third is the stock must be designed properly to not affect aim, and parallel stocks, ie. under or over folders increase the unwieldiness of deployment.
 

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@Toadmaster No that really is me. Typing on a phone is a right buggeration!

Also, blinds and the like work really well.
 
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