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Lloyd Dupont

GMing and modern weapon question

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I am thinking to run a scifi campaign next.

In a scifi campaign one might want to use sniper rifles.

Now I am wondering, since the D100 family has people being (rightfully) quite frail compare to the destructive power of modern weapon... How would one handle ambush?

I mean I feel like I cant ambush players or they are just going to die. Not sure how to handle that... Any tips?
I am starting to introduce more NPC for the sole purpose of having some canon fodder... ūüėē¬† Or maybe that's the way to do it?

CLARIFICATION typical sneak attack will get you at your worst, when you are unsuspecting with no armor and shield, maybe even sleeping. That's what I worry about. Not at so much when the players are armoured and wary....

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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24 minutes ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I am starting to introduce more NPC for the sole purpose of having some canon fodder... ūüėē¬† Or maybe that's the way to do it?

If they wear a red shirt, then they certainly qualify as canon fodder :)

Another canonical way of doing this would be giving the ambushers the same shooting skills as stormtroopers (between 1 and 2%, but only with favourable weather conditions).

Introduce glancing blows, bibles in the pocket, and other classical tricks to keep people alive. But in the end, the point is simple: modern weapons are deadly, one shot, one kill. If you wish to run a moderately plausible sci-fi game, then you have to accept the fact that characters can be one-shotted by a hidden sniper.

And of course, there is the Revolution D100 way: the real combat is not the shooting, but the Perception vs. Stealth Conflict that dictates whether the ambush succeeds or not.

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I am using Revolution D100 as you know! :D
But.. I kind of dropped the ball on Fate point and such (not so necessary at the moment , they have good armor, and toughness..).... Might have to use them back (bible in the pocket! ūüėģ )

Also your stealth conflict gave me an idea.. I am going to have psy power.... And while I hate divination in general... I could use a 1 round precognition that save people from surprise ambushes! ^^

Bad aim storm troopers... mmmm.. I can see the rational for it now ! ūüėģ

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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3 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Also your stealth conflict gave me an idea.. I am going to have psy power.... And while I hate divination in general... I could use a 1 round precognition that save people from surprise ambushes! ^^

The danger sense power might be a better option if you don't want the PCs to know about the ambush well in advance.

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Contrary to what certain movies would want to make us believe, the right kind of  amour can be quite effective against the destructive energy of projectiles[1]. Especially in a SciFi setting in which much advanced materials exist, or even energetic shields that protect against either kinetic and/or other forms of energy. For characters who are not usually wearing armor, automated personal defense systems might be available, capable of momentarily detecting and deterring rapidly approaching lethal forces (for a predetermined number of times before recharging, perhaps), either entirely or to a degree.

In a SciFi setting, medical advances might be capable of stabilizing otherwise lethally injured individuals nearly indefinitely, until replacement organs are grown or cybernetic prosthetics are fitted. Depending on the the degree of Transhumanism of the setting, it might even be possible to transfer consciousness from dying or recently dead bodies into synthetic or cloned targets. There could even be offline backups, which get activated on the death of the current instance of an individual (cf. Altered Carbon).

In any sufficiently advanced, bright future, death may have become merely a minor setback, so ambush away.

‚ÄĒ‚ÄĒ

[1] Stormtrooper armour is the obvious¬†exception. So far, it has been proven to be abysmally¬†inefficient against small, furry arboreal abominations armed with nothing but sticks and stones, single pot shots from handheld sidearms, and wrist-mounted flame-throwers (which, apparently, are hot enough to burn said armour into a crisp within the fraction of a second, but leave the wielder‚Äės arm and hand completely unharmed). This seems to indicate that it is nothing but white painted cardboard, which¬†must have been a bargain for the Empire.

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1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

Why? Isn't that canon that you die in ST when your shirt is red?

Perhaps so, but in my realms bad jokes and puns will always be groaned... and the jokester and¬†¬†punster admonished as a bad ‚ÄĚlil¬†monster‚ÄĚ of one flavour or another.¬†requiring a firm grip and discipline¬†before he or she begins that ever downward¬†descent¬†into a worse fate... no, no, ¬†not that... not a game designer... THE HORROR.

of course some say the bigger the groan...

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1 hour ago, RosenMcStern said:

Why? Isn't that canon that you die in ST when your shirt is red?

Unless your name is Scotty or Janice Rand.

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10 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

Now I am wondering, since the D100 family has people being (rightfully) quite frail compare to the destructive power of modern weapon... How would one handle ambush?

I mean I feel like I cant ambush players or they are just going to die. Not sure how to handle that... Any tips?

First off, yes ambushes will tend to wipe out player characters, and you should generally avoid running successful ambushes against PCs. In D&D the PCs just lose a few hit points and the fight continues. In BRP PCs just lose a few limbs and the fight is over.  That said:

  • As has been previously mentioned you can put in some "red shirts" to draw enemy fire for the first round or so. That way you "Ambush" the group but don't really ambush the PCs. At least no so badly that they can't defend themselves.
  • Unsuccessful ambushes, however aren't so bad. In my Pen dragon campaign I ran one¬† with the target being Prince Aurelius, who is actually an important NPC and so I didn't really want to kill him off as he plays an important role in¬† the story. So I had the enemy mess up¬† the ambush with one guy mistaking another well dress rider as¬† the prince and jumping the gun. This essentially surprised everybody, as his allies didn't expect him to attack yet, because the prince wasn't in position.¬† This lead to a melee where the PCs and allies were further way that they were supposed to be, and the ambushers had to spend a couple of rounds running across afield to try and catch them. Since the players were on horseback they should have been able to ride away, but three characters fumbled and it turned into a fight. But had this gone as planned then Aurelius would have been hit by a dozen javelins and¬† probably be dead before he hit the ground.
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2 hours ago, RosenMcStern said:

Why? Isn't that canon that you die in ST when your shirt is red?

No it isn't. People have gone and counted the deaths and it turns out that the reason why more red shirts die in TOS is because more people wore red, so only about 10% of redshirts die as opposed to 13% of those wearing gold. It seems that most of the red-shirt deaths are those in security, who have the  most dangerous job on the ship with about a 60%  of dying in any episode they appear in(no surprise there). The other red shirts having pretty good survival rate with only an 8% chance of dying.

But if you got a choice, wear Blue, they only have a 5% chance of dying. Probably because medics and scientists aren't as much  of a threat so they are not the logical targets, compared to  those holding a phaser..

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12 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:
  • Unsuccessful ambushes, however aren't so bad. In my Pen dragon campaign I ran one¬† with the target being Prince Aurelius, who is actually an important NPC and so I didn't really want to kill him off as he plays an important role in¬† the story. So I had the enemy mess up¬† the ambush with one guy mistaking another well dress rider as¬† the prince and jumping the gun. This essentially surprised everybody, as his allies didn't expect him to attack yet, because the prince wasn't in position.¬† This lead to a melee where the PCs and allies were further way that they were supposed to be, and the ambushers had to spend a couple of rounds running across afield to try and catch them. Since the players were on horseback they should have been able to ride away, but three characters fumbled and it turned into a fight. But had this gone as planned then Aurelius would have been hit by a dozen javelins and¬† probably be dead before he hit the ground.

Nice!

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1 hour ago, foolcat said:

Contrary to what certain movies would want to make us believe, the right kind of  amour can be quite effective against the destructive energy of projectiles[1].  ...

It's worth noting that "the arms race" -- specifically, the weapon-vs-armor race -- is neverending (historically speaking).  Sometimes weapons have the advantage, sometimes armor has it.

Currently, FWIW, the top tier of human-portable weapons overmatch the top tier of human-portable armor.

As it's all a GAME here, we generally get the most fun when the two sides approach "balanced," IMHO.  1-shot-kills against PC's are usually a Bad Thing (tm), no matter what "realism" suggests "should happen."   At the same time, armor so tough as to make combat non-dangerous also makes it non-interesting, non-fun.

So... "balanced" weapons v. armor for our games.

YgamesMV

 

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12 minutes ago, Bill the barbarian said:

Nice!

Scary. It was Pendragon, and the young Prince was off on a hunt. The idea was for the ambush to go sour and the PK bodyguards to  hold off the attackers long enough for everyone to die back to the ruins of Joyeuse Guarde and old Roman ruin in the Landern Forest that they were using as abase camp.  But Aurelius, Uther and two PKs fumbled their horsemanship rolls to wheel a bout and ride off,  falling off their horses and giving me quite a scare as the GM.  Turned out the PKs fought off the attackers and then retreated to the ruins before the other people out looking for  the princes (this was during the Bacaduae peasant uprising) got together and attacked. I didn't plan on it being that close.

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3 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

First off, yes ambushes will tend to wipe out player characters, and you should generally avoid running successful ambushes against PCs.

Too true.  The matter at hand is the Needs of the Story.

If the Need of Your Story is to create a realistic campaign where anything can happen as realistically as possible, then, yeah, leaving the results of an ambush up to random chance (weighted heavily in favor of the attackers) is right there on the table.

If the Need of Your Story is to keep your players' characters alive for more important and entertaining adventure down the road, then you have two options:

  1. Don't include ambushes in your adventures.
  2. Assume that the party will escape the ambush, and the contest becomes a matter of degree.  How well or how badly things go for them.

It's a matter of style, and an issue of great contention and argument in some circles.  Does the GM just present the game world for the players to explore at their whim?  Or does the GM have adventures and/or "stories" planned with anticipated outcomes?

!i!

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Thanks for this interesting discussion guys! :)

In my upcoming scifi settings energy shield will be winning the race.. However.. Energy Shield will be like BRP suggest, i.e. temporary... hence can't be always on, except with the use of big machinery...
Hence, if players are wary, I could probably ambush them "safely" but if they are not wary, like a good sneak attack should be, then it's gonna be a disaster...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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1 hour ago, Questbird said:

If your energy shields are like the ones in Dune, they render ballistic weapons obsolete.

As explained, I am mostly worried because shield are definitely NOT always on, and a good sneak attack should, of course, come at the worst possible moment!

As a side note, irrelevant to my real question, but relevant to your comment, I don't plan on using those kind of shield. For no particular reason other than they don't inspire me much! ;) 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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19 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

I am thinking to run a scifi campaign next.

In a scifi campaign one might want to use sniper rifles.

Now I am wondering, since the D100 family has people being (rightfully) quite frail compare to the destructive power of modern weapon... How would one handle ambush?

I mean I feel like I cant ambush players or they are just going to die. Not sure how to handle that... Any tips?
I am starting to introduce more NPC for the sole purpose of having some canon fodder... ūüėē¬† Or maybe that's the way to do it?

Today, the modern sniper must contend with modern ARMOR.  The following armor levels actually exist as I type this.

National Institute for Justice is a US testing agency and is designated by the initials NIJ.  They test ALL body armor in the US.  European and Russian armor levels are comparable to US levels.

NIJ Level I soft body armor =  This armor will stop pistol rounds up to .380 acp  (velocity 1025ft/sec) and is EASILY worn under normal clothing.

NIJ  Level IIa soft body armor = This armor will stop most pistol rounds and is proof against medium-velocity 9mm (velocity 1090ft/sec) and is also concealable.

NIJ Level II soft body armor =  This armor will stop .357 magnum ammo (velocity 1395ft/sec) and is concealable.

NIJ Level IIIa soft body armor = This armor will stop .44 magnum ammo (velocity 1400ft/sec) and CAN be worn under a duty shirt (I did it for 20 years).

NIJ Level III (rifle) body armor = sold in soft or hard plates, this armor will stop 7.62mm RIFLE ammo (2750ft/sec) cold.  US Army SAPI plates are very close to this spec.

NIJ Level IV (rifle) body armor = generally only found in hard plate form, this armor will stop up to 30-06 ARMOR PIERCING ammo (2800ft/sec) cold.  US Army ESAPI plates are comparable to NIJ Level IV rifle plates.

There are many types of armor that will stop various pistol and rifle rounds WITHOUT major injury to the wearer.  

 

 

 

Edited by olskool
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I edited for clarification. I don't care much about attack on wary player. They have armour, they will have shield, it's no biggy...
Comparison with modern equivalent is moot, it's imaginary scifi weapon vs imaginary scifi shield and armor that could be both "balanced" however I like...

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Well, modern weapons are deadly and a successful ambush on unarmoured/shielded targets is probably going to be deadly. However in a sci-fi campaign the ways to detect ambushes would also be advanced. Sensors, cameras, drones, we already have them now. Augmented reality can give you social and psychological readouts about everyone you encounter. You could tell if someone had elevated stress levels, for example. It could be multi spectrum, face-recognising, energy-detecting, linked to all manner of databases, able to spot people beyond the visible spectrum. These technologies might be smaller, more reliable, more ubiquitous, maybe even biologically implanted, depending on your campaign. How much control do governments exercise over their populations? How much monitoring? In space, it's likely to be a lot, which means more sensors everywhere. PCs with combat experience are likely to be extra alert/paranoid too; scanning all situations instinctively for danger (might not be good for their sanity or PTSD, but keeps them alive). There would also be technologies to evade or misdirect these sensors, and sensors for those technologies too. The prevalence of detection technologies would probably make ambushes most successful when there has been a human failing, ie. betrayal, a set-up.

So if you are going to ambush players:

  1. Assume a successful ambush will kill at least one PC
  2. But give the players plenty of chances to detect first, using background technology, clues, psychology and personal attributes
  3. Or failing all that, Hero/Fate points to avoid instant death

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I always wonder how come sniper attack against government leaders are not more successful... I am sure there are many attempts...

At any rate I like your idea of being always vigilant at the cost of sanity. I am not big on sanity rules... But this one suggestion makes a lot of sense regarding sanity! ūüėģ :)
However I am not sure how could one individual spot a waiting sniper in a neighbouring skyscrapper... I will definitely had some small precognition powers to "dodge" barely just in time....

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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I have a question. What would the result be if you rolled a malfunction with a rail gun? In the game I am working on the PCs will likely be armed with light automatic magnetic rifles, so I was wondering what would happen if it malfunctions. Would it explode?

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On 11/28/2019 at 4:42 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I always wonder how come sniper attack against government leaders are not more successful... I am sure there are many attempts...

I presume that a genuinely accurate long-gun... plus the discipline to train up to the gun's capacity ... and the support/logistics necessary to get the sniper in place... Is actually kind of rare.

I believe that -- at least in the USA -- having observers on overwatch, examining all windows overlooking a presidential route, plus overhead spotters covering rooftops, is standard.

It's true that a top end military sniper rifle can hit from a mile away... if you have a top sniper handling the gun, good shooting conditions, and a good position to take the shot (i.e. a good logistics team).

 

On 11/28/2019 at 4:42 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

... At any rate I like your idea of being always vigilant at the cost of sanity. I am not big on sanity rules... But this one suggestion makes a lot of sense regarding sanity! ūüėģ :)

However I am not sure how could one individual spot a waiting sniper in a neighbouring skyscrapper... I will definitely had some small precognition powers to "dodge" barely just in time....

It isn't as good for a RPG, because it relies upon a bunch of NPC's -- even faceless hordes of bureaucrats -- and automation, etc; but the logistical support needed for an urban sniper to hide and shoot are reasonably well understood.  The TARGET has their own logistics & support teams!

I expect security forces pay special attention to hotel rooms in sniper-likely spots, to unoccupied rooms of ANY kind (office, construction, etc), to parks with tree cover, etc etc etc.

In a sci-fi context, we have drones & other tech that can provide extra surveillance coverage of any potential shooter vantage-points.

If the PC is a target, they may not be able to muster all these resources; even if they can, it's not THEIR roll to spot the dummy-ID on the room rental, or the human heat-signature in the bushes at 1450 meters range, or etc etc etc.

 

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