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Firearms Rule Clarification for animated CoC tutorial

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Hi, my name is CJ Leung. I am creating an animated video tutorial for 7th Ed Call of Cthulhu on youtube. As I’m writing the script for the firearm episode, I am having trouble understanding some of the rules 100%, and I would really appreciate if some people would be willing to help.
 
FIGHTING BACK (Firearm Attacks => Melee):
In page 108 of the rulebook, it says that a character within DEX/5 of an attacker using ranged weapons, can fight back against the attacker, as long as the attacker is using a ranged (missile) or thrown weapon. Give the context, does it mean that missile weapons are projectile weapons that are not guns, or does it also include guns?
What are missile weapons specifically? Bows & arrows, slings crossbows? (p.108)
 
FIGHTING BACK (Melee Attacks => Firearm):
When an enemy attacks an investigator, can the investigator fightback with his firearm, or the fight back option can only be done with Fighting skills, as written in page 103?
 
HALF DAMAGE BONUS
Many thrown & missile weapons deals extra half db. How is half db calculated? Do I treat 1d4 as 1d2 or do I just halve the result and round it? Should it be rounded up or down? Because if it is rounded down, it would produce the uneven result of (1, 1, 1 & 2) for a d4 dice. If the result is rounded it up, then it would produce a result similar to halving the dice size. So what is the official ruling on this?
Also how is half negative db treated? I assume that -2 becomes -1, but how about half of -1? Does it get rounded down to -1 or rounded up to 0?
 
ARMOR
The armor points rule is easy to understand when it comes to armor that covers a significant part of the body. But does piecemeal armor like the WW1 helmet (2 pts) work for any received damage since there are no targetable body parts in CoC?. This feels silly, but do we just suspend disbelief for the sake of simplicity?
 
FULL MOVEMENT SPEED
In page 113 of the rulebook, it says that shooting at a target (MOV 8+) that’s moving at a full speed gets penalty die. What constitutes as moving at full speed? Can an investigator attack and move at full speed at the same time? Thus benefiting from the penalty die at all time as long as his MOV is 8 and above?

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Hello CJ, your videos are great, really helpful. I had already watched your D&D tutorials and loved them, so when I saw you were doing similar videos about CoC I was really happy.

Regarding half damage bonus, as I understand it, when halving down I usually half the result. To make it fair, when rolling 1d4 I assign a 1 to a rolled 1 or 2, and a 2 to a rolled 3 or 4. That’s like rolling a 1d2 I guess. 

And with negative DBs, just leave them as they are. A negative DB is a penalty due to the strength and/or size of the character, so halving it when doing a ranged attack is giving an unfair bonus. 

These are not official rules, but they are my very own “common sense” rules.

About armor, a helmet would only help when hit in the head, so it will protect when the attacker explicitly says that wants to hit it and does so rolling the degree of success that the keeper asks for after applying the bonuses or penalties that he or she considers.

in any other case, I would use a hit location chart and roll the correspondent die to see where the attacker hits.

And about full movement speed, I think that it means that when a character with 8+ MOV is moving at full speed (meaning that it has been declared that is doing so), the attacker will have to roll with a penalty die.

and about attacking and moving at full speed at the same time, yes, I guess you could do it, but at least a couple of penalty dice should be applied to his or her attacks because won’t be able to aim, has to be aware of what is in his/her way while running...

I hope this helps a bit.

keep on doing those awesome videos!

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Hey CJ,

"Missile weapons" are a separate category than firearms. On that page it gives Bows as an example of a "Missile weapon." I think the intent here is that the time that it takes to knock and draw an arrow allows extra time to fight back that is not included when facing pulling the trigger of a firearm. Hence, why readied firearms get the DEX+50 Initiative bonus and gun fire cannot be dodged. Only seeking cover.

My reading of the rules is that "fighting back" when using a firearm is essentially using the gun as an improvised club/and/or using your free hand. Which would use Fighting (brawl).

I also wanted to echo what Hector said and thank you for making these videos. Call of Cthulhu will gain a broader audience when we do the work to get a broader audience. Your'e helping with that mission!

Edited by klecser

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As I've explored more, now I'm confused:

Quote

Firearms (Specializations) (varies %)
Covers all manner of firearms, as well as bows and crossbows.
You may spend skill points to purchase any skill specialization.
The generic ‘Firearms’ skill cannot be purchased.
Choose specializations appropriate to your investigator’s
occupation and history.
Note: as a combat skill, this cannot be pushed.
Firearms specializations:
Bow (15%): use of bows and crossbows, ranging from medieval
longbows to modern, high-powered compound bows.

 

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Hi

Fighting Back - (p108)

- missiles are spears and arrows, etc. (projectiles)

- thrown weapons could be knives, spears, rocks, etc.

- firearms (bullets) are not missiles or thrown.

- you may attempt to Dodge a missile or thrown attack if within 1/5 of DEX of the attacker (this does not include firearms - you cannot "Dodge" a bullet).

 

p103 - deals with melee fights (not firearms) - in melee, firing a gun is problematic (you are unable to take aim and shoot wildly while defending against the opponent's assault against you - because use of a firearm in melee is likely to miss, hit your opponent, or hit yourself - in equal measure).

If engaged in melee, a firearm is more useful as a cudgel/club to fend off/knock back the attacker, get some space (move away), and then fire on a later round.

You may fire (and/or be shot at) before entering melee (on your action) - you may gain Point-Blank bonus (see below) in doing so, but once you have engaged in melee, your firearm is far more useful as a lump of heavy metal (you cannot fire it as a 'Fight Back' reaction). You might (if the Keeper allows) disengage from melee (Dodge roll and move back), allowing you to shoot on the next round on your action (this would presume a wild shot with no aiming, imposing a penalty die).

- I'm explaining this situation, as firearms and melee are all about context, who is where and doing what etc. One size does not fit all situations - and the Keeper should judge the situation and use the rules to convey reality and fair play. But in short, bullets cannot be used to "Fight Back" and your firearm is only fired on your action in the round. If you are being shot at, you may attempt to "Dive for Cover" and lose your next action.

Firearms (p113) - see Point-Blank Range.

The only reaction to a gunshot is to "Dive for Cover" or stand there and hope they miss.

 

Half Damage Bonus - halve the roll (1D4 becomes 1D2, 1D6 becomes 1D3). In CoC, you always round down. For negative DB, -1 becomes 0 (there are no fractions) - or just keep it the same (it makes little difference).

 

Armor - use defender's Luck roll to determine if better protected area is hit - or use the optional hit locations in the Rulebook.

 

Movement During Combat - (p127) - answers your question.

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Thank you for your answers, MikeThey are really helpful!

8 hours ago, Mike M said:

p103 - deals with melee fights (not firearms) - in melee, firing a gun is problematic (you are unable to take aim and shoot wildly while defending against the opponent's assault against you - because use of a firearm in melee is likely to miss, hit your opponent, or hit yourself - in equal measure).

If engaged in melee, a firearm is more useful as a cudgel/club to fend off/knock back the attacker, get some space (move away), and then fire on a later round.

You may fire (and/or be shot at) before entering melee (on your action) - you may gain Point-Blank bonus (see below) in doing so, but once you have engaged in melee, your firearm is far more useful as a lump of heavy metal (you cannot fire it as a 'Fight Back' reaction). You might (if the Keeper allows) disengage from melee (Dodge roll and move back), allowing you to shoot on the next round on your action (this would presume a wild shot with no aiming, imposing a penalty die).

So if use a firearm and a creature attacks you in melee, you get a penalty dice on your turn for Firing into melee combat?

That would clear things up - the description of the rule on page 116 makes it sound like you only get the penalty if you shot at a target engaged in melee with a friendly.

And wouldn't the Point-Blank Bonus offsets the disadvantage of firing into melee, too? Or do you not get that bonus dice when firing into melee?

8 hours ago, Mike M said:

Half Damage Bonus - halve the roll (1D4 becomes 1D2, 1D6 becomes 1D3). In CoC, you always round down. For negative DB, -1 becomes 0 (there are no fractions) - or just keep it the same (it makes little difference).

I have a similar question regarding the Pipe Bomb.

The Pipe Bomb does 1d10 damage within 3 yards, half that damage within 6 yards, and a quarter of that within 9 yards.

Does this mean the Pipe Bomb does 1d5 within 6 yards and 1d2 within 9 yards? Or do I roll the dice and divide the damage manually?

EDIT: I also found this Q&A with you for more details!

Edited by Merudo

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5 hours ago, Merudo said:

So if use a firearm and a creature attacks you in melee, you get a penalty dice on your turn for Firing into melee combat?

That would clear things up - the description of the rule on page 116 makes it sound like you only get the penalty if you shot at a target engaged in melee with a friendly.

And wouldn't the Point-Blank Bonus offsets the disadvantage of firing into melee, too? Or do you not get that bonus dice when firing into melee?

I have a similar question regarding the Pipe Bomb.

The Pipe Bomb does 1d10 damage within 3 yards, half that damage within 6 yards, and a quarter of that within 9 yards.

Does this mean the Pipe Bomb does 1d5 within 6 yards and 1d2 within 9 yards? Or do I roll the dice and divide the damage manually?
 

Ok - yes apply the penalty for firing in melee (the rule assumes you are outside of the melee, but when in melee yourself, firing a gun is going to be with at least one penalty - try aiming while moving and weaving to stop being hit by your attacker). Again, context is king - are you firing as you enter melee (i.e. you haven't entered melee until the monster attacks you), or has the monster attacked you and you are then firing on your turn (definite penalty die if the Keeper even allows you to fire).

Bonus and Penalty dice always cancel each other out. 

Pipe bomb - roll 1D10 damage, then apply modifier - thus if 6 rolled, half is 3 damage, quarter is 1.5 (rounded down to 1). If you want to modify the dice roll (1d10 / 1D5 / 1D2) that's ok too, but I find it quicker to roll the die and then divide the number.

 

Edited by Mike M
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On 6/26/2019 at 12:20 PM, Mike M said:

Ok - yes apply the penalty for firing in melee (the rule assumes you are outside of the melee, but when in melee yourself, firing a gun is going to be with at least one penalty - try aiming while moving and weaving to stop being hit by your attacker). Again, context is king - are you firing as you enter melee (i.e. you haven't entered melee until the monster attacks you), or has the monster attacked you and you are then firing on your turn (definite penalty die if the Keeper even allows you to fire).

 

Mike, when you are giving your thoughts on the rules, are you sharing your own house rules? Or are you an official authority on the matter?

I've noticed some of what you said here and on Reddit goes against what is written in the rulebook. For example, you said that a lone gunman firing at a monster that's been attacking them should take a penalty die for "firing into melee". This however goes against example on page 115 of the Keeper's Guide, in which Harvey shoots a dog-like monster without taking a penalty dice for firing into melee, even though the monster previously attacked him with its clawed forelimbs.

Does this mean the Keeper's Guide is incorrect and in need of an errata? Or are you advocating for house rules different from the official Call of Cthulhu rules?
 

Edited by Merudo

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Err Mike M is the Chaosium Line Editor for Call of Cthulhu and can be considered the official authority. Examples are only that and cannot be expected to cover every situation that might arise and the Keeper is the only arbiter that matters in his or her game.

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I think it is important to always emphasize for role-playing game players that rules are guidelines. They are not definitive solutions to every problem that arises. I'm concerned that rules-heavy games have trained role-players to believe that any situation can/should be arbitrated by unequivocal rules.

I promise anyone that your games will be better if you focus on the fun and the story-telling. 

Edited by klecser

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1 hour ago, klecser said:

I think it is important to always emphasize for role-playing game players that rules are guidelines. They are not definitive solutions to every problem that arises. I'm concerned that rules-heavy games have trained role-players to believe that any situation can/should be arbitrated by unequivocal rules.

We are not talking about an unusual or rare scenario here: an investigator equipped with a firearm is attacked by a monster. This happens all the time in Call of Cthulhu.

The fact that the rules are unclear about whether or not the investigator should get a penalty die is disappointing.

1 hour ago, klecser said:

I promise anyone that your games will be better if you focus on the fun and the story-telling. 

To paraphrase Sid Meier, “a good game is a series of interesting decisions”. When there is ambiguity or uncertainty regarding the rules, the results of decisions become more arbitrary (GM fiat) and thus less interesting. Hence, easily remembered, explicit rules are more fun than ambiguous or not defined rules.

Edited by Merudo

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8 minutes ago, Merudo said:

To paraphrase Sid Meier, “a good game is a series of interesting decisions”. When there is ambiguity or uncertainty regarding the rules, the results of decisions become more arbitrary (GM fiat) and thus less interesting. Hence, easily remembered, explicit rules are more fun than ambiguous or not defined rules.

That's your opinion. And that's fine. Not everyone feels that way though. I find open-to-interpretation to be more fun. I find mechanics get in the way of my enjoyment. At the end of the day, game designers cannot be expected to "officially rule" in a way that fits all perspectives. Don't like Mike's response? Rule it the way you want it. 

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Context is king.

Firing into Melee Combat rule page 113. A penalty die is imposed.

In the example on p115, Harvey shooting at a monster approaching him and hits. The monster attacks him on its turn, with Harvey Dodging. Harvey is forced to enter melee as the monster attacks him - on his turn he fires the gun again - but takes a penalty for multiple shots which is negated for point-blank range (he kills the monster, so he doesn't have to react to a second attack, which probably would have forced him to Dodge again or try to bash the monster with the lump of metal in his hand).  

Firing into melee - means you are shooting at at least two people/things already in combat against one another - your shot could hit a friendly, but it reasonable to assume a Keeper may use this rule for a person in melee who wishes to fire on their turn in the round - the rules are designed to be applied at the judgment of the Keeper. Some may wish to read the firing into melee as only being applicable when you are outside melee and firing into a melee nearby, others may broaden the interpretation. That's why context is king - apply the rule as you see fit in the context of the reality of the scene at your gaming table. 

In the example in the post above, the context of the situation seemed to me to warrant use of the firing into melee rule, which is negated by the point-blank range. Thus, no penalty or bonus die is actually applied. It's a judgement call here - on another day I might have said no penalty, but it was probably early in the morning when I answered.... 

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