Daquack
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Joined: Mon 22 Feb 2021, 08:22

Firearm familiarity question

Tue 23 Feb 2021, 07:05

Just a thought and maybe covered elsewhere. The way I read it the ranged combat skill basically lets you pick up any basic pistol or long arm and start using it. So the American soldier finds an ak and can use it just as well as his m16.
I’m wondering if switching firearms would require familiarizing yourself with the weapon before using it to its fullest. Such as a -1 with the weapon until you’ve taken the time to get used to it. Which could be done by taking to zero it in or after firing on though few dozen rounds

Most solders are not cross trained with opponents or even allied units weapons. And I know from personal experience picking up a new rifle impacts my ability to put rounds on target till I get used to it.

Nothing too complicated. But something to penalize a player for looting a random firearm from a opponent and using it fully. I’m not sure if this is too annoying to deal with or not but something I was thinking about.
 
paladin2019
Posts: 106
Joined: Mon 07 Dec 2020, 09:16

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Tue 23 Feb 2021, 17:20

1) I don't think the system is granular enough to support this
2) It's never been a consideration in previous versions of the game or even in games with far more granularity and similar goals for verisimilitude
3) The characters have been at war for 3 years already. They are familiar with multiple weapon systems.
 
Daquack
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Joined: Mon 22 Feb 2021, 08:22

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Tue 23 Feb 2021, 17:58

Fair reply. Although I’d argue they had been at war for three years it sounds like the final supply chains and command structure just collapsed at the beginning of the campaign. So I’m not sure if they would have actually used other weapons that much yet or stuck with their reapply chains.
And I have played and run rpgs that did have weapon specializations such as shadow run
War hammer 40k dark heresy DND modern some of the rules had weapon spec. So it does exist in different forms in other games.

Even old twlight 2k if I remember correctly had separate skills for pistols rifles auto fire weapons etc

Here it seems one skill for every weapon except heavy.

It just came up in our play test when a player saw a Russian light machine gun that was jammed and said can I pick it up I in jam and use it. The quick ruling was yes with a quick tech roll based on my understanding of the rules. But we several retired military and police in our group and it was something to consider. They like to correct me all the time in my gun scenes in other games because I never served so I don’t know real tactics etc.
 
welsh
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Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Tue 23 Feb 2021, 20:54

After three years you can absolutely expect everyone is familiar with opposing small arms. Not because supply chains have collapsed and they have to adopt enemy weapons but because they have captured and handled those weapons and they know how they work.

In reality most small arms are quite similar. You might be slower reloading because the mag release is in an unfamiliar place, or whatever, but you should be able to shoot just as accurately for game purposes -- the target you're aiming for is not small. The one situation where familiarity really counts is if you have to worry about stoppages and failures.
 
omnipus
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Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Wed 24 Feb 2021, 04:45

I think this is an excellent idea, with the drawback that it requires a fair amount of tedious recordkeeping.

If I was going to houserule it, I would just say... take a -1 if it's your first time ever handling this type of weapon ("type" is a loose term and you need to know your stuff to apply it. Every model of AK is functionally identical. But a FAMAS is a very different animal), if you don't know how it's sighted in, etc. After a combat or two, that effect goes away.

welsh is right that the real complication is in "do you know the manual of arms for this gun?" Can you keep it clean? Did you even know there's a spare parts kit hidden in the stock? Have you figured out the way to reload it quickly under pressure? (that would be another lightweight one to house rule... -1 penalty to getting reloads as a fast action vs slow). The rest of it starts to add more complexity that may or may not be worth it.
 
Packratt66
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Joined: Fri 22 Jan 2021, 09:10

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Thu 25 Feb 2021, 11:01

Having served, myself, I am ok with the rules as written for the character’s own country’s weapons. However, I do like a minor penalty like the -1 for a weapon from another country unless there was a LOT of familiarity training. That having been said, AK-based platforms might be the exception to the rule (one caveat might be someone not familiar with the AK trying to insert a mag, especially if they are used to the US M-16, as one has to rock the mag into place on the AK instead of just slapping it in...)They are so ubiquitous AND they are built to be extremely robust and easy to operate... if an 8 year old can handle one, I’d generally rule that a basic PC shouldn’t have much problems. The M-16/M-4 platform is easy enough to shoot, but maintaining one is a different matter. The HKs from Germany are, as far as I’ve seen, are similarly easy enough to fire but PM is more involved. And I’ve lost track with what the Brits are doing...

So all in all, if I were to make a rule regarding this, I would be inclined to have a -1 as the OP mentioned, until they have either shot a couple of mags through it or until they can take the time to familiarize themselves with it. I would probably then remove the negative firing penalty but depending on then platform differences, I might track the maintenance on the weapon. If not maintained correctly, I would rule that malfunctions and breakages would become more frequent. This game, in its alpha iteration may not be granular enough to be concerned with this, however, it’s the end of the world and things are tough.
 
welsh
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Thu 25 Feb 2021, 16:59

From my own experience, I would not impose a -1 to hit. I've seen people with zero experience with a particular weapon show unimpaired accuracy on the range. Marksmanship doesn't change.

But there should in principle be a penalty for an unfamiliar weapon. Reloading actions should always be slow actions, IMO. And when it comes to mishaps/stoppages, a negative DM ought to apply.

In practice, though, this gets a bit difficult to apply as a universal rule. When you look at handguns, very little changes between one modern pistol and the next. After three years, everyone has handled the most common assault rifles on the battlefield, and they all work on very similar principles. But it gets more complicated when we get to machine guns. And although it may seem odd from the perspective of people with lots of firearm experience, a character whose experience is limited to standard infantry weapons -- assault rifle, machine gun -- may be utterly lost at first in terms of "how do you load this thing" if you hand him a pump or break shotgun. Conversely, a civilian hunter who has only handled traditional hunting firearms -- the break shotgun, the bolt action rifle -- is going to be utterly lost on a machine gun.

So I think this is a situation where GM judgment applies & a universal DM is not the best approach, though this will depend on the group.
 
omnipus
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Joined: Mon 22 Jun 2020, 20:58

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Fri 26 Feb 2021, 01:32

I think you could argue it however you want. I guess it may be more of a personal ergonomics issue, than a familiarity one, but there are meaningful differences in how different weapons are meant to be handled, how the sights work, etc. Personal example that comes to mind is that I simply can't shoot Glocks. I've put probably 200 rounds through a couple different models of them and I just don't "get" it. The hand angle and the sights just don't work for me. Put down the Glock and pick up a CZ or a Sig and it's a huge improvement. Some people love peep sights. Some people hate them. Probably all of these things are just some degree of "get used to it." In the real world, "get used to it" typically comes at the expense of losing competency elsewhere. If I put in the time to get good with a Glock, I bet I'd start to shoot a Sig like garbage. All of that is more detail than I really want in a tabletop game, so I say do the simplest approximation that attacks the core idea.
 
Daquack
Topic Author
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Joined: Mon 22 Feb 2021, 08:22

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Fri 26 Feb 2021, 05:18

I think the solution I like is two part. To gain familiarity you need study it for a long action of an hour or two where you basically either field strip and reassemble or otherwise handle it to figure out how to clean unjam maintain etc. requires a successful tech role. Maybe at -1 if a really complex or ultra rare experimental weapon. Or +1 if someone who is proficient shows you or you have a field manual in a language you understand.

you also need to fire it either at a range or in combat and get 4 or six successes over multiple shots at the -1 penalty. This would represent zeroing it in. But can be done in combat


Seems fairly simple but gives some differentiation to different fire arms.
 
welsh
Posts: 155
Joined: Sun 29 Nov 2020, 15:53

Re: Firearm familiarity question

Fri 26 Feb 2021, 16:27

The hand angle and the sights just don't work for me. Put down the Glock and pick up a CZ or a Sig and it's a huge improvement.

When I said handguns are essentially the same I meant with respect to their function, i.e. safety, mag release etc. are generally laid out similarly according to a small number of patterns, But since you have a single point of contact then the grip will make a big difference. You'd think I'd be more sympathetic to this idea because these days I'm almost exclusively a wingshooter & in the shotgun world, gun fit is all important. I also use both single selective and double trigger guns, and switching can be a comedy of errors, I assure you.

But I'm just not sure this kind of thing is worth worrying about in game terms, because the primary military small arm is the assault rifle and if you can hit with one, you'll hit with another. Long ago in my misbegotten youth I went through the Canadian army's conversion from the FN/Sterling/Browning MG to the M16/M249/MAG 58, and although of course we went through conversion training, hitting the target wasn't a big concern. Adjusting from an antediluvian machine gun to a modern one in terms of maintenance, stoppages, etc. certainly was.

To gain familiarity you need study it for a long action of an hour or two where you basically either field strip and reassemble or otherwise handle it to figure out how to clean unjam maintain etc. requires a successful tech role.

I think this is on the right track, but I don't think it should require a skill roll. Spending a shift messing around with the unfamiliar weapon should be sufficient with modern small arms.

you also need to fire it either at a range or in combat and get 4 or six successes over multiple shots at the -1 penalty. This would represent zeroing it in.

The game really doesn't care about zeroing, but there's a misconception here: all zeroing is doing is aligning the bore with the sights, so for most purposes if a rifle is zeroed for me then it's zeroed for you. If we really want to get into zeroing then we have to periodically zero our rifle and we need to worry about the rifle losing its zero. Do we need to roll at the outset of combat to see if your weapon has kept its zero? And the really bad news is, you're gonna need to find yourself a boresighting tool for the main gun on your tank, and periodically zero that, too.

To me, this just isn't worth getting into, because this is an RPG, not a simulator. Having the PC jump behind that NSV only to have it jam when he has no idea how to clear it is RPG fun; keeping track of which specific guns he has a -1 DM to hit on and how many hits he needs to achieve to overcome that limitation is IMO just too much trouble. YMMV of course.

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