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Thread: Re:- Guns

  1. #1
    Jim Paterson

    Re:- Guns

    The Birthright world is set in the early renaissance AFAIK.

    During this period they were starting to use matchlock pistols and guns.
    Flintlocks were around in the same era but were not considered reliable enough
    to replace the trusty matchlocks. The matchlock was used for about 150 years.
    It replaced the crossbow as a means of defeating armour, the bow & longbow were
    still used throughout the era as the principal missile weapon.

    The matchlocks were used onmass at short range to defeat armour and as an
    emergency weapon employed by a noble, in pistol form, to protect themselves.

    The accuracy of these weapons was not good, the bloke needed to be standing next to
    you for you to have any chance of hitting him. The concept of "aiming" the gun
    did not appear until the advent of the rifled musket some 350 years after the first
    matchlocks appeared. Their was no "Aim" command for guns until the rifled musket.

    The flintlock & flintlock muskets continued to be used with various improvements
    until the rifled musket took over in the early industrial age.

    The matchlocks were not missiles weapons in as much as they were used only in
    melee when the enemy got within sword or pike distance, and the enemy had armour
    or skill that presented a problem to the person with the gun. While the enemy
    was taking a back swing with his sword, you would place the gun level with the
    centre of his chest and pull the trigger (yes matchlocks of the early and late
    renaissance had triggers) The fight would then be over, and if your gun hadn't
    misfired you'd won!

    During the Late Renaissance and the Age of Reason flintlocks took over from
    matchlocks, although matchlocks were still used by anyone who had one, right up
    until the Russians rolled into Afghanistan in 81'. Flintlocks had the advantage
    that they were a bit more robust, could be used in poor weather and required less
    preparation work to get them ready for action. But they were still only good for
    hitting the side of a barn at any range greater than 20'. Cannons were used
    almost exclusively as siege weapons. They were far to vulnerable on a battlefield.

    Age of Reason flintlocks and muskets ended the need for armour. Cheap production
    and better metals meant the bow was also put into the weapons evolutionary trash can.
    Flintlocks were however still a melee weapon, not a true missile weapon, they were
    used in much the same way as the Romans used their pillums, from massed well
    formed ranks directly before contact with the enemy, followed up by closing with the
    enemy for melee, this caused the enemy in most cases to flee. It is from this era that
    comes the saying "Don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes."

    Muskets of the Napoleonic era fall into the category of an almost missile weapon.
    The commands for use of these weapons was "Present, Ready, Discharge" no "aim"
    command. You were required to point the musket at a mass of enemy and fire, the
    concept of aiming at individuals did not arrive until the rifled musket. The muskets of
    Napoleon's time were effective out to about 80' if used in a mass formation and fired at
    a mass formation. This requirement for the use of mass formations also gave a second
    life to cannons and field artillery, as they now had targets big enough to shot at and hit
    and cause some grief too.

    Rifled Muskets of the Civil War and latter were a new bread of weapon, a replacement
    for the bow, to be used for killing at a good distance. The term "Aim" or pick out a
    poor dumb arse sucker on the other side and kill him, came into use with these weapons.
    With the improvement in accuracy came a demand for a better rate of fire and so the brass
    cartridge came into being along with the replacement of black powder as the principal

    The next big evolution in guns was the Mauser bolt action rifle, first used by the
    Spanish in the Mexican American war. This gun formed the basic design for all bold action
    rifles until the present day.

    So if you want to use black powder guns in your BR campaign I'd say only Matchlocks
    would be appropriate. These are a melee weapon only and should have a range of 10'
    for pistols and 20' for two handed guns. They should disregard armour, in fact armour
    should make it easier to hit a slower target. And should do enough damage to kill
    or wound the average man. If you want to use cannons or bombards (mortars) then
    these should be used as siege weapons. The concept of hitting a wizard with is a renaissance
    era cannon, as put forward by a listmember, is unlikely at best. Cannons could hit
    castles or towns, anything smaller was pretty safe.

    Hope this helps.

    BTW. We have guns in my BR campaign. They are good sentry weapons, use them
    once then drop them and draw your sword.

    Cheers; Jim Paterson

  2. #2
    Pieter A de Jong

    Re:- Guns

    I earlier posted that wizards would be more cost effective than units of
    Cannons. To back up this comment, I present the following bit of math.
    1 Unit = 200 Men
    Crew for 1 medium Cannon = 4 Men (from Combat and Tactics)
    Therefore = 1 Unit can crew up to 50 Cannons.
    To be conservative, assume only 25 Cannons
    1 Medium Cannon costs 15000 gp (From Combat and Tactics)
    25 Cannons * 15000 GP/Cannnon = 375000 GP
    375000 GP * 1/2000 GB/GP = 187.5 GB
    Note, that this calculation does not include crew, shot, powder, and
    transportation ( It was common to use 4 trained artillery horses to tow one
    cannon on a trunion), etc. It also does not include any research and
    developement costs. IMC you could buy out half the college of sorcery for
    that kind of money, never mind highering yourself a wizard or three!
    Therefore, if you included magic in your campaign, I suspect that gunpowder
    will not prove cost effective, especially as some mage will develop as spell
    designed to detonate gunpowder from a distance beyond line of sight.

    Pieter A de Jong
    Graduate Mechanical Engineering Student
    University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

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