Home Forums General Game Design Physical Characteristics Influencing Skill With Missile Weapons

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  • #55121
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Is there any evidence of particular physical characteristics that influence the accuracy and effectiveness of missile weapons – everything from javelins to bows to crossbows to muskets to modern weapons.

    Or to put it another way, if you were designing an RPG, which statistics would you have which would influence the accuracy and/or damage caused by a given type of missile weapon system?

    Or would you put accuracy, in particular, down to practice for that discrete skill alone?

     

    I’m not sure this is a very brilliantly worded question, but hopefully everyone gets the idea!

     

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #55125
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    No idea. But I do wonder about eyesight.  Assuming the same number of people now with bad eyes was the same back then, and given that glasses were not that common back then..

    Was a good percentage of the population just bad at shooting  due to poor vision. Something less of a problem today?

    If I were born 100 years ago my eyesight problems would have made me a crap awful shot.

    #55130
    Steve Johnson
    Participant

    Speaking in terms of field archery, it comes down to some inate skill but mainly loads of practise. You need to be able to judge distance, speed of target, wind direction etc to get the offset right to hit the target.

    #55131
    PatG
    Participant

    Based on what I have dealt with ranging from a light bow to an 81mm mortar.
    Strength to lift the damn thing and hold it steady – a Carl Gustav will wobble like crazy and no-one can hold a drawn bow of any weight for very long. Dexterity for the fine motor control for loading and aiming – It’s easy to screw up the loading sequence of a flintlock if you have fat fingers or slash your finger open on the flint. Multi-tasking ability so Int and Dex I guess – I once “fired” a Blowpipe trainer. You have to keep the target in the sight picture which means following it roughly with the launcher assembly perched on your shoulder while guiding the missile with a bitty little joystick under one thumb. Mortars are easy and are mostly Int and Wis – they are a bitch to carry of course but once you do the brain work to get them set up, dropping bombs is easy and is more Con than Str. Now I did most of my “modern” weapons training back in the ’80s there’s a lot more fire and forget now.

    Really though, a lot of it is training and experience. I am an average sized guy but I liked the Carl Gustav because it was fun to fire and if you knew how to carry it right it wasn’t that heavy. Same for shooting – you need strength to hold the weapon of course but most of it is learning how to breath, get a proper sight picture etc. Maybe not a hundred years ago but certainly 200 I wouldn’t be able to afford the books or spend the time reading which trashed my eyesight.

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by PatG.
    #55140
    Patrice
    Participant

    Interesting question, as you mention RPG; or a mix of RPG and skirmish game, which I’m very interested in.

    I would say that accuracy for throwing a javelin/or shooting a bow or a crossbow/or firing a gun, have much in common. It needs self-control etc.

    Of course, some weapons need much more training than others (bows need body training since childhood, crossbows and guns do not) but self-control is needed anyway.

    And it also needs regular training. Many years ago I attended regular (French) Army training and I found that I was quite good to fire a rifle at a target… But some years later when I was summoned again I was surprised to be VERY bad – till I quickly understood it all again …I then understood that I had been too confident because in my medieval re-enactor life I was so happy with javelins and bows etc 

     

    http://www.argad-bzh.fr/argad/en.html
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    #55143
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    EDIT: I rolled a critical failure on an INT/WIS test, apparently  

    Posted a lot of self-important waffle in response to a question no one asked. Removing it now.

     

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by Rhoderic.
    #55149
    MartinR
    Participant

    In an RPG, people like to see things like strength affecting melee attacks, dexterity affecting ranged attacks etc otherwise what is the point of rolling up those characteristics?

    However I’ll it is practice, practice and more practice which makes the biggest difference. So I found Travellers approach of rating skill for each weapon a refreshing new take on it. Really, skill should be rating for each specific weapon. I can make a reasonable go of loading, aiming and firing a No. 4, K98, G3 or an SLR , but I still get the safely catch positions mixed up on an L85. I wouldn’t know where to start with a GPMG, and the M4 and M16 are a mystery, although I sort of know my way around an M14.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #55152
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I realise now I had completely misunderstood the question. I took it to be about physical characteristics of the weapon, not the user. Terribly sorry 

    #55171
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    All very interesting, and quite a degree of unanimity.

    Of course, some weapons need much more training than others (bows need body training since childhood, crossbows and guns do not) but self-control is needed anyway.

    In this case (I genuinely have no idea) is the training required specific to the bow or more a form of strength training?

    Really, skill should be rating for each specific weapon. I can make a reasonable go of loading, aiming and firing a No. 4, K98, G3 or an SLR , but I still get the safely catch positions mixed up on an L85. I wouldn’t know where to start with a GPMG, and the M4 and M16 are a mystery, although I sort of know my way around an M14.

    In this case though, it isn’t so much the shooting accuracy as the general adroitness in weapon handling surely (less likely to mess up magazine changes, stoppage drills, sights, ND (gulp!))?  Not that weapon handling isn’t very important of course.

     

     

     

     

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

    #55175
    John D Salt
    Participant

    MartinR wrote:

    I wouldn’t know where to start with a GPMG

    That’s easy — carry this 800 rounds 4B1T disintegrating link, and this spare parts wallet. You can be my number 2. Remember to clip more belt on to the belt before it all vanishes into the gun, and follow me everywhere. Simple!

    It seems to me that most weapons are designed so that most people can use them, for reasonably obvious reasons. Some weapons cannot be fired left-handed (as I had cause to ponder when some idiot issued me with an L4 LMG and a left-handed respirator). Other than left-handedness, the only physical characterisitic that seems to matter to me is strength, whicch is, of course, trainable, which is why we spent all that time with SLRs doing pokey drill — smething like Indian club exercises, but using the rifle. With modern weapons, recoil will be a limiting factor with some users; I am sure everyone has seen the YouTube slo-mo of a pistol shooter losing control of a .600 Nitro handgun to the extent of it flying out of his hands and whopping him on the bonce, which I think is physics’ way of telling you that .600 Nitro is not really a pistol round. The adoption of the M-16 by the US military was due, in part, to its popularity with the South Vietnamese, who often did not have the physical bulk necessary to handle 7.62mm NATO recoil confidently. Similarly, the JASDF’s Type 64 assault rifle fires a reduced-charge version of the NATO 7.62mm round.

    I am sure some RPG has already used the idea, but it seems to me that a weapons handling skill tree of some kind would be one way of tackling this. Some skills would not be obtainable until lower-order skills had been trained, and some specific-to-weapon skills would be less useful than they should be if someone had not got a really good grip of the fundamentals — you can teach Private Sniffkins how to hold the weapon and align the sights on all sorts of weapons, but until he controls his breathing better and stops snatching the trigger he is just going to be a poor shot with lots of different guns. At the very basic level, it seems to me that using a weapon accurately might depend to a greater or lesser extend on accurate throwing, pointing, aiming, deflection, or range estimation. I can imagine someone having excellent aiming and range estimation skills, and so making a good mortarman, but being hopeless at the pointing and judgement of deflection required to take a bird out of the air with a shotgun. I expect that each of these skills would also be differently resistant to stress — accurate aiming is a fine motor skill that washes away with adrenaline, whereas throwing a hand-grenade calls upon a primitive monkey-brain stress response, and is probably unharmed.

    Of course sometimes it is the weapon that induces physical qualities in the user — recall the skeletons of the archers in the wreck of the Mary Rose being identified by the skeletal distortions produced by longbow training. And of course there are such jolly afflictions as gun-deafness, M-1 thumb, and, worse yet, Rarden thumb.

    All the best,

    John.

    #55201
    Les Hammond
    Participant

    …I do wonder about eyesight. Assuming the same number of people now with bad eyes was the same back then, and given that glasses were not that common back then..

    Was a good percentage of the population just bad at shooting due to poor vision. Something less of a problem today?

    If I were born 100 years ago my eyesight problems would have made me a crap awful shot.

    This is the first time anyone’s ever mentioned eyesight as a factor in shooting. I wonder why it’s never been included in the RPG hit adjustment charts over the last 40 or so decades? :/

    6mm France 1940

    http://les1940.blogspot.co.uk/
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    #55202
    MartinR
    Participant

    Perhaps because most RPGs are played by fifteen year old without eyesight problems? Or maybe it is factored into dexterity/perception?

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #55276
    Whirlwind
    Participant

    Thanks for all of these very interesting responses, they have been very helpful.

    https://hereticalgaming.blogspot.co.uk/

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