Modified firearm ranges

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Grazillx
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Modified firearm ranges

#1 Postby Grazillx » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:01 am

I'm running a near future desert game where characters can see and engage targets at long ranges. We don't use miniatures or game mats, so the core "inch" metric doesn't work well. We tried the "2 yards" conversion, but 48/96/192 yard ranges were a little clunky. We rounded up to 50/100/200 yards, but my players wanted to shoot at targets 300, 400 yards and more. Of course they throw the "what's my penalty?" question at me like I'm a human calculator. Even for my self I needed something quicker. I came up with a super easy for me to figure out penalties as any range.

My modified range alternative for this game uses a single number which is the target range divisible and round down to whole numbers. Here are some examples:

Pistol: 20 yards
SMG: 30 yards
Assault Rifle: 40 yards
Sniper Rifle: 50 yards

In the game, when I say the target is 250 yards away anyone using an assault rifle is -6 shooting, sniper rifle is -5.

I also converted the +2 scope bonus to +10 yards.

An assault rifle with scope (range 50) at 250 yards is -5.

A sniper rifle with scope (range 60) at 500 yards is -8.

I had my extras with SMG's moving across open spaces waiting to get to their shooting ranges, while the wild cards picked them all off with rifles and scopes. Remember it's open desert with no cover. There's not good reason why the SMG shooting extras wouldn't shoot at the wild cards just because they are outside of the established range for that weapon. Yeah an SMG shooter is -10 at 300 yards, but there's still a chance, and it's easy for me to calculate. Beside I've found that my players seem to be more aware of ranges now, knowing that they could be facing -8 or more shooting penalties.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:13 am

I'm amused that you've effectively reinvented the Classic Deadlands weapon range penalties. :lol:
It works, pretty well, though you'll want to extend those longarm ranges a bit (I'd put the assault rifle at 50 yards and sniper rifles at 70 yards).

Alternately, look at the ratios of the weapons to the play area (Range: Short / Medium / Long)
Pistol - eight the table / quarter the table / half the table.
Rifle - quarter the table / half the table / all of the table.
Big sniper rifle - more than half the table / more than all of the table / plus the next table.

So, pistols are for "close" targets, rifles are for all targets (though "far" targets are at penalties), and long range weapons (like the Barret .50) are for targets that are barely in view.


Background:
Having qualified at a U.S.MC. rifle range, my rifle firing started at 200 yards, then 300, and finally 500 yards in recruit training and 200/300/500 meters in the Fleet.
If you missed more than 25% of your shots then you didn't qualify and had to do it over and over again until you got that good.

I'm generally opposed to game rules that imply that I don't exist, because what I've done is "impossible". :roll: D20 Modern had this problem, with their 70' ranges for the M-16A2 (max range 700', or 233 yards).
I had a similar problem with Savage Worlds at first (long range stops at 192 yards; even the closest shots are beyond the listed range). Then I came across something where one of the designers commented about how the ranges were adjusted to fit standard table-top wargaming measurements, much like 40K weapon ranges. At which point I decided that the ranges were guidelines, to use and modify as I deem appropriate.

For the M-16 at a rifle range? Short range is now 220 yards, Medium is 440 yards, Long is 880 yards. Which matches the actual effective ranges pretty well (550 meters against a point target, 800 meters against an area target), and my own experiences firing the weapon. For table-top minis combat, the standard ranges work pretty darn well.
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#3 Postby galu » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:35 am

What about using abstract ranges?

up close / across a room / across a yard / across a football stadium ?

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dentris
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#4 Postby dentris » Tue Dec 06, 2016 11:25 am

You also have to remember that the range penalty in the Core Rules are for combat situations. It's effectively impossible to hit anything beyond long range when you and the enemy is moving around trying not to get hit. No matter how good you are, a kill half a kilometer away will not happen. Too many variables you have to take into account.

However, if you are a trained sniper, got all the equipment, plenty of time (more than a few minutes) and preferably a spotter to calculate the atmospheric pressure, wind speed, etc, then yes, you have a chance to hit bullseye 2 kilometers away...if the target is staionary.

That sounds like an extended action, not a combat roll.
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#5 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Dec 06, 2016 1:22 pm

dentris, you should talk to more trained snipers. 8)
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#6 Postby Grazillx » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:28 pm

I gave up on realistic a long time ago, just looking for something adjustable and easy to remember. :wink:

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#7 Postby ValhallaGH » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:42 pm

I just declare encounter ranges at the start of the fight, at the same scale as the weapons.

"You see some hostiles. They're 90 inches away. Action Cards!"
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dentris
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#8 Postby dentris » Tue Dec 06, 2016 9:01 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:dentris, you should talk to more trained snipers. 8)


I might be wrong, since I'm not an expert. However, I will not learn anything new and the conversation is useless if you don't tell me where I'm wrong. This is genuine interest by the way. The only thing I love more than being right is being proven wrong then taught new things along the way.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#9 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Dec 07, 2016 1:40 am

I am not a trained sniper, but what I gained from my conversations with them was:
1) The fundamentals of long range shooting are the same regardless of firearm. Some weapons are better suited to it (narrower shot cones, tighter groupings, more predictable performance in difficult conditions, etc.) but the techniques are the same if you're using a SMG or a dedicated sniper rifle.
2) 500 yard set up is about ten seconds. After that, targets can be engaged accurately within seconds (usually three).
3) Targets beyond 800 yards usually need a couple of minutes of set up. The extra range, and associated problems, reduces margins for error to the point that you can't afford operator errors - mother nature is using up all your margin.
4) It's perfectly reasonable to engage a group of targets in roughly the same area. Spotter acquires, shooter engages, and you drop one target every five to ten seconds until all targets are down.
5) They do minimal calculation in the field. That's what the reference charts and the customized tables are for - do all the math when you have time, a wind break, and a good night's sleep behind you.
6) Relocate between shots. If you stay put then your foes will figure out where all this death is coming from and attack it (often with a mortar strike). The only reason not to relocate is that something else is distracting them far more (like an infantry assault by the rest of your platoon).
*) Spotters can get more kills than their shooters, but they aren't confirmed because the only living witness is busy lining up on a target. :lol:

Getting a good sniper team into a prepared position can take a few minutes, not something you want to have to do in combat rounds. Having them engage targets can take mere seconds, definitely doable in combat rounds.

I should also mention that the record for longest sniper shot (from 1967 until 2002) was held by my favorite machine gun. :50cal:
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dentris
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#10 Postby dentris » Wed Dec 07, 2016 8:20 am

Ok, I understand it better now. Since it does require special training and calculations, what about a Professional Edge.

Sniper
Requirements: Novice, Notice d8+, Shooting d8+, Vigor d6+, Smarts d6+, Spirit d8+

With enough time, you can set up a rifle to extend it's range dramatically as long as you stay immobile and under no immediate danger. With two full rounds of preparation, you can double the range of your weapon. With 1 minute of preparation, you can multiple it by 5 and with 10 minutes of preparations, by 10. While you snipe, you may only shoot at targets in long-range, however. ***MAybe add something about spotters. Either requiring one or giving bonuses if you have one.


And I always liked the story of one of the earliest sniper kills. Major General John Sedgwick was killed in 1864 by an unknown sniper (many claimed the kill, but none was confirmed). The latter missed his first shot, scattering the officers around Sedgwick, who said «Why are you dodging like this? They couldn't hit an elephant at this distance» and then was killed seconds afterward by another shot.
But the Voice consoles me and it says: "Keep your dreams;

Wise men do not have such beautiful ones as fools!"

--Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal, 1857, Translated by William Aggeler, 1954

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#11 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Dec 07, 2016 9:26 am

Maybe.
I'm a fan of "Sniper Training: see Marksman". Combined with the Extreme Range rules in the SFC and the SPC, my basic sniping requirements are filled.*
Leaving room for edges that showcase the rest of military sniper training (Assassin, either Woodsman or Thief, possibly Steady Hands, and the edge for dealing with sleep deprivation ... if the setting has one).

*Extreme range quadruples the Long range, but is at a -8 to hit, and requires aiming just to attempt.
This leads to a lot of bonus stacking / penalty mitigation by players. So, they put in the work to get The Drop, make sure to use a scope, will often be using a (Improved) Trademark Weapon, and will seek out any "reduce Shooting penalty" options the setting has. If the GM is using the perfectly reasonable "spotter = Cooperative Roll" then they'll drag a spotter along (if available). One new rule, interacting with existing rules, that causes PC behavior to mimic real behaviors.
Last edited by ValhallaGH on Wed Dec 07, 2016 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#12 Postby Alrik_vas » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:28 am

ValhallaGH wrote:A lot of stuff that makes sense

And stuff I do already, surprisingly. I might not have a full handle on the little tib-bits of this game, shooting is something I pay attention to. The bits and pieces are all there to make an excellent long range shooter.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#13 Postby Mendicant » Wed Dec 07, 2016 11:51 am

The rules for Ranges in the equipment section actually kind of touch on this. The ranges are for table top purposes, but you can multiply the range increments by 2.5x to get rough "real world" measurements for the range. For example, the M16 now has a range (in feet) of 360 / 720 / 1,440 (60 / 120 / 240 "inches").

It is a bit odd to have 2 different sets of ranges depending on if you're doing table top or not (especially when you start applying penalties, such that being in one mode or the other means you take a penalty or not), but SW is a game of abstractions, so eh.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#14 Postby DoctorBoson » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:21 pm

ValhallaGH covered what I was gonna say about bringing in Extreme Range—which already makes the difference and allows players to really specialize for long- or short-range combats—but I wanted to elaborate on something.

Mendicant wrote:The rules for Ranges in the equipment section actually kind of touch on this. The ranges are for table top purposes, but you can multiply the range increments by 2.5x to get rough "real world" measurements for the range. For example, the M16 now has a range (in feet) of 360 / 720 / 1,440 (60 / 120 / 240 "inches").

This covers half of it—"real world" measurements are taken by multiplying by 2.5× the inches measurement—but I want to point out the ranges on weapons.

Modern infantry firearms generally fall into one of 4 range categories:
  • Short (12/24/48), which includes most pistols and SMGs; 30/60/120 "real world" yards—450 yard Extreme Range
  • Mid (24/48/96), where almost all rifles and assault rifles fall; 60/120/240 "real world" yards—900 yard Extreme Range
  • Long (30/60/120), including most heavier machine guns; 75/150/300 "real world" yards—1,200 yard Extreme Range
  • Sniping (50/100/200), where the Beretta .50 cal falls, which is the only actual sniper rifle; 125/250/500 "real world" yards—2,000 yard Extreme Range

There's a couple in-between points, but this effectively covers everything that needs to be done with firearms to make them simple and easy to calculate: an SMG is still –10 at 300 yards (well into extreme range), assault rifle at 240 yards is –4 (–6 with Full Auto penalty), Sniper Rifle is much lower: –2 at 500 yards with a scope.
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#15 Postby Vinzent » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:24 pm

Remember that the weapon ranges in the SWDEX have been artificially shortened due to tabletop space. It is a game based on using minis, remember. If you intend to use "theater of the mind" combat, then dump the savage worlds "inches" ranges and use yards.
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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#16 Postby Ilina_Young » Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:18 pm

each inch is 2 yards or 6 feet on the tabletop, calculating real world ranges multiplies the size of a pace by 2.5 or 5 yards.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#17 Postby galu » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:29 am

Ilina_Young wrote:each inch is 2 yards or 6 feet on the tabletop, calculating real world ranges multiplies the size of a pace by 2.5 or 5 yards.



this is the exact reason why we opted for descriptive ranges (corps-a-corps, across a roomo, across a yard, across a football stadium).

First you have to multiply the inches by 2,5 to get feet. Since feet are not meaningful for us (metric sysem users), we have to divide by 3,28 to get the data in meters.
Or originally, to get the data in meters, multiply by 0,76/take 3/4 (= 2,5/3,28).

Now, 75% of 4 or 100 is no problem for anybody, but I know folks who have trouble multiplying 50 or 30 with *0,75.

This sollution didn't really work, so since we never intended to use figures and battlem ats, we decided to abandon inches alltogether, and use a descriptive system instead.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#18 Postby Ilina_Young » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:37 pm

a yard or 3 feet is almost a meter. instead of doing the math for 2 yards, just replace the word yards with meters. a pace, 2 yards, 6 feet or 2 meters are close enough to being the same. a pace is 2 yards, 6 feet, or almost 2 meters.

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#19 Postby Deskepticon » Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:48 am

That may work, but it still never hurts to have some descriptive ranges handy for whenever the need arises.
3" = 18 feet, or the length of a hallway/large room.
12" = 72 feet, or the length of an average suburban yard, from curb to backyard property line.
24" = 144 feet, or about 3 or 4 houses down the road.
48" = 288 feet, or nearly the length of an American football field (not including endzones).

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Re: Modified firearm ranges

#20 Postby Vinzent » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:49 pm

Ilina_Young wrote:a yard or 3 feet is almost a meter. instead of doing the math for 2 yards, just replace the word yards with meters. a pace, 2 yards, 6 feet or 2 meters are close enough to being the same. a pace is 2 yards, 6 feet, or almost 2 meters.


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