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Re: Low-Tech Forces in DSII

From: Thomas Barclay <Thomas.Barclay@s...>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 1998 16:18:40 -0500
Subject: Re: Low-Tech Forces in DSII

Chen-Song spake thusly upon matters weighty: 

> On Tue, 3 Nov 1998, Thomas Barclay wrote:
> > Depends on the bow, depends on the crossbow. I've seen quite a few 
> > crossbows effective 225-325 meters. Many bows aren't effective past 
> > 150m. 
> Mongol bows were credited with penetrating armor at 200 yards.
> though)

True, but many asyrian (sp?) and other early bows had effective 
ranges and penetrations that were quite low. 
> > Wow. I wonder what the longest recorded crossbow shot is? (Or 
> > ballista... that would probably hit even PA). 
> Crossbow bolts would have a much shorter range since the bolts are
> heavier.

They can be. And yet I've seen range figures for bows and crossbows 
that listed range, force of the shot, etc. and the figures for some 
of the heavy crossbows 12-20 lbs were upwards of 275m. One, a siege 
arbalest, wound by cranequin, was supposedly effective to 525 meters. 
I'll have to check the definition of effective, but for a bow, it 
listed 180-200m for English Longbow in the same manner. And the 
force exterted by the crossbow was greater by a huge margin so extra 
range (even given a shorter, heavier bolt - note that for ballistics, 
some measure of weight isn't a bad idea...). 

  Ballistae did not have much longer ranges than normal crossbows
> for pretty much the same reason.

I've got data that suggests some ballistae fired nearly a quarter 
mile, which would be over 400m. And what they fired was a multipound 
javelin like projectile. 

  They certainly could not penetrate PA
> as we see them. (i.e. composite or metal armor that could stop
> fire) 

Okay, not without a good unobtainium steel head. But if they had the 
right metals on the head, the force might be sufficient. 

As an aside, if I give a hunting rifle a d10 of Impact, I'd certainly 
give a ballistae a d8. The weight driving the projectile and the 
force hurling it add up to give (I'm sure) as much liberated energy 
on a target as many lighter rifles. And if the PA is rolling d12 
armour in SG2, it would certainly be a reasonable chance of a hit 
(maybe it punched through your powerpack, or a joint, or your 
faceplate...). I'd probably give a bow a d4 Impact and a crossbow a 
d6 Impact (in general). But their firepower would be on the order of 
0.5 and 0.25 respectively, if not lower. 

Overall though, these ancient ranged weapons could not
> be compared to anything with rifled barrels.

True. But, from a guerilla tactics POV, modern weapons with rifled 
barrels can't arch (indirect fire) too easily, and they are noisy. 
The bow would offer some advantages. Why can I see some SF unit 
operating in perhaps a combustible atmosphere using a non-sparking 
polymer bow with a polymer-elastomer bowstring that fires a 
monofilament edged arrow.... just for the silent sentry kill.....
Don't get me wrong, if given a choice between a .303 and a bow, I'd 
take the .303. It's paper-scissors-rock. But don't sell the older 
technology short, just stat it reasonably, and let the results speak 
for themselves. 

In SG2, a squad of 10 men with bows would roll (assume we have 
regular quality archers) d8 + d6 to hit. For impact, d4. And maybe we 
say there range bands are half normal (so 4"/8"/12"/16"/20"). That 
means at any range over 80m, it is unlikely they will even get a hit. 
And with even basic ballistic cloth coveralls, not even BA, the 
target will probably avoid being casualtied. The odds of a kill are 
remote. Compare that to a regular fireteam of four guys with advanced 
assault rifles, rolling d8+d8. For Impact, d10 (or d12). Let's assume 
we give the primitives the benefit of partial armour (for the steel 
plating). Ranges for these guys are 8/16/24/32/40. So they'll be 
scoring kills out to 240m routinely. And a good chance of the hits 
killing, not just casualty causing. So you tell me..... who will 
survive the fight? Probably the gun firing guys....

Thomas Barclay		     
Voice: (613) 831-2018 x 4009
Fax: (613) 831-8255

 "C makes it easy to shoot yourself in the foot.  C++ makes
 it harder, but when you do, it blows away your whole leg."
 -Bjarne Stroustrup

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