|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 8||September, 2000|
This is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles from myself and other APAGear members, as I attempt to clarify ambiguities, explain processes and describe points of interest associated with the production of the Heavy Gear Equipment Catalog.
First and foremost, I wanted the Catalog to be useful. I've seen many such lists and books in other game lines that contain many "flavor" items, but the products most Player Characters would actually use often get the short shrift.
I'd like to thank Marc Vezina at Dream Pod 9, both for providing me the opportunity to contribute to the Heavy Gear universe in some small way and for his patience as I was writing the book. Likewise, thanks to part-time DP9 editor and APAGear Grand Poobah Chris Schaller for being very generous with his edits. ;)
I've made comments by chapter, noting specific sections as necessary. Let's begin ....
I've only had some basic exposure to client/server design in my graduate classes, so my version of this section was not up to snuff. Fortunately, Chris knows more about they work, so he rewrote much of this section.
I wrestled with this for a little while, by combing over the animals presented in each of the regional sourcebooks, until I realized that it was a simple matter of answering two questions:
Once I figured that out, writing this section was very simple, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out.
The recipe at the end of this section is a reprint from Life on Terra Nova First Edition. I thought it was too bad that it didn't make it into the Second Edition, as details like that make a world more interesting to me. I had hoped to include another recipe from LoTN1 as well, but perhaps DP9 will allow us to include it in a future APAGear article.
I just had to write a Stealth Suit for this section. Even when Heavy Gear first came out, there was a stealth helmet, but there was no suit to go with it. That just bugged me ... especially after playing Konami's Metal Gear Solid as much as I did. ;)
I had written for this section that didn't make it to print for space reasons, but this is just too damn neat to let slip away. Similar items actually exist today; I found a listing for a company that sells similar items both for this purpose and as sniper's blankets.
Mass: 4 kg
An armor blanket is a simple square of ballistic cloth 125 centimeters on a side. The blanket has eyelets in each corner so that it can be hung on nails or other protrusions. The blanket has an Armor Value of 25, and is flexible enough that it can be folded for storage or stuffed into irregular crevices. Armor blankets can be found just about everywhere: in forward headquarters and hospitals, stuffed into vehicle cargo bays and so forth.
Heavy Gear often stresses Terranovans' reliance on animals in the Badlands and other undeveloped parts of the planet, but mostly in a general way. This section was intended to make animals more immediately useful to both Players and Gamemasters.
The drones are reprints from Technical Manual First Edition. The Wasp was originally designed using the rules in Tactical Air Support, but was corrected using the Vehicle Construction System in Technical Manual Second Edition.
As is mentioned in the Contents section of the Catalog, I designed all of the weapons in the text using the rules from Guns!, Guns!, Guns! Third Edition (3G3) by BTRG. Marc specified the use of these rules early in the planning stages, which is understandable since he wrote the Silhouette conversion that appears in the book! The lion's share of work involved with these rules is designing and modifying the ammunition; once you get the hang of the system, you can make a new weapon in about five minutes. To make the work of 3G3 fans much easier, I've included the ammunition specifications I used for the weapons in the Catalog.
An important note: I did not use the design sequence from the 3G3 rules exactly as written. The 3G3 Damage Value, from which the specific amount of damage for your favorite rules system can be extrapolated, takes into account the diameter of the projectile. Doing so however, screws up the numbers when translating it to Silhouette stats.
For the weapons in the Catalog, I used the following derivative of the 3G3 Damage Value:
Equipment Catalog DV = (Square root of (Muzzle energy in joules x .735)), round to nearest
It's the same as the standard 3G3 formula, but projectile diameter is not factored into the equation.
The DV listed in the entries below is this delivered energy value. All rounds below were designed at TL 12.
For The Uninitiated, Or: "Huh?!?"
Here's how this works. The projectile consists of two parts, an aluminum sabot that is 15mm in diameter and 45mm long, that surrounds a lead penetrator that is 5mm in diameter and 45mm long. Much of the propellant's energy is imparted upon the sabot, which just falls away as the projectile leaves the barrel, but the remainder is imparted upon the penetrator, which is able to carry for far greater ranges than a normal projectile of a given size. 3G3 explains this in a much clearer fashion.
The stats for these weapons were likewise developed through 3G3.
Most of the weapons in the Catalog were inspired by real firearms used by today's military forces and law enforcement agencies. The Alliance is a development of the "Liberator" single-shot pistol supplied to the French Resistance during World War II, the S59 series of submachineguns was inspired by the MP5, and the Dartand Premiere and Standard are references to the PSG1 and MSG90 sniper rifles, the latter being a "mass-produced" version of the former.
Likewise, the Territorial Arms MNTN grenade launcher was inspired by a similar weapon in service with the United States Marine Corps, the Mark Nineteen. ;)
Some words about the Socorro Bullspringer: I goofed.
One of the things you can do with the 3G3 rules is alter standard "ball" ammunition into armor-piercing, normally by using a steel projectile instead of a lead one. In doing so, you make one extra calculation in the conversion sequence from 3G3 to Silhouette. I forgot to do that, and I didn't catch the mistake until the Catalog was out on the shelves.
Therefore, the DM of the Bullspringer should be x60, not x50. No other changes are made.
And for those who are wondering, it is certainly possible to create a weapon that matches the range bands of the 15mm Sniper Rifle in the rulebook and the Riley M202 autocannon with standard "ball" ammunition. With the 3G3 rules, however, doing this requires a much longer, and thus much heavier, barrel than I thought was appropriate for this kind of weapon. I may design the M202 with the 3G3 rules to demonstrate this for a future article.
Many games include listings for "silencers," but not one described how they actually worked, or what their limitations were. I thought this section was the perfect opportunity to describe suppressors as realistic, useful items with important limitations.
The explosives in the Catalog were also designed with the 3G3 rules (seeing a trend here? ;) at TL12. The frame charge in this section is designed as a shaped charge, which I should have made more clear in the text to explain its blast effects. I designed it as a series of connected 1 cm shaped charges, that go off one right after another. This is close to how a real linear charge actually works; Pat Paulsen may have more to say on this. Pat?
I developed the formula that appears in the Catalog as a quick alternative to the rules in 3G3, which involve completely recalculating the DV for a charge every time you change the amount of explosives. You now only have to design one "unit" of explosives with 3G3 (a vial of nitroglycerin, a barrel of black powder and so forth), then use the Catalog formula to quickly determine the DM for any quantity of a given explosive.
The Catalog formula will ultimately yield the same results, however, as performing the calculations through 3G3. This was a deliberate choice; as I wanted users of 3G3 to get the most use out of the Catalog, while providing folks who don't own 3G3 a simple, useful way to get a rational progression of explosives power.
The formula was just one of those happy accidents; I had been playing with cube roots for a while, trying to apply my old "double the cube root of the energy" trick I had written a long time ago for converting weapons to Silhouette. Then I was staring at the numbers one day, and just said to myself, "What if I did it this way?" The formula in the Catalog is a different, and much faster, way of producing the same numbers you'd get from 3G3.
The online encyclopedia Britannica.com has a wealth of basic information on how many different kinds of explosives work, and there are several sites on the World Wide Web that offer more specific detail, including many maintained by the United States Army.
I have faith in the basic intelligence and common sense of most people, but this bears saying anyway: Please use these resources for reference purposes ONLY. Severe injury or death can result from the improper handling or use of explosives materials.
The Bechider Supply House is a combination of two places I know well: the small company where I work and the shooting range I frequent. It is certainly a strange combination of businesses, but it does have some basis in fact. The owner of the company where I work is currently looking to pursue other business opportunities in an unused portion of the property, and the shooting range has recently expanded their "pro shop" section towards the same goal. Might life imitate art? We shall see ....
The names of the full-time staff members are, of course, tips of the hat to the classic science-fiction series Blake's 7. I seem to be one of the few Americans who has heard of, much less likes the show! APAGear members will surely recognize the name "Sanlander" from other samples of my work. Theresa and Cally are based upon the owner and manager of the store where I work, and Travis is naturally based on myself. I've got to be in my own book somewhere, after all.
Well, that's about it. I welcome any questions and comments regarding this article, and I might post the responses on some sort of answer sheet if there are enough of them.
Now, if I can just get this "groupie" situation straightened out .... ;)
[I might as well chime in here, too. First, I don't know if I was generous or not with my editing of Jason's book. There was very little struggle involved. As far as groupies go, I don't know what the problem is, Jason. They're practically knocking down my door even as I write this.
[Also, I confess that I thought the Bechider Supply House was a heavily veiled Gunsmith Cats reference. Shows you what I know... -Ed.]
|APAGear II Archives||Volume 2, Number 8||September, 2000|
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