07.03.01 Rd6 Gear: Firearms Basics
Rate of Fire
There are several rates of fire for firearms and other ranged weapons (sci-fi lasers, blasters, and plasmas, for instance). Many guns have a default ROF (listed first in the list) but have other options listed after. See Combat Options: Ranged for more explanation.
These usually call under four main categories:
Single Shot (SS)
A Single Shot weapon fires one round in a single attack. Bows are single shots. Some Rifles are single shot. These weapons usually need some kind of action to load a new round into place to be readied to fire.
One Trigger pull- one round. That is semi-automatic. This can use as man bullets as you want and you can even empty the clip on one target in a single round, if you like. See Combat Options: Ranged for more information.
Burst Fire (BF)
Burst-fires fires several rounds as a single attack, between 3 and 5, and some weapons fire at this rate by default. A single attack of Burst Fire usually consumes about 20% of the weapon’s magazine. The exact amount is listed after the BF in ROF.
The bullets don’t stop flying as long as you have the trigger down or you run out of ammo.
Types of Firearms
Pistols or Handguns are small, comparatively light, and usually easily concealable. In most game settings, most handguns are readily available and not illegal. In most modern game settings, they are the weapon of choice for most adventurers. Carrying a .45 automatic or a .38 Special is a lot less conspicuous than a submachine gun or an assault rifle. Most handguns hold between 6 and 15 rounds. Pistol may Single Shot, and Semi-Automatic and some (Large Pistols) are Full Auto.
Intended primarily for self-defense, Light Pistols or holdout weapons are One-Handed and designed for ease of concealment at the sacrifice of range, ammunition capacity, and damage potential. However, such weapons should not be taken lightly. Light Pistols can be drawn quickly, and at close range, be just as deadly as their larger cousins. Real world modern examples of this type of weapon would be a Walther PPK, Smith and Wesson ASP and the COP .357.
Largely intended for self-defense, medium pistols or sidearms are used by security forces as well as the average adventurer. These weapons try to balance stopping power, ammunition capacity, range, reliability and size, placing as many as possible into one package. The result of this balancing act is often a weapon which has as much stopping power as a long arm but limited range or ammunition. Others may have acceptance range and ammo capacity but require several shots to bring down a target. Sidearms are One-Handed but two hands can also be used. Twentieth century examples of these weapons would be the Browning Hi-Power , Colt .45, and S&W Model 29.
Large Pistols are sometimes called hand-cannons and are Two-Handed pistols due to their power. There is no easy way to conceal these weapons.
Single-shot rifles, such as most hunting rifles or the lever action .30-30, are also very common, and not overly regulated in most game settings. True, they attract considerable attention in cities, but most small towns in modern game settings don’t have a problem with them – and they are perfectly acceptable in the wilderness.
Rifles tend to have longer effective ranges than any other weapon (barring the machine gun), and they have slightly better damage than pistols. While some rifles only hold single bullets, most adventurers will have rifles that hold six, nine, or even 15 rounds. Usually, higher damage score rifles hold fewer rounds, since the bullets are larger. As with pistols, rifles may fire once per round or twice if they are semi-automatic (using the single fire as multi combat option). They cannot fire on full auto, since that is the province of assault rifles.
A hybrid of weapons classes, Light Rifles include as carbines, urban environment, and submachine guns. These weapons are those which cause large amounts of damage at close range, and are still quite small for ease of handling. Because of this, these weapons are very useful in urban combats where the ranges for most combats are around four meters. However, urban environment weapons often have very limited ranges. Twentieth century examples of these weapons would include the Mac-10, Uzi, and MP-5 series.
These weapons are meant to be jack-of-all-trades of the armament industry. Designed to be effective in any type of combat, assault rifles can vary widely in performance. Usually lethality, range, and ammo capacity are the priorities in design. However, ease of maintenance and use, hardiness, and weight are also factors. Modern real world examples are M-16, AK-47, AR-180, and the HK G-11.
These weapons emphasize range and accuracy at the expense of weapon hardiness. Because they are meant for such precise shooting, Long Rifles often lack the capacity for fully automatic fire. This lack of fire power sometimes means that these weapons are able to stay within the bounds of the law on some major worlds, when other more powerful weapons are not. This classification also include civilian hunting weapon. Modern examples include Enfield L42, M-21, and M-40 sniper rifle, and any number of civilian hunting weapons.
Like some long rifles, shotguns are considered civilian weapons and are not usually overly regulated. They attract a lot of attention in highly populated areas, but only if they are out in the open. The range on a shotgun is less than that of a rifle, but shotguns are slightly better up-close weapons. They usually shoot a spray of pellets, rather than a single round. So, they are more accurate at shorter ranges and they do quite a bit of damage as well.
However, because the spray of pellets scatters quickly, they do not have the range of regular rifles. There are many single-shot and pump-action shotguns available. The double-barrel shotgun can gain the single fire as multi bonus by firing both barrels at once.
These are truly military only weapons. A character with a support weapon or machine gun had better keep it under wraps everywhere except the wilderness. It causes trouble and attention. Machine guns are usually hard to get, expensive, and their ammunition is not readily available.
These are heavy weapons usually fired from a vehicle mount or a bipod/tripod. A single character seldom can fire the weapon while holding it. As a result, reverse the range difficulties when using a machine gun (so that Point Blank is +2, Short is +1, Medium is 0, and Long is -1), since they are hard to swing around in a tight arc to bring to bear on a close, dodging target. They may fire at up to three targets per round.
Machine guns are almost always belt or drum-fed, meaning they can hold hundreds of rounds. However, many machine guns have cyclic rates of over 500 rounds per minute. They seldom fire on anything but full auto, unless they are loaded with only one round (because of their long range and high damage die codes, they are often used by snipers).