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  • Boom Guns as Artillery?

    Has anybody else ever used the Boom gun as an artillery piece? We have created rounds that are basically just grenade style mortar rounds with a min range of 250 so the range works out to 500/1,000/2,000. This being indirect fire it seems like it should greatly out range the original direct fire rounds with a long range of 1,000. Wondering what the group opinion on this type of set up would be & how you all would do it

  • #2
    Beyond tactical range (mostly the size of the battlemap//table, which isusually between 24'' and 48''. The biggest map i own personally own is 100'' long, pretty huge and fits only on a special table), gun range becomes a narrative tool. The GM has to decide if his players can determine the target's location and if the weapon's range can reach it. In addition, the range presented are only ''effective'' range, which means the gun could theorically hit a target beyond that distance, but the chance of doing it become so slim it's basically an auto-miss. Dramatic Tasks could be used to represent someone trying to reach record distance, like a sniper hitting a target more than a mile away, but that's something the GM gets to decide.

    In short, beyond the 100'' mark, weapon range means close to nothing from a combat perspective.

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    • #3
      I'm not sure what use a weapon like that would have other than for mass battles or dramatic tasks or something similar.

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      • HappyDaze
        HappyDaze commented
        Editing a comment
        First build/buy the weapon, and then worry about coming up with a use for it.

    • #4
      Originally posted by Radecliffe View Post
      I'm not sure what use a weapon like that would have other than for mass battles or dramatic tasks or something similar.
      We used them as artillery when we were hired to eradicate a new & still small Xiticix hive with only about 1,000 total Xiticix. Aerial bursts as the warriors swarmed after a couple mortars hit the first tower they had set up. We then spent a week mopping up. Making the rounds for the boom guns cost us roughly the same as grenades would have, so it worked much better from our mercenary perspective than missiles would have, we also have 6 glitterboys available in our group thanks to the sidekick edge when everyone shows up. It was pure ad hoc because we don't know of any actual artillery rules available in official form yet. Was just wondering if anyone else had come up with this or any similar solutions to a similar problem.

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      • #5
        Do we know what the muzzle velocity of a boom gun is?

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        • Irongen
          Irongen commented
          Editing a comment
          For further illustration: based on the cutaway of the ammunition for the boom gun, the total round is 7 inches long, which makes the round, and therefore the bore of the gun, 2 inches in diameter. There are 4 layers of flechettes in each shell, with 50 flechettes per layer, for a total of 200. Using the cutaway as a guide, the flechettes are 1 inch long, and approximately 6.2 mm (just under .25 caliber) in diameter. This gives them a volume of .047 cubic inches, making all 200 flechettes have a combined volume of 9.4 cubic inches. If the flechettes are made of tungsten (dense with high heat resistance), the total load is 104 ounces, or 2.97 kg total mass. To equal an M1 Abrams tank cannon with 12 MJ of muzzle energy, the boom gun would have to launch that 2.97 kg load at a muzzle velocity of Mach 8.2. At Mach 10, the ammo has a muzzle energy of 17.5 MJ, an increase of 45%, but not a weapon that razes everything in its path.

          By way of comparison, a Hellfire missile has a 20 lb warhead, with an energy of around 38 MJ. Thus, the Mach 10 boom gun has less than half the energy of a missile more than 300 years old - hardly an impressive showing, especially with all the drawbacks associated with the boom gun. To equal the energy of the Hellfire, the boom gun would have to fire rounds at nearly Mach 15, which is extremely unlikely in a weapon that size.

          Boom gun: cool weapon, but the numbers don't work in the slightest.
          Last edited by Irongen; 07-29-2020, 03:42 AM.

        • Mad Paladin
          Mad Paladin commented
          Editing a comment
          Way back when, on the palladium books fan mailing list, someone did the math based on the size of the shells, the mass of the armor, and how far back the suit is hurled back if the pylons are damaged. Came out to about Mach 12, IIRC, which definitely fits the destructive potential.

        • Irongen
          Irongen commented
          Editing a comment
          I wish I had seen that post. I'm curious as to what numbers they used for the shell (mass, flechette size, etc.)

      • #6
        Originally posted by steelbrok View Post
        Do we know what the muzzle velocity of a boom gun is?
        Well, it makes a sonic boom powerful enough to make everyone around the Glitter Boy roll to avoid being deafened.

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        • #7
          Originally posted by Kellary View Post
          Has anybody else ever used the Boom gun as an artillery piece? We have created rounds that are basically just grenade style mortar rounds with a min range of 250 so the range works out to 500/1,000/2,000. This being indirect fire it seems like it should greatly out range the original direct fire rounds with a long range of 1,000. Wondering what the group opinion on this type of set up would be & how you all would do it
          Don't let the naysayers shoot you down on your idea to much as games like DnD and SR that use maps encourage GM's and Players alike to limit free and fluid game thinking.

          What I mean by this is, map games are generally designed around encounters that are close and personal, which encourages the belief that that is the only way you can fight or interact.

          As for artillery and range, I know it is far more common of an option to GM's/Players that don't use maps or very loosely, as imagination and common sense rule over being confined to a small map.
          Think about how fast units can move. So cyborg, crazy, juicer, PA, vehicles, speed spell buff, teleport and so on, now you have people that can move around that little map with ease, so why is it just confined to that? Other than for ease of controlling where everyone is sure, and greater distances apart can add up to confuse where all pieces are on the field so it's not without it's merit.

          But this small map confined areas makes the players think that is there only option, even when longer range and things like artillery should be a viable option. It also really depends what your group has in this regard as many don't have any or much in this area.

          Consider this;
          Flying Vehicle / PA / RPA:
          -what pilot of a flying PA wants to be closer than 20ft to the ground or a target? (minus melee attacks, but still melee in flying vehicle is probably the last thing you want)
          -I would even think that they would probably want to be much further than that, based on the weapons they have. They can move fairly fast, always have high ground and generally have safety from melee.
          -these vehicles equiped with missiles and grenade launchers would be ideal artillery options.

          Now more importantly and on topic of artillery, is missiles and grenade launchers. You would think that this is just begging to be used as artillery, and should be a viable option. Laser guiding them from unit or spotter should also be a decent option considering how advanced tech is. Same would go with grenade launchers which would be ideal use for this to. We see in movies all the time how enemy unit tends to have a mortar in the back run by 1-2 guys laying down heat and blocking enemy options.

          In Free Quebec book there is a GB that they added a artillery cannon to specifically for this.
          With all that said though, the GB Boomgun I would think is a bad option to be used as artillery due to how they describe it, and how fast it would shoot and range of flechettes would spread out to a fairly large area if used to arc. I picture this thing more similar to how the railgun in Eraser shoots but it's not just a bullet. Maybe you design a GB shell designed to release the flechettes at certain range like a grapeshot.

          So overall, yes I think artillery is a viable option which see's some use in our groups, but I would suggest things like no LoS should give good negatives, not allow called shots, and apply the random scatter roll to them. This way no matter how good of a shot they are, it is a risk if trying to target to close to friendlies or actually blowing them up.

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          • steelbrok
            steelbrok commented
            Editing a comment
            One option to increase the size of the battle area is to use cm instead of inches (just treat size of character minis as abstract in size).
            I've done this for a wargame before without any issues arising.

          • ubergeek2012
            ubergeek2012 commented
            Editing a comment
            Another easy trick to make map ranges longer. I often use each inch/hex as 2" or 3", since standard speeds tend to divide pretty evenly. I specifically set up some battle maps to be big because of some of the weapon ranges available. I've been frustrated before as a player with a character that can attack targets thousands of feet away, only to have every encounter start at knife-fighting range.

            It also helps that we play in Roll20. You can drop an aerial landscape picture in, put a hex grid on it, and set the scale. The measuring tool makes it easy for any player to check ranges.

        • #8
          A mercenary company in the Phase World setting has 200+ GB suits. As the story goes, they took out a fortified enemy base by turning the mountain into rubble over hours (or was it days?) of constant boom gun fire.

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          • #9
            Originally posted by Kellary View Post
            This being indirect fire it seems like it should greatly out range the original direct fire rounds ..
            The keywords here are "indirect fire" .. you can't do that with a Boom Gun as what makes the flechettes effective is their speed. An indirect weapon (missile, grenade, mortar, etc..) relies on its own payload to affect the target and a lowed speed to have a firing curved allowing you to go over an obstacle and down at the target.

            At the ranges listed, the velocities makes the Boom Gun's flechettes fly with an almost flat trajectory.

            The only way to indirectly fire with a Boom Gun would be by either firing almost straight up and then let the flechettes falling down at their terminal velocity, or dropping down the velocity to let the the flechettes' trajectories curve downward .. both barely scratching the armor of anything with the "tippity tap" of flechettes on the targets like moderate hail.

            There is a specific variant called the "Taurus Glitter Boy" (RIFTS World book 22 - Free Québec, p. 98 - 99) that is made specifically for mortar rounds and indirect fire.

            However, if you have some tech genius in the group to "Mc guyver" the Boom Gun to fire grenades .. it would have a great range (but if the grenades are not built to travel at that speed, you might end up with them exploding in the gun or tumbling randomly on their way (just not really precise). I can't say that I can imagine a GB pilot letting someone fiddle with their gun like that.

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