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Can't post topic in "Official Answers" board? Question about Ranged Weapons in Melee

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  • Can't post topic in "Official Answers" board? Question about Ranged Weapons in Melee

    So, I haven't been here in a while, but my group is happily playing SWAE... I had a rules question, but the "new topic" button doesn't seem to be there for me when I go to the "Official Rules" or "Feedback on SW Adventure Edition" boards. Did something change? Are those locked out for now? Is there some forum requirement like number of posts for those forums that didn't used to be there?

    At any rate, here's my question:

    I'm trying to nail down what ranged weapons can be used "in melee" in SWAE. The official text says:

    The attacker may only use... a one-handed ranged weapon (such as a firearm no larger than a pistol) when in melee. He may not fire rifles or other “long arms.”
    That seems fairly clear to me. Pistols work fine.

    SMGs (such as an Uzi) also would seem to work fine, as they can (IRL) be fired one-handed, and are typically designed to be used in close-quarters. But, then again, perhaps not. On the old forums, Clint appeared to use weight as a primary determining factor if a ranged weapon could be used in Melee, and the SMGs all weigh more than the Desert Eagle (the heaviest pistol listed).

    What's really not clear is the Sawed-Off Shotgun. In old Savage Worlds, it worked. Clint said it does work in close combat:

    However, it's also been ruled (and the ruling makes sense) that the Sawed-Off Shotgun requires two hands to use:

    As the new Adventure Edition text now says that you have to use a "one-handed ranged weapon", it appears the Sawed Off Shotgun no longer qualifies.

    Near as I can tell, then, there are no firearms that aren't pistols that qualify to be used in melee by the official rules in the core book. Is this correct?

    FWIW, after a lengthy conversation with my father (a life-long firearms aficionado), we agreed that what made the most "sense" was to allow SMGs and the Sawed Off Shotgun to be used in Melee at a -2 penalty.

  • #2
    Yeah, the Official Answers are all closed, have been for most of a year. They'll open up again eventually, probably after Adventure Edition ships (and Clint gets back into "answering questions" form).
    The Feedback forums got locked really quickly after each iteration. They collected the feedback and the locked them up.

    I'm trying to nail down what ranged weapons can be used "in melee" in SWAE.
    GM call.
    I'll note that all ranged weapons can be used as two-handed weapons. The Weaver Stance is one of the most common pistol shooting techniques and requires the use of two hands on the weapon.

    SMG's are pretty variable, with a wide range between "machine pistols" like the TEC-9 or MAC-10 and a rifle-sized weapon like a fixed-stock Uzi or fixed-stock H&K MP5. Personally, I allow most SMG's to be fired one-handed but recoil is always one worse (-3 for most people, -1 for Rock and Roll! types); but that's a house rule based upon my personal experiences with the weapons and my need for realism.

    Sawed-off shotguns are in kind of the same space. The barrels have been cut down to pistol-length, but if the stock is still full sized then it's bigger than a pistol. If the stock has been reduced to (or always was) just a pistol grip then it can be used as a pistol.
    Clint's declaration that sawed-off shotguns are two-handed weapons was kind of random. It makes sense for balance, given how absurdly powerful a double barrel shotgun is, but doesn't have anything in the rules text to support it - and I question the decision from a "common sense" view.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • koiulpoi
      koiulpoi commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks for replying. An interesting point (as I'm also rather pedantic), the text is that you may only use "a one-handed ranged weapon," not "a weapon that may be used one-handed." It seems like splitting hairs, but I think it's an important distinction. Someone *could* fire a rifle one-handed, but it likely would be horribly inaccurate and possibly dangerous (represented by the -4 modifier listed in the One Arm hindrance), but that wouldn't allow you to fire it in melee.

    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      koiulpoi Yes, it's a different distinction than it used to be. But the effect is the same - the GM has to decide if a ranged weapon is usable in melee range.

      Which is why the answer will always be "GM call". As a GM, I don't find that particularly useful; I base my calls upon the tone of the specific campaign, the enthusiasm of the players, and the campaign consequences of making a particular call. Hopefully that method is useful for you, as well.

    • koiulpoi
      koiulpoi commented
      Editing a comment
      ValhallaGH Right, I agree on the methodology. As I'm the GM in this one, I think I'll just stick with initial call of -2 for "close quarters designed" weaponry, and -4 or worse for anything larger.

  • #3
    It has been pointed out by Devs that SWD rulings may not necessarily carry forward to SWADE so the thing about sawed off shotguns may change. GM call is probably your best bet for now until the official answers board is reopened. Assuming that a shotgun in the core rules is considered a 12 gauge by default this would be extremely difficult to fire one handed without imposing a danger to yourself and/or innocent bystanders. Just something to keep in mind.


    • koiulpoi
      koiulpoi commented
      Editing a comment
      Danger to yourself indeed; Clint heavily implied in the second link that you could end up shooting yourself on a 1 or 2.

  • #4
    In this particular case, I'd treat the book's wording like the "Pirate's Code"... that is, more like a guideline. Even playing in Deluxe edition I didn't always adhere to the "no larger than pistol" rule.

    The assumption is the target is presumably swinging a melee weapon at you, moving erratically, and slapping your gun away. Guns with longer barrels are simply easier to disrupt the user's sight picture in this way. Still, I never liked removing the player's agency in such a black&white manner. In one game, a player had rifle with a bayonet and declared they were going stick the enemy and pull the trigger. I ruled that the two actions would receive a MAP but the Shooting roll would be allowed.
    It might have technically been against the rules, on a couple accounts (then again, I've always played fast and loose with the rules ), but it was a cool moment when the soldier's stomach was blown out his a*s.

    Another situation is when you get The Drop on an opponent. A classic movie moment is when the villian looks up just to find the barrel of a shotgun leveled at his nose. These are the type of pulpy action-hero moments that Savage Worlds aims to achieve, and a strict reading of the rules shouldn't hinder them.

    Rather than saying the two-handed weapons cannot be fired in melee, Period!, I'd give them a -3 or -4 penalty instead. Still very difficult (especially considering you're TN is now the target's Parry), still illustrates the bobbing and weaving of close-combat, but it also gives players the option to make a memorable moment should they take the risk.
    Last edited by Deskepticon; 06-09-2019, 06:56 PM.


    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      koiulpoi As Radecliffe mentioned, the bayonet is a melee weapon. It can be held (dagger style) or fixed to rifle barrel to give it Reach... essentially the rifle becomes a spear at that point, and uses Fighting. The rule in question is about making Shooting rolls against adjacent targets.

      It's true that common sense plays a large factor here, and the player's declared action should heavily factor into the GM's decision. For example, if a player had sniper rifle and said they were aiming through the scope at the adjacent target, that's a good time rule that a) the scope provides no bonus whatsoever, and b) the Shooting roll might not even be possible unless the player agrees to become Vulnerable during the attempt.
      ... By comparison, a sawed-off shotgun being fired from the hip should be able to fire in melee with little or no additional penalties.
      ... The stab-&-shoot approach with a bayonet-fixed rifle, I'd argue, receives no Shooting roll penalty because the barrel is already lined up with the target. However, if the Fighting roll fails, the Shooting roll would automatically miss, since the latter Action is contingent on the former succeeding.

    • Lord Lance
      Lord Lance commented
      Editing a comment
      Byonets. The +1 Reach is pretty ridiculous to me. Maybe it's good, if attacked to a long rifle musket, so you could hypothetically gain a ~2m. long melee weapon. But attached to a M16 rifle, you get more or less a "sword size" weapon. Bayonets are really enough good as they are, even without the Reach bonus. I mean, now you have a good melee weapon AND a ranged weapon; you are awarded with +1 Parry (and you count as armed, so enemies don't get the +2 to attack you in close quarters). Also, raw, there's no mention to penalties if you fire the weapon with all that weight on the tip!
      I remember a very bad Zombie campaign, with all the players going around with M16s+bayonets... Not funny at all.
      I suggest to remove the +1 Reach, the +1 Parry bonus, AND to give -1 Shooting if you fire the weapon with the byonet attached. If you have a huge rifle, then you can choose betweeen +1 Reach or +1 Parry.

    • Deskepticon
      Deskepticon commented
      Editing a comment
      Lord Lance That all makes sense, but I think that's something for GMs to decide individually. The general assumption concerning bayonets is their use during 16th-17th century, with single-fire muskets. In that case, the bonuses for using a fixed bayonet are meant to outweigh the need to spend a full turn reloading.

      But, Yes!, I agree that a modern bayonet attached to a modern rifle should gain less overt benefit.