13 March 2012

Convoluted Path

I was reading about horse cavalry and World War 1.

There's something odd about thinking a guy on a horse with a spear is still effective after the invention of the machine gun.

It also reminded me that there's a difference between cavalry and a dragoon.

In a nut shell: cavalry fight from their horses, dragoons are infantry using horses as transportation.

Dragoons dismount to fight.  The United States gave up on cavalry after the end of the Civil War.  All "cavalry" from then until tanks were developed were actually dragoons.

Europe kept both with dragoons slowly becoming elite infantry as the horses were supplanted by trucks.

As is typical, a character idea spawned this little research trip.  And a scene from a television show inspired the character.

A little background.  In GURPS 4e if you want something that's from a more advanced Tech Level you will pay double for each level that item is above the campaign normal.  So if the local tech is 3, you pay 2x for TL4, 4x for TL5 and 8x for TL6 and so on.

They typical sword and sorcery world like Dungeons and Dragons is a TL3 world in GURPS.  World War 1 is TL6.  Today is TL8.

When making a character who is going to be from off the local world one wants more advanced stuff than the locals.  Stuff like guns!  You will want to be familiar with the primitive transportation systems, because a car is REALLY expensive and AAA doesn't offer interplanar towing.

This kind of limits the choices for reasonable character designs.

Through the beginning of WW2 (which is mostly TL7) horses were still viable and common transportation in many places.  Post apocalypse characters where the infrastructure has collapsed might also be viable here.

But costs start to bite you.

A K.98b is $400 in its native TL6.  That's a $3,200 rifle in a place like Middle Earth.
A Remington model 700 is a mere $450 in the TL7 it's from; but that balloons to $7,200 when the GM lets you have it in a TL3 world.
Just to show some insanity an Accuracy International AW is a TL8 rifle selling for $4,700.  To bring that into a TL3 world would require 32 times the cash or $150,400!

Starting wealth is a mere $1,000 in a TL3 world.  You can purchase more wealth during character creation, but there's limits.  The wealth levels are 2x, 5x, 20x and 100x the starting value.  With the 100x level costing 1/3 the points given to a "typical" adventurer.  And you still can't afford the AW!  You can have 1,000x wealth for 50% more points, but that's half your character points!

It gets even more nasty if the GM enforces the settled lifestyle limits on your character.  The wealth assumes that you have a home someplace and 4/5 of your money is tied up in it.  For a TL3 wandering adventurer, it's not too hard to justify.  Do you know ANY homeless people who can afford a high end rifle like an AW, or any rifle at all?

But lets back up a tad.

In game terms there's not a lot of difference between a K.98b and the AW except for the scope.  The TL6 WW1 lancer is definitely a more viable character in TL3 than his TL8 Twilight 2000 counterpart simply because there will be vastly fewer points spent on wealth.

Another price point.  "Light" machine guns.  An MG.08/15 is a 45.8 lb. $7,000 item in the trenches but $56,000 when used on Orcs.  The MG.42 is a mere 30.5 lb. and $3,400 against Stalin, but $54,400 against Sauron.  An FN Mk.48 Mod.0 is 25.3 lb. and will set you back $8,000 on the Taliban and $256,000 on the Urak-Hai.

The same price hits happen on ammo too!  It might not be a bad idea to find weapon of a given TL that uses ammo developed for the previous TL.  Like that MG.42.  The ammo is TL6 where the gun is TL7; 16x for the gun but 8x for the ammo.

Hopefully you'll only have to do the math once during character creation.

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