11 September 2013

September Never Ended

I miss my big fish in a small pond status.

In the days of yore in the mythical land of Ioway I was the person who knew "everything" about guns.

This stemmed from two things.  First, I had been in the Army which confers "expert" on your gun opinion regardless of actual knowledge.  Second, I'd voraciously devour any book about guns I could find.

Actual paper books!  I know!

I have learned so much about so many guns since then I think I can safely say I didn't know much; but in the land of the blind the one eyed man is king!

Today the level of expertise I brought to the gaming table is readily available with Google (or Bing) and a smart phone.

Now my pond has grown and while I am no smaller, there are much larger fish out there.  In the giant pond, I am merely moderately sized (heh; I'm small enough to be thrown back).  But it was nice being an unquestioned expert for a long while.

I remembered today what set me on my path of learning guns.

TSR's Top Secret.  It had one of the most frustratingly "realistic" gun combat rules we'd ever played.  Nearly literally "get hit - get dead".  Guns were not to be trifled with.

My character had an Uzi, but I had no idea how big an Uzi was or what it looked like and I wanted to draw a picture of my character.  So Dad bought me a book.  In the pages of "Small Arms of the 20th Century" by Ian Hogg I learned that there were many guns not listed on the table in the game.  I also noticed that the game claimed the Galil was a .22 with different stats than the M16 and 5.56...  The Galil issue is the first time I managed to use my "expertise" to sway the GM.  The rules failed to properly account for the fact that a Galil ARM weighs as much as two M16A1, but it did say 35 shots as opposed to 20; with the ruling from the GM the Galil was a vast improvement.  8th grade gamers always go for more shots!  More shots is why there was a Browning HP on so many character sheets.

More shots is why there's a Glock 17 on a lot of my character sheets where fifteen shot wonder nines had become passé.

I don't game much any more.  My fellow gamers are 1,600 miles away and it's hard to get together at the same table.  The local scene really rams home that I'm a LOT older than the typical gamer.  I still learn something new every day, though.

The gaming thing had me digging up esoteric guns like the ZH-29 because you could get a detachable magazine-semi-auto in 1929 in a common caliber like 7x57mm in Brazil.  Thanks to Ian at Forgotten Weapons I know a lot more about it; but it's funny because he's doing reviews of obscure guns that I know about to get around some arbitrary date set to prevent player access to "better" weaponry.

Restrict me to a bolt action integral magazine rifle will you?  Oh, I can't have a gun that didn't actually see production and I can't use a military caliber?  Remington Model 8 in .30 Rem, please...


  1. "I remembered today what set me on my path of learning guns.

    TSR's Top Secret.

    Fist bump.

    I wonder how many of us nerds lusted after a VP70 because of Top Secret?

    1. Um, we hoof bump around here. ;)

    2. I may be incorrect, but I vaguely recall that Top Secret called it the VP70Z. I have no idea what the Z brings to the table other than the extra coolness of the omega factor. Hopefully one of y'all can school me on this. :)

      What's fun about my current Traveller game is that they're all gunnies. This means that not only do we spend the first 30 minutes or so of game time talking about who shot what recently, or recent gun acquisitions, or accessories or reloading stuff, but that whenever their characters get cash and opportunity they spend a lot of time shopping for and then improving their entirely imaginary bangsticks.

      I tease them (in a kind way) that they are like girls who are out shoe shopping, and then decide to find purses to match. ;)

      *Hoofbumps Thag and Tam*

    3. IIRC (I'm not going to cheat by looking at The Font of All Knowledge [a.k.a. Wikipedia]), the VP70Z, at least when fitted with a shoulder stock, is capable of firing three-round bursts. I don't remember whether the shoulder stock was required for this function, or was simply strongly recommended....

    4. In the real world you need the stock to get the auto and burst functions.

      Who knows what TSR came up with.

    5. The VolksPistole 70 came in two variants: The "z", for "zivilian" (or however you spell it) and the "m" for "military", which could fire 3-round bursts with the attached stock. (The selector switch was in the buttstock.)

    6. There we go, it was because it was a pistol that went full-auto. My inner munchkin is awakening from its slumber.

      Although really, the first gun that a role-playing game made me lust after was the Calico M960.... a hundred rounds per magazine, WOW!

    7. Hey! I just dug out the pile of mouldering stuff I had stashed away. I can't find the VP-70 in the orificial pubs.

      That would explain why I didn't have a character with a gun with 18 shots instead of the HP's 13.

    8. Maybe I'm confusing my middle school Top Secret with my high school James Bond 007, which I GM'ed using an adaptation of Leading Edge's Phoenix Command combat rules. (The ultimate in gun nerd RPG combat!)

    9. You've got some impressive nerd cred, Tam. It's why I wanted to game with you.

    10. Phoenix Command, where your gun has stats, but your character doesn't seem to...

    11. I always assumed it was just a combat system to graft onto whatever RPG you cared. It sure turned a thing that was resolved with a couple of die rolls and some hand-waving into a lovingly-detailed Peckinpah-esque bullet-'n'-gore fest that took thirty minutes and more calculations than Apollo 11.

      That's why we loved it.

      We used to have this thing using the original rules where, for recreation, I would populate the goofy "Sprechenhaltestelle" module with generic AK-toting goons and let my players just run and gun through it like Fistful of Yen with Thompsons and Uzis and whatnot.

      Once I got the hang of Phoenix Command, I set up all the plastic Russian army men for my players and showed them the toybox in the new game. They got all jocked up with M249s and SPAS-12s and basically the coolest whatever and we got ready to do our usual giggle-fest roflstomping.

      They all came in the secret entrance in this warehouse room and opened the ball like they usually did, by smoking a guard as unstealthily as possible. Thirty minutes and a ton of die-rolling later, I had, like, five dead characters in the first room, one guy having dragged his shot-up carcass out to die outside after a firefight as apocalyptic as the denouement of Extreme Prejudice, and me as puzzled as everybody else. I didn't expect it to be over that quickly.

      "Huh," said Robby, "Oh, well, that's probably a lot more realistic than what usually happens, though."

  2. The Polizei in Stuttgart carried those things. When my cab driver got pulled over for drunk driving I got to chat with the desk cop while I waited for a ride back to post.

    They LOVED them! So much lighter on your belt all day than the old Walthers!

    I guess if you're not shooting it, different criteria rule.

  3. Another hoof bump from a Top Secret (1st ed, and where's that farking intercept table?) GM/player


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