20 July 2021

I'm The Weirdo

My interest in firearms came from tabletop role play gaming.

Not hunting or any other form of actually shooting them.


That's not quite right, but it is...

Learning about guns came from me and my friends interest in everything WW2 when we were kids and using what we'd learned to play war.

Being possessed of vivid imagination, even a stick could be an MG.34 and we played on that basis.  Mostly recreating the most recent re-run of COMBAT! (in color!) or Rat Patrol.

But it was our play which led me to read any book on the topic I could get my hands on, and it was the lavishly illustrated tomes that got my first interest.

Which gets us to where I was playing games with rules someone I'd never met had written.

Top Secret from TSR.

Although I'd never fired anything heavier than a .22 by this point in my life, it was nearly instantly obvious that I knew more about guns than the gamemaster administrator.

My character had ended up in the bottom of an elevator shaft which was flooded.  The less than a minute's immersion was ruled to have rusted my Uzi solid.

"Nope!" I protested.  Though rust never sleeps, it also doesn't move that fast.

The administrator was genuinely surprised that guns weren't instantly destroyed by exposure to water.

Let's just ignore that I was playing a spy armed for war rather than espionage.

Interactions like this led me to being "the gun guy" in our groups.

I was deferred to if I said that a gun could or couldn't do something.  I was astonishingly honest about it too, for any ruling I made in someone else's game would come back to haunt me in my world later.

Knowing all this real-world gun stuff didn't do me a lot of good in Top Secret or Twilight: 2000.  The gun rules aren't terribly realistic.

The weirdo thing gets traction with our brief dalliance with Boot Hill.  I made a case for higher rates of fire from some historical guns which weren't on the weapons list and that set off a never ending quest for moar dakka.  I was the only kid on my block who'd even heard of a Merwin and Hulbert...

Moar dakka is why that character with the Uzi carried a Browning High Power.  13 shots is more than every other pistol in the entire game.  I have a lot of characters with that HP in their equipment.

When GURPS came along using real world measurements for things instead of game defined units...  My geekery lost bounding.

It's easy to stat an unlisted gun from comparing it to something we do have stats on and subbing the weights.

It's not difficult to make stats for completely new guns once you notice the relationship between muzzle energy and damage.  It's a bit more nuanced than that and Douglas Cole figured out the equation for us.

What this did was let me make stats for period guns at a lower TL than expected.

You want an FAL, but it's 1943?  FG.42!

Need an M1A during prohibition?  ZH-29 or Mondragon!

What about an AK at (3e) TL6 instead of TL7?   MKb.42(H)!

Owning and shooting have improved the geekery, but alas, the opportunity to use my knowledge has been reduced to making a line of stats for every gun me or my friends own.

Doing other-than-12-gauge shotguns was a lot of fun!

It's still fun to do the research even if, at the end of the day, the only difference between a Luger P.08, Browning HP, S&W 59 and Glock 17 are the number of shots and the weights.

Remember, in GURPS, π = 3.00!

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