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Message no. 1
From: S O'Neill callahan421@*******.com
Subject: Ballistics and Mechanics (LONGish)
Date: Thu, 07 Dec 2000 11:14:10 -0500
<disengage lurk mode> (Y/N)?

Max Belankov <belank@***.ru> posted to Shadowland at Wed, 6 Dec 2000

> > I have a player who currently creating a
>Weaponsmith character. He took
> > Ballistics and Mechanics as Knowlege skills. Now
>I have a question:
> > Both those skills are pretty important for
>building a good gun.
> > What my player should use as complementary skill
>to <weapon> B/R? One
> > of skills? Both? An average of them?

IMHO, this depends a lot on what you mean to use Weapon B/R for...

Ballistics and Mechanics are fine if you simply want to repair and modify
firearms... maybe even overkill. Most firearms are relatively simply in
terms of mechanical construction... the moving parts mostly have to do with
getting the rounds into the chamber and ejecting spent casings.

However, in a Shadowrun context, some other skills to consider:
1) Electronics B/R (for installing all the keen high tech addons)
2) Sculpture/Design (for creating unique, custom firearms for those showoff

If your guy's character actually wants to design and build firearms from
SCRATCH, that's another story.

While slapping together a muzzle-loading smoothbore blunderbuss is something
that a jackleg blacksmith could do in a pinch, designing and manufacturing a
prototype weapon system comparable to the stuff available today (let alone
in the 2060s) is a lot more work.

Here's a link to Remington's website, for a job opening for a real

The quick facts.. Responsibilities include product conception, detailed part
modeling, prototype builds, schedule generation, and budget
responsibilities. Qualifications: Bachelors Degree and at least 5 years
design experience in a firearms related field. Additional consideration will
be given to those with a Masters Degree, relevant job experience and
SolidWorks CAD experience. Candidate should enjoy hunting, fishing and other
outdoor sports.

There's also an opening there for a Chemist, whose job would be mostly to
test materials involved in firearms and ammunition manufacture.

Now it can be argued that in the 2060s, a lot of the technical stuff that a
person didn't have could be addressed by sophisticated CAD systems and
expert systems on a good deck. However, there's still no substitute for
having the knowledge and experience about what works and what doesn't.

In my games, I've never allowed characters to design firearms from
scratch... it's just too much work and usually requires the expertise and
work of more than one person for a modern weapon. It also requires
'FACILITY'-level B/R equipment. I don't care how smart a person is, they're
NOT going to manufacture firearms out of the back of a van.

Assuming a facility is available, and the character plans to play someone
who is more of an engineer than a shadowrunners, complementary skills too
B/R Firearm could be:

- ballistics and mechanics (as you mentioned)
- engineering (mechanical - includes practical aspects of physics and
- physics
- chemistry (ammo)
Maybe a specialized knowledge skill called 'Firearms Design'... also stuff
like "history of firearms" might be appropriate to have for RP purposes if
the character is really a gun nut.

This is probably way more than you need/want in terms of feedback for this,
but it's a pet peeve of mine that people seem to think you can just whip up
a gun out of spare parts lying around your workroom. A crude zipgun or
saturday-night special is doable, but the drumfed autoloading shotguns with
underbarrel grenadelaunchers that people always seem to be asking for in
Shadowrun just aren't doable without a LOT of support and a LOT of education
& experience.

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Further Reading

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