Saturday, October 20, 2018

Other Universes: Silhouette Skills in MegaTraveller

One of the concerns when moving between game systems is allowing for differences in skill lists. While a decent GM can make rulings on an ad hoc basis, there's always the risk of those rulings changing over time. So, to allow for conversion between Silhouette and the various Traveller systems, I sat down with a list of skills and the MegaTraveller Players' Manual and came up with what I consider to be a decent conversion from one system to the other. Converting will require the Players' Manual and (for House Rules systems) a copy of Survival Margin or some other document to convert from MegaTraveller to New Era.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Other Universes: Silhouette Characters in GDW's House Rules system

I'm a fan of Dream Pod 9's old role-playing games, Heavy Gear, Jovian Chronicles, and Tribe 8. These games use a custom system called Silhouette that utilizes only six-sided dice, with stats ranging from -3 to +3 and skills ranging from 1 to 5. This post is the start of a means of converting these characters to either MegaTraveller or the House Rules system used in Dark Conspiracy, Twilight 2000 v2.2, and Traveller: The New Era. Planned future posts will look at personal weapons and armor.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Tanks of the Spanish Civil War - Introduction and Overview

When the Spanish Civil War started in 1936, Spain had few tanks and little experience with them. A dozen Renault FTs, a handful of Schneider CAs, and four Trubia A4s (a domestic derivative of the FT) constituted the entire tank force of Spain. Of those tanks, the Republicans would start the war with 5 FTs, 4 CAs, and 1 A4, while the Nationalists had 5 FTs and 3 A4s. The only domestic production during the war would be a dozen Trubia Naval tanks. Both versions of the Trubia tank were armed solely with machine guns.

The vast majority of the tanks in the war came from three nations that ignored the arms embargo on both sides - the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy. The Soviet Union would supply 281 T-26 tanks and 50 BT-5 fast tanks to the Republicans, while the two fascist nations would provide 122 Panzer I tanks and 155 L3/33 and L3/35 tankettes.

Per Stephen Zaloga's research, the deliveries of Soviet tanks were as follows:
12 Oct 1936 - 50 T-26
25 Nov 1936 - 37 T-26
30 Nov 1936 - 19 T-26
06 Mar 1937 - 60 T-26
08 Mar 1937 - 40 T-26
07 May 1937 - 50 T-26
10 Aug 1937 - 50 BT-5
13 Mar 1938 - 25 T-26

Meanwhile, the Nationalists received the following deliveries:
August 1936 - 5 L3
October 1936 - 41 PzKpfw I, 10 L3
December 1936 - 21 PzKpfw I, 20 L3
Jan/Feb 1937 - 24 L3
March 1937 - 24 L3
April 1937 - 12 L3
August 1937 - 30 PzKpfw I
September 1937 - 16 L3
December 1937 - 10 PzKpfw I
April 1938 - 12 L3
Nov/Dec 1938 - 32 L3
January 1939 - 30 PzKpfw I

These would be the primary armored fighting vehicles of the Spanish Civil War.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Field Artillery of the American Civil War

The data below are for some of the most common field artillery of the American Civil War. Some explanation of ammunition types is needed.

Shell is a hollow round filled with gunpowder. It uses a timed fuse to detonate (ideally) just over a target, maximizing the concussive force. It was used primarily against fortifications and enemy artillery. Shell causes both concussion and fragmentation damage.

Shot is a solid round, primarily used by smoothbores against cavalry, infantry in column formation, or infantry taken by enfilade. This would (if fired properly) bounce through the formation like a bowling ball, shattering everything in its way. Rifled guns rarely used solid rounds ("bolt") in ground combat, since they couldn't be bounced. At sea, solid shot was more common for its increased penetration against ships. By the time of the Battle of Gettysburg, Union rifled artillery no longer carried bolts as a standard ammunition type.

Canister is essentially a giant shotgun round, generally with one-inch diameter shot packed into a thin sheet metal can. It would split upon firing, creating a spray immediately in front of the barrel and extending from the barrel per the standard burst rules. It inflicts only fragmentation damage.

Case is a hollow round filled with shot and a small bursting charge. It would be time fused (like shell) and was intended to burst about 5 yards above an enemy formation, scattering the shot. It has no concussive effect, but creates a fragmentation burst as per the standard rules.

Three gun carriages were used during the Civil War, all designed pre-war. The lightest carriage was for the M1841 6-pdr, and massed 409 kilograms. This carriage was used for all of the rifled pieces listed below. The second was for the M1841 12-pdr, and it massed 534 kilograms. The last was for the M1857 12-pdr, which massed 513 kilograms.

Smoothbore guns

M1841 6-pdr (9.3 cm)
Tube Weight: 402 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 137 Crew:8
Shell: C: 3 B: 11 Pen: 2C
Shot: D: 21 Pen: 2/1/1/1
Canister: D: 2/1 B: 69 Pen: 1-Nil
Case: D: 2/1 B: 24 Pen: 1-Nil

M1841 12-pdr (11.7 cm)
Tube Weight: 818 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 150 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 4 B: 14 Pen: 5C
Shot: D: 26 Pen: 3/3/2/1
Canister: D: 2/1 B: 75 Pen: 1-Nil
Case: D: 2/1 B: 30 Pen: 1-Nil

M1857 12-pdr "Napoleon" (11.7 cm)
Tube Weight: 558 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 138 Crew:8
Shell: D: 4 B: 14 Pen: 5C
Shot: D: 26 Pen: 3/3/2/1
Canister: D: 2/1 B: 69 Pen: 1-Nil
Case: D: 2/1 B: 30 Pen: 1-Nil

Rifled guns

6-pdr Wiard Rifle (6.6 cm)
Tube Weight: 330 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 211 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 2 B: 8 Pen: Nil
Shot: D: 15 Pen: 1/1/1/1
Case: D: 2/1 B: 17 Pen: 1-Nil

10-pdr Parrott Rifle (7.62 cm)
Tube Weight: 405 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 241 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 3 B: 9 Pen: 1C
Shot: D: 17 Pen: 2/2/2/1
Case: D: 2/1 B: 20 Pen: 1-Nil

10-pdr Ordnance Rifle (7.62 cm)
Tube Weight: 371 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 234 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 3 B: 9 Pen: 1C
Shot: D: 17 Pen: 2/2/2/1
Case: D: 2/1 B: 20 Pen: 1-Nil

12-pdr Whitworth Rifle (7 cm)
Tube Weight: 496 kg
Rld: 2 Rng: 292 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 2 B: 8 Pen: Nil
Shot: D: 15 Pen: 2/1/1/1
Case: D: 2/1 B: 18 Pen: 1-Nil

12-pdr Blakely Rifle (8.89 cm)
Tube Weight: 364 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 206 Crew: 8
Shell: D: 4 B: 11 Pen: 2C
Shot: D: 20 Pen: 3/2/2/1
Case: D: 2/1 B: 23 Pen: 1-Nil

14-pdr James Rifle (9.7 cm)
Tube Weight: 416 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 220 Crew: 10
Shell: D: 5 B: 12 Pen: 3C
Shot: D: 21 Pen: 4/3/3/2
Case: D: 2/1 B: 25 Pen: 1-Nil

20-pdr Parrott Rifle (9.3 cm)
Tube Weight: 795 kg
Rld: 3 Rng: 241 Crew: 10
Shell: D: 4 B: 15 Pen: 2C
Shot: D: 21 Pen: 4/4/3/2
Case: D: 2/1 B: 31 Pen: 1-Nil