27 July, 2010

Beretta 92/96 series

Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 15rds (20rd avail.)
Cost: $490, 15rd magazine $19, 20rd magazine $24
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

The Model 92F/FS is the civilian model of the military M9 pistol.  The Beretta is distinct in having won three weapon trials to reach service – JSSAP in 1980, the XM9 trials in 1983 and the XM10 trials in 1988.  The Air Force adopted the Beretta 92SB-1 in small numbers following JSSAP (Joint Service Small Arms Program) but the Army remanded a rematch and organized the XM9 trials.  The updated 92F won this trial as well and became the issue weapon of the US military in 1985.  In 1988 the slide on a SEAL Team M9 fractured and hit the sailor in the face causing facial lacerations.  An investigation lead to the discovery of a few other such events, signs of stress fractures on the slides of other M9s and the procurement of the weapon was halted.  At issue was the area of the slide under the ejection port, excessive stress – caused by hot loaded ammunition – caused metal fatigue that went unnoticed by Navy armorers.  The Navy purchased the SIG-Sauer P226 for SEAL use and retrofitted an enclosed slide to the Fleet’s other M9s.  These “Dolphin” slides were soon discarded due to increased feed problems caused by the design, and P226s in SEAL service also suffered slide failures caused by the hot loaded ammunition.  In 1988, the XM10 trials were organized – and the Beretta (model 92FS) won yet again.
The 92FS differs from the earlier 92F in that a slide retention device was added.  This internal modification features a hook that catches on an enlarged hammer axis pin in the case of a slide failure – preventing it from injuring the firer.  Models without this feature (made before 1988), using P+ ammo,  may separate on a critical failure, causing d4 damage to the firer’s face or chest.  This should be a rare occurrence for well-maintained M9/92s.
Other 92 series weapons can be represented with these stats as the differences are usually minor.  The first generation Model 92 (1976-81) featured a European-type mag release on the heel of the butt, a frame mounted safety and a rounded trigger guard.  The 92S moved the safety to the left side of the slide – it was not ambidextrous.  The 92SB, as adopted by the USAF in 1980, had an ambidextrous slide mounted safety, and an American type mag release behind the still rounded trigger guard.  The 92F (initial issue M9) changed the safety to a decocking lever, added a recurved trigger guard and thicker magazine floor plate.
The Berretta 92 series was the issue weapon of numerous law enforcement bodies, most notably the LAPD.  Its popularity with LAPD officers declined following the North Hollywood Shootout – where the penetration of the 9mm round was insufficient to penetrate the bank robbers body armor.
The Model 96, chambered in .40 S&W, was introduced in 1990.

Caliber: .40 S&W
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6+1
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 10rds
Cost: $460, 10rd magazine $15
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

The San Francisco Police Department began issuing the Model 96D in the mid-1990s.
Full-size Beretta 92/96s are available with numerous features.  Inox versions feature stainless steel construction.  92D/96D models are double action only, may not double tap (replace the note “Semi-Auto” with “Double-Action”), cost $50 less, and lack the decocking lever and hammer spur.

20 July, 2010

Browning Hi-Power

Caliber: 9mmP
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 13rds
Cost: $470, 13rd magazine $17
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

Based on the classic Belgian design of 1935, this commercial model, the Mark I, was introduced in 1954.  The Hi-Power was long the service pistol of Britain and the Commonwealth – and a favored weapon of the SAS until replaced by the P226 in the 1990s.  Slight design improvements were made in 1973 that led to the Mark II of the early 1980s.  Early Mark IIs featured the walnut grips pictured above.  These were replaced in production with molded polyamide in 1986 and on all Mark IIIs in 1988.  The Hi-Power features a magazine disconnect, making the weapon unusable without a seated magazine – this feature is often removed in customized examples.
From 1993 .40S&W-chambered Hi-Powers Mark IIIs became available, with a 10rd magazine capacity.

Caliber: .40 S&W
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6+1
RoF: 1
Weight: 2lbs
Shots: 10rds
Cost: $460, 10rd magazine $15
Notes:AP1, Semi-Auto

13 July, 2010

Smith & Wesson Model 4500 Series

Caliber: .45 ACP
Range: 12/24/48
Damage: 2d6+1
RoF: 1
Weight: 3lbs
Shots: 8rds
Cost: $490, 8rd magazine $14
Notes: AP1, Semi-Auto

Produced from 1988 to 1999, the 4506 was the flagship of Smith & Wesson’s third generation pistols in .45 caliber. The initial design was very similar in appearance to the 2nd generation 645, with stepped frame and recurved trigger guard. The later 4506-1 featured a slab sided frame and smoother, curved trigger guard. The construction is all stainless-steel with wrap-around grips. The slide mounted lever functions as a safety as well as a decocking lever.
The 4506 is one of the authorized pistols for LAPD officers following the North Hollywood Shootout.

06 July, 2010

DIY Stats: Firearms

Players always want more guns. They want special guns – unique guns. In many cases the gun helps define the character: A grizzled vet detective with his snub nosed .38; the retired Nam marine with his trusty M1911A1.
As a player and GM I have long collected weapons manuals for RPGs as well as real steel guns guides. Some of my most used books were Charles Ryan’s UltraModern Firearms for Millennium’s End, and Kevin Dockery’s system-non-specific Compendium of Modern Firearms: Edge of the Sword Volume 1 (sadly Volume 2 was never to be).
The pièce de résistance was BTRC’s 3G3 and More Guns.
3G3 was unique in that it allowed the player or GM to create guns using scientific formula. Any gun that existed, could have existed, or could exist in the future could be made and given stats in any number of game systems. I have spreadsheet files that trace lineage back to Windows 3.1, detailing the stats for various weapons. Over the time I have tweaked them and modified them for use in my games. When I needed stats for a new gun, I could input the weapons real world stats and the sheet would generate consistent stats in the system I was using (mostly Interlock and Fuzion). When we started playing Savage Worlds a few years ago – these charts came back out to find new, altered, life.
I found with Savage Worlds that the charts did not need to be as mired in physics as the Interlock and Fuzion charts were. After several trials and errors I settled on the system I use today. Base damage is determined by a modified DV formula from 3G3. This DV is then altered by the weapon’s barrel length to give number equating to the average damage dice roll. This base DV is also used to generate a weapon cost, also based on a modified 3G3 formula. Range was much trickier to generate – my previous charts failed to give results that did not differ significantly from those published in Savage Worlds. Rather than wholly supplant the SW stats I devised a simple chart based on weapon type, barrel length and muzzle energy to create a chart that closely follows published stats for pistols and rifles. I will note however that these charts tend to extend the range of SMGs slightly – rather than make a third chart I decided this was an acceptable compromise (the MP5 should shoot farther than the Glock).

02 July, 2010

Dead Men's Hands

From: Mr. Zebulon Pike, Sioux Nation
To: Mrs. Hannelore West, Kingsport, Mass.
August 1877
Beloved Sister,
I know that you are fond of both reading and writing fantastical fiction and the tale I am about to tell seems taken from the pages of Sheridan’s ghost stories, though with a distinctly less gothic bent and certainly nowhere near as literary as your creations.
In celebration of the grand opening of Messrs. Tobin, Pace and Bongiovi’s “establishment”, a gambling tournament was hosted. It would seem that, with my automated pancake machine as a centerpiece, the so-called “House of Pancakes” was not to be merely a brothel but also a saloon and general gathering place. For all their brutality on the trail when under fire, my comrades present themselves as marginally respectable. Even so, my interaction with this event was only to keep the machine running to feed our guests.
Oh, and I am pleased to tell you that I have completed the blueberry formula. While it contains no actual blueberries and tastes almost, but not quite, entirely unlike blueberries, it is exceptionally good and is wildly popular. Huzzah for modern chemistry! I have included the formulae and recipes along with the plans for the machine itself and ask that you convey them to my patent solicitor, Mr. Siegfried Block of Post Office Square, Boston. While I have heard rumors of another pancake machine, I am sure that mine would be an improvement of magnitudes when combined with the custom batters. It is important that such things be documented and registered lest some upstart claim my superior machine as some copy of a lesser device.
Where was I? Oh, yes. The murder.
It occurred in one of the upstairs rooms reserved for “guesting,” to use a polite euphemism. It did not take long to exonerate the girl Sung Lee in the strangulation. In spite of one of their own having been mysteriously murdered, the other gamblers were not deterred from continuing their game the next night as there were large stakes to be won or lost. With Mr. Pace thus engaged in gambling and attempting to determine if one of the other gamblers was the murderer, and Mr. Tobin acting as present security for the House, it left Mr. Bongiovi and I to set out and investigate what we could.
At first, the Sheriff Bullock seemed disinclined to assist us. I suspect that our founding of a new brothel interfered with his long established business dealings with the Bella Union and Gem Saloon. Later, however, his lack of inclination turned into outright inattention. It would seem that he was under some outside influence, perhaps a drug-induced susceptibility to suggestion or mesmerism. In any case, our dealings with the sheriff and his condition caught us unawares when another murder occurred. This time, at the Gem Saloon.
Mr. Bongiovi provided the distraction while I was able to infiltrate the room of the murdered gambler to investigate. There I found papers that lead me to suspect a young card sharp named Spinner was involved, either as an accomplice or even as the murderer. Spinner’s room was just down the hall and entering that room I found a steamer trunk which contained only a fine layer of soil. This immediately suggested to me the Eastern European myths of vampires and I felt sure that I had found the murderer’s lair.
I improvised a fire-trap and fled out the window when Mr. Bongiovi’s antics no longer held the attentions of the saloon’s employees, eventually taking up an observatory position on a nearby rooftop.
It was several hours before Spinner returned and, through the window I was able to observe her arrival. Indeed, I saw that what we had thought to be a young man was, in fact, a disguised woman. This revelation was not of any significance when compared to the moment that she opened the steamer trunk and my incendiary detonated.
Unexpectedly, I began taking gunfire from out the windows of adjoining rooms. It would seem that our murderess had accomplices. We had exchanged a few rounds of ineffectual gunfire when a singed and quite angry Miss Skinner leapt from the room, across the alley to the adjoining rooftop where I was. She no longer appeared as a young woman, or even as a disguised young man but as a demon, with ashen skin, fangs, claws and even wings upon her back. I now had to contend not only with an enraged vampire at close quarters but also with two gunfighters shooting at me from across the way. Several .41 caliber projectiles from my pistol found their mark in the creature’s chest but failed to slow it down. My efforts to deliver a fatal shot to the head missed their mark. Finally, still taking pistol fire from the hotel windows, I activated the conflagrationator concealed in my cane and unleashed it’s chemical inferno.
The flames were spectacular, disgorging with power and range to fill the one room across the alley, setting my one assailant ablaze. The cone of combustion washed across another room and sent the other gunfighter reeling. Though he was only singed, he was no longer firing at me. Lastly, I turned the nozzle upon Miss. Skinner and at point blank range, the last of the discharge seared away flesh.
Badly injured, she fled to the street but did not go far as Mr. Pace came upon the scene and, with a few rounds from his Winchester rifle, brought her down. I put the miserable wretch out of its misery with a a buckshot round to the back of the skull.
Things have calmed down significantly. The surviving accomplice has been taken into custody and is apparently revealing everything in an attempt to avoid the hangman’s noose. Mr. Pace has returned to his gambling tournament and looks to be making a tidy profit. Having had a murder in our establishment seems to have dampened enthusiasm during our opening week but the favorable reputation of “The Infernal Pancake Machine” seems to be offsetting that slow start. I have set up a makeshift laboratory in a laundry next door and have found some interesting things from Miss Skinner’s dissection.
I am developing plans for an arc lamp which, when enhanced with hydrogen gas, should be even more effective against similar solatopic beings than my conflagrationator was. (I am still displeased with that name. Pray, come up with something better.) I will send you plans for that as well once they are complete and successfully tested in addition to some others. I have built a narrow-gauge mine engine that runs on compressed air rather than a tradition external combustion steam engine. This will aid the local miners where highly combustible coal dust and gases is a significant hazard.
Stay well and be sure to write to me. I look forward to hearing how things are transpiring back home.
Your ever loving brother,
Zebulon
This was the seventh session of our Deadlands campaign.  It was the second Deadlands session run by yours truly.  It was based on the Shadow Stalkers adventure “Dead Men’s Hands” from D20 Past.  The adventure was run in Spring, 2008.  This letter was written by Zebulon’s player.