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Rifles and Shotguns
Split the skill or no?

So we've been having some discussions staff side about the rifle skill, and if we should spend the time and energy to split "rifle" into shotguns and rifles properly, or simply rename the skill and flesh it out a bit more maybe, or not touch it at all.

At one point in this discussion Johnny, in a rare moment of democratic feeling, suggested that we put it to the players and see what their thoughts on the current implementation of the rifle skill is.

So this is your chance! Without revealing IC info(as always), let us know here what you think of the current state of the rifle skill and current rifles / shotguns in the game. Keep in mind that we may end up not touching it at all, doing something entirely different, or any number of other things! But we will read and take your feedback into account.

I do not think it needs to be its own skill, but I do think your effectiveness with one or the other should be dependent on stat allocation.
I think splitting them would be a neat way to add more weapons to the game and improve upon the already existing weapons on both sides.
I think that if you wanted to add more weapons to the class, that you'd pretty much have to split it.

And I think that's probably a good thing. Right now, Shotguns don't get representation for a ''best in class slot'' and that's a shame. The game would be amazing with something like an auto-shotty, or a heavier gauge shotgun a-la Shadowrun's heavy gauge street sweepers.

I also feel that 'rifles' as it is now, could benefit from more carbines in the line, and more ''intermediary'' filler where the shotguns are right now.

Currently we have one ''long range'' rifle which doesn't pack a lot of bite, and then the next logical progression from that is one of the most expensive investments in the game to fully kit out.

Suggestion: Carbine (cqb/intermediate range) + Long rifle parity of some form.

Breakoff Shotguns into their own class, add additional support for custom loads such as flechettes and AP loads. While you're doing this, please consider retroactively adding box-mag support to existing (where appropriate) shotguns just as a QOL thing. Could even make it a new mod.

I'd also suggest allowing people to choke their shotguns to help lessen range penalties if they so choose (this would work well with aforementioned flechette and AP-rounds.)

I've know a lot of characters who were very into the idea of a sniper archetype, but the skill is hard to invest in with that in mind because you're mostly dedicating to weapons that are kind of the opposite of that, and the zenith is almost mythical for its rarity so there's no guarantee a character will ever use a rifle again after the lower-tiered one.
I for one, would love to slug snipe someone.

+1 Talon

I agree on the yes, split the skills off. Just make more mid-tier rifles so people don't get majorly put off the skill because of the heavy investment sets in rather early on compared to other weapon skills.
Adding on to what 0x1mm said, I don't think that the game adequately prepares you for learning that ''sniping'' as it were is really a support skill/support equipment.

Adding additional rifles would help mitigate that sting some for people who aren't exactly envisioning their character as a in-your-face bruiser style shotgun user.

Really, speaking without much knowledge on the in-game mechanics of it, there does appear to be a lack of options in the two distinct weapon types, and it's always struck me as a little off that the skill for them is lumped together. The same logic dictating that pistol training wouldn't translate to SMGs, would say that rifles and shotguns are tactically and practically different in their usage, as well. Slightly different, but different. That's just my surface glance, though.
I think if you were to split them and replace the shotguns that are currently rifles it may be hard to come up with stuff that doesn't directly mirror existing weapons of other weapon skills. Mid-level rifles of higher calibers sound like a good idea until you realize there's already stuff that exists which would be extremely similar.

With this logic, rifles and sniping should do more damage than currently form afar and shotguns less.

Also as mentioned, sniping is a 'support' skill until its not...

Some rifles could have a full auto or spread range for multiple targets options from afar, same goes for a shotgun with a wide enough spread.

I generally agree with what most people said, specially Talon. I think there are some old threads where this has been discussed plenty with good ideas.

Should've had this in my last post.

I'm against higher caliber mid-level rifles both because they'd just be doing the jobs of other weapon skills and because rifles at the upper end are the most different when compared to any other weapon skill in the game. Not only would they start doing the jobs of other weapons, but they'd continue to do their own job the best.

Sorry for the double post but I forgot to mention.

If the skill is split I am very curious if a certain weapon with multiple firing modes and multiple ammunition types would be affected in the split of this skill. I guess it could go either way or none but definitely curious about what the staff would do in that regard.

Please, do not split rifles and shotguns. Hear me out.

All the best Pistol users use ______.

All the best Long Blade users use _____.

Anyone who's been playing the game long enough knows exactly which weapons that I mean. Whereas with rifles...? There's about 3-4 answers you could give.

Rifles has been, in my mind, a fantastic skill for people who want a bit of play and versatility in their skill. Like others mentioned before, sniping is more of a support skill and the game doesn't prepare you for that. That's been a boon to sniping more than anything to me, as you have your "bread and butter" every day carries while you break out the specialized equipment.

If anything, add some more alternatives to the "tiers" present in rifles. Like others mentioned, there's gaps where there's no viable carbines/snipers/DSR/etc or there's no shotguns.

Not only this, but give the same treatment to other skills that lack variety. Pistols and Melee users have a wide range of weapons on the lower and mid ranges, whereas things like Swords and SMGs have been horribly linear with their choices and no alternatives in their ranks.

If people are that upset about calling shotguns "rifles", just rename it to Longarms lol

tl;dr Don't remove Rifles' versatility and instead build on it, and give other weapon classes the same treatment to avoid the linear nature of weapon progression.

+1 to HolyChrome.

My biggest gripe with weapons in general has always been that aside from minor differences, you just want to go for the 'best' weapon your budget allows. It becomes a matter of money instead of character / encounter type. This would be hard to do with melee weapons, but in terms of firearms, there's plenty you could do.

Weapons that reload faster, fire more often, cause more bleeding, ammo types for getting past armor, 'smart' guns that auto-snipe targets in another room, weapons that knock people into other rooms, start fires, sprays everyone in the room, etc.

I was definitely in the position of once trying out a gun that the name of suggested it would have one of these features, and was pretty disappointed when it worked just like every other gun.

So yeah, please don't hurt one of the weapon classes that has actual variety in it. Snipers and shotguns, to my limited knowledge, are one of the few guns in the game that have clear advantages and disadvantages, unlike everything else. I've long wanted weapons to be more than just a stat stick, where everyone goes 'oh, he has THAT sword, so he's really good'.

Unless we are looking at adding a synergy mechanics (Related skills adding partial levels to one another), I believe splitting longarms up in to rifles and shotguns is a mistake.

Already there are too many hard splits in skills, and I'd actually rather see this go the other way (roll -ALL- firearms into a common firearms skill, let roleplay and equipment define the differences, not obscure mechanics).

Here I am holding out for the chance of chainsaws and flamethrowers. Would splitting the skill mean there would be a greater likelihood of chainsaws and flamethrowers in-game? Then I'm for it.

Otherwise I have no opinion. 💚

I think HolyChrome is really spot on about what makes the rifles skill interesting and different than the other weapon skills in the game -- and in general I agree that I think having a broader range of equipment to play up some variety would be good across many weapons skills in the mid-high tier. That may be worth it's own post frankly.
Lot of really good ideas in this thread, and they've sparked some good discussion on staff side about feasibility and what we should do, etc :)

Appreciate the feedback, keep it coming if you have more! :D

Popping back in to say that an alternative could be to combine shotguns, snipers, and carbines into an overarching Longarms skill, then put assault rifles and machine pistols in with SMGs to make Automatics.

If you're looking for more logical groupings that wouldn't break the current set-ups and build upon them instead.

I really like @HC's suggestion about merging ARs, machine pistols and SMGs into an Automatics category. That seems to lend itself to a natural progression from machine pistols at the low end, up through SMGs and into ARs.

I think that shotguns should be their own category due to the way they work and the ranges that you would use them at. But I understand that because of game mechanics there isn't enough depth there to break them off into their own category without them becoming a linear progression where we end up with a "best" shotgun that "everyone" ends up wanting / using.

I like HC's idea.

"Automatics" as a skill. Could be broken into a few different classes across the spectrum of progression.

Machine pistols that are relatively high damage for a 'lower' tier weapon but have terrible accuracy. No fire select, for balancing reasons. Inspiration being things like the Glock 18C, Skorpion, HK VP70.

Subguns as they are more or less now. It'd be nice to see some commonly-used modifications for these added. Sorely missing are foregrips, as most sub guns have relatively poor or no heat shielding and barrels that get insanely hot. It'd be great to see a bit of modernity/futuristic styling on these, perhaps including things like the MP-7, HK UMP-45, Kriss Vector.

At the high end, parallel options for fully-automatic rifles. Given the surge in popularity of pistol-caliber AR pattern rifles in recent years, I can only see these as logically being wildly popular in the legal constraints of Withmore. All the accuracy and stability of a rifle platform. Examples would be things like the SIG MPX, Colt AR-pattern 9mm rifles (these could be refit for a higher caliber for balance reasons, such as 11mm.)

On the modding front, smudges could surely benefit from foregrips, stock buffer pads, laser aiming modules (I think these already exist? Maybe just in descriptions, and not function?) and holographic sights. Primary consideration for lightweight automatics is generally target acquisition and recoil management.

For rifles, I think there could be similar parity here.

Shotguns could have their own progression. They need a bit more representation at ''high'' levels. Perhaps something that can take a drum mag at the high-end. Pure ballistics aside, one of the lasting strengths of shotguns on the modern battlefield is their ability to take tactical loads. Something I'd love to see in SD. As mentioned earlier in this thread, Flechette rounds offer superior armor penetration to traditional ball ammo buckshot. As do armor-piercing slugs, which often take the form of fin-stabilized discarding sabot rounds. Explosive rounds and non-lethals are also very much a thing for shotguns. For the sake of game balance, I'd imagine that explosive ammunition could simply be treated as doing blunt force trauma and not like, being totally overpowered.

Mods for shotguns could be chokes for additional range or accuracy, magazine mods for shotguns that don't innately support them, extended mags for ones that do, holographic sights, laser aiming modules, or perhaps some kind of rapid-reload mod that would let you use the weapon without having to spam reloads regularly.

Finally, for rifles, in the mid range, I'd expect to see some carbines and designated marksman's rifles. High-caliber ammunition is very much lacking in this regard. We have our two ''super calibers'' for rifles, but we could easily hand-wave and say that there's semi-automatic pistol-caliber 10,11, and 12mm carbines. Options for this could be things like the long-barreled version of the FN P90X, Steyer AUG which has a marksman's version, Tavor X95, SIX MPX (long-barrel version).

For Mods, I think that scopes should be dropped in price. They're currently priced the same as TruSights (What?) and could probably come down in price. Alternatively, offer a lower-power version that can only zoom a fixed 'distance' at a budget price, and then allow higher power versions to retain their price. For bolt-action rifles, straight-pull bolt modifications are somewhat popular, if machinework intensive mods. This allows the marksman to fire at a much higher rate, since they don't have to re-acquire sight picture to the target between rounds. Accurized floating barrels could be a re-imaging of an existing mod that does similar functions now. I'll admit I don't know pretty much a single thing about loading ammunition in SD, but in the accuracy world, ammunition is literally everything. This could be an additional enhancement for another time, perhaps. Allowing techs to press quality small-batch ammo for the purposes of ''accuracy'' which perhaps could translate into a critical chance bonus in-game.

Then the totally obvious thing everyone in the SD gun world wants: Some kind of superglue solvent we can burn flash on to remove those epoxied-on mods with! This could open up a whole secondary economic market for stolen and black market mods.

i will literally take anything if it increases the chance of finally getting some new *actually cyberpunk* weapons
Is this the sort of thing that @vote could be used for? That seems a more reliable way to weigh support for and against this idea or it's proposals.

I for one stand very much in line with HolyChrome's line of thinking. There are already totally unusued skills. It makes little sense to fragment the ones we have more to me.