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Milo v3
2013-03-04, 12:11 AM
I'm currently making a game system in a "Kind of" sci-fi setting with LASERs, mechs, and spaceships. But as a result of the advanced tech, I've found that Melee has become useless.

Is their a way to make melee not useless in a game with advanced technology?

Background info:
The setting isn't technically Sci-Fi, but it fits the Sci-Fi genre better than fantasy. It is merely sufficiently understood magic which they treat as science and has been used to create advanced technology.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 12:29 AM
Without doing a bunch of stuff that's blatantly there just so dudes with hyperspears can stab each other, not really. On the other hand if you're using magic as a technological proxy, we're already way the hell out there so why not stick in some mysterio-shields or whatever so the hyperspearmen can charge up and impale the occasional machine gunner?

Idea: shields that provide protection against high velocity projectiles inversely proportional to their flight time. You can't shoot out of them because your bullet would splatter all over the inside and you'd enjoy a refreshing molten lead shower. Inside of maybe 30 feet or so they provide a reasonable amount of miss chance or damage mitigation or AC increase or whatever mechanic you're using for defense. Beyond that they rapidly decline in effectiveness, so that at long ranges they're useless. That way if you want to do the stabbing thing, you want to get close fast, and stay close. Anybody who wants to shoot is encouraged to engage at long range and put lots of firepower on their targets, and still carry a back-up weapon in case anybody gets close.

It's complete and utter nonsense, but so what? The setting serves what you want to do with it, not the other way 'round.

BRC
2013-03-04, 12:29 AM
Shields.

There exist Shields that can stop high-energy projectiles like Bullets and Lasers, reducing their impact. It will still hurt getting shot, but you can keep going. However, the shields work both ways, if you are wearing one, any projectiles you shoot will be similarly slowed down.
Melee-fighters go in Shields-up with hand weapons. The Melee weapons are low-energy enough that they pass right through the shields. Ranged fighters go in without Shields.

Edit: You win this time Warty...you win this time.

DMMike
2013-03-04, 12:37 AM
What happened to the light-sabre? If your combat is best handled at-range, then reward the bold who charge against the onslaught by giving them insta-kill light-sabres.

If you're badass, or lucky enough, to survive a salvo, congrats - you chop the enemy in half.

Grinner
2013-03-04, 12:44 AM
Umm.....Power armor? When faced with superior weapons, the only appropriate response is to develop armor to counter those weapons. In fact, I remember reading a third-party 3.5 sourcebook which made mention of something called golem armor.

shadow_archmagi
2013-03-04, 12:44 AM
In addition to ranged-blocking armor/shields and more powerful melee weapons, there's also the terrain issue-

Melee can also be important in any situation where mobility and vision are limited, such as in tunnels, ship corridors, sandstorms, ion storms, etc.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 12:48 AM
What happened to the light-sabre? If your combat is best handled at-range, then reward the bold who charge against the onslaught by giving them insta-kill light-sabres.

If you're badass, or lucky enough, to survive a salvo, congrats - you chop the enemy in half.

A strategy that has had a noted lack of success ever since the invention of the machine gun. You really need some serious made-up stuff to keep the lightsaber dudes from being blown full of holes when they're still 200 meters away.

Besides which, charge and hope you live is fairly crappy game design. It's rather short of interesting things to do.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 12:51 AM
Terrain. You would have to be an idiot to bring a gun to a knife fight inside of 6 meters/yards because of the draw/reaction time. Indoors or after you drop a baffling device, encounter ranges are short. Furthermore, you might fight inside of spaceships sometimes, and energy beams/projectiles tend to ricochet and go places that are very bad for everyone on the ship. Seriously, if you're starting combats a long way away on an open field, you aren't even going to be able to get melee able to do anything in a low magic DnD setting.

Zahhak
2013-03-04, 12:56 AM
The majority of combat in modern wars involves rifles, grenades, machine guns, mortars, artillery, rockets, tanks, and smart bombs, but in 2007(?) a Marine fighting in Iraq received a commendation for combat action that involved him stabbing an insurgent to death, in 2004 a section of Marine infantry made a bayonet charge against a numerically superior and entrenched force, and elements of the British military have been commendated for making bayonet charges as recently as 2011, and every modern military teaches bayonet, knife, and hand to hand fighting techniques. With all of our advanced technology, reasonably, these things should never happen. Time spent learning bayonet techniques would be spent on the rifle range, knife combat training would be spent on the pistol range, and time on hand to hand to combatives would be spent on the grenade range. So, why is this not the case? One world: environment.

The world population is increasing, which is pushing more people into urban environments. While some places may have incredibly long straight streets, most don't. This reduces the use of weapons like machine guns and mortars. The short range and poor training of some sides discourages pitched battles, and encourages quick strikes in a short range, where bayonet charges and knife strikes become practical. And just imagine how close you would be fighting in a house.

All of that, that applies to a sci fi setting. There will be a lot of time up close and personal where melee skills come in handy.

ArcturusV
2013-03-04, 01:03 AM
I mean... melee happens. There's a reason even modern militaries still train their soldiers in hand to hand combat, why they are given knives as standard combat gear. It has several benefits. Including Stealth obviously. "Silencers" are not actually silenced, and if you want to take someone down without noise, a knife is still pretty much the best solution.

The "Ship" issue is often why you see things like Shotguns on Ship Security Troops in Sci-Fi. The limitations of a shotgun aren't really an issue inside an enclosed, tight environment like a ship. And they are low powered enough the ricochets and collateral damage in a fire fight are limited.

Of course since this is "Magic is technology" and not "Hard" Sci-Fi, you also have things like teleportation possible, which means Melee gets a lot more viable when you can pop in troops right on top of the enemy. Who says you have to charge across 200 yards of open territory to get in melee range? Maybe you just snap some fingers and POOF, you're in their face without having crossed the intermediate terrain.

Also this depends on how the arms race between Attack and Defense is going. If Defense is winning, melee becomes more viable. When you have to get within a certain range just to have a hope of punching through armor, then suddenly that's just what you have to do. This would be the standard idea of the Infantry Platoon in generations gone by against Tanks. They have to get close, use things like improvised bombs thrown by hand, or anti-tank shoulder fired weapons that were only accurate within something like 30 yards, etc.

If you get to a point where the Attack is far outpacing Defenses, then you end up like situations akin to modern warfare where the Tank gets blasted by an aircraft they can't even see dropping ordinance on them far away from their ability to possibly hope to counterattack.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 01:03 AM
Terrain. You would have to be an idiot to bring a gun to a knife fight inside of 6 meters/yards because of the draw/reaction time. Indoors or after you drop a baffling device, encounter ranges are short. Furthermore, you might fight inside of spaceships sometimes, and energy beams/projectiles tend to ricochet and go places that are very bad for everyone on the ship. Seriously, if you're starting combats a long way away on an open field, you aren't even going to be able to get melee able to do anything in a low magic DnD setting.

Which makes perfect sense except for the bit where all the special forces and SWAT teams and other people who do CQB and room clearance use shotguns and submachine guns and carbines, not shortswords. Swinging a blade takes about as long as aiming a gun, and the gun can kill from across the room. The sword, while supremely capable of putting holes of startling size in a body, is limited to about five or eight feet or so. Since the primary concern of most people in a fight is to still be vertical when it concludes, the gun remains the better choice.

As I said before, if you want melee, you need some major made-up stuff to keep the melee people from dying uselessly at just about any range, and in all but a very small number of fringe scenarios. Since we're talking magitech, there's no reason not to toss in lots of serious made-up stuff if that's what a person wants. In for a penny, in for a pound.

Milo v3
2013-03-04, 01:06 AM
Without doing a bunch of stuff that's blatantly there just so dudes with hyperspears can stab each other, not really. On the other hand if you're using magic as a technological proxy, we're already way the hell out there so why not stick in some mysterio-shields or whatever so the hyperspearmen can charge up and impale the occasional machine gunner?

Idea: shields that provide protection against high velocity projectiles inversely proportional to their flight time. You can't shoot out of them because your bullet would splatter all over the inside and you'd enjoy a refreshing molten lead shower. Inside of maybe 30 feet or so they provide a reasonable amount of miss chance or damage mitigation or AC increase or whatever mechanic you're using for defense. Beyond that they rapidly decline in effectiveness, so that at long ranges they're useless. That way if you want to do the stabbing thing, you want to get close fast, and stay close. Anybody who wants to shoot is encouraged to engage at long range and put lots of firepower on their targets, and still carry a back-up weapon in case anybody gets close.

It's complete and utter nonsense, but so what? The setting serves what you want to do with it, not the other way 'round.
Projectiles aren't being fired, so I'd have to find a way to possibly apply that to energy attacks.


Shields.

There exist Shields that can stop high-energy projectiles like Bullets and Lasers, reducing their impact. It will still hurt getting shot, but you can keep going. However, the shields work both ways, if you are wearing one, any projectiles you shoot will be similarly slowed down.
Melee-fighters go in Shields-up with hand weapons. The Melee weapons are low-energy enough that they pass right through the shields. Ranged fighters go in without Shields.

Edit: You win this time Warty...you win this time.
The problem is that, ranged fighters can easily get shields, and use attacks which bypass their own form of shield. This is because each shield only converts a specific forms of energy. Though, it would at least mitigate the effects since the shields can't convert sword swings or stabs from a spear.


What happened to the light-sabre? If your combat is best handled at-range, then reward the bold who charge against the onslaught by giving them insta-kill light-sabres.

If you're badass, or lucky enough, to survive a salvo, congrats - you chop the enemy in half.
Heat Blades exist, but unless you keep them in the same spot for at least a second all they will do is set the enemy on fire.

Also I'm always against one hit kills in any game. [Especially Call of Duty]


Umm.....Power armor? When faced with superior weapons, the only appropriate response is to develop armor to counter those weapons. In fact, I remember reading a third-party 3.5 sourcebook which made mention of something called golem armor.
I have that. But the ranged fighters automatically wanted it. It seems to be a boost to all characters instead of melee characters.

EDIT: Wow. Ninja'd by multiple people while replying.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 01:22 AM
The problem is that, ranged fighters can easily get shields, and use attacks which bypass their own form of shield. This is because each shield only converts a specific forms of energy. Though, it would at least mitigate the effects since the shields can't convert sword swings or stabs from a spear.

Then make up a shield that converts all forms of energy. As I said, the setting is there to do what you want. If you want melee, make stuff up until you can do melee.


Heat Blades exist, but unless you keep them in the same spot for at least a second all they will do is set the enemy on fire.
Having occasionally caught slightly on fire I can say it's a quite distracting experience at the very least.

GolemsVoice
2013-03-04, 01:26 AM
Well, shipboard fights? First, melee is likelier there, due to the enviroment making it possible or even neccessary to get close to the enemy, and second, people might not want to get out the big guns out of fear of blowing a hole into the ship's hull.

Mark Hall
2013-03-04, 01:31 AM
I may have missed it, but also consider sound. In Star Wars, you get the occasional person using slugthrowers because you can't silence a blaster

If everyone is using energy weapons, it may also be that the shielding that works against lasers isn't as effective against melee weapons (similar to how modern body armor will have anti-knife plates inserted, though it's just fine for small arms without them).

Conversely, you might have melee weapons be the favored shipboard weapons because the ranged ones are TOO good... there's too much chance of accidentally damaging some systems, so shipboard fights (boarding actions, anything in a space station) tend to be hand to hand... maybe something that is encouraged by ship design being cramped

You might also have a dueling culture in some situations. Fading Suns had energy shields, sure, but one reason to learn melee weapons was that all the nobles used it in honor duels.

Milo v3
2013-03-04, 01:58 AM
In addition to ranged-blocking armor/shields and more powerful melee weapons, there's also the terrain issue-

Melee can also be important in any situation where mobility and vision are limited, such as in tunnels, ship corridors, sandstorms, ion storms, etc.
Should I'll put a penalty to aiming in close quarters? Otherwise, the lightning cannon attached to an arm wouldn't suffer from close quarters and deals the same damage (or more) at close range.

Though, if it was like your Sandstorm example then your will need to get close with the lightning gun, while the melee guys just slice your throat from behind.


Terrain. You would have to be an idiot to bring a gun to a knife fight inside of 6 meters/yards because of the draw/reaction time. Indoors or after you drop a baffling device, encounter ranges are short. Furthermore, you might fight inside of spaceships sometimes, and energy beams/projectiles tend to ricochet and go places that are very bad for everyone on the ship. Seriously, if you're starting combats a long way away on an open field, you aren't even going to be able to get melee able to do anything in a low magic DnD setting.
The drawing time is easily mitigated by the fact that people generally wear their cannons on their arms, (or hands, or on his chest, or his mask) at all time if they are ranged combatant. As for the battlefield, this isn't for an open field, but I can't see players using a sword when the enemies have guns which shoot fire, lighting, pure magic, or lasers.


The majority of combat in modern wars involves rifles, grenades, machine guns, mortars, artillery, rockets, tanks, and smart bombs, but in 2007(?) a Marine fighting in Iraq received a commendation for combat action that involved him stabbing an insurgent to death, in 2004 a section of Marine infantry made a bayonet charge against a numerically superior and entrenched force, and elements of the British military have been commendated for making bayonet charges as recently as 2011, and every modern military teaches bayonet, knife, and hand to hand fighting techniques. With all of our advanced technology, reasonably, these things should never happen. Time spent learning bayonet techniques would be spent on the rifle range, knife combat training would be spent on the pistol range, and time on hand to hand to combatives would be spent on the grenade range. So, why is this not the case? One world: environment.

The world population is increasing, which is pushing more people into urban environments. While some places may have incredibly long straight streets, most don't. This reduces the use of weapons like machine guns and mortars. The short range and poor training of some sides discourages pitched battles, and encourages quick strikes in a short range, where bayonet charges and knife strikes become practical. And just imagine how close you would be fighting in a house.

All of that, that applies to a sci fi setting. There will be a lot of time up close and personal where melee skills come in handy.
Urban environments are kind of ... less dense in the world, each effectively being a demi-plane. Add in gravity manipulation and... it gets worse. Finally, the energy attacks don't penetrate.

But, if your on a street you would still be likely to hit a random with a missed shot, so maybe melee would be more common in urban environments.


I mean... melee happens. There's a reason even modern militaries still train their soldiers in hand to hand combat, why they are given knives as standard combat gear. It has several benefits. Including Stealth obviously. "Silencers" are not actually silenced, and if you want to take someone down without noise, a knife is still pretty much the best solution.

The "Ship" issue is often why you see things like Shotguns on Ship Security Troops in Sci-Fi. The limitations of a shotgun aren't really an issue inside an enclosed, tight environment like a ship. And they are low powered enough the ricochets and collateral damage in a fire fight are limited.

Of course since this is "Magic is technology" and not "Hard" Sci-Fi, you also have things like teleportation possible, which means Melee gets a lot more viable when you can pop in troops right on top of the enemy. Who says you have to charge across 200 yards of open territory to get in melee range? Maybe you just snap some fingers and POOF, you're in their face without having crossed the intermediate terrain.

Also this depends on how the arms race between Attack and Defense is going. If Defense is winning, melee becomes more viable. When you have to get within a certain range just to have a hope of punching through armor, then suddenly that's just what you have to do. This would be the standard idea of the Infantry Platoon in generations gone by against Tanks. They have to get close, use things like improvised bombs thrown by hand, or anti-tank shoulder fired weapons that were only accurate within something like 30 yards, etc.

If you get to a point where the Attack is far outpacing Defenses, then you end up like situations akin to modern warfare where the Tank gets blasted by an aircraft they can't even see dropping ordinance on them far away from their ability to possibly hope to counterattack.
Stealth
In this setting, you could gain a device which converts sound into magical energy, which would supply fuel for your next shot. Rarely used except as silencers on weapons, in planar rends, and schools.



As I said before, if you want melee, you need some major made-up stuff to keep the melee people from dying uselessly at just about any range, and in all but a very small number of fringe scenarios. Since we're talking magitech, there's no reason not to toss in lots of serious made-up stuff if that's what a person wants. In for a penny, in for a pound.
Except, being Sufficiently Understood Magic (AKA Science) I has to follow rules. I'd prefer not to just handwave everything. It feels wrong and lazy.

So it is kind of Hard Magitek.... I think?


Then make up a shield that converts all forms of energy. As I said, the setting is there to do what you want. If you want melee, make stuff up until you can do melee.
Making such a shield is completely possible, it would take up at least 6 1ft. cubes of volume. Basically, it would be armour with a horrible chance of protecting you against physical attacks.

Also, it will look horrible because it would have to be mad from different materials. Though that can be fixed with an illusion.


Having occasionally caught slightly on fire I can say it's a quite distracting experience at the very least.
It is still less powerful than a lightsaber, as I'm pretty sure you lacking an arm is equally (if not more) distracting. :smalltongue:


Well, shipboard fights? First, melee is likelier there, due to the enviroment making it possible or even neccessary to get close to the enemy, and second, people might not want to get out the big guns out of fear of blowing a hole into the ship's hull.
With all this like the players will be explorers or at war so that they will be in the ships a decent amount of the time.


If everyone is using energy weapons, it may also be that the shielding that works against lasers isn't as effective against melee weapons (similar to how modern body armor will have anti-knife plates inserted, though it's just fine for small arms without them).
The shields don't work on melee; but the shield device is rather small meaning you can wear armour and a shield without much difficulty.


Conversely, you might have melee weapons be the favored shipboard weapons because the ranged ones are TOO good... there's too much chance of accidentally damaging some systems, so shipboard fights (boarding actions, anything in a space station) tend to be hand to hand... maybe something that is encouraged by ship design being cramped
That could be an idea, though most weapons wouldn't be able to do anything to the engines (they are all behind alchemy improved steel walls) with no physical access to them.


You might also have a dueling culture in some situations. Fading Suns had energy shields, sure, but one reason to learn melee weapons was that all the nobles used it in honor duels.
There is one culture which only just attained knowledge of non-basic "science".

Yukitsu
2013-03-04, 02:35 AM
If I were to design a futuristic setting, I'd make the standard for every soldier/soldier of fortune a specific suit configuration that had a limited power core. Different system types would draw out different amounts of energy where for example, a light plasma rifle might not take much power, but an arm mounted rail-cannon firing charged neutrons would take considerably more, leaving less power for other systems.

A melee specialist would be someone who either bought almost nothing but shield modules and is relying on a pneumatic augmented arm with a big freaking warhammer to crack open power suits, or an even more power draining cloaking field on a more stealthy assassin sort.

In a sense, this would be a realistic scenario. No matter how far energy advances, you can only carry so much output per second on you at a given time limiting what you would in theory have at your disposal. Given that paradigm, guys trying to rely on low velocity slugs to defend aboard a ship so as to prevent collateral would be entirely outclassed by guys with heavy shielding and big hammers, even if they themselves were heavily armoured.

Of course those guys that would opt to buy nothing but shield augmentations would be outliers and specialists. I'd imagine most people would vastly prefer a long range high output plasma rifle, a decent shield and likely a mobility boost.

mjlush
2013-03-04, 03:04 AM
I mean... melee happens. There's a reason even modern militaries still train their soldiers in hand to hand combat, why they are given knives as standard combat gear. It has several benefits. Including Stealth obviously. "Silencers" are not actually silenced, and if you want to take someone down without noise, a knife is still pretty much the best solution.


Boosting the requirement for stealth may be a different solution to normal shields approach. AI is good but not good enough to spot the difference between a punk with a gun and a old man pointing with a stick. However gunfire of any kind produces an unique and 'obviously aggressive' energy signature, so if you use an gun in any civilized location heavily armed police turn up within a minute of two.

In response anyone who wants to do a bit of violence has turned to melee

The criminal classes obviously use melee martial arts training is commonplace and there is the increasing problem of MA skillsofts

The soldier on the battlefield is secure in his stealth suit is reduced to sword, grenade, sling, bow and perhaps air or spring gun (military grade projectiles also have stealth coatings) if he fires his gun the brilliant missiles loitering above the battlefield will triangulate his position and deliver 1Kg of Semtex to his door within 5 seconds

Finally the upper classes will go back to the sword to settle their differences.

The only places guns would be useful would be away from civilization and the battlefield ... more or less where the PC's spend half their time :-)

Ninjadeadbeard
2013-03-04, 03:13 AM
Honestly, the best answer lies in Frank Herbert's Dune. Many (~50%?) soldiers carry personal forcefield generators. These stop anything resembling bullets cold. Blades can get through so long as the attacker paces himself and doesn't try to go too fast (shields based on speed of attack stop faster attacks more readily than slow, graceful strikes).

But what about lasers? They generally lack kinetic energy as they're "light-based" in most settings. Thing is, in Dune people loved fighting in hand-to-hand combat because while a forcefield will stop a bullet, NO ONE wants to have it stop a laser, including the guy with the laser. See, turns out if you hit a shield with a laser, it makes a Nuclear Explosion. :smallsmile: At both ends of the laser. :smalleek:

So ranged weapons are a specialty-case type armament, since slugthrowers are useless and lasers are suicidal when the other guy has a shield generator.

My two cents.

Jack of Spades
2013-03-04, 03:16 AM
In the 40k universe, melee is mostly kept relevant by the facts that a) melee fighters are equipped to move like bats out of hell, b) melee is a reliable way to lock down an enemy combatant, and c) many of the enemies of the Imperium are animalistic in nature, thus melee is going to occur one way or the other.

In Deathwatch, this translates to Assault Marines winning initiative, closing distance in a charge action, and killing everything they see with their 3-4 attacks per turn.

The_Admiral
2013-03-04, 03:24 AM
Melee in cramped corridors.

Firearms are a no, no because, HULL PUNCTURE, YOU WANT EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM TO DIE!?

Rhynn
2013-03-04, 03:26 AM
Is their a way to make melee not useless in a game with advanced technology?

Situations.

If your enemy gets into close quarters combat, shooting can/should be difficult or impossible; you'd be using your weapon and hands/arms to defend. There's a bunch of ways to simulate this: require actions to defend; attacks of opportunity triggered by ranged attacks; speed penalties (in Twilight 2013, longer weapons take longer to bring to bear, and you can get in several melee attacks while your opponent is trying to shoot you, possibly making them incapable of shooting - we're talking fractions of a second as time units).

Designing all your setting's technology around wanting melee to be useful is artificial and silly. Close combat isn't useful against a bunch of dudes with guns, unless you can close the range (by surprise, by controlling the environment, etc.).


Firearms are a no, no because, HULL PUNCTURE, YOU WANT EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM TO DIE!?

It's trivial to make bullets (and probably energy weapons, in a scifi setting) that don't puncture airplane hulls, never mind space ship hulls. If the setting has space ship combat, no personal weapon is going to be able to harm the inside of the hull in any significant way.

GolemsVoice
2013-03-04, 04:42 AM
As I recall, Dune had something where shields only blocked high-velocity things (like bullets)and energy attacks (I forgot the reason why) so people carried swords and had been trained in a slower fighting style that did not trigger shields. However, as far as I remember, shields in Dune were much rarer, and could take enough punishment that it would be very difficult to take a shielded person out via shooting.

Xuc Xac
2013-03-04, 04:58 AM
I mean... melee happens. There's a reason even modern militaries still train their soldiers in hand to hand combat, why they are given knives as standard combat gear.

There's a reason, but that reason isn't "melee happens." Knives are an extremely useful tool, so they are issued. Bayonet drills are still a part of basic training for the psychological component (developing "killer instincts") rather than the tactical utility of bayonet charges in modern warfare.


Well, shipboard fights? First, melee is likelier there, due to the enviroment making it possible or even neccessary to get close to the enemy, and second, people might not want to get out the big guns out of fear of blowing a hole into the ship's hull.


Firearms are a no, no because, HULL PUNCTURE, YOU WANT EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM TO DIE!?

If the hull of your spaceship is so fragile that it can be punctured by an infantry sidearm and kill everyone on board, then I don't even need to board you and fight in the corridors. I can just lean out my own airlock and shoot your ship with a .45 and wait for your crew to asphyxiate.

DaedalusMkV
2013-03-04, 05:31 AM
As I recall, Dune had something where shields only blocked high-velocity things (like bullets)and energy attacks (I forgot the reason why) so people carried swords and had been trained in a slower fighting style that did not trigger shields. However, as far as I remember, shields in Dune were much rarer, and could take enough punishment that it would be very difficult to take a shielded person out via shooting.

Shields didn't block energy attacks, per se. Rather, the standard energy shields had a catastrophic doomsday reaction with the only effective man-portable energy weapons in the setting, Lasguns, causing an unpredictable explosion that often wound up in the kiloton ranges. Hell, I think that both the shield and the Lasgun blew up like nukes... The net result was that nobody really used Lasguns because you'd only wind up with everybody blown to smithereens and nobody used projectile weapons because they were completely harmless against someone with a shield. Well, people did use Lasguns and projectile weapons, but only against unshielded targets. When both combatants had shields, melee was the only recourse. Which is purely because Herbert wanted his Sci Fi epic to have swordfights.


There are a couple of ways to make melee combat viable in a sci-fi setting:
1) Speed beats range and accuracy: If your melee attackers have access to some means of closing the distance before the ranged weapons can reliably target/kill them, melee is viable. Teleportation, jet packs, however you want to do it. Of course, this theoretically gives the ranged attackers a chance to use that same speed to run away, but if the mechanical penalties for firing while moving your jet pack at full speed are prohibitive enough...

2)Armour beats gun: If long-ranged attacks simply aren't sufficient to defeat armour (IE, defense is beating offense in the arms race, as described above), short-ranged attacks become the norm. This is basically the Dune approach above. You've gotta be careful with this approach, though, because it can quickly wind up making anything but melee totally unviable, and suddenly your cool sci-fi game is all about swordfighting. Not that that's a terrible thing (Dune is awesome), but it's probably not what you want either.

3) Just that good: Yeah, the master swordsman can dodge bullets. Maybe he's got psychic powers. Maybe he's a genetically engineered supersoldier. Maybe he's been training for battle since he was six and is wearing a set of super-advanced Powered Armour. But he's just plain awesome enough that he makes melee combat viable. This is the approach taken in the 40k RPGs; melee skills have a much higher impact than ranged skills, with the net result being that high-Rank melee-focused characters are extremely hard to hit, extremely fast, often quite tough and much harder to negate the attacks of (specifically, melee combat is not a very viable approach at Rank 1 of Dark Heresy, but the Talents that improve melee combat scale much, much harder than the ones governing ranged combat, and melee is the only good way to make more than one Attack per turn, which is very important in a game when you can only Dodge one attack per turn.)

Kitten Champion
2013-03-04, 06:03 AM
How about we look at superheroes, since they've got the market cornered on improbable melee combat.

How about a magical tool which converts you into an ethereal/phased form, except for the tool itself which must remain physical, and is an exceedingly difficult target to hit. The player it capable of disrupting certain magical and electronic devices in a phased form, but he/she/it must dephase for physical assaults. This tool only works with light physical armour and weapons, favouring melee.

The need for the phasing tool to remain material prevents simply going through walls, some magic fields, and into certain environments like under heavy gravity or underwater.

kieza
2013-03-04, 06:05 AM
How about making all shields "dome" shields? Instead of having skintight force fields, you have shields with a 10-ft. or greater radius: if you get close enough, you can walk through the enemy's shield and start swinging an axe around with great effectiveness.

As far as justifying it...say that the shield generation tech is only cost/power efficient when the shield is above a certain size. I can think of two plausible-sounding explanations:

1) If you try to make a really small-radius shield, its power consumption doesn't drop much past a certain point. The shield generator might be smaller, but the power source would need to be almost the same size and cost as a larger-radius shield, which would also be harder to crack. Therefore, shield systems aren't built below a certain cutoff point.

2) The shield generators require a fixed amount of a rare material, which doesn't increase (or increases very little) as you increase the size of the shield. It's too expensive to build small shield generators, because they provide less protection per gram of the material, and they're also more likely to be destroyed. Shields are built big and tough to economize on the material and cut down on losses to enemy action.

Melee would be lower-damage than ranged attacks, but since you wouldn't have to crack the enemy's shield first, it would even out. Coupled with heavy ranged-attack-in-melee penalties, so that melee attackers have a major advantage inside the enemy's shield, it should work pretty well.

Milo v3
2013-03-04, 07:21 AM
Boosting the requirement for stealth may be a different solution to normal shields approach. AI is good but not good enough to spot the difference between a punk with a gun and a old man pointing with a stick.
AI?


The soldier on the battlefield is secure in his stealth suit is reduced to sword, grenade, sling, bow and perhaps air or spring gun (military grade projectiles also have stealth coatings) if he fires his gun the brilliant missiles loitering above the battlefield will triangulate his position and deliver 1Kg of Semtex to his door within 5 seconds
Unless he uses the silencer I mentioned above...


But what about lasers? They generally lack kinetic energy as they're "light-based" in most settings.
Generally. The L in Laser stands for Light! Note: laser is actually an abbreviation.


Honestly, the best answer lies in Frank Herbert's Dune. Many (~50%?) soldiers carry personal forcefield generators. These stop anything resembling bullets cold. Blades can get through so long as the attacker paces himself and doesn't try to go too fast (shields based on speed of attack stop faster attacks more readily than slow, graceful strikes).

But what about lasers? They generally lack kinetic energy as they're "light-based" in most settings. Thing is, in Dune people loved fighting in hand-to-hand combat because while a forcefield will stop a bullet, NO ONE wants to have it stop a laser, including the guy with the laser. See, turns out if you hit a shield with a laser, it makes a Nuclear Explosion. :smallsmile: At both ends of the laser. :smalleek:

So ranged weapons are a specialty-case type armament, since slugthrowers are useless and lasers are suicidal when the other guy has a shield generator.

My two cents.

In this setting energy shields work thusly. They are a device with a volume of 1 cubic foot. They automatically absorb a form of energy (heat, light, sound, electricity, magic, etc.) that enters the devices bubble, and converts it into ebbs (unit magic is measured by) for use as energy. Energy weapons opperate in the reverse, converting ebbs into a form of damage determined by the material.

The material the device is made from determines what is converted: gold absorbs light, copper absorbs electricity, silver absorbs magic.

When the Laser is fired at a person with a gold energy shield, it will be absorbed into the shield. No type of shield stops physical damage though.


Melee in cramped corridors.

Firearms are a no, no because, HULL PUNCTURE, YOU WANT EVERYBODY IN THE ROOM TO DIE!?
Note: Only about 1% of the game will be set in Spaceships, FTL portals are much more trustworthy.


Situations.

If your enemy gets into close quarters combat, shooting can/should be difficult or impossible; you'd be using your weapon and hands/arms to defend. There's a bunch of ways to simulate this: require actions to defend; attacks of opportunity triggered by ranged attacks; speed penalties (in Twilight 2013, longer weapons take longer to bring to bear, and you can get in several melee attacks while your opponent is trying to shoot you, possibly making them incapable of shooting - we're talking fractions of a second as time units).
I didn't think about how the ranged fighter would defend themselves.


Designing all your setting's technology around wanting melee to be useful is artificial and silly. Close combat isn't useful against a bunch of dudes with guns, unless you can close the range (by surprise, by controlling the environment, etc.).
Actually the setting started with wanting shonen style sword combat in a manapunk setting... I just want to find a way to put the sword combat back it.



There are a couple of ways to make melee combat viable in a sci-fi setting:
1) Speed beats range and accuracy: If your melee attackers have access to some means of closing the distance before the ranged weapons can reliably target/kill them, melee is viable. Teleportation, jet packs, however you want to do it. Of course, this theoretically gives the ranged attackers a chance to use that same speed to run away, but if the mechanical penalties for firing while moving your jet pack at full speed are prohibitive enough...
Teleportation, Super Speed, etc. should help.


3) Just that good: Yeah, the master swordsman can dodge bullets. Maybe he's got psychic powers. Maybe he's a genetically engineered supersoldier. Maybe he's been training for battle since he was six and is wearing a set of super-advanced Powered Armour. But he's just plain awesome enough that he makes melee combat viable. This is the approach taken in the 40k RPGs; melee skills have a much higher impact than ranged skills, with the net result being that high-Rank melee-focused characters are extremely hard to hit, extremely fast, often quite tough and much harder to negate the attacks of (specifically, melee combat is not a very viable approach at Rank 1 of Dark Heresy, but the Talents that improve melee combat scale much, much harder than the ones governing ranged combat, and melee is the only good way to make more than one Attack per turn, which is very important in a game when you can only Dodge one attack per turn.)
Combat will be partially shonen based so Just that Good will be added.

GolemsVoice
2013-03-04, 08:28 AM
As far as justifying it...say that the shield generation tech is only cost/power efficient when the shield is above a certain size. I can think of two plausible-sounding explanations:

It could also be that dome-shaped is the only shape that can be produced, because shields cannot keept up with the bodies quick movements during combat, with the result that the fighters "clip" through their shields, which could either be fatal or just take away the protection. Since a dome-shaped shield is always the same shape, centered on one unit that's always the same distance from center to actual shield, it could be easier to do these shields.

mjlush
2013-03-04, 12:22 PM
<stuff about using AI to track weapons discharge>
AI?

Artificial Intelligence

<snip stuff about soldier having to be stealthy>


Unless he uses the silencer I mentioned above...


You can't effectively silence a supersonic projectile there is always the sonic boom. I don't think subsonic munitions are particularly good in a battlefield weapon.

I think your rather missing the point here, you want a Sci Fi setting where melee combat is a useful element. The standard Sci Fi solution is magic shields that don't work against slow things. What I'm proposing is a solution using existing technology (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gunfire_locator) turned up to about 9 which which carves out a reasonably realistic niche for melee combat. If you want less gun control turn it down a few notches.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 12:28 PM
Swinging a blade takes about as long as aiming a gun, and the gun can kill from across the room. The sword, while supremely capable of putting holes of startling size in a body, is limited to about five or eight feet or so.
Except for the fact that experiments and tests have shown that that's not actually correct. Within 20 feet, if you have a gun and the other guy has a knife, you are probably going to die. They can get their knife into play quickly while moving, but you have to track them and your gun doesn't threaten as useful of an area.

The main experiment was the one where a bunch of police were told to roleplay out a stop on someone, and were explicitly told "The person you are stopping is going to attack you with a knife." Then they paired off and gave their partners sheathed chalk knives. To win, the person with the knife had to cut the officer, and the officer just had to pull the trigger, without checking for aim.

The ratio of knife kills to gun fires in the test was very close to 100% to nothing when the two people were started 20 feet apart.

There's also other situationals. One site I checked looking for info on the scimitar noted that it was a generally silly weapon, but that it could be used in very close ranges that would cripple the ability to use rifles, while getting in between the gun users and restricting their gun use even more.

Rhynn
2013-03-04, 12:49 PM
Except for the fact that experiments and tests have shown that that's not actually correct. Within 20 feet, if you have a gun and the other guy has a knife, you are probably going to die. They can get their knife into play quickly while moving, but you have to track them and your gun doesn't threaten as useful of an area.

Well, I think the results were more "you're both going to get hit" - a handgun usually won't be able to stop the attacker who's charging at you with a knife, so you'll shoot, and even if you hit, you'll get stabbed. Hence the obsession over handgun "stopping power" (especially for people who see them as personal defense weapons).


There's also other situationals. One site I checked looking for info on the scimitar noted that it was a generally silly weapon, but that it could be used in very close ranges that would cripple the ability to use rifles, while getting in between the gun users and restricting their gun use even more.

I think lindybeige gets into that (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SWvsHorqldM) too?

But yeah, at short ranges (a few dozen feet), a gun against a knife isn't safe. For one thing, your chances of hitting on a shot are far below 100% when you're trying to run backwards away from a moving, murderous bastard swinging a knife at you...


Edit: Knives don't kill that fast, though. Getting stabbed does not equal dead, and getting slashed really doesn't, although it can lead to dead fast. Unless you cut the throat, you're going to have to stab over and over and over until your opponent dies or goes into shock.

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 12:59 PM
Knives don't kill that fast, though. Getting stabbed does not equal dead, and getting slashed really doesn't, although it can lead to dead fast. Unless you cut the throat, you're going to have to stab over and over and over until your opponent dies or goes into shock.

Yeah, but one stab wound is usually enough for someone to go into shock. This doesn't happen all the time, but even if it doesn't, it'll hurt enough to disrupt someone's concentration, and give the knife wielder time to stab again.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 01:29 PM
Also the same goes for bullet wounds. People rarely 'fall over dead' when you shoot them, particularly criminals. (This was actually researched; they found that criminals were much more effective than police after being shot as a rule basically because criminals, when playing 'Cops and robbers', would respond to "Bang bang" with "You missed me" and keep going. Police would go "ugh, they got me" and lay down.)

Once you get in very close, the gun isn't very helpful because you don't have the freedom to use it.

That said, this speaks to a very close in, grappling-check-please sort've combat with knives and joint locks, rather than glowieswords and electrospears. Don't think "Luke Skywalker and the laser bastard sword", think "Monk with Grappling specializations and knives".

Frozen_Feet
2013-03-04, 01:47 PM
One thing that hasn't been much payed attention to:

Melee, because you can't reasonably expect to have a ranged weapon.

This is the primary reason why unarmed self-defense courses for civilians are a thing at all. Having even something as simple as pepperspray can be illegal, or it might just be inapproriate to have one in the situation.

Just because Ultra-Doom-Bolter-Instakill-at-Any-Range 9000+ exists in your setting, doesn't mean it will be available.

mjlush
2013-03-04, 02:01 PM
Just because Ultra-Doom-Bolter-Instakill-at-Any-Range 9000+ exists in your setting, doesn't mean it will be available.

But nevertheless the gunbunny of the party will get one in the end.

Beleriphon
2013-03-04, 02:03 PM
I'm going to suggest the shield idea, but borrow a bit from Dune. Shields and lasers are a bad mix. The shields convert the energy of the weapon (as determined by velocity) into light or some other explosive energy. It makes bullets explode pretty much like a flash bang and turns laser blasts into city killing thermonuclear hell zones. Thus the only real way to stop the guy with the energy shield is to get all stabbity stabbity with a knife. If I recall Paul even fights a guy wearing and energy shield using a poisoned knife.

Until World War Two bayonet charges were completely reasonable things to expect of your military (but incredibly stupid in the First World War). Find a reason why you still need bayonet charges. Maybe personnel sized energy weapons can only fire a few times before they need to cool down, reload or do something else that gives the other guys a chance to move into melee ranges. Maybe everybody wears armour that only the slow to reload energy weapons can penetrate.

Also, look back in history to see why melee weapons were still viable and apply that rationale to advanced/magical technology. A knight was nigh invulnerable to most weapon when wearing full harness plate, so you need to move in and find the gaps in the armour. During many battles of history past there is no reason the entire thing couldn't have been resolved by having the two armies shoot arrows at each other until one retreated, but it wasn't done that way partially for cultural but also practical reasons. Archers had squishy insides and squishy outsides so if you covered a bunch of dudes with squish insides with not-at-all-squish outsides you could walk to the archers and stab them until their insides and outsides got all mixed up. There is no reason that a similar idea can't work using modern means.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 02:12 PM
Played under one GM for awhile where every combat started at line of sight. We'd roll initiative, then regularly have ten rounds of preparation waiting for the enemy to get into range. Everyone started replanning their character into Deepwood Sniper types just so they could get in on the combat, as it was resolved at very long ranges.
The next one had things ambushing from cover, springing out of pits in the ground, and the like. The archer never had a chance to shoot anything, because every attack started with us in threatened spaces.
These things really don't change much when you replace the longbow with an X-ray laser.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 02:23 PM
Saw an interesting article about lasers lately, that might be useful to defend against them.

They've been trying to make lasers powerful enough to be interesting weapons for awhile, because the trick with a laser is in how fast you can deliver a trainload of energy to one spot before it moves out from under the beam, IE how much energy density you can get. Moving targets have always been a problem for lasers, along with reflectivity.

The latest laser they were building failed badly. Turns out that at a certain energy density, the photons started combining to create matter, in the form of electron/anti-electron pairs. Not only did this get in the way of the beam, but the pairs started recombining in little teeny matter/antimatter explosions and generating photons - some of which would shine back into the laser beam and increase the energy density of the beam there, causing more chain reactions. The end result was that the majority of the energy in the laser beam just fizzled.

So if you had some sort've effect to make a weapon grade laser hit a lot of light, it would essentially block the laser.

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 02:28 PM
As to the OP's problem of making melee relevant in a magitek (is that the right term?) setting, my advice would be to change the rules. Don't think along conventional lines: for instance, in Greg Stolze's Reign cavalry is extremely rare as it is a widely accepted belief that riding astride a horse makes you infertile. As such, horse based combat is limited to archers or female cavalry. So it still existed, but just wasn't as much of a game changer.

To apply this kind of thinking to your setting: perhaps ranged combat is simply seen as dishonest or sneaky. So you'll have unscrupulous people who'll use it but honorable fighters stick to melee.

Or perhaps there's some kind of debilitating/unpleasant side effect to using ranged weapons? If they're magic based, the possibilities for horrible and unusual side effects are endless.

Tengu_temp
2013-03-04, 02:45 PM
Some settings with melee in sci-fi and how they justify it:

Dune - most soldiers carry personal force fields with them that stop fast-moving projectiles. Only slow-moving projectiles can pass through them, and those are usually weak and/or easy to dodge, making melee often the more effective choice.

Mass Effect - most combatants carry force fields and power armor, making ranged weapons much less effective at one-shot killing. The real melee combatants of the setting, however, are Vanguards, who use their biotic powers to charge at ridiculous speed and strike with devastating power, thus negating the range advantage of people who mainly use guns instead.

Mobile Suit Gundam (the original) - Minovsky Particles are a particle type that interferes with all radio waves and is commonly used in battles, meaning that all aiming has to be done by hand. Fighting is done with heavily-armored mecha, meaning that it usually takes multiple shots to take one of them down. Beam swords, on the other hand, pass through armor like knife through butter. Beam rifles exist, but they are rare and use up much more power than beam swords do.

Rhynn
2013-03-04, 02:57 PM
Yeah, but one stab wound is usually enough for someone to go into shock. This doesn't happen all the time, but even if it doesn't, it'll hurt enough to disrupt someone's concentration, and give the knife wielder time to stab again.

I don't know what you'd base that on. I'd say no, it's not. Are you talking about hypovolemic shock, psychological shock (i.e. drop in blood pressure), or just being scared witless? It can certainly incapacitate people, yes, but not reliably. Puncture wounds may not even be noticed, especially in a fight. It's too variable to say anything categorical about.

Looking at videos of knifings you can definitely tell that people don't fall over incapacitated after being stuck once.

Frozen_Feet
2013-03-04, 03:09 PM
The real melee combatants of the setting, however, are Vanguards, who use their biotic powers to charge at ridiculous speed and strike with devastating power, thus negating the range advantage of people who mainly use guns instead.
.

Using projectiles versus being the projectiles, eh? :smallbiggrin:

ArcturusV
2013-03-04, 03:17 PM
Not that I ever found that all that useful or true in Mass Effect. If you were one on one with someone, yeah. But if you used it in any other situation they just murdered you with mass fire before you even finish off the one guy you Stormtrooper Charged.

celtois
2013-03-04, 03:20 PM
You're using magitek there is no reason you have to stick with modern time correlates for weapons.

If you want melee to be the focus, making magical blasts slow moving. Such that they are good for attacking large targets, or up close only. Thus if you want to fight someone you either use a melee weapon or magic up close and personal were the person doesn't have time to get out of the way.

Tengu_temp
2013-03-04, 03:23 PM
Not that I ever found that all that useful or true in Mass Effect. If you were one on one with someone, yeah. But if you used it in any other situation they just murdered you with mass fire before you even finish off the one guy you Stormtrooper Charged.

My experience with Vanguards is very different, as I murdered my way through all three games and rarely had to hide in cover, mainly to regenerate my shields more than anything.

Of course Vanguards didn't even have the ability to charge in ME1, but that was a very different game anyway.

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 03:30 PM
I don't know what you'd base that on.

Personal experience.


I'd say no, it's not. Are you talking about hypovolemic shock, psychological shock (i.e. drop in blood pressure), or just being scared witless? It can certainly incapacitate people, yes, but not reliably. Puncture wounds may not even be noticed, especially in a fight. It's too variable to say anything categorical about.

Looking at videos of knifings you can definitely tell that people don't fall over incapacitated after being stuck once.

Yeah, I didn't really make myself clear. hypovolemic shock? No. But psychological shock (which I wouldn't count as being the same as a drop in blood pressure)? Yes. No, people aren't incapacitated after being struck once, but it does take them time to register what has happened, at least in the first instance.

Orderic
2013-03-04, 03:30 PM
From what I have read so far, Milo seems to use Gramarie (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252794) or at least somthing similar to it. Perhaps it would be advisable to see, if anything usefull can be found in that Thread.


Apart from that, in my opinion cultural reasons can be quite useful here. Ranged weapons could be something only soldiers use or only the lower classes. However, That is not very useful when fighting an enemy who does not have these cultural restrictions... Thus I think that the ability to move fast enough to attack in melee without dying first would be enough.

Selrahc
2013-03-04, 03:45 PM
Two easy solutions:

1. Guns are better, but are heavily regulated. A lot of societies in the real world have heavy gun controls. Extend that into your setting and you have a tailor-made reason why people are specializing in melee combat. Guns are something rare and scary. Most combats are done either with melee weapons or less heavily regulated non-lethal firearms. This is, obviously, only really viable if focusing on a civil adventure rather than a military one, and has to take place within the framework of a quite efficient state.

2. Guns are better and the mechanics for melee combat are deemphasized to prevent players from feeling like it's a viable role.

A more debatable one:
The reason why guns are great is because they give a range advantage. If the range advantage is removed, then guns aren't so great. If teleportation is a commonplace thing on the battlefield, then suddenly melee has a real role.

Illieas
2013-03-04, 04:26 PM
THer are couple way people have mentioned
1) protection. gun rendered more inert so you need super power swords to be able to cut through. shields or armor usually how this is done. SHields that prevent high velocity rounds and or armor that absorbs energy and dissipates it.

2) avoidance. Giving people super reflexes or movement or stealth.

cloaking fields that prevent detection but laser weapon emit energy so are traceable. exo skeltons that increase movement and throw in parkour.
fast reaction implants. Jet boosters.

3) General back story. guns are just uncommon due to law or culture

Having a state that has quick response to gun crime will make most crime in the city be out brawls. That or make it a law you can't have one on your person and specialized scanners that detect guns are all over the city.
A cilivilization where honor and renown are important. where disputes are done through melee combat.

A Tad Insane
2013-03-04, 04:29 PM
You could have them fight enemies not dissimilar from xenomorphs, ie sneaky and zergy. They get in under your gun, which needs to be reloaded, but can be slashed all day long, the whole 'fist never run out of ammo' cliche.

Rhynn
2013-03-04, 04:37 PM
Yeah, I didn't really make myself clear. hypovolemic shock? No. But psychological shock (which I wouldn't count as being the same as a drop in blood pressure)? Yes. No, people aren't incapacitated after being struck once, but it does take them time to register what has happened, at least in the first instance.

I'm a stickler for the term "shock" - there is psychological shock, where a drop in blood pressure is caused as a psychological reaction, leading to actual shock (fainting, weakness, etc.). "Mental trauma" or something might be more accurate for what you're describing. People can and will absolutely be taken down by mental factors - in fact (as someone alluded to above), I think staying combat-capable even while enduring hypovolemic shock is largely a matter of mental factors. Witness the staying power of one evil bastard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout) (Matix). A stab from a knife probably wouldn't have been any more effective than the bullets.

A single stab-wound can take someone out, but usually, if you want to win a knife-fight (or a fight using a knife), you have to stab over and over and over to be sure they're not going to hit you back when you stop. And I absolutely agree that a gun against a knife at charging range is a horrible idea. Related YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNOP3X9OyzM) - just check out the first clip. The gun was useless and the guy went down after his knife arm was controlled. Also a general showcase of how melee can be useful in a setting with guns...

Tvtyrant
2013-03-04, 04:45 PM
Silenced shortrange teleporters and blanked heat signatures? Basically they use melee (or primitive kinetic weapons like a crossbow) to prevent giving themselves away via sound and heat signature. Teleport in, cut a throat, teleport out.

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 05:02 PM
I'm a stickler for the term "shock" - there is psychological shock, where a drop in blood pressure is caused as a psychological reaction, leading to actual shock (fainting, weakness, etc.). "Mental trauma" or something might be more accurate for what you're describing. People can and will absolutely be taken down by mental factors - in fact (as someone alluded to above), I think staying combat-capable even while enduring hypovolemic shock is largely a matter of mental factors. Witness the staying power of one evil bastard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout) (Matix). A stab from a knife probably wouldn't have been any more effective than the bullets.

A single stab-wound can take someone out, but usually, if you want to win a knife-fight (or a fight using a knife), you have to stab over and over and over to be sure they're not going to hit you back when you stop. And I absolutely agree that a gun against a knife at charging range is a horrible idea. Related YouTube video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNOP3X9OyzM) - just check out the first clip. The gun was useless and the guy went down after his knife arm was controlled. Also a general showcase of how melee can be useful in a setting with guns...

I agree completely everything you've said. In fact, I'm not even sure what the original point of contention was. I think 'shock' was the wrong choice of word on my part. I didn't mean mental trauma or shock as you seem to be defining it. A more appropriate word is probably surprise. I was trying to establish that in a gun vs. knife fight in close quarters, the surprise and pain of being stabbed for the first time in the confrontation provides a window for the knife wielder to attack again.

JusticeZero
2013-03-04, 05:10 PM
the surprise and pain of being stabbed for the first time in the confrontation provides a window for the knife wielder to attack again.
All reports of how it feels to be stabbed or shot that i've heard from people who have experienced it is that it is mostly indistinguishable from a right cross until later when you notice the blood.

ArcturusV
2013-03-04, 05:12 PM
Not to mention there's sort of an ingrained, psychological thing with knives. It draws attention and distracts, causes an edge of fear in people naturally that somehow even guns don't really tend to do. Least so it seems. Which is also how a knife fighter often gets a lot of free shots. They're paying attention to your knife hand like it's some black mamba cobra, and you can just kick and punch them without them noticing until you hit them.

GnomeGninjas
2013-03-04, 05:12 PM
You're on a spaceship magical spaceshipesque thing, if you miss with your gun spell then you'll probably hit some important machinery protective ward/charm/something and break it, causing it to explode/let in cosmic horrors/ let out the oxygen supply.

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 05:14 PM
All reports of how it feels to be stabbed or shot that i've heard from people who have experienced it is that it is mostly indistinguishable from a right cross until later when you notice the blood.

I'm sure that's true in some cases, but in my own experience the two feel noticeably different.

mjlush
2013-03-04, 05:14 PM
A more debatable one:
The reason why guns are great is because they give a range advantage. If the range advantage is removed, then guns aren't so great. If teleportation is a commonplace thing on the battlefield, then suddenly melee has a real role.

If teleportation to close combat ranges is technically feasible I'd be inclined to teleport in a hand grenade with a 100ms fuse, perhaps for extra fun put it in the victims chest.

Yukitsu
2013-03-04, 05:20 PM
If teleportation to close combat ranges is technically feasible I'd be inclined to teleport in a hand grenade with a 100ms fuse, perhaps for extra fun put it in the victims chest.

I'd just teleport enemies into my engine thrusters.

ArcturusV
2013-03-04, 05:29 PM
I dunno, I mean it's Magitech, not Science. And Magic usually has a limitation on Teleportation. Could be things like Sight Only (Or requiring an anchor point). One of the most common ones being that you can't take up the same space as a living person so you couldn't just teleport a grenade inside them. At their feet maybe. Then again they can probably teleport it back. Or just toss it away, or hit the deck, etc.

Gavinfoxx
2013-03-04, 05:41 PM
If you are making a Science Fantasy setting (yes, such exists), and you have things like bipedal mecha, people are going to expect melee combat to be feasible... ;) ;)

Harlan Vold
2013-03-04, 05:45 PM
@ ArcturusV

Just reminded me of a great scene in a mage campaign I played in, where a group sons of ether and men in black squared off against each other, and the entire fight was one huge game of teleport tag. They all had melee weapons of some kind and were just zapping from spot to spot trying to catch each other unawares. It was a great fight scene.

I put in another vote for teleportation. Though maybe impose some kind of limitation on it to prevent it from becoming too integral to the setting.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 06:00 PM
Teleportation is one of those things that cut both ways, which is to say the dude with the rifle can have one too. Ergo he can teleport away from the guy with the shiv, and then resume shooting him in the face. Used right in fact I'd think the teleport ends up favoring Mr. McRifle more, because it allows the rapid egress from dangerous positions into prepared firing positions where destruction can be rained upon the unfortunate sucker who just blinked into his last prepared position.

Right next to those couple pounds of high explosive on the radio detonator the truly prudent teleporting rifleman always sets up.

Berenger
2013-03-04, 06:32 PM
Unfortunately, I don't have the time to read the entire thread, but:

1. There exist EMP-equivalent weapons / fields that fry the circuits in more advanced lasers, power armors, mechs etc. but leave sharp blades and the like unaffected.

2. Swords and other archaic implements are not deemed "real" weapons at all and don't fall under the weapon control laws / do not ping on sensors. They are used for sports, but can be weaponized in a pinch.

3. Bat**** Crazy Insane Imperial Decrees that ban the use of advanced tech against primitive species to discourage "unfair" conquests or to prevent it from falling into enemy hands ("Can't have them Na'vi capture any hover tanks, send in 100,000 spearmen.").

4. Kryptonite is to rare and valuable to fashion it into machine gun belts. So, kryptonite-coated spearheads.

shadow_archmagi
2013-03-04, 06:44 PM
Teleportation is one of those things that cut both ways, which is to say the dude with the rifle can have one too. Ergo he can teleport away from the guy with the shiv, and then resume shooting him in the face. Used right in fact I'd think the teleport ends up favoring Mr. McRifle more, because it allows the rapid egress from dangerous positions into prepared firing positions where destruction can be rained upon the unfortunate sucker who just blinked into his last prepared position.

Right next to those couple pounds of high explosive on the radio detonator the truly prudent teleporting rifleman always sets up.

Of course, if we're dealing with Magical Swordsmen, it's possible that they'll have the ability to immediately sense where someone teleported to and follow them, leading to DBZ-esque teleport fights.


Culture can also play a role. If the Emperor's Spellblades are all members of the gentry, for instance, then they all use swords because swords are what they use. A more elegant weapon, from a more civilized age. If you're going magipunk, it's easy to imagine a magical version of, say, the Scarlet Pimpernel, or Zorro, or even the Phantom of the Opera who specialize in combining speed and grace on the battlefield with style and charm off it.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 07:23 PM
Of course, if we're dealing with Magical Swordsmen, it's possible that they'll have the ability to immediately sense where someone teleported to and follow them, leading to DBZ-esque teleport fights.

So if you combine psychic abilities mystically only bestowing themselves on people with plus-sized meat cleavers, and instantaneously recharging unlimited range teleporting, then yes everybody would run around with a plus sized meat cleaver. Also the average ruler's lifespan would make a mayfly seem positively Malthusian, but that may be digressing.


Culture can also play a role. If the Emperor's Spellblades are all members of the gentry, for instance, then they all use swords because swords are what they use. A more elegant weapon, from a more civilized age. If you're going magipunk, it's easy to imagine a magical version of, say, the Scarlet Pimpernel, or Zorro, or even the Phantom of the Opera who specialize in combining speed and grace on the battlefield with style and charm off it.
The funny thing about those cultural warriors is that they very often end up culturally dead when confronted by somebody less hung up on looking badass and more concerned about keeping body and soul a combined package. Which can lead to touching poetry, but unless your players want to reenact Pickett's Charge every time the dice hit the table, probably doesn't make for stellar game design.

If you have something that acts like a rapidly firing, accurate firearm, and want to keep melee relevant, you need some sort of defensive measure that provides reasonable protection against ranged attacks while also diminishing the user's ranged ability. If it doesn't reduce the ability of the wearer to shoot things, it just ends up being at best a wash in terms of balance since both sides get a flashy new toy.

Frozen_Feet
2013-03-04, 08:19 PM
@warty goblin: Actually, if everyone has insta-teleport, it still ends up favoring close-range combat (not necessarily melee, but still). Any projectile with flight time in excess of the reaction time of the teleporter is useless. So is any explosive charge with greater ignition time.

In such setting, I see tactics based around rapid-ignition proximity bombs, rapid-fire close-range booby traps, as well as extreme concealment and cover being the most common. Try to penalize teleporting next to you, or make sure there is no room to teleport to.

Separate long-range weapons will decline, because with insta-line-of-sight teleportation, everyone is a high-speed projectile.

Yukitsu
2013-03-04, 08:23 PM
@warty goblin: Actually, if everyone has insta-teleport, it still ends up favoring close-range combat (not necessarily melee, but still). Any projectile with flight time in excess of the reaction time of the teleporter is useless. So is any explosive charge with greater ignition time.

In such setting, I see tactics based around rapid-ignition proximity bombs, rapid-fire close-range booby traps, as well as extreme concealment and cover being the most common. Try to penalize teleporting next to you, or make sure there is no room to teleport to.

Separate long-range weapons will decline, because with insta-line-of-sight teleportation, everyone is a high-speed projectile.

The problem is the awareness. You don't generally know that you're in a crosshairs until after you've been shot. Unless everyone knows where everyone else is at all times, or you're just teleporting 100% of the time to random places, the ability to teleport won't let you dodge any projectile.

Frozen_Feet
2013-03-04, 08:33 PM
"Awareness" is not a problem, because anyone with insta-port will be at a safe location if they're unaware of a target. You are not dodging, you are just plain not going to be there long enough for anyone to take aim.

Jump to target ---> kill ---> jump to safety
Jump to target ---> "drat, I missed" ---> jump to safety.

Long-range surveillance and prozies will be used instead of manned patrols. If you have something to shoot at, it is either a trap, or your enemy is being a dimwit.

...

Wait a second. I just described scry & die tactics of high-level wizards.

Yukitsu
2013-03-04, 08:40 PM
"Awareness" is not a problem, because anyone with insta-port will be at a safe location if they're unaware of a target. You are not dodging, you are just plain not going to be there long enough for anyone to take aim.

Jump to target ---> kill ---> jump to safety
Jump to target ---> "drat, I missed" ---> jump to safety.

Long-range surveillance and prozies will be used instead of manned patrols. If you have something to shoot at, it is either a trap, or your enemy is being a dimwit.

...

Wait a second. I just described scry & die tactics of high-level wizards.

Soldiers try to do that generally, but they're simply wrong about the safety of their position sometimes, or they're trying to get someone else and are exposed while they do so. Far future tech, you're behind a 10 foot thick wall, you can still get tagged, so the point where the guy isn't exposed is going to be fairly conspicuous. We're already reaching that point where the guy thinks he's safe, but finds himself marker lighted by a tag and fragged by something a country over. The teleportation effect works when you absolutely know well ahead of time where your target is, and they don't know you're coming.

I mean long range surveillance works well and all, but assumes that you're in control of the theater. If that isn't true, that tactic simply won't apply against an equal opponent.

If the guy is literally jumping every .1 seconds, yes he's viably a non-target, but barring that, he is potentially vulnerable, and if the man-portable teleporter is that advanced, honestly, AI controlled jumping ball bearings will be popping into the offenders skull in 0.0000001 seconds of him arriving.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 08:52 PM
Rather more importantly I'd think, if you have a setting where a reasonable chunk of the population can teleport at will, you don't so much have a society as you do complete and utter anarchy. Punishing a crime? Good luck with that. Keeping your political leaders from being impaled? Some of them may make it through their first week alive. It's not even like the teleporting folks will end up on top in some sort of stable oligarchy based solely on the ability to insta-shank anybody who pisses them off, because they'll be too vulnerable to each other.

Which was rather my earlier point; such a setting seems, at least to me, to be mostly just dull and stupid.

Frozen_Feet
2013-03-04, 08:59 PM
You'd probably get something like the teleport-capable people isolating themselves from rest of society, and then doing whatever is necessary to keep more people from acquiring the ability.

Which sounds a bit like D&D, with wizards holed up in their towers/demiplanes and with near all-mighty gods hiding away in distant planes and not really interacting with people.

warty goblin
2013-03-04, 09:07 PM
You'd probably get something like the teleport-capable people isolating themselves from rest of society, and then doing whatever is necessary to keep more people from acquiring the ability.

Which sounds a bit like D&D, with wizards holed up in their towers/demiplanes and with near all-mighty gods hiding away in distant planes and not really interacting with people.
So basically dull and kind of stupid. And it still doesn't solve the original problem of making melee useful if everybody who could use melee is off cowering in a cave somewhere lest some other melee teleporter finds out about them and rips them up. Seems like pretty much everybody not too completely terrified to leave their hide-out is just going to pack guns anyway.

elliott20
2013-03-04, 11:12 PM
so, nobody here reads Battle Angel Alita, I'm guessing? Seriously, that right there is your answer.

Cyborgs, who can withstand small firearms, and dodge larger ammunition, serving as wetworks/assassins, etc.

They even have an entire arc where they pit cyborg martial artists against each other with a couple of people who come in and basically go gun kata on each other. It's pretty awesome.

Eldest
2013-03-05, 01:49 AM
In this setting energy shields work thusly. They are a device with a volume of 1 cubic foot. They automatically absorb a form of energy (heat, light, sound, electricity, magic, etc.) that enters the devices bubble, and converts it into ebbs (unit magic is measured by) for use as energy. Energy weapons opperate in the reverse, converting ebbs into a form of damage determined by the material.

The material the device is made from determines what is converted: gold absorbs light, copper absorbs electricity, silver absorbs magic.

When the Laser is fired at a person with a gold energy shield, it will be absorbed into the shield. No type of shield stops physical damage though.

I am assuming you are using Gramerie (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=252794), seeing as many of the details corispond. So I'll point out two options: the Yellow filter, blocking stone and metal (and thus most physical projectiles) and the Purple filter, which will block living matter.

Now form a shield out of Yellow filters, and an edged weapon out of the purple one. The purple one goes through all armor: it only is in effect for living matter. The yellow filter blocks arrows, bullets, etc, leaving magic to be blocked by silver inputs. That's the simplest thing that comes to mind.

The Grue
2013-03-05, 03:39 AM
Don't know if this has been mentioned but boarding actions in space.

21 feet is the distance at which a guy with a knife is a threat to a guy with a gun. In close quarters, like the corridors of a starship, melee weapons are going to be more effective than guns. That's just as true with modern day firearms as it would be in teh future.

Link (http://www.your-krav-maga-expert.com/gun-vs-knife.html)

In addition to that,


Bullets bounce. Bouncing bullets in an enclosed space are a Bad Idea
If they don't bounce, they might punch through the hull. Holes in a spaceship are also a Bad Idea
The above is true for most staple high-energy sci-fi weapons, lasers being the notable exception
Flamethrowers on a spaceship might work, except an open flame is literally the last thing you want in an enclosed, oxygen-rich environment
Don't even get me started on explosives. No grenades for you, Worf!

Rhynn
2013-03-05, 05:51 AM
The knife thing was brought up, but the link is cool.


Bullets bounce. Bouncing bullets in an enclosed space are a Bad Idea
If they don't bounce, they might punch through the hull. Holes in a spaceship are also a Bad Idea
[/LIST]

This was covered already, but there is probably no way a sci-fi spaceship is going to have a hull that can be punctured/compromised by small arms. Especially if there is such a thing as space combat...

You might, depending on the location of the shootout, do some damage to some subsystem, but almost certainly nowhere near the damage that even a "glancing" hit from a spaceship weapon is going to do.

However, if spaceships are built more like submarines than what you usually see in sci-fi (enormously inefficient structures with huge emounts of empty space that increase the size of the hull and require more energy for any travel for no benefit), firearms inside them might be completely useless. Even if they're slightly less claustrophobic, I'd think encounter distances of 20 feet and under would be very common...


I agree completely everything you've said. In fact, I'm not even sure what the original point of contention was. I think 'shock' was the wrong choice of word on my part. I didn't mean mental trauma or shock as you seem to be defining it. A more appropriate word is probably surprise. I was trying to establish that in a gun vs. knife fight in close quarters, the surprise and pain of being stabbed for the first time in the confrontation provides a window for the knife wielder to attack again.

I think it was just a matter of disagreeing on semantics/wordings. :smallredface:

The Grue
2013-03-05, 06:26 AM
However, if spaceships are built more like submarines than what you usually see in sci-fi (enormously inefficient structures with huge emounts of empty space that increase the size of the hull and require more energy for any travel for no benefit), firearms inside them might be completely useless. Even if they're slightly less claustrophobic, I'd think encounter distances of 20 feet and under would be very common...

I, too, was assuming a somewhat more "realistic" approach to spaceship interiors. Some kind of fusion of what we see in modern spacecraft, the ISS, and, as you point out, seafaring vessels like submarines.

Oh, added point: If you don't have magical gravity plating, firing a projectile weapon in free-fall kicks you backwards. Try compensating for recoil when you don't have gravity holding you down.

Milo v3
2013-03-05, 06:45 AM
Oh, added point: If you don't have magical gravity plating, firing a projectile weapon in free-fall kicks you backwards. Try compensating for recoil when you don't have gravity holding you down.

Magic weapons don't have recoil. :smalltongue:

Also, this system's science is based on Gramarie.

Andreaz
2013-03-05, 06:58 AM
generally melee is good when range is obviated. In close quarters, as said before, you'll have a fill.
It's not hard to imagine defenses that simply work best at range. In the mass effect examples, shields are most effective a few inches or a feet past your body. If you get in before that they're not so good. (Funny RL armor example: a ceramic plating that will stop a bullet, a knife slash or stab, but not if you stab slowly)

Selrahc
2013-03-05, 09:35 AM
Teleportation is one of those things that cut both ways, which is to say the dude with the rifle can have one too. Ergo he can teleport away from the guy with the shiv, and then resume shooting him in the face. Used right in fact I'd think the teleport ends up favoring Mr. McRifle more, because it allows the rapid egress from dangerous positions into prepared firing positions where destruction can be rained upon the unfortunate sucker who just blinked into his last prepared position.

Right next to those couple pounds of high explosive on the radio detonator the truly prudent teleporting rifleman always sets up.

I suppose what really happens is that it turns combat into a rapid series of engagement and disengagement.

So since we're trying to fix the system in favour of the swordsman, let's think about things.

1. The teleporter device works on the person or thing strapped into it. It is expensive, so you don't want to waste it. No teleporting people towards you. No teleporting grenades or bombs unless you want to lose your teleporter.

2. The teleporter needs some rough coordinates put into it, or is otherwise slightly fiddly to activate. This is a process that takes around 5-10 seconds to do. So you can't easily use a teleporter in response to a teleporter. But you can use a teleporter if you're pinned down in cover by a gunman.


Does that level the gap much?

jedipilot24
2013-03-05, 09:37 AM
Star Wars has lightsabers and vibroweapons.
Has anyone looked at Saga?

warty goblin
2013-03-05, 10:46 AM
I suppose what really happens is that it turns combat into a rapid series of engagement and disengagement.

So since we're trying to fix the system in favour of the swordsman, let's think about things.

1. The teleporter device works on the person or thing strapped into it. It is expensive, so you don't want to waste it. No teleporting people towards you. No teleporting grenades or bombs unless you want to lose your teleporter.

2. The teleporter needs some rough coordinates put into it, or is otherwise slightly fiddly to activate. This is a process that takes around 5-10 seconds to do. So you can't easily use a teleporter in response to a teleporter. But you can use a teleporter if you're pinned down in cover by a gunman.


Does that level the gap much?

Not that much. Mr. McRifle can just preemptively teleport. Relocating when you have a gun doesn't cost you very much; after all he can still end up in a position where he is likely to have a shot. Which he can then take and teleport out to somewhere new, preferably with a good view of his last location. All he needs to do is avoid ever spending more than four seconds within twenty feet of his target. Once he's teeped out, Mr. Meatcleaver won't know where he is until just after the first bullet arrives. Even if Mr. Meatcleaver instantly figures out where the shot came from - assuming he survives - by the time he teleports over there Mr. McRifle will already be someplace else.


Stealth obviously becomes very, very important. Even here however Mr. McRifle has the upper hand. All he needs to do is to detect his enemy and take the shot, a tactic that works out to his maximum effective range with his weapon. Note he doesn't even have to do this necessarily undetected, because he can use the teleport activation time of his enemy to put a round through said enemy's chest. Mr. Meatcleaver needs to detect his enemy, teleport or sneak up very close and win a fight. Assuming equal stealth abilities between the combatants, so long as there's a chance that Mr. Meatcleaver loses a close range fight, Mr. McRifle will have a higher overall probability of winning.

Which means that the smart person brings a capable hand to hand weapon like a sword-bayonet, and a honking big rifle.

The Grue
2013-03-05, 03:33 PM
Magic weapons don't have recoil. :smalltongue:

Also, this system's science is based on Gramarie.

My apologies. I thought the title of the thread read "Sci-Fi", not "Futuristic Fantasy".

Tvtyrant
2013-03-05, 03:37 PM
My apologies. I thought the title of the thread read "Sci-Fi", not "Futuristic Fantasy".


I'm currently making a game system in a "Kind of" sci-fi setting with LASERs, mechs, and spaceships. But as a result of the advanced tech, I've found that Melee has become useless.

Is their a way to make melee not useless in a game with advanced technology?

Background info:
The setting isn't technically Sci-Fi, but it fits the Sci-Fi genre better than fantasy. It is merely sufficiently understood magic which they treat as science and has been used to create advanced technology.

Titles can be misleading, which is why there is an original post.

The Grue
2013-03-05, 03:50 PM
Grue just got served.

*rides off into the sunset*

Excession
2013-03-05, 06:15 PM
Don't know if this has been mentioned but boarding actions in space.

21 feet is the distance at which a guy with a knife is a threat to a guy with a gun. In close quarters, like the corridors of a starship, melee weapons are going to be more effective than guns. That's just as true with modern day firearms as it would be in teh future.

Link (http://www.your-krav-maga-expert.com/gun-vs-knife.html)

In addition to that,


Bullets bounce. Bouncing bullets in an enclosed space are a Bad Idea
If they don't bounce, they might punch through the hull. Holes in a spaceship are also a Bad Idea
The above is true for most staple high-energy sci-fi weapons, lasers being the notable exception
Flamethrowers on a spaceship might work, except an open flame is literally the last thing you want in an enclosed, oxygen-rich environment
Don't even get me started on explosives. No grenades for you, Worf!


I accept that knives can still be dangerous to someone with a gun, but that video is a terrible example of it. They start no more than 2 metres apart (call it one square in D&D), the gun is holstered, and the knife is in hand. Even so, I suspect the guy with the knife is leaving with a bullet in the gut in a few of those runs. Sure, it won't kill him right away, but getting even a little bit shot isn't a viable strategy long term. Replace the one guy with a pistol with a squad with SMGs and shotguns ready to fire (basically a military situation rather than police), and open the distance even slightly, and the guy with a knife doesn't look like winning, even if he does retain a good chance of taking one guy down. Also, a lot of this melee advantage seems to be relying on surprise, and surprise works just as well with a gun.

If your high powered laser is in the visible spectrum, the scattered light from a hit or miss is more than enough to blind someone. Goggles can fix that, but only if you know the wavelength you and your enemies are using. Actually, if you've got lasers small enough for hand weapons, you would probably use them to build laser flash grenades for places that don't like explosions.

Gavinfoxx
2013-03-05, 07:29 PM
You'd want to use special low-penetration rounds in spaceships. There are special rounds developed for Air Marshals to use on airplanes that would work equally well in spaceships, IMO.

Ravens_cry
2013-03-05, 08:23 PM
Maybe the ranged weapons in the setting tend to make big holes in spaceship hulls meaning missing is as dangerous to both parties as hitting is to one? And that's not getting into the problem of overpenetration.
The culture also has an interesting effect. It might be one where government doesn't take primary responsibility in protecting its citizens, meaning people need to protect themselves, but still stable enough that people can spend long periods of time learning an otherwise useless skill.
If it's TOO unstable, they'll just pick up a gun or other easy to learn weapon.
my first thought, long since ninja'd, was the Dune-esque shields. The slow blade penetrates the shield!

Yukitsu
2013-03-05, 09:06 PM
If it's TOO unstable, they'll just pick up a gun or other easy to learn weapon.
my first thought, long since ninja'd, was the Dune-esque shields. The slow blade penetrates the shield!

And then the players learned how to use remote controlled lasers and O2 recyclers.

Ravens_cry
2013-03-06, 04:22 PM
And then the players learned how to use remote controlled lasers and O2 recyclers.Not sure what the oxygen recycler bit means, but the trouble in Dune is you have no way of knowing how big the explosion from a laser/shield interaction will be. It might be small as a conventional bomb, it might take out your forces as well. At least that's how I understand the lore.

Yukitsu
2013-03-06, 04:42 PM
Not sure what the oxygen recycler bit means, but the trouble in Dune is you have no way of knowing how big the explosion from a laser/shield interaction will be. It might be small as a conventional bomb, it might take out your forces as well. At least that's how I understand the lore.

The reason Dune shields don't block slow moving melee attacks is that they were foolishly set to permit their passage to allow slow moving atmospheric gases through. If you don't need it to be O2 permeable, you can do a shield design that blocks all forms of attacks. And a remote laser is advantageous in that it has a 50% chance of wiping the target with no personal risk, as you shouldn't be anywhere near the sodding thing.

Tvtyrant
2013-03-06, 05:10 PM
The reason Dune shields don't block slow moving melee attacks is that they were foolishly set to permit their passage to allow slow moving atmospheric gases through. If you don't need it to be O2 permeable, you can do a shield design that blocks all forms of attacks. And a remote laser is advantageous in that it has a 50% chance of wiping the target with no personal risk, as you shouldn't be anywhere near the sodding thing.

I think making remote lasers in a series where computers are banned might be a little difficult. It only takes one robot uprising to convince people never to make them again.

Yukitsu
2013-03-06, 05:40 PM
I think making remote lasers in a series where computers are banned might be a little difficult. It only takes one robot uprising to convince people never to make them again.

You don't actually need a very advanced AI or even a robot to fire a laser remotely, you can do it with a pressure pad and some string. And honestly, humans have no limitation to going back to using things which have bitten them in the behind if it would give them an edge.

Andreaz
2013-03-07, 12:05 PM
I just consulted with a military friend (mr bro-in-law's a blue beret and often raids druglord camps in the woods) and got this.
A reason to go melee is taking hostages: It's much easier to non-lethally disable an enemy with fists and saps than bullets and beams.


He also said that he really likes the feel of enemy blood in his hands O.o

ArcturusV
2013-03-07, 03:42 PM
Well, the problem with going "Low Tech" for your Laser thing is that it's predicated on several assumptions of which you can never really consider true. A) Knowing where an army will be in sufficient mass to make it a viable tactic to try. B) Knowing they will have Shields on necessarily at the time. C) Knowing that someone is going to be at the end of the shot and at exactly what moment they would be standing on, if it was an old cartoon the giant X marking exactly where the trap would hit. Which unless your trigger man was suicidal would have to be from far enough away visual confirmation would not be a solution and it would be more of a guess. D) Having a place to use this tactic that has no tactical value to you what so ever that you wouldn't mind glassing everything near the enemy.

Having an AI or more advanced Remote control helps eliminate criteria C, as with a higher "tech", or magic in the OP's case, set up might allow you to properly time and aim. Though it does little for A, B, or D.

D is especially unlikely to happen in a particularly advanced Sci-Fi/Magitech setting. Armies won't be marching out in the middle of a wasteland you don't care about waiting to die. They'd be in a place that, you probably want to take back like a city, valuable resource location, etc.

Of course this does mean the suicide bomber tactic when you literally have nothing left to lose is more viable as you can end up wiping out an entire town along with yourself, and an entire enemy contingent. Though depending on advances even that might not be a real solution as a "Garrison" might be more like a ship in orbit that will bombard you into dust if you don't comply. Or just shuttles down/teleports down marine contingents as needed so you wipe out a company or so at most rather than an entire brigade or the likes. Does make suicidal assassins of high ranking officials easier to do though. Presuming they have a traditional place you can count on them being instead of doing all their business through Telecomms and Illusions from hardened bunkers and the like.

Bulhakov
2013-03-07, 05:44 PM
Several situations which may encourage melee:

- fighting on a starship, u-boat or other fragile structure, where one bullet that misses means game over

- stranded in the middle of nowhere with no high-tech equipment (though then getting projectile weapons will become the priority to the players)

- Haldeman's Forever War had a neat idea of Statis Field Generators - basically they created a field around them that limited all movement in a large spherical perimeter to several meters per second, including movement on atomic scales, so no energy weapons or fire (soldiers wore special suits that countered the effect). Fighting inside the stasis field had to be all melee with occasional crossbow use (though bolts moved slow enough to dodge). One battle was won by blowing up a nuke just outside a stasis field, with the whole squad surviving inside it.

warty goblin
2013-03-07, 06:01 PM
- Heinlein's Forever War had a neat idea of Statis Field Generators - basically they created a field around them that limited all movement in a large spherical perimeter to several meters per second, including movement on atomic scales, so no energy weapons or fire (soldiers wore special suits that countered the effect). Fighting inside the stasis field had to be all melee with occasional crossbow use (though bolts moved slow enough to dodge). One battle was won by blowing up a nuke just outside a stasis field, with the whole squad surviving inside it.

Joe Haldeman wrote The Forever War, and I'm fairly sure the entire point of that sequence was just to make blatant how absurd the entire war was.

Bulhakov
2013-03-07, 06:13 PM
Thanks, corrected. Mixed up my scifi authors (I've read the book 10 years ago).