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Dachimotsu
2015-01-26, 01:54 PM
I'm almost done designing my group's next campaign, and I've been racking my brain about how to map cities. It comes as no surprise, however, that cities are big. Really, really, big, so making encounter maps in advance for every city in the campaign (of which there's like, a hundred) seems extremely implausible. So I decided that I wasn't going to make maps for the cities, and the heroes will explore them using their good ol' imaginations.

But what if a fight broke out? My players are too used to having a map to fight on. Knowing their exact distance from every other creature, whether or not they can be seen with cover, etc. I thought of making small, portion-sized maps of generic neighborhoods where city fights could take place, but what if it turned into a chase scene? They'd go off the map and I'd be back to the original problem.

The likeliest solution seems to be excluding maps for these kinds of fights altogether, but I'd have no idea how to go about that. Does anyone else here do fights this way, at least on occasion? How are they normally handled?

JusticeZero
2015-01-26, 02:23 PM
I like crudely scrawled "football maps", personally.

Corsair
2015-01-26, 02:32 PM
I had a pretty good experience using a dry erase board as a map, you just draw in the environment as the situation warrants. That might be what JusticeZero is referring to.

Algeh
2015-01-26, 07:32 PM
I almost never give my players a proper map. If we're playing in a campaign where it makes sense that they could buy a world map, or a city map, or whatever, sure, but they'd need to give me some notice so I could give them an appropriate one the next session (unless we're playing real world present day, in which case sure, if their character has a smart phone and internet access, the player can use those things too and have pretty much any map they want).

I do generally have my own GM combat-level maps for things that are "dungeon-y", but for cities I just wing it. I'd have layouts of some rooms in some buildings that I think they might be trying to fight in or sneak through, but otherwise it's more "zoomed out" (Main streets are thus, Noble Quarter is over here, Church of Whatever's main temple is over here, Ruler lives here, Rough Drinking District is here, plot hooks live here, here, and here, and so on, without trying to draw in every single street and figure out a purpose for every single building, let alone map out every floor of every building.)

If my players need a map to understand a room layout, I draw a quick and sloppy one on a whiteboard, with no special effort to make everything precisely to scale or make all of the lines straighter than freeform leads to or anything. This represents them glancing around to see where they are without using any particular special effort. If they want to spend some time making appropriate skill rolls or otherwise inspecting their surroundings, I refine it as they tell me what they're doing to get better information and how much time they're spending doing that. If they're being chased or otherwise rushing, they will get sloppier and quicker drawings since they're paying less attention, or no drawings at all and just descriptions depending on their speed ("ok, you're running down the left hallway as fast as you can? There's a blue carpet runner over hardwood! and doors on the walls! they're probably wood, and have doorknobs or something! There's a door at the end of the hall and several on the sides! You don't know how many on each side unless you want to pay attention to that rather than your footing or slow down a bit - probably 5ish?" "No, none of them are open"). I'd do a city chase scene similarly - if they're running as fast as they can, they are not measuring the dimensions of the butcher's shop as they run past. I'd do it mostly as a series of rolls of their ability to wayfind (if they're trying to get someplace specific) and dodge traffic, and just tell them a few features of each street they dashed down. "This street has lots of wagons. And carts. You'll have to weave through them, because they're kind of blocking the road. Make a -whatever- roll, and tell me how you did, so we can see how well you got through them. The buildings along the sides? They seem to be shops, but the buildings seen to be pretty tall so maybe housing above. Or offices? Or warehouses? Are you taking the time to look above you and try to peek in windows? Then you don't know how tall, or what they might be using those stories for. Ooops! Up ahead is a square with a fountain in the center and someone giving some kind of speech to large crowd which has gathered. Now what do you do?" rather than doing it round by round as an encounter. Then I take notes on my map if I had to make up any of that as I went because they happened to run through a section I was kind of vague on.

Don't be afraid to abstract out some of the things you don't want to deal with individually, either. I once ran a game with the PCs spending a session or two running around modern Paris, and I told them for game purposes that any time they took mass transit to get to another point within the city it would take a half hour and cost some flat amount of money I've long since forgotten. This was to keep my players from getting out metro maps and spending a lot of time calculating things that I didn't care about, so I deliberately gave them a "better deal" than reality probably would have to reduce arguing.

redwizard007
2015-01-26, 08:31 PM
As Alegh esentially said above, don't worry to much about mapping minor details that nobody needs.

For the rare occasions where a detailed map becomes necessary you have Google (or a stock of generic maps of cities, wards, villages, hamlets etc. If you have been a career DM.)

And for Chase style fights I suggest a flow chart

Mark Hall
2015-01-27, 11:14 AM
And there's always the "you can, but" method of aiming and such. They want to fireball someone in melee? You can, but your buddy is going to have to make a save so he doesn't have an arm in the AoE when it comes down.

It's a more organic situation, and avoids the "all PCs are spatial-mathematical geniuses, able to precisely place a 3D object at range without ever failing" bit.

jaydubs
2015-01-27, 11:40 AM
And there's always the "you can, but" method of aiming and such. They want to fireball someone in melee? You can, but your buddy is going to have to make a save so he doesn't have an arm in the AoE when it comes down.

It's a more organic situation, and avoids the "all PCs are spatial-mathematical geniuses, able to precisely place a 3D object at range without ever failing" bit.

If you're going to use "you can, but" instead of a map, it's a good idea to always give an opportunity to get around it, like the save mentioned above. Alternatively, it can be an attack roll, int check, or whatever is appropriate to avoid hitting something, if that something would be an object or an NPC (you want at least one of the players to roll). But in any case, the point is to deflect frustration from "this is only happening because you refuse to draw a map" into "I hate my dice."

Thrudd
2015-01-28, 01:31 PM
An intermediate step between the fully drawn combat grid and theater of the mind is using minis and moveable terrain pieces with no grid. It allows tactical action like they are used to, but also is flexible and you can place on the table only the things and enemies the characters can actually see. When they move, you just add/remove terrain as needed. You could do this by drawing on a dry erase board, or by using cardboard cutout shapes, or other objects if they are in the right scale. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure distances and check line of sight for cover. For extra fun and to cut down on time spent measuring, don't allow measuring before taking an action, or only allow one pre-move measurement per player per turn. Otherwise they might spend forever measuring the distance between everything instead of just using their eyeballs like their characters are.

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 01:33 PM
One main point of a map is to eliminate the need to ask certain kinds of questions. Anyone can tell relative positioning and approximate distances and paths at a glance, and they can point right at the target of their action.

The other way to eliminate the need to ask such questions is to default to answers to potential questions always being "Yes." Not, "yes, but" but "Yes," and preferably "Yes, and..." Can I see so-and-so? Yes. Can I get cover? Yes. Can I walk to point X? Yes. It quickly becomes clear that the players don't need to ask any questions and can just state what they're doing. In fact, a lot of the questions a map answers are already "Yes," anyway, so you may find that this doesn't change very much.

This takes a lot of trust. At least at first, forget about trying to challenge the players in the usual ways while using this approach. Most players like some challenge, though, and even though they can state whatever they want as being the case, they often will not, as they tune the challenge to what they enjoy.

Of course, the players also need to trust the GM, because the GM doesn't have a map either and can't really resort to just asking a lot of questions.

Keep the battles simple for a while, until the group gets the hang of this approach.


And there's always the "you can, but" method of aiming and such. They want to fireball someone in melee? You can, but your buddy is going to have to make a save so he doesn't have an arm in the AoE when it comes down. "Oh, well, never mind then. I'll just cast Magic Missile again."

"Yes, but," just leads to players simple choices that they don't have to ask permission for. Why bother trying to come up with a cool, powerful idea, if the GM is just going to look for a way to hamstring it anyway?


It's a more organic situation, and avoids the "all PCs are spatial-mathematical geniuses, able to precisely place a 3D object at range without ever failing" bit. Is that a real problem? Who cares if they are "geniuses" in that way? They're "geniuses" about a lot of other things that don't require dice rolls to achieve. This strikes me as using one's creativity to figure out how to stymie player ideas, rather than support them, putting the GM on a very adversarial, low-trust footing with the table.

Lord Torath
2015-01-29, 01:49 PM
An intermediate step between the fully drawn combat grid and theater of the mind is using minis and moveable terrain pieces with no grid. It allows tactical action like they are used to, but also is flexible and you can place on the table only the things and enemies the characters can actually see. When they move, you just add/remove terrain as needed. You could do this by drawing on a dry erase board, or by using cardboard cutout shapes, or other objects if they are in the right scale. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure distances and check line of sight for cover. For extra fun and to cut down on time spent measuring, don't allow measuring before taking an action, or only allow one pre-move measurement per player per turn. Otherwise they might spend forever measuring the distance between everything instead of just using their eyeballs like their characters are.I do this, except without the tape measure bit. The minis and terrain are there to give a general idea of where things are, but are not in any way precise. This saves a lot of table space, as well.

Mark Hall
2015-01-29, 02:18 PM
"Yes, but," just leads to players simple choices that they don't have to ask permission for. Why bother trying to come up with a cool, powerful idea, if the GM is just going to look for a way to hamstring it anyway?

Because the GM won't necessarily hamstring it, but you're still shooting off area effect spells in crowded conditions. Sometimes, like when your buddy is nose-to-nose with someone you want to incinerate, you SHOULD reconsider tossing a fireball, and instead go with a never-miss spell that hits its target and only its target.

Battle is dangerous and fluid; relying solely on the map and making it arbiter of all things tends to assume an extremely stable battlefield... there's no chance that Bob will have his arm in the area of effect, even though he's swinging a sword at someone who is supposed to be inside it.


Is that a real problem? Who cares if they are "geniuses" in that way? They're "geniuses" about a lot of other things that don't require dice rolls to achieve. This strikes me as using one's creativity to figure out how to stymie player ideas, rather than support them, putting the GM on a very adversarial, low-trust footing with the table.

It's no different than "firing into melee" rules. Do those cripple archers? If it had instead been a Melf's Acid Arrow, would you cry foul when the firing into melee rules meant that your buddy got shot in the back with your spell?

Knaight
2015-01-29, 02:21 PM
If the system really needs a map, it's generally pretty easy to whip one up - you just don't go super detailed. If a fight breaks out on a residential/market street (think the full stores with houses as the second story), then you have a map that indicates the street, maybe a side street to a small extent, and then just a big block of where the houses are. If the fight moves off the map, extend it a bit.

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 02:35 PM
Because the GM won't necessarily hamstring it, but you're still shooting off area effect spells in crowded conditions. Sometimes, like when your buddy is nose-to-nose with someone you want to incinerate, you SHOULD reconsider tossing a fireball, and instead go with a never-miss spell that hits its target and only its target. Should according to whom?


Battle is dangerous and fluid; relying solely on the map and making it arbiter of all things tends to assume an extremely stable battlefield... there's no chance that Bob will have his arm in the area of effect, even though he's swinging a sword at someone who is supposed to be inside it. It's okay not to make things more realistic if the additional realism will not make the game more enjoyable.


It's no different than "firing into melee" rules. Do those cripple archers? Who said "cripple"? But it does serve as a disincentive. Why the disincentive? Realism? Balance? At least as a pre-written rule, though, there's less chance that it's a deliberate attempt to put the kibosh on something the player thought would be exciting to do. And, as the player could know about it in advance, it's less likely to jam up the game the way a sudden ad-hoc disincentive is - though it still manages to, somehow.

Shooting into melee is handled lots of different ways. I suppose some had a chance of hitting the ally, but 3.5 doesn't. Some games (including some created after 3.5) don't levy a penalty at all, perhaps realizing that there were more interesting ways to make the game challenging.


If it had instead been a Melf's Acid Arrow, would you cry foul when the firing into melee rules meant that your buddy got shot in the back with your spell? Why is this suddenly about me?

In 3.5 it wouldn't mean that, since those rules only penalize the attack roll and don't require a risk of hitting one's ally.

But it would be reasonable to ask exactly how hitting one's ally in the back is meant to increase the fun of the game. I get that some people crave realism for its own sake, but lots of people like their games to be more about heroism and less about tragic friendly-fire incidents.

Knaight
2015-01-29, 02:50 PM
But it would be reasonable to ask exactly how hitting one's ally in the back is meant to increase the fun of the game. I get that some people crave realism for its own sake, but lots of people like their games to be more about heroism and less about tragic friendly-fire incidents.

Rules that disincentive things like shooting into close combat (or throwing grenades in, which is what the fireball spell practically is) hardly discourage heroism. They just open up alternate avenues. For instance, say there's a mage with a fireball, who could try to help out their friend who is currently in a melee fight they're clearly outmatched in. There are a lot of ways that can go.

The friend can ask that the mage hits their own position, so that the person they're fighting at least doesn't get the rest of the group.
The mage can close to melee to help, knowing full well they aren't all that great at it but trying anyways.
The mage can fire the fireball as a warning shot then commence with threats, knowing full well that it cost them their actual advantage but hoping for the best as it's the only way they see out of the situation.


None of these seem less heroic than a precision fireball that catches exactly what it needs to and no more. There's a distinctly different feel created by those sort of rules, and if the default feel of the game in question is different it's worth highlighting that change (which also applies to if you're switching from the friendly fire assumption to a method where that isn't the case), but calling it less heroic is nonsense.

Mark Hall
2015-01-29, 02:53 PM
Why is this suddenly about me?

Because, when I gave my opinion, you challenged it as less fun, with the clear implication that your way (i.e. the way you espoused) was more fun, while mine was badwrongfun.


In 3.5 it wouldn't mean that, since those rules only penalize the attack roll and don't require a risk of hitting one's ally.

And not all games are 3.5. Nothing in the OP implied that it was 3.5, and being posted in general means that 3.5 is not the default assumption.


But it would be reasonable to ask exactly how hitting one's ally in the back is meant to increase the fun of the game. I get that some people crave realism for its own sake, but lots of people like their games to be more about heroism and less about tragic friendly-fire incidents.

And some people want their games to be dangerous and filled with tough choices. "Do I shoot the most powerful weapon I have and risk injuring my friends, or the more controlled weapon that might not be as effective?"

How is it less about heroism if you have to be careful of your actions? How does it make it LESS fun for a game to include consequences... from accidentally toasting someone meleeing the person you're coating in fire, to accidentally setting the town alight because you're using incideniaries?

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 02:58 PM
None of these seem less heroic than a precision fireball that catches exactly what it needs to and no more. There's a distinctly different feel created by those sort of rules, and if the default feel of the game in question is different it's worth highlighting that change (which also applies to if you're switching from the friendly fire assumption to a method where that isn't the case), but calling it less heroic is nonsense. Accidentally shooting one's ally in the back isn't heroic, it's tragic. Fine if that's what people are bought into, not otherwise.

There's also the element of disincentive for the player to play their character they way they want. The player who made an archer and wants to shoot a lot isn't going to appreciate a rule that sometimes requires them either not to shoot or to risk directly harming their ally with a shot.

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 03:06 PM
And not all games are 3.5. Nothing in the OP implied that it was 3.5, and being posted in general means that 3.5 is not the default assumption. The point of mentioning 3.5 and other editions is that some people clearly feel that the idea of a risk of hitting one's allies does not add to the enjoyment of the game.


And some people want their games to be dangerous and filled with tough choices. "Do I shoot the most powerful weapon I have and risk injuring my friends, or the more controlled weapon that might not be as effective?" Quite so. But if they do, then they'll decide themselves that using the fireball is a risk, and won't need the GM to step in with a "Yes, but..."


How is it less about heroism if you have to be careful of your actions? Because lots of heroes don't outwardly exhibit particular care. The Avengers can shoot off powerful weapons in a city that hasn't been evacuated, but the movie isn't about all the collateral damage they're causing.


How does it make it LESS fun for a game to include consequences... from accidentally toasting someone meleeing the person you're coating in fire, to accidentally setting the town alight because you're using incideniaries? Not all consequences are equally enjoyable, and not every action really needs consequences. Sometimes a situation really isn't about the ancillary effects. It's fun for the Rebels to blow up the Death Star, it's not probably not fun for them to have to deal with the ecological damage they caused to Endor as a result of that act.

Garimeth
2015-01-29, 03:10 PM
To the OP, I second the dry erase board, that or a pad of graph paper and using extra dice as charcters. Even now that I play on roll20, where mapping is relatively easy, I use a "scratchpad" screen for stuff like this. It gives just enough info to make positioning decisions and give the lay of the land, while still keeping it more Theater of the Mind, which I like. I feel like this strikes a pretty good balance, and its even easier if you are running a system that isn't picky about distance.

Knaight
2015-01-29, 03:13 PM
Accidentally shooting one's ally in the back isn't heroic, it's tragic. Fine if that's what people are bought into, not otherwise.
Choosing to do something that puts yourself at risk to spare the risk to your ally on the other hand (which was in the examples I listed), is heroic. As for it being fine if that's what people are bought into, the exact same thing applies to not having the risk. The absence of friendly fire mechanics is not some sort of default, which can just be assumed where any deviation from it needs specific justification and established buy-in.


There's also the element of disincentive for the player to play their character they way they want. The player who made an archer and wants to shoot a lot isn't going to appreciate a rule that sometimes requires them either not to shoot or to risk directly harming their ally with a shot.
If the player wants to make meaningful decisions as an archer and to have to think their way out of difficult problems, the exact same thing can be said about leaving shooting in as the obvious option that is just best. Personally, on the rare occasion I play instead of GM, I much favor the latter.

This is before we get into the assumption that anyone who plays an archer even wants to play someone who just shoots arrows all the time, as opposed to someone who does so preferentially and is particularly good at it. Someone aiming for the latter is much more likely to be a proponent of rules which push towards not using archery in certain situations. There's also the matter of the backdrop of the rest of the game. The archer might not be the character to shine in an extremely close ambush where they've got no room to manuever and very few good shots. On the other hand, when the party is later in a position to engage some foes across a chasm, they're the star.

Mr.Moron
2015-01-29, 03:30 PM
There is more to having fun than winning all the time because you're awesome badass winners who win and winning and also win at never not winning.

Unexpected complications that defy immediate expectations can often be a very exciting and engaging event to deal with.

If the only results possible are the ones specifically called out in the mechanics any given action (and to greater extent scenario) is wholly predictable. This happens on a hit, this happens on a miss, and this is the only way these things can or can't miss. It's a small possibility space and rather solvable in the computational sense of the term.

That can get very dull, for all parties involved. When an action has some chance of having a result you couldn't have predicted before taking the action, suddenly you actually have tension.

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 03:39 PM
There is more to having fun than winning all the time because you're awesome badass winners who win and winning and also win at never not winning. Of course. I didn't say anything about winning. The characters should definitely lose (all the time. Edit: frequently). It just doesn't need to be because they scored an own goal.


Unexpected complications that defy immediate expectations can often be a very exciting and engaging event to deal with. Can be.


If the only results possible are the ones specifically called out in the mechanics any given action (and to greater extent scenario) is wholly predictable. This happens on a hit, this happens on a miss, and this is the only way these things can or can't miss. It's a small possibility space and rather solvable in the computational sense of the term. Chess is wholly predictable, yet not easily solvable.


That can get very dull, for all parties involved. When an action has some chance of having a result you couldn't have predicted before taking the action, suddenly you actually have tension. Along with a brake on the gameplay as the player decides whether to ask a bunch of questions figure out a safe way to still use the action they just spent several minutes deciding on, probably necessitating that a map be drawn anyway; choose something else that's safe and effective but not as interesting; choose something else that's safe and interesting but for which effectiveness relies heavily on a GM who just proved that they'll make things questionably effective; or just pass.

Mr.Moron
2015-01-29, 03:45 PM
Along with a brake on the gameplay as the player decides whether to ask a bunch of questions figure out a safe way to still use the action they just spent several minutes deciding on, probably necessitating that a map be drawn anyway; choose something else that's safe and effective but not as interesting; choose something else that's safe and interesting but for which effectiveness relies heavily on a GM who just proved that they'll make things questionably effective; or just pass.

Sound like players I wouldn't play with. Anyone who wants to break things down to find affirmative statements about a sure-thing or at least a "sure to not vary in any way" thing is just not somebody fun for me to have at the table.

We're all in this together, it's not a competition and I'm not out to get anyone. Any curve balls I'm throwing are out of good faith effort to represent the events of the game. Get on a board and enjoy the ride with whatever twists may come or find a GM willing to run the game like a flow chart.

Not that I'm ragging on flow chart games really. I love me some micro-management heavy 4x video games. So if that's what you're looking for out of an RPG, I can respect that.

Knaight
2015-01-29, 03:46 PM
Along with a brake on the gameplay as the player decides whether to ask a bunch of questions figure out a safe way to still use the action they just spent several minutes deciding on, probably necessitating that a map be drawn anyway; choose something else that's safe and effective but not as interesting; choose something else that's safe and interesting but for which effectiveness relies heavily on a GM who just proved that they'll make things questionably effective; or just pass.

The brake on gameplay is far from guaranteed - I have consistently seen it not happen. There's also a very real possibility that the "something else" is actually significantly more interesting. For instance, I was playing an archer recently(ish). At one point, I had a shot I probably could have made, but which involved shooting into a melee where the enemy was basically positioned to use the ally as a human shield. Under the no-FF rules, I'd have taken the shot, rolled it, and done some damage. That's not exactly inherently interesting. With FF in place, there was an incentive to do something else.

Said enemy was a fairly large lizard which was clearly using hearing as their main sense. So the character took their sword, and started beating the heck out of the walls nearby, to cause an echoing racket. This was a safer decision, it was a more effective decision, and it was a more interesting decision. It's also a decision that came about precisely because just shooting the creature wasn't the best option.

There was also no delay, game braking, or anything else involved, so there's that.

Beta Centauri
2015-01-29, 03:56 PM
The brake on gameplay is far from guaranteed True enough, but we've all seen it:

The GM says the fireball is going to risk harm to allies and instead of saying "okay," and doing something else, they ask other things. "What if I warn them to duck, and ignite the fireball above ground?" is one I've seen on numerous occasions. That's when the player doesn't just dispute the point, claiming that the scene as described allows what they want. Sure the GM can just shut them down, but more than likely the map is just going to have to come out to prove the GM's point.

So, sure, it's not guaranteed. But if the goal is to have mapless play, one way risks having to bring out a map and another doesn't (or does significantly less)


This was a safer decision, it was a more effective decision, and it was a more interesting decision. It's also a decision that came about precisely because just shooting the creature wasn't the best option. Great, but tactics like that are only as effective as the GM lets them be. Would you have done that if the GM said "Yes, but you have to roll to see if you break your sword."

Knaight
2015-01-29, 04:11 PM
Great, but tactics like that are only as effective as the GM lets them be. Would you have done that if the GM said "Yes, but you have to roll to see if you break your sword."

All tactics are only as effective as the GM lets them be. The conventional usage can easily be negated by a GM claiming that they are fire immune or have some limited usage ablative resistances, or whatever else. Heck, it's going to register as less BS when the GM does that, at least an amulet of fire resistance under armor or whatever makes a lot of sense. A sword just magically breaking when the flat is hit against some rock? Less so.

Mr.Moron
2015-01-29, 04:13 PM
Great, but tactics like that are only as effective as the GM lets them be. Would you have done that if the GM said "Yes, but you have to roll to see if you break your sword."

Right, but presumably if you don't explicitly state you're taking enough ****s the GM could ask you to roll vs an impacted bowel... and that may or may not be something you're on board with. You can make anything seem unreasonable if you keep piling "but what ifs...", no matter how divorced they are from the position you're challenging.

Presumably the GM is going to go over his general play-style and tone, and the players who play are going to be on board with that. If the GM isn't doing this why join the game? If the GM says to roll for sword-breakage it's safe to assume it's either

A) A good faith call in game where nitty-gritty equipment management, high risk and painful difficulty are expected.

B) The group didn't do it's due diligence in terms of being open with play styles. Lesson learned do it now and see if everyone can get on the same page.

C) The GM is a **** because the group had established this stuff wouldn't happen and you should leave the game.

Knaight
2015-01-29, 04:25 PM
Presumably the GM is going to go over his general play-style and tone, and the players who play are going to be on board with that. If the GM isn't doing this why join the game? If the GM says to roll for sword-breakage it's safe to assume it's either

A) A good faith call in game where nitty-gritty equipment management, high risk and painful difficulty are expected.

B) The group didn't do it's due diligence in terms of being open with play styles. Lesson learned do it now and see if everyone can get on the same page.

C) The GM is a **** because the group had established this stuff wouldn't happen and you should leave the game.

Plus, it's generally pretty easy to tell these apart. Take A) - if enemy equipment always seems to work smoothly, and there isn't a really good reason for it (e.g. a campaign where the PCs are explicitly from a lower technological society using crap equipment), it's not the case. As for B, that's basically just a case of A being the play style in use, and even if nitty-gritty is in use, weapons being significantly more fragile than they were historically is dubious.

This leaves an alternative C, where the GM is pulling some nonsense and can be called on their crap.