Can a setting work where large armies are armed with flintlocks, or even something more primitive, but melee and mounted combat are still used? I know different countries in the real world had differing levels of technology, but were early guns really so superior as to totally decide a wars outcome?
Mostly I ask because I want to run a campaign where a group of adventurers try to retake a fort from a garrison of zombies, but the zombies still remember some basic training. Most likely there would only be a dozen or so gun users in the lot, first firing from the walls as they try to get in, and then later in the yard. I don't really plan to have the PCs make much use of the guns if they don't want to, but I wonder if there's any precedent for mixing heavy armored fighters with very early firearms
Sure! In the real world there was a long 'pike and shot' era in the 16th-18th century where the primary weapon in war was the pike, supported by men with matchlock muskets and cavalry.
The musketeers were expected to 'prepare' hostile pikemen by shooting them, protected from cavalry by their own pikemen. The battle would be deiced by pikemen closing to melee combat.
The musketeers would also carry swords, as their weapons were slow and clumsy in close combat.
Even after that, with flintlock weapons in the 18-19th century the weapon of choice was the smoothbore musket. They could reload much faster and more relabily then older weapons, and with a baoynet the flintlock musket made a good enough spear that armies no longer needed pikemen to protect men with guns from cavalry.
Those guns were used a lot, but most battles were still deiced by close combat. Line infantry would close with the other side, fire into them, then charge with bayonets. It's quite possible that the Brown Bess killed more people with bayonet and butt then with bullets.
guns weren't accurate and powerful enough to become mainstay until way latter.
Horsemen with revolvers pretty much were instructed to use it as a longer lance, and even then the surefire way was to put it up to the breastplate and fire.
These don't explain how awesome 17th century warfare was.
Most European battlefields had a bunch of flamboyantly dressed German mercenaries going around in the best armor they could buy or steal and just there for the money. Whole wars in Poland were deiced almost totally by Germans fighting for pay on both sides.
>Horsemen with revolvers
By the 1836 nobody but crazy Poles had been using a lance in a long, long time. By the 18th century cavalry either used pistols or short muskets to strike at range until they could either flank a hostile force or the enemy line broke and they began to run, then would charge with swords.
The cavalry charge could keep a force running and inflict far more casualties then anything else. Cavalry harrying after a broken army, keeping them from rallying and reorganizing while inflicting more casualties, was common by the 18th century.
Churchill himself took part in proper cavalry charges, in which it wasn't rare for melee fighting to ensue, just saying. Firearms changed a lot about warfare, but melee combat and cavalry was phased out by repeaters. Infantry armour gets phased out as late as the 17th century, while 19th century heavy cavalry still often had a cuirass and a helmet. Actually Napoleonic heavy cavalry was so successful that several nations reintroduced the concept to their forces even if they previously abandoned it.
So basically pick a date before 1868, make the location to be Europe, and you have all the things you need. Go further back and you'll get less firearms, more melee and armour. This gives you roughly 500 years of various techlevels.
>By the 1836 nobody but crazy Poles had been using a lance in a long, long time.
So you're saying that the British Empire was, in fact, made up by Poles? Just because they kinda REintroduced the lance in the 19th century.
>Can a setting work where large armies are armed with flintlocks, or even something more primitive, but melee and mounted combat are still used?
You just discribed Warhammer Fantasy. Its 16thC European tech in a fantasy setting, which means pistols, muskets and cannon are all game.
Hell, the Brettonians are the only non-chaos humans to NOT use guns, and that is only because they have not had to advance in technology because of obscure magic BS.
Larry "Bozo the clown" Harmon, was one of the last horse-and-saber calvarymen in the US Army, durring the start of WWII.
He had three horses shot out from under him, throughout his tour.
Checked my facts to be sure, and yeah, lances are used well into WW1, sometimes even after that. I'll still stick to my date of 1868, because that's when Austria disbanded the cuirassiers, signalling the sort-of-end of large-scale plate body armour usage.
Also Bozo, yes.
If I can make one suggestion to you, OP, pic a vague time-period to crib off off and stick to it. You're discribing several hundred years of variance IRL, and who knows how much in a fantasy world where tech competes with magic.
See >>44924927. Bows and crossbows saw use straight into the 1700's, especially by irregulars and scouts.
This pic show he has a sword and a usual firearms.
I think op want a setting where firearm users will ONLY care about firearms
And melee will only care about melee.
And no one would use bow because the point of the setting is firearms vs melee and not ranged vs melee and this already existed and is known by everybody
...oh? then why doesn't he just do pathfinder with commonplace firearms rules, it makes them Martial weapons and reduces their prices drastically so there's no reason for ranged classes not to use them.
Heck, the most recent confirmed longbow kill in war was during WWII (by a Brit of course). The main reason they even fazed out was that it was easier to train guys to shoot guns than bows (longbows require an exceptional amount of strength to use) an army of fully trained longbow-men could take an army of pretty much anything else, the problem of course being is that in the time it takes to train them you could train ten armies.
it's still 25% of the original price, thats 4 bullets for 1gp, more expensive than arrows sure, but compared to a longbow, a musket does higher damage, has a four times crit, and at close range targets touch AC to represent armour being kindof shit at stopping it.
Besides if you can't afford ammo it's because your very low level and squandering your bullets, by level 10, or 15 you should be rolling in enough money to not care, or even get fancy and get special shot, hell a gunslinger in my campaign was carting around adamantine bullets because we wound up fighting a lot of constructs.
Go and get a wooden yardstick or other long wooden object, then bend it so the ends are almost parallel, without snapping it of course, now do that every ten seconds for 5 minutes, if you can do that congratulations, you are as strong a longbowman, if not then reconsider your statement.
I've never met somebody too weak to swing an arming sword.
I've seen sedentary types tire pretty quickly pulling a flatbow.
It's not a weapon for olympians, but to use it in warfare you have to be pretty swole.
Theres a pretty good book series called the Powder Mage chronicles that uses swords and gunpowder.
due to accuracy and reloading speed it just makes sense to stab a fool with a lance or blade in between shots.
The book uses powder mages who can use magic to strengthen gun powder blasts and ignite it at will. I recommend it!
Nope. At Breitenfeld the Swedes were running 3:2 pike to shot ratio, and that was considered a radical change. An infantry brigade had 12 organic cannon. Not exactly Nepolonic.
Later, Gustav would push that to a 1:1 pike-shot ratio with a bigger focus on linear formations. This gave a huge amount of extra firepower and far more frontage, and proved to be able to break inflexible terricos in real battlefield conditions.
2:8 pike to shot with 17th century guns would be suicidal. They couldn't stop a determined charge or hold off cavalry.
Here's a contemporary phamlet that showed formation. O is gunmen, P is pikemen. The lonely H are halbriders.
Make the enemy a close range horse threatening civilization ranged weapons are used to deal damage from a distance with melter kept to give soldiers a fighting chance in close range combat
>They couldn't stop a determined charge or hold off cavalry.
They actually did a good job of it with 2:8 because they could keep a continuous volley going. Putting musketeers with their cavalry and and smaller cannons with their infantry also helped.
>archers in general were swole.
Naw. Archers in general were shit. Skirmishers intended to harass, distract and disorder infantry, but likely to run from contact.
Good archers were very valuable, but..
To get good archers, you had to pick people that had decent nutrition and enough time to train. So you'd be using the exact same people that you'd use to make heavy cavalry.
So it worked for Englishmen, whom have always had a poor relationship with horses and a deep distrust of the smelly beast, but on the continent those young men of good health and moderate wealth would become knights instead.
A double time march covers 146 yards in 60 seconds.
It takes, at best, 90 seconds to reload a matchlock musket. Thus confronted with a closing enemy at a march, not even charging, you are forced to choose between firing at long range and attempting, likely in vain, to reload before they close or firing at minimal range to maximize shock.
Each solider on the line gets one shot. Even four-deep musketeers could not generate a volume of fire able to stop a pike block. One a charge starts it's very hard to stop, even with a point blank volley, and it takes extremely well disciplined musketeers to hold fire until point blank range.
1:1 was the pike-shot ratio of radical gun lovers in the thirty years war.
>It takes, at best, 90 seconds to reload a matchlock musket.
Where the hell are you getting your info?
I can do it in 48 seconds, under duress. The 1620's Dutch manual of arms requires men get off three shots in a count of 100 seconds.
I wasn't even the best shot at the Jamestown museum, and could still hit an 8 inch diameter target at 100 yards. Mix that into a packed formation, aiming at the torso, and you have some unpleasantness
Pic is me and my musket.
There was a reason that in both the Assize of Arms 1252 and King Edward III's declaration of 1363 decreed that, by law, all able bodied men of age in England should practice with longbows on Sundays and during Holidays.
Sluys, Crécy, Poitiers and Agincourt proved the effectiveness of the longbow, but the French did learn from their mistakes eventually learned to counter them, like at Verneuil and Patay, where they charged their lines before they could set up fully into a defensive position.
Archers, en masse, in a defensive position, were utterly devastating, and it was shown to be tactical suicide to underestimate them simply because they were peasants with bits of wood and string.
Yeah, in Australia the Charge of the Light Horse Brigade is kinda famous.
Mostly because they charged a Trench filled with machine guns and won (Because the enemy expected them to act like Mounted Infantry rather than cavalry and thus was holding fire so they could spray them down during the dismount).
One third of Matthias Corvinus' Black Army was made up of handgunners. In the 1480s, mind you. There's very many depictions of men at arms in plate armour carrying firearms starting pretty soon as Europeans started using them. You'll be fine.
That said, I have a similar problem: I have a setting where breechloading flintlock and magelock rifles exist but battlefield wizards projecting walls of force make it so most combat is resolved in melee anyway.
My problems are thus: does it make any sense to have men-at-arms of advanced nations still wearing mail alongside breastplates and full plate harnesses? I particularly like Indo-Persian plated mail, in particular. Secondly, can I do or say anything to make fighting not be all pikes all the time when they're not doing spitting-distance musket volleys?
I wonder if there is a universe heavily inspired by the napoleonic wars, but with skyships and floating islands, and where a type of powder serve both as gunpowder and substitute for cocaine.
Do you even volley fire bro? Going by your numbers an 8-deep row is going to get better than 2 shots off before the enemy can close the distance, and that's before they have to contend with going against someone with a great deal more cannons that are also much more mobile.
>Archers, en masse, in a defensive position, were utterly devastating, and it was shown to be tactical suicide to underestimate them simply because they were peasants with bits of wood and string.
British archers weren't. These were solidly middle class and comparatively wealthy.
On the continent, people were used to archers being low class, farmers and such..
Whom were fucking garbage and useful only as skirmishers.
Volley fire wasn't new. In fact, those huge, deep formations of gunmen on the sides of teracos would shoot, then walk to the back of the line to reload while the next rank shot.
>Can a setting work where large armies are armed with flintlocks, or even something more primitive, but melee and mounted combat are still used? I know different countries in the real world had differing levels of technology, but were early guns really so superior as to totally decide a wars outcome?
People in real life fought with a mix of guns and swords for centuries. guns started showing up in Europe around the early 1300s, actually predating any widespread use of the stereotypical knightly full articulated plate armor and the particular sort of hand and a half longsword everybody has in fiction.
There was never a time where there were knights in shining armor on horseback with longswords where there were not also guys with guns.
>It's quite possible that the Brown Bess killed more people with bayonet and butt then with bullets.
Lord Yes. The Bess was notorious for hitting the man six or seven feet to the left or right of the one you were aiming if you hit anything at all.
There's also japan, anywhere before the Meiji Restoration to draw from. Japan actually made, and stockpiled more firearms than any other medieval nation in history, until the 1800s when they started to be more common with advances in firing mechanisms. Elsewhere, they'd advanced to flintlock and snap lock, but Japan still kept the Tanegashima, that is hadn't made any advances.
It was less common near the end of the Edo period since the conflicts it was used in died down on scale.
You've never actually fought with a sword have you?
An arming sword weighs just over a kilo, or around 2.4lb, picking this up is easy.
A battle could last up to 3 hours before a side routed, and then you had to chase that down the retreating forces, try holding 1kg in your hand, with your arm outstretched for 3 hours.
That is not fucking easy, now think for 2 fucking seconds and realise that holding a sword isn't fighting with it, you are only swinging 1kg, yet you are fighting against air resistance, inertia, gravity, and most importantly another human being who doesn't want to die.
Yes archers are doing one thing repetitively for 3 hours, and that one thing is a major workout for the shoulders, but a swordsman is swinging a weapon, ducking, weaving, running, redirecting that lump of metal, tensing their muscles to absorb the impact, pushing against an opponent in a bind.
I've fought for 3 minutes against a skilled opponent with an arming sword, and it was physically exhausting, i've run cross country races that weren't as tireing, i've also fired arrows for an hour at a time, my shoulders were sore but I was still able to stand.
Archers ain't shit to swordsman.
No you fucking twat, get a wooden bow that is made to flex, tie a string to it, that puts tension on the bow, then draw it back to your cheek and release.
There is a huge difference between firing a bow and bending some random yardstick, thats like saying
"Try controlling an explosion with your feet and you'll understand how hard driving a car is"
Close combat is notoriously exhausting. The basic flight or fight response encourages extreme activity, but doesn't make your body more thermally efficient or increase your cardiovascular fitness. Forget to pace yourself and you end up in a remarkably short time overheated and out of breath.
>You just discribed Warhammer Fantasy. Its 16thC European tech in a fantasy setting, which means pistols, muskets and cannon are all game.
He could of been describing Warhammer Fantasy a year or two ago, but GW scarped all that.
Another he could of been describing is Darkest Dungeon, a gothic horror fantasy game also based off 16th century Europe. One of the hero, the Highwayman uses a pistol for main weapon a one of the bosses is a giant cannon.
There's also a comic showing off one of the hero's backstory and it features a large battle scene featuring soldiers fighting with swords and shields, but also lots of cannon support.
If you live long enough it'll increase your cardiovascular fitness a shitton.
it's also pretty hard to pace yourself when you're surrounded by people that want to kill you with sharp things, you have to fight harder, safer and stronger than the other guy or you'll die very fast.
Even fighting defensively is a lot of work, because it doesn't get you anywhere, you are still getting tired, and someone is still trying to kill you, you have to attack eventually otherwise you'll die eventually.
THIS is why I'm happy I play GURPS. Just by natural osmosis of the rules, I can tell that guns [when first introduced] were not ideally suited to dominate the battlefield. but as time progressed and technology fine tuned them from volley fire to rifled slug, they soon became the ideal option to field.