Almost every cop movie or secret agent film has a scene on the firing range. Why? Because it’s a chance to show off new weapons, to highlight the character’s skill with firearms – or to show the skill of the bad guys. Weapons trial areas are important for anyone who works with firearms or experimental weapons, and any good cop, field agent, or soldier puts in regular hours at such a place. This gives them the chance to try different weapons, to perfect their aim and ease with their preferred weapon, and to get their weapons repaired if necessary. It’s also a good opportunity to see what other locals use, and how their aim is, which can give people an edge if they ever wind up trading bullets with each other.
The weapons trial area can serve as the place examine and try out new weapons. This is where a gun manufacturer will take its newest automatic pistol to see if it’s good enough to mass-produce. It’s also where an evil genius will test his wrist-mounted flamethrower to be sure he can fry anyone who attacks him. Because of this, the local weapons trial area is the best place to ask for information about the latest unusual weapons. Even if that weapon wasn’t fired at that location, the people are weapons experts, and if anyone heard of such a unique weapon they’d remember it and want to talk about it. Most weapons trial areas are part of an organization. In a few cases, weapons trial areas are independently owned, particularly if they specialize in more exotic weapons. (These might even be hidden from the local law enforcement community.) Otherwise they belong to a large group and are only used by members of that group. For example, a police force generally has its own firing range and its own gunsmiths. A federal agency or a private security firm similarly would have its own. Likewise, gun clubs, by their nature, have their own weapons trial area, and these are open to anyone who pays for membership. This makes them better places to meet other locals interested in guns but worse places to bring specialized weapons or test out new gadgets.
Every weapons trial area is built around its firing range. Every area has at least one, and larger areas may have several ranges, typically one for pistols and another for rifles, plus perhaps another for exotics. The setup is always the same: a long room with a row of booths across one end and a row of targets at the other. Whether the targets are clipped on or computer-generated, and the weapons are lasers, crossbows and stake-launchers, or Wild West pistols, this layout remains the same for all ranges. Most weapons trial areas also have an examination room, where weapons can be disassembled and checked for damage. Those areas that supply guns also have an armory, with unloaded weapons hanging on racks against the wall. (These place even require that visitors use the supplied weapons in- stead of bringing their own.) Places that create new weapons have weapons labs, where weaponsmiths design and then craft new destructive devices.
Weapons trial areas operate under certain rules for the protection of the users. For example, the men and women here have all come to shoot guns, and all have guns with live ammunition, but the first rule of the range is never point a weapon at another person. That makes confrontations very tense, because there’s the potential for a deadly firefight.
Weapons trial areas can be located just about anywhere – in a city, on the outskirts of a town, or in some secluded location. They might be housed within a larger structure, like a building or a com- pound, or off on its own. Some openly state their business, with a sign above the door, while others are the type of place only certain people know about, and even fewer are allowed to enter.
Reloading a case requires the repair: firearms skill, and it cannot be done untrained; the character must have at least one additional pip in the skill. With proper equipment, a character can reload about 50 rounds every hour. When a character attempts to reload a bullet, he generates one total per clip (Character Points may be spent). The standard difficulty number is 13.
Reloading has both benefits and drawbacks. It is possible, by adding an extra measure of propellant or two, to improve damage value or accuracy of a bullet. Bonuses to accuracy are added to the firearms skill total when in combat. The process can also increase the likelihood of misfires. When generating the total for improved ammunition, consult the following chart to determine the effects, which relate to all bullets reloaded in the same clip.
Reloading Success Chart
|by 0-4||None||Misfire on l , 2, or 3 on the Wild Die|
|by 5-10||+2 accuracy OR +2 damage||Misfire on 1 or 2 on the Wild Die|
|by 11-15||+1D accuracy OR +1D damage||Misfire on Critical Failure|
|by 16+||+1D+1 accuracy OR +1D+1 damage||None|
Characters who only wish to reload the bullets and not improve them in anyway should ignore the chart. Any amount over the base difficulty could indicate a reduction in the amount of time taken to reload the lot (at the Game Master’s option).
Don’t Miss …
The Civic Gun Club is a cover for the Covert Action Squad (CAS; see their headquarters in the “Secret Headquarters” entry). Every member of the club is a CAS agent, though many fictitious members have been created to prevent suspicion. The gun club owns a building outside the city limits, where its members can fire their guns without violating any civic ordinances. The largest section of the building is devoted to its three firing ranges – one for handguns, one for rifles, and one for exotic weapons. Beside the ranges is the weapons room, which holds the club’s latest acquisitions (new weapons the CAS is examining for possible use) on racks against the wall. Past that is the examination room, and behind that are the weapons labs. The surveillance room, near the front entrance, holds the club’s security equipment, and between that room and the front door is the security checkpoint. The weapons lab has a concealed escape exit, which leads out to a parking lot behind the building.
Things to See
+ Protective gear (helmets, bulletproof vests, arm and leg guards, etc.)
+ Weapons (handguns, rifles, knives, bows and arrows, etc.)
+ Cardboard targets attached to or images projected in front of an absorbing wall or wood
+ Weapon cleaning and repair material (rods, rags, clothes, brushes, swabs, sharpening stone, metal files, screwdrivers, scissors, solvents, oils, etc.)
+ Cartridge reloading material (bullets, cases, propellant, primer, cups, wads, etc.)
People to Meet
A standard weapons trial area has security guards, weaponsmiths, and weapons trainers on staff. Depending upon its size and budget, it may also have scientists and clerks. Soldiers and field agents are the most likely to frequent the weapons trial area. Security guards have at least 2D in Reflexes, Coordination, and Perception and +2D in brawling, marksmanship, and security. Scientists have 30 or higher in Knowledge and 1D or 2D in physical attributes, with some pips in repair, scholar, and tech. Field agents have at least 30 in each attribute, with pips in brawling, demolitions, investigation, marksmanship, search, security, sneak, and willpower. Weaponsmiths have at least +lD in marksmanship and demolitions and +2D in repair and scholar: weapons. Weapons trainers have at least +3D in marksmanship and +1D in repair.
Firearms Instructor: Reflexes 2D, Coordination 2D, marksmanship 5D, Physique 2D, Knowledge 2D, business 2D+1, scholar: firearms 5D, tech: computers 2D+1, Perception 2D, repair: firearms 30, Presence 2D, command 2D+2, willpower 3D. Move: 10. Strength Damage: 1D. Body Points: 10. Wound levels: 2.
Things to Do
+ The players’ characters have been sent down to get tested on the newest concealable pistol. But when they enter the weapons trial area, the place is deserted – which is strange, since there’s always someone on duty here. Then they notice that the armory’s been cleaned out. Somebody has robbed the place! Worse, not all of those weapons are public knowledge – nor are they all strictly legal. The characters have to figure out who took them, and then find the culprit and get everything back. And soon.
+ This area’s criminal organization has its own building where its men can go and practice with their weapons. It’s the perfect place to identify gang members and find out what they’re up to – assuming the characters can get inside the structure. The security is very tight, and there’s no way they’d let a cop or a fed into the building.
+ The player’s characters have heard rumors that a new handheld laser is being tested soon. The weapon, if it works, could be worth a fortune – including to the characters. The only problem is, it’s being held in the Feds’ own weapons trial area. That means breaking in through federal security, finding the laser, and getting back out unseen.