Should the Big Guns skill exist?

Discussion in 'General Fallout Discussion' started by SilverStarApple/Epsilon7, May 21, 2020.

  1. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2017
    The incredible power of "The best" guns in games are typically limited by Ammunition, the ease of acquiring said ammunition, and unique downsides. Downsides such as "This minigun takes a second to spin up before it starts firing" or "This solar satellite laser can only be fired once per day". High weight of the heavy weapons (and often heavy ammo) also counts towards your maximum weight limit.

    In Fallout, Weapon skills exist to encourage a themed playstyle, and perks to facilitate this are locked behind skill requirements. You can be the Silenced Pistols and Sneaky guy, for example. Or the long-ranged sniper-rifle guy. Perks boost your crit damage and sneak attack critical damage, they're what you want. In addition to the Weight penalties, there is the Strength Check system where you need a sufficiently high Guns skill and Strength rating to use a gun effectively. So a Heavy Weapons user NEEDS at least 6 in Strength where a crit-focused character with plentiful and cheap insta-killing silenced pistol crits would get away with 1 or 3. These are points that typically have to come from somewhere else in your build, harming your ability to go for 10 AGILITY or 10 LUCK.

    As it stands, if a player gets 100 guns and finds a really big and good and rare gun with highly limited ammunition, he'll be terrible with it if the game has a separate Big Guns skill. Even if it's supposed to be a big reward, an amazing unique weapon and one of the best in the game, for everyone not specced into Big Guns it is worthless. He'll need to skip putting 100 into Sneak or Speech or Survival and pour those points into Big Guns before the "Big amazing gun of coolness" actually becomes better than his tiny cowboy revolver. And it's not like there's a Big Energy Weapons skill. If an Energy Weapons player finds the ultimate big cool energy weapon gun and it's classed as a Big Gun, his Energy Weapons build and collection of Energy Weapon-enhancing perks can't affect it. Unless the perks are programmed to count this Big Gun among its list of acceptable Energy Weapons.

    Typically, Big Guns aren't something you get for a while into the game. No "Sucky Big Gun" exists for low-level players to let them see if Big Guns are something they'd be interested in. And Fallout doesn't have a lot of Big Guns-focused perks. FNV might have more Revolver/Cowboy Weapons-themed perks than the entire franchise has Big Guns-focused perks.

    The Melee Weapon skill covers all melee weapons, including sledgehammers and knives alike. There is no Two-Handed Melee Weapon skill. Every melee weapon besides the power fists and boxing gloves are counted under the Melee Weapons umbrella.
    The Guns skill covers automatic and semi-automatic pistols, pipe weapons, revolvers, small pistols and big pistols, automatic rifles and semi-automatic rifles, sniper rifles, and more.
    The Energy Weapons skill covers Laser and Plasma weapons of assorted sizes, speeds, and damage ratings.
    But the Big Guns skill only covers big guns. The biggest minigun, and maybe the biggest Energy Weapon.
    Big Guns are already rare, and typically have their use limited by rare ammunition. As it stands, the Big Guns skill is a massive investment for an incredibly minor benefit that makes you decent with, rather than terrible with, an impractical and limited type of weaponry.

    But Fallout 4's way of throwing Skills out the window to be replaced with mediocre perks, that was wrong. A wrong move with a decent idea behind it. Fallout NV's perks designed to enhance an aspect of a playstyle were superior to Fallout 4's "Improve this class of weapons" perks. And not just because F4 put "Presentation" before function and overly limited the number of perks in the game, when you can take them, and what perks you're allowed to go for at what level.

    Going the "Big Guns Perks" instead of "Big Guns Skill" route allows players to spend their limited perk slots specializing in whichever aspects of Big Gun usage they want. Want to reduce a gun's unique downsides, increase fire rate, increase damage, and so on? Separate perks can do each of these, letting you fix the downsides of Big Guns or enhance their strengths further, or do both at the cost of more perk slots.

    What would the franchise lose if the Big Guns skill was permanently replaced with a set of perks specifically for Big Guns? What would it gain?
    Last edited: May 21, 2020
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  2. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish ...The pain of being dead...

    Sep 11, 2010
    Yes, I think it should exist.
    If you level up Ballistic Firearms or whatever then you can use miniguns but not rocket launchers. Level up Explosives and vice versa. But Big Guns is an overlapping skill, you improve it and you can use any and all heavy weaponry to their full extent.

    Hell, I want to see more overlapping skillsas well as synergies in general in more RPG's.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  3. Sublime

    Sublime It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Jun 5, 2018
    Yeah, this thread really made me want to have more dual ability weapons.
    I'll add it to my Fallout wishlist
  4. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2017
    That reminds me. Should the game separate Explosives from traditional weaponry and energy weapons? If so, you end up with situations where your Plasma Grenades and Plasma Mines might count as Explosives but the Explosive Rounds of your anti-mat rifle count use your Guns skill for damage calculations, and your Flamethrower counts as an energy weapon because there's no Fire Weapon category for the two fire weapons in the franchise. If you have 100 Explosives, 20 guns, and 14 Energy Weapons, are you meant to try and defeat every encounter with only your grenades, grenade launchers, automatic grenade launchers? Good luck trying to use those against melee enemies in enclosed spaces without hitting friendly NPCs and turning them hostile. If the Laser Tripwires and Plasma Mines and things like that were classed under Energy Weapons while traditional grenades were still classed as Explosives, Energy Weapons would end up superior to Guns. What can you do with a gun? Shoot gun and pass 3 skill checks. What can you do with a high Energy Weapons skill? Shoot a laser that will realistically never run out of ammo, pass skill checks, set traps, throw plasma grenades, and easily penetrate enemy armour.

    Imagine if there was a Fire Weapons skill that only classed two, maybe four, maybe seven different fire weapons in the entire game. So whenever you find a great Fire Weapon, it's unuseable unless your character is specifically built for with 100 in Fire Weapons or built to be at least decent at everything. That's the situation the Big Guns skill creates, where a big weapon already limited by ammo capacity, ammo rarity, fire rate, high weight, how far into the game you need to be to get one in the first place, and demanding Strength requirements also demands a colossal Skill Point investment into a skill entirely unique to it.

    Perks allow the player to Customize and Specialize their character in areas of their choosing. How is a first-time player to know what to specialize in?

    Also, the game lacks an Armour Skill. Something to let you unlock armour creation and customization if you raise it to 25/50, with attached perks that boost armour effectiveness and at 100, unlocks legendary effect choice and boosts the effectiveness of applied legendary effects "applied using pre-war cybernetic chips". It and a Weapon-Crafting Skill could also be folded into Survival, come to think of it, if weapon crafting categories weren't locked behind weapon skill milestones where 50 guns lets you screw a silencer on, 75 guns lets you change the grip and caliber, and 100 guns unlocks a bug-tested and intentional Any Mod Any Weapon mode.

    What if there was a general "Weapons Skill" that, once raised to 50, hit the cap and branched out into specific areas of specialization such as Guns, Melee(boosts Melee Weapons, Throwing Weapons, and Unarmed Combat, with specific perks boosting one or the other), Energy Weapons, and Explosives?
  5. AlphaPromethean

    AlphaPromethean Atomic Wrangler

    Mar 16, 2013
    I think in effect you could roll NV's Explosives builds/Skill with a set of heavy-ordnance weaponsets like Anti-Tank Rifles, Mortars, Miniguns, to justify it well as an independent Skill. If we're talking about an NV style 3D Fallout game, do the same with the throwable Explosives. Vegas managed to make good use of Explosives as a "Utility Skill" outside of combat too, so it applies well to Big Guns.

    I also agree with the cross-over idea, for instance a Gatling Laser requiring some investment in Big Guns or Small Guns that tow the line, like LMGs (though IMO you could place LMGs firmly on the Big Guns side of the fence and have it be the other way around, requiring some light investment in Small Guns)

    In terms of early-game balancing, in my Fallout PnP I effectively did the above with Big Guns and I had a player who tagged it at character creation. In effect he started the campaign with a Thump Gun which provided him with much higher damage compared to his fellow party members, as well as some AoE and the ability to flush the enemy out of cover, but a lot of the time he ended up having to rely on the others or fall-back on something else has he was highly challenged by supplying ammunition for the thing. In effect, it was a risk-reward investment in that when he was loaded he was a damage monster at early-level, but it was extremely easy to catch him with his pants down and no primary weapon.

    You could do the same in a Fallout game proper, make taking esoteric/high-level weapons as Tags a "Risk-reward" decision.
  6. Mr Fish

    Mr Fish ...The pain of being dead...

    Sep 11, 2010
    We don't need a "weapon" skill at all then if it is going to be that broad, just branch out instantly.
    I'd just design things fluidly.

    A gun that can have explosive rounds will perform at about 70% ability (reload, aiming, equipping, jamming etc) but will only perform at 100% if you have at least 2:1 ratio of a skill to ability %. So you need 60 Explosives and 100 Guns to use a regular firearm with explosive bullets.

    As to Flamer, I'd just make it exclusive to Big Guns as there is no other skill for it to fit in. I'd also add in some kind of fire skill like Pyromania or whatever which handles how well you can use Flamers, Incinerators, Flame Pistols, Molotovs and whatever else where it would get the same kind of bonus. So 100 Big Guns means operating a Flamer at 60% capacity, you need 80 Pyromania to operate it at 100%. This would obviously mean that the skill point investment has to be worthwhile though, so I would make setting people on fire insanely powerful, like, if you set someone on fire they're not going to just walk around shooting at you while having fire coming off of their body. No they're going to run away in pure agony and most likely succumb to the flames even after only spraying them with fire a little bit.

    So, first of all I would sit down to go over what weapons are going to be in the game in the first place. These weapons have to be in the game, if we can't meet the deadline then they'll have to be added in in a post-release update. I would then go over what weapons there are and where they fit in and design the skills accordingly.

    Some skills would branch off. Some would synergize with one another. Some require another skill to make a weapon operate at peak efficiency. I don't like the idea in RPG's that things have to be so strict. That a skill has to be completely isolated to its own field and cannot overlap.

    Oh and if you have Energy Weapons or Firearms then you can automatically use any rifle belonging to another category to at least 33% efficiecy (3:1 ratio), but when you invest points into the skill it does belong to you won't see an improvement in its efficiency until you go above what it got from the other skill. So 100 Firearms gives 33% for Flame Pistol, but for Flame Pistol to be at 40% you need 40 Pyromania. (obviously this would be informed to the player so they won't think that it is bugged)

    But then again, I'm someone who would love to have a skill list of like 60 skills and have different types of skills where some are dicerolled so they require 1 skill point per 1 increase (1:1) and there'd be threshold skills (like Persuasion) which would go from 1-10 where skill increase is 10:1 and for there to be minor skills which aren't used as often as other skills so they don't warrant a big investment and the game shouldn't shoehorn in a bunch of bullshit reasons for it to justify its existence so they'd be a single point skill that require various skill points to increase depending on what it is. So... I dunno, Juggling. It's 15 skill points. Invest it and you can now juggle. I would also change Charisma completely so that every point invested unlocks a new ettiquette(?) like in Shadowrun.

    I don't like the idea of "this is a skill, it has to be designed to be like the other skills". I'd design things to make sense based on what they are, how they're used in the game and how often they're used.

    I don't think this system would work well in Fallout though. It's a system that would work better for a game with multiple characters like Wasteland.
    Fallout's skill system needs to be concise. It shouldn't be bloated. So we're going to have stupid skills no matter what we do.

    So Fallout... Hmmm..

    01 Unarmed
    02 Melee (will split at 50 to Short blade, long blade and blunt weapons)
    03 Firearms (will split at 50 to handguns, shotguns and rifles) ((SMG falls into Handgun through perks and assault rifles and snipers will be defined by perks)
    04 Energy Weapons (Splits at 50, laser, plasma, tesla)
    05 Explosives
    06 Throwing
    07 Big Guns
    08 Pyromania

    Is a few skills. Would probably end up being 1 or 2 more that I can't think of right away.
    It's not that big of an increase from FNV, 3 new skills and 3 skills split after the 50 mark.
  7. AlphaPromethean

    AlphaPromethean Atomic Wrangler

    Mar 16, 2013
    What I suggested wasn't really that broad. It was effectively just rolling Miniguns, Bozars and Flamers into Explosives and renaming it Big Guns. In a tabletop/isometric setting at the least I also think Traps and Throwing should still be seperate skills, albeit given far more utility than in the original games.
  8. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2017
    I've seen some PC RPGs let you create multiple characters and switch between them, with the AI taking over whoever you aren't controlling to make them the Companions. In at least one (I don't recall the name), you can command your Thief teammate to pick a lock without having to switch to that character.

    A system like that would be great for Fallout(say it's some feature of an Upgraded VATS program made by the high-tech Control Vault you're from), though it would need to make a distinction between the Customizable Teammates recruited at some Settlement device (A radio? A Synth-making machine? A Bulletin Board where Bounty Hunters and the like say "Please hire me"?) and the pre-made Companions with dialogue, characterization, possible plot relevance, and their own Skill Tree and Available Perks should trim the fat. Effectively, instead of choosing whether Boone goes Survivalist or Angry at the end of his quest, you choose that over time through the perks in his tree you get him to take. You can also choose whether he puts his skills into Guns for 100 ASAP or goes for Sneak first. Companion-Only perks would also allow for Quality Of Life things like "Upon losing all HP, this companion will Bleed Out over a minute instead of dying, use a Stimpak on him to revive him" and "When you're sneaking, this Companion can't be detected unless he's controlled by you or acting on direct commands from you". To keep the Companion Quests relevant, Some kind of "Super-Perk" unique to that character with variants that depend on how the quest was completed should be there.
  9. RangerBoo

    RangerBoo Literal Vampire Potbelly Goblin

    Jun 15, 2015
    This is a good question. Personality, I think the Big Gun skill should exist. That was one of the things I was disappointed about with New Vegas. A machine gun is much different than a pistol and there should be a skill that reflects that. Although I would also argue that Strength should play a big part with how well a character is able to use the Big Gun skill.
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 2
  10. Risewild

    Risewild Venerable Relic of the Wastes
    Modder Orderite

    Jun 14, 2014
    Wall of Text Warning. Read at your own risk:

    The RPG system I'm developing has skill branches. You have the "general" skill and then that skill "branches" into several ones, that might also branch into a third one.

    This sounds confusing but the way it works is that the "general" skill is the basic knowledge/handling of the skill as a whole. For example the skill "Firearms" is the general know-how and know-why of using all ballistic or similar weapons. Once the character reaches 5 ranks of Firearms skill (the maximum a skill can reach is rank 10) they have the option of starting the "specialization" skills, these are the branches.

    So taking a look at the Firearms skill. Once a character has 5 ranks of it, it can then start taking ranks of it's specializations One Handed, Two Handed and Heavy. I'm inclined to add specializations to these ones too, but not sure yet (I will have to finish the combat rules first and the XP award system to know if it's balanced to add these in). These extra specializations would be Automatic and Semi-Automatic.

    So the Firearms skill would look something like this:
    • Firearms - ranks 1 to 10 - after reaching rank 5 has the option of specialize into:
      • One Handed - ranks 1 to 10 - Not sure yet but after reaching rank 5 might have the option of further specialization into:
        • Automatic
        • Semi-Automatic
      • Two Handed - ranks 1 to 10 - Not sure yet but after reaching rank 5 might have the option of further specialization into:
        • Automatic
        • Semi-Automatic
      • Heavy - ranks 1 to 10 - Not sure yet but after reaching rank 5 might have the option of further specialization into:
        • Automatic
        • Semi-Automatic

    There are other rules about skills that might be relevant. If a character reaches level 5 and level 10 on a skill or any specializations, they can then buy a Talent from that skill or specialization Talent Tables. So if a character reaches level 5 or 10 of Firearms, they can then, for example, buy the talent "Quick Reload" which allows to reload Firearms faster than normal. If they reach level 5 or 10 One Handed, they can then, for example, buy the talent "Double Wielding" which allows the use of one One Handed firearm on each hand, with lower penalties than not having the Talent.

    In my system, all skills have multiple specializations.

    Another thing about skills is that they are really "tied" to their main Attribute. This means that the character can't buy ranks in a skill, unless they have the same or higher value on that skill's Attribute.
    For example, the Firearms skill is linked to the Perception Attribute, so if a character has 6 Perception, they can buy skill ranks until they have 6 ranks in the Firearms skill and on any of it's Specializations. The maximum value on any Attribute that a normal human can have are 10.
    This is a way of preventing ridiculous situations that can be seen in some RPG systems, where a total idiot could get a high Science skill, just by investing in the skill. In this system, this is impossible.

    One thing that is a bit different from other RPG systems I know, is that "smart" characters are also reliable in combat. Energy Weapons skill is linked to the Brains Attribute. The reasoning for this is that Energy Weapons require calculations to be able to aim and shoot perfectly. They require precise calibration and other intelligent sounding stuff. :rofl:
    This is, after all, a system that doesn't take itself seriously.
    So characters with high "Intelligence" can become deadly if they invest in the Energy Weapons skill and it's specializations.

    Sorry for the wall of text, but I haven't bragged about this in more than an year or so. :smug:
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  11. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2017
    Come to think of it, is the reliable and guaranteed damage of a sneak-attack-critical sniper even comparable to a Big Gun? Are Big Guns really so great, they're worth taking skill points and perk slots away from your sniper build?
  12. Gizmojunk

    Gizmojunk Half-way Through My Half-life

    Nov 26, 2007
    It took a minute to realize that nothing in this thread is about Fallout, it seems to be about New Vegas.

    Fallout2 actually does this. Certain NPCs with higher skill than the player character will perform the task rather than the PC.

    Aha, definitely not Fallout; V.A.T.S. doesn't exist in Fallout, aside from there being a location in the games called the [FEV] Vats.

    In the original games, Big Guns is further restricted by the character's strength attribute. If their strength is less than seven, then they cannot hold the weapon accurately, and suffer a penalty. Yet another thing Bethesda screwed up.

    Heavy weapons in Fallout are well worth the skill and stat requirements.
    Last edited: May 23, 2020
    • [Rad] [Rad] x 1
  13. Black Angel

    Black Angel Grand Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus

    Mar 21, 2016
    Take Fast Shot, then invest in Big Guns -> profit. Hell, combine it with the usual sniper archetype perks like the Sniper perk (especially since this perk isn't mutually exclusive with Big Guns), Better Criticals, and Bonus Rate of Fire, and even Action Boy, and you get to go full auto on literally any encounter within 2-3 turns.
  14. SilverStarApple/Epsilon7

    SilverStarApple/Epsilon7 It Wandered In From the Wastes

    Oct 27, 2017
    I never tried a Big Guns playthrough of the original Fallout, I'll have to give that a go.