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One of Eclipse Phase's taglines is "Your Mind is Software: Program it."
but is it actually legal/reasonable in play?

Eclipse has a large number of ranges weapon skills:

  • Kinetic Weapons: Things that shoot bullets
  • Beam Weapons: Things that shoot lasers
  • Spray Weapons: Things that shoot out a over a Cone
  • Seaker Weapons: Things that are homing

Then there is Gunnery: "covers the use and maintenance of large, vehicular, or non-portable weapons systems. Firing these weapons is more like playing a video game than firing a gun."

There are no example weapons in the book, I believe this is because either the weapons is: extremely damaging, and thus uses narrative damage (ie as the GM describes); Or it is not so very large, eg a remote control mounted machine gun can just use the normal machine gun's stats.

So any kind of weapon could be remote controlled, whether it is Beam, Kinetic, Spray or Seeker. Doesn't matter as the control mechanism is all much the same.

So weapons fired using Gunnery are mounted on hydraulics (or similar), and are controlled with a joystick (or similar). In a synth-morph, your limbs are computer controlled hydraulics (or similar). That computer happens to be your cyber-brain. It is logically possible to create program, that controls your limbs - as gun control mounts, and uses AR (Augmented Reality) to cause you to see a joystick in front of you and your arm movements moving the joystick (and using AR, to removing having to see your actual arm movements). This would let you use Gunnery for any Gun.

To go into more detail about what you would need:

  • Control/AR program to control the gun/your arm. Made with Programming Skill or pay someone to make it, probably cost High.
  • Physics Model for the Gun, to plug into the control program. Obviously different guns are going to have different recoil etc. Potentially all beam weapons could use the same model, but all most all kinetic weapons would need a different one. Made using the Profession/Academics: Physics Field Skill. Or pay someone to make it, probably cost Moderate. Sure the gun is smaller than most guns used with gunnery, but the Physics model can take that into account.

Once you have these, all it means to pick up a new gun, is to load up its physics model. Then when you go to shoot, AR kicks in, and you may use the Gunnery Skill.

I'm not sure if this is legal or not, Further-more, I'm not sure if it should be.

On the one hand, it lets you avoid having to buy all the others skills, and thus can just invest your Rez points in Gunnery to be good at everything. On the other hand, it is so fitting with the Fluff, and intended feel of EclispePhase: (to repeat) Your Mind is Software: Program it.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

No, that's not going to work. Gunnery covers how to use and maintain vehicle-mounted and fixed-emplacement weapons; the skill doesn't let you use anything attached to a vehicle, it gives you skill with the kind of weapons that get attached to vehicles, which are fundamentally different beasts than pistols and rifles. Field guns require specialised knowledge that is unrelated to every other kind of weapon. It doesn't provide any skill with using regular firearms at all, let alone via the indirection of a remote interface. Gunnery knowledge and skill can't translate to all personal-scale firearms, even with a clever reskinning of the "interfaces" of the weapons in your sensorium. Knowing how to swap the power cells on a tank's plasma cannon won't translate 1:1 to how to reload a railgun; knowing how to clean a howitzer isn't going to let you "virtually" know how to clear a fouled rifle barrel; knowing how to manage the targeting systems of a ship-based missile battery won't teach you how to effectively aim a flamethrower on a remote-control link. Especially since a mapping from your "Gunnery" VR would have to be custom-made for each and every combination of your fake artillery to the vast array of real weapons you might be holding, even if there was a 1:1 mapping that could be found for that specific combo.

The theme here is knowledge. Just fooling your sensory systems into thinking you're using a field artillery piece or a tank gun won't give you the necessary skill with every other possible personal-scale weapon, let alone how to field-strip a specific rifle and rebuild it or how to clear a jam. Somewhere in there, some part of you still needs to know how to use the weapon you're holding.

What you could do is fill that knowledge gap with an AI (or a few). You could build such a program that gave your "Gunnery" commands to an expert AI system that itself had the correct skill and knew how to translate them into the non-1:1 usage of a specific firearm. But then you'd need to be carrying around AIs that already have Kinetic Weapons, Beam Weapons, Spray Weapons, and Seeker Weapons—as well as Gunnery, to know what the heck you're telling it—at which point you're looking at a larger investment than simply learning the skills yourself in the first place.

Not to mention, such a complex system between you and the trigger is just adding more points of failure. Abstracting away your sensorium so that what you see during combat is an imperfect fake of what's actually happening is a sure-fire way to get yourself in trouble by mistaking the map for the territory. And nevermind the shenanigans possible if someone hijacked your simulation during a firefight (or not during a firefight...).

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+1 Sounds good. Are you are saying that gunnery doesn't apply to say a remote controlled machine gun, in a corridor? what will would that be Kinetic Weapons? – Oxinabox Apr 14 '14 at 2:52
+1 for pointing out the distinction between skill definitions. That said, rather than carting around AIs for each gun you have, you might be better served by some skillsofts for the guns you want to use, or by psychosurgery to boost your skills to the requisite levels. – GMJoe Apr 14 '14 at 3:47

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