Friday, February 8, 2019

OSR In Country.... Vietnam


I am forty-six as of this writing. I will always have a strong interest in the Vietnam War.
It was my uncle's war, it was my friends dad's war. It ended almost three years after I was born but we grew up in the shadow of it. Slowly at first, few people cared to talk about it in the seventies, especially to kids. You got a sense or shame, of regret, or other signs of pain. It seemed like people wanted to forget. We weren't taught about it in school. I saw John Wayne's film the Green Berets but it felt off, not quite right. Gradually, especially during the early eighties, we learned more about it thanks to pop culture interest: First Blood (Rambo), the Chuck Norris Missing in Action movies, Platoon, Hamburger Hill, Full Metal Jacket, etc. Then TV shows such as China Beach and Tour of Duty. And comic books, most notably Marvel's classic The 'Nam. We were finally allowed to learn about it. And it is fascinating. As with generations of veterans and civilians of other wars we got our tales of men who only wanted to survive to get home from that terrible time that people didn't want to talk about for years. They have joined the ranks of heroes bestowed to our Grandfathers and Great-grandfathers from Korea and the World Wars.
It may seem strange to younger kids now, but that's how it was.

We have naturally turned to gaming as we do everything. I think a lot of us as DM's try to express our 'artistic side' by running games, creating and re-creating worlds and time periods. My uncles were Vietnam vets (now dead) and I took care of dozens of veterans from Vietnam to as far back as one WWI soldier. This one is a lot more personal and I mean no insult to anyone on ANY side of the war. This is written from the American viewpoint. As with any war we don't want to denigrate the horror that is actual war and not play war. Due to the nature of this one I find it a bit..... unnerving? I'm not sure of how to describe it. It's a feeling of not wanting to somehow 'fail' to show the horrors and 'cheapen' it. It's hard to articulate this feeling other than I hope we are not insulting their memories by turning the war into a game play. I don't feel this way about other wars only Vietnam. Personal hangup? The muddled nature of the war?

On to gaming.
Get a copy of Recon (Advanced or Deluxe Revised.) It was a big influence on this. It was the first Vietnam dedicated RPG I ever owned and it is still amazing. I love that game and it has a number of excellent charts for almost everything: encounters, villages, traps, ert as well as a simple vehicle system that can be used if you simply figure out cover bonuses. All good stuff and cheap on pdf and otherwise.

There is an amazing amount of info on the War and that time in history.
For our purposes the the most useful would be info on the war itself:

  • Maps of the War
  • Basic History of the War
  • Military info on American/Allied and NVA/VC armed forces.
  • Campaigns and major battles (several wargame sites actually have good info, maps, and troop movements for these to recreate and use for your games.)

We are using my Survival Horror OSR for quick character building and a wider spread of skills/abilities. Combat is still standard Classic D&D few few modifications.

I have run several adventures with this ruleset over the years: mostly action (John Wayne's Green Berets again) or weird war/horror. As with other Classic D&D and OSR rulesets it runs quickly and fairly smoothly. We had a good time. The nature of lower hit point characters lends itself well to infantry combat.

I also have actual character classes which I'll post later for whose who want even more classic character class versions for the system.

Vietnam Military Packages
Built for 2 hd characters with 12 points for abilities/skills.
All except medic and special forces have spare points to spend. Feel free to arrange any points to lower or raise certain skills for individuals.






American/Allies Arsenal

Rifles
M-16A1 5.56mm, Semi/auto
2d6/150'/20 or 30 magazine
Feed reliability was an issue with these magazines. A fully loaded 20 round magazine jams on a natural 1 or 2 roll. Loading only 18 rounds drops it back to 1.
 It takes 1d6 rounds to clear the jam.

30 round magazines were introduced in 1967 with special forces, became more common by 1971.
The 30 round magazine has the same issues with reliability unless 28 or less rounds are loaded.

XM-177E2 "Colt Commando", 5.56mm, Semi/auto
2d6/100'/20 or 30 magazine
This weapon has the same magazine loading issues as the M16.

M-2 Carbine .30, Semi/auto
1d10/80’ /15 or 30 magazine

M-14 Rifle 7.62mm, Semiautomatic
2d8/200’/ 20 magazine


XM21 Army Sniper Rifle, Semiautomatic
A modified M-14. 
2d8/200’/ 5 internal magazine
Telescopic Sight:  +4 bonus to attacks when aiming (stacks with the aim maneuver.)


M40 7.62 USMC Sniper Rifle, Bolt action
2d8/200’/ 20 magazine
Telescopic Sight: +4 bonus to attacks when aiming (stacks with the aim maneuver.)

Handguns
High Standard Victor .22, Semiautomatic
1d4 /20’ /10 magazine

Smith & Wesson .38, Revolver
1d6 /25’ /6 cylinder

Browning Hi Power 9mm, Semiautomatic
1d6 /25’ /15 magazine

M1917 .45, Revolver
1d8 /30’ /6 cylinder

Colt 1911.45, Semiautomatic
1d8 /30’ /7 magazine

Colt Trooper .357 magnum, Revolver
1d8+1/30’ /6 cylinder

Smith & Wesson .44 magnum, Revolver
1d10+1/30'/6 cylinder

SubMachine Guns
Ingram Mac 10, 9mm, Semi/auto
1d6/50' /32 magazine

Ingram Mac 10/ M3A1 "grease gun", .45, Semi/auto
1d8/60' /30 magazine

Thompson, .45, Semi/auto
1d8/80' /20 or 30 magazine

Shotguns
Shotgun, .12 ga, Break or pump
2d8*/50’/2 or 5 break or pump


Sawed Off, .12 ga, Break or pump
2d8*/20'/2 or 3 break or pump

*Slug damage (2d8)
* Shot damage (3d6/2d6/2d6/1d6/1d6) by range increment (5 increments)
Shotguns loaded with buckshot receive a +2 hit in the first range increment.

Machine Guns
M1919 Browning .30, Auto
2d6/200'/100 belt

M-60  7.62mm, Semi/auto
2d8/200'/100 belt

M-2 .50 BMG
2d12/200'/100 belt
 

Grenades
Fragmentation Grenade
Damage is 3d6 out to the first 20', 2d6 21 to 30', 1d6 31 to 40'. Save for half damage.
The throwing increment is 20'.
The M26/61 and M33/67 have a delay fuse.
The M59/68 explodes on impact.

MK 3A2 Offensive Hand Grenade
Concussion grenade, little shrapnel, short damage range outside, incredibly lethal in enclosed areas.
Damage is 2d6 outside out to 10', 1d6 at 11' to 20'. Save for half damage.
Damage inside is 4d6 out to a solid wall or 30', whichever comes first. Save for half damage.

Smoke Grenade
Lasts 1d4 +6 rounds.
The M-8 is standard white while the M-18 comes in red, yellow, green, or violet.

M14 TH3 Incendiary Hand Grenade
Damage is 2d6 out to the first 20', 1d6 out to 60'. Save for half damage.
The damage is continuous for 6 rounds.
The throwing increment is 20'.
It has a 4 to 5 second delay fuse.

M-79 40mm Grenade Launcher
Standard High Explosive damage is 3d6 out to the first 10', 2d6 11 to 20', 1d6 21 to 30'. Save for half damage. The range increment is 100'.
Grenade shells must go 10' before arming. Otherwise damage is 1d10 from impact.
Common shells are HE, white phosphorus, smoke, CS gas, and parachute flare.
The M-79 can also fire a multiple projectile round (basically a big shotgun shell.) capable of hitting a target and to all enemies within 5' of the target if the attack roll is high enough to hit them as well.  This shell has a range increment of 50' and gives a  +2 bonus to hit within the first increment. There are five range increments and damage is affected by the range increment: 4d6/3d6/2d6/2d6/1d6.

The M-79 can be fired and reloaded once per round with a -3 to the initiative roll (1d6+ Dex bonus.)

In 1969 the US introduced a reliable underslung single shot, the M203.
Treat as an M79.

Explosives, Rockets, Etc

Claymore Mine
Damage is a 5d6 area attack in a 60 degree arc out to 150'. Everyone not under cover can still Save for half damage.
The explosion has a back bast of 40' in a 180 degree rear arc doing 3d6 to anyone in this area. Save for half damage.


C-4
One pound block. Must be set off with a detonator.
Damage is 5d6 per pound out to 10', -1d6 per ten feet after.
Each extra block adds 2d6 to the blast.
If shaped it is a Heavy Weapon.

Det Cord
Must be set off with a detonator.
Five feet of det cord does damage of 2d6 fire to with a five foot area. Can be doubled up which adds another 1d6 to the damage. Maximum damage this way ius 4d6,

M72 Light Anti-Tank Weapon (LAW)
Damage is 8d6 out to 50', 4d6 51 to 80', 2d6 81 to 100'. Save for half damage.
Range increment is 100'.
Heavy Weapon

M2A1-7 Flamethrower
At full capacity the tanks have enough for 7 bursts of flame. One burst gives the operator an arc 30' wide x70' long. The arc can be doubled at the cost of two bursts.
It is an area attack weapon and the operator needs to only roll for for a malfunction (natural 1-3 on 1d20.) Everyone caught in the area of attack takes 2d6 damage and can make a Saving throw for half damage with a bonus to the Save equal to Cover bonus. This damage total is applied for six rounds unless the character is immersed in a body of water or a fire extinguisher is used.
If the tanks are hit with a piercing weapon the weapon is rendered useless.

Armor
Flak Vest
+2 to AC vs Handguns and SMG's.
+4 to Saving Throws vs shrapnel damage.
The vest is hot and heavy. It costs the wearer a 1 penalty on all personal rolls (attacks, attributes/abilities/skills, etc.)

Helmet
+4 to AC for head shots vs handguns ammo/+2 vs rifle ammo and +1 to Saving Throws vs shrapnel. (50 percent chance of coverage.)

Hand Weapons
Axe, Hatchet 1d6 /10’
Axe, Wood 1d8 /10’
Bayonet 1d6
Brass Knuckles 1d3
Butt Stroke 1d3
Club 1d4 /10’
Entrenching Tool 1d4
Knife 1d4 /10’
Knife, Pocket 1d3 /5’
Machete 1d6 /10’

NVA/VC Arsenal

Rifles
AK-47/Chinese Type 56, 7.62mm, Semi/auto
2d8/100’/ 30 magazine

SKS, 7.62mm, Semiautomatic
2d8/100’/ 10 internal magazine

Soviet SVD Dragunov Sniper Rifle, , 7.62mm, Semiautomatic
2d8/200’/ 10 magazine
Telescopic Sight: +4 bonus to attacks when aiming (stacks with the aim maneuver.)

Handguns
Makarov, 9mm, Semiautomatic
1d6 /25’ /8 magazine

Tokarev, 7.62x25, Semiautomatic
1d6+1 /30’ /8 magazine

SubMachine Guns
PPS SMG, 7.62x25, Semi/auto
1d6+1/70'/35 magazine or 71 round drum


VC modified Mat-49, 7.62x25, Semi/auto
 1d6+1/70'/35 magazine

VC Thompson Copy, .45, Semi/auto
1d8/80',/20 or 30 magazine

Machine Guns
Chinese Type-24, 7.92mm, Auto
2d10/200'/250 belt

Soviet RPK, 7.62mm, Semi/auto
 2d8/200’/ 40 magazine or 75 drum

Grenades
Fragmentation Grenade
Damage is 3d6 out to the first 20', 2d6 21 to 30', 1d6 31 to 40'. Save for half damage.
The throwing increment is 20'.
Delay fuse.

Anti-personnel Hand Grenade
Concussion grenade, little shrapnel, short damage range outside, incredibly lethal in enclosed areas.
Damage is 2d6 outside out to 10', 1d6 at 11' to 20'. Save for half damage.
Damage inside is 4d6 out to a solid wall or 30', whichever comes first. Save for half damage.

Incendiary Hand Grenade
Damage is 2d6 out to the first 20', 1d6 out to 60'. Save for half damage.
The damage is continuous for 6 rounds.
The throwing increment is 20'.
It has a 4 to 5 second delay fuse.

Rockets, Explosives, Etc
RPG-7
Damage is 5d6 out to the first 20', 3d6 21 to 40', 2d6 41 to 50'. Save for half damage.
Range increment is 150'.
Heavy Weapon

Armor
Helmet
+2 to AC for head shots and +1 to Saving Throws vs shrapnel. (50 percent chance of coverage.)

Hand Weapons
As the American/Allies above. 

Captured/Improvised Weapons
The VC had a very mixed bag of older weapons such as WWII Nazi surplus and firearms and explosives captured from first the French the  the Americans and our allies. 
That's not even counting the home-made or reworked junk firearms into single shot pistols, carbines, etc and home-made coke can grenades and improvised explosives. 

Later....
Stats for basic NPC troop types.
Troop standard weaponry and kits.
Quick vehicle rules and stats with weaponry.