The Reloading Press was a feature that ran steady for a while here on GB, but I lost track of it when I got busy publishing. But recently, I’ve been hearing noises about a new “best cartridge ever.” Well, that’s what nearly all new cartridge promise. Even so, this one was very interesting, and it combines two features I like – and that GURPS likes – in one place. A long, narrow, high sectional density bullet, plus a shorter, fatter case which gives a nice starting volume to keep pressure high.

.224 Valkyrie (5.7x41mm)

The .224 Valkyrie takes the basic case in one of my favorite cartridges for GURPS (and not bad in real life, too), the 6.8x43mm SPC, and then launches a long, narrow bullet from it with the same barrel diameter as the base .223/5.56x45mm NATO bullet.

It was developed in 2017, and really looks an awful lot like someone was playing with the GURPS ballistics calculator I developed. They weren’t, of course, but . . . well, see for yourself.

The basic concept takes a normal 6.8SPC case and launches a very heavy, long .223 bullet out of it. The standard load is 90 grains, whereas a usual match-grade or longer range .223 is 69 to 77 grains (depending on manufacturer). So this is going to be a bullet that really wants to not slow down . . . and you bet, one of the intended uses for the .224 Valkyrie is to ring bells to 1,000m while still remaining supersonic, which is about 350m/s.

The usual contender, the 62gr M855, or the improved Mk318 or M855A1, fall to the speed of sound at about 570m using my calculator, which says “accurate to 500-600m” out of the shorter barrel weapons that’s their design platform, and about 630m out of a 20″ barrel.

So what happens when you fling a 90 grain bullet out of a 20″ barrel? Nice things.

Ballistic’s Calculator Inputs


Basic inputs for the calculator are as follows, selecting 406mm for the barrel length.

INPUT
.224 Valkyrie
Chamber Pressure 55000 psi
Barrel bore 5.7 mm
Case Length 41 mm
Chamber Bore 10.7 mm
Barrel length 508 mm
Bullet Mass 90 grains
Aspect Ratio 5.4 L/Bore
Burn length 14.66 mm
Projectile Caliber 5.7 mm
Total Accelerated Mass 90 grains
Expansion Ratio 2 expansion
Projectile Load 1

 

Output Stats
 
The rifle develops appreciable damage at pistol-length barrels, at least within the assumptions of the calculator. Why you would want to do this is another question, and putting all of that powder out of a 5″ (127mm) barrel is an exercise in gratuitous fireball generation (OK, maybe that’s why you’d want to do it).
At longer barrels – which is the entire point of the round – it comes into its own. Out of a 14.5mm carbine barrel, it’s still going to hit for 5d or 5d+1 and stay supersonic to 750m. With a target rifle of 20 to 24″, the calculator suggests nearly 6d penetration and an accurate range pushing 850m…and it will tumble and fragment (and not drop down to pi- instead of pi) to 220m out of a carbine and 320m out of a rifle-length platform. And that’s no joke.
Real-world data, rather than my calculator, pushes that supersonic distance to something like 1,250m with the right barrel and bullet. This thing can reach a long, long way. (Max range, not shown, is probably 4,550m with my calculator.).
So, here’s the chart:
Half-Damage Range 661
AP Wound Channel 0.5
Normal Channel 1.4
Barrel Length(mm) Barrel Length (in) Velocity (m/s) Muzzle Energy (J) Damage D&D Damage Supersonic (m) Pi to pi- (m)
117 4.6 475 658 3d+1 16 303 0
137 5.4 516 777 3d+2 17 385 0
160 6.3 555 899 3d+3 17 458 0
174.5 6.9 577 971 4d 17 496 0
204 8.0 615 1104 4d+1 17 559 25
241 9.5 655 1251 4d+2 18 622 87
285 11.2 694 1406 4d+3 18 680 145
311 12.2 714 1488 5d 18 708 173
364 14.3 750 1640 5d+1 18 756 221
442 17.4 793 1834 5d+2 19 811 277
524 20.6 830 2007 5d+3 19 856 321
577 22.7 850 2107 6d 19 880 345
700 27.6 890 2311 6d+1 19 926 391
Notes
  • The velocity is at the muzzle. The velocity with a 20″ barrel is tuned to match real-world data at 2700 fps, which is the long, heavy bullet designed to carry farther, rather than develop the most energy at the muzzle.
  • The pi to pi- range is where the damage drops from piercing to small piercing. For very short barrels (smaller than 177mm in my model), the bullet is slow enough that it will not yaw and fragment, and so it’s only good for pi- rather than pi. This is defined as 600m/s in my model, which is somewhat arbitrary.
  • It’s possible that the damage (penetration, really) is perhaps 10% high. That would still give a 20″ barrel about 5d+2, and a 14.5″ barrel a full 5d out of an M4 platform.
At any useful barrel length for a rifle cartridge, that is, about 9″ and higher (and that’s a darn short rifle), there is some range at which it will do its full pi damage type. At carbine length and above (14.5″) this is measured in hundreds of meters; this is a good choice at moderate range as well as long.
For GURPS gunners, it’s a good cartridge, though not a great one, I think. The long range is short-changed in the calculator vs reality, and the difference between (say) a 320m range where it drops to pi- and a 660m 1/2D range is pretty far beyond the usual engagement distances for PCs. You do get rifle-size penetration out of a carbine-sized platform, though, which is nice. I suspect recoil is manageable as well.
Where this will do well is if you don’t want to lug around an 9-11 lb rifle in the form of a .308, which has a lower tumble range (250m) and a lower 1/2D range (575m) than the 320m and 660m of the .224 Valkyrie. If the 7.62 actually drops from pi to pi- when it drops below 600m/s or so, then there’s a weird case where at 250-350m, and then between 575 and 660m you’re better off with the .224 Valkyrie, but at other ranges you’re better off injury-wise with the .308. That’s cutting it pretty fine: what in general this means is that with a full-length rifle in both cases, you can go with a lighter platform (AR15 rather than FN-FAL, AR-10 based). That can save you three to five pounds on your arms. Also, the ammunition is lighter and the magazines bigger for the .224 Valkyrie.
For GURPS, though, you really need to care about reaching out a long, long way with a lightweight weapon before this becomes something you’re looking at seriously. Ironically, where the 6.8SPC got somewhat of a “meh” reaction in the real world, in GURPS it’s like the .40S&W – a goldilocks cartridge where everything is “just right.” At 6d it’ll drop Joe Average to -HP in one shot, and 3d to the vitals at distance is still a potential lethal dose through light body armor.
Platforms
 
You need a purpose-built upper receiver (or at least a barrel, chamber, and bolt change) to shoot this cartridge. The thing is going to look like every other AR-15 style rifle out there on the outside, and you’ll spend (in 2019) anywhere from $350 to 700 to get one…unless for whatever reason you want/need to spend more (for things like super-custom, which is frequently a great excuse to buy Weapon Bond).
So no real details or special platform list today! This modification gives you a bit more penetration, a bit more range, and a bit heavier ammunition out of a barrel that’s the same bore as a standard M16/AR15. It does this by increasing the size of the cartridge case, which keeps the pressure higher as the bullet goes down the barrel, and by shooting a round that’s probably going to be 50% heavier than the one you launch out of your standard M16 type platform. For carbine users, this is a good thing, in a way, because it retains its full damage 50% farther than the lighter round (though both have roughly the same 220m or so range to where they both drop to pi- from pi).

Since 2013 or so, I’ve done a GURPSDay post, where I collect GURPS-related posts and publish links. For years, I was able to do this like clockwork, every Thursday morning, which is the release day for GURPS products for SJG. That got a bit . . . squishy . . . as I got busy with publishing, and some days I’d miss. Sometimes I caught it, sometimes not until the next week.

Well, GURPSDay is going through some changes. I’ve finally sat down and figured out how to get WordPress to do what I want it to, more or less.

I’ve finally got a blog roll. Look to the right, and you’ll see any recent posts from blogs I follow. No excerpts, just titles, dates, and author names if they’re provided in the stream.

Also, there’s a new GURPSDay RSS Feed page. This will be updated twice daily, and displayed in reverse chronological order. It displays the most recent 50 posts (which these days covers about three weeks), provides an excerpt of 65 words per posts, and might display an image one day. It’s supposed to, but that requires cooperation on my blog, the plugin, and the target blogs.

So you can check out the most recent GURPS content any time you like.

Game on!

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! This post has been updated to go through Nov 8. Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

We got a great new blog this week: Dark Journeys, by GURPS Author, Historian, and friend of mine Shawn Fisher. It’s a near-guaranteed to be a good read.

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter keeps plugging away in production. Hand of Asgard has all its art. I’ve seen all the rough colors for Nordlondr Folk. Making editing progress on Forest’s End, but slower than I’d like. Real Life (trying to sell a house, and it’s not going well) keeps kicking me.
  • Four Perilous Journeys made landfall on Nov 1 in the USA, and should be ready to start shipping out by the end of the week!

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Oct 10 to Nov 8, 2019”

For Hand of Asgard, in all cases but one I have final art; for that I have rough-color (though it’s still VERY good even if the artist calls it rough).

I thought I’d share an art preview. If you like it, you can pre-order the book on Backerkit!

Cover (Teresa Guido)

The Allfather (Thanh Tran)

Goddess of Death (Kriz Villaciz)

The Fates (Steven Shan)

The Lawgiver (Piotr Jamroz)

The Lady of Life (Rick Troula)

The Trickster/God of Mischief (Juan Ochoa)

Queen of the World (Matsya Das Bdds)

The Snow Queen (Sandrine Malus)

God of Thunder (Kriz Villacis)

Lord of Warding (Eren Arik)

The God of Wind and Sea (Juan Ochoa)

Valkyrie (Rick Troula)

So, that’s the art for the book. I hope you guys enjoy it as much as I do. If so…maybe you want to pick it up?

The Nordlond Sagas crowfunding campaign has entered into its next phase. Having surpassed the funding goal, we’re now collecting shipping and “add-on” items for those that pledged.

But there are also many that didn’t, some for bad timing, some because of the Kickstarter labor dispute, or other reasons. No worries: we’ve got you covered. “Pre-Orders” for individual books and bundles similar to those from the campaign are available on Backerkit. If you want to pick and choose what books you get, or just missed the campaign the first time around . . . now is the time to come by!

Pre-Order books from The Norðlond Sagas

The Norðlond Sagas campaign expanded the growing “Norðlond” setting – a Norse-inspired world playable with the material in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG boxed set.

Three books were included in the campaign pledge; a fourth new book is available as an add-on. There are two setting/campaign books (The Dragons of Rosgarth and Forest’s End) and a 16-page supplement of character options (Norðlondr Fólk, detailing the races of Norðlond) which were part of the campaign pledge levels. A fourth 16-page book, Hand of Asgard is available as an add-on. It provides specialization options for clerics devoted to one of the 12 gods detailed in the setting, as well as more than 20 new Holy Might powers.

Whether you get all the things, or pick and choose . . . this is a great opportunity to obtain more ready-to-play material for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

For Asgard!

It’s another GURPSDay, and here’s the last few weeks of posts! Scroll all the way down (the random order is, well, random). Catch up and get some repeat views and if you missed some. They’re in reverse chronological order, so if you’re up-to-date, just skim off the top!

News for Gaming Ballistic:

  • The Nordlond Sagas kickstarter keeps plugging away in production. Backerkit phase – and thus pre-orders and a chance to get in on the stuff if you missed, or chose to skip, the actual campaign term – will begin this coming week.
  • Four Perilous Journeys is arriving for international backers, and they seem quite pleased. The books will make landfall on Nov 1 in the USA, and hopefully travel to Studio 2 in time to start shipping those out for US folks such that they arrive before Turkey Day. Canadian backers with card decks and counter sheets? You guys get taken care of with the US folks.

GURPSDay is in its sixth – GURPSDay started in February 2013,  a year after I started Gaming Ballistic. Things have slowed down a bit, and I’ll be considering how to revitalize this weekly activity. I’d like to see an average of 100 posts here per week – one per blog, ish – so we’ll see what we can do to get creative juiced flowing.If you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list! With the advent of the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS, there’s even more reason to write.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay! Oct 3 to Oct 26, 2019”

I’ll start with the obvious: content has been thin on the ground here for a while in terms of stuff that’s not just updates to my production process/crowdfunding efforts. This one won’t be much different, but it’s a bit of a download on what’s going on.

A Bit of Chaos

First thing, the last few months – maybe since April – have been very hectic. My family decided to move. Not far, still in MN, but we started the process. Found a house we liked. Bought it. And moved.

But we still hadn’t sold the old place yet. We’d put a lot of work into it, so we figured it would sell quickly. That didn’t happen. In fact, it still hasn’t happened. So things have been tight around here, and there’s been a lot of time and angst spent on the process. This past week, a buyer’s financing fell through, and so what we thought was a done deal was not. Exhausting, mentally.

The disassembly of my workshop also meant I stopped crafting for a while. That meant shields and promised goods for the Citadel at Nordvorn kickstarter were on the “to-do” list until my shop got set up again.

I also re-started training in Hwa Rang Do, so to spend more time with my wife, who’s an instructor. So my schedule changed quite a bit; again with less time.

This isn’t going to end with “so bad things for Gaming Ballistic, boo hoo.” It just has taken a bit to recover.

All the shields and swords are now done. My workshop is set up. Nordvorn is completely delivered, the physical copies from Four Perilous Journeys are due to arrive at Studio 2 before mid-November. And the Nordlond Sagas campaign . . . well, we’ll get to that in a moment.

GURPSDay

The first thing GB was known for, other than all the gun stuff and occasional forays into grappling rules, was GURPSDay. Before I got heavily into publishing, that was every week, like clockwork.

Now, with my schedule on Thursday being “get kids up for school early, and then get back from martial arts late,” it’s become irregular. I mostly get one out weekly, but not always. The 100 blogs (or so) that are part of the list are a bit more irregular too, and readership seems to have fallen off a bit. The giant spike in stats that I used to get isn’t nearly as impressive as it was.

I’ll still do it, but it needs a shot in the arm somehow.

Crowdfunding

Not any campaign in particular, but in general. Phil Reed has been (correctly) lamenting the state of the gaming industry for some time now. Too many projects, with too short a shelf life in folks’ minds. The usual timetable for how Kickstarter was “supposed” to work was

  • A roughly 30-day campaign, ideally suited to cover five weekends, so that there are at least two, maybe three, pay periods in there
  • Two weeks of “waiting for all the money”
  • Ten to 14 days for the primary Backerkit survey, which is there because one usually doesn’t know what shipping will look like until the thing is done

So that’s two full months of administrative time just getting the orders, sweating marketing, and hoping that folks will be using the power of social media networking to talk up your stuff. That doesn’t usually happen for the big guys, much less me.

Even if you’re completely on the ball and the entire project is done when Backerkit closes, the best you can usually do is send the PDFs out that day. You still have these steps to take, if you intend to go to print, which I like to do.

  • Have your backers check the PDFs for errors. They usually find some. That’s a nice 2 weeks minimum.
  • Assemble the final files, spool them out, and wait for art to be done. Again, that could be basically one day, could be more.
  • Send them to print. That’s a month. There’s a lot of surprisingly inactive time here.
  • Then move them around the world. I do a thing where my international books go to the UK, and ship out. That’s a week from Latvia to the UK, and then 1-6 weeks to arrive, depending on the quality of the post. For the USA, it’s supposed to be about a month more, but in reality seems to take more like six weeks, because things are always delayed. Always. Then it’s 2 more weeks for Media Mail to deliver stuff.

That’s another 14 weeks – three full months – before all stuff is in hand. Once the books go to print, though, the “I have so much stuff to do on Project X” period is really over. Starting a new project is not crazy at this point, but you will be paying lots of money for print, ship, and fulfillment during this period. So while the workload is lower, the financial drain is maximum. The biggest individual checks one writes are for printing and shipping. The total project cost is higher for art, but that’s almost always spent on many artists.

Best case, you can do a project every 2.5 months; worst case if you wait for everyone to get their stuff before you start the next one? Two projects a year.

I can’t really turn Gaming Ballistic into a self-sustaining main job at two projects a year. Even five per year isn’t awesome unless each of those gets roughly 2.5-5x as large as they are now. Doing MORE requires something else. I can parallel process more books at once than Kickstarter will allow me to do, since my project management skills are up to the task.

What to do? Well, I’ve got two options here.

One is to explore alternate options. GameOnTabletop is intriguing. One thing is that all the add-ons and whatnot are available right away, in addition to pledging. You know exactly what folks are getting, they’re just set up as items. So the “add a new thing in the middle” that happened with both Four Perilous Journeys and Nordlond Sagas is much easier to handle. I’m getting a better feel for shipping, too. I mean, it still sucks, and costs too much, but I can probably guess what it’ll be in advance of the projects these days, since I now can calculate the weight of books easily due to experience in actually getting them. So it’s a bit of a one-stop shop for that. Cards are charged right away, too, and the fees are lower. Cash flow should be superior to Kickstarter, and you need money to pay writers and artists right away when the work has already begun.

The other possibility is to bring it all in house. There’s a crowdfunding app on WooCommerce. No rules but the ones I make for myself. If I have an idea, I can put it on there and say “pre-order it, and it gets made if we hit the goal.” This provides a powerful market tool, in that if I’ve got several books I want to make, the backers will vote with their dollars on which ones they like, and which ones they don’t. It means I can have rolling funding drives, too. It’s sort of the bastard child of Kickstarter and Patreon. All the IT burden falls on me, but there are real advantages to this method. I may try it out with a single small project to work the bugs out.

Even so, the actual process of crowdfunding is a bit of a slog, since you’re bound to the rules of the other systems you use (KS, Backerkit, GameOnTabletop), and they take their cut. It may only be 5%, but that’s 5% that doesn’t go into developing new cool stuff. A few thousand bucks goes a long way at my scale.

Nordlond Sagas

Still working away at this. The block-and-tackle of Kickstarter and Backerkit should be done. The two small books – Nordlondr Folk and Hand of Asgard – are looking really good. Layout is finished, art is underway. Now it’s time to turn the effort to full-on editing the adventures, which is a big job. Writing tight, technical, entertaining prose takes work, and so the authors and I are in constant contact helping that out.

I’ve got about five weeks to edit and lay out the two adventures. That will get them in a state to have art done, I hope, by the end of December. I’ll admit it . . . that’s starting to look optimistic. Even so . . . time to get to it.

Next Year

The current project will run through the end of the year at least, and I suspect that I will slow down a bit on the back-to-back sprints that has been this year. Even so, there’s at least two major things happening next year, and maybe more than two.

More Perilous Journeys

The first up in 2020 will be the sequel to 2019s very successful effort. The logistics pathways and needs for counter sheets, card decks, and of course the adventures themselves are now well known. Shipping and production time scales and costs are known. I anticipate a much better planned effort this time. Hopefully with content that folks want. I hope that with a few more hoped-for solos, and lots more time to plan and execute the cards and counters, that this will be even more successful than the last one.

The Nordlond Bestiary

This is the big dog of the coming year. I wrote a huge amount of text for the Dragon Heresy RPG back in 2015 and 2016, taking most of the SRD and writing fluff text and stats accordingly for the Norse-inspired world. Well, those efforts have turned to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG…and the words are still there. This is going to be the bestiary folks in the GURPS sphere have been waiting for. A giant book of monsters, thematically unified by the Nordlond setting . . . but any GM worth their salt can port the critters to their own needs. It’s going to take a lot of work to do right, but I’ve got a great team.

Dragon Heresy

Speaking of Dragon Heresy, I do have plans next year of taking some of the existing work – Lost Hall, Nordvorn, Rosgarth, and Forest’s End and pulling them apart to turn them into two different books. One with lots of setting and flavor information, and one with the adventure content. I’m likely to crowdfund these to see if they can garner up enough interest for a profitable print run as well.

DriveThruRPG

I’ve avoided putting my stuff on DriveThru for a while; the bite they take out of revenue is large, and in most cases the print quality of their POD offerings is simply lower than the books I print in Latvia. But in 2020, all my PDFs will go up on DriveThru as well as through other channels. We’ll see what happens there.

Conventions

I’ll be at two conventions early in 2020. The first is Con of the North, here in Minneapolis Feb 14-16. So Happy Valentine’s Day. The second is FnordCon, down in Austin TX. That’s April 3-5.

Shields and Swords

I’ve refined my techniques on these, but they’re only going to be available by special order, through the website. I love making them, and have gotten much, much better at it. But they’re not really on point for the publishing business. Even so, if you’re interested, reach out. They’re not cheap, but the shields in particular are going to be closer to what you might have seen historically (based on certain finds) than most of what you see made of plywood online. Some of those plywood guys cost more than my planked, accurate ones!

Parting Shot

So that’s the recap for Gaming Ballistic. I’m not sure if the work above will be what folks want – I hope so – but it seems like a good plan for 2020. There might be one surprise – and it would be a big, cool one – that could show up later in the year.

It’s a full schedule, but less than I would be able to do if I could get the reach and interest to make my hobby job my day job. That, of course, is on me . . . and we’ll see how that goes. Maybe I’ll win the lottery.

 

Nordlond Sagas: Last Day!

A big day today, I hope.

We’re in the last half-day of the Nordlond Sagas campaign. Gaming Ballistic’s efforts were mentioned in both the Frog God Games newsletter, as well as an update to the Dungeon Fantasy RPG main Kickstarter page. Hopefully it’ll help push us to the stretch goals. We’re maybe 75 backers short of an offset print run, and perhaps $6,325 from the “more content” stretch goal. That’s only about 125 people, so the difference between the two is not large. We also have sufficient “following but not yet pledged” mass to easily hit both goals and more. So time will tell.

These books – two adventures and two character supplements, including what is basically clerical domains, but for GURPS/Dungeon Fantasy RPG in the “Hand of Asgard” supplement – are going to be very,  very fun. I won’t lie: I’m particularly enthusiastic about Hand of Asgard. Clocking in at only 16 pages, Kevin Smyth has managed to get a lot of flavor in the book, and I’m having a lot of fun with layout.

TFT Advance Copies arrive

I also got copies of the final product for the TFT Kickstarter I ran earlier this year. They’re really pretty and I think the backers will be pleased. I know I am. I’ll be getting the international fulfillment started this weekend, and I know that the remaining print quantity, probably 850-900 copies each, will be on the water soon (a bit of paperwork to do).