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MoolkBiggestOrruk

Lore Discussion: Gunpowder weapons

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Greetings!  

I’d like to start a discussion hat has probably been discussed to death over the years but nonetheless I think it would be fun to see everyone’s opinions on why the use of guns and other gun powder weapons like grenades  aren’t  more prevalent in this universe.  I like to try and make logical reasons as to why things in my fantasy universes are the way they are. 

I am not the biggest lore buff there is so perhaps this is something that has been answered and I would love to hear why, but I have my own theories based on what lore I do know.  For instance, I know that from an economic perspective gunpowder and ammunition is very expensive and hard to find comparably to that of arrows/bolts so from a purely economic perspective that COULD explain why there aren’t more of them being used.

I have also seen mentioned that what technology we do have is very unreliable leading to “to many soldiers to often’ being killed or maimed by their own weaponry backfiring.  Or perhaps there is to many opportunities for sabotage when it comes to gunpowder being transported/stored due to how volatile it is and easily blown up, further leading to economic issues.  

I have also speculated myself given what I have seen of crossbows, the necessity of gunpowder weapons isn’t quite that high considering that crossbows have some really good armor piercing capabilities themselves.  So outside of the heaviest of armors, a crossbow could probably do the same job.  

Magic is probably a likely contributor as well, considering you can enchant arrows/bolts to do even more, perhaps going beyond the capabilities of a bullet.  I can’t say for sure, and most of what I am doing right now is pure speculation but that would seem to make sense.  Or just using a fireball on a team of gunners or artillery could result in a catastrophic issue for the gunners lol.  

All in all it seems to me there are a multitude of practical reasons why we dont see more widespread usage of gunpowder weapons in the fantasy/AOS universe.   But, are there any others that you think exist that I missed?  Do you have any speculation as to what you think is the reason?  Do you think the reason is simply “because GW says so”?  Are there any lore specific stories of fights that demonstrated their shortcomings or superiority as weapons?  I know in the Gloomspite book they got some good use getting rid of trolls. 

Anyways, I would love to see other peoples thoughts on this as it is something that always comes across my mind when playing Total war or painting.  

 

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Posted (edited)

Well actually in most of advancned and major free cities and areas, black powder weapon are very popular, handgunners are like standard regiment in freeguilds. City like Greywater Fastness is incredibly popular for its high quality gunnary production, there is also a specific department, ironweld arsenal, dedicated to the research of better gunpowder weapons, hence there comes the cogfort in Hammerhal.

Other areas that don't adopt gunpowder can because of  various reasons, from simply unaffordable (some backward towns), unable to get the material to produce(Ghur, Shyish and Ulgu for example, just too dangerous and risky to mine, maybe),  no technology (especially if you don't have shorty friends to teach you) or just don't like them (elves). In some rare cases, the people there may have superior technolgies then why bother with gunpowder (Kharadon and some ancient empire in Chamon.)

After all the cost performance of gunpowder is still very good for mortals if you can afford them. They are even powerful enough to kill Stormcast Eternals, and a well-placed shot can finish a wizard from afar. However against some magical stuff like daemons and ghost it may need some magical support, for example, the good old silver bullets!

Edited by Whitefang
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Posted (edited)

Yeah, gunpowder's fine for regular mortal stuff like fending off humans, Grots or even Ogors so make excellent stuff to give an edge to lower end armies like Freeguild or just some guards where the punch could help like in Ghur.

However gunpowder falls to the wayside against magic, alchemy and the god armies.

Why use gunpowder when your bow shoots replenishable lightning  bolts that can fry entire regiments even behind a force-field, a Fyreslayer pike that shoots molten magma or a Kharadron alchemy gun that shoots aether that can disintegrate a target down to the molecular level?

Plus in some cases it can be neutralized by magic be it Tzeentch level forcefields, Deepkin aetherseas causing the powder to get wet making the army easy prey and undead & NightHaunt laughing at the projectiles passing through them.

In some cases the guns have to be enhanced by magic to be useful like Glymmsforge guards using sorcerous rifles and the realm of fire having more natural combustion objects & powders to cause a more powerful explosion including just branches made into stakes.

Edited by Baron Klatz
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I imagine that the harsh environments and weather of the realms could decrease the reliability of gunpowder weapons. Could also speculate that the time and stationary requirements to reload could discourage some from their use, even if it doesn't quite play out that way on the table.

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A few thoughts and some (likely inaccurate but at least rough) history ideas too

1) Consider the real world for a moment. Guns started to replace bow and arrow not because guns were better weapons. In fact they were not really all that good and not better than a well trained bowman. The problem is that it takes a lifetime to train a bowman (esp if you get to something like the old English Longbowman). Basically you have to spend money as a nation to have your bowmen trained up from a young age. That means spending on them even in times of peace so that you've got them for times of war. The upper body has to develop very differently in order to achieve both strength and speed needed to make bow units effective (typically they weren't shooting like Robin Hood - instead they were shooting masses of arrows into the air forming a blanket of shafts that would rain down death on the enemy).

Furthermore as your bowmen take a long time to train up, any losses of them are more keenly felt because you can't just grab any old people and give them a bow and expect them to perform well. 

Enter the gun - a weapon that was pretty inaccurate, not as long ranged (certainly before rifling was developed and commonly used) and quite dangerous if wrongly used. But you could train up regiments of green recruits to shoot a gun really fast. They didn't need years of body building, just basic fitness and the ability to point and pull the trigger. The Crossbow was another technological revolution that also had the same benefit, the ability to train people to use them quickly. Meaning that a nation could buy the weapons, but not train up troops until they needed them; and also that any losses could be replaced fairly quickly. 

 

So even without magic or anything else, a bow unit remains quite effective for a fairly long period of time. If your nation can replace the archers and provide them in volume then its not as keenly felt when you take losses. Now AoS should, in theory, lean heavily toward guns because of the massive losses possible in war; however at the same time as the whole age is a state of war you can bet that the finances of paying for archers long term is considered very important - so there's likely funding right there to train them up. 

 

2) Racial Aspects. Certain races clearly don't need guns or could use them including:

a) Flesheaters - I mean they could, but they are so totally insane that they'd probably be happier throwing sharp bits of bone at you. No doubt some of them think they are firing bows at you. However if we consider that many chivalrous peoples considered guns an affront to the codes of war (mostly because with guns any peasant could shoot a noble knight off his horse in one shot....) chances are even in their mad state they wouldn't "want" to use them. We've also generally seen that (the duel box lore from skaven) Flesheaters don't really care for technology well. They can keep it going and even repurpose it for other uses like grinding meat, but they don't quite have the dedication and mental stamina to maintain complex machinery and weapons - that we've seen. 

b) Daughters of Khaine - your average Witch Aelf doesn't even use any ranged weapons. She worships Khaine through close combat. Meanwhile Khinerai summon spears of shadow from the eather - letting them remain light and mobile in battle. They'd not want to be weighted down with a heavy weapon that has quite significant recoil whilst they are in the skies. Melusai do use ranged weapons, however they use enchanted bow and arrow designed to seek out the heart. Clearly they are the "Robin Hoods" of their race and with a weapon that effective at long range, chances are the general gun technology of the Realms offers no benefit (and the added insult that any heart hit with a bullet would be utterly obliterated - at least with an arrow you can still harvest most of the heart). 
That said nothing would stop a Witch Aelf using a gun in any general situation that would require it. 

c) Sylvaneth. Guns require metals, minerals and materials of the earth. Sylvaneth are generally not happy about extracting such resources in the standard mining practices that we've seen. They also have their own enchanted arrows that they make use of instead. Chances are the use of fire (explosives) to ignite the powder to fire the gun would also not be something they'd really like. Whilst gunpowder is dangerous to people, we don't burn half as well as tree people burn. Furthermore their armies are likely very used to operating with guerrilla tactics and when not, they are often operating close to their forests. So their supply lines are short and often sourced directly from the woods itself. Guns would introduce supply line issues that they might not find easy to adapt their mode of war toward. This might, however, ease off if they start to take more aelven and other forces in their direct armies (Kurnothi).

d) Skaven. Wait I hear you cry Skaven do use guns. Yes yes they do. However only the elite use them. Regular skaven tend to have spears and slings - really cheap simple weapons. For Skaven they enhance their weapons with warpstone, a limited and expensive resource. Furthermore gun shooting itself is, by skaven standards, likely a high skill and high risk affair. They are not a people you could easily train up thousands to use guns - you'd probably lose more than half to accidents (both blowing themselves and each other up).  So even with a gun using race there isn't always the suitable general population to make use of gun based technology.

e) Stormcast. They have weapons that throw thunderbolts at the enemy already. A gun offers them little to no benefit. Furthermore Stormcast operate, typically, with very little in the way of supply caravans. Typically you read Stormcast charging deep into enemy lines; using their superhuman abilities to maintain themselves on the move. A limited ammunition weapon wouldn't work well for them as they'd eventually run out of ammo. Magical bolts that they replace from the magic around them are clearly a superior weapon choice for them that keeps them at top performance even when weeks into enemy territories and far ahead of the front lints or any form of support. 

So we've seen that guns require supply lines; specific resources; training; etc.... Plus ontop of it all they have to be superior in several forms to the weapons they already use. Many of the races just have good enough weapons and the people to use them. Now I could see Steam and gun powder rising in use as GW develops the setting more and advances more model ranges with updated new technologies and models. WE might see orruks using stolen weapons; aelves using cannon; Chaos doing something unholy etc... 

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31 minutes ago, Overread said:

Chaos doing something unholy etc..

I've always felt that considering the four (sorry, Horned Rat) main Chaos Gods are meant to be the embodiment of, well, chaos, they seem to be, paradoxically, the least changeable of all the factions.  They each do the same thing over and over again, with apparently no ability or inclination to alter their modus operandi whatsoever.  It therefore doesn't surprise me in the least that none of them have considered adopting black-powder weapons.

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And why use them if you can just fire giant fiery daemon heads, explosive skulls or warpfire that mutates the target into a horror to run rampant in their own ranks. Even the industrialist Chaos Duardin prefer hellfire over it.

To say nothing of the lethality Nurgle could do with projectile plagues.

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The point is, the models don't represent everything in the background. So it is totally possible there are some chaos-corrupted handgunners, not mention the forges and daemon cannons of chaos dwarves.

But why there is  no chaos model with black-powder weapons? Practically it is because GW needs to make a divisity, after all this is not some history war game but a high fantasy setting. What's more, as a result of destruction and obliteration they brought to the realms, many of the chaos worshippers now are no better than the primitive savage tribes (there are exceptions, of course). These tribesmen usually want to walk on the path of glory and eventually one day rewarded by the gods, using gunpowder is likely out of their ability since the lack of technology and such behaviour is usually considered honourless. 

The lack of gunpowder is also associated with the nature of Chaos—— Chaos is in fact the most magical existence in the setting, especially consider the winds of magic come from the realm of chaos. If you have super cool magical ability, why bother with science? Khorne obviously will spit on the idea of using guns (though he does use skull cannon, shrug); Tzeentch, is the god of magic, then clearly his worshippers will prefer something more mystic, though in the time of need they probably won't say no to guns; Nurgle is the god of decay and stasis, will his worshipper want to accept something new? not likely. Slaanesh, well, if some people are obssessed with guns and consider shooting  joyful , they will surely keep doing that, the ways of fetish are just too many! But just like previously said, the great propotions of worshippers are comprised of tribesman, using and maitaining a gun is not an usual thing to them.

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1 hour ago, Overread said:

d) Skaven. Wait I hear you cry Skaven do use guns. Yes yes they do. However only the elite use them. Regular skaven tend to have spears and slings - really cheap simple weapons. For Skaven they enhance their weapons with warpstone, a limited and expensive resource. Furthermore gun shooting itself is, by skaven standards, likely a high skill and high risk affair. They are not a people you could easily train up thousands to use guns - you'd probably lose more than half to accidents (both blowing themselves and each other up).  So even with a gun using race there isn't always the suitable general population to make use of gun based technology.

 

This is not the case. The reason guns are not widespread (Skaven don't care too much about wasting warpstone the bullets are warpstone as well.) is because Clan Skyre loves having a monopoly, they don't teach any other skaven how their stuff works and only rent it out for large amounts of warpstone.  

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2 hours ago, Overread said:

A few thoughts and some (likely inaccurate but at least rough) history ideas too

1) Consider the real world for a moment. Guns started to replace bow and arrow not because guns were better weapons. In fact they were not really all that good and not better than a well trained bowman. The problem is that it takes a lifetime to train a bowman (esp if you get to something like the old English Longbowman). Basically you have to spend money as a nation to have your bowmen trained up from a young age. That means spending on them even in times of peace so that you've got them for times of war. The upper body has to develop very differently in order to achieve both strength and speed needed to make bow units effective (typically they weren't shooting like Robin Hood - instead they were shooting masses of arrows into the air forming a blanket of shafts that would rain down death on the enemy).

Furthermore as your bowmen take a long time to train up, any losses of them are more keenly felt because you can't just grab any old people and give them a bow and expect them to perform well. 

Enter the gun - a weapon that was pretty inaccurate, not as long ranged (certainly before rifling was developed and commonly used) and quite dangerous if wrongly used. But you could train up regiments of green recruits to shoot a gun really fast. They didn't need years of body building, just basic fitness and the ability to point and pull the trigger. The Crossbow was another technological revolution that also had the same benefit, the ability to train people to use them quickly. Meaning that a nation could buy the weapons, but not train up troops until they needed them; and also that any losses could be replaced fairly quickly. 

 

So even without magic or anything else, a bow unit remains quite effective for a fairly long period of time. If your nation can replace the archers and provide them in volume then its not as keenly felt when you take losses. Now AoS should, in theory, lean heavily toward guns because of the massive losses possible in war; however at the same time as the whole age is a state of war you can bet that the finances of paying for archers long term is considered very important - so there's likely funding right there to train them up. 

 

2) Racial Aspects. Certain races clearly don't need guns or could use them including:

a) Flesheaters - I mean they could, but they are so totally insane that they'd probably be happier throwing sharp bits of bone at you. No doubt some of them think they are firing bows at you. However if we consider that many chivalrous peoples considered guns an affront to the codes of war (mostly because with guns any peasant could shoot a noble knight off his horse in one shot....) chances are even in their mad state they wouldn't "want" to use them. We've also generally seen that (the duel box lore from skaven) Flesheaters don't really care for technology well. They can keep it going and even repurpose it for other uses like grinding meat, but they don't quite have the dedication and mental stamina to maintain complex machinery and weapons - that we've seen. 

b) Daughters of Khaine - your average Witch Aelf doesn't even use any ranged weapons. She worships Khaine through close combat. Meanwhile Khinerai summon spears of shadow from the eather - letting them remain light and mobile in battle. They'd not want to be weighted down with a heavy weapon that has quite significant recoil whilst they are in the skies. Melusai do use ranged weapons, however they use enchanted bow and arrow designed to seek out the heart. Clearly they are the "Robin Hoods" of their race and with a weapon that effective at long range, chances are the general gun technology of the Realms offers no benefit (and the added insult that any heart hit with a bullet would be utterly obliterated - at least with an arrow you can still harvest most of the heart). 
That said nothing would stop a Witch Aelf using a gun in any general situation that would require it. 

c) Sylvaneth. Guns require metals, minerals and materials of the earth. Sylvaneth are generally not happy about extracting such resources in the standard mining practices that we've seen. They also have their own enchanted arrows that they make use of instead. Chances are the use of fire (explosives) to ignite the powder to fire the gun would also not be something they'd really like. Whilst gunpowder is dangerous to people, we don't burn half as well as tree people burn. Furthermore their armies are likely very used to operating with guerrilla tactics and when not, they are often operating close to their forests. So their supply lines are short and often sourced directly from the woods itself. Guns would introduce supply line issues that they might not find easy to adapt their mode of war toward. This might, however, ease off if they start to take more aelven and other forces in their direct armies (Kurnothi).

d) Skaven. Wait I hear you cry Skaven do use guns. Yes yes they do. However only the elite use them. Regular skaven tend to have spears and slings - really cheap simple weapons. For Skaven they enhance their weapons with warpstone, a limited and expensive resource. Furthermore gun shooting itself is, by skaven standards, likely a high skill and high risk affair. They are not a people you could easily train up thousands to use guns - you'd probably lose more than half to accidents (both blowing themselves and each other up).  So even with a gun using race there isn't always the suitable general population to make use of gun based technology.

e) Stormcast. They have weapons that throw thunderbolts at the enemy already. A gun offers them little to no benefit. Furthermore Stormcast operate, typically, with very little in the way of supply caravans. Typically you read Stormcast charging deep into enemy lines; using their superhuman abilities to maintain themselves on the move. A limited ammunition weapon wouldn't work well for them as they'd eventually run out of ammo. Magical bolts that they replace from the magic around them are clearly a superior weapon choice for them that keeps them at top performance even when weeks into enemy territories and far ahead of the front lints or any form of support. 

So we've seen that guns require supply lines; specific resources; training; etc.... Plus ontop of it all they have to be superior in several forms to the weapons they already use. Many of the races just have good enough weapons and the people to use them. Now I could see Steam and gun powder rising in use as GW develops the setting more and advances more model ranges with updated new technologies and models. WE might see orruks using stolen weapons; aelves using cannon; Chaos doing something unholy etc... 

This makes a lot of sense, in particular i find it interesting the notion that a bowman is actually MORE useful (if trained very well) than a gunner due to how long it takes for them to build up the muscle and dexterity as opposed to any group of people being able to point and pull a trigger of a gun.  That’s an interesting point I never considered.  

Another that I like is the idea that other races/factions have weapons that are good enough to be the job done and the need just isn’t there for gunpowder weapons.  I kinda dont like to leave it at “they just dont like them” due to their culture or w/e because i feel like if they are outmatched enough, they WILL use them.  Seeing as that isn’t the case, i think there is merit to the idea that other less technological weapons (like the bow or crossbow) is just as good for their purpose.  

I like to imagine someone trying to gun down a chosen or something, i get a feeling it wouldn’t work out that well anyways.  Thus the necessity of old fashioned steel and skill would still be a necessary part of combat.

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On the other end of the spectrum you have chariots.

 

A weapon of war that IRL quickly became obsolete as people figured out how to make proper heavy cavalry (plus the issue of controlling 2 horses vs 1), and essentially disappearing after antiquity. But it looks pretty cool in warhammer (granted AoS doesn't really have any).

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Another point that accelerated the adoption of the gun, despite early guns being kind of, well, not good, was that they're actually cheaper and easier to transport. Many people seem to assume a bow/crossbow and arrows/bolts is cheaper than a gun (including OP).

A gun is more expensive than a bow. Bullets and powder are much cheaper and more compact than arrows, and you're buying a lot more bullets/arrows than guns/bows. A good arrow is actually a pretty difficult item to mass manufacture and transport. You need a chunk of decent iron for the head, far larger and more expensive than the mass casting of lead balls. You need a good quality piece of wood for the shaft so it doesn't warp in transport. Mass gathering undamaged feathers alone was a significant task. In 1417 in England an order went out demanding 6 feathers from every goose in the country. Then transporting the arrows without damaging the fletching was a difficult task, and at the final stage, actual battle, a soldier can't carry nearly as many arrows as he can bullets.

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Posted (edited)

Unlike bullets though arrows are reusable and it actually happened on battlefields that archers waited for enemy fire to resupply with which made it into a strategy of whether you should loose at all or not and deny the enemy ammo.

That aside though we see arrows in the Mortal Realms as a pretty common weapon(especially with Bonesplitterz who spam arrow fire even in the artwork) since they can be made from a range of materials like the Ghur soldiers of Jercho who use grindworm teeth for their arrows as Ghur is nearly devoid of precious minerals beyond stone.

Compare that to gunpowder, bullets and guns which need specialized factories to produce them from the major cities like Azyrheim, Hammerhal or Greywater which can be lifetimes of travel away in other realms and it's pretty easy to see why simpler tribal & town made weapons take precedent here as the pseudo dark ages the Realms are in make such things extremely difficult to get.

Edited by Baron Klatz

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I think the lack of firearms in AoS stems from a few reasons.

1.      The existence of magic and other fantasy elements provides something of a work around for many of the factions. On one hand do you need firearms if you have an army of huge monsters and dudes throwing magic fire around, and on the other if your army is lacking these a gun might be nice to have. The old Empire, and some of the CoS Freeguild units aren’t as high fantasy as other armies and relied more heavily on black power and machinery to make up for the fact they’re primarily average humans. A Stormcast is so far from being an average human, firearms aren’t really necessary and their lighting weapons and many fantastical mounts make up for the lack there of.

2.      The other, and in my opinion main reasons there aren’t more firearms in AoS is simply for the sake of diversity between the ranges. Historically varied cultures with varied ways of war sought to adopt the use of firearms rapidly, replacing many of their traditional weapons. Even societies which the Western world saw as being "backwaters"which lacked the ability to produce powder or arms themselves, traded or aquried these weapons. In setting it would make sense to see some greenskins using black power, Ogors do. Not all chaos worshipers are raving lunatics, some professional musketeers would make sense. Yet I don’t think people would want every army to have guns, it takes away from some of the uniqueness of factions. People want Aelves shooting bows, and other familiar fantasy staples. But who knows maybe the next supplement will be AoS “Pike and Shotte”

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13 minutes ago, Shearl said:

I think the lack of firearms in AoS stems from a few reasons.

1.      The existence of magic and other fantasy elements provides something of a work around for many of the factions. On one hand do you need firearms if you have an army of huge monsters and dudes throwing magic fire around, and on the other if your army is lacking these a gun might be nice to have. The old Empire, and some of the CoS Freeguild units aren’t as high fantasy as other armies and relied more heavily on black power and machinery to make up for the fact they’re primarily average humans. A Stormcast is so far from being an average human, firearms aren’t really necessary and their lighting weapons and many fantastical mounts make up for the lack there of.

2.      The other, and in my opinion main reasons there aren’t more firearms in AoS is simply for the sake of diversity between the ranges. Historically varied cultures with varied ways of war sought to adopt the use of firearms rapidly, replacing many of their traditional weapons. Even societies which the Western world saw as being "backwaters"which lacked the ability to produce powder or arms themselves, traded or aquried these weapons. In setting it would make sense to see some greenskins using black power, Ogors do. Not all chaos worshipers are raving lunatics, some professional musketeers would make sense. Yet I don’t think people would want every army to have guns, it takes away from some of the uniqueness of factions. People want Aelves shooting bows, and other familiar fantasy staples. But who knows maybe the next supplement will be AoS “Pike and Shotte”

That second point while perhaps true, is kinda what i try to avoid.  The “just because GW said so” makes for a bit of immersion breaking for me personally.  WHich is why i go so far to try and understand the lack of it from a practical perspective rather than a cultural reason or diversity reason, granted again that doens’t mean you are wrong.

Your first point definately makes sense though from a practical perspective.  I can definately see the lack of need for a stormcast.  Their crossbows with lightning or w/e seem more than enough for their purpose.  

It may be something that to some degree i have to accept “just is” but i enjoy the thought experiment nonetheless.  

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There is no lack of black powder firearms in age of Sigmar. Most freeguild soldiery have access to black powder weapons and artillery from the Ironweld and I'm sure steamtanks are common sites on the battlefield. 

I mean it's also a setting with Clockwork robots and mechanical walking fortresses.

Maybe the most simple answer because it's Warhammer, Why do they have dudes wielding swords and the riding horses right next to warlord titans in 40K.

 

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Sure, some races don't use this type of technology and I think the reasons for that are mainly cultural (as well stated by @Overread), but I agree with @xking, we have a pretty widespread presence of gunpowder weapons.

Not only that, in AoS we now have some cases where gunpowder is almost outdated: think about Ironweld Arsenal, clan Skyrie, or Kharadron Overlords: ranks of flying zeppelin-ships full of steampunk mechanisms, high-tech big shotguns...

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Posted (edited)

There were archers vs quite modern muskets in colonial warfare. The cultures in AoS are even more apart in culture and mindset. And a chariot pulled by dinosaurs or giant boars may have worked well even later on.

So no problem. 😁

Oh, and arrows are seldom reusable if they hit anything hard. They literally explode, even with my 60 pound bow. A warbow can easily have 150 pounds,  a crossbow somewhere in the range of 300-800.

Edited by Beastmaster

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You might want to consider morale, too. The noise and smoke a salvo of muskets produce is far more intimidating than a salvo of arrows or bolts, also the impact is more conceivable as the transferred kinetic energy is far higher in a musket. Not that morale had any impact in AoS, that's what inspiring presence is for :P in real history (up until the 1st World War that is) breaking the enemy's morale would usually win the battle long before severe casualties were sustained by either side.

Also, as was said before, it wouldn't be practical for all factions to develop in similar paths, that's what historical wargames are for. And i really like my sword and magic stuff more than everyone moving squares of line infantry...

 

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Posted (edited)

Morale is the important factor I think. Bows shoot in a trajectory, which means that casualties are scattered throughout the army. If in an army of 2000 men 100 die scattered over the whole army, each soldier notices maybe 2 casualties in his vicinity. A musket salvo is much more concentrated: If the 50 guys right next to you drop dead, it is quite likely that you think you’re on the losing side and should run. And once a part of the army starts running, they pull those near them with them, since nobody wants to be the lone fool who still stands 😄

Edited by Beastmaster

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Thing is if you had something like a company of English Longbowmen firing at you you KNEW about it. The sky was going dark and there was a wall of arrows pelting down from the skies. Unless you were under a really good shield and/or in thick armour with a helm you were going to get hurt! It's actually interesting to see on some documentaries that arrows fired in closer proximity could even deflect off a chest armour plate and ricochet up your chest armour and slide into your neck/head (its why many armours would have a thin strip of model in a V shame on the neckline - it wasn't decoration it was there to deflect those arrows away from sliding up the breastplate to your head/face/neck). 

 

I won't deny that a thundercrash of firearms going off in trained control can be really devastating to moral. Esp if the opponent uses the rank firing system where by one rank fires then the next etc... so that each wave of shots will take down a wave of enemies, rather than the same person being hit by multiple balls. Plus there's the after-battle effect that bullets cause a different, nasty kind of wound compared to arrows. Installing fear of the weapon for the next battle. Then there's smoke - if you've got a load of cannon and muskets going you are going to generate a wall of smoke that fills the air. So now you might not be able to clearly see nor hear the enemy.

 

Of course this is the mortal realms. You can get many of those same moral effects from thunderbolt firing weapons (that also do horrific burning and electrocution damage); you can get that smoke and mist in abundance from your mages, heck if you're Idoneth you're likely sweeping the whole battlefield and area around with your fake water waves and power; the terrors of sharks flying through the air right into peoples faces! 

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Using loud and odor producing black powder weapons in the wilds of the realms may well be a death sentence. Seems like a sure fire way to draw the attention of some bigger, more deadly predator(s). As a result, maybe black powder weapons are only really logical for those that spend most of their time hiding behind city walls!

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On 1/9/2020 at 5:42 AM, Overread said:

A few thoughts and some (likely inaccurate but at least rough) history ideas too

1) Consider the real world for a moment. Guns started to replace bow and arrow not because guns were better weapons. In fact they were not really all that good and not better than a well trained bowman. The problem is that it takes a lifetime to train a bowman (esp if you get to something like the old English Longbowman). Basically you have to spend money as a nation to have your bowmen trained up from a young age. That means spending on them even in times of peace so that you've got them for times of war. The upper body has to develop very differently in order to achieve both strength and speed needed to make bow units effective (typically they weren't shooting like Robin Hood - instead they were shooting masses of arrows into the air forming a blanket of shafts that would rain down death on the enemy).

Furthermore as your bowmen take a long time to train up, any losses of them are more keenly felt because you can't just grab any old people and give them a bow and expect them to perform well. 

Enter the gun - a weapon that was pretty inaccurate, not as long ranged (certainly before rifling was developed and commonly used) and quite dangerous if wrongly used. But you could train up regiments of green recruits to shoot a gun really fast. They didn't need years of body building, just basic fitness and the ability to point and pull the trigger. The Crossbow was another technological revolution that also had the same benefit, the ability to train people to use them quickly. Meaning that a nation could buy the weapons, but not train up troops until they needed them; and also that any losses could be replaced fairly quickly. 

 

So even without magic or anything else, a bow unit remains quite effective for a fairly long period of time. If your nation can replace the archers and provide them in volume then its not as keenly felt when you take losses. Now AoS should, in theory, lean heavily toward guns because of the massive losses possible in war; however at the same time as the whole age is a state of war you can bet that the finances of paying for archers long term is considered very important - so there's likely funding right there to train them up. 

this is for those  interested bows became fall out of use in the 16th century (in Europe), bows and guns co-existed for ages (since the 14th century, in Europe) before this there were legitimate positives to both weapons.

note the 16th century is when European armies became professional armies full time armies (as pike formations require alot of training to be more then immobile blocks, amongst other reasons which i may get to), so the idea it requires less training is (probably) less of an important factor (historically)

the reasons:

1-guns do have much greater armour penetration then both longbows, composite bows and crossbows, when good quality armour (relative) became widespread as a result of watermill 'powered' furnaces making it cheap to produce, so called munitions armor, mass produced hardened steel breastplates and helmets. armour strong enough to stop longbows and crossbows was now the cost of a weeks wages for the average infantry man.  bows went from being able to kill 70-90% of then enemy to less then 40%, bullet proof armour would exist even as far as ww2 (see soviet steel vests) cheap enough to equip elite units with, but the majority of an army would always be vulnerable to guns. 

in this sense guns replaced bows in Europe due to armour, in asia the ability to produce such relatively high quality armour in large amounts never (really) happened, hence bows were still used intill the 1800s.(combined with the relative ease of producing high equality bows)

one can indeed say guns replaced bows because they were better weapons, for their targets. 

2-guns are scary, guns make loud noises that scare horses and men (who are not used to it), entire french heavy cavalry charges were broken through the sound of Spanish guns alone (according to some sources) before they were even in effective range. bows can never do this, metal-arm crossbows are also load and had similar effects when they were first used enmasse, but they are not as load as guns (especially artillery guns). guns also have 'quicker hits', the projectiles travel faster and thus the effect of a volley is more quickly felt which combined with the sound is very terrifying. not even the famed Swiss pike could handle it before training methods were devised. the use of guns forces your enemy to spend more time training their troops and make militia almost worthless (as a single volley can cause them to route) bows do not have this effect.

3-guns require less stamina then bows, a unit of bows may fire faster but they will tire out, guns and windlass crossbows do not take much effort to load at their maximum speed. thus the effect of a long march is less on hand-gunners then archers and a battle can be faught for longer (over a number of consecutive days) without significant negative effects on your army. this is extremely useful.

4-ammunition for guns is actually cheaper. while needing simple materials, arrows require highly skilled workers to make, and alot of time to make, and do not store well (they need to be stored in cool, dry conditions and with lots of room and are easily damaged by rough transportation) compared to musket balls (very easy to make and store) and gunpowder, you can make it very easily the only issue being sulphur, and stores easier then arrows (if only because it only requires dry, temperature, rough handleing and space isn't a big issue), bowstrings also do not work when wet, so the idea of wetting powder as the only downside for storage seems like a big break.

minor reasons:

5-is the training, it takes less time to learn to use. so you can spend more time training your men to face up to gun volleys and cavalry charges.

6-Urbanization, Urban populations do not have the space for practicing archery (historically), this makes expecting an elite archer army to be unrealsitic (the position England found itself in the 1590s when longbows were discarded.

7-soldiers life time, an old soldier can load, aim and fire a gun just as quickly and accurately as a young one given the same drill time.

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16 hours ago, Overread said:

 The sky was going dark and there was a wall of arrows pelting down from the skies. 

this is a myth and/or exaggeration, we know English longbow men never fired in high arcs IRL. it is never described or depicted as such by eye witnesses or training manuscripts.

most people likely wouldn't even know what who the longbowman are, let alone know they are supposed to be scared. and those that knew also knew their armour was good enough to stop the arrows (note how long bows only ever defeated mounted knights, or foot knights in mud, most evidence suggests the arrows do very little to most knights)

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now to apply by 7 reasons to AoS

1- many enemies are heavily armoured, but there are other fanatasy weapons that can penetrate armour

2-there are things scarier then load noises in AoS

3-while applies to  many factions, super-humans (and super human level stuff) and undead are not necessarily affected. atleast not to the same extent

4-its probably the same or very similar in AoS, except for magical enchantments which can make storage easier

5-very useful, you can train your men to be more disaplined and thus more likely to stand and fight that Orruk/etc

6-free cities

7-endless war = lots of old soldiers (well compared to real life)

guns should be (and are?) common in AoS to those that know how to make them and aren't hyper magical. so ordinary humans, duardin , skaven, etc. provided they don't have better tech or aren't limited by the guns makers.

 

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