Weapons in Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition

Call of Cthulhu, Seventh Edition, has made a lot of detail changes to the weapons available to investigators. Focusing on my particular interests and insights, I went through the Keeper Rulebook to check what works and what does not.

Many of the mistakes were already present in the Call of Cthulhu, Fifth Edition, and Call of Cthulhu, Sixth Edition, but it would have been a good opportunity to deal with them. Others are unique to the new edition.

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Ultra-Tech: Amtrak Federation Air Rifle

A three-barrelled high-velocity .25 calibre air rifle that could be switched from triple volley to full auto, hung from the flexible mounting above the cockpit. A ground-crewman checked the two racks inside the cockpit filled with 180-round magazines … With a comparatively high rate of fire of one hundred and eighty rounds a minute, they were able to direct an almost continuous rain of nickel-coated lead …

‒ Patrick Tilley, The Amtrak Wars 1: Cloud Warrior (1983)

 

Patrick Tilley’s The Amtrak Wars (1983-1990) is a six-part epic chronicling the events in 2989/2994 AD prior to the fulfilment of the “Talisman Prophecy.” It is set in a devastated and substantially changed North America, with several factions involved in a deadly struggle for supremacy. These include various tribes of Mutes, the Iron Masters, and the Amtrak Federation ‒ inexplicably changed to the Lone Star Confederation in the later reissue, making the many train connections obsolete. It is perfect as a setting for a GURPS After the End campaign.

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Investigator Weapons: Mauser T.-Gew.18

This rifle was first captured during the battle of Hamel on July 4. It had only just been issued to certain divisions; other divisions were equipped with it later on … It was too conspicuous and too slow a weapon to be really effective against tanks, though it could easily penetrate them at several hundred yards range.

‒ John Fuller, Tanks in the Great War, 1914-1918 (1920)

 

The Tankabwehrgewehr 18 (“antitank rifle model 1918”) or Tankgewehr 18 ‒ both designations have been observed in official material ‒ is the first purpose-designed antitank weapon produced anywhere. The T.-Gew.18 appears in the last year of the Great War to combat the Allied tanks on the Western Front. Intended as a stop-gap measure until the MAN-Maxim T.u.F.-M.G.18 antitank/antiaircraft machine gun reaches production ‒ which it never does ‒ it is a single-shot bolt-action design produced by the Mauser-Werke of Oberndorf, Germany.

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Tactical Shooting: Street Kings

You want to be a gunfighter, huh?

– LAPD Detective Tom Ludlow in Street Kings (2008)

 

Street Kings (2008) is about LAPD Detective Tom Ludlow (Keanu Reeves), a member of the Vice Special unit that seems to be inspired by the real LAPD’s controversial Special Investigations Section (SIS), a unit that got a reputation as a “gunfighting” outfit in the late 1980s. Ludlow is a renegade “gunfighter” caught up both in his own post-traumatic stress disorder and in larger issues having to do with in-service corruption and power struggles.

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Ultra-Tech: Armat M41A

OK, I wanna introduce you to a personal friend of mine: This is an M41A pulse rifle, 10mm, with an over-and-under 30mm pump-action grenade launcher.

‒ CPL Dwayne Hicks, 1st Platoon, A Company, 2/9 USCM, in Aliens (1986)

The Armat M41A is the famous weapon arming the US Colonial Marines in Aliens (1986) and the Weyland-Yutani Corporation security forces in Alien 3 (1992) ‒ also, for some obscure reasons, the bank robbers in The Simpsons #13.12 (2002) … It accounts for a lot of the pseudo-realistic setting of Aliens, giving the main characters a mean-looking yet functional weapon to combat the dangerous Xenomorph XX121. Ultimately, the powerful, effective carbine ‒ and all the other ultra-tech gear of the year 2179, from nukes to sharp sticks ‒ does not mean much against the swarm intelligence, evolutionary perfection, and insidious breeding habits of Internecivus raptus, giving the Alien saga a distinct, rather desperate Lovecraft-esque vibe.

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Tactical Shooting: Predator

Contact!

‒ Mac Eliot in Predator (1987)

 

John McTiernan’s Predator (1987) is a superb classic that combines science fiction, horror, and military action. While Predator fulfils many action movie tropes and is hence overall better suited to GURPS Gun Fu, some details merit discussion in context with GURPS Tactical Shooting. The team’s response to the first sighting of the Predator is almost a textbook counterattack manoeuvre (Tactical Shooting, p. 22) following the advice in the US Army’s field manual FM 90-5 Jungle Operations (1982): “Once contact with the enemy is made, the unit’s first action is to build up a large volume of fire.”

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