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Here is my fantasy medieval scenario:

There is pair of adventurers, a Supportive/Non-Offensive mage and a swordsman. The swordsman is actually a disguised rifleman who carries a scoped rifle.

In order to not arouse any suspicion by guards, and to avoid the rifle getting seized by them, the rifle must be perceived as something normal.... or at least something that they don't want to inspect.

Casting illusion magic or something similar on the rifle is not preferable. This is because magic might leave traces on it and risk it being detected by anything that could sense traces of magic.

Rifle length is 116cm (an M16 is +-100cm)

My possible disguises:

Disguise it as Cursed Item.

This will prevent guards from being curious, but.... might lead to 'seize or dispose on site' if they're told to prevent anything cursed from entering the city

Disguise it as a property of someone important (magic research item)

The mage mentioned above is apprentice of a well renowned Archmage.

Judging by how hierarchy and power distance during medieval period works, the guards will try to stay out of trouble from someone with higher authority than them.

It would be better if I could smuggle that rifle without using 'false authority' .... if the guards managed to see through the lies (ie: not informed by the archmage about his/her item's arrival) .... we might get an arrest warrant (which means torture in medieval settings).

Any more concealment options?

---- Edit , Additional Info ----

  • Maybe I should call the swordsman a marksman instead of a rifleman

  • The Rifle is a Precision Rifle, specifically an Anti Material Rifle. The Empty weight is 20.05 lb or 9.09 kg.

    Anti material Rifle, pic isn't mine Note: Photo isn't mine, I reuploaded and posted it here for size reference purpose

  • Most of the travelling will be on foot, or riding a horse when possible

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    $\begingroup$ How about just shooting the Guards at a distance ? $\endgroup$ – Joe Jun 5 at 15:39
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    $\begingroup$ Might help to know more about the inspections in general - how thorough are they, why are they conducted, and what are the guards actually looking for? Since this is a medieval setting, presumably they have never seen a rifle before. Do the guards just confiscate anything they're not familiar with? $\endgroup$ – Nuclear Wang Jun 5 at 15:43
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    $\begingroup$ What is a "scoped rifle" doing in a medieval setting? They most definitely did not have anything remotely resembling a telescoping sight for firearms. For that matter, are you asking about a (very) late medieval rifled musket, or about a modern rifle, and then what make and model of modern rifle? $\endgroup$ – AlexP Jun 5 at 16:10
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    $\begingroup$ @Joe They're not on the kill list, it's better to let them be rather than making them alert about something out of the place $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 5 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ Assuming firearm in question is M16/AR15-like, there are even smaller take downs. The full parts kit as shown in @Cumehtar 's image (his excellent answer too) would need specialized tools to properly assemble (gas block, barrel nut). For real working super-takedown AR type check rellimarms.com . Pieces this small could be hidden inside a false book, etc. Lots of other ways to make other firearms take down, disguise, etc. but to be any more specific we'd need to know more about firearm other than OAL. $\endgroup$ – ivanivan Jun 5 at 21:31

17 Answers 17

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I may be reading your question wrong, but I'm going from the assumption that the rifle isn't a typical weapon for this setting, but is imported from another timeline or world.

In this case you just need to disassemble it. A medieval guardsman won't recognize this as a firearm: enter image description here if he expects a firearm to look like this: enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ As for the accuracy - I think it depends on the level of disassembly. If you do not separate the barrel and the scope, I do not think it will need to be zeroed again (may be wrong here). As far as looking suspicious goes, a set of tubes, springs and catches together with a huge looking glass in the hands of a mage is trivial to explain as parts of some obscure astronomical equipment. $\endgroup$ – Cumehtar Jun 5 at 16:48
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    $\begingroup$ On that note, even a fully assembled sniper rifle would probably look more like part of an astronomy kit than a weapon. If you just store it in a case with a bunch of star charts and other astronomy/cartography devices, they will probably make their own assumptions. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Jun 5 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ For extra disguise points, take some astronomical equipment that's well known for that time period, disassemble them, and store the pieces in the same box. The guard will see things they recognize as telescope parts, and would be more easy to persuade that the others were as well. Just make sure you know how to sort the pieces back out later... $\endgroup$ – bta Jun 6 at 1:03
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    $\begingroup$ Similar to bta's idea, disguising the rifle parts as clock parts, and having the support character be a clockmaker (and the rifleman pretends to be the support mage's bodyguard. This is because the rifleman is likely too muscled to pass for a clockmaker) $\endgroup$ – user70585 Jun 6 at 3:44
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    $\begingroup$ The guard might not recognise telescope parts, he almost certainly won't recognise rifle parts, but he will recognise metal parts worked to a precision above and beyond what he thinks possible. $\endgroup$ – Separatrix Jun 6 at 7:09
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Smugglers have been smuggling things in and out of controlled borders for as long as controlled borders exist.

Some of your options:

  • A concealed double bottom. It can be just the bench of the carriage transporting your men.
  • Something smelly: put the rifle in its case, lay it on the bottom of the carriage and load the carriage with something smelly, like manure, fermented fish, etc.

If you have no carriage and are bound to walk, you can try disguising the rifle as a crutch. Just make sure it is not loaded, a thundering clutch would sound, pardon the pun, really suspicious.

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    $\begingroup$ I was hoping your concealed double bottom would be a fake prosthesis of some sort. Like the shoplifting belly in that Jane's Addiction video, but on the other side. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jun 5 at 16:31
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    $\begingroup$ To think that crutch could be used as a disguise, i never thought about this ... now, i have option to use the rifle chasis as the crutch, then the barrel(plus scope) as bunch of spears $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 5 at 16:47
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    $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu the most (IMHO) well-known mention of disguising rifle as a crutch is in "The Day of The Jackal" (Frederick Forsyth). The book has some other suggestions, such as hiding the rifle inside the car, but medieval carts were probably mostly wooden. $\endgroup$ – IMil Jun 6 at 0:10
  • $\begingroup$ You can disguise it as a crutch but OP has specified it's a precision weapon so using it as one is probably not advised. $\endgroup$ – Veskah Jun 6 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Veskah, OP has specified that after my answer $\endgroup$ – L.Dutch Jun 6 at 15:42
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Disassemble the rifle. However, do not hide the parts inside hollow firewood pieces, cow dungs etc. - if the guards aren't completely clueless, they would know where to search for hidden objects. And something as innocuous as a simple spring or tube might raise suspicion even in plain sight - by its level of craftsmanship, materials, etc. Broken astronomical equipment, you say? And why did you bother concealing it withing those cow dungs? Okay, we'll see about that - or, rather, the Spanish Inquisition will see about that, please wait for their decision in the local jail.

Instead, add some spare parts for the same rifle (you might need them later anyway). Add some additional parts which are not related to the rifle but would allow you to re-purpose the whole set of parts into several tools those medieval people would understand - let's say, a small telescope/spyglass on a tripod, a sextant, etc., stuff like that. Maybe even assemble the telescope and the sextant and carry them like that. When you finally need the rifle, disassemble them, use the rifle parts to assemble the rifle, stash the rest away. Astronomical equipment, you say? - Yes, sir, allow me to demonstrate. - Hmm... What do you think, Mr. Spanish Inquisitor? - I think I've seen something like that drawn in some astronomy books, it doesn't look like witchcraft or heresy. - Okay, you may pass. Of course, if the guards/inquisitors are overly paranoid, that may not work still - but then again, if they are overly paranoid, what would?

That may require some preparatory engineering on the rifle, even to a degree that is detrimental to its main function. Replace plastic with wood, make the metal parts look like something produced by local smiths/artisans (or like something that could have been produced by local smiths/artisans if you require some extra quality work and are ready to pay for it; or like something that needs better smithing than the locals are capable of, but not that much better), maybe remove ammo clips because they won't fit into all that telescope/sextant design, change the shape of some rifle parts so that they could function in both the rifle and the telescope, etc. You may end up with a somewhat worse rifle, but if your enemies are medieval knights and crossbowmen, that probably won't matter much.

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    $\begingroup$ The Spanish Inquisition didn't exist until the 15th century. $\endgroup$ – user76284 Jun 6 at 7:59
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    $\begingroup$ @user76284 You are correct. Wikipedia says, Middle Ages ended in the year 1450, and the Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478. Damn. I will have to edit my answer to replace it with some other Inquisition... $\endgroup$ – Headcrab Jun 6 at 8:11
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    $\begingroup$ I took this the spanish inquisition more like a figure of speech anyway. Great answer. $\endgroup$ – Tomáš Zato Jun 6 at 8:49
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    $\begingroup$ @user76284 that's what they want you to think, because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. $\endgroup$ – MerseyViking Jun 6 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Abigail but quadrants are much older en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrant_(instrument) and lenses too are old. The scope tube could be used as a sighting tube, and the lenses hung around the neck as talismans or charms. $\endgroup$ – MerseyViking Jun 6 at 10:44
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One simple way to conceal nearly anything is to hide it inside something else no one would think to look in. In this case, a log would work, hollowed out and with a plug of the same wood driven in. With a little care, the end result would weigh about what the unaltered, original log did, and there need be no palpable movement of weight inside (padding will keep the rifle from moving around in the hollow).

The log, in turn, could be one of several in a cart load of firewood. No one would be suspicious of a cart load of wood -- and even more so, they aren't likely to unload the cart and chop or split every log when there's no reason not to expect such stuff to be brought into the city.

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    $\begingroup$ Lol, nice .... by using the log, i might have a possibilty to make the title into 'Tales of a Log Bearer' ... it's very promising options. But i think the swordman need something looks big and more common to be carried by the locals .... a guard with raised eyebrow on the log might noticed something off $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 5 at 16:53
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    $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu Or, if you want a pun, 'A Log Bearer's Log' or similar. $\endgroup$ – boboquack Jun 6 at 0:17
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All depends on whether the rifle can be fully disassembled.

If yes, then it can be concealed inside a large number of innocuous objects, even crutches, like in "Day of Jackal".

If not, then the range of objects is much more narrow, and, unless your character is bringing a whole cart or wagon with him (which, actually, can be the only option), would likely be scrutinized. Keep in mind that wherever you can hide a full length rifle you can hide a sword, and sword is probably something that guards don't want to miss.

Modern rifle and its parts, while not recognizable in medieval setting, would undoubtedly be looked at with great suspicion.

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    $\begingroup$ Regarding to 'will guards search for swords/weaponry or not' .... i found an interesting info .... Shadiversity has a video about rules/laws about who could own a sword .... in his video, there's a rule that in certain areas someone without sword/proper weaponry will be fined .... cz they're expected to take part as militia when the time comes, but generally anybody could have a sword .... and now the biggest obstacle for me is how to make the rifle looks normal for them... either by hidden from sight, or any other means (Just like as the swords) (Avoiding suspected as enemy/demon loyalist) $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 5 at 17:33
  • $\begingroup$ @Short Barrel Raifu if swords are allowed, then it's better, but it begs the question - what's not allowed? What the guards are typically searching for? $\endgroup$ – Alexander Jun 5 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Their primary goal for now is to prevent infiltration by the enemy/demons. so they will search for any clues that might indicate this person is related to demons. example : if you show up with a sword or equipment that usually used by demons, you will get their atention fast .... my scenario for this case is : because althought many of demons usually physically better than humans, they lack something(i can't decide it yet) that makes humans tools less effective for them, they prefer using their own & guards dont know is it a demon tools or not when they see it for the first time. $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 5 at 18:36
  • $\begingroup$ I was going to answer "crutch". Or any item which is supposed to be long and thin: part of wagon, shepherd's crook, part of horse harness, child's toy weapon... Wrap it in rags and dirt. $\endgroup$ – RedSonja Jun 6 at 14:05
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"You wouldn't deprive an old man of his walking stick, now would you?"

If you can hide a sword in a cane, you should be able to hide a rifle in a staff. A funky, druidy looking staff with natural looking wooden protrusions and bulges at weird places. Family heirloom of course. Part of it's charm, is it not? I'm sure it could hold some ammunition and spare parts too. Unlocking it could require a secret technique or be trivial if you don't think it would be inspected.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice, this open a new option ... a mage with an oddly shaped, oversized and heavy magic staff .... and now i just to get someone to make this funky magic staff $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 6 at 13:57
  • $\begingroup$ Have a Druid make one specifically for you out of "living wood". It could help create a drawback of hiding the rifle like this. Pouring water on the staff seals it, hiding any clues that it can open up like a case, but it takes 24 hours/long rest to do so. Opening the case could be as easy as a prestidigitation cantrip or a magic word, but would reveal the line where the "case staff" opens up. This would be very clear at close inspection, less so at a glance. $\endgroup$ – phLOx Jun 7 at 9:18
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Not sure if it fits within your scenario, but I'd try to circumvent the guards altogether, by KISS principle.

Let mage get in and drop a rope from wall during night, and pull up the rifle passed to him by the swordsman.

It only takes a couple of minutes and if the support mage can magic himself invisible or divert attention, it should be even easier.

Since it is a one time affair it doesn't run the same risks as regular smuggling, where guards would probably eventually discover the smugglers

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  • $\begingroup$ This reminds me of konosuba, when kazuma got prisoned and his party tried to jailbreak him .... and this is a possible option if the mage managed to get inside, or when they have a collaborator/Sympathizer/Mole inside the town $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 6 at 14:02
  • $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu well it certainly would need less suspension of disbelief, because in optimal case you are not even using magic (which could be traced) or some gimmicks, just doing what any ordinary person would be forced to, if they had to smuggle something in. Guard changes, patrolling frequency, wall heights, etc, of course, might change all this. And mage would need to get in anyway, even if rifle is brought with him. $\endgroup$ – Gnudiff Jun 6 at 16:06
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My solution: Hiding in plain sight

Simply say that "it's what so-and-so said what weapons from the future will look like" and if they ask what this bit is made of or why this bit looks like this just say that it's magic. If they ask if it works laugh in their face and say why would something that looks this ridiculous work as a weapon. If they ask why they are bringing it in then say that they are only the delivery men and don't know anything about it (other than what's already been said).If they have a mage on standby to check if there's anything magical going through just put a spell on it that does nothing.

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    $\begingroup$ I quite like this solution. "What is this?" "Dunno, I'm just the delivery guy. The client said it was something like a sculpture, I think. A model of something-or-other." $\endgroup$ – Nic Hartley Jun 6 at 15:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Nic Hartley Then the guard replied "Show me your delivery paper" .... Thus at that moment the party realized they fked up .... i think in order to avoid something like this, the party need to convince them if it is a bigshot awaited order & they don't want to make him/her lose patience due to it stuck on the gate because of their inspection $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 6 at 16:16
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    $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu ...to which the party responded, "Sure, here it is." I think you mean. If the guard complains, shrug and ask them to take it up with [well-known noble in the capital]. If they don't do literally the most basic preparation, that's their own fault. $\endgroup$ – Nic Hartley Jun 6 at 16:29
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    $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu If support character has the ability to cast illusion, making fake papers should be trivial. Then the "taint' of magic is on the paper and not the object. $\endgroup$ – Jammin4CO Jun 7 at 17:37
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Put it inside a cow.

The cow will be unhappy.

Exactly where the rifle is inserted into the cow is left to the reader's imagination.

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1) Slather it in protective grease. 2) Toss it onto the bed of a cart. 3) Toss a small tarp over it. 4) Fill the cart with fertilizer, or other unpleasant materials that are routinely brought into the city. 5) Drive it into town like nothing is unusual.

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Tie it to a pole with ribbons, beads, feathers, and an animal skull or two (maybe even a pennant on) the pole.

If you get into a roughhousing situation, had it to a comrade saying, "Hold this for me." Or just have a standard bearer carry it for you.

You will draw attention but no one will think it's a weapon.

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  • $\begingroup$ In a medieval town, that will attract a whole lot of the wrong sort of attention. $\endgroup$ – Mark Jun 6 at 20:12
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    $\begingroup$ Depends on what festival day you're entering said city. A load of mummers in bizarre costume won't get much attention. $\endgroup$ – elemtilas Jun 8 at 12:16
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As others have said, breaking down the rifle into parts will aid smuggling, especially if the parts are mixed with something innocent that looks similar.

One other detail that may be useful is an element of misdirection. That is, you pack up rifle parts in two crates, along with other parts of other devices. In a third crate, you put a false bottom (sufficiently well that it might survive searching all on its own). Inside the hidden compartment, put something "expendable" like a sword, knife set, throwing stars, crossbow, or whatever else - as long as it's obviously a weapon, and somewhat valuable.

The idea being that if a guard has "the feeling something is off", they will get "confirmation bias" when they carefully check the crates and find the false bottom. They may look in the first two crates and suspect something is wrong with your explanations, but will assume they've found all of the concealed items upon discovering the false bottom compartment. A less conscientious guard may miss the whole thing, in which case you get to play the exact same trick another day.

Obviously, substitute 'crates' for any other scenario that makes sense in the story, if they're not pulling a cart full of their stuff with them!

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    $\begingroup$ Provided that the only penalty for carrying contraband is its confiscation, letting the guard find something to confiscate can be a good tactic. I wouldn't make the hidden item a weapon, though, because that confirms "weapons smuggler". Instead, make it some gold or fine alcoholic beverage. The guard might take it for his own use, and not report it to the guard captain or even other guards, because he won't want to share the booty. $\endgroup$ – Monty Harder Jun 7 at 15:24
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Medieval tech wasn't that precise, although it was often ornate. The precision of manufacture would make any pieces stand out. And looking through the scope would be a dead give away. (I think scopes came in at the start of the renaissance. Early ones were murky, and inverted the image.)

Anyway -- If you have control of the manufacture of the weapon,you may be able to apply chemical pitting to the exterior surfaces.

Putting it in a container that guards normally wouldn't have access to would be the way to go. Is there a regular coach between towns that carries gold, precious items? Is there the equivalent of a diplomatic pouch?

Is booze shipped in barrels? A barrel of brandy would do to carry a suitably protected rifle. More to the point, few guards want to unload a wagon full of barrels of beer. Although they may insist on sampling one.

Is there a cathedral or other large public building under way? MANY wagons of stones would be coming in. Getting a 1 load contract to bring in a load of stone may be possible.

Edit in response to wagons as bandit magnets:

If you look at the accounts of the the use of the Silk Road, merchants would band together and form caravans, either under someone who made their living running caravans, or a large merchant with multiple wagons/pack animals would accept people who would travel with them but had only 1 wagon or only a few pack animals.

Similar organization in the American wagon settlement trains.

Multiple wagons weren't just for discouraging attacks. Roads were non-existent to primative. Being able to put 3 teams of horses/oxen on a single wagon to get it out of a mud hole was essential.

The nature of travel has always been one of compromise. The Ferrari excels on the Autobahn. It has trouble with potholes on gravel roads. A 4x4 pickup with mudder tires can go into amazing places, but you can watch the gas gauge move. Snowshoes are slower than skiis, but are more effective in rough bushy terrain.

Weaponry is also circumstantially dependent. A swiss pike is effective against calvary on an open plain. It's a lousy jungle weapon.

In Lord of the Rings, Tolkien has a pack animal go with the 4 hobbits, in addition to what they had on their backs. The western typically has the hero with a blanket roll (1 or 2 blankets rolled up in an oilcloth that may also be his 'duster' coat.) and a small bag with makings for coffee and a slab of hard cure bacon.

Reality: When I travel in the back country, my basic gear that I'm not wearing is about 20 to 25 pounds. I have to be ready for multiple climates. I need extras of some things. (socks) I need shelter -- even a tarp is a pound or two. It takes 2 pounds dry weight of food per person per day. Those numbers go back to Roman times, when the legion conquered the world on coarse ground wheat and barley.

So: To travel for a month requires an 80 pound pack. 20 pounds of gear. 60 pounds of food. Yes, if you are overweight you can go further before you run out.

If you live off the land, then you don't travel nearly as fast. Hunting is time consuming. See the journals of Warburton Pike, James Tyrell, and Vihljalmur Steffanson for examples. Pike traveled with a group of 8. They set camp at noon. 4 broke trail for the nextday (winter travel) 2 made camp. 2 hunted. The trailbreakers hunted opportunistically. Tyrell traveled by canoe. An 18 foot canoe can carry a thousand pounds. Common practice was to set a gill net off shore overnight, harvest fish in the morning. If there was a big surplus, they would stop for a day or two to dry it. Steffanson often traveled alone and used a rifle.

The truly independent hero, while a staple of fiction, especially the American west, was uncommon. One of the reasons as people we band together: A group of 10 people can do a lot more than 10 individuals can.

A marksman/sniper is a specialist. He doesn't operate in a vacuum. Who is he taking service with in the city? Wouldn't it make the most sense to cache his weapons outside the city, go make contact/contract, and get THAT person to arrange the passage through the city walls.

Second thing: A rifle, particularly when you want to shoot accurately at distances, is heavy. 8 pounds or so. Ammunition is also non-trivial. How many rounds does he bring with him?

Make a timeline of his journey. Make a list of everything he is carrying. How far can he travel without resupply? Where does he get resupply? What does his pack weigh? What is he buying food with? This whole notion is "Logistics" (A common aphorism: Captains worry about tactics. Colonels worry about strategy. Generals worry about logistics. Just how do we get those 5 ton 16 pounder cannons and their powder and their ball to where we can use them against the walls of the enemy fort?

This level of attention to detail can make or break a story. Fantasy with the rivets showing.

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  • $\begingroup$ Anything that looks precise are alien stuff for them .... ok, nice insight .... or i should just cover the DragBag(GunBag) with ornate stuff .... Hiding in plain sight ? .... cz in my mind, using wagon isn't flexible enough as on foot or on horse (Buying/Renting the wagon, Speed, Space Requirement, + In case you need to escape danger fast & forced to ditch the wagon .... Oh yeah, i also think that wagon is kinda a Bandit Magnet when you're on road that not close enough to the authorities rule $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 13 at 18:34
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I agree to ask help from local Smugglers.

First of all there must be acceptable hide case, that one what use smugglers, but cannot be sought such by usual people. For example an sad widow with kids and a smelly dead body. The widow then pay some cash to let her husband be buried on local or far away cemetery.

The rifle must be then in dobble bottom, under that smelly body.

Simple man hardly can turn this thing... but this is not the problem for the smugglers, doung this for sentures.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to WorldBuilding.SE! Are you providing an answer to the question, or just agreeing with L.Dutch's? This isn't like a typical discussion forum; individual answers should stand in their own right, and shouldn't be used to reply to other people's answers. Please take the tour and visit the help center to learn more about the site. $\endgroup$ – F1Krazy Jun 6 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Avocado that's a feasible option, now just how to make sure those smugglers not going to steal the rifle .... I doubt they're going to accept the job without knowing what it is right ? $\endgroup$ – Short Barrel Raifu Jun 6 at 13:53
  • $\begingroup$ @ShortBarrelRaifu if your local smugglers are in the habit of stealing whatever they smuggle, they'd stop getting hired to smuggle things. You'd want to hire the no-questions-asked professionals, not commonplace novice avaricious criminals. $\endgroup$ – Tophandour Jun 7 at 15:15
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Hide it in plain sight, no need to over complicate things.
Just put the riffle (partially dismantled if needed) in a strong-box like merchants carry for their coin and papers.

So the conversation at the gate goes something like this:
Who are you. What's you business?
I'm Mage-Apprentice Garreth and this is my man-servant/guard Michael. Just passing through Sergeant, on our way to [some distant city].
What's in that box?
Don't know. Archmage Valtris told me to transport this to Duke Albron in [same distant city].
Open it up!
Valtris placed a tamper-spell on it. Be my guest, its your funeral, but before you do it, please let me get a mile or so away from here first. I don't want to be anywhere near when you set it off.

At this point the guard either lets you go your own way or refers it to their higher ups.
At some point the decision will end up with someone with sufficient brains to realize that pissing of the Duke and/or the Arch-Mage is not a good idea.
They might decide to give you a proper escort to the Duke though... But I'm sure any smart Mage-Apprentice will be able to figure out some way to loose that escort later on.

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I think a more moderate approach might be helpful. Concealing anything of course has its drawbacks. Guards may not represent the sharpest blades in the armoury, but they tend to be singleminded and like to poke around in places they have no business poking around, like false bottoms on waggons and travel trunks. Carrying a weapon, even if it doesn't look like a weapon, is risky.

Therefore, consider the concealment in plain sight approach:

enter image description here

What could be more natural, expected and mundane than a local grandmother carrying her day's firewood into town! Hiring a local girl to help with your smuggling operation has the advantage of trust the insider. City guards are unlikely to suspect the grandmother who's carried a faggot into the city gate every day for the last four hundred twenty six years. She's a known local and thus not as likely to arouse suspicion as a swordsman and a mage trying to blend in.

Also, what a beautiful face! So lovely and trustworthy! She might even give the guards an apple, but only if they've been good boys and have minded their Mum!

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Someone talked about astronomical or telescopic equipment. You could use the same basic idea of the rifle being presented as equipment, but if the weapon can't be fully disassembled I would suggest trying to remove the barrel and a majority of everything past the scope. You can also try and remove the stock. I would probably remove the magazine. If the bolt has a long horizontal length. I would then try and make a small connector to a stand you could make as well to make it seem more like an actual piece of equipment.

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