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View Full Version : Any glaring problems with these firearm rules? (3.5)



Harperfan7
2009-12-06, 05:08 PM
Firearms are touch attack weapons, where metal armor/shield and natural armor bonuses act as DR #/-. This DR and normal DR will stack, so a monster with +5 natural armor and DR 5/magic will have DR 10 versus a non-magical bullet and DR 5 for a magic one. Adamantine armor adds its normal AC bonus to attack rolls from firearms in addition to its DR, except from adamantine bullets.

Pistol 2d6 (exploding die)
4 rounds reload
(acts as 1d6 club)
25ft. range

Musket 3d6 (exploding die)
5 rounds reload
(acts as 1d8 2 handed club)
50ft.
Cannot be fired from a moving mount.

Carbine
Same as musket, except range is 35ft. and can be fired from a moving mount.

Range up to 10 increments, treated as thrown weapons regarding far shot.

19-20/x2 Criticals

Exploding Dice: When rolling damage (base damage, not precision, crits, or any other), you reroll every six Ė period. So, you hit somebody with a pistol, you do 2d6 damage, you roll and get a 4 and a 6. You reroll the six, and if you get another six, you reroll that six and so on until you donít roll a six, then you add up all the rolls and that is the damage you deal. Both dice do this separately, so if you roll a 6 and a 6, you reroll both and so on. With a musket you do all three.

Regarding balance, firearms are rare and very rarely enchanted. Gunpowder is expensive, can't get wet, and will explode when exposed to damaging heat/fire. I thought about adding in mishaps, but I'm not sure what to use for that.

(Exploding dice is from the pathfinder campaign setting book)

Thoughts?

Ashtagon
2009-12-06, 05:31 PM
Average damage from an exploding d6 is 4.333, just fyi.

The mounted bonus for carbines makes no sense. Why would a carbine get that, and not a pistol, or even a hand crossbow?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arquebuzer_in_Malaga.jpg

An actual historical musket would have been far too long to be considered useful in mounted combat. Even if you'd allow it to be fired, it certainly shouldn't be possible to reload one while on horseback. (Aside: Yes, I know the pic is strictly speaking an arquebus and not a musket. Pre-US Civil War muskets were usually fired with the aid of a stand, making them even less useful as cavalry weapons).

The pistol should probably only do 1d4 bludgeoning if used as a club. It's just not that big.

Range: Meh. It's for game balance. Smoothbore muskets had useful ranges of 150 ft, rising to 1500 ft with rifling. There's no sensible balance point there, so just go with what makes for more interest.

Ammo: Most of these weapons were single shot weapons historically. Magazines didn't start appearing until quite recently.

If you're happy to go with official published rules, d20 Past has everything you coudl ever want to know about early firearms.

rayne_dragon
2009-12-06, 05:38 PM
A few things:

1. Old gunpowder weapons weren't very accurate so the high crit range seems a bit odd to me. Plus you already have the exploding dice, so each die has its own built-in critical.

2. Regarding mishaps with firearms I'd suggest that a roll of a natural 1 results in a misfire of some sort. Possibly roll a d6 - 1: wild shot, attack misses, 2-3: misfire, must spend a round to dislodge bullet, 4: jammed, cannot use the weapon until thoroughly cleaned out of combat, 5: backfire, the weapon is useless until repaired in town, 6: explosion - d6 (exploding die) of damage to user.

Other than that it looks potentially viable if you keep them rare enough. Even if you don't, throwing a few fire mages in can be good at discouraging their use.

Harperfan7
2009-12-06, 11:17 PM
The mounted bonus for carbines makes no sense. Why would a carbine get that, and not a pistol, or even a hand crossbow?
A carbine is a short barreled musket made for mounted use. It doesn't get a bonus, it just doesn't get a penalty. I guess it's just because its the right size and you have two hands to stabilize it (I suppose a light crossbow should get it too, regardless, it hardly matters anyway).



Ammo: Most of these weapons were single shot weapons historically. Magazines didn't start appearing until quite recently.

4 rounds reload = takes 4 rounds to reload



If you're happy to go with official published rules, d20 Past has everything you coudl ever want to know about early firearms.

I've never looked at it, but I will.

@rayne_dragon: Thanks, I think I'll use that.

imp_fireball
2009-12-06, 11:35 PM
Even if you'd allow it to be fired, it certainly shouldn't be possible to reload one while on horseback.

When you say 'Shouldn't be possible', I think 'takes longer'.
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So if armor is DR, will there be rules for 'complete bullet proofing' or light armor that can withstand bullets better (kevlar, ceramics, etc.) or tactical situations where a tank versus small arms is simply impossible (then again the tank probably just has a lot of damage reduction equal to material and hardness and for modern warfare - specialized damage reduction at insanely high numbers unless certain things happen like a called shot to the engine)?

Also armor as DR works well for crossbow bolts or very high tension bows (likely with a minimum STR prerequisite) that can penetrate armor... maybe on a high attack roll, they can bypass DR completely.

Also, rules where wearing ridiculously heavy armor actually helps if you have the right feats (I originally thought of a battlecruiser class... very beefy guy wearing hundreds of pounds of metal full plate, very thick) - and how thickness of armor can apply to damage reduction.

Finally, artillery? An easy first would be the mortar... give it high range, decent AoE, exploding die that depends on a size larger than d6, but it must be prepared ahead of time to shoot. Opens a whole variety of options for battlefield scenarios.

Harperfan7
2009-12-06, 11:54 PM
When you say 'Shouldn't be possible', I think 'takes longer'.
------

So if armor is DR, will there be rules for 'complete bullet proofing' or light armor that can withstand bullets better (kevlar, ceramics, etc.) or tactical situations where a tank versus small arms is simply impossible (then again the tank probably just has a lot of damage reduction equal to material and hardness and for modern warfare - specialized damage reduction at insanely high numbers unless certain things happen like a called shot to the engine)?

Also armor as DR works well for crossbow bolts or very high tension bows (likely with a minimum STR prerequisite) that can penetrate armor... maybe on a high attack roll, they can bypass DR completely.

Also, rules where wearing ridiculously heavy armor actually helps if you have the right feats (I originally thought of a battlecruiser class... very beefy guy wearing hundreds of pounds of metal full plate, very thick) - and how thickness of armor can apply to damage reduction.

Finally, artillery? An easy first would be the mortar... give it high range, decent AoE, exploding die that depends on a size larger than d6, but it must be prepared ahead of time to shoot. Opens a whole variety of options for battlefield scenarios.

In my homebrew, guns are very rare. Only gnomes and some humans make them, and even then they are expensive and hard to come by. They don't cause a technological revolution because of magic being just generally better. Why go through all the trouble of firearms when you can just learn to throw exploding fireballs and fry people from a scrying pool?

So, a few people carry pistols, a few units of cavalry have carbine users, a handful of snipers have muskets, a couple ships have cannons, and then there are grenades (which are much more common than firearms) and bombs (which basically amount to how much gunpowder you want to put in one place and how long a fuse you can make).

No such thing as a tank, bulletproof armor is as rare as a magic item that blocks one specific spell, and artillery is just plain nonexistant.

EDIT: As per armor as DR - a suit of fullplate and a heavy steel shield grant DR 10 (the highest a human can achieve without unique armor, adamantine, or something else like that), which even a pistol can get past without a critical or exploding dice.

Ashtagon
2009-12-07, 04:38 AM
A carbine is a short barreled musket made for mounted use. It doesn't get a bonus, it just doesn't get a penalty. I guess it's just because its the right size and you have two hands to stabilize it (I suppose a light crossbow should get it too, regardless, it hardly matters anyway).

If you're riding, you normally only get one hand to stabilise it (unless you make a Ride check). but in any case, any gun or crossbow you can hold in one hand, you could hold in two, especially with the chunky grips and stocks of early firearms.

dsmiles
2009-12-07, 05:36 AM
I don't know if you're looking for historical accuracy or not, but I think your range on the musket is a bit off. They were only accurate out to about 50 meters (164 feet). If you're giving them a 50 ft range increment, that would make them entirele too accurate at their max theoretical range of 100 meters (328 feet, and I've never seen an historically accurate musket fire this far with any kind of accuracy). Beyond 100 meters, the ball just kind of falls quickly to the ground as it runs out of momentum. Believe me, I've done a lot of research on the subject, as I'm using firearms in my 4e campaign setting.

Harperfan7
2009-12-07, 09:36 AM
I don't know if you're looking for historical accuracy or not, but I think your range on the musket is a bit off. They were only accurate out to about 50 meters (164 feet). If you're giving them a 50 ft range increment, that would make them entirele too accurate at their max theoretical range of 100 meters (328 feet, and I've never seen an historically accurate musket fire this far with any kind of accuracy). Beyond 100 meters, the ball just kind of falls quickly to the ground as it runs out of momentum. Believe me, I've done a lot of research on the subject, as I'm using firearms in my 4e campaign setting.

What would you suggest?

@Ashtagon: Alright, now muskets cannot be fired from a moving mount, where carbines can.

lesser_minion
2009-12-07, 09:49 AM
A -12 penalty to hit is not "entirely too accurate" by any stretch of the imagination.

Anyone who can laugh off that kind of thing is already so powerful that you can assume that everything they do is in some way supernaturally-assisted, so there is no real need to take into account the fact that the weapon actually cannot project its ammunition that far.

The d20 adds a lot of randomness into the game - probably more than is realistic. Fresh out of apprenticeship, an artisan has a Craft skill of +5. A moderately capable artisan (who is still first level) has a +7 or a +8 (the difference is, in essence, Skill Focus), and a master has a +10. A Legendary Artisan has a Craft skill of +15 (an additional four ranks, and an intelligence of 14 instead of 13).

Djinn_in_Tonic
2009-12-07, 10:28 AM
Here's the problem I see: the reason armor went obsolete was partly (largely, actually) because bullets just went straight through it. Having armor provide DR vs. firearms makes no sense, and also weakens the weapons incredibly (wearing a breastplate makes you immune to the average pistol shot).

If anything, guns should ignore some amount of armor when hitting (which you have included) and deal full damage regardless...they were powerful (if inaccurate) weapons.

Also, firearms are simple weapons: that was their other big advantage. Anyone could use one. Simply lift, point, and pull.

lesser_minion
2009-12-07, 10:49 AM
Here's the problem I see: the reason armor went obsolete was partly (largely, actually) because bullets just went straight through it. Having armor provide DR vs. firearms makes no sense, and also weakens the weapons incredibly (wearing a breastplate makes you immune to the average pistol shot).

If anything, guns should ignore some amount of armor when hitting (which you have included) and deal full damage regardless...they were powerful (if inaccurate) weapons.

Also, firearms are simple weapons: that was their other big advantage. Anyone could use one. Simply lift, point, and pull.

Not so. Armour that protected adequately against firearms was not that far behind the introduction of the firearms themselves. "Bullet-proof" originally meant that the armour had been bullet-tested, and it would usually be sold with the dents left in as proof that it worked. That was true at least into the late 17th century.

The reason armour was phased out was because somewhere between the crusades and the Hundred Years' War, it became clear that the advantage armour brought was very easy to counter - and even reverse.

As the Renaissance progressed into the colonial era, the traditionalism and 'chivalry' that acted as a road block to adopting more effective tactics and equipment started to erode.

Armies are ridiculously slow to phase out equipment that has outlived its usefulness. Most Western armies maintain MBTs, which cost an inordinate amount of money and, in most situations in most of the world, are utterly useless.

paddyfool
2009-12-07, 11:17 AM
Hm. If you're going to use armour as DR for guns, why not use that version for all weaponry? Makes sense to me, and you can easily overcome that DR by giving firearms and bows AP at point blank range (the ability to punch through armour of anything short of a rifle drops off pretty rapidly).

Harperfan7
2009-12-07, 11:59 AM
I'm open to suggestions, how would you go about using AP or the fact that they were randomly inaccurate?

lesser_minion
2009-12-07, 12:42 PM
The behaviour of firearms should be consistent with that of other weapons - they aren't magically 'different' to any other way of killing your opponents. Nobody wants to be hit with a sword any more than they want to be shot, and both have a decent chance of inflicting serious injuries that require decent medical attention to survive.

They also shouldn't do much more damage - a pistol would probably deal about d8 damage, while a rifle might deal d10.

Only the lower levels of D&D (3rd - 6th) are really all that realistic, and at those levels, a gunshot is a very real threat.

If you want to use armour as DR, that's fine - but apply it to all weapons, and be careful about how you use it, because it can cause problems (Armour as random DR is actually a very good way out of this problem).

The accuracy issue might be more endemic to the game, and if you're eliminating armour-as-AC then you can just use Class Defence Bonuses instead.


I think you've inflated firearm damage a little, and I don't like the idea of using different rules for firearms and everything else, but aside from that, there are no real issues.

Ashtagon
2009-12-07, 01:40 PM
On the contrary, I feel a firearm should do more damage than a sword... but only because it doesn't get a bonus from Strength.

Realistically, any sensibly-optimised character is going to have an 18 in his primary stat, which means a +4 damage bonus on most melee weapons. Most ranged weapons don't get any stat-based damage bonus. In order to balance this, their damage should be increased to compensate for this.

imp_fireball
2009-12-07, 11:16 PM
Here's the problem I see: the reason armor went obsolete was partly (largely, actually) because bullets just went straight through it. Having armor provide DR vs. firearms makes no sense, and also weakens the weapons incredibly (wearing a breastplate makes you immune to the average pistol shot).

Metal still halts the bullet in some way. Chances are the bullet will rebound off the metal, even if it happens to puncture it (causing a bruise, but no damage). Also in real life, one injury can cause a guy to flinch, which never happens in D&D.


On the contrary, I feel a firearm should do more damage than a sword... but only because it doesn't get a bonus from Strength.

People that use fire arms should either be master snipers, heavy machine gunners, or dynamite hurlers. If they're using a regular firearm, then they're gonna need magic to compete with a sword that can eviscerate (cut a body in half with a good enough strike, literally).

That said, muskets and such have high caliber, so the damage could be more than a bow. And if there's any warrior that happens to use pure technology, they're gonna be beefy dudes with ridiculous amounts of gun powder and flame throwers (see: tactical advantage).

On that note, it'd be interesting to see 'Vow of Technology'.

Vow of Technology

With a zealous belief in a coming technological revolution, you have completely forgone the personal use of magic. You may not equip yourself with magic items, cast spells, use scrolls (or other casting aids), etc. Also, Spell Craft, if it is a class skill, is substituted for Tech Craft. Use Magic Device can no longer be a class skill, but if the class already has another knowledge class skill, they may substitute Use Magic Device for Knowledge: Science and Technology.

NOTE: In settings with low magic, this could apply to psionics instead. In settings where a significant amount of technology already exists, this vow adds a +2 to Knowledge: Science and Technology and Tech Craft checks.

Tech Craft (Int)

Works just like Spell Craft, except that it involves technology. Technology is essentially anything based in the ideas that were brought forth by the scientific revolution and onwards - as opposed to magic or psionics, it involves the mundane, natural laws of the world (however they may be defined in your world).

Ie. A candle is pre-scientific revolution. A water clock is pre-scientific revolution. A steam powered anything is post scientific revolution. A printing press is post scientific revolution.

Special: With Tech Craft, you can engineer and build something technological. Must be GM improved. Just as you might invent spells with Spell Craft, engineering technology costs XP, gold (for materials, tools, etc.) and a time duration, all at GM discretion.

Upon a successful Tech Craft check, in addition to whatever you've built, you have created blue prints of your design. The blue prints are documents that can be interpreted and understood by others with a Knowledge: Science and Technology check at a DC depending on how high your Tech Craft DC was.

Finally, Tech Craft can be used to repair mundane devices, given enough time. Repairing a damaged construct or object or something 'simple' (such as the body of a vehicle) however, is always an associated Craft check.

Synergy: Every 5 ranks in Knowledge: Science and Technology adds a +2 to Tech Craft checks.

Knowledge: Science and Technology (Int)

A successful check allows you to recall scientific knowledge. Scientific knowledge can apply to any circumstance at GM discretion. As other knowledge checks often are, this strongly applies to the setting.

Schooled in Mundanity
Prerequisite: At least one rank in Knowledge: Science and Technology or Tech Craft.

While you are knowledgeable of the subtle laws of the universe that magic so easily lords over, you also have a specific field of study.

You may choose one of the following and receive a +4 to Knowledge: Science and Technology and Tech Craft checks involving it:

- Biology - Identifying or recalling diseases, contagion, and the weaknesses of living organic creatures. Can also help recognize if a creature has been poisoned or even magically affected in some way (usually by way of recognizing 'how strange it is'). Can determine a creature's CON score. Also great for engineering organic constructs with Tech Craft.

- Physiology - Discern the immediate physical advantages and disadvantages of any creature except oozes, in depth. Does not include subtle things like the disease a creature might have. Low success can determine a creature's DEX and STR scores while high success might even tell you their hp. Great for engineering constructs/creatures with limbs.

- Psychology - Discern the mental state of a creature. Enough study can also determine WIS, INT and CHA in a creature. A psychologist has a +2 to communicate by sign language or otherwise convince a creature that does not speak any of their known languages to understand them. Psychology helps in engineering anything with an INT, WIS or CHA score.

- Physics - Engineer things that do stuff. Like machines! Or things that explode. Good for recalling that gravity is always in affect and that perpetual motion is almost certainly most likely unachievable (without magic anyway). Even works with discerning the presence of ethereal or invisible creatures (it's all 'energy' after all).

- Chemistry - Assists alchemy (if you have ranks in Craft: Alchemy) by allowing it to branch into mundane non-magical, but very deadly things. Chemistry, unlike the others, instead applies to Craft: Alchemy, rather than Tech Craft. Craft: Alchemy can now be used to create beneficial drugs (the opposite of poisons) that are not rooted in theorems involving herbs. Also assists in survival checks involving poisons, toxins, etc.

This feat can be taken multiple times. Each time, it applies to a different field. If a PC finds that multiple fields apply to one application, their modifiers do not stack.

Foryn Gilnith
2009-12-07, 11:21 PM
Realistically, any sensibly-optimised character is going to have an 18 in his primary stat, which means a +4 damage bonus on most melee weapons.

Realistically, a sensibly-optimized character may not be able to obtain an 18 in the primary stat, based on DM fiat, and therefore must make up for the difference using build choices.

imp_fireball
2009-12-08, 12:28 AM
then you can just use Class Defence Bonuses instead.

Sounds a little too D20 Modern. :smallfurious:


I think you've inflated firearm damage a little, and I don't like the idea of using different rules for firearms and everything else, but aside from that, there are no real issues.

I actually agree a bit. Firearms should have 'armor penetration' values. But then, actual thickness of the armor and all that should affect its ability to sustain AC (thick enough steel can stop a bullet, no matter how big it is, although how fast it's flying is always a different matter).

lesser_minion
2009-12-08, 04:54 AM
Another issue is the question of how these weapons were reloaded - with cartridges, it would be a full-round action at worst, although if you had to add shot, powder and so on all separately it might take as long as two-three rounds to load a musket. I don't think it should take as long as you think.

Rifles could take as many as ten full rounds to reload - the round actually had to be hammered down in order to engage with the rifling.

Armour as DR and Class Defence Bonuses both appeared in Unearthed Arcana, by the way.