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Clockwork333
2016-08-23, 12:38 AM
Hello everyone!

At the moment I'm working on a setting in the Worldbuilding thread, but the overall technology level is a bit higher than that of the standard medieval era, sitting somewhere between Renaissance and "Steampunk" in development.

Hobgoblin Snipers, Warforged with Rifles, Orcs with hand cannons


I think it'd be a lot of fun and provide a decent bit of variety in ranged enemies, helping to make encounters at range and spells that create cover (like fog) more interesting.

What I'd like to do is devise a way to get firearms working without being overpowered so that bows and crossbows are still viable.


From the Player's Handbook that I have...
(Apologies, I tried to do a table here but couldn't quite figure it out)



Simple Ranged Weapons
Crossbow, light 1d8 piercing Ammunition (range 80/320), loading, two-handed
Dart 1d4 piercing Finesse, thrown (range 20/60)
Shortbow 1d6 piercing Ammunition (range 80/320), two-handed
Sling 1d4 bludgeoning Ammunition (range 30/120)


Martial Ranged Weapons
Blowgun 1 piercing Ammunition (range 25/100), loading
Crossbow, hand 1d6 piercing Ammunition (range 30/120), light, loading
Crossbow, heavy 1d10 piercing Ammunition (range 100/400), heavy, loading, two-handed
Longbow 1d8 piercing Ammunition (range 150/600), heavy, two-handed



And so my instinct is to make guns do more damage but at a shorter range, and for most to have 'loading' time, in addition to a 'spark' effect of my own design, that notes the noise, fire, and smoke created by the weapon is likely to give away the shooters position or ignite flammable material, and also to make the weapon unable to fire when wet.

Just as examples:




Simple Firearms:
Dueling Pistol 1d6 piercing Ammunition, (range 30/60), Spark, Finesse, Loading, one handed
Hunting Rifle 1d8 piercing Ammunition, (range 75/150) Spark, Loading, Two handed

Martial Firearms:
Flintlock Pistol 1d8 piercing Ammunition, (range 30/60), Spark, Finesse, Loading, one handed
Soldiers Rifle 1d10 piercing Ammunition, (range 75/150) Spark, Loading, two handed
Hand Cannon 1d12 piercing Ammunition, (range 50/100) Spark, Loading, Two Handed, Heavy



My other thought is to replace the loading quality with the type of gun (Single Shot, Matchlock, Wheellock, Flintlock) and use that as a descriptor attached to how many shots can be fired before the player must reload, but that gives the player and DM more things to keep track of and I'm not certain that's a good idea.

What do you all think?

jinjitsu
2016-08-23, 05:49 PM
Just off the top of my head, more sophisticated firing mechanism could be approached like silvering - it increases the price of any firearm by a set amount and gives some benefit.

And while firing mechanisms in the real world changed many times and usually created massive differences in the weapon's effectiveness and how it was handled, it would probably be best just to keep it to two or three variations; any more than that and either a) the players will just skip all the middle variants and try to get the best ones, rendering your work on the middle ones wasted, or b) they'll find the granularity too complicated and just avoid firearms altogether.

Clockwork333
2016-08-23, 05:58 PM
Just off the top of my head, more sophisticated firing mechanism could be approached like silvering - it increases the price of any firearm by a set amount and gives some benefit.

And while firing mechanisms in the real world changed many times and usually created massive differences in the weapon's effectiveness and how it was handled, it would probably be best just to keep it to two or three variations; any more than that and either a) the players will just skip all the middle variants and try to get the best ones, rendering your work on the middle ones wasted, or b) they'll find the granularity too complicated and just avoid firearms altogether.
Ooo, thats a great idea, could also be used to show passage of time, or tech differeces between areas

Agreed, 3 of any type would be the absolute limit

Wufflykins
2016-08-23, 06:43 PM
Ooo, thats a great idea, could also be used to show passage of time, or tech differeces between areas

Agreed, 3 of any type would be the absolute limit

I do love having the different mechanisms myself, as a blackpowder shooter I can really appreciate when there is a nuanced difference in a game.

However until the percussion cap the tangible benefit gained from a wheellock over a flintlock isn't really enough to translate into game terms.

Matchlock to Snaplock/Flintlock/Wheellock to Percussion Cap.

This sort of thing is best represented by a decrease in misfire chance mechanically; with increased damage being the offset for the chance lose the attack.

It's a shameless plug but if you check out the last 'spoiler' in the text of my gunslinger class you get some idea of what might balance out.

Be a Better Gunslinger! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?482568-PEACH-5e-Gunslinger-Class-Ongoing-Project)

When making this stuff though, you have to remember that many folks haven't picked up a muzzle loader before. So if it's a little 'inaccurate' when translated to game terms, it's not really hurting anyone.

Clockwork333
2016-08-24, 11:55 AM
I do love having the different mechanisms myself, as a blackpowder shooter I can really appreciate when there is a nuanced difference in a game.

However until the percussion cap the tangible benefit gained from a wheellock over a flintlock isn't really enough to translate into game terms.

Matchlock to Snaplock/Flintlock/Wheellock to Percussion Cap.

This sort of thing is best represented by a decrease in misfire chance mechanically; with increased damage being the offset for the chance lose the attack.

It's a shameless plug but if you check out the last 'spoiler' in the text of my gunslinger class you get some idea of what might balance out.

Be a Better Gunslinger! (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?482568-PEACH-5e-Gunslinger-Class-Ongoing-Project)

When making this stuff though, you have to remember that many folks haven't picked up a muzzle loader before. So if it's a little 'inaccurate' when translated to game terms, it's not really hurting anyone.

Oooh, your gunslinger class is FANTASTIC, thanks, that definitely helps!

KarlMarx
2016-08-24, 05:02 PM
The simple "loading" quality doesn't seem to cover the handcannon and other high-powered weapons' loading times, either historically or game-balance-wise.

Maybe have the loading quality take multiple actions to use so you can only use the gun once every 3-5 rounds?

In addition, different firing types should have different likelihoods of a misfire:

Matchlock: 20%, no additional cost

Flintlock/Wheellock: 10%, +25 gp(wheellock), +50 gp(flintlock)

Wheellocks were historically very delicate, so a misfire should render it inoperable until it is re-calibrated during a short rest.

When a gun misfires, it fails to go off. The gun must be cleaned(standard action?) before it can be used again.

on 10% of misfires, the gun is "hanging fire", meaning that it will explode in 1d4 rounds, dealing 1d6 fire damage(light) or 1d8 fire damage(non-light) to the user, if it is not cleaned beforehand.

Not sure what should happen if the gun detonates--Probably has to be repaired, but not sure what that should cost.

Clockwork333
2016-08-24, 10:26 PM
The simple "loading" quality doesn't seem to cover the handcannon and other high-powered weapons' loading times, either historically or game-balance-wise.

Maybe have the loading quality take multiple actions to use so you can only use the gun once every 3-5 rounds?

In addition, different firing types should have different likelihoods of a misfire:

Matchlock: 20%, no additional cost

Flintlock/Wheellock: 10%, +25 gp(wheellock), +50 gp(flintlock)

Wheellocks were historically very delicate, so a misfire should render it inoperable until it is re-calibrated during a short rest.

When a gun misfires, it fails to go off. The gun must be cleaned(standard action?) before it can be used again.

on 10% of misfires, the gun is "hanging fire", meaning that it will explode in 1d4 rounds, dealing 1d6 fire damage(light) or 1d8 fire damage(non-light) to the user, if it is not cleaned beforehand.

Not sure what should happen if the gun detonates--Probably has to be repaired, but not sure what that should cost.

My notion is that pistols and rifles would reload reasonably quickly, but the hand cannon type guns would be slower due to how devastating they are.

Thanks for the tips on misfire designs.

A bigger issue for the large guns imo though is the size and weight of the ammo, and how available to make it.

On the other hand it might not be a problem since the population centers for the setting are pretty condensed, aside from Zandia.

ES Curse
2016-08-27, 02:12 AM
I've been bouncing around 5e firearm mechanics in my head for a while now. A really interesting and accurate way to make firearms different from bows/crossbows is using DEX saves instead of attack rolls. This helps firearms fulfill their real-world utility of rendering heavy armors ineffective. Since the change affects accuracy rather than power, you are free to rebalance the damage as you wish.

My take on firearms separates them into 2 types: Light Guns and Heavy Guns. Light Guns include your standard pistols and long guns, while Heavy Guns can be things with high recoil (shotguns), assault weapons that have to be adjusted while firing, and things that are legitimately heavy like miniguns.

LIGHT GUN SAVE DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus (if proficient) + your Dexterity modifier
HEAVY GUN SAVE DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus (if proficient) + your Strength modifer

Light Guns generally load faster or have better range, while heavy guns do more damage.

Clockwork333
2016-08-28, 11:00 PM
I've been bouncing around 5e firearm mechanics in my head for a while now. A really interesting and accurate way to make firearms different from bows/crossbows is using DEX saves instead of attack rolls. This helps firearms fulfill their real-world utility of rendering heavy armors ineffective. Since the change affects accuracy rather than power, you are free to rebalance the damage as you wish.

My take on firearms separates them into 2 types: Light Guns and Heavy Guns. Light Guns include your standard pistols and long guns, while Heavy Guns can be things with high recoil (shotguns), assault weapons that have to be adjusted while firing, and things that are legitimately heavy like miniguns.

LIGHT GUN SAVE DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus (if proficient) + your Dexterity modifier
HEAVY GUN SAVE DC = 8 + your proficiency bonus (if proficient) + your Strength modifer

Light Guns generally load faster or have better range, while heavy guns do more damage.

I like the idea of a dex save... but it makes them less viable if used by burlier characters, hmmm

Maybe make it like finesse weapons where the switch is optional?

I do still want to keep hand cannons of somekind too

Torchlight style

ES Curse
2016-08-29, 12:08 AM
You could make the save DC not use an ability modifier (becomes 12+prof.), which additionally makes more sense why the average person is so much better off using guns than bows.

Wufflykins
2016-08-29, 12:40 AM
You could make the save DC not use an ability modifier (becomes 12+prof.), which additionally makes more sense why the average person is so much better off using guns than bows.

My issue with that is that there is a physical measure of skill involved in using firearms, some people are naturally better at it.

Kydo
2016-09-08, 07:39 PM
So my only real argument here isn't about the effects but about the damage dealt. Thematically guns do damage, but they do far less than a long sword would.

Say a sword has a blade roughly two inches thick, maybe an inch and a half, and that blade is thrust through you. The wound is much larger than the bullet hole that would be left. A saber slash across the chest, while all surface damage, is still drastically larger. What guns do that swords, or most medieval weapons, don't is numerically higher critical chance and damage.

That same bullet wound I compared to a sword thrust would have cavitations to think about. The ability to damage parts of you that weren't even directly hit. This is more a critical effect than base higher damage.

JBPuffin
2016-09-08, 07:43 PM
So my only real argument here isn't about the effects but about the damage dealt. Thematically guns do damage, but they do far less than a long sword would.

Say a sword has a blade roughly two inches thick, maybe an inch and a half, and that blade is thrust through you. The wound is much larger than the bullet hole that would be left. A saber slash across the chest, while all surface damage, is still drastically larger. What guns do that swords, or most medieval weapons, don't is numerically higher critical chance and damage.

That same bullet wound I compared to a sword thrust would have cavitations to think about. The ability to damage posts of you that weren't even directly hit. This is more a critical effect than base higher damage.

And with this, you don't have to restrict proficiency as much as one does when trying to balance 2d4+Dex damage ranged weapons with longswords; make them bows with some critical effect and less base damage, and do the DEX save thing because that's just a fantastic idea, and voila! Firearms that work kind of like they do in reality, but without making them a universally-better option.


My issue with that is that there is a physical measure of skill involved in using firearms, some people are naturally better at it.

Replace prof. mod with ability score bonus; having a base of 12 already accounts for generalized ease of use, since the norm is 8. Have a DC 15 Dex Save ranged attack at level 1 is...well, it's just fricken fantastic, from my experience.