Firearms

I know it's somewhat controversial, but one of the things that bothered me about 4e was the fact that I couldn't use firearms in my game if I wanted to.  I know it's not for every game, but in the editions of D&D that I played before (AD&D 2e and 3.x) at least had the options for adding weapons that were beyond the typical medieval fantasy setting.

It should 100% be a modular thing, but I'd like to see support for firearms in the PHB or DMG. 
It's always been a bit of a sticky point for a lot of groups.  some people just don't want to see Guns intrude on a fantasy setting.

Me I think they fit just fine. 
Pirates need Guns. 
Soloman Kane used a gun

and PF's Gunslinger class is a heck of a lot of fun
Guns are harmless.






...you know what i mean.
This remind me of a comic not entirely about D&D but still applicable. You might enjoy it.
the problem with guns in D&D is that they were never really handled properly. wether or not they are a good idea is more setting dependant then anything else. in your typical fake-middle-earth? no. in someplace like eberron? yes. darksun? one moment while i stop laughing.

usually guns fell under a few categories:

1 - better then a bow/crossbow. this generally meant the weapon was usually overpowered for what it did and you were stupid to not have one on hand. this generally punished people from playing the archer archetype. generally due to a larger/"exploding" dice damage or range.

2 - weaker then a bow/crossbow. on the flipside they were "primitive" firearms and strictly inferior to the bow/x-bow and not worth any effort to use or master.

"unreliable" - by this i mean they made the weapon "realistic" in the sense that it took so long to reload that you would get off one shot and then forget you have the weapon or had it explode in your hand should you fumble. these were "flavorful" but so impractical that no one ever used them. on the flipside i've seen gun rules that tried to balance the weapon's rarity/power/etc... via a ludicrous cost in the upwards of a 1000+gp it was generally to prohibitive for early game and once you could afford it, it was generally better to get a magical weapon instead.

honestly speaking? if anyone would have asked me if they could use a gun in 4th ed i would simply have them cross out the name of their bow of choice and reflavor to the right firearm.

this is usually because we use the bow and crossbow as the basline: the crossbow can be used by anyone and does more damage in a shorter range. the bows have a quicker recharge & longer range but generally require a more strict (ie: martial) training.

then we have the gun. it generally falls into the similar "point and click" category of the crossbow, but depending on the technology used the accuracy, reload, etc... of the firearms could vary quite wildly.

honestly i hope 5th ed takes a Gamma World approach to weapon design where you pick a general category and reflavor the weapon itself to your needs, but i'm not holding my breath.
In an industrialized magical society like the one where my game is run there are those who find using some form of fire arm an essential part of their daily lives. I liked the rules for fire arms in D&D and I give my players the option to use them if they like. 

I too would like there to be at least a nod to them some where in the rules. Of course if there aren't any I will write them into the game any way. Having someone write official rules would be better and save me hours of tinkering to make them myself. 
This remind me of a comic not entirely about D&D but still applicable. You might enjoy it.



Awesome comic.  Thank you for sharing it, I'll show it to my group!
My group most often plays in a homebrew setting in which firearms are common. Regardless of edition, we have a rather simple solution to avoid balance issues and other wonky mechanical issues: Just reflavor Bows and Crossbows. I know reflavoring "doesn't work" for everybody, but I'm just saying that such minor reflavoring has yet to bother our sense of verisimilitude one bit.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
I would like something about firearms like that article of Dragon Magazine.

The great challenge (I meant headache) is firearms are allowed.. some monster like goblins can use them againt PCs. If the firearms are too powerful... who will play the elf archer or the paladin of shinning armour? It can be possible the guns and rifles are dangerous like ("cheap") magic wands (about balance of power and those things) but in a settin where the secret of gunpowder is known.. why warrior use swords and armours yet? Some god of war could give to his clerics "bulleproff" spells (because only hand-to-hand combat is enough honorable), o wizards can creates spells like "watering gunpowder" or "burning gunpowder" (only the arcana elite can have got those power).   

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I've never wanted firearms in my game, but I certainly won't tell you what's fun for yours. In the 4E powers paradigm, guns would be pretty hard to add. If we assume attacks and weapons work like 3E, it's easy. Here's how you add guns to 3E. Your player asks if they can use guns. You tell them, yes. A gun costs the same a crossbow. It has the same range as a crossbow. It does the same damage as a crossbow. The ammunition cost...let's see...yep, same as crossbow bolts.

I've personally NEVER understood why, in EVERY edition of D&D they feel the need to come up with more weapons charts in supplements. Every possible weapon is already described in the PHB. 
Here's a thought... Long reload firearms as Vancian or Encounter use ranged weapons.

Heck, in 4E you could probably reflavor a Wand of Magic Missile as a firearm.
Here's a thought... Long reload firearms as Vancian or Encounter use ranged weapons.

Heck, in 4E you could probably reflavor a Wand of Magic Missile as a firearm.


Yeah, that's a solution that I've been playing around with. But I've also used the 'find crossbow, replace with gun' method in 4e. No idea why it shouldn't work.

Firearms play a prominent role in our homebrew game as well so I would love it if there was some rudimentary firearms support in 5E. We’ve been using the PF Gunslinger class and firearms rules, but I would love to see what WOTC would come up with for not only firearms rules but a class actually designed to take advantage of them. With D&D encapsulating anything from bronze age warriors to renaissance era swashbucklers, I would love to see a high-fantasy firearms based class. I know this would rub a lot of people wrong, which is why I would be content to see it in a supplement or something, not necessarily in the core PH or DMG. But an eventual supplement with firearms, alchemical concoctions and a more technologically advanced baseline would be awesome.

The problem with firearms in D&D is the way in wich D&D handles equipment. The problem with making totally new stats for firearms is that they basically dominate ranged combat, full stop, you can trash bow and crossbow since now they are obsolete.
Even if you use early firearms, that still have some relative weakness compared to the bow, the crossbow has no real advantage over them, even on the ease of use.

the easiest solution for D&D is to change the name of the crossbows, since by then you have no reason to use them anyway. If you want even more "advanced" firearms, replace the bows too. If a character really wants to go Rambo on the enemies, let him use a bow without any penalty. No reason to cripple him for just a bit of flavour.
The problem with firearms in D&D is the way in wich D&D handles equipment. The problem with making totally new stats for firearms is that they basically dominate ranged combat, full stop, you can trash bow and crossbow since now they are obsolete.
Even if you use early firearms, that still have some relative weakness compared to the bow, the crossbow has no real advantage over them, even on the ease of use.

the easiest solution for D&D is to change the name of the crossbows, since by then you have no reason to use them anyway. If you want even more "advanced" firearms, replace the bows too. If a character really wants to go Rambo on the enemies, let him use a bow without any penalty. No reason to cripple him for just a bit of flavour.



In our PF game right now we have a gunslinger alongside a bow using ranger. The ranger hasn't been looking enviously at the gunslinger. The two classes and the two weapons have a really different feel to them and are supporting two classes that play completely differently. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but both players have been pretty satisfied so I'm convinced it can work. Now that I've seen Paizo do it-- and I've ran it in my campaign and seen that it works in execution as well as looking good on paper-- I would like to see what WOTC would come up with as well that could support firearms and/or a firearms based classed with a D&D flavor to it. We have an arcane archer, I would love to see an arcane gunslinger or alchemical charged musketeer!

In our PF game right now we have a gunslinger alongside a bow using ranger. The ranger hasn't been looking enviously at the gunslinger. The two classes and the two weapons have a really different feel to them and are supporting two classes that play completely differently. Each have their own strengths and weaknesses, but both players have been pretty satisfied so I'm convinced it can work. Now that I've seen Paizo do it-- and I've ran it in my campaign and seen that it works in execution as well as looking good on paper-- I would like to see what WOTC would come up with as well that could support firearms and/or a firearms based classed with a D&D flavor to it. We have an arcane archer, I would love to see an arcane gunslinger or alchemical charged musketeer!



Charop generally considers gunslingers a weak class and guns a weak weapon, 'specially compared to archery rangers (thus falling into the "guns are worse than bows" category). But if you're having fun then that number crunching stuff don't matter.


yeah, guns, sure. If swords, axes, scimitars, n' more are melee variety, then having three choices for rangers shouldn't be too hard. 


Charop generally considers gunslingers a weak class and guns a weak weapon, 'specially compared to archery rangers (thus falling into the "guns are worse than bows" category). But if you're having fun then that number crunching stuff don't matter.



Well to be fair Charop, doesn't enter into our game a whole lot. My players tend to be focused on what feels thematically right for the concept they want to play. It is kind of surprising that they end up so much worse than bows given that the one player in my group who is most prone to really optimize his character is the one playing the gunslinger and he hasn't noticed it yet! I'll have to keep an eye on that. I still think that there is a foundation there for making firearms viable in the game and I'd love to see it. If not, well it's not a gamebreaker for me, it's just more work if I do decide I really like 5E and I want to move our homebrew back to it.
Guns don't belong in D&D......











.....unless toted by Dinosaur-Riding Gnomes. Tongue Out
Just toss the term "alchemical" into a firearm description and *poof*, it's suddenly genre-appropriate.
I think its about time for DnD to catch up with modern fantasy and include firearms as a genuinely viable option. If people don't like them, they can ban them from their setting. If this edition is supposed to be about including as many peoples' tastes as possible and they are putting dragonborn next to halfings, there is no reason they can't put guns in there for those that want them.

Besides, Pathfinder has guns and they're trying to nab PF fans, right?? ;) 
I bodged up some rules for early firearms in my campaign, didn't do any harm to it. None of the players liked them because of % miss fire I included, n just stuck to normal weapons.
A Pathfinder revolver does 1d8 damage.
A Pathfinder crossbow does 1d8 damage.
A Pathfinder revolver costs 4000gp.
A Pathfinder crossbow costs 50gp.

I don't see what the big damn problem is, apart from "ewww, guns!".
My problem with firearms rules has been they never feel liked firearms.  If you want a musket, fine.  That's an encounter power.  By the time you reload it, the battle's over.

But once you get to revolvers and breech-loaders, you've got a very different scenario.  Those weapons fundamentally changed how combat operates.  It's the difference between a fight scene in Three Musketeers and a fight scene from High Noon.

In Three Musketeers, you shoot your musket and then drop it to engage in hand-to-hand combat with rapiers or fists.  If you didn't fall from the musket shot, it means you weren't hit, and then combat follows a traditional D&D style.

But once you have repeat-shooters, the scenario changes.  At that point, the goal of combat is to find cover.  if you have a gun, you shoot at your opponents, who have also found cover (and falling prone a fair alternative).  Then you spend your time shooting or running from cover to cover until you get close enough to engage in fisticuffs.

It's a very different type of combat, and, for me, if you just reflavor a bow to be a gun, you haven't captured the feel of a gunfight.  You've just introduced weak-ass guns. 

I wrote an article about this in my Dungeontech article series here.
I know it's somewhat controversial, but one of the things that bothered me about 4e was the fact that I couldn't use firearms in my game if I wanted to.  I know it's not for every game, but in the editions of D&D that I played before (AD&D 2e and 3.x) at least had the options for adding weapons that were beyond the typical medieval fantasy setting.

It should 100% be a modular thing, but I'd like to see support for firearms in the PHB or DMG. 


What kind of firearms? Amethyst and the upcoming Ultramodern4 both have firearms, but they are mostly relatively modern or sci-fi, I don't think there were rules for black powder muskets. They're not WotC products but they are very well-written and balanced (plus you also get other goodies like rules for vehicles and explosives).

Anyway, if the 4e framework actually allows for this quite easily. The old muzzle-loaders were pretty dangerous but took forever to load (well not forever, but not something that you are likely to do in the middle of D&D combat). Make it an item with a ranged encounter power that deals appropriate damage with a low proficiency bonus.
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I would also like to see rules for firearms.  Now, I don't think basic firearms need that much.  A basic firearm (or even energy weapon) is any rifle or handgun that fires 1 shot at a time.  For that, just use the stats for bows and crossbows.  The only place it gets tricky is when you start dealing with brusts and autofire.  That is where the playtested rules are really needed.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

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I would also like to see rules for firearms.  Now, I don't think basic firearms need that much.  A basic firearm (or even energy weapon) is any rifle or handgun that fires 1 shot at a time.  For that, just use the stats for bows and crossbows.  The only place it gets tricky is when you start dealing with brusts and autofire.  That is where the playtested rules are really needed.



By one shot at a time how many shots can be made in a 6 second round with a semiautomatic weapon? I think that is the point that Wrecan was making. If a first level character can fire a semi-auto pistol, which is easier than archery by far, then imagine that 1st lvl PC firing 18 1d8 attacks in a single 6 second round. One mag can be completely discharged in 6 seconds. It would change things quite a bit. Whether or not that breaks the campaign is a subjective decision for each group to make. But, when you look at guns in that light its hard to see them being in the core rules.
Do rebember the magic weapons that itself-loads is possible (with canon rules). 

..and a sidesick like a squire could be loading the firearms like the PC is shooting.

...and.. what if any players want the firearms from d20 past?

 

"Say me what you're showing off for, and I'll say you what you lack!" (Spanish saying)

 

Book 13 Anaclet 23 Confucius said: "The Superior Man is in harmony but does not follow the crowd. The inferior man follows the crowd, but is not in harmony"

 

"In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of." - Confucius 

I would also like to see rules for firearms.  Now, I don't think basic firearms need that much.  A basic firearm (or even energy weapon) is any rifle or handgun that fires 1 shot at a time.  For that, just use the stats for bows and crossbows.  The only place it gets tricky is when you start dealing with brusts and autofire.  That is where the playtested rules are really needed.



By one shot at a time how many shots can be made in a 6 second round with a semiautomatic weapon? I think that is the point that Wrecan was making. If a first level character can fire a semi-auto pistol, which is easier than archery by far, then imagine that 1st lvl PC firing 18 1d8 attacks in a single 6 second round. One mag can be completely discharged in 6 seconds. It would change things quite a bit. Whether or not that breaks the campaign is a subjective decision for each group to make. But, when you look at guns in that light its hard to see them being in the core rules.



How may shots you can make in a 6 second round is dependant on how many attacks will be allowed in a round.  We don't know that for 5e.  If it's one attack, then you can only make one (or you make several shots to effectively hit once, like most action heroes do).

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

But once you have repeat-shooters, the scenario changes.  At that point, the goal of combat is to find cover.  if you have a gun, you shoot at your opponents, who have also found cover (and falling prone a fair alternative).  Then you spend your time shooting or running from cover to cover until you get close enough to engage in fisticuffs.



Sounds exactly how things would play out if magic was real. A lightning bolt every round seems at least as dangerous as a 9mm slug. From a versimilitude standpoint, firearms really aren't any more inherently dangerous than dragon's breath or a mage's fireball, both of which would cause PCs to dive for cover if this were a "realistic" scenario.

By one shot at a time how many shots can be made in a 6 second round with a semiautomatic weapon? I think that is the point that Wrecan was making. If a first level character can fire a semi-auto pistol, which is easier than archery by far, then imagine that 1st lvl PC firing 18 1d8 attacks in a single 6 second round. One mag can be completely discharged in 6 seconds. It would change things quite a bit. Whether or not that breaks the campaign is a subjective decision for each group to make. But, when you look at guns in that light its hard to see them being in the core rules.



It didn't cause any issues in d20 modern, which fully supported semi and fully automatic weapons in the context of a 6 second DnD round.
It's a very different type of combat, and, for me, if you just reflavor a bow to be a gun, you haven't captured the feel of a gunfight. You've just introduced weak-ass guns.

No, we've introduced normal guns to a system where heroes can easily survive and recover from being bashed several times in the face with an axe. This "realism" problem isn't with the guns; it's with the heroes themselves and the HP system.

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am the Unfailing Arbiter of All That Is Good Design (Even More So Than The Actual Developers) TM Speaking of things that were badly designed, please check out this thread for my Minotaur fix. What have the critics said, you ask? "If any of my players ask to play a Minotaur, I'm definitely offering this as an alternative to the official version." - EmpactWB "If I ever feel like playing a Minotaur I'll know where to look!" - Undrave "WoTC if you are reading this - please take this guy's advice." - Ferol_Debtor_of_Torm "Really full of win. A minotaur that is actually attractive for more than just melee classes." - Cpt_Micha Also, check out my recent GENASI variant! If you've ever wished that your Fire Genasi could actually set stuff on fire, your Water Genasi could actually swim, or your Wind Genasi could at least glide, then look no further. Finally, check out my OPTIONS FOR EVERYONE article, an effort to give unique support to the races that WotC keeps forgetting about. Includes new racial feature options for the Changeling, Deva, Githzerai, Gnoll, Gnome, Goliath, Half-Orc, Kalashtar, Minotaur, Shadar-Kai, Thri-Kreen, Warforged and more!
o, we've introduced normal guns to a system where heroes can easily survive and recover from being bashed several times in the face with an axe. This "realism" problem isn't with the guns; it's with the heroes themselves and the HP system.


And that has always been a problem with the HP system. Anyone that views it as their character actually being smashed in the face with an axe every time is going to have serious issues with it past level 3-5, depending on the character.
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A Pathfinder revolver does 1d8 damage.
A Pathfinder crossbow does 1d8 damage.
A Pathfinder revolver costs 4000gp.
A Pathfinder crossbow costs 50gp.

I don't see what the big damn problem is, apart from "ewww, guns!".



I don't think that anyone says that here...

The problem is that a firearm is an extremely costly wepon that requires a talent (because apparently is a lot more difficult to aim it than a crossbow... Whatever), is ridicously slow to recharge and does the same damage than a crossbow. And in pathfinder they have a chance to misfire too, because they were not crappy enough, apparently.

That's not a firearm, that's a joke weapon... You are better served with a crossbow, since firearms are just bad crossbow without any redeeming feature. That's bad design AND historical inaccuracy all rolled into one!

 
My problem with firearms rules has been they never feel liked firearms.  If you want a musket, fine.  That's an encounter power.  By the time you reload it, the battle's over.



I'm not an expert on firearms. But from what I know, except for the really early models, firearms and crossbows have more or less the same recharge time, with firearms that quickly surpass crossbows in speed and range in a couple of generations.


And in pathfinder they have a chance to misfire too, because they were not crappy enough, apparently.

Probably because Paizo is attempting to acquiesce to the "eww guns" purists, without realizing those purists just ban guns entirely when DM-ing and whine about them when playing.

I include fire arms in mine but they are pre industrial. They use magic alchemist blasting powder and they are flintlocks at best. You have to keep your powder dry ;)

They are also a pita to make. Your average village blacksmith does not know how to bore canon or rifles but it is not completely unkown. You just gotta have canons for sea combat. Though I alow for magical equivalents as well.

They also do not do any more damage. This is mostly realistic. Old weapon types kill you just as dead. An arrow has about half the momentum of a modern firearm but the penetration is much better on an an arrow.  The guy in platemail or even probably chain would prefer to see the gun. Old guns are far more finicky then modern ones.
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"Not in Core" is probably the correct answer. 
Cripple-nerfed firearms like the arquebus aren't worth the miniscule fraction of a penny in ink to print the numbers for the damn thing in the book.
Is that really an issue? I mean Firearms are fluff! If it's a superior weapon, it should require some kind of feat and do more damage than a crossbow.
And in pathfinder they have a chance to misfire too, because they were not crappy enough, apparently.

Probably because Paizo is attempting to acquiesce to the "eww guns" purists, without realizing those purists just ban guns entirely when DM-ing and whine about them when playing.




I was even looking the gunslinger in the srd and... Wow, he is bad like... Bad... He has to spend grit even to do things that other character do normally (like attacking locks), and "Dead Shot" is just a full-attack that is a bad version of a full-attack... That's how I don't want firearms handled in D&D.

If you want a gunslinger, just stick to the ranger and do "pew pew" noises everytime you shoot you bow... Nobody will question your actions...
They need to be equivalent to magic items in power.
And also, here's what I think: the average civilian in 4e has one HP with the assumption that they have just been caught in the middle of things (HP abstraction comes into play here). If they are prepared for combat, they might have 10 HP or so. So, if a crossbow hits, it will kill someone unprepared, and grievously wound a combat ready one. So, a crossbow will kill average Joe, and wound specialized Sue. Now, most killed with guns are unprepared, or unlucky, or not in a position to defend themselves, which means a gun will kill average Joe if it hits. Specialized Sue, however, is taking cover, using her superior tactics to predict what the enemy will do, and is in better shape in general. So a gun has an OK chance to kill her. Many shot on the battlefield IRL survive because they are specialized Sue. However, one of us probably wouldn't, we are average Joe. What I'm getting at is: a gun(RL) isn't that better than a crossbow(DND), so an extra damage die and a higher crit rate would suffice.
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Firearms can, and should, be balanced against the other weapons.

They don't need stupidly long reload times.  That just ensures nobody will ever use them (or, at best, use them once).  Realism takes a backseat to fun and balance.

If I were doing 4e firearms, I'd make them superior weapons, with either high crit or brutal (or both) with an appropriate damage die for having those abilities; minor action reload like a crossbow.  I'd probably put them in the crossbow group, since they operate on similar principles (aim down the length of the thing and shoot).
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Firearms can, and should, be balanced against the other weapons.


Agreed. The creator of Amethyst and Ultramodern4 (s/n Serenadawn on these forums) made a post a long time back addressing this because some people took issue with his approach to firearms (basically that they were different from other weapons but still balanced and couldn't take high level characters out with one shot while also not magically failing 1/20 times even though no other weapon has this issue). It came down to a number of things. He addressed issues like the energy contained in an arrow (for those that don't know, an arrow can pierce some things that will stop most bullets, obviously not getting into ridiculous things like .30 cal HEDP rounds) and also addressed the whole point of HP being abstract. Getting shot multiple times and surviving is no less ridiculous than taking a battleaxe to the face multiple times and surviving. The obvious answer is that not all HP loss is physical damage, and if you want people that go down in one hit, use minions.
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I have to agree with Salla, if you include actual rules for firearms then giving them a d10 or d12 damage dice and a property and making them a superior weapon with a crossbow load time would probably be fairly accurate game wise. If they decide not to make actual rules for firearms then refluffing bows/crossbows to be guns is easy and unless you're one for absolute realism(in which case why play d&d?) then it shouldn't really be a problem.

I recently played a 4e ranged slayer Thadius Blunderbuss dwarven inventor who was adventuring to prove the worth of his new invention and to make a sales pitch to every blacksmith and lord he came across to buy the plans for his amazing new weapon. His gun was just a reflavored longbow and he was a really fun character to play.
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