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Author Topic: Ranged Weaponry in 3.5 D&D?
Blayne Bradley
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Basically if I were to have a campaign and introduce guns how would they work?

I'ld classify them into the Following:

Pistols

Rifles

Shutguns

Then the following "eras"

1820 Muzzleloader

1870 Breachloader

1918 Semi automatic

1947-1971 Fully automatic Assault rifles

How should the D&D mechanics be designed?

For example when I asked a friend DM about this he suggested a 1820 muzzle loader (say a british army of the line standard) would be a d12.

Now I am rather new to DM'ing and haven't had a chance to read the DMG from cover to cover BUT to this logic any character within level 3 to... anywhere would be able to shrug off a direct hit while in real life anyone shot generally is disabled at the very least.

Or would D&D factor in increased "proficiency" with said firearm to be effective even against epic level characters assuming equivalent level and feats? But here's the thing the crossbow was attempted to be banned in the middle ages because it could single handedly disable if nto kill outright a knight. Oda Nobunaga outnumbered 3-1 (though in favorable weather and terrain conditions) decimated a 30,000 cavalry army from the Takeda the most renown cavalry based force in feudal Japan with 18th century gunnery tactics.

So in effect, I am wondering if there is a way for natively low level musketeers to be able to assuming positive circumstances disable or heavily wound even epic level characters? Or would I be doomed to having a "rifleman/muskereer/infantry" class that is on each level roughly balanced with the other classes?

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Itsame
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Now I am rather new to DM'ing and haven't had a chance to read the DMG from cover to cover BUT to this logic any character within level 3 to... anywhere would be able to shrug off a direct hit while in real life anyone shot generally is disabled at the very least.


Well, think of it this way: the bullet hits, but only in such a way that it skims them, or it hits their armor etc.

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Blayne Bradley
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Bullets even from a 1820 muzzleloader can still pierce plate mail.

Realistically, a direct hit should kill or at least disable. And while D&D is a fantasy role playing game its core mechanics is at least consistence and could be considered realistic interpretation of how the world works.

So far I'm thinking at the suggestion of a friend higher chance of critical hit, lowered from 19 to 14, and give it 8x damage and give maybe a d100 to determine where it hits unless using a rifled barrel.

Give bullets mundane and basic magic armor penetration, so unless the armor is specifally warded against bullets and other high velocity projectiles it should penetrate. The more modern the gun the more dangerous it should be.

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MEC
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One of the few times I played the DM had this rule that a critical failure with a ranged weapon breaks the weapon and deals damage to you. I hated that guy.
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Blayne Bradley
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thats a official variant ruleset, basically known as "fumbling", like say critical failure when swinging a sword would mean you drop it to the ground. These are the sorta things that require prior consent.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
Realistically, a direct hit should kill or at least disable.
The logic behind high hit points at high levels is not that a character can shrug off a real hit, but rather that hit points represent -- in addition to everything else -- a pool of "luck" and "will to live" that is slowly whittled down until the character gets within range of truly mortal injuries. In other words, while a firearm might well be able to kill someone in one hit in the real world, a high-level D&D character is so lucky and so blessed that he is never actually struck in a vital organ or vulnerable spot by a bullet until he's been injured and tired out by several other things first.

If you want to incorporate firearms, I strongly recommend a) picking up d20 Modern, which not only covers them in broad strokes but introduces a harsher "massive damage" rule that makes one-shot kills easier; and b) keeping the game relatively low-level.

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MEC
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
thats a official variant ruleset, basically known as "fumbling", like say critical failure when swinging a sword would mean you drop it to the ground. These are the sorta things that require prior consent.

Yes, I've heard of that variant, but that's much different than the weapon being destroyed and getting the full attack power of the weapon on your character, all on just the 5% probability of rolling a one.
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Dan_raven
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Blayne, hit points in D&D do not reflect ones bulk and ability to be sliced in half and survive. They are supposed to represent your ability to avoid through exertion, the attack. So when Orc Orkinson uses his scimitar and does three points of damage to Volgar the Brave, its not really slicing 3 points of Volgar off. Volgar exerts himself and dodges out of the way of the blade, perhaps picking up a minor bleeding wound that will add up with other dodges and misses until Volgar can not dodge and bleed anymore, and he dies.

So your D12 damage done by a bullet or ball fired from the weapon works as follows. Perry the Pistolleer shoots at Don John the Epic Level Knight. He does 10 pts of damage, but John has 100 Hit points. This does not mean that John must be shot 10 times to die. It means that the first shot John's epic sense of danger warned him of, so he ducked and barely felt the bullet scrape across his armor. He doesn't have that much energy or luck for that to happen too many more times.

You may not think this is logical, but its like James Bond or Indiana Jones walking through a spray of machine gun fire to reach the lady to be rescued.

I would suggest the following.

D12 sounds right.

But since the bullets go through armor, only have the following effect AC.

Basic AC + Dex bonus + any Magical bonuses.

And if you want them to be more the democratizing weapon that they are, add a higher chance for critical damage.

However, especially with the earlier guns, add a higher chance for dangerous fumbles as well.

Also on all earlier weapons, add a large weather related deductions. Those early firearms just didn't work in the rain.

Remember, The Three Musketeers was a story about three brave men who did the most dangerous job around--handled early guns. And then they spent most of their time using their swords.

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MightyCow
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Also keep in mind how guns worked in the real world. Once they became reliable and mass-produced, everybody stopped wearing armor and using swords.

So in a sword and sorcery world, either they need to be unreliable, overly expensive, or very rare. Otherwise, they'll take over all of the fantasy elements, as everyone will want a very powerful, long range weapon over any other weapon or magic.

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Blayne Bradley
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Depends on the plot.
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Darth_Mauve
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Then you have Daniel Boone's Betsy, and other historic and fictional guns like the Lone Ranger's pistols--all obviously magical. Or were they magical bullets?

I would love to purchase a +2 Uzi.

Or the famous Vorpal Shotgun.

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sarcasticmuppet
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7th Sea has rules on using guns, but it requires entirely different traits, skills, and dice (I'm too much of a purist to play Swashbuckling Adventures, but since it's d20 it might be possible to apply it), but it's basically, most things in the game that cause damage only give minor wounds. When you get so many, you have to roll to see if you take a 'dramatic wound'. If you do, all your minor wounds disappear, but your dramatic wound effects all of your following rolls. There's more too it, but I'm not sure it would make sense without explaining the system and mechanic. But man, I love 7th Sea.
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Raventhief
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Definitely reloading time is a big factor with old weapons. A muzzle loader could take as long as 30 seconds to a minute to reload, 5-10 rounds in D&D. As I understand it, the reason guns replaced other weapons so completely was their ease of use. it took years for a man to become competent with a sword or bow, but only days with a musket.
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Blayne Bradley
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1 round =! 6 seconds, reloading for example a crossbow takes significantly longer then 6 seconds I would estimate it as being similar if not the same to a modern 1820 musket. a rifled muzzle loader should for convenience be 1 round unless its a prepared shot (using the special casing and finely grounded powder) should take 2.
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Raventhief
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I don't mean to be contrary, but a direct quote from the 3.5 PHB, page 135: "A round represents 6 seconds in the game world." True, a crossbow should take longer to load; that was the real world disadvantage of the crossbow. And still, a muzzle loader would take even longer. It wasn't until the Civil War with the introduction of the Sharps carbine and later the Spencer that the use of cartridges became more than a scientific curiosity.

Personally, I'd say the best way to include firearms is to use the alternate rules for armor where they provide damage reduction in addition to decreased hit change, and have firearms bypass some or all of the damage reduction. If they take 2 or 3 rounds to reload, that's enough of a balancing factor. For more on alternate AC rules, check out the D20SRD,
http://www.d20srd.org/srd/variant/adventuring/armorAsDamageReduction.htm

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manji
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quote:
Originally posted by MightyCow:
Also keep in mind how guns worked in the real world. Once they became reliable and mass-produced, everybody stopped wearing armor and using swords.

So in a sword and sorcery world, either they need to be unreliable, overly expensive, or very rare. Otherwise, they'll take over all of the fantasy elements, as everyone will want a very powerful, long range weapon over any other weapon or magic.

There are still monsters in the D&D world, yes? Creatures that use claws and teeth to attack. Armor would still be useful against them, so people would still wear armor.

I thought longbows have the ability to pierce armor, but there aren't any special rules pertaining to them, beyond an increased critical multiplier. I think you should do the same with firearms.

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TheGrimace
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blayne, you might want to check out the arms&equipment book (I think) from 2.0 and/or the combat&tactics book from 2.5 for ideas. some combination of those had some variants on firearms (though not necessarily what you were looking for)

Ideas that they included:
-long reload times (I think it was 2-3 rounds in 2.0, but that could be tweaked to longer in 3.5 because of the change in round definition)
-chance of explosion (I don't recall if it was just on a critical miss or if there were other options... sometimes I think it just did damage, other times it damaged the weapon)
-rolling crits (one of the options of making them extremely damaging was something about getting a crit and then you keep rolling and for every additional hit/crit you get to do another die-worth of damage until you miss, or something)

Other considerations:
How accessible is the firearms industry? Are there gunpowder and musket ball suppliers all over, or is your ammo going to be hard to find?

Does normal gunpowder even work? Forgotten Realms has some lore about how the magical nature of the world causes "normal" gunpowder to not work at all. Smokepowder is their local substitute, which is a magical version, but is generally in small supply.

other options that have been suggested:
1) Ignore AC (or perhaps only get 1-2 points no matter your armor) and just make it the 3.5 edition of an attack against reflex (4.0).
2) Incur no penalties for not being proficient in firearms (they aren't inherently better than other weapons, just much easier for untrained recruits to use)
3) Firearms inherently have some kind of +hit and/or are naturally Keen and Massive Crit items
4) Include some kind of fear/morale effect on those either unfamiliar with firearms or attacked by a barrage.

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mr_porteiro_head
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What Tom said. Get your hands on a copy of D20 Modern.
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Blayne Bradley
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the notion of a round being 6 seconds is a suggestion not solid and for the most part is not consistent with all the varius things that take 1 round to do. Crossbows are to my mind harder to reload then a standard british army musket and they're 1 round.

A private in the british army could in theory fire 4 rounds per minute. When averaged with everything else in D&D it makes more sense for reloading to be equal to 1 standard action and thus 1 round to reload.

Also Forgotten Realms DOES have gunpowder not that I am nessasarily playing there but it was mentioned in the Cleric Quintint that there were certain regions and groups who were rumored to make it in sufficient quantities,

However the campaign im planning involves a combination of time travel and dimensional jumping it doesn't nessasarily being faerune, so far were thinking eberron as my friend wants to be a warforged.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
the notion of a round being 6 seconds is a suggestion not solid
A round is six seconds. That is solid.
However, you correctly point out that many of the things that it's possible for a character in D&D to do in a single round would be difficult or impossible to actually do in six seconds.

Unless you're going to try to make the d20 system accurately reflect reality (i.e. Epic Fail!), I suggest just ignoring this and picking a reload time that best balances the weapon, not that best reflects historical reality.

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Raventhief
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Also, a private in the British army of what era? One round in 15 seconds would have to be well after the Hundred Years' War when firearms were introduced, and actually did exist alongside bows on the battlefield. Even during the Napoleonic Wars it would have taken longer, and by then bows were completely obsolete and blades were reduced to cavalry weapons and for naval close action (boarding).

If you're time traveling you could have some fun with weapons from different eras. Loading time and accuracy got better together, so you could play with the two notions as well.

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Dan_raven
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Remember, the earlier the weapon:

A) the longer the load time.
B) the more likely to dangerously misfire, injuring the shooter
C) the more likely to break and be useless
D) the more likely the ammunition is prone to weather related deterioration.
E) the more costly.

While guns do democratize the warrior class, and can overwhelm a highly trained Knight, one fireball, dragon, or flaming hands can destroy you ammo supply and leave an army virtually defenseless.

What would a 1st level mage with Magic Missile do to a powderhorn?

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manji
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_raven:
What would a 1st level mage with Magic Missile do to a powderhorn?

Technically, only creatures are legitimate targets for magic missile. I don't think a powderhorn qualifies.

[ July 08, 2008, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: manji ]

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TomDavidson
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Heat Metal, on the other hand, could be quite amusing. [Smile]
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Blayne Bradley
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quote:
Originally posted by Raventhief:
Also, a private in the British army of what era? One round in 15 seconds would have to be well after the Hundred Years' War when firearms were introduced, and actually did exist alongside bows on the battlefield. Even during the Napoleonic Wars it would have taken longer, and by then bows were completely obsolete and blades were reduced to cavalry weapons and for naval close action (boarding).

If you're time traveling you could have some fun with weapons from different eras. Loading time and accuracy got better together, so you could play with the two notions as well.

The Bernard Cornwell Sharpe novels praised for their historical accuracy detail 4 rounds / minute as the average.
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Primal Curve
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All you need is some ammo with spell resistance or damage reduction on magical fire.
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TomDavidson
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Yes, but now your ammo needs permanent magic on it, which makes it a lot harder to mass-produce.
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