• The Infractions Forum is available for public view. Please note that if you have been suspended you will need to open a private/incognito browser window to view it.

Can we use gunpowder? Please.

Caduceus

Not the rod of Asclepius
Validated User
I would only want PCs to use them if the tech had moved beyond muzzle loading.
 

David Howery

Registered User
Validated User
ISTR there was a whole nation of Gond worshippers at some point, but many of my books have disappeared over the years and there's a fair number I never had to begin with. I don't recall where any of this is.
yeah, I've lost most of my 1E and 2E stuff over the years too, including that Realms hardback that came out not long after 2E started (they did one for all the game worlds, I think). I do still have the 2E boxed campaign set, but it doesn't mention anything about the guns...
 

bhu

Professional Cat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Mystara had guns (or at least the Top Ballista book did). I've made rules for magical guns for 3.5 somewhere.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
In my experience this early aversion to guns was due to a notion that they would be "too powerful" when compared to the usual set of medieval weapons. When people get shot in an action movie they die, so there were a lot of GMs and players thinking that guns would have to be instantly lethal or cause massive amounts of damage. The problem with that line of thinking is that medieval weapons are all similarly lethal - getting cleaved by a sword or taking an arrow to the chest will kill mess you up just as bad as getting shot in real life. So if a sword or bow only chips away at your HP in D&D, so should guns.

Lots of "guns for D&D" articles I've run into over the years seem to reach for a compromise solution where guns do cause more damage than "medieval" ranged weapons but require all sorts of special proficiencies or feats for a character to be able to use them. Personally I think this breaks my suspension of disbelief more than any of the other alternatives, because IIRC guns are way easier to use than bows.

My preferred solution is to just make them simple weapons that can be used by anyone who can use a crossbow, and make them roughly equivalent to those weapons. Perhaps with a small trade-off here and there, but nothing that requires a whole feat-equivalent expenditure to use.
 

Morty

Registered User
Validated User
The issue with firearms is that they can't really have the punch they should in D&D rules. Especially early firearms, which fired slowly. A single attack just doesn't mean much after early levels - you need to make more attacks or add extras (sneak attack, smite and such). I'm not sure if there's much of a point in adding firearms that don't do what they should.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
What should they do? I mean, a single sword strike should kill someone too, but D&D obviously goes with other expectations. I wouldn't find it odd if guns were roughly equivalent to bows or crossbows.
 

Kimera757

Registered User
Validated User
Back in 1987, the first edition campaign set for Forgotten Realms stated that the laws of physics in the Realms world were such that firearms would not work in this world. It appears that Ed Greenwood, along with many of the old school gamers thought that guns do not belong in a D&D world. I used to think so too. The pre-industrial society seemed essential to the fantasy genre as I understood it. Good ole Ed didn't want any gunfights in his world. Was he right to do that? Of course any DM should be able to make his world the way he wants to; but the bigger question is this:

Are firearms contrary to the spirit of D&D?
Probably. They do not appear in most of the supporting fiction. By this, I am not just referring to D&D fiction, but Conan, anime, and so forth. The anime Berserk, I think, had a good mix of this; cannons but not "handle gonnes" (at least not in the part that I saw). Warhammer Fantasy managed to make it work; I note that most of the characters don't use guns. (In fact, the only main characters I recall using guns were an inventor/slayer and a pair of inquisitors in a short story.)

The medieval weapons, armor, and even horse rules in D&D are not realistic. They're designed to give you some things to do (roll dice to hit, roll dice for damage, perhaps fail to penetrate armor or hit that fast-moving person, and so forth, leaving tactics in the hands of the players). They're designed for ease of use first, balance second, and realism a distant last. I could spend a few minutes on Youtube learning the difference between a falchion and an arming sword, and have spent the time learning the difference between leather armor and a gambeson, but at the end of the day, few people care. I can tell my GM that I've bought a gambeson, but it's using exactly the same stats of leather armor, and the GM will breathe easy and go on to the parts of the game that are more interesting to most of the players. The battle, or the magic on your sword, is cooler than what type of sword you have anyway.

But as soon as you bring guns into the game...

I don't see why you can't have it. I think what really fowls things up is people insisting the weapons derived from it have to actpseudo-realistically instead of how every other weapon acts.
Better than any TLDR I could come up with.

Jonathan Lewis said:
Sure computers and cell phones wouldn't fit in, but if we're taking inspiration from actual history, then we should remember that the end of the medieval period did see the introduction of gunpowder weapons.
Even trying to describe when guns entered into the real world is controversial, because while people wrote, they didn't write often, and often decades after something happened. It's controversial if only because people might really want to believe guns weren't present until a certain period of time (specifically after their game takes place). I don't think that argument works, anyway.

You have a game system with sailing ships that could literally sail around the world, sometimes even with cannons, which you wouldn't have seen in, say, a game with Battle of Hastings levels of technology. You have a game system with "full" plate, which was designed in part to deflect gunfire, which the 2nd Edition (or was it 1st Edition) version of King Arthur wore. King Arthur would have seen Roman technology as the pinnacle of military tech, with a few exceptions such as stirrups and compound bows (both of which are also considerably older than any "handle gonne").

D&D has numerous settings, and very few of them are set in a specific period in human history (they're anachronism stews). Generally I like to put any setting I'm in during the early 1300s, if only because I like the Battle of Crecy, but it also lets me evade "handle gonnes".

It now appears that the designers of the current D&D products are OK with gunfire in the fantasy world. Smoke powder is in the rule books, and the Artificer class introduced in the Unearthed Arcana articles has a specific type of inventor called a gunsmith.
I'm not familiar with that type of gunsmith, but I have some familiarity with smokepowder. They made that magical to "keep it under control" because the physics are different. You can't just have a gunner's guild make endless amounts of the stuff. (And if one tried, some powerful wizard or other will blow their works up under cover of invisibility.)

It may be that people think firearms would ruin magic somehow. Why do you need a fireball when you have a thunder cannon? Maybe there's just a worry that the game would become unbalanced if bugbears kept bringing swords to a gunfight.
That wouldn't impact martial vs magic much. Whether it wrecks magic is more of a flavor than a rules issue. At best, cannons might replace a lot of direct damage evocation spells. A wizard on the battlefield can still create mobile clouds of poison or acid to slaughter entire regiments, while being far more mobile, capable of summoning their own bodyguards and having access to lots of defensive spells.

It might impact guns vs other martial techniques, however. Pathfinder tried this. They insisted that guns penetrate armor entirely (touch attacks) within the first range increment, if used by a gunslinger of 1st-level or so. So the dragon becomes trivial to shoot. But don't dragons have lots of hit points? And guns can't fire very fast? Sure, unless you're using "advanced" firearms (basically revolvers), with dual barrels, and you have two of them (so four shots), and those special cords that make reloading a swift action, or a free action, depending on which errata you're using, and have been backed up by Haste... Funnily enough, the class as originally developed probably isn't more powerful than a warlock (which can dish out essentially endless ranged touch attacks at high damage, though only one per round), but it will of course be compared to the ranger using Manyshot instead since it's a martial PC.

I'm fine with having firearms in the game? What does everyone else think?
I live in urban Canada and I still play with too many gun fans to want firearms in my fantasy game. If I played with people who knew nothing about firearms whatsoever, who would be satisfied with something that's basically a crossbow with higher crit, I would consider it, but such players aren't interested in gunslingers so that situation never comes up.

Remember: guns don't kill people; beholders do.
They both kill people. :)
 

Caduceus

Not the rod of Asclepius
Validated User
A firearm would not really be an appropriate for most D&D parties just because of the noise, I think.
 

Bira

Registered User
Validated User
Depends on the party. A lot of them include spellcasters who are very liberal with their explosive spells already.
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
There's a tendency to mythologise the Gun as one hit, one kill, and assume this would totally imbalance the game.

But this is largely based on the same kind of movie extras who, in a medieval film, would show up in full plate and then fall down after taking a sword slash to the chest. Swords are not I-win buttons, even though it's obvious that being run through will kill you. Similarly, guns shouldn't be instant death either.

This is obvious when you play shooter games. DOOM gives you a health rating in %, and you'll typically soak up several point-blank shotgun blasts before experiencing trouble. Hit points represent fun games more than anything else.

I've done a rundown of how I'd do D&D guns in the past; the main difference isn't in damage or accuracy, but in the ability to do "covering fire" and use an attack to give someone a temporary AC bonus. As Caduceus points out, the things make a big noise, and that tends to make people jump. That's useful, under the right circumstances.
 
Top Bottom