Can we use gunpowder? Please.

Dalillama

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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...
I fact it is; I did find my copy of that one, and is says that Gond gave Lantan (that's the name of the country) the secret of smokepowder during the Time of Troubles, and they're now selling arquebuses
 

NobodyImportant

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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.
Maybe realistically, but it’s not about realism, it’s about expectations. When a gun pops up in a fantasy novel, it’s almost always going to be something dramatic and terrifying; something from across the sea, or a mad scientist’s workshop. Guns do show up in the kind of fantasy DnD likes to emulate, but when they do, they’re flatly better than more traditional weaponry, and people unfortunate enough to end up on their business end tend to die dramatically.
 

Elfwine

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If it doesn't act like guns do (which is no more "instant death" than it is with swords, which we have numerous examples of not even leaving people unconscious or limbless with a single strike - numerous enough to be rather annoyed with the argument that "Realistically, you'd die if you got hit with a sword"), then what exactly is the point of adding guns? - me.

I mean, why would someone - in setting - develop the weapons and technology if it's going to be "basically, it's a crossbow"?

I'm not saying guns are Overwhelmingly Superior to bows - on the scale of D&D parties, it's probably the opposite - but guns have to have something they do that bows and crossbows don't to make sense as an addition to the setting for me. Call it being simulationist if you insist, but if they're not something people in the setting (not just the PCs) will be picking up in at least some contexts instead of bows and crossbows, they seem kind of silly to me as anything but Secret Special Weapons (which happen to be firearm-like). Your game may vary, but it's something to think about if you are aiming for "guns are just weapons" IMO.

But "oh noes, people are going to insist on guns being handled pseudo-realistically"...well, as opposed to what?
I can say "Why would D'Artagnan and friends use guns if guns aren't any better at anything than bows" and skip the nonfiction section entirely, but it amounts to the same thing - modeling guns that are actually being worth the trouble of inventing and developing when bows are useful weapons.

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"A sword is like a sword" means I can take RL sword knowledge and "but since the heroes are faster, stronger, tougher, and with abilities real life people didn't have..." to get something without having to come up with how swords even work as tools. I don't think it's all bad to substitute guns for swords in that approach.
 
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Lord Shark

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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.
This is where I am too. I don't particularly care about historical accuracy; the typical D&D weapons table is a bizarre mishmash of stuff from all eras thrown together randomly. And except in 4E and BECMI, there's barely any effort given to making weapons mechanically distinctive.

I don't think guns have to be super-weapons, and I think making them more powerful and then trying to hobble them with slow reloading, jamming, and expensive ammo just makes them unfun, in which case why even have them in the game at all?

Basically: if a player wants to be Roland Deschain (or, heck, Murlynd), I'm happy to let him.
 

Kimera757

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But "oh noes, people are going to insist on guns being handled pseudo-realistically"...well, as opposed to what? I can say "Why would D'Artanagan and friends use guns if guns aren't any better at anything than bows" and skip the nonfiction section entirely, but it amounts to the same thing - modeling guns that are actually being worth the trouble of inventing and developing when bows are useful weapons.
The Three Musketeers is literally historical fiction (taking place in a real country, with people who lived then, about two hundred years before it was written), and furthermore is not a fantasy (except, I suppose, the occasional bout of super strength and superhuman luck). At that point in history French troops were using firearms. Guns weren't competing with bows in the books.
 

Morty

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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.
It's not one hit kill, but if we're talking about guns that would coexist with bows, crossbows and melee weapons, they do have a "slow to fire but pack a punch" dynamic. Which D&D just doesn't support. Crossbows have the same problem. Bows too, really - playing an archer in D&D has always involved rapid fire more than precision.
 

Elfwine

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The Three Musketeers is literally historical fiction (taking place in a real country, with people who lived then, about two hundred years before it was written), and furthermore is not a fantasy (except, I suppose, the occasional bout of super strength and superhuman luck). At that point in history French troops were using firearms. Guns weren't competing with bows in the books.
Yes, and guns wouldn't be weapons there if they weren't good at something other than selling splatbooks. That was what I'm trying to get as an issue.

Someone telling me that they're going to have a game/tell a story like The Three Musketeers, but where guns replacing bows is bass-ackwards, and rapiers are worse at what the Musketeers were trying to do than axes would be (but people use guns and rapiers) is going to get funny looks from me.

It's not as if bows were no longer possible to make, or had disappeared from the world, in the 17th century.
 
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Dalillama

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Call it being simulationist if you insist, but if they're not something people in the setting (not just the PCs) will be picking up in at least some contexts instead of bows and crossbows
Most of the early advantage of guns was on the battlefield in large formations. They have very similar advantages to crossbow vs. self bows re: necessary amounts of training and hit harder than a crossbow than an average soldier can span in a hurry. For badasses like your typical PC warrior there's really no reason to use a matchlock arquebus over a bow or a powerful crossbow. Wheellocks and flintlocks have the advantage that thay can be carried ready and suffer much less in the rain, but D&D doesn't worry about the latter for bows, so...

I can say "Why would D'Artagnan and friends use guns if guns aren't any better at anything than bows" and skip the nonfiction section entirely, but it amounts to the same thing - modeling guns that are actually being worth the trouble of inventing
See above: a wheellock pistol can be carried ready to fire, just pull it out and shoot. And by the time of the Musketeers, soldiers didn't study archery anymore, because guns had taken over the battlefield. A pistol is also a lot easier to hide than a bow of any sort.
 

DeathbyDoughnut

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There were a ton of 2e supplements with guns in; Spelljammer, frex. Hell, even the Realms got guns in late 2e, out of Gondor IIRC. They used magical 'smoke powder', which was an excuse to make it way expensive, but they were there, and it wouldn't break anything to make them more common. They are in my Spelljammer game. One of the PCs favors a double barreled flintlock pistol in her left hand and a sword in the right.
It's true! And in FR 3e one of the background regions has guns as a proficiency.
 

Elfwine

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Most of the early advantage of guns was on the battlefield in large formations. They have very similar advantages to crossbow vs. self bows re: necessary amounts of training and hit harder than a crossbow than an average soldier can span in a hurry. For badasses like your typical PC warrior there's really no reason to use a matchlock arquebus over a bow or a powerful crossbow. Wheellocks and flintlocks have the advantage that thay can be carried ready and suffer much less in the rain, but D&D doesn't worry about the latter for bows, so...
I'd consider that a perfectly reasonable option as far as "why they exist", honestly. I just don't think they make a lot of sense if they don't even get that - the fact that a PC would prefer a bow because he's a badass to the ordinary guys with guns can work awfully well.

It doesn't help with "why would PCs use them if they're not all that useful for us" very well, but having them compete with bows and crossbows as "equally viable" is going to be tricky even if we only loosely base guns on gonnes and arquebuses - so I suppose this is my cue to say I like the idea that PCs might prefer them in some situations if I'm playing in a setting with guns and bows (like Sengoku Japan), so far as I want them personally at all.

Others are gonna find different solutions, but it's satisfying to me.

See above: a wheellock pistol can be carried ready to fire, just pull it out and shoot. And by the time of the Musketeers, soldiers didn't study archery anymore, because guns had taken over the battlefield. A pistol is also a lot easier to hide than a bow of any sort.
Well, the best way to put it: Why wouldn't they study archery if guns weren't good enough to take over the battlefield, or at least certain contexts (relevant to our heroes) of it? If they are, well, I like your comments here.

If not - well, I don't think it adds a lot to the game for me to add "guns" as something people developed just to expand the weapon table, or I wouldn't be talking about this.

The part about hiding a pistol vs. a bow is nice, though. Pistols don't really have a pre-gunpowder equivalent that quite fits what they do, at least in my knowledge of weaponry. And daggers mean you have to close to melee, which is not always as desirable as ranged attacks.
 
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